The memory lingers on

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A squadron of helicopters overhead. Photo: JH.

Monday, March 14, 2022.  Cold out and the forecast was “big winter storm …” Remember that, this past Friday. Snow, wind, ice, heavy rains, in the northeast. Winter’s eleven o’clock number. The forecasts usually exclude NYC, so naturally I’m wondering if we’ll finally get it. Thursday started out cold and got warmer in the afternoon. Was that a sign of a major storm? And as I write this on early Sunday evening Daylight Savings Time, it was a cold — 29 degrees — bright sunny day in New York, with skies turning gray, and the slightest flurries.

For years, every week I’d hit Michael’s for Wednesday lunch. Introduced in the late ‘90s by Judy Price, its original lure was that it was famously patronized by editors, writers, Wall Streeters and a variety of New York personalities. Wednesdays, I was told (and this was 25 years ago), was the quintessential Michael’s day.

And it delivered in spades. It also has its regulars from those aforementioned fields, as well as the newcomers, not to mention the serious Ladies Who Lunch, and fans from outta town. And they all love the menu, too.

The fabulous women that keep Michael’s running smoothly.

The Covid number changed all that, indeed, ended all of that — for everybody in the neighborhood including midtown Manhattan. This is now an old story but its memory lingers on.

Last Wednesday I went down to Michael’s for the first time in eight or nine months. It had been closed but then so too had all of this massive neighborhood of skyscrapers. But last Wednesday it was back. The pedestrians on the streets, the wall to wall bumper to bumper cars and trucks everywhere. And Michael’s was back to its Wednesday’s self with lots of the familiar faces.

It’s always been, in my experience, one of the most stimulating eateries in New York because of the patronage: everybody. It’s community. Just like New York. The first Michael’s was (and still is) in Santa Monica, the creation of chef/owner Michael McCarty. From Far and Wide, they come to Michael’s.

Aside from the clientele, it’s a beautifully run establishment, light and airy like Southern California but big time big town; a great collection of modern and contemporary art; a lot of natural light to add to it; the food is superb, no matter what you order, and so’s the service, and it’s friendly; and so’s the patronage.

Welcome home everybody!

Meanwhile, on the other side of town at Cipriani South Street, The New York Junior League hosted its 70th Annual Winter Ball — Reflections and Radiance: Restoring and Rebuilding New York City Together  —  with nearly 800 guests, at which they raised more than $660,000 for Training and Community Programs.

Since 1952, the Winter Ball has helped raise essential funds for the NYJL’s training and community programs while bringing together volunteers, family, friends, and supporters for presentations of the award recipients.

The decor at Cipriani South Street.

This year’s Winter Ball honored NYJL community partner the Single Parent Resource Center (SPRC) and recipients of the organization’s Outstanding Sustainer and Outstanding Volunteer Awards, the NYJL’s highest honors. Outstanding Sustainers: Jeannie Egas-Trouveroy and Jephtha Tausig; Outstanding Volunteers: Raven C. Carter, Anna J. Guerin, Natalie Ings, Jeri Powell, and Pamela M. Siler,  President’s Community Partner Award Honoree the Single Parent Resource Center (SPRC)
Board President Alan Fuchsberg and Executive Director Rosemarie Dackerman

About the New York Junior League. Since 1901, the New York Junior League (NYJL) has responded to New York City’s most pressing socioeconomic challenges. Powered by more than 2,000 women volunteers, the NYJL works with more than 60 community-based organizations to advance children’s social-emotional learning and to provide life skills programs to youth and adults who are navigating periods of difficult transition.

2022 Outstanding Sustainers and Outstanding Volunteers with NYJL President Dayna Cassidy.
The dance floor.

Bringing their diverse experiences and talents, trained NYJL volunteers engage women and children in health, education, and arts workshops specially customized to their needs. The NYJL also advocates with state and city government for women- and children-centered policies and develops volunteers’ leadership skills for service in the NYJL and on other nonprofit boards, all while cultivating a community that reinforces women’s personal relationships and collective power as drivers of positive change.


L. to r.: NYJL President Dayna Cassidy; Outstanding Volunteer Jeri Powell and family.
L. to r.: Past President Suzanne Manning and Michael Donohue; Outstanding Volunteer Natalie Ings and Evan Lapidus.
L. to r.:  Outstanding Sustainer Jephtha Tausig and Alex Valcic; Outstanding Volunteer Raven C. Carter.
Outstanding Volunteer Anna J. Guerin (center) with Becky Barr, Andrea Calore, Amanda Smitason, and Anne Bouer.
L. to r.:  Dana Martin and Marcela Ocon; Jordan Brock and Blythe Brock.
L. to r.:  Bill James and Shari Aser; Avra Hart and Megan Zuckerman.
L. to r.: Faye Holliday, Charlotte Robb, and Madison Moose-Barrington; Donald Giacomo and Terry Giacomo.
L. to r.: Caroline Duckworth and Kayleigh McKenna; Katie Grishman and NYJL Executive Vice President Leigh Morbey Favale.
L. to r.: Jordan Sprechman and Barbara Paddock; Nadia Gakou and Spencer Mullen.
L. to r.: Outstanding Sustainer Jeannie Egas-Trouveroy, Olivier Trouveroy, and Jacqueline Trouveroy; Jennifer Farrell.

Meanwhile down there in Palm Beach John Paulson and Jane Holzer (a.k.a Baby Jane Holzer — she’ll always be to many of us) co-hosted the private preview last Thursday night of Christophe von Hohenberg’s stunning The White Album of the Hamptons at Cavalier Galleries on South County Road.

