“Obama is across the street, isn’t that good to know?” one guest at the 58th annual Winter Antiques Show opening party quipped as she took a flute of Champagne from a passing tray. The Park Avenue Armory had been a difficult destination for revelers on Thursday night, as most of the Upper East Side was either gridlocked or patrolled by police officers who peered into parked cars and harangued drivers. “Well, he’s all over the place,” her companion shrugged, as the pair turned and surveyed a collection of illuminated manuscripts. Actually, the President was at three fund-raisers Thursday evening — at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, Daniel Boulud’s restaurant Daniel and Spike Lee’s brownstone. The latter two locations were both within a few blocks of the Armory, hence the congestion and the overall harried air of pedestrians and guests in the entryway.
Obama wasn’t the only politician making the rounds on Thursday night. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was busy pressing flesh and sampling the snacks at the Armory with Diana Taylor.
“We’re so happy to have you here, Mayor,” a vendor at Peter Finer Antiques beamed near his vitrine of antique gilded pistols as Bloomberg smiled and thanked him and bit into a slider.
“Oh, I’m happy to be here,” Bloomberg said later, by the entryway. “It’s always a beautiful event, and Diana [Taylor] serves on the board at Sotheby’s, so we really enjoy it.”
Jerry Lauren perused the selection of American furniture and decorative arts, citing his extensive collection of antique weather vanes and American ceramics. “Oh, I run around at my job all day and then come here just to see,” Lauren winked, eyeing three untitled Alexander Calder standing mobiles. Funds from the party support the East Side Housing Settlement, which offers a variety of social services and educational programs to those living in the Bronx. “Philanthropists tickets” ran $2,500 a person. Stephanie Seymour and Peter Brant arrived in a flurry of flashbulbs toward the end of the evening, while Martha Stewart circulated, chatting briefly with Antiques Show chairman Arie Kopelman, who was there with his wife, Coco, and daughter Jill Kargman.
“Look what a beautiful job they did,” Kargman said of the Armory’s setup, pointing skyward. “They sealed off the lights so even during the daytime it has this same vibe.”
Kargman’s brother Will has the celebrity press abuzz with his recent engagement to Drew Barrymore. “We are thrilled,” Kargman enthused. “He’s just so happy and she’s great. They’re coming soon and staying for a while, 10 days or something, because they’ll be out there in L.A. forever now…Hope they’re ready for the weather here.”