Friday, November 29, 2019. Yesterday was a typical Thanksgiving holiday in New York. It was grey in New York. The photo I took while walking the dogs at 2 p.m. along the Promenade captured it. Serene, calm, quiet, and grey. Even the river, as you can see was calm. I read that as Mother Nature saying: “I’m gonna give you a break today.” And, alas, she did.
Our friend and contributor Paige Peterson lives on Central Park West in the area where they put the Macy’s Day parade together the night before. Paige covers the parade for us every year, as you may know. And the night before she gives a cocktail party for friends and all. I never get there; it’s across the Park and certain lanes are closed. So she sent the following report and photos of what I missed:
“For 26 years, maybe more, I’ve invited friends and family to my apartment on Central Park West the eve before Thanksgiving — to witness the floats and balloons being assembled for the annual Macy’s parade. It’s always an eclectic group, depending who’s in town. This year, I was thrilled when my West Coast friends Lisa McCubbin and Clint Hill accepted the invitation for the first time. It is especially meaningful after reading DPC’s tribute to President John F. Kennedy last Friday. For, while you may not recognize Clint Hill’s name, if you are of a certain age, the image of him jumping on the back of the presidential limousine in Dallas 56 years ago this past week, is surely seared in your mind.
Not only is Clint Hill an authentic American hero (and with his partner and coauthor Lisa McCubbin, a #1 New York Times bestselling author), he also has his own signature cocktail: The Clint. And to make sure it’s made properly, this retired Secret Service Agent carries cards engraved with the recipe in his blazer pocket to hand to bartenders. (Whether or not he’s carrying anything else under that jacket remains a mystery, but suffice it to say, we all feel safe with Mr. Hill in the room.)”
Charlotte Ford has started a new custom (for her, at least) by sending out a Holiday card, a Thanksgiving card as it were, ahead of the Christmas holidays. Charlotte’s one to get things taken care of early on. Each year her cards are photographs of her adored four grandchildren.
This year was an eye-opener because voila! The “grandchildren” all look like adults!! There’s a Christmas card of Charlotte’s that I keep out, taken of her when the kids were … kids, even infants: Charlotte, Callie, Annabelle and Alessandro (known by one and all as Buddy), the children of Charlotte’s daughter Elena. So here they are: then and now!
I spend Thanksgiving to wherever I’m invited. It’s always been interesting, even memorable those Thanksgivings with David and Helen Gurley Brown at the Four Seasons. But in the last few years I’ve been invited by Joy Ingham to join her daughters and son and their families at her apartment here in New York.
I’ve enjoyed it especially because the grandchildren ranged from ages 4 to 17 and I love watching the personalities mature as they grow. And so the holiday has that feeling of family for me, relaxed and all over the place. However, this year Joy took a house or palace in Anguilla for her and her family — which is ample — six adults along with Grandma plus about eleven grandchildren and the youngest is older now too. She sent me these photos of her and the clan at table for dinner, and later the adults with maman, taken without a flash (they’re not that tan).
This year I was a guest of my neighbors Charlie Scheips and Tom Graf who live conveniently down the hall. Charlie is an excellent cook, a serious one. The meals on table every night are home cooked and with an interest in variety. I think he’s tried every recipe in Joy of Cooking. I mean, the pages are marked from frequent consultation. So the dinner is always carefully and thoughtfully prepared. Afterwards there was the dessert of pumpkin pie, homebaked. Charlie told me in passing that the delicious crust had a little vodka in it to keep it strong. The pumpkin part was light and worth a second and a third! With whipped cream! Oh gawd!
There were seven of us at table including Jill Krementz who is familiar to NYSD readers for her brilliant photojournalism. Jill was not without camera but she takes her photos so casually and unobtrusively that you don’t know she’s even in the room taking them. I learned that from watching her last night. It’s her eye — and by now her archive — since she’s been at it for longer than she looks old enough to have been contributing. For example I remember when she was the fresh new staff of Jock Whitney’s Herald-Tribune in its heyday finale in the 1960s.
The conversation at chez Scheips/Graff is always active and animated and often hilarious, which accompanied by the master’s menu, the food’s great too and so it was a day to give thanks for all of us at table.
Speaking of at the table, the bigger table… The Mission Society of New York City brought together nearly 400 New Yorkers for their annual Fall Harvest Feast at their Harlem location on last Wednesday, a week. The gym was decorated for the celebration by the Mission Society Board of Directors, alumni, staff, and volunteers. They were opening their doors to the community to enjoy a warm meal. This incredible evening was made possible through the generosity of Mission Society Board members, Jean Shafiroff, who underwrote the event, and Jay Moorehead.
The Mission Society has been a part of New York City’s history for more than 200 years. The Fall Harvest Feast is an opportunity to kick off a season of gratitude by welcoming neighboring families into their Harlem location.
“Many of our neighbors struggle to put food on their tables, and this event ensures they have a warm meal and plenty of food to bring home,” explained Mission Society President, Elsie McCabe Thompson.
Year-round, Mission Society supports the underserved youth and families of New York City and works to end multigenerational poverty through innovative and engaging educational programs. Since Mission’s founding in 1812, over 6.5 million New Yorkers have been impacted by their life-changing opportunities. Mission constantly reimagines the urban learning landscape, and promotes academic achievement, sustainable career-building, and community enrichment. Another reason for thanksgiving.
Among the messages I received about this holiday, there was one that put me in the mood this past Wednesday. A friend had sent a message of autumn images with the following message:
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”