Christophe von Hohenberg and Jane Holzer.

This was a by-invitation reception, welcoming more than 150 prominent collectors, several who flew in from Europe and New York for the special event. The exhibition will be on view through this Thursday.

Kameron Ramirez and Nick Hissom, co-founders of Aktion Art, bid on Group of Surfers, the photograph the artist donated to benefit the Duke Nelson Memorial Scholarship, which is an endowment offered by Dreyfoos School of the Arts Foundation.

“Aktion art loves supporting local fellow galleries. A cause that helps local students of the arts resonates with me, said Ramirez. Christophe’s work is beautiful.”

“We are beyond excited to have raised enough money to offer all 4 scholarship finalists an endowment fund,” said Maribel Alvarez, co-founder of the Duke Nelson Memorial Scholarship. “I am truly grateful to Christophe, Ron Cavalier, Kameron Ramirez, Jane Holzer and John Paulson for this opportunity.”

It was a rare night, even for Palm Beach. Christophe has lots of fans. The hosts brought out the crowd that made it a special night. Among those attending: Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Priscilla Rattazzi, Eleanora Kennedy, Anthony Haden-Guest, Cecile and Alain de Grelle, Andy Boszardt, Kara Ross, Dale Coudert, Manuel Balbotin, James Coleman, Kim Heirston, Dianne de la Bégassière, Chris Snyder, Director of Development at Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Scott Snyder, Rosa and Carlo Corsini, Yaz and Valentin Hernandez, Christiane Seitz, Felicia Taylor, Lisa Kerkorian, Margaret and David Luce, Sonny Kotite, PJ Quick Pollack, Robert Riva, Carolina von Humboldt, Paola Bacchini Rosenshein and Elizabeth Fekkai.

“We continue to enjoy representing Christophe and taking him to new heights.  It was an honor to host this special evening,” said Ron Cavalier.

L. to r.: Hollis Bradley Pica and Ron Cavalier; Eleanora Kennedy (posing in front of her home in Georgica Pond, East Hampton).
Beth DeWoody and Christophe von Hohenberg.
L. to r.: Elizabeth Fekkai and Alvin Valley; Dara Sowell and Kim Charlton.
Yelitza Karolyi, Nick Hissom, Carol Calicchio, and Kameron Ramirez.
L. to r.: Jeremy Hu and Trish Carroll; Rusty and Ashley Holzer.
Christophe von Hohenberg and Kim Heirston.
Elizabeth Fekkai and Andy Boszardt.
L. to r.: Hilary Geary Ross and Wilbur Ross; James Coleman and Maribel Alvarez.
Grace and Chris Meigher, with Carolina von Humboldt.

Meanwhile over on the west coast, in Sarasota some prominent New Yorkers Laura Lobdell and Darrell E. Flannel, Adrianne and Gigi Vittadini, and Joe Volpe chaired a benefit on Monday night for Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), which included a breathtaking solo performance of The Dying Swan by Hee Seo, Principal Dancer at ABT.

YAGP chairman, Jeanene Russell Perry, a former dancer and now choreographer, spoke about the organization’s mission to provide opportunities for young dancers. “Hee Seo is a shining example of the beauty of our program. A YAGP Alum, she also runs our program in Korea, which to date has worked with over 30,000 students.”

Hee Seo.

Guest sipped pink champagne and ballet slipper cocktails as the sun set over the magnificent view of the Casey Key.  The Lobdell/Flannel house is masterpiece by Florida architect Guy Peterson.

YAGP founder Larissa Saveliev was unable to attend. She was supervising US regional auditions as well as seeking international programs to take talented Ukrainian ballet students.

It’s been a Herculean task; contacting schools across Europe, sending airfare and train fare, finding teachers to meet them at the border, clean practice clothes, food, and communicating with families. So far there are no visas available for these students into the US. In Monaco, where their legal statutes prohibit refugees, special dispensation from The Palace has been granted.  The Russian born Saveliev is half Ukrainian herself.

The program.

Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) is the largest global network of dance, providing education through international scholarship auditions, master classes, alumni services, performances, and a wide range of education programs.

Over the past 23 years more than $4.5 million has been awarded in scholarships to the world’s leading dance schools. More than 150,000 young dancers – from ages 9 to 19, of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, have participated in YAGP’s international workshops, auditions, classes, and dance awareness events.

Today, more than 12,000 young dancers audition annually across the world. And more than 450 Youth America Grand Prix alumni are now dancing with 80 professional companies around the world, including  ABT, Boston Ballet, New York City Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, Miami Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, and many many others. More than 100 of these YAGP alumni are soloists and principal dancers.

YAGP is a registered 501c3 not for profit foundation. And they’re doing a great job for something good for the world.

Charles Gither, Melanie Hamrick, Jeanene Perry, and Adrienne Vittadini.
Aurelie and Mark van den Broek.
Dianne Bennett and Paulo Davis.
George Hicks, Pauline Wamsler, and Mary Dee Hicks.
Adrienne and Gigi Vittadini.
Iain Webb, Melanie Hamrick, Jason Ettore, and Christian Hird.
Jean and Joe Volpe.
Laura Lobdell, Nora Johnson, Billy Johnson, and Lynn Morris.
Laura Lobdell and Darrel Flanel.
Michael and Jackie Becher.
Pat Golemme and Tim Fullum.
Susan and Craig North.
Yara and Dr. David Shoemaker.

Photographs by Sylvain Gaboury of PMC & Andrew Werner (NYJL).

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