Harry Belafonte will be receiving the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award at the upcoming UNICEF Snowflake Ball, which takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving at Cipriani 42nd Street. There will be performances by Tony Bennett and the Wynton Marsalis Quintet. Sorry, but tickets are all sold out.
Also sold out was the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs, Signature Event 2012. Dedicated to the memory and legacy of Lloyd R. Sherman, Ed.D., the dress-up affair just keeps getting bigger and bigger each year. Honorary chair Michelle Paige Paterson, former New York state first lady, and dinner committee chair Denise Ellison pulled out all the stops in making this an A-one affair. Cocktails, a silent auction, dinner and presentations emceed by Lynda Baquero, consumer reporter for WNBC 4, all made the Signature Event a very special night.
Receiving the Corporate Diversity Award was Marilyn F. Booker of the Morgan Stanley Urban Markets Group; the Distinguished Community Service Award went to David C. Banks, president and CEO of the Eagle Academy Foundation; Outstanding Health Care Leadership Award, Michael L. Marin, M.D., professor and surgeon at Mount Sinai School of Medicine; with special recognition to Edward J. Ronan, Ph.D., assistant professor and assistant dean for academic affairs, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. No need to ask if there was a doctor in the house.
Definitely in the house were friends and fans of Inez E. Dickens, assistant deputy majority leader of the New York City Council. The intimate gathering took place at Freda’s Restaurant on Columbus Avenue near 108th Street, where the Caribbean cuisine has just the right amount of spice to complement the palate. Members of the committee to re-elect Dickens to the council next year were present. Hostess for the evening was Lucille McEwen Esq., who introduced Dickens–a nice touch even if Dickens really is one of those people who need no introduction. Though seemingly modest and humble, Dickens enlightened the crowd on a few things going on behind the scenes that many of us didn’t know.
While we do know that she is the daughter of the late Lloyd Dickens–whom she credits for providing her with the strong shoulders to stand upon–what perhaps we didn’t know was that she secured $30 million from the administration to complete the new Harlem Hospital and worked many late nights to see the project carried out. Another achievement was a mandate that all new office buildings have a percentage of square footage donated to not-for-profit organizations, rent-free in perpetuity, “because I know how hard it is for a business that works in the community, for the community, to make it,” Dickens stated. “Change is difficult when we don’t understand,” she said, and this is true in many instances. However, when we know we have a strong voice that speaks with the community’s best interest at heart, then there is nothing to fear but fear itself. In closing, Dickens shared her secret weapon with those who listened so intently. “I know how to negotiate, without threats or intimidation.” This type of skill is an art.
I was unable to attend this next event, but it was such an auspicious occasion that I would like to mention it just the same. The Manhattan School of Music Jazz Arts Program recently honored the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, celebrating its 116th anniversary. The reception, held at the Manhattan School of Music performance space, preceded the performance by the Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, with Bobby Sanabria, director, and Candido Camero, guest artist, held at the school’s auditorium.
The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce (GHCC), originally incorporated in 1886 as the Harlem Board of Trade, has always focused on the business, arts and culture, education and housing renaissance and revitalization of upper Manhattan. Now, under the watchful and dedicated eye of Lloyd Williams and his staff, the mission is to improve the quality of life for all who live, work, worship or are educated in upper Manhattan, as well as to develop and attract quality business and professional services. And they do it so well.
Hannah Bronfman (daughter of Shari) continues to charm and dazzle, as she looked absolutely gorgeous at the reception where the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and Vogue announced the recipients of the ninth annual awards from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Also there were Chelsea Clinton and designer Patrick Robinson. Diane Von Furstenberg was, in my opinion, the best-dressed woman, while designer Thakoon Panichgul looked too cool for school, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and black tie–got that, fellas?
Have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving. Remember all that we have to be thankful for.
Until next week … kisses.