Friday, November 8, 2019

The National Institute of Social Sciences to Honor Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb

Peter Gelb and Yanna Avis

The National Institute of Social Sciences (NISS) hosted a cocktail party at the home of Yanna Avis in honor of Metropolitan Opera general manager Peter Gelb, who will be honored at the organization's 105th Gold Medal Dinner this December. At 7:00PM sharp, Fred Larsen, President of NISS, with his wife Michele at his side, said, "We honor those individuals who made distinguished contributions to humanity and society. We thank Peter Gelb, who made time during his workday to join us, and who has to run off and supervise a production of Orfeo." Replied Gelb, "If I was chosen for this distinguished award because of my position at the Met, I guess the study of social sciences certainly would apply to the Metropolitan Opera House. We have more than 3,000 people who work there and they certainly exhibit every form of behavioral science. Sometimes I feel like I work in some kind of social science laboratory. Maybe that wasn't why you decided to give me this award, but I am very grateful to be receiving it."

Guests included Vice President and Assistant Treasurer Angela Cason, Trustees Michele Jeffery and Barbara Tober, Honorary Trustee Geraldine Kunstadter, as well as Dr. Lisa Airan, Debbie Bancroft, Dr. Karen Burke, Christina CoteSharon King HogeElizabeth JacobyHenry LarsenEdith and Philippe de MontebelloMr. Frederick W. Peter, Jonathan PielJulie Sagoskin, and Pepita Serrano.

The NISS 105th Gold Medal Dinner will be held at a private club in Manhattan on Thursday, December 5.  You may purchase tickets here

Yanna Avis

Yanna Avis and myself
 Myself and Michele Jefferey

  Sharon Hoge, myself, and Madelaine Piel

Photos courtesy of John Sanderson/

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Free Beauty Events: November Giveaway is back this month with another amazing giveaway!  For anyone not familiar with FBE, the site is a great tool for all beauty addicts.  It helps you stay up to date on the latest beauty happenings in your area and serves as an awesome way to snag killer free samples. Each month the site gives away a bundle chalk full of the industry's best must haves, and this month's is worth a whopping $125.00!  Let's check them out! 

This month's basket includes industry favorites from L'Oreal, Maybelline, CoverGirl, Simple, EVA NYC, Splat and more!  The contest runs from now through 11/30/19, winners will be chosen on 12/10/19 and notified by 12/15/19.  Entering is simple!  Visit FreeBeautyEvents on Facebook (don't forget to like them!) or enter directly on their website.

Besides the monthly giveaways, the site also offers great beauty advice and product reviews on their blog.  Like any of the products you read about?  Keep your eyes open for your chance to stock up!  Easy as 1-2-3, just enter your zip code into the site's search bar to find out which locations in your area might be handing out samples.  It's a helpful way to keep up to date with the beauty events happening in your town.  

Get more FBE info here

Have you attended an event listed on the site? 

French Heritage Society Hosts Book Launch

Ann Van Ness and Elaine Sciolino

French Heritage Society board member Ann Van Ness and her husband William opened their Upper East Side townhouse to launch Elaine Sciolino's new book, The Seine: The River that Made Paris. A contributing writer and former Paris bureau chief for The New York Times, she opined, "The Seine is the most romantic river in the world. She encourages us to dream, to linger, to fall in love, or to at least fantasize that falling in love is possible." Audience members who won impromptu quizzes on French topics received an illustrated map of the Seine. In closing, French Heritage Society's Chairman, Elizabeth Stribling, a longtime friend of Elaine’s, shared, “I see young lovers from my Paris apartment window overlooking the Seine. I see old lovers, too. In Paris, there are a lot of old people just as amorous as the young ones. It's one of the things I love most about the river.  Elaine, I love you, too!"
Guy Robinson, co-chairman of the New York Chapter, made elegant introductions and pointed out the upcoming FHS events- The Black White Ball, and a Thanksgiving dinner in Paris, “where the turkey, or dinde, is twice as small as the American counterpart - and twice as delicious." 

Elizabeth Stribling and CeCe Black

Guests included CeCe Black, Special Events Chair, Jennifer Herlein, Executive Director, Judy McLaren, board member, George Sape, board member, and Jeri Sape, as well as Susan and Gerald Baker, Caroline Bassett, Rick Boldini, Odile de Schiétère-Longchampt, Luis Garcia, Mai Hallingby, Kathy Irwin, Helen King, Caroline Lareuse, Catharine Macdonald, Nadia Martincic, Friederike Moltmann, Paul Rankin, Carole Bellidora Westfall, and Lisa Witomski.

FHS's upcoming Black & White Ball will be held on Thursday, November 21st, 2019 at a private club in Manhattan. The honorees are interior designer Geoffrey Bradfield and philanthropists Margaret and Gregory Hedberg.
To purchase tickets click here
Photos courtesy of John Sanderson/  

Monday, October 21, 2019

Casita Maria Holds Fiesta Gala 2019 at The Plaza Hotel

Juan Montoya, Jackie Weld Drake, Ambassador Mary Dawkins, General Peter Dawkins, Edgar Legaspi and Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia 

Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education’s annual gala, Fiesta, was held at The Plaza Hotel on October 15, 2019. The evening honored Ambassador Mary Dawkins and Brigadier General Peter DawkinsJohn Hardy JewelryEdgar Legaspi, and Juan Montoya with the Casita Maria Gold Medals of Honor. The evening’s host was Sissi Fleitas. The award is bestowed to individuals in recognition of their contribution to the worlds of arts, education and philanthropy. The festive evening began with cocktails, followed by a dinner dance to the tune of Bob Hardwick’s Latin inspired tunes.     

