I go [to the Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon] every year as the guest of Dick Gilder. As my daughters explain, he saved the park.
Dick and George Soros got together in the late ’70s and created the Central Park Conservancy. I remember the park as a child in the ’70s and now it’s completely unrecognizable; the difference is mind-blowing. My mother and I would walk her dog through the park—she lived on Central Park West—and it was a dust bowl filled with graffiti. Today, it is verdant and is the No. 1 tourist attraction in New York City. It’s extraordinary that it has been preserved and it now reflects the original vision of the architects of the park. My daughters sent a birthday card this year to Dick that read, “Thank you for saving the park.”
I’d been to so many of the hat luncheons that I finally bought a hat specifically for it, but it doesn’t protect me from the sun. I bought it impulsively at a trunk show at Creel and Gow. The young milliner Linda Hafner said, “It’s too bad you’re not going to that hat lunch.” I gulped and said, “Actually I am.” In retrospect, the money should have gone directly to the park, but I like the hat.