The Central Park Conservancy Rings in 40 Years of Success

In the upper reaches of Manhattan, the Central Park Conservancy rang in its 40th year last night. Since 1980, the conservancy has brought private funding to the public park in order to revitalize its every corner, of which there are many, including the often sun-drenched Conservatory Garden where last night’s anniversary bacchanal unfolded under a soaring open-air tent.

“We’re really 41 years old, but we didn’t get to have a party last year, so we’re lying about our age like I know a lot of us do here,” Conservancy President & CEO Betsy Smith quipped after-dinner guests took their seats under the string lights and towering shrubbery selected by events designer, David Stark. However, some guests added personal touches to their tablescapes, like Central Park Women’s Committee board member Sarah Kurita, who opted for “Trophy Husband” place cards for her male guests.

In addition to Kurita, some of the park’s most ardent supporters could be found throughout the room. Gillan and Sylvester Miniter brought friends Elyse Newhouse and Fe Fendi along for the fun, Stephen Schwarzman with wife Christine Schwarzman, who glittered in a yellow sequin gown, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was one of the first to take to the dance floor after a “Strawberry Fields” dessert—inspired by the mosaic memorial in the park—was served.

He was joined in cutting a rug with a more unexpected addition to the scene, architect Peter Marino, whose full leather regalia stood in stark contrast to the florals and feathers favored by the uptown set. But no matter their look, guests filled the dance floor and it remained full as the evening raised a whopping $2.8 million for New York City’s crown jewel.