Social Set Still Shows for Winter Antiques

January 22, 2002, 12:00 AM EST

Winter Antiques Show opening night party Hilton New York Saturday, 01.19.02, 5 PM to 9 PM
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The Winter Antiques Show's opening party--one of the city's big society benefits--had a lot going against it this year. First, the National Guard pushed the show out of its longtime venue, the Seventh Regiment Armory (there's a war on, you know), prompting a Page Six item with prissy comments from society types complaining about the replacement venue, the Hilton New York (“You have to ride an escalator, and there are gross people in the lobby"). So the Upper East Side patrons had to leave their neighborhood to attend the benefit for the East Side House Settlement. Plus it was on a Saturday, instead of a Thursday as usual. Then it snowed on the evening of the event, and NBC refused to fly honorary co-chairperson and $65 million woman Katie Couric back from a reporting gig in Salt Lake City, afraid she wouldn't make it to Los Angeles on Sunday for the Golden Globes (evidently the network wants its money's worth).

Despite those setbacks the event had record attendance. And although we heard guests commenting that the show lost some of its grandeur outside of the armory, they also said the hall looked elegant (thank party sponsor Elle Decor, perhaps). The two floors of exhibit space--which usually hosts trade shows--definitely looked different from the other times we've ever seen it. (It wasn't quite as decked-out at Meeting World, for example.) The booths were all first-rate, and the lighting was bright enough for guests to see the wares on display, but soft enough in the aisles to still feel like a party. Plus: Mayor Mike Bloomberg showed up, as did a couple Law & Order ladies.

With so many antiques on display, the party didn't need much decor, but Bill Tansey's Tansey Design Associates brought in colorful flower arrangements with roses and other small flowers and covered the cocktail tables with a shiny yellow fabric under a chiffon cover embroidered with a yellow leaf pattern. (He brought a similar elegance to the East Side House Settlement's Auto Show benefit.)

The hotel served passable, predictable fare: loads of cheese and bread, a carving station with turkey and beef, and trays of hors d'oeuvres .phparagus wrapped with prosciutto, tuna tartare on cucumber slices), plus a large arrangement of sushi.

--Chad Kaydo

Read our coverage of Meeting World at this venue...

Read our coverage of the East Side House Settlement's Auto Show benefit...

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