New Yorkers who keep the bar high: the aspirational New York, celebrated by those who would preserve the best of this town, filled the Plaza for the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s 25th Living Landmarks gala. Because it takes a village to preserve a town. And our character is housed in our great architectural heritage.
Stephen S. Lash, preservationist and Christie’s Americas Chairman Emeritus, Lynden B. Miller, acclaimed parks designer, Liz and Jeffrey Peek, philanthropists, Chita Rivera, Broadway legend, Thomas Sculco MD, renowned surgeon, Ruth Lande Shuman, dynamic educator and Publicolor Founder, Michael I. Sovern, Shubert Foundation President and Columbia University legal scholar, and Peter Stangl, former MTA Chair, were hailed as this year’s “Living Landmarks.”
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis embraced the cause to save Grand Central Station. “How can I help?” she asked a delighted Peter Stangl after their private tour. Get the “people in this town who won’t return my phone call,” he asked. She did. And Living Landmark David Patrick Columbia, who served as the evening’s emcee, remains grateful. The terminal was the first thing Columbia saw arriving in New York from Connecticut at age six holding his mother’s hand. For him, as for so many, Grand Central’s celestial ceiling has been “a lifelong wonder.”
And so it is with those who find the funds and expertise to keep the character of our city from devolving into a sea of sterile glass. The buildings we pass that remind us of our past, Columbia said, nurture our spirit.
Landmarks’ president Peg Breen greeted everyone as they entered and opened the program. Music was provided by Living Landmark Peter Duchin and his Orchestra. Living Landmarks Arie L. Kopelman and Leonard Lauder served as Honorary Co-Chairs.
Guests who gathered to celebrate the year’s extraordinary honorees included: Renee and Robert Belfer, Stacey Bronfman, Ellie and Edgar Cullman, Jr., Mayor David Dinkins, Fe and Alessandro Fendi, Carole Bailey French and John French, Barbara and Peter Georgescu, Yaz and Valentine Hernandez, Marlene Hess and James Zirin, Louise Kerz Hirschfeld and Lewis B. Cullman, Harold Koda and Alan Kornberg, Margo Langenberg, Linda Lindenbaum, Gregor Medinger, Sylvester Miniter, Laura and John Pomerantz, Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Emilia Saint-Amand, Barbara and John Schumacher, Jeanne and Alexander Sloane, Judy Steinhardt, Elizabeth Stribling and Guy Robinson, Patsy and Jeff Tarr, Elizabeth and James Tozer, Lauren and John Veronis, Sandy and Stan Warshawsky, Sue Ann Weinberg, and Candace King Weir.
Ruth Lande Shuman accepted her award alongside three Publicolor alumni. These students were the first in their families to graduate from high school and college. We’ll give newly minted Living Landmarks Liz and Jeff Peek the last word: “Being a Living Landmark… sure beats the alternative.”
For more information, visit www.nylandmarks.org.