As many high-style New Yorkers were fussing over how to select the perfect punk couture for The Met’s Costume Institute gala last week, another social set was breaking out its summer hats and Chanel bouclé, because while punks may get their chaos, ladies will have their lunch!
Never willing to miss a fancy plate of food, Shindigger joined in the festivities at City Harvest’s On Your Plate luncheon last Monday in the ornate Metropolitan Club. There, Martha Stewart dished healthy lifestyle secrets and tips while promoting her new book, Living the Good Long Life.
Ms. Stewart commended City Harvest on its mission of salvaging leftover food for hungry New Yorkers and then plunged into a lengthy yet informative spiel about all things Martha.
Topics discussed: how she became such a queen of the house and home; how she works her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York; her somewhat bewildering advice that the event’s guests (mostly women, not all that spry) should try standing upside down for one to three minutes a day; and how, after watching the Kentucky Derby, she has now added mint to her daily leafy-green juice blend.
“I don’t use pesticides and weed-killers,” she explained proudly at one point. “I was out mowing this weekend, getting down the dandelions before they went to seed.”
Shindigger had a joyful moment imagining Ms. Stewart mowing all those acres.
“For me, a healthy lifestyle begins with eating right, and I congratulate the Metropolitan Club for serving us such a delicious salad,” she continued. “For dessert, well, my neighbors all had fruit plates. That’s much better. I had one little center of the chocolate molten cake.”
Which elicited more bewilderment from those in attendance. (Aside from Shindigger, it was not a room of dieters.)
A few days later, we headed uptown to Le Cirque, where our gal pal Jean Shafiroff, this year’s chairwoman for the 55th Annual Southampton Summer Gala, was hosting a kickoff luncheon in support of the Southampton Hospital.
The room was alive with the clinking of glasses of Mâcon-Villages and talk about the approaching warm weather.
“Where will you be this summer?” one woman in gargantuan freshwater pearls and an Oscar de la Renta dress cooed to another.
“Saint-Tropez, Capri and Sagaponac,” was the response.
“Usually I’d have you sit with me at my table, but they’re not allowing press,” Ms. Shafiroff said to us with polite disappointment. She added, “There is a lot of poverty in the Hamptons, you know?” And then she went on to explain how important it is for East Enders to give back and support a local hospital. “No one at the hospital is turned away, regardless of if they have insurance or not.”
Of course, luncheons weren’t the only place philanthropists were making a splash last week. Lincoln Center was the place to be for evening merriment, on both Wednesday night (for the New York City Ballet gala) and Thursday night (for Lincoln Center’s own spring gala).
On Wednesday, we ran into designer Joseph Altuzarra, seated in the upper foyer of the David H. Koch Theater, and pressed him for info about the Met Gala.
“I was really pleased with how people dressed,” Mr. Altuzarra said between a first course of lobster and corn salad and a grilled hanger steak with “21 Club” sauce. “I thought people did punk in a really upbeat, not obvious way. I don’t think anyone was really a miss.”
“Alison Williams looked fabulous,” Shindigger interrupted, knowing he had selected the HBO glamazon as his red carpet ambassadress.
“She was obviously my favorite,” he said.
At Thursday’s event, we chatted with Audra McDonald at dinner following her performance at Lincoln Center’s spring gala, which honored outgoing president Reynold Levy and helped raise some $9.4 million.
“I’m always nervous before I do a concert, but because it’s Lincoln Center and it’s kind of a place I’ve grown up, as soon as I step on the stage I go, Oh wait! I’m home,” she said.
The five-time Tony winner said she considers it a privilege to perform in New York. After Ms. McDonald’s beautiful renditions of “Moonshine Lullaby” and “Summertime,” the food became the main attraction. Marcus Samuelsson offered shrimp with dirty rice and lobster rolls, Daniel Boulud served charcuterie, and for dinner, Tim McLaughlin prepared chili and sea salt-crusted filet of beef with fava bean purée.
“I haven’t had a chance to eat a thing yet!” Ms. McDonald said, clutching her James Martin diamonds. “We’ll get some food and free pizza when I get home.”
Speaking of diamonds, we asked her if she had seen The Great Gatsby.
“I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve been rehearsing for this,” she told us. “I can’t wait to see it. Baz Luhrmann always gives you something to look at.”
Kelly Ripa, looking charming in a floral Erdem dress, was also seated at table 27 for dinner. “It’s like wearing pajamas out,” she said of her look. “For Audra, I’ll do anything. She is talent personified.”
Unlike the famed singer, Ms. Ripa did get a moment to enjoy portions of the meal. “I loved the fava bean salad,” she said. “I love fava beans.”
Martha Stewart would be proud.