Back in Palm Beach. Can’t stay away, must have it everyday. That lyric from whatever song whose title eludes me, is what comes up when I think of Palm Beach. Most people who even live there more than a century later, don’t know that it was built originally with gambling in mind.
Col. Bradley and his brother who opened and ran the casino in Palm Beach from at the beginning of the 20th century had long been in that business. Gambling joints. They saw something special in Mr. Flagler’s new “community” of Palm Beach a perfect place to create the American Monte Carlo. In those early days it had already attracted the money from New York society. It was the weather, as it remains today that brought society and international tycoons to the new resort. For the Bradleys it was a venture of high end retailing.
Gambling has always been a habit and addiction in people’s lives. As it remains today. But it was disallowed in our American communities. Publicly that is. In the first half of the 20th century, Americans who could, traveled to Cuba for serious gambling and high life. That ended with Fidel, and the boys moved to Las Vegas. But, their forefathers, the Bradleys, simply closed shop when the time came in their lives, and their site is now a small park in the middle of Palm Beach on the very ground of their “club”. It’s called Bradley Park.
It was presented to the public as a true class act. Men in black tie, women dressed in evening gowns, etc. Just like in the movies. It started there. There was dinner and there was an orchestra and there was the tables. Where small fortunes were gained and lost over the course of each night. And although they promoted their business, they also decided who could and who couldn’t come in. Exclusivity is the badge of society. Or rather, it was in those days.
And so it was. Yes, it was illegal as it would be today and so there were those moments when they had to turn the joint into the exclusive private club asap. And they did. Because it was firstly a class act; that was the point of their enterprise. The Bradleys closed it up by the fourth decade when the lustre of Palm Beach had faded and remained so until the 1970s when it slowly began to rise again, and grow to what it is today. But, I am also impressed by the immense growth of the community population as well as its growing acceptance and appearance of philanthropy and the arts. It is a growing community attracting enterprising and ambitious individuals planting the seeds of growth and influence.
And while we’re on the subject:
Jean Shafiroff, who is very active in several charity activities in New York, hosted an outdoor luncheon at Swifty’s at The Colony Hotel in honor of American Humane and its Executive Director, Dr. Robin Ganzert, and Board President, John Payne. This is an organization created to Save the Animals. That’s my words for it, but it is the objective. They are our angels, put here to help us along.
There were twenty guests. Those in attendance included Sharon Bush, Ramona Singer, Ava Roosevelt, Patty Raynes, Kim Renk, Kim Charlton, Alex Hamer, David Hochberg, Paola Bacchini, Danielle Rollins, Robert Caravaggi, Vicki Schneps, Megan McCartney, Lauren Roberts, and Melinda Rockwell.
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization. Founded in 1877, American Humane is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals, and their leadership programs are first to serve in promoting and nurturing the bonds between animals and people.
On the last Sunday of last month, The French Heritage Society hosted their annual Palm Beach Gala Dinner at Club Colette for the first time since 2020. From the joyful reunions over cocktails to the kinetic dance floor that kept DJ Brett playing well into the night, the warm and festive evening marked the perfect kick-off to French Heritage Society’s 40th Anniversary.
The evening was held at the behest of Gala Chairmen Jean Doyen de Montaillou and Michael Kovner and in the presence of Consul General of France in Miami Vincent Floreani and Cultural Counselor Gaëtan Bruel.
Dinner Chairs included CeCe and Lee Black, Mr. and Mrs. James D. Howard, Ambassador and Mrs. Howard H. Leach, Joe and Arnold Pacetti, Nancy Place, Thomas Warren Thaler, and Mr. and Mrs. Peter J. Worth. Further flair was added by Palm Beach Representatives Liz McDermott Barnes and Suzanne Stoll.
Guest included: Board Chairman Elizabeth Stribling, Executive Director Jennifer Herlein, and Board Members Ronald Lee Fleming, Elisa Fredrickson, Judy McLaren, Jean and Martin Shafiroff, and Ann Van Ness.
Also attending: Christine and Max Ansbacher, Alixandra and Stuart Baker, Friederike Biggs, Laurie Bodor, Richard and Marian Bott, Sharon Bush, Pamela Wilds Cole, Lucia Hwong Gordon, Margaret Chase Hager, Charles and Kaaren Hale, Lou Rena Hammond, Linda Hickox, Bruce Horten, Ambassador Brenda Johnson, Paul and Ursula Lowerre, Lynn and Robert Mackle, Frank Morgan and Brett Feigenbaum, Chips and Sarah Page, Natalie Pray, Maria and George Roach, Guy N. Robinson, Thomas and Patricia Shiah, Sherri Stephenson, Lynn and Pascale Franchot Tone, Kelly Williams and Andrew Forsyth, and Michel Witmer.
Proceeds from the Gala Dinner benefit French Heritage Society’s mission to ensure that the treasures of our shared French architectural and cultural heritage survive to inspire future generations.
And back in little ‘ole New York, The Vienna Philharmonic Society celebrated with a concert and dinner with 150 guests enjoying what was a spectacular private formal party that proved the most successful benefit in the organization’s history.
Chairman Marifé Hernández, and husband, Joel Bell greeted every guest by name and made introductions to the orchestra leaders and musicians. When guests assembled Marife spoke first, referring briefly to the conflict on everyone’s mind, the war in the Ukraine. She dedicated the evening to the beauty and ability of music to soothe one’s soul and to serve as a bridge in turbulent times, noting how the orchestra was one of the few in the world that continued to play and travel throughout the pandemic.
Guests included Japanese Ambassador to the UN Kimirio Ishikane and his wife, Kaoru Ishikane, Teige Carroll, Megan and Peter Fleischut, Alexandra Kauka Hamill and Sterling Morton Hamill, Mary and Sam Miller, Lynn and Dayl Pearson, Ana and Julian Salisbury, Ann Nitze, Bradley Strauchen-Scherer and Erich Scherer, and Barbara Tober for the dinner that followed.
She spoke of the board’s commitment to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Academy, offering talented young musicians a tuition free two-year program to study with Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra musicians through individual lessons, chamber music ensembles and seminars designed to guide and enrich their lives as professional musicians.
Patrons of the evening were Austrian Ambassador to the U.S. Martin Weiss and Susi Weiss; Austrian Ambassador to the UN Alexander Marschik and Christina Marschik; Austrian Consul General to New York Helene Steinhäusl and her husband Hubert Heiss.
Photographs by Annie Watt (American Humane & French Heritage).