New Yorkers Head to D.C.

September 27, 2000, 12:00 AM EDT

Sure, the White House State Dinner for the Indian prime minister took place in Washington. But many of the guests were New Yorkers. The 700-person guest list started much smaller, but Senate hopeful Hillary couldn't resist the Big Apple powerhouses who begged for invitations. Former Clinton White House Social Secretary and current Kennedy Center Public Affairs chief Ann Stock told us this was bigger than any other state dinner she had seen or orchestrated herself. Because of the overambitious size, traditions like fingerbowls and a formal receiving line were dropped, and some of the pacing was off.

The shindig, organized by current Social Secretary Capricia Marshall, started in the reception room of the White House. Then guests proceeded to a tent from HDO Productions (which was more than 10,000 square feet) on the South Lawn. Inside, they found gold chiavari chairs and tables covered with pomegranate bonaventure damask tablecloths, gold flatware and cream china with gold trim, all from DC Rental. (A few guests were disappointed not to see White House china.) Frost Lighting designed a decorative lighting effect and draped fabric everywhere.

Following the dinner by White House chef Walter Scheib, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center performed, but many guests kept chattering. Seems no one announced this wasn't background music. Maybe they couldn't stop talking about the great desert (a hand-painted jungle scene on marzipan)...or maybe they were chatting about the recent sexual harassment charges against White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier.

Posted 09.27.00

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