Things these days aren’t as black and white as we would hope they’d be, but we can count on one thing to deliver this desire – pandas!
It was pure “pandamonium” last night at New York City’s iconic landmark hotel, the Waldorf Astoria , for the first annual Black & White Panda Ball hosted by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
Together with local businessmen John A. Catsimatidis and Maurice Greenberg, along with Elizabeth Wang, President of the Chinese Culture Foundation, Representative Maloney founded the organization, “The Pandas Are Coming to NYC”, to bring two breed-able Giant Pandas to New York City. Last night’s fundraiser was the first effort to begin to raise money to build a freestanding Panda Pavilion and Habitat in Central Park, expected to be completed by 2020.
The festivities included the who’s who of the New York political and social scenes including Congressman Charlie Rangel, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Qiyue, Philanthropist Jean Shafiroff, Model Carmen Dell’Orefice, and Actor Stephen Baldwin among many other notable movers and shakers.
The energy was electrifying and the fashion was fierce. We saw everything from panda purses, to panda ties and every derivation of black and white ensembles.
But no one was better dressed than Mr. Panda himself, the larger-than-life animated panda gracing the crowd with his presence.
And after a successful red carpet arrival and lively cocktail hour, it was on to the grand ballroom for dinner and entertainment. The room was perfectly decorated with gorgeous black and white linens, stunning bamboo and orchid centerpieces and playful projections of pandas on the walls.
The totally talented children’s musical group, the Joyous String Ensemble, entertained us with their unique sounds and guests dined on delectable dishes as the event’s emcee, broadcaster Ernie Anastos, reminded us of the importance of bringing these beautiful bears to NYC.
For years, Congresswoman Maloney has dreamed of the idea saying, “The greatest city on earth deserves to be the home to iconic creatures like the Giant Pandas; they are said to bring good luck and good cheer – both of which our City can use more of”.
Aside from the cultural, political and economic benefits this endeavor will create, it will also help raise awareness about necessary conservation efforts needed to protected these cuddly creatures.
A former DC resident and frequent visitor to these bi-toned bears, and longtime panda lover and advocate, it was my greatest honor to cover this event. I am looking forward to participating in this process and am excited about New York City’s newest future residents.
For more information, or to support this effort, please visit www.pandasnyc.org .