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Fund For Park Avenue Makes Plans To Light Up The Holiday Lanes

Originally Posted: November 20, 2012

Lee Fryd

Mel Oldenburg and Ronald Spencer. (Photo: Jason Grant)

Once upon a time, in the 19th Century, trains ran up the middle of Park Ave. Today, where there once were tracks, seasonal sculpture and foliage malls define its character. The Fund for Park Avenue, privately funded, is responsible and their events always remind us that New York City is made up of neighborhoods about which people care deeply.

Barbara McLaughlin and Jim Herbert (Chairman of First Republic Bank). (Photo: Jason Grant)

This event was a private reception at The International Fine Art &Antiques Dealers Show (IFAADS) to thank the supporters of the annual Park Avenue Tree Lighting. Chairman of the IFAADS Vetting Committee, Joan Boening, pointed out show highlights. The President of James Robinson, Inc., she had grown up opposite Brick Church, where the Tree Lighting celebration takes place.

Fund President Barbara McLaughlin explained Boening "has looked at everything here. It is all authentic and properly identified and we should all feel comfortable buying anything tonight." McLaughlin's husband, Kevin, is one of the founding brothers of J. McLaughlin, which has stores in Southampton and East Hampton. The store also supplies the neighborhood's iconic millionaire hang, Swifty's, with ties for their waiters. We found him talking to Swifty's owners Robert Caravaggi and Stephen Attoe with wives, Blaine Caravaggi and Pat Attoe. "Business is better than ever," Attoe murmured. Maybe it's the piano music on Fridays and Saturdays, maybe their Sunday night lobster special. Be that as it may, looking around the room filled with Swifty's clientele he laughed, he admitted, "We're at home." Swifty's gives a percentage of their profits on tree lighting night to the Fund. The ceremony this year begins on December 2, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. outside the Brick Presbyterian Church (Park Avenue & 91st Street).

Meantime, you can still see the Niki de Saint Phalle sculptures on Park Avenue, from 53rd to 60th Streets. "We try to mostly give an opportunity for living artists to put their work up," Sculpture Committee member Stuart Levy told us. "But, because this is the tenth anniversary of her death we thought it would make a wonderful installation."

Charles Bergman, Chairman of the Board of the Pollock-Krasner organization in East Hampton, Chairs the Sculpture Advisory Board. Yes, the Hamptons is an extension of this neighborhood as well.




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