In The Magazine

Social Safari

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Happy Holidays

The Princess Royal, Queen Mary II, God’s Love, Movies, Authors and the Armory

Queen Mary II

HRH the Princess Royal, previously known as Princess Anne, is jolly good at her job and displays both pomp and humor as she goes about doing her good works. She’s “employed” by “The Firm,” as Queen Elizabeth likes to refer to the royal family, and is the only daughter of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The princess received her new title in 1987 and is now the patron of 340 organizations, including the National Museum of the Royal Navy. She came to Brooklyn for a lavish luncheon aboard the Cunard Line’s flagship, the Queen Mary II, in support of the $50 million campaign for the preservation of the HMS Victory. This 18th-century warship, arguably the most famous in the world because Admiral Nelson helmed it in the pivotal Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, is both an international symbol of democracy and the oldest naval ship still in commission. The Victory, which celebrated its 250th birthday this May, welcomes 500 thousand visitors a year in Portsmouth, England. The princess regaled her table with stories she has been collecting from sailors, including those “from men on submarines, and you hear stories, real stories,” the princess said cryptically, adding she wished she had “more time to discover New York.” She went on to talk about the importance of the Naval Museum in “preserving our history from the pirates and buccaneers to the cooperation of both [the U.S. and British] navies in times of peace and war.” When a well-intentioned guest told her she had named her doll after her, the Princess Royal, whose full name is Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, thought she said “dog” and looked briefly unamused until she was reassured it was indeed a doll (and not a dog) bearing her noble moniker. Among the 100 guests bobbing and nodding to the princess were Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Michael Boyce; Richard Meadows, president, Cunard North America; the Queen Mary’s Captain Kevin Oprey; and Erik Olstein, president of the American Friends of the National Museum of the Royal Navy. This benefit celebrated the history of British sea power and marked another milestone in Cunard’s 175th year.

God’s Love We Deliver

Neil Patrick Harris and his husband, David Burtka, offered to go topless, then bottomless (I’m sure he was kidding) to raise the bidding to $75,000 for the power couple to cook dinner and serve drinks at the winner’s home to benefit the organization God’s Love We Deliver. Sotheby’s auctioneer Jamie Nevin found the offer so intoxicating he sold this “experience” twice, raising $150,000. Kate Hudson, Bette Midler, Michael Kors, Anna Wintour, Diane Kruger and Hilary Rhoda led the cheers at the God’s Love We Deliver Golden Heart Awards. Both Harris and advertising honcho Michael Sennott were honored at the perennially fun and star-studded benefit, which raised $2.4 million. Bravo!

The New York Film Festival

The 53rd New York Film Festival soared with a diverse list of 100 movies, including Steve Jobs, which featured a savvy script by Aaron Sorkin. This insightful movie features stellar performances by Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Michael Fassbender, who is getting Oscar buzz for his role as Jobs. Steven Spielberg’s intriguing blockbuster Bridge of Spies closed the festival. The film stars Amy Ryan and a brilliant Tom Hanks as a Brooklyn lawyer who gets thrust into the middle of the Cold War. Hanks said, “For some people, I will be Forrest Gump for the rest of my life. But that’s okay.” Look for Hanks to be a contender throughout awards season. Funds raised by the festival support and recognize new films and filmmakers.

The Hamptons International Film Festival

The Hamptons is at its best in the off-season and during the annual the International Film Festival, which is a cozy way to interact with directors, producers and actors. Over 120 films were showcased in four days, among them Suffragette, starring Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep, who called the pioneering British women in the film “courageous, relentless, righteous, and right.” Liev Schreiber has tackled sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Boston on his hit show Ray Donovan, and now in Spotlight, the hard-hitting film about reporters investigating priests. His costar Mark Ruffalo said, “It really could have been me. I did go to a Catholic church. I have friends who were abused.” The festival also launched an awards dinner that honored Emily Blunt, Stuart Match Suna and the late documentarian Albert Maysles, who made the cult classic Grey Gardens about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s eccentric, cat-loving cousins in East Hampton.

Safari Roundup

The Park Avenue Armory’s Gilded Gala honored artist Marina Abramović and the Thompson Family Foundation, which has given $129 million to restore the Armory’s period rooms and launch its growth as an avant-garde cultural organization. The Drill Room was transformed into a golden Nirvana, and electro-pop duo the Young Professionals rocked the room. Cochairs included Karen and Bill Ackman, Helene and Stuyvesant Comfort, Michael Field and Jeff Arnstein, Ken Kuchin and Tyler Morgan, Heidi and Tom McWilliams, Caryn Schacht and David Fox, and Liz and Emanuel Stern. . . .

Robert Wilson literally barked with excitement while accepting the National Arts Club’s Gold Medal after an introduction by Dianne Bernhard, chair of the Fine Arts Committee. In the mix: Rose McGowan, Angela Bernhard Thomas, Hillary Weldon, the Chosen Few’s Harriette Rose Katz, event designer Anthony Taccetta and designers Lisa Jackson, Tony Ingrao and Randy Kemper. . . .

Mica Ertegun was the honorary chair of the American Turkish Society gala, which honored the founder of Chobani Yogurt, Hamdi Ulukaya, and Hüsnü Özyeğin, the chairman of FIBA Holding. Muhtar Kent, the CEO of Coca-Cola, presented the awards. . . .

Attorney Margret Isa Butler toasted Olympic ice skater Melissa Gregory for her work with Eduskating. . . .

Patti Smith performed at Alfred A. Knopf’s Centennial Anniversary at the New York Public Library’s Astor Hall. On hand to congratulate Sonny Mehta, the publishing house’s editor-in-chief, were Robert Caro, Sharon Olds, James Ellroy, Toni Morrison, Judy Blume, Sam Shepard, Renata Adler, Fran Lebowitz, Richard Price and Jay McInerney.


Modern Manners: Life Happens Fast

A historical cartoon from Anthony Haden-Guest


Week Ahead June 18-22 on the AVENUE

What's going on this week in New York


The Week Ahead: June 4-8 on the AVENUE

Check out what's going on this week in New York