Inside New York’s Famed Hat Luncheon

Anne Harrisson Photo:
Anne Harrison Photo: Leandro Justen/

Last week, one of the spring social seasons’s most anticipated events, the annual Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon, New York’s famed “hat luncheon,” took place in Central Park”s Conservatory Garden (at 105th Street and Fifth Avenue). It was hosted by The Women’s Committee and Board of Trustees of the  Central Park Conservancy. Here’s the inside scoop.

More than 1,200 guests turned out for the event, now in its 35th year, with an Ascot-ready range of colorful hats. In honor of the event’s 35th  anniversary, the Women’s Committee has committed to raise at least $5 million toward a $10 million initiative to restore the Conservatory Garden, the park’s six-acre masterwork of formal garden design and home of the luncheon.

Diana Taylor, Michael Bloomberg_Julie Skarratt
Diana Taylor, Michael Bloomberg  Photo: Julie Skarratt

Suzie Aijala, president of the Women’s Committee, was joined by luncheon chairmen Shelley Carr, Norma Dana, Beth Dozoretz and Sima Ghadamian. This year the committee honored Angela E. Thompson, Amanda Thompson Riegel,  The Thompson Family Foundation, and Karen Thornwell May. J.P. Morgan, represented by Kelly C. Coffey, CEO of the U.S. Private Bank, served as the corporate honoree. Michael Kors served as event sponsor.

Deborah Roberts
Deborah Roberts Photo: Leandro Justen/

“The Women’s Committee is proud to have played an important role in the restoration and ongoing care of Central Park over the past thirty-five years,” said committee president Suzie Aijala. “As we celebrate the great tradition of the Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon, we reflect on how Central Park has never been more beautiful or had a brighter future.”

Susan Wallace, Alexandra Leventhal, Maria Gottdiener
Susan Wallace, Alexandra Leventhal, Maria Gottdiener Photo: Leandro Justen/

The Benefit Committee and guests included: Central Park Conservancy President & CEO Douglas Blonsky, Conservancy Board of Trustees Chairman Tom Kempner, Michael Bloomberg, Women’s Committee Founder Norma Dana, Emily Blavatnik, Noreen Buckfire, Anne Harrison, Sharon Jacob, Suzanne Johnson, Eleanora Kennedy, Coco Kopelman, Alexia Leuschen, Karen LeFrak, Kamie Lightburn, Gillian Miniter, Marcia Mishaan, Jenny Paulson, Yesim Philip, Jenny Price, Deborah Roberts, Lela Rose, Fiona Rudin, and Martha Stewart.  

Sandra Lee
Sandra Lee  Photo: Leandro Justen/

Chateau d’Esclans donated Rosé for the afternoon. Guests also received a signature umbrella from Wathne, Ltd and a gift from Estée Lauder. Fabric for the tablecloths was provided by Scalamandré.