A Taste of Summer – New York Social Diary

On Wednesday, June 8, the Central Park Conservancy kicked off summer in Central Park with its annual Taste of Summer Benefit at the iconic Bethesda Terrace. The benefit raised $1.1 million, which supports the Conservancy’s ongoing mission to preserve and celebrate Central Park as a sanctuary from the pace and pressures of city life. As the stewards of Central Park, the Conservancy will use the funds to continue maintaining and restoring every acre of New York City’s most iconic public space.
Generously sponsored by Macquarie, friends and supporters of the Conservancy enjoyed an evening under the stars with a diverse range of cuisines and seasonal cocktails from across New York City’s eclectic array of restaurants. Guests were welcomed by the sound of steel drums, tropical colors and florals designed by Raiola/Co., an island inspired menu in the Taste Café by Canard Inc, and roaming oyster shuckers from Oysters XO. As the night went on, guests hit the dance floor to Music by DJ Timo Weiland.
“This year’s Taste of Summer Benefit was yet another example of New York City’s timeless vibrancy and energy, with hundreds of friends who turned out in support of Central Park,” said Betsy Smith, President & CEO, Central Park Conservancy. “This was another night to remember thanks to our incredible roster of participating restaurants and vendors.”
Honorary Chairs Laurie and Jay Mandelbaum and Norman Selby and Melissa Vail, and Event Co-chairs Kristy and Jonathan Korngold, Evelyn and David McCabe, and Gillian and Sylvester Miniter, were joined by guests Muffie Potter Aston, Christine and Bill Campbell, Joyce and Barry Cohen, Dori Cooperman, Rick Cotton, Anne and Bill Harrison, Gillian Hearst, Tracey Huff, Jessica Kempner and Peter Ginsberg, Carol and Earle Mack, Susan Magrino, Patty Newburger and Brad Wechsler, Elyse Newhouse, Senator Jose Serrano, Kristen Swenson, Melba Wilson, Anna Bender-Zeckendorf, William Zeckendorf, and many other friends of the Conservancy.
Participating restaurants included Amali, Benoit NY by Alain Ducasse, Bridgewater Chocolate, Butterfunk Biscuit Co., Casa Lever, Casa Mono, Dinosaur BBQ, Falansai, Felice, Georgetown Cupcakes, Insomnia Cookies, Jacob’s Pickles, LittleMad, The Loeb Boathouse, Central Park, Loi Estiatorio, Lure Fishbar, Maison Pickle, Melba’s Restaurant, Miriam, Nom Wah Nolita, North Miznon, Philippe Chow, Sant Ambroeus, Serendipity 3, Tasca, Tavern on the Green, Thalassa Restaurant, Toloache, Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, Veranda Soho, and Yellow Rose.
Guests sipped on wines provided by 90+ Cellars, beer provided by Brooklyn Brewery, as well as spirits including The Community Spirit Co. vodka. A specialty cocktail was created by Tiki Chick and SmartWater kept everyone hydrated.

The Central Park Conservancy is a private, not-for-profit organization that manages Central Park and is responsible for raising the Park’s annual operating budget. The Conservancy’s staff of more than 300 is responsible for all aspects of the Park’s stewardship, from day-to-day maintenance and operations to continued restoration and rebuilding projects. Additionally, the Conservancy operates the Park’s visitor centers, provides public programs, and serves as a resource for other NYC parks and for public-private partnerships around the world. For more information, please visit centralparknyc.org.
After a two-year hiatus, Red Door Community gathered  for their annual benefit luncheon, Celebrating Women, Living & Working with Cancer. Former NYC Commissioner of Health, and Senior Fellow for Public Health & Justice, Oxiris Barbot, M.D., was the keynote speaker. Held at the Metropolitan Club, Gerri Willis, TV anchor and correspondent from Fox Business Network and previous keynote speaker, hosted the event.
“The Benefit Luncheon is our way of recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of women who play an important role in improving the lives of others through research, advocacy, and education,” notes Red Door Community CEO, Lily Safani. For the past 15 years, Red Door Community has honored women who work tirelessly to improve the quality of healthcare for women and other minorities, and who advocate for the disparities in healthcare, work, school or at home.
This year’s Red Door Community honorees for Leadership include two powerhouse women for their exemplary leadership qualities and achievements and who recognize the importance of empowering women and breaking barriers in the workforce, Laura Shawver, Ph.D., CEO of Silverback Therapeutics, and Founder of The Clearity Foundation, and Lt. General (ret) Nadja West, The 44th Army Surgeon General and Former CG, Army Medical Command.
Guests in attendance joined in celebrating Red Door Community’s commitment to expanding its free cancer support program, both in person and virtually to meet the growing needs of individuals living with cancer, in more ways, and in more places than ever before.

Red Door Community – Formerly Gilda’s Club NYC was initially established in memory of Saturday Night Live cast member Gilda Radner, who passed away in 1989 from ovarian Cancer. Founded in 1995 by Gene Wilder, Psychotherapist Joanna Bull, Mandy Patinkin, Joel Siegel, and others, and renamed in 2021, Red Door Community provides a place where cancer patients and their families can find support, resources, and a community that cares so that no one faces cancer alone.
Red Door Community is New York City’s preeminent nonprofit cancer support organization helping everyone and anyone impacted by cancer. A welcoming place that provides a full complement of FREE cancer support, emotional and educational programs, and healthy lifestyle workshops online and in-person.
For more, visit https://reddoorcommunity.org/
Photographs by Matteo Prandoni & Yvonne Tnt/BFA (Taste of Summer); Rob Rich (Red Door).


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