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David Patrick Columbia's New York Social Diary

9 Oct 2014

New York by Day and Night

Busy days; catching up.  This past Tuesday night at the Museum of the City of New York, the Director’s Council held their annual benefit “New York After Dark” party. This one of two major parties benefits the Director’s Council hosts each year. One is the Winter Ball, which is a black tie dinner dance; and then this, the After Dark party, which is more casual. The  crowd likes the dancing, the drinks and some canapés, and seeing lots of friends as well as meeting new people.

They honored Allison Aston, Mark Gilbertson and Tara Rockefeller. All three are members of the Director’s Council, but Mark Gilbertson founded the Council thirty years ago (1984). Now a trustee of the museum, it’s a tribute to him that the Council as well as its members and associates have been active from early on. They were a young party back then, a junior social crowd. Now they’re children are and as a result of their loyalty and activity, the Museum has flourished and raised its profile to attract greater exhibitions and a greater number of visitors. Much of that originated with Mark who has served also as a kind of social pied piper for that group. None of his work is casual. He’s one of those guys who worries about every detail before, during, and sometimes after. No small part of the Director’s Council events attendance can be traced to Mark personally calling people (even more than once) to make sure they attend. That’s how it works.

Tara Rockefeller is also a 20-year member of the Director’s Council and has served as chairman. She is also a founding Board Member of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors with a mission of “thoughtful and effective philanthropy." The group has grown into one of the world’s largest philanthropic service organizations, having overseen more than $3 billion in grantmaking across the globe.

Allison Aston has served not only as a Vice Chairman of the Museum’s Director’s Council for many years, but also as a Co-Chair of the Museum’s Children’s Holiday Party, helping to raise crucial support for the Museum’s field trips and out of school time programs that serve over 42,000 New York City students each year.  She is actively involved with a number of health and social service charities. Among those that benefit from Allison’s energy and commitment are the Associates Board of Memorial Sloan Kettering, the Friends Committee of New Yorkers for Children, the ASPCA’s Bergh Ball, and the Pediatric Support Committee for New York Presbyterian Hospital.


Michael Witmer and Alison Minton.