To each his own is what New York is to all of us

Featured image
Lounging on Cedar Hill in Central Park, 1:30 PM. Photo: JH.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024. A beautiful, sunny day in New York with temps touching 73 degrees. It was the kind of weather that brings everyone out. The buds of “the tree” have sprouted another couple inches and soon I’ll be watching the leaves unfurl. It’s no doubt Age but I find such moments actually joyous, taking their perfect time to grow into Mother Nature’s beauty.

It’s an escape, to the other reality. It’s a good thing to consider in our world full of the blemishes of human activity. The thing about living in the City, no matter where, no matter how, you are confronted with Mother Nature, Real Life, Fantasies and Fables, Truth False, Rich Poor; Brilliant Stupid, Sweet, Kind; Brazen and Burly. All the time; if you keep your eyes and ears open. Which you better, for safety’s sake.

I know from personal experience that living outside the city is a kinder life if for no other reason than it provides more space.  And Nature’s Beauty is more apparent (when it is). But the energy of the City is basically compelling in a something-for-everyone way. It occurred to me when we were putting together some reports on some of the recent local “activities.”

There was Columbia University’s School of the Arts annual Spring Gala where 250 guests gathered — including alumni, artists, and art lovers — to celebrate the School and recognize the stellar accomplishments of the night’s three honorees.

They were: visual artist Hugh Hayden who received the Award for Excellence in the Creative Arts; theater producer Paul Libin; and powerhouse documentary producer Sheila Nevins, both of whom received Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Sergio Assad, Angela Olinto, Barbara Whitman, Shelia Nevins, Paul Libin. Minouche Shafik, Sarah Cole, Katharina Otto-Bernstein, and Hugh Hayden.

Katharina Otto-Bernstein, Chair of the School of the Arts Dean’s Council, co-chaired the event with Barbara Whitman. Katharina opened the evening with these words:

“Art and artists preserve the history of our time. They record our present, and their creativity and imagination pave the path for the future. Art is perhaps the most important discipline.”

Interim Dean Sarah Cole added, “It gives me such pride to find myself, as Dean, right at the beating heart of this university, a place where new thinking is born and taught, and where the works of human accomplishment are studied and propelled.”

Sarah Cole.
Marrissa Heringer and Shelia Nevins.

Then Columbia University President Minouche Shafik offered gracious remarks. This was followed by dinner and what were stunning performances from Broadway stars Callum Francis and Tony Award-winner Ali Stroker.

Visual Arts student Aristotle Forester summed it up: “The evening was splendid. It was an honor to attend such a rich and diverse gathering to celebrate the School of the Arts.

To learn more, visit

Hal Luftig, Barbara Whitman, and Paul Lubin.
L. to r.: Roberta Albert and Janice Chan-Choy; Ramona Bronkar Bannayan and John Bannayan.
Minouche Shafik and Sarah Cole.
Mark Kaplan, Pat Souvern, and Paul Lubin.
L. to r.: Esteban Cabeza de Baca and Heidi Howard; Alece Oxendine and Hugh Hayden.
Alex Gibney and Katharina Otto-Bernstein.
Minouche Shafik and Lynn Nottage.

Then a little more than a week later on April 4th, more than 100 members and guests of the Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York gathered to salute National Tartan Day, a North American celebration of Scottish heritage and the focus of week-long festivities in New York City.

Richard Porter, the 104th President of the Saint Andrew’s Society, welcomed the gathering with toasts, and introduced attendees from across the United States and the UK.

104th President Richard James Porter and Sir Jim Walker.

Special guests and featured speakers were Rt. Hon. Alison Johnstone MSP, Minister Angus Robertson and John Lamont MP. 

Ms. Johnstone was elected presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament in May 2021 and currently serves as a representative for Lothian. In this role she chairs the Parliamentary Bureau and the Scottish Parliament corporate body.

Minister Robertson has served as the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture since 2021. He also has served as the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Edinburgh Central since 2021.

And John Lamont serves in the British House of Commons as the member of Parliament (MP) for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk since 2017. He has been serving as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland since October 2022.

President Porter gave a special welcome to Chris Thompson, head of the Scottish Government office in Washington, D.C.; Charlotte North, His Majesty’s Deputy Consul General in New York; Ian Murray, Member of Parliament at Westminster representing Scotland and serving as the Shadow Secretary of State; and members of Scots Parliament Evelyn Tweed, Maurice Golden and Michael Marra.

Steven Bell, Rt Hon Alison Johnstone MSP, and Evelyn Tweed MSP.
Angus Robertson MSP, Sir Jim Walker, and Ian Smith.
John Lamont MP, Deputy British Consul General Charlotte North, and Ian Houston.
L. to r.: Lauren Layt, Laura Davidson, Lolita K. Jackson MBE, and Chris Thomson; Doreen L. Wray Roth, MD and John Blankley.
Josephine Campbell Dobkin, Aleida Gonzalez, and Zaida McLoughlin.
Karen MacLennan, Lauretta Grant, Noreen MacLennan, Lesley MacLennan Denninger, Sandy MacLennan, and Chris MacLennan.
Richard James Porter, Jeanne Porter, Deacon James D. Noble, and Mary Noble.
L. to r.: Briana Sierp and Spencer Tait; Viscount William Stormont and Gary Maclean.
Carrie Loval Burt, Lord Charles Bruce, Mark Rifkin, and Thomas Burt.

To each his own is what New York to all of us. The variety of interests is intense, and all of which is welcomed by its fans and followers and visitors from out of town. For example:

Meanwhile, if you hadn’t heard, in celebration of Tabletop Week, esteemed fine linens purveyor, E. Braun & Co. New York, hosted a collaborative and inspiring tablescape experience featuring dynamic window vignettes designed by Cathy Kincaid and Darren Henault, along with imaginative tabletop creations by designers and tastemakers Emily Eerdmans, Alex Papachristidis, Christopher Sale of Gramercy Design, and Parker Bowie Larson.

Ric and Stephanie Barbatelli, with Alex Papachristidis.

Each design featured beautiful custom linens provided by E. Braun & Co. Tables featured china and silver loaned by James Robinson, Everyday Elegance, Scully & Scully, Buccellati, Dienst + Dotter, and Casa Gusto among others.

A cocktail party was hosted by owners Ric and Stephanie Barbatelli at their showroom on Park Avenue to celebrate the designers and their inspirations for Spring entertaining.

Cathy Kincaid.
L. to r.: Anthony Squatrito, Lisa Simkin, and Robert Rufino; Cece Cord and Darren Henault.
L. to r.: Alex Papachristidis; Parker Larson.
L. to r.: Stephanie and Ric Barbatelli; Susan Gutfreund.
Darren Henault.
L. to r.: Emily Eerdmans; Christopher Sale.

Photos by John Sanderson/ (Tartan Day)

Recent Posts