It’s so good to know that the dream continues, even though it’s rather hard to visualize sometimes. Paying tribute just the same, the Black Agency Executives (BAE) held their 35th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon, with Tracie Strahan of NBC New York serving as mistress of ceremonies.
Held in the grand ballroom of the Hilton Hotel New York, the afternoon began with a networking reception, followed by the luncheon and program. Honored were Richard Brown of American Express, Livingston Francis with the Lifetime Achievement Award and the New York City Mission Society, which received the Agency Award.
There looking lovely in afternoon chic was Mary Redd, president and CEO of Steinway Child & Family Services, who served on the benefit committee along with her good buddies Arthur Barnes; David Jones; Stephanie Palmer, executive director of the New York Mission Society; and Dawna Michelle Fields, national program manager at Colgate-Palmolive. Serving on the luncheon committee were Carla Brown, Maria Willis and Bobby Watts.
BAE wouldn’t be all that it is without its officers-Darwin Davis, Danielle Moss Lee, Maurice Lacey and Bobby Watts-and all of those who give their support.
BAE was founded in 1976 and since that time has steadily provided a collective voice in support of the growing needs of Black executives in human services. Among the services the organization offers are strategic planning, board and staff management and seminars in budgeting and fundraising.
BAE’s presence is a Black voice in the arenas that impact Black executives, member organizations and the communities that they serve. Among those cheering them on are Dr. Thelma Dye, Northside Center; Arva Rice, president and CEO of the New York Urban League; and the Hon. Dr. James Dumpson.
The 58th annual Winter Antiques Show held its grand opening at the Park Avenue Armory, and what a bittersweet affair it was. Bittersweet because while it’s always a much-anticipated break in the winter doldrums, it was sad because it was a favorite affair of our dear friend Bill Freeman, who is no longer with us.
Funds raised from the party support the East Side House Settlement for which, for more than 50 years, the Winter Antiques Show has provided crucial financial support. East Side is the pet of the ever-so-fabulous Eula Johnson; they offer a variety of social services and educational programs to those living in the Bronx.
The Park Avenue Armory has a fascinating history, as New York history goes. Built in 1880, it is the only armory that was built completely from private funding and donations. In order to raise the funds, a two-week-long party was held with entertainment of all sorts and party after party after party. Of course, contributions from those such as John Jacob Astor (didn’t he go down with the Titanic?) and William Vanderbilt (Gloria’s father?)w helped considerably.
The armory has been used for many things over the years, during the course of which it has undergone considerable renovations. The one thing that has lasted, believe it or not, is the floor.
The original floor of what was once the drill room is 132 years old. Despite extraordinarily heavy use by spectators, marching men, cars, Army tanks and thousands of events and exhibitions, including the art and antiques fair, it still remains intact. Made of thick, narrow planks of Georgia pine set in sleepers of Long Island locust embedded in asphalt, which rests on a platform of concrete, that old floor has seen many music festivals, tennis tournaments and grand balls.
Happy birthday to Denise Borden, who is going to shake me up for never remembering her married name, as she is still Borden DeWees to me, and to Wallace Ford, who is always Wallace Ford to me, Bobby Shipp, Durinda Taylor, Genie Street and Gary Jones.
Sticking pretty close to home these days is Jeff Greenup, while Elease Jackson continues to receive care at the Amsterdam House Nursing Home, where she’s asking everyone to come up and see her sometime.
Meanwhile, snow birds Drs. Jim and Ruby Malone are off to Florida, while the snow bunnies are off to the slopes in Vermont to wait for it to snow. Some, like Phil and Toni Brown, Walter Lowe, Cheryl Willis and quite a few others, have traded in their fur coats for bikinis as they head for Barbados to get away from this cold weather.
Have you heard of the proposed plan to close Wadleigh Middle School, located on West 114th Street? Wadleigh has, through the years, gained quite a reputation-some bad but mostly good. It would certainly be a shame to see it shut down now, after all the hard work that has gone into the school and the cultivation of its students. Come out and show your support at the Department of Education hearing at the school on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 5 p.m. (of course when everyone is just getting off of work) alongside members of the NAACP Mid-Manhattan Branch, if you can.
Everyone is pretty much laying low, waiting for the big snowfall to come, as we’ve been lucky so far. In the meantime, keep warm and try to remember those New Year’s resolutions and who loves ya, baby?
Until next week…kisses.