NEW YORK — Marvin Traub has never had much interest in doing the obvious, and that tendency was put on full view Thursday night when he and his wife, Lee, marked their 60th wedding anniversary with a reception and dinner at a wax museum — Madame Tussauds on 42nd Street.
“We try to do everything in a place that’s fun,” said the head of Marvin Traub Associates as he ticked off a list of similarly offbeat locations where similar family celebrations have been held. More of a personal touch was added by the table decorations: a sign with a place, like Utah Beach — one of the sites of the Normandy invasion in World War II — that was significant in the lives of the Traubs. Each place designation was accompanied by a relevant photo or illustration.
However, it was a bit jarring to see guests mingling amid unnervingly lifelike replicas of entertainers and statesmen scattered about the room. “I was ready to shake hands with someone, when I realized they wouldn’t respond,” said Arnold Aronson, managing director of retail strategies at Kurt Salmon Associates.
Ralph Lauren recalled meeting Traub when he was coming up through the ranks of Bloomingdale’s in the Sixties. “We had a long relationship and now we’re good friends,” Lauren said. “I have great respect for him. He should be congratulated for the excitement and enthusiasm he has about his work and life.”
Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estée Lauder Cos., said he first heard about Traub in 1959 from Bloomingdale’s legendary cosmetics chief, Mike Blumenfeld. “We became friends, and traveled the world together [on vacations] — Africa, India and Turkey — not because we do business, but because we got along so well.”
Lauder was in such an expansive mood that he gently needled Traub about when he would be celebrating his 85th birthday, to which the honoree later retorted, “A couple of years from now.” But Lauder seemed to be savoring the prospect. “If it weren’t for Marvin’s birthday parties,” he said, “I would starve to death.”