On The Avenue

Celebrating the Art of Monn

by Michael Gross Photographed by Patrick McMullan/PMC
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

“Who paid for all of this?” more than one person asked, eyeing the lavish mise-en-scene last night at the New York Public Library.  It wasn’t a party for the main building’s namesake, Steve Schwarzman.  Nor was it a damn-the-populists financier’s birthday, nor a celebration of anything Trump.

Instead, it was a homecoming of sorts for party planner David Monn.  The first event he ever produced in New York City took place in the very same Astor Hall. For the last 20 years, some of the most stylish weddings, anniversaries, bar and bat mitzvahs, charity galas  and even funerals have been Monn productions, but few matched the launch party he designed for his new book, “The Art of Celebrating” hosted by an array of favorite friends including Gayfryd Steinberg, Laura and Stafford Broumand, Heidi and Tom McWillians, Alex Papachristidis, Daryl and Steven Roth, Ann, Andrew, Alice, Tom, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch.

The crush to enter the Astor Hall, one reveler speculated, was the result of all those co-hosts arriving at once. You couldn;’t turn around without bumping into  Louise Grunwald, Nina Griscom, Linda Fargo, Pattie Harris, Caryn Zucker, Ray Kelly, Richard David Story, Gayle King, Don Lemon, Martha Stewart,  Rachel Hovnanian, Priscilla Ratazzi, Victoria Hagan and Michael Berman, Carol Mack, Maria Bartirimo, Ellen and Bill Taubman, Michael Boodro,  Cece Cord, and Jamee and Peter Gregory, and Robert Zimmerman from the left and Ed and Shari Rollins from the right. It was that kind of night.

New Yorkers pouring into the Library had no idea that an army of decor elves had worked feverishly from 6:00pm when the library closed to 6:30 when the doors of the party opened helping to stage the Monn-detailed décor of candle-lit stairs outside, and inside, sixteen gigantic potted trees balancing fully feathered peacocks on their rim and sparkling with zillions of tiny lights, hand painted murals inspired by a Monet masterpiece, thirty-foot high topiaries, and 100 members of the Abyssinian Cathedral Choir on either side of the Library’s grand stairs.

Could the events business be that lucrative?  Or did Andrew Tisch mean it when he joked that he paid for the party?


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