What a wonderful time of the year when people of all faiths are celebrating their spiritual lives in one form or another. Outdoor accommodations were standing room only on Palm Sunday. Even Sylvia’s brought out the red velvet ropes to keep everyone in line. I can only imagine what Easter Sunday will be like, especially if the weather is nice.
It was great seeing old friend Steve Accardi, even if it was only on television. By chance, I caught Steve as he was being interviewed by a news reporter who was covering a gang-related shooting in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Commenting on the situation, stating that the neighborhood is usually very quiet, he concluded, “I’m shocked,” in true Accardi style.
Happy birthday, Susan Greene Boyle, Harrison Young and Melvin Coombs. Congratulations to Rue and Peter who just tied the knot, wishing you many moons of happiness. Congratulations to Hon. Debra James, New York Supreme Court Justice, and Sheena Wright, President, United Way of New York City, who were recently honored along with Dr. Donna Williams, DDS, by the New York Coalition of 100 Black Women, for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the community.
According to NYCHBW President Avalyn Simon, “Each of these women is making her mark and impacting her community. We are pleased to highlight them.”
The NYCHBW advocates zealously on behalf of women and their families, and, as Cheryl Green-Foster, second vice president, believes, through its programs and activities aims to improve the lives of women and girls everywhere. Although all of the honorees were especially grateful for the award, I know one mother, Debra Frazier Howell, was extremely proud because her daughter, Sheena, is the first woman to lead the United Way of New York City in its 75-year history.
Friends and the networking crew joined E.J. Calvin at “The Network: Happy Hour Edition,” at the Cove Lounge, in conjunction with the Harlem Business Alliance and REEL Consortium. The meet and great people enjoyed happy hour specials and music. This event was the first among a series of networking events for business owners in the Harlem area.
According to E.J. Calvin, along with business partners Francilia Wilkins, business development consultant, and Chef Jeff of Chef Jeff Catering, “As entrepreneurs, we believe it is imperative to build professional relationships where we can serve the community and develop as business moguls. Through a variety of partnerships, we would like to provide participants with an opportunity to connect with other business owners, potential clients, investors and financial advisors in an engaging environment.”
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and in recognizing such, the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children held its third annual Spring Luncheon at the Pierre Hotel (I love the Pierre for such events, almost as much as the Plaza), where the focus was on the prevention of child sexual abuse.
The luncheon included a panel discussion, which was different, as these affairs usually only feature speeches and auctions. On the panel were Aaron Fisher, nationally known as “Victim 1” in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case, his mother, Dawn Hennessy, and his psychologist, Michael Gillum, with NYSPCC Executive Director Dr. Mary Pulido leading the panel discussion. The three panelists co-authored the book, “Silent No More: Victim 1’s Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky.” In attendance were Natalie Wright-Umoh and Frederick Anderson. The luncheon raised more than $200,000 to benefit the NYSPCC Foundation.
If you want to explore the exotic yet poignant, then check out “Tough Titty,” a light-hearted exploration of what comes next for a Brooklyn mother diagnosed with breast cancer. Written by the late award-winning playwright Oni Faida Lampley, the production will run from April 23 to May 11 at the Paradise Factory, located at 64 East Fourth Street. The play is produced by Emmy and Obie Award-winning actor Andre Braugher (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Law & Order,” “Glory,” “City of Angels”), along with his wife, actress and producer, Ami Brabson (“Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Damages”). I love these husband and wife teams.
The play premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and made Lampley a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. Directed by Awoye Timpo, the cast features Christine Toy Johnson (“The Music Man,” “Grease”), Antoinette LaVecchia (“A View from the Bridge”) and Richard Topol (“The Normal Heart,” “The Merchant of Venice”).
All of you Dr. Oz fans will be happy to know that he, along with his wife, Liza Oz, was honored at the ninth annual Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. National Physician of the Year Awards Dinner. The humble Dr. Oz graciously accepted his award, stating, “I’m surprised to get the award. I was really honored to get it with my wife. We spent a lot of our lives building Health Corp, which is a children’s health education program. So it’s not for the show or being a heart surgeon. It’s for what I’ve done to try to get kids to look at their bodies differently.”
Also honored were five other physicians, with grateful thanks going out to many thousands of other excellent physicians practicing in communities throughout the United States.
There is still time to run and get your ticket for the 2014 Eastside House Settlement Gala Preview of the New York International Auto Show. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m., followed by the Benefactor Dinner at 8:30 p.m. There is plenty of time in between to pick out your new Cadillac or Ferrai and support a good cause. For more ticket information, call 718-292-7392 or visit www.galapreview.org.
The hats, the hats, the hats! Everyone had one at the Baltimore, Maryland Chapter of the Links, Inc., Annual Empowering Women in Leadership Luncheon. Looking lovely in her chapeau was Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Also in attendance were U.S. Sen., Ben Cardin, Baltimore Links President Patricia Jessamy, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, and Maryland L.T.Gov., Anthony D. Brown. Need I tell you that a grand time was had by all? No, I didn’t think so. Have a wonderful holiday.
Until next week … kisses.