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Gillian Miniter Hosts A Party For Karen LeFrak’s New Book ’Best In Show’

Originally Posted: February 07, 2011

Mikimoto, Karen LeFrak, Tracey Huff and Gem. (Amber de Vos/Patrick McMullan)

New York City - Gillian Miniter hosted a juice and cookies party at Manhattan's The Corner Bookstore, 93rd and Madison, to celebrate publication day of her friend Karen LeFrak's new children's book "Best in Show."

Karen LeFrak.

With snow and freezing rain, it was not the nicest February day, but that didn't stop the parade of children accompanied by their parents who came to meet LeFrak, Gem the star of the book and her sire the retired champion, white Standard Poodle Ch. Ale Kai Mikimoto on Fifth, or Miki to his fans. Of course everyone was there to have LeFrak autograph their books and to enjoy the "poodlicious," poodle shaped cookies from the popular Eleni's New York. During the hour and a half she was signing books, the Book Store sold a 100 copies. That's some kind of record.

Guests included some triple barrel names: Susan Fales Hill, Gayle Perkins Atkins, Muffie Potter Aston, Amy Fine Collins and Eugenie Niven Goodman with her son Nicholas Goodman. Also buying and getting signed copies were Kai and Vanessa Trump, Peter Lyden, Susan Rudin, Nancy Paduano, Nancy Missett, Karen Klopp, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Tracey Huff, Sharon Handler, Jacqueline Sanford, Alesia and Marta Radzyminski, Hudson and Aviva Drescher, Serena Miniter, Sylvester Miniter, Alex Jasienowski, Sydney, Ansley and Virginia Apple, Annabelle and Pam Pantzer, Allison Koffman, Cynthia Beck, Nancy Englander, Alexis Fedor and, representing the Corner Bookstore, Lenny Golay and Nick Chase.

LeFrak, wife of Richard LeFrak president of the LeFrak organization, and a Southampton resident, also wrote the popular children's books "Jake the Philharmonic Dog" and "Jake the Ballet Dog." She is a rosette example of the writer's dictum: write what you know. All three of her books follow her passions.

Susan Fales Hill And Gillian Miniter.

She breeds and shows champion poodles with the expert guidance and mentoring of Wendell Sammet. Wendell is also a character in the book. Miki, who was at the signing, earned two consecutive group wins at Westminster and Best of Breed at the Poodle Club of America. Miki has won 88 champion prizes before retiring from competition as America's number one Standard Poodle. He has sired close to 100 champions and "Best in Show" ribbon winners. This is the background for "Best in Show," which has been winning bravos.

"Best in Show" takes us on an entertaining journey through the fascinating world of white Standard Poodles and the awe-inspiring world of show dogs. The book, with fetching illustrations by Andrew Day, who illustrated "Now Hiring: White House Dog," about the current First Family's search for the right pet, follows Abby as she falls in love with the puppy Gem and grooms her for competition. Determined that Gem can be not simply a show dog, but a winner, Abby trains Gem under Wendell's guidance. Walker Books, the publisher, says Best in Show is for children four to eight. Dog lovers, poodle fans and anyone who enjoys dog shows will love the book.

Jacqueline Sanford and Ella.

She studies classical piano, a childhood passion that has renewed her interest in composing. The result? Five percussion pieces that had their world premiere with the New York University Percussion Ensemble and were later performed at the Juilliard School. The NY Philharmonic principal brass in "Make Music NY" performed her five brass pieces. In May 2008, Cake, her original ballet score based on the life of Marie Antoinette, received its New York premiere with the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company. It has been performed at Guild Hall in Easthampton and at the Long Island Mozart Chamber Music Festival. In 2010, her second ballet, Pavlovsk, was premiered by ABT 2 in New York and continues to tour across the country and Europe. A full-length version of the work is scheduled for the Alabama Ballet Company in 2013. Inspiration for "Jake the Ballet Dog."

She is a Director of the New York Philharmonic where she not only chairs its Music Policy and Special Events Committee but also serves on the Executive and Education Committees. In addition, she chaired the Orchestra's 150th Anniversary Ball, presided over the Volunteer Council and as an Assistant Archivist, responded to research questions about the Orchestra's history. LeFrak also served as an Archival Curator of Philharmonic exhibits. Because of her passion for the arts, she was appointed to the New York State Council on the Arts. Read Jake the Philharmonic.

Jamee Gregory and Eugenie Niven Goodman.

After completing her two years as President of the Women's Committee of the Central Park Conservancy, for which she received the Frederick Law Olmsted award, she has continued as an active board member. LeFrak is also a member of the Administrative Board of The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and a former Vice president of The Society's Dream Team, which grants wishes to terminally ill patients.

She was a co-chairman of the American Kennel Club's DOGNY project, which raised over $2 million for the benefit of search and rescue dogs across the country. She is an Honorary Board member of the Delta Society, an organization that certifies animals and handlers to perform animal-assisted therapy to medically fragile children and adults. LeFrak has taken her retired, certified show dogs to Mt. Sinai Hospital and provided therapy to the victims and families of the 9/11. For these efforts, in 2004 she was awarded both the James Hammerstein and the New York Women's Agenda Star Breakfast Awards.

LeFrak is donating all her proceeds from the sales of "Best in Show" to the AKC Canine Health Foundation and Take The Lead. AKC Canine Health Foundation develops resources for basic and applied health programs to improve the quality of life for dogs and their owners. Take the Lead provides direct services, support and care for people in the sport of purebred dogs who suffer life-threatening or terminal illness.

The LeFraks have two sons, Harrison and James. Perhaps by the time you're reading this, she will be a first-time grandmother. LeFrak is a creative and philanthropic New Yorker. In recognition of outstanding achievement, the Hunter Alumni Association elected her to their College Hall of Fame.

Kai Trump and Vanessa Trump.


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