The irony of a tale

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A pendant drop on a cherry blossom bud in Central Park. 2:30 PM. Photo: JH.

Monday, February 6, 2023. Well, it warmed up some yesterday, and without much Sun. 50 degrees, midday. I can always tell the temperature (generally) when I first look out of my living room window of the avenue and what (how much) are they wearing. Yesterday morning I saw a young woman (probably 30s) in a black sleeveless body piece, moving quickly and comfortably. After that it was men not wearing caps. Warmer.

It was a quiet weekend in New York. If you live in my neck of the woods (far East Side) you can think everybody’s left town on a sun-less grey day. Although if the Sun were bright and warm, the riverside promenade would be very busy with maybe hundreds of neighbors out for a stroll — taking advantage of the weather under the most favorable circumstances. You’re in Manhattan and from one vantage point — only a block from the mayor’s house — can see all the way from the RFK Bridge south to the Brooklyn Bridge as well as Queens and Brooklyn. It’s awesome and it’s a good feeling.

Thawing out down by the Reservoir. Photo: JH.

I recently had dinner at Sette Mezzo (where else) with two girls, old friends. Ladies, you might say because they’re old enough, but I’ve known them since they were girls, and they’re still the same except for the numbers. Sort of.

It so happens that both women keep a place in Palm Beach to get away from the cold weather. The part that’s not “girls” anymore. So we talked about Palm Beach and the clubs and the different social groups that are definable. It wasn’t dish but just the basics, which club has the best food; who goes to whose house. One group, they said, is rife with daily dinner parties which evoked the name of the florist that does big business because of it.

There was some talk about a once celebrated woman, celebrated because of her marriage to a very rich heir that left her very rich upon his death. Her name came up because now, all these decades later, her once celebrated life had been destroyed by poor health. One of the girls at table showed me a photograph: an aged woman in a hospital bed, face mottled, red and swollen, head wrapped in white around her skull, tubes attached to her.

It was she, I was told — the sexy beauty who attracted her wealthy much older swain all those decades ago. The prognosis now is all the more dramatic because the patient’s closest relationship is a man in charge of her enormous “estate.” Her daughters by a previous (to the “heir”) marriage have not been allowed by their mother’s boyfriend to see or even speak to their mother. Such is this man’s power over her life right now. More lawyers will be involved.

The great irony of this tale, which did not come up in the conversation, is that the woman in her youthful allure when she married her rich husband gained that kind of control over his relationship to his children by a previous marriage. The motivation was identical.

Meanwhile back down among the sheltering palms, there is a great social life. This is the season and the community has grown and changed over the past two/three decades. West Palm, the city that Henry Flagler developed for the “help” who would staff the mansion of the island, is now a very hot area for a lot of men and women who keep winter houses. Its socio-economic compatibility; and everyone gets to enjoy the weather.

Harry Benson, with Christine Schott stopping by.

Speaking of being down there, that’s exactly where Gigi Benson is; and she sent us a photo of Harry sitting (and waiting) when  Christine Schott pops by to say hello. It was at the Norton Museum of Art’s annual gala.

And who did Gigi see, you ask? Martin and Audrey Gruss, Marlene Hess and James Zirin, Simone and David Levinson, Marianna Kaufman, Gil Maurer, Wilbur and Hilary Geary Ross, Jackie Weld Drake, Burt Minkoff, Candida Fisher, Michel Witmer, Dr. Dino Rivera, Dan and Esty Brodsky, Brian Balfour-Oatts, Jane Holzer, Cathy Busch, Janet Pleasants and Michael Reiter. And she can confirm to seeing them all, because she and Harry spoke to them all!

Gigi also sent us the following photograph of Joan Collins and Anthony Newley with child (in 1965) along with the following message: Also at the Norton Gala: Alexander “Sacha” Newley, the artist son of Tony Newley and Joan Collins. Sacha is teaching at the Society of the Four Arts for a few weeks … and his new book, “Divining the Human,” has just been published.”

And there you have it so far.

Interesting note: Harry took the first photograph of Sacha in London Hospital when he was born, 8th Sept. 1965. Photograph @Harry Benson 1965.

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