The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is comprised of volunteers who promote patient well-being, support cancer research, and provide cancer prevention, treatment, and early detection public education.

On Thursday, October 18th, the Society hosted its 24th Annual Preview Party held at the Park Avenue Armory. The show features many influential American and European art and antique dealers who gather to participate in what has become one of New York’s most iconic fall events. The Armory was filled with over 1,200 high profile guests who emanated from the fashion, art, philanthropic, and design worlds. All of the event proceeds benefit the Society’s MSKCC patient care, research and education programs. Mary Davidson, Pamela Fiori, Jamee Gregory, Eleanora Kennedy and Kamie Lightburn chaired the event.

After battling my way up Park Avenue past the security phalanx assembled to protect Barack and Mitt during their dinner engagement at the Waldorf, I entered the Armory where I was immediately greeted by a drink tray holding wait staff assemblage and paparazzi snapping pictures of the glittering female event organizers. The huge event space was filled with a multitudinous array of gorgeous decorative objects which ranged from armor to kimonos, to furniture, to jewelry, to glassware, to sculpture, to books, to silverware, to gilded mirrors to tapestries. All ye who need any decoration anyone could possibly desire enter here!

So I set out sans gun and compass (because I lacked the funds to purchase any of the guns and compasses on display) in search of my favorite art object. My quest was fulfilled when I saw the Tambaran Gallery’s large fabric-made portrait of an African woman (Florence Vacher, 2012). The elongated figure resplendent with a sparkling gold eye, a large black and white neck piece, and imposing red circular sleeves was positioned as Rodin’s “The Thinker.” Price: $8,500.

And then there was the “French Cased Pair of Rifled-Over-And-Under-Percussion-Single-Trigger-Traveling Pistols of Presentation Quality Damascended and Inlaid With Two Colours of Gold byLepage-Moutier Arquebusier Du Roi Serial No. 567 Dated 1847” boxed fire arm set on display at the Peter Finer Armaments booth. More later about the many shrimp to die for I did not eat because I was so busy concentrating on exactly copying this gun title. Price: $110,000.

It was impossible to miss the imposing patriarchal bust of Emperor Antonius Pias holding court alone set against a black curtained background. I had this conversation with the very nice (and I must say very attractive) charmingly European accented man who represented the Tomasso Brothers Gallery:

“How much does he cost?”
“One million.”
“One million even?”
“There is no ninety-nine cents in the price? He does not cost $999,999.99?”
“Definitely not.”

The feast for the eye was accompanied by superb food. Guests dined among the hedges in an elegant French garden parterre created by Margaret Russell and Charlotte Moss. Seemingly all the shrimp in the ocean, giant strawberries, chicken salad infused tiny tomatoes, and perfectly rare beef pieces were presented on tables decorated with big fat vegetables such as huge artichokes and cabbage heads.

When it was time to head out and once again cope with security sodden Park Avenue, it was evident that Barack and Mitt had not yet departed. They could not have enjoyed their evening in the Waldorf more than I enjoyed mine in the Armory. Hail to the organization committee chiefs who created a wonderful way to help cancer patients.

Attendees included Sigourney Weaver, Adrienne Vittadini, Charlotte Moss, Eleanora and Michael Kennedy, Pamela Fiori, Jamee and Peter Gregory, Kamie and Richard Lightburn, Shafik and Gigi Gabr, Leonard Lauder , Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder, Arie Kopelman, CeCe and Lee Black, Martin and Audrey Gruss, Daisy Soros, Jamie Tisch, Muffie Potter Aston, Mercedes Bass, Kate Gubelmann, Karen and Richard LeFrak, Nicole and Derek Limbocker, Carol Mack, Jamie Niven, Kitty and Stephen Sherrill, Mario Buatta, Eric Cohler, Jamie Drake, Todd Alexander Romano, Bunny Williams, Geoffrey Bradfield, Alex Papachristidis, Shoshanna Gruss, Eleanor Ylvisaker, Gretchen Gunlocke Fenton, Ferebee Taube, Natalie Leeds  Leventhal, Alexia Hamm Ryan, Veronica Swanson Beard, Valesca Hermes , Allison Aston, Marcie Pantzer, Yaz and Valentin Hernandez, Dara O’Hara, and many more.

– Marleen Barr

Photos by Owen Hoffman / and Alexander Porter/