Suzy’s back! And she’s got tales of royals, serenes, and the odd movie star, plus fireworks over Central Park and lots of galas.

Make way for the Royals, the Serenes and the Odd Movie Star, and I do mean odd. The Spanish Institute, which fosters warm and friendly relations between the U.S. and Spain, olé, has a huge and really very exciting announcement to make. On Nov. 19, Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain is arriving in New York to be the dazzling guest of honor at the Institute’s Gold Medal Gala at the Plaza celebrating its 50th anniversary. And on that very night, the Institute will officially announce its new name, Queen Sofia Spanish Institute! It’s a great and deserved name, as anyone who knows anything at all about the gracious Sofia will be only too happy to tell you. She will receive the Fiftieth Anniversary Commemorative Gold Medal at the gala and Dr. Fernando Aleu, the Institute’s chairman, will be honored with a 2003 Gold Medal. He has done absolute oodles for the center over the years, literally working his fingers to the hueso, the dear man.

It rained cats and dogs and a whole lot of bullfrogs on Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s highly touted Light Cycle celebrating Central Park’s 150th anniversary Monday night. So the pillars of light that were supposed to shoot up a thousand feet high didn’t quite make it, to say nothing of the havoc the rain wreaked on the Grucci’s firework display, which sort of sizzled and then fizzled. But there were 150 parties all over New York to celebrate the great and glorious park, which many consider the lifeblood of the city. Some of the best parties of the night were given at the new Mandarin Oriental Ballroom, in the AOL building by such hostesses of note as Patricia Patterson, Gail Hilson, the Rand Araskogs, the Donald Millers, the Lee Gammills and the Joseph Missetts, inviting such guests as Norma Hess, chic in black; the Philip Millers; the Roberto de Guardiolas; the Coleman Burkes; Nicole and Derek Limbocher, Mai and Ridgely Harrison; Boaz Mazor; Alyne Massey; Susan Burke; Ambassador Nancy Brinker, home from Hungary and happy to be; Thorun Wathne; Mario Buatta; Hilary Geary with Wilbur Ross; Jamie Figg, and on and on into the night. Glorious Food did the glorious food and Philip Baloun did the glorious decor, dark velvet tablecloths, great towering birch trees as centerpieces and miles of clinging ivy with a life of its own.
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