Written by Dr. Cynthia Paulis Saturday, 21 December 2013 00:00
The weather outside was frightful, but the gala inside was delightful as 250 guests braved the cold, driving rain to celebrate the centennial of Coe Hall at Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay. The house was decked out in its finest, with an enormous Christmas tree at the entrance. As guests walked past lighted garlands, waiters with silver trays of chilled champagne flanked both sides of the hallway leading to the great room, where music filled the house from the newly restored Steinway piano.
While guests from all parts of Long Island and even New York City admired the decorations, hors d’eouvres of shrimp, lamb and quiche were passed around and Japanese chefs prepared different types of sushi and sashimi for tastings. Outside, Richard Daly of Ice
Melodies carved a replica of Coe Hall in one and a half hours using only a postcard as a visual guide.
Henry Joyce, executive director of the Planting Fields Foundation, was pleased by the turnout.
“This is an exciting evening for us as we celebrate the centennial with this wonderful gala. There are as many people here as you can imagine the house had 100 years ago for a party. We have many events planned through the year and we have been very busy furnishing the house and planting trees on the estate.”
Part of those furnishings come from The Finer Things in Locust Valley, run by Victoria Moses, who helped decorate the house with items from her store. “The house just sparkles and it is such a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season.”
Natalie Coe, the great-granddaughter of WR Coe, was there with her son, Cassius, who admired all of the decorations and had high praise for the changes she has seen in the house. She was a child when the house was turned over to the state of New York and never opened to the public and couldn’t be more pleased with the transformation. “I think it is wonderful. This is a house that is meant to have parties and not just be a cob webby museum.”
Mayor Julian Beckerman of Muttontown, along with her friends, commented on how beautiful everything looked in the house. “This is a wonderful cause and I am glad to support it.”
Ian Miller and his wife, Rosenne, from Glen Cove, have come to this party for the past five years.
“I think this is just lovely, the food was delicious, the house looks beautiful and we are having a very nice time,” Rosenne commented.
Ian added, “It’s always nice, it’s for a good cause, it’s great for the community and it’s a nice way to meet people. It was a nice night.”
Dinner — served buffet-style in the dining room on a long table lit by candlelight from crystal candelabras — consisted of salads, vegetables, cheese, prime rib and salmon. Guests settled in different parts of the house to eat on tables decorated with fragrant paper whites.
As the evening drew to a close, each guest received a boxed white Christmas ornament with a wreath and the dates of the centennial celebration. As the guests left to brave the rain they all commented that this was the best party Coe Hall has had. For further events taking place this month visit www.plantingfields.org.