Casita Maria has been a second home and safe haven for kids and their families for more than 80 years,” introduced host Sissi Fleitas. “It's really a blessing and an honor to serve as executive director of the first and oldest Latino charity in all of New York City,” said Haydee Morales. “Welcome! I am here to be brief and grateful,” said Jackie Weld Drake.

“The Casita Maria enterprise is a remarkable one that for decades has done such wonderful things for this community,” said Pete Dawkins upon receiving his Gold Medal. “I would just like to add my congratulations to the other recipients of this wonderful award,” added Mary Dawkins. “To see such kindness and thoughtfulness at Casita really touched my heart,” said Juan Montoya. “Community and support are the most important things we can nurture. You all are an inspiration.” 

Edgar Legaspi, on stage with his family, said, “We believe we have a mission to help people through education. I would like to encourage people to help Casita. It’s not about money, it’s about effort and time.” John Hardy Jewelry’s CEO Kareem Gahed, said, “Thank you from all of the generations of artisans, wax carvers, chain weavers, inspired employees, and passionate leaders at John Hardy.”

Model Adwoa Aboah attended with Gahed. She is the latest face of John Hardy, joining Pénelope Cruz and Julianne Moore. Aboah was adorned with John Hardy’s jewelry.

The Dinner Chairmen were Jacqueline Weld DrakeHRH Prince Dimitri of YugoslaviaUrban KarlssonMary Snow, and Joan Steinberg. Honorary Chairmen were Dayssi Olarte de KanavosElizabeth Peabody, and Carlos Souza. Past honorees have included Santiago CalatravaRoberto CavalliAgnes GundAudrey HepburnCarolina HerreraDaisy Soros, and Lynn Wyatt. Pachanga Chairs co-chairs were Victor Roquette and Sabrina Wirth.

Fiesta is arguably the best party in New York. It attracts a glamorous international crowd for a lively evening that is light on speeches and great fun, all in the service of our serious purpose. Much of the operating budget of the organization is raised at the event.

About Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education
Casita Maria, the oldest Latin charity in New York City, provides high-quality, innovative arts programming to over 1,000 students daily both during and after school, producing participatory, well-rounded individuals who go on to fulfill their dreams. Located in the country’s poorest zip code, the South Bronx, Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education creates a safe and welcoming community, enriching and uplifting youth and families towards success, through shared cultural, art and educational experiences and programs.

Photos by PMC/ Gonzalo Marroquin

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Youth America Grand Prix 2019 Celebration

L-R Sergey Gordeev, Larissa Saveliev, Fateev, Laura Lobdell, Xander Parish

"Beautiful things are naturally attracted to each other. It's only natural that beautiful people flock to this beautiful house and hostess," said Youth America Grand Prix's Sergei Gordeev as he thanked jewelry designer Laura Lobdell and her husband, who graciously opened their TriBeCa duplex to the Mariinsky Ballet company and nearly 80 guests including Larissa Saveliev, founder and artistic director of YAGP. The hostess, noted for her champagne-inspired gold and silver jewelry, lived up to her reputation with cases of bubbly on hand as well as mini-knishes from Lower East Side baker Yonah Schimmel. “For the past 20 years Youth American Grand Prix," Gordeev continued, "has made it it's business to travel the world, find the most talented young people we could possibly find all over the planet and make it, help them get to the companies like the Mariinsky and mare than 30 other companies around the world where Youth America Grand Prix dancers are dancing at the world's largest scholarship audition." 

Guests included all eight of the Mariinsky dancers visiting from St. Petersburg including the recently knighted Xander Parish, OBE and the director of the Mariinsky Ballet, Yuri Fateev, the evening's guest of honor.  Also there were ABT dancers Skylar Brandt, Patrick Frenette, Connor Holloway, Calvin Royal III, Hee Seo, Gabe Stone Shayer, and Christine Shevchenko, as well as ballet lovers Maria-Cristina Anzola, Delin Bru, Marie de Foucaud and Renaud de Tilly, Peter Hay Halpert, Krystn Hammond, Kristina Allegra Kingston, Michèle Gerber Klein, Susan Leslie, Helen Marx, Roxanne Motamedi, Wendy Perron, Cole Rumbough and Emily Mohr, Irene Shen, Benny Tabatabai, and Adrienne and Gianluigi Vittadini, plus devoted YAGP board members Suzanne Dance, Judith M. Hoffman, and Richard Osterweil.

Youth America Grand Prix is the largest global network of dance with more than 10,000 young dancers – ages 9 to 19 – auditioning annually. 450 Youth America Grand Prix alumni are now dancing with 80 professional companies around the world. 100 of these alumni are soloists and principal dancers. YAGP fulfills its mission through scholarship auditions, master classes, alumni services, performances, educational and outreach activities. On April 16, 2020, YAGP will host its annual Gala at Lincoln Center. 
Photos by John Sanderson/ 
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