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Central Park Conservancy 29th Annual Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon

Originally Posted: May 10, 2011

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Deborah Norville and Thorunn Wathne. (Sara Cedar Miller)

New York City - They came from Long Island. They came from Connecticut. They came from Florida. And, of course, they came from New York. Over 1,200 came to celebrate Central Park at the 29th Annual Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon, hosted by the Women's Committee of The Central Park Conservancy.

Gillian Miniter and Thomas Kempner. (Patrick McMullan)

Under the dynamic and hands-on leadership of Women's Committee President Gillian Miniter, the Luncheon raised a stunning $3.2 million to support the Conservancy's work in maintaining and preserving Central Park. In fact, the Conservancy raises 85 percent of the Park's $37 million yearly budget.

The annual affair was held, as always, under a huge white tent in the six-acre Conservatory Garden, the Park's only formal garden. In spite of the occasional rain showers, nothing dampened the spirits. The party began when guests arrived at the Garden's Vanderbilt Gate. Gillian Miniter and Co-Chairs Virginia Apple, Anne Harrison, Julia Koch and Lizzie Tisch received the women and men, most of whom wore hats, which is why the event has been nicknamed the "Hat Luncheon." The chapeaux ranged from the glamorous and imaginative to the amusing and in some cases ridiculous, but all worn in the spirit of celebrating the Conservancy's Women's Committee and their efforts for the Park.

The benefit committee completely underwrote the event so that 100 percent of the ticket purchases went toward the operation of the Park. Guests filled 123 tables, including the corporate tables sponsored by Barclays PLC, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, Dior, Durst, Chanel, Saks Fifth Avenue, Con Edison, Douglas Elliman, Stribling, Corcoran, and Warburg Realty Partnership.

At the beginning of the Awards ceremony, Miniter welcomed everyone and then acknowledged Norma Dana, one of the Founders of the Women's Committee; Adrian Benepe, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation; Bill Beinecke, Founding Conservancy Chairman; Tom Kempner, Chairman of the Conservancy's Board of Trustees; Betsy Barlow Rogers, founder of the Central Park Conservancy and Doug Blonsky, President of the Central Park Conservancy and Central Park Administrator.

This years honorees were Corporate Chairman Robert E. "Bob" Diamond, Jr., Chief Executive, Barclays PLC, who raised over $150,000 and Judith-Ann Corrente, a member of the Conservancy¹s Board of Trustees and a generous supporter of the programs of the Women's Committee as well as the Conservancy.

Grace Hightower De Niro. (Patrick McMullan)

In his acceptance remarks, Diamond said, "When we (his wife and three children) returned to New York from London, we found an apartment over-looking Central Park. The first thing we do in the morning and the last thing we do at night is look at the Park. Today, 37 million visitors visit it. At Barclays, we believe in supporting the community in which we live and work. And, we will continue to support you. Thank you to the Conservancy and the Women's Committee for restoring the vibrancy of Central Park."

The Frederick Law Olmsted Award, given to an individual whose remarkable leadership and extraordinary generosity contribute to the Park's lasting health, was presented to Corrente who funded the upcoming renovation of the East 110th Street playground and has also endowed a zone gardener position in the North End of the Park.

Miniter thanked Evelyn Lauder and her team for the beautiful redesign of the Luncheon materials featuring the classic Vanderbilt Gate and for
donating the wonderful party favors.

The Women's Committee acknowledged Thorunn Wathne for the lavender umbrellas, a longtime Luncheon tradition, which was particularly handy this year, Abigail Kirsch Catering and Andrew Pascoe Flowers.

Leading the applause were: Martha Stewart, Jennifer Diamond, Deborah Norville, Blaine Trump, Muffie Potter Aston, Michelle Patterson, Jean Shafiroff, Noreen Buckfire, Wendy Carduner, Lois Chiles, Suzanne Cochran, Grace Hightower De Niro, Somers Farkas, Jamee Gregory, Rachel Hovnanian, Prudence Solomon Inzerillo, Suzanne Johnson, Karen Klopp, Sheila Labrecque, Alexandra Lebenthal, Karen LeFrak, Kamie Lightburn, Cynthia Lufkin, Betsy Messerschmitt, Muffy Miller, Marcia Mishaan, Nancy Missett, Sue Newhouse, Elyse Newhouse, Nancy Paduano, Charlotte Reed, Allison Rockefeller, Tara Rockefeller, Janet Ross, Hilary Ross, Susan Rudin, Daisy Soros, Elizabeth Stribling, Rene Syler, Patsy Tarr, Dori Cooperman, Sharon Bush, Amy Fine Collins, Barbara Regna, Anita Meltzer, Fe Fendi, Mary Wallach, Mary McFadden, Ranjana Khan, Carolina Portago and Liz and Jeff Peek.

The Women's Committee is a group of dynamic women who are dedicated to fundraising for Central Park and enhancing the Conservancy's programs in education, conservation and horticulture.

The Central Park Conservancy is a private, not-for-profit organization founded in 1980 as a public-private partnership with the City of New York. Thanks to the generosity of many individuals, corporations, foundations, and the City, the Conservancy has invested more for than $550 million to date into the Park, transforming it into a model for urban parks worldwide. The Conservancy provides 85 percent of Central Park¹s annual $37 million operating budget and is responsible for the maintenance and management of the Park.

Allison Rockefeller and Eric Javits. (Mary Hilliard)


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Guest (i.g. Rossi) from NYC says::
love Jason Grant's articles thanks
May 13, 2011 9:02 am


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