Virtually on the move

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The majestic American elm in Central Park at 97th Street. Photo: JH.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020.  A partly sunny, sometimes cloudy day, yesterday in New York with temps hovering around 60. The streets and avenues in my neighborhood were jammed with cars and school buses, Fed Ex, UPS and USPS trucks delivering a massive amount of items, cardboard boxes of all sizes and shapes just to the one block I look at; as well as the trucks for the construction of an addition to the Chapin School as well as the façade of 1 Gracie Square being restored. I mention all of the activity because it is indicative of how the city is returning quickly to its natural energy.

On the Calendar side of things it is also picking up activity. The difference is it’s all on the computer screen. I’m referring to the “virtual” fund-raising events that are occurring in place of the “galas” that we’d become so used to. In a way it is a natural evolution, events-wise, what with our teched up lives with the iPhone and the computer screen and the onset of Zoom accessible by the keyboard. 

The Frick’s annual autumn event, held last night.

All of the events have changed content now that they are video productions. It is a far different experience as each fundraiser has its own audience as well as emotional attractions. So it is a visual challenge that the managers of these events must meet.  

When they are gatherings of supporters, whatever the charity, they are stimulated by the people they attract. They are social events that attract its supporters. The zoom-event is not social. It’s a TV show of sorts, a demonstration of principles and information about the philanthropy. Right now it’s a novelty and some of it is very interesting.

Last night, for example, the Frick held its annual autumn event which is usually black tie, with cocktails in the Garden Court and the dinner spread between multiple galleries. This year, not only is it virtual, but the Frick itself is now closed, preparing for a major construction addition that will be a few years in the making. In the meantime, the Collection has been moved to the former Breuer-designed Whitney Museum (which has long ago moved to a large home downtown).

Henry Clay Frick and Adelaide Frick.
Daughter Helen Clay Frick, who made the difference by carrying out her father’s wishes. And then some.

The Frick’s “virtual”, however, was actually more interesting than their traditional dinners because it was a history lesson (the creation from private house of Henry Frick and family to a public museum). The Frick has always been a favorite with this writer. A kind of sanctuary, peaceful, beautiful, sedate and sensational, historical and a symbol of a specific socio-economic chapter in 20th century American history. I couldn’t help wondering — as I watched the segment of their main curator giving us an architectural tour of the now temporary home of the collection — if the old Frick will still provide that sense of rest and sanctuary that I’ve pursued  since I first discovered the Frick when I came from college to live here as a 20-year-old. 

The tour in the “virtual” covered a lot of territory with images of the old — private residence — to the stately institution it became, and it was fascinating with always something new to learn.

When the house was abuilding 1912.
The original house.
Mr. Frick’s bedroom.
Mrs. Frick’s bedroom where the paintings that are part of the collection today were hung when she lived there.
Mrs. Frick’s bedroom.
Now Ian Wardropper’s (Director of The Frick Collection) office.
Helen Clay Frick’s bedroom.

Which, speaking of virtuals, this past Friday the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) held its annual Symposium & Awards Luncheon in a virtual format for the first time. Frankly I was disappointed that they wouldn’t be holding their annual seasonal luncheon because it always draws a huge crowd and it feels like a victory party – a celebration of Evelyn Lauder’s ambition to find a cure. It’s a couple of hours of actual optimism in a world hungering for it. 

However, back to the moment at hand, nearly 1,100 attendees joined from around the world to hear directly from esteemed breast cancer experts about the latest strides in research that BCRF is funding, and to honor some of the incredible people making that research possible.

Leonard A. Lauder.
William P. Lauder.

And it couldn’t have been more successful in their objective. They raised a record-breaking $3 million (!!!) This ensures even in the midst of global crisis, BCRF’s international legion of leading scientists can continue their lifesaving work. And that is exactly what they are doing and what they are accomplishing.

Maria & Larry Baum were honored with the Sandra Taub Humanitarian Award in recognition of their leadership of the annual Hamptons Paddle for Pink event, which alone has raised $11 million for BCRF since 2012.

Maria and Larry Baum.

Nobel Prize winner William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD received the Jill Rose Award for Scientific Excellence. Guests were treated to a gorgeous musical performance by Broadway star, breast cancer survivor, and BCRF Advisory Board Member Mandy Gonzalez.  well as a cooking demonstration by 3-Michelin Star chef and breast cancer survivor, Dominique Crenn.

William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD.
Mandy Gonzalez.
Dominique Crenn.

The luncheon, co-hosted by Carly Hughes and Eric Jordan Young, also featured appearances by Gwyneth Paltrow, Joan LundenJill MartinLaird HamiltonGabby Reece and more. 

Event underwriter Lifetime shared a powerful message with their Stop Breast Cancer for Life PSA featuring Kelly Rowland, Vanessa Lachey, Melissa Joan Hart, Ali Stroker and Carly Hughes.

Joan Lunden.
Jill Martin.
Gwyneth Paltrow.
Eric Jordan.
Christina Steinbrenner.
Carly Hughes.
Ben Bram.

Kinga Lampert, Leonard Lauder, and William Lauder were the afternoon’s honorary Co-Chairs.  Event Co-Chairs included Madelyn Bucksbaum Adamson, Roberta M. Amon, Jody Gottfried Arnhold, Louise Camuto, Amy Goldman Fowler, Roslyn Goldstein, Marjorie Reed Gordon, Betsy S. Green, Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger, Gail Hilson, Shelly Kivell, Elyse Lacher, Aerin Lauder, Marigay McKee, Barbara Miller, Amy E. Newburger, MD, Wendi Rose, Jeanne Sorensen Siegel, Arlene Taub, and Simone Winston.

Kinga Lampert.
Myra Biblowit.
Shelly Brown.
Larry Norton.

Underwriters of the event included Jody and John ArnholdAmy P. Goldman FoundationRoslyn and Leslie GoldsteinKinga Lampert, Leonard & Judy Lauder FundWilliam P. Lauder and Lori Kanter Tritsch, Lifetime, and Arlene Taub.  

Breast cancer is a complex disease with no simple solution. Research is the key to stopping it in its tracks. Founded in 1993 by Evelyn Lauder, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation is the largest private funder of breast cancer research in the world. We invest in the best minds in science—from those investigating prevention to metastasis—and foster cross-disciplinary collaboration. Our approach accelerates the entire field and moves us closer to the answers we urgently need. We can’t stop now. Join us in fueling the world’s most promising research. With you, we will be the end of breast cancer. Learn more and get involved at

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