On The Avenue

Casita Tears Down Walls

by Debbie Bancroft Photographed by Gonzalo Marroquin/PMC
Friday, October 19, 2018
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How refreshing, to move beyond walls, and instead, celebrate with a sea of accomplished and glamorous Latinos and raise funds to ensure there will be more.


Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education celebrated its eighty years of service at a decidedly Latin celebration at The Plaza. Dinner was on South American time–9ish, color abounded, on sleek backs and festive tables, and the crowd enthusiastically filled the dance floor.


Board Chair Jackie Weld Drake told us,“Our programs daily serve 1,000 promising young members of the Bronx, East Harlem and Harlem communities. Looking ahead, Casita Maria will continue to advance our mission and work to bring a brighter, more creative and culturally rich future for our children.” The crowd roared their support for Jackie and her thirty years of support for tbe cause.


Also honored this year’s Gold Medal  recipients: Mary Snow, Carlos Sousa, Dayssi Olarte Kanovas and Isabel Goldsmith Patiño (who was unable to attend).


Mary, who has supported countless arts, education, child welfare and animal causes and her alma mater-Harvard, told us “Everything I know about honor, I learned from my parents, Donald and Nathalie Dibbern who are celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary tonight!” They beamed from Mary’s long table of 47 adoring friends.


Carlos is the ultimate human catnip-handsome, charming, a jewelry designer and a worldwide brand ambassador for Valentino. And if all that wasn’t alluring enough, he finished us off with his shout out to his friend, “Meester Prince Dimitri,” a long time Casita Maria supporter and a Dinner Chair of the evening.


Dayssi, well known to many for her tireless work for New Yorkers for Children and Save Venice, told us “Being an immigrant and proud U.S. citizen, all of you have been an important part of my undertaking. When I first came to New York, I was lucky enough to meet John Loeb, and he told me ‘If you’re in this town long enough, they will honor you.” And so they did.


Cuban actress Sissi Fleitas hosted, Carlos Mota joined Jackie and  Dimitri as Dinner Chair, and Honorary Chairs were Christine Schwarzman, Elizabeth Peabody and Lynn Wyatt. Others fiesta-ing included:  Executive Director, Haydee Morales, Muffie Potter Aston, Nicki Hilton Rothschild and James Rothschild, performers Bebel Gilberto and Guilherme Montiero, Jennifer Creel, Joachim Bader, Princess Astrid of Liechtenstein, Ambassador John Loeb and Sharon Handler Loeb, Francisco Costa, Amy Fine Collins, Geoffrey Bradfield, Joanna and Brian Fisher, Adrienne and Gianluigi Vittadini and Margo Langenberg.


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