Written by Dr. Cynthia Paulis, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00
If you missed the 6th annual champagne party at Coe Hall in Planting Fields, put it on your calendar for next year, because this is the party of the summer. A total of 175 guests attended, and many of them were in costume, a new addition to the popular champagne party. The always ebullient Henry Joyce, executive director of Planting Fields Foundation, greeted his guests with his date Daphne, a 3-month-old long haired Dachshund, who is a companion for his Great Dane, Lucy.
“This is a splendid event to celebrate Coe Hall and Planting Fields; everything looks so wonderful in the summer,” said Joyce. “The gardens are glorious and we have a new exhibition to celebrate and it’s just so lovely to be out here in these gardens.”Showing off Daphne’s spotted collar, Joyce commented, “She is a Greek Goddess masquerading as a Dalmatian.”
Then he showed off his rhinestone rings that he made and laughed, “And I’m Elton John.”
When asked why they decided to go with the masquerade—which was a huge hit with the guests, many of whom were in costume—Joyce replied, “The purpose of the masquerade is that it is fanciful. This house is built in a fanciful style and looks like it is 400 years old, but it’s not. The gardens here pretend to be English gardens, but they are on Long Island so there are all of these themes of wanting or wishing to be someone you are not; that’s why it is nice to wear a mask. You can be who ever you want to be.”
Just then the family of Raciborskis entered the garden. There was Ania from Locust Valley sporting Angel wings, looking very much like a Victoria Secret model. Glen Cove residents Greg and Catherine Raciborski were dressed as Mozart and a peacock.
Waving her peacock fan and showing off her gems, Catherine commented, “We come here annually and we love it. I actually had a birthday party in this garden that I won in a silent auction. We love coming here every year because it is a wonderful way to spend the evening strolling around the gardens and the mansion. Tonight I am a peacock because I wanted to be the bell of the ball and my husband is Mozart, but some people think he is George Washington. “
Joining the group was Dr. Mary Ann Rosman of Mineola sporting a silver mask and short black dress.
“I have attended these parties every year and Henry Joyce always throws the most fabulous parties at Coe Hall. It is a spectacular evening and one of the highlights of the summer,” said Rosman.
Celebrating her 75th birthday was Barbara Mayer-Roberts and her husband Stewart of Mill Neck wearing a cowboy hat. “I told my husband that for my 75th birthday, which I am still in awe of, that I want to celebrate my birthday here. I am so happy I made it and what a great way to celebrate it.”
As champagne corks popped, guests mingled around the buffet table adorned with beautiful flowers. The food was excellent. Silver chaffing dishes were filled with shrimp, crab legs and every type of hors d’oeuvres. Nearby a chef was grilling steak kabobs and hamburger sliders. Guests sat down at tables decorated with hot pink and zebra cloths, a nod to their new exhibit.
Many times people become friends at the garden, such as Jessica Vandenburg from California and Glen Cove resident Grace Acati, originally from Mexico. Vandenburg was an artist painting the gardens and Acati came by. They struck up a conversation and have been best friends ever since. This is their first time attending the party.
“This is fabulous. I love the outdoors and the architecture,” Acati said of the party, adding with a laugh,“I have been coming here for so long that this is like my first house.”
Levittown residents Marie Contino and her daughter, Valerie took in the decorations. “I think this is beautiful. I have been here a few times and it’s always eventful for everyone. The people are very courteous and the flowers are gorgeous. Inside the house is very interesting and there is a lot you can learn each time you come here.”
Valerie added, “I think it’s a very calming place to be and it’s a great place to take a stroll through the trails and relax and enjoy the day.”
Yoshie Kendgo of Port Washington, originally from Japan, was with her dancing partner sporting a straw hat, Jay Caruso of Rockville Centre.
“This is gorgeous and the music is wonderful,” commented Kendgo.
Caruso agreed, “This is my first visit to Coe Hall and the champagne party. I am loving every second of it and I don’t know where to look first. My eyes don’t know where to go, everything is so beautiful. The food is great, the music is great and everyone is so kind. We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves.”
Next to the loggia was an outdoor tent complete with a dance floor, a DJ and a band. They heated up the night with great music and a saxophone player coaxed everyone on to the dance floor, where they partied the night away. Then Maurice Jauredui of Locust Valley, who was celebrating his 47th birthday, took birthday girl Barbara Roberts for a spin on the dance floor. The DJ called her to the center and all of the guests surrounded her and sang “Happy Birthday,” making it a very special night for her.
Wiping the sweat from his brow from dancing the night away, Jauredui summed up the night with what everyone was feeling, “This party is always a rocking good time!”