Michael Bloomberg came without a hat, but just about everyone else donned chapeaux worthy of the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.
The reason for the millinery tour de force was the now iconic annual spring fundraiser for the Central Park Conservatory, officially called the Frederick Law Olmstead Awards Luncheon, but better known throughout Manhattan as the one and only “hat lunch.”
They weather was damp and gloomy but that didn’t stop 1200 guests from turning up at the Central Park Conservancy Garden (at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street) in everything from broad-brimmed straw hats laden with garden-sized heapings of flowers to Kate Middleton-style fascinators
The luncheon always attracts the city’s most prominent women and the guest list this year included Women’s Committee founder Norma Dana, Eliza Bolen, Noreen Buckfire, Amanda Burden, Kathryn Chenault, Suzanne Cochran, Lise Evans, Fe Fendi, HRH Princess Firyal of Jordan, Anne Harrison, Suzanne Johnson, Eleanora Kennedy, Coco Kopelman, Alexandra Lebenthal, Alexia Leuschen, Sandra Lee, Karen LeFrak, Kamie Lightburn, Gillian Miniter, Marcia Mishaan, Jenny Paulson, Jenny Price, Deborah Roberts, Lela Rose, Fiona Rudin, Susan Rudin, Martha Stewart, Emily Blavatnik, and Caryn Zucker.
It also draws a number of prominent men: Mingling in the hatted throng (in addition to the former mayor) were Central Park Conservancy President CEO Douglas Blonsky, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Tom Kempner.
Karen T. May, president of the Women’s Committee, was joined by luncheon chairs Suzie Aijala, Shelley Carr, Patti Fast, and Amelia Ogunlesi. J.P. Morgan, represented by Kelly C. Coffey, CEO of the U.S. Private Bank, served as the Corporate Chair. This year the committee honored Stephanie and Fred Shuman, friends of the Central Park Conservancy who funded the recent renovation of the Reservoir running track, which was renamed in their honor. They dedicated it to the children of New York.
“It’s always thrilling to be in this beautiful garden and to be surrounded by so many incredibly generous supporters,” May said in her speech at the gathering “This luncheon means so much to so many people, and the funds raised today will help the Central Park Conservancy continue to keep Central Park beautiful for New York City residents and the millions of visitors it welcomes every year.”
The event was fully underwritten by the Benefit Committee, allowing 100 percent of ticket sales to go toward, support of the Conservancy’s mission of enhancing and maintaining the Park. To date nearly $3.9 million has been raised.
For more information about the Conservancy, its work managing and improving Central Park, and the Women’s Committee (which raises 15 percent of the Conservancy $65 million annual budget), go to centralparknyc.org.