Earth Day Is Easy If You’re Muffie Potter Aston

The ecological consciousness-raising of Manhattan high society continues apace. On Sunday, April 22—Earth Day!—Muffie Potter Aston and others clambered up a steep path on the northern stretch of Central Park West to dedicate something called the Peter Jay Sharp Children’s Glade, featuring winding woodland paths, sitting areas fashioned from boulders, and plenty of well-maintained kelly-green grass. A quintet from Juilliard had been hired to play under a blossoming bough.

Ms. Aston, the Type-A philanthropist, socialite and former vice president of public relations for luxury-bauble conglomerate Van Cleef & Arpels, was looking optimistic in salmon-colored pants. “Anyone who says that they don’t see a difference in what’s happening to our environment and to our weather patterns is obviously burying their head in the sand,” she rasped, standing in a patch of mottled sunlight. “My daughter’s birthday was on Jan. 6. It was so warm on Jan. 6 that we ended up having a birthday-party picnic lunch outside. But here, two weeks ago, you needed to have a fur coat in April because it was so cold. That’s insane!” Ms. Aston paused and then soberly evoked Winston Churchill. “The facts are right in front of us,” she said, “and unless we start to get real and roll up our sleeves and do something about it, we’re all going to be in a lot of trouble.”

Nearby, Jim Taylor, the publisher of Town and Country magazine, was also enjoying the fresh air. Just back from Paris (“They’re 15 to 20 years ahead of us on the environment,” he said), Mr. Taylor expressed gratitude that the Central Park Conservancy, which funded the Glade project, was paying attention to the above–96th Street West Side crowd. “It’s extremely important to us, because I happen to live right in that building,” he said, pointing to the windows of his pre-war co-op.