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NEW YORK — The Museum of the City of New York lured bare-legged and train-bedecked ladies up Fifth Avenue to its annual Winter Ball Tuesday night, this year cosponsored by Valentino and Graff. And for the first time, a heated and topiary-dotted entryway tent, complete with glittery black carpet, eased guests into cocktails before the seated dinner inside. New York’s version of a red carpet? Certainly, many of the guests, like Jennifer Creel, Heather Mnuchin and Marjorie Raein, arrived fresh off a little bicoastal action in L.A. for Oscar weekend.

“It’s so much more casual, everyone wears jeans over there…except to the Oscars,” commented Mnuchin. “And everyone is so short. Except for Leonardo DiCaprio.”

Jamee Gregory was feeling a bit of West Coast envy. “My daughter was out there and I kept calling her to ask her how it was going,” she said of Samantha Gregory. “She told me to wait till she got back. As soon as she’s back, I’m making her sit down and tell me everything.”

Renée Rockefeller was flying solo for the evening, having lost out to her four kids. “My husband got home early for the first time in ages. He said, ‘I love you,’ and is in our basement playing foosball with the kids,” she laughed.

After cocktails, guests like Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Debbie Bancroft, Eleanor and Jon Ylvisaker, Eliza Reed Bolen and Blair Husain settled down to a candelabra-lit dinner finished off by huge slices of rich chocolate cake.

Earlier that day, some Winter Ball attendees enjoyed an equally delicious meal when Nina Griscom and Sandy Hill hosted a luncheon for their friend Kendall Conrad, who penned the cookbook “Eat Well, Feel Well” after a struggle to find a cure for her daughter’s dietary disease. Ladies like Raein, Bancroft, Blaine Trump and Anne Bass feasted on hot and sour soup, Thai beef salad and coconut layer cake prepared by Hill’s chef, Stephanie Valentine, from Conrad’s recipes. “Now you can all go home and have your chefs make these recipes, too,” joked Griscom, who opened up her Upper East Side town house for the affair.

This story first appeared in the March 1, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I told Stephanie she could use lobster, caviar, Champagne or truffles — Nina and Sandy’s four major food groups,” said Conrad.

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