Details surrounding the 12th and final Conservancy Gala were kept under wraps for months, and when the night finally arrived, all agreed that it was worth the wait. Co-chairs Laura Niewold and Sandra Lipman, with Centennial Park Conservancy’s founder and Executive Gala Chair Sylvia Rapoport, blended the ancient and old with the new and contemporary, the elegant with the playful, in an over-the-top production. They enlisted Amos Gott of AmosEvents to help them carry out their vision for the theme, “The Sky’s the Limit.”
Flame throwers and lyra hoop performers welcomed guests, who then passed through mylar arches, and at the end, famous hands — Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson — appeared from behind a curtain offering glasses of Champagne. Just inside the cocktail tent, “Athena” stood front and center in a stunning gold ensemble on a pedestal. Overhead, chandeliers that looked like diamond- and teardrop-shaped mirrors were actually shiny, silver mylar balloons.
As guests entered the dinner tent, Adele (Libby Nivens) greeted them from the stage with her rendition of “Hello.” The walls were lined with black velvet; the clear ceiling boasted five large, beaded chandeliers; and tables were topped with ancient-looking busts and columns paired with contemporary-shaped sculptures, bowls of gardenias and candles, and tall vases of phalaenopsis orchids. After taking everything in, everyone sat down to enjoy a Greek-inspired feast from Kristen Winston Catering.
The program was short, but definitely sweet. Everyone joined Benjamin and Max Goldberg, Sylvia’s sons, in toasting her for 26 years of service to the Parthenon and Centennial Park. Conservancy President John Tumminello, who continues the nonprofit’s important work, announced the commitment of $1 million to establish the Sylvia Rapoport Future Fund to sustain the park for future generations.
Diana Ross (Piper Jones) and Elton John (Patrick Thomas) performed before the grand finale — an extraordinary light show from EAMotion. There’s no doubt about it, the Conservancy Gala definitely went out with a bang!