2009 May 7

All in a Day's Lunch

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Susan Magrino and Martha Stewart Susan Magrino and Martha Stewart
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(NEW YORK) "You feel a little ridiculous on the street, but once you get here, you're normal," said Gillian Miniter at the Central Park Conservancy's annual Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon, held in the Conservatory Garden 105th Street and 5th Avenue. It's safe to say that New York's coterie of uptown milliners like Eric Javits are just as grateful for the event (informally known as the "Hat Luncheon") as any old Park-loving New Yorker. No wonder 1,200 ladies (plus a few token boys including Francisco Costa) showed up to raise 2.1 million dollars for the Conservancy, which provides the Park with 80 percent of its annual operating budget. Co-chairs Miniter, Vicki Foley, Muffy Miller, Tara Rockefeller and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff formed a receiving line on the steps alongside president of the women's committee Betsy Messerschmitt, while Bill Cunningham and a slew of shutterbugs giddily snapped photos of all the camera-friendly headgear.

"I'm pretty sure those flowers are real," sighed Lydia Fenet, gesturing to the table where Martha Stewart held court. The mogul did indeed wear a humble straw wide-brimmed style festooned with sweet--and live--blooms, once again, out-Martha-ing so many well-intentioned creative types. "Now wait just a minute," instructing Stewart while ambushing one evidently awestruck fan for a photo. "Don't worry, it's just for my blog!" Bette Midler's pink and coral style resembled a bouquet of peonies so tall that she stealthily avoided any low-hanging trees. "Ooh, the artful duck!" said one guest while entering the tent. "I love that move."

Tory Burch, Silda Wall Spitzer, Bettina Zilkha, Fe FendiAmy Fine Collins Conservancy's Doug Blonsky settled in to a lunch of spinach souffle and chopped chicken salad while honoring Angela and Wade Thompson. Evelyn Lauder dished with Glenda Bailey, the latter's all-noir ensemble contrasting nicely with the former's cream suit, while New York State's First Lady Michelle Paige Paterson chatted with the Conservancy's Doug Blonsky as rain pounded the tent. But when the lunch ended around 2:00, the sun was shining for the first time in days.


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