David Patrick Columbia's New York Social Diary

6 June 2011

Taste Of Summer

Last week in Central Park at the Naumburg Bandshell, from 7 to 11, was a perfect summer night for the Central Park Conservancy’s annual Taste of Summer benefit. A thousand guests (uh-huh), 40 famous New York chefs, a VIP Café hosted by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group; dancing to Tom Finn the DJ who can get anybody on the dance floor because they can’t help it.

The host committee looked like this: Gillian Miniter, who stepped down a few days ago as the President of the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy; James Andrew, Muffie Potter Aston, Ashley Baker, Edward Barsamian, Mario Buatta, Ashley Bush, Lauren Bush, Sharon Bush, David Patrick Columbia (who ever hearda him?), Dave Davis, Peter Davis, Andrea Greeven Douzet, Somers Farkas, Suzanne and Woody Johnson, Kristy and Jonathan Korngold, Jill Lafer, James LaForce, Alexandra Lebenthal, Peter Max, Patrick McMullan, Vanessa Noel, Yesim Philip, William Rondina, Hunt Slonem, Felicia Taylor, John Truex.

This al fresco event is held in a tent in front of Naumburg Bandshell (mid-Park at 72nd Street). The restaurants and chefs participating: Asia de Cuba – John DiLeo; Bice Ristorante – Silverio Chavez; BLT Market – Laurent Tourondel; Brasserie Cognac – Florian Hugo; Brasserie Les Halles – Carlos Llaguno; Bridgewater Chocolate; The Carlyle Restaurant – Jacques Sorci; The Central Park Boathouse – Fred Mero; China Grill, Inc. – Bradley Day; Ciao Bella Gelato – Danilo Zecchin; Columbus Tavern – Phil Conlon; Ed's Chowder House – Ed Brown and John Miele; Geisha – Richard Lee; GILT – Justin Bogle; Ivy Bakery – Daniellan Louie; Junoon – Vikas Khanna; Le Cirque – Craig Hopson; Maya Restaurant – Richard Sandoval; New Leaf Restaurant & Bar – Scott Q. Campbell; Orsay – Antoine Camin; The Palm Court at The Plaza – Willis Loughhead; Park Avenue Summer – Kevin Lasko; The Plaza Food Hall by Todd English – Mike Suppa; Quality Meats – Stratos Georgedakis and Scott Tacinelu; Serafina – Freddy Duarte; Serendipity 3 – Stephen Bruce; South Gate at Jumeirah Essex House – Kerry Heffernan; STK Meatpacking & STK Midtown – Adriano Ricco and Humberto Leon; SUSHISAMBA – Fernando Navas; Swifty’s Restaurant – Stephen Attoe; Thalassa Restaurant – Raphael Abrahante; Trattoria Dell 'Arte - Brando De Oliveira.

The Central Park Conservancy is a private, not-for-profit organization founded in 1980 as a public-private partnership with the City of New York to restore Central Park to its former splendor. The Park we have today begins with them. After decades of neglect, they took on the task to manage and preserve it for present and future generations. Thanks to the generosity of many individuals, corporations, foundations, and the City, the Conservancy has invested over $530 million to date into the Park, transforming it into a model for urban parks worldwide. Any Park-goer knows this without knowing it. Through events like this, the Conservancy is able to provide 85 percent of Central Park’s $37.4 million annual budget. For more information on the Conservancy, please visit

Peter Sallese and Alison Minton