Partying on Park Avenue

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

Queen Elizabeth II’s date of birth is April 21, but she can celebrate her official birthday on the first, second, or third Saturday in June. Ah, to have such choice!

At a joyous gathering for the queen’s 80th birthday last week, a long list of Anglo-centric notables joined together for a toast: the British Memorial Garden Trust president, Camilla Hellman; British Schools and Universities Club president, Joan Ward; the New York Caledonian Club chief, George Campbell; Daughters of the British Empire’s New York president, Vicki Downey; the Pilgrims of United States executive director, Jill Spiller; Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York president, Duncan Bruce; St. David’s Society of New York president, James Thomas; St. George’s Society of New York second vice president, Victor Stewart; and prior of the Order of St. John, John Drexel IV.

The British consul-general of New York, Philip Thomas, said he was pleased to see the Anglo-American Societies of New York joining together. Enjoying the event was the St. George’s Society executive director and almoner, John Shannon, and John Mauk Hilliard, who had been master of ceremonies for the New York State Flag Day ceremony and parade sponsored earlier that day by the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York. Also seen was Lauren Silberman of Baruch College, who is writing a book on Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus.” At the event, the Knickerbocker learned about two anniversaries: The American-Scottish Foundation is co-sponsoring the 10th annual John Muir Golf Tournament at Van Cortlandt Golf Course on June 23, and the American-Scottish Foundation will celebrate its 50th Anniversary at a gala taking place on October 23, where a former chairman of Schlumberger Ltd., Euan Baird, will be honored with the Wallace Award.

Further up Park Avenue, Nextbook hosted a party for the publication of “Betraying Spinoza,” by Rebecca Goldstein, the fourth title in the Jewish Encounters Series, published jointly by Nextbook and Schocken Books.

Spinoza, the 17th-century rationalist thinker who was excommunicated from the Jewish community in Amsterdam because of his heretical views, may have been a renegade during his lifetime but remains part of the philosophical canon today. Seen were the author’s sister Sarah Stern, who is at work on her second book, a memoir called “Fatal Delusions”; the author’s daughter Yael Goldstein, whose first novel “Overture” (Doubleday) is coming out in January; and New York Observer “Edgy Enthusiast” columnist Ron Rosenbaum, who has a book due out in September, “The Shakespeare Wars: Clashing Scholars, Public Fiascos, Palace Coups” (Random House).

The editor of the series, Jonathan Rosen, paraphrased Ms. Goldstein who in her book had asked by what right does this excommunicated Jewish philosopher belong in a series called Jewish Encounters. Mr. Rosen said the last book, “Barney Ross,” by Douglas Century, was “about a drug-addicted boxer, so we clearly have a very broad view of who’s in and who’s out.”

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SATCHMO STYLE Louis Armstrong loved his reel to reel tape deck, and left behind 650 tapes when he died, according to the Louis Armstrong House & Archives director, Michael Cogswell, who spoke before the New York Archivists Roundtable. When Armstrong traveled, he took it along with him in a portable case on wheels that fit in the trunk of his car – a kind of “1950s iPod,” said Mr. Cogswell. Armstrong also indexed them by last word: Under “M” are the songs “In the Mood” and “The Girl that I Married.” He decorated the seven-inch square tape boxes with collages made from cutout pictures, photographs, clippings, and other materials. The world knew him as a trumpeter and musician, but few knew he was also a visual artist, Mr. Cogswell said. A two CD set containing some of these personal homemade audio recordings will be released this year.

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AFTER ACHESON Henry Kissinger, a former secretary of state, looked into his crystal ball for a talk titled, “The Future of Europe,” at the New York University School of Law. “The center of gravity for the United States has shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific,” he said. How different from the days of Dean Acheson, who Mr. Kissinger says is today revered as one of America’s foremost secretaries of state, a man who “cared largely about Europe, only slightly about Asia, and not at all about Africa.”

The gravely voiced former diplomat said that the Middle East increasingly resembles the landscape of 17th-century Europe, riddled by religious wars. What Islam could use above all, he seemed to suggest, was a Reformation, a la Luther or Calvin. He stressed that historically Iran was “a great and old civilization deserving of respect” but one that required a vigilant eye on the part of the West.

The New York Sun

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