What Becomes a Legend Most …

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Tete-a-tete, Nan Kempner listening to Liz Smith, both amused by the subject; and Peter Rogers hearing it all from Annette Tapert and they too are having a laugh about something. September 2004. Photo: JH.

The weather warmed up Sunday morning, reaching up to the high 40s (practically tropical these days) by mid-afternoon.

JH took this opening shot of today’s Diary sometime around 2001 at a party at Doubles. I accidentally came upon it looking up something else. Now, all these years later, it looks fresh and spiffy. An antidote among us!

It’s (l.-r.) Nan Kempner, Liz Smith, Peter Rogers and Annette Tapert, all friends or acquaintances. Seated together, taking a break from madding cocktail crowd. Peter Rogers, the “What Becomes a Legend Most…” advertising genius, was an old friend of Liz – whose birthday (97) was this past Saturday.

Here’s outtakes from that evening …

I don’t remember the evening but they clearly having a good time – even a laugh. They also were not aware that JH was taking the picture. Nor would they have been, because it’s his style: a sharp eye and quick reaction that produces a lot of quietly compelling work. Every picture tells a story.

Yesterday, I told Peter Rogers – who now lives fulltime in New Orleans, the city of his flaming youth – about the photo. He didn’t remember the evening either.

Nan has a napkin on one hand while listening to Liz report or recall some privately funny moment past about someone else who might or might not be in the room or might not. Next to them, Annette has taken Peter’s left arm as if to emphasize: “can’t you believe it?” and he’s about to break out into his famously loud guffaw. It could be they were all four talking about the same person, but I kinda doubt it.

That would be my script for that scene, although, in fact, I have no idea what they were talking about. But the behavior is predictably characteristic: sophisticated New Yorkers who’d been around, and were seen around the schoolyard enough to know what’s what, and who’s where, and when it’s all good for a laugh.

The ladies were “dressed” for the evening. It’s interesting to see the choices compared to today. Nan wins the Sparkle Plenty award with her brooch to brighten up the night, and earrings to second the act. Liz was always more relaxed with her formal garb. Rogers has always been the dapper fellow, a boy from Hattiesburg who came to the big town and picked up the melody. Similarly with Tapert who came, saw, and conquered. New York New York it’s a wonderful town, as the legendary Comden and Green wrote.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, last Wednesday,The Playground Partners of the Central Park Conservancy Women’s Committee hosted its sixth annual Winter Luncheon at the Rainbow Room. This was a sold-out benefit, and it featured a conversation between Aerin Lauder, the founder and Creative Director of AERIN, and Stellene Volandes, Editor- in-Chief of Town & Country.

The Playground Partners of the Central Park Conservancy Women’s Committee’s sixth annual Winter Luncheon at the Rainbow Room.

While talking about raising her children in Manhattan, Ms. Lauder referred to the ultimate question: “What would New York be without Central Park?” Ms. Volandes agreed. She shared with the more than 300 guests that her vow for 2019 is to walk in the Park every day.

The guests also enjoyed the magnificent views of Central Park from the Rainbow Room, as well as a specially designed seasonal menu, with tablecloths donated by India Amory. Funds raised support the mission of the Playground Partners’ to preserve and maintain Central Park’s 21 playgrounds.

Heather McAuliffe
Stellene Volandes and Aerin Lauder

Alexia Leuschen, President of the Women’s Committee, was joined by Elizabeth W. Smith, President and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy and the Luncheon Co-Chairs Mary Beth Adelson, Talene Baroyan, Sana Clegg, Stephanie Hessler, Heather McAuliffe, and Emily McLellan, Women’s Committee Board Advisor, Karen T. May, and Playground Partners Committee Co-Chairs, Whiteny Mogavero and Elizabeth Villar. Also among those attending were: Gillian Miniter, Veronica Swenson Beard, Shirin Christoffersen, Kate Davis, Ainsley Earhardt, Tracey Huff, Sharon Jacob, Lauren Kenny, Kristy Korngold, Neda Navab, Margo Nederlander, Yesim Philip, Barbara H. Scott, Gigi Stone Woods, and Margaret Zakarian. The luncheon was sponsored by The Colony Hotel through the generosity of Sarah Wetenhall.

The Playground Partners: The mission is to maintain the quality and cleanliness of Central Park’s 21 playgrounds. The funds they raise go directly towards the preservation, care, and daily inspection of these play spaces. To learn more, visit centralparknyc.org/playgroundpartners. Or visit centralparknyc.org.

Christine Yates and Katherine Birch
Elizabeth Villar, Sarah Wetenhall, Whitney Mogavero, and Alexia Leuschen
L to R.: Aerin Lauder and Stellene Volandes; Betsy Smith and Liz Atwood
Sasha Martin, Talene Baroyan, Rebecca Bagdonas, and Kelly Silfen
Sujata Eyrick, Merrill Hermann, Neda Navab, Suzie Aijala, Diane Chachas, Tracey Huff, Angela Clofine, Shannon Henderson, Paige Rustum, and Noel Momsen
L to R.: Gigi Stone Woods and Gillian Miniter; Jennifer Mermel and Hyewon Miller
Talene Baroyan, Emily McLellan, Stephanie Hessler, Heather McAuliffe, Mary Beth Adelson, and Sana Clegg
L to R.: Marie-Noelle Pierce and Paige Boller; Ji Park Kwak and Tiffany Gardner
Georgina Clemente, Karen Moreau, and Anna Yaeger
Robin Bump, Kate Moretti, Margaret Zakarian, Elizabeth Garber Daniels, Laura Norwalk Bendelius, Leah Wenger, and Judy Chou
Kristy Korngold, Amy Tarr, and Jennie Coyne
Ainsley Earhardt

And down in Palm Beach, the Sunday before last, more than 300 participants raised $275,000 at Inaugural Palm Beach Race of HOPE. At the outset, Mother Nature briefly deterred hundreds of intrepid souls who came out in pouring rain and hurricane wind for the Race of Hope.

Just across the bridge in West Palm Beach, the South Florida Fair was closed for weather for the first time in ten years. But at the same time, more than 300 of all ages gathered at 8 am at Royal Poinciana Plaza to walk or run the 5K Race and take a stand for depression awareness.

The starting Line
Deborah Norville and Karl Wellner racing
Dylan Pitchford crosses the finish line
John Schilkowsky crosses the finish line

The 3.1-mile Race began at The Royal Poinciana Plaza, the event’s lead sponsor, and continued along the North Lake Trail and through the streets of Palm Beach. Hope was in abundant supply as everybody wore bright tech shirts and matching caps in HDRF’s signature sunshine yellow.

Along the way, participants were greeted by signs with words of encouragement from celebrities, including Anderson Cooper, Lorraine Bracco and Brooke Shields, who have been honored by HDRF for speaking out about depression. The crowd included Inside Edition’s Deborah Norville, Martin Gruss, Bill Bone, Michael Donnell, Tatiana and Campion Platt, Felicia Taylor, Carlos Morrison, and Tom and Clelia Zacharias.

Flora Flores, Lis Waterman, and Audrey Gruss
L to R.: Audrey Gruss and Scott Synder ;  Virginia and John Gildea
Martin Gruss, Audrey Gruss, and Scott Snyder
L to R.: Krista Bard and Carlos Morrison; Racers
Tatiana and Campion Platt and family
L to R.: Dylan Pitchford; Deborah Norville and Karl Wellner
Livingston Builders Team


February in New York is the time of fashion for the upcoming seasons. Here on the NYSD we have a fashion advertiser who is not only an advertiser but whose presence has evoked memories of my own, albeit brief, experience in that world.

Back in the early ‘70s I had a retail business in Westchester and Fairfield Counties. I wandered into it on my way to somewhere, and its small success gave me the impetus to follow the path I have been on ever since 1978 when I sold my business and moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dreams, as it were.

Although it was not my passion (or compulsion), the retail business was a learning experience, and one of the learnings was the way women shop for themselves. It is very different from the way men, or most men, shop. It’s much more personal, often very thoughtful, and even private. I’m talking about the woman who shops carefully and thoughtfully. The reward should be natural: she looks good; confidence is the message. Beauty privately abounds.


I learned that acquiring that confidence doesn’t come easily to every woman. But I learned that it can be achieved; by keeping it simple. A goodlooking garment, color, pattern, cut/fit, flattering sounds simple, but recognizing it is often the challenge. I have a friend here in New York who actually was a customer of mine back lo, those many years ago. She had perfect taste. She always looked great. All these years later, she’s one of the best dressed women I know. She always looks great.

I think of her when I see a lot of the Peruvian Connection pieces.


So when they started advertising with us, it was an especial pleasure because I was reminded of the customers and the pleasure they derived from their purchases. I found myself looking at the Peruvian Connections ads in terms of actually selling it to a customer; thinking: I could sell that, and that, and that.

All of this came to me as I was perusing their new Spring Collection. I was thinking merchandise, like back then: I could see how great their pieces look on the woman. They’re classy but fresh, new but classic, and sing energy chic. Last night I looked through their Spring collection and chose several pieces I would presented to my customers back in the day.


P.S. And speaking of all of the above, don’t forget, Valentine’s Day is only ten days away, and there’s nothing like a little — even a lot of — beauty to chase her cares (or even his) away. The Central Park Conservancy Blooms committee has a beautiful gift to share with someone you love, respect, admire or appreciate, and all the rest of the world to share the Park with us.

With a tax-deductible donation of $50 ($1 per bulb) or more, the Conservancy will plant your tulips or daffodils in the Park. After you have made your contribution, a mailed certificate or ecard will be sent to the person you designate, notifying them of your gift. Wherever you see tulips or daffodils, you will know that yours are among them. Click here to donate flowers to that special someone

Photographs by Sean Zanni/PMC (CPC); Capehart Photography (HDRF)

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