A Wonderful Governors’ Ball at Yonkers’ Park Hill Racquet Club!
The Great Work of the Gala Preparation Committee
Months of diligent preparation by the Park Hill Racquet Club (PHRC) Board of Governors (BOG) under Directors Kerry Schmid and Lynne Twomey, and by the Gala Preparation Committee led by Lynne and Karin White, paid off in the biggest, best-attended BOG Gala Party that the club’s long-timers could remember, as 113 members and guests ate and danced the night away on Saturday, November 7th, 2015, in the club’s beautifully-decorated main hall. The occasion was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the rebuilding of the PHRC clubhouse, which burned to the ground in early 1962 and took three years to rebuild, under the leadership of the then-President Alfred W. McCann, Jr. Also, the party honored Bob Reape as the MAN OF THE HALF CENTURY, for all of his incredible contributions to the club since he joined in 1966.
Once again, Karin White led the hard-working Decoration Committee. Karin was ably assisted every day by Claire Miko and Kathryn Buckley, as they three provided excellent direction to the more than two dozen club members whose dedicated week-long labors ensured the timely completion of the hall-decoration project. Very special thanks go to Kathryn for making the gorgeous window treatments that now adorn the ballroom and which should last for years to come and for her beautiful flower arrangements that graced all the dinner tables at
the Gala. Special appreciation also goes to Bob Dominicus for his many hours of detailed work, spray-painting flowers and doing a great many fix-up activities around the premises in the two weeks before the party.
Jim Beirne’s Time Line
A highlight of the evening was the pre-dinner speech by Former P President Jim Beirne, who spoke about the long, distinguished history of the club and some of its famous past members, including the former governor of New York State, Malcolm Wilson. Jim reminded everyone that the club was one of the founders in the 1920s of the Westchester County Tennis League, during whose early decades PHRC teams and players were consistently among the best in the county.
Jim was particularly proud to be able to introduce Patrician McCann, one-time club member and daughter of the late Al McCann. Ms. McCann, who now lives in Manhattan, had not visited the club for many years. She said the Gala brought back many memories, both happy and sad. After all, she had, with her own eyes, seen the billowing smoke over Yonkers on the evening of the fire, and had heard the sirens of the fire engines, from miles away, on her way home. She related how, in arriving at the club, she discovered, to her shock, that the fire was at the club itself, where she found her father standing, distraught and speechless, as the clubhouse burned to the ground.
Thanks also go to Jim for gathering a great deal of memorabilia from past eras and past generations of club members, materials which were spread out on the display table near the stage. Jim also personally contacted many former club members, including Ms. McCann, inviting them to the Gala. He drove into Manhattan to bring Ms. McCann to the party and then later drove her home again. Jim says that Ms. McCann has since sent a $500 check to the club and expressed her thanks for being invited to the Gala party, which she said she thoroughly enjoyed.
A Wonderful Dinner, Party and Dance
Cliff Hackford and his fine combo of four musicians provided the usual excellent background music for the Gala, as members and guests mingled ahead of the meal, enjoying hors d’oeuvres and drinks from the very busy bar. Kudos go to Bar Committee Chairs Patty Schumann and Anne Marie Ennis for their hard work supervising the bartenders and keeping the thirst of all the party-goers slaked throughout the evening and into the early morning hours.
Compliments for the excellent meal go to the caterer, Envious Event of Rye Brook. Club members and guests enjoyed the delicious Filet of Beef, Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Chicken Balsamico and Butternut Squash Ravioli. Desserts included apple pie, pecan pie, ice cream and fresh-baked chocolate cookies.
Thanks for the Help
The atmosphere in the busy hall during the week before the Gala party was always festive, as the members volunteering their time to put up the decorations cheerfully completed project after project, big and small, day after day and evening after long evening. The team beautified the enchanting dinner-dance hall from floor to ceiling and from front to back, delighting the eye with a huge assortment of colorful curtains, strings of bright white lights on the walls and windows, enlarged photos of past times remembered, colorful dinner-table bouquets encircled by tall elegant white candles, bunches of multi-colored spray-painted window arrangements, and other decorative details too numerous to count. The large photos hanging from the walls were an excellent memory aide for the many former members who attended as guests, to help them recall their years of past PHRC membership.
Special thanks for their assistance to Karin, Claire and Kathryn during Gala week preparations go to these volunteers: Jim Beirne, Rosemary Beirne, Jim Buckley, Patty Cecere, Anthony D’Alessio, Gianna D’Alessio, Vinnie D’Alessio, Anne Marie Ennis, Joe Gamba, Patty Gamba, Justine Henry, Ingrid Krawiec, Lyrica Leon, Mary Liberatore, Vic Mason, Mary Kay Moment, Kristen Oates, Jaime O’Keefe, Susan Proano, Denise Resnik, James Resnik, Steve Savard, Susanne Savard, Patty Schumann, May Soo Hoo and Lynne Twomey. Appreciation goes to Paul Resnik for helping the Gala Preparation Committee with cost estimates and finances of the Gala. Thanks for their assistance also go to our younger members Chris Gamba, William Krawiec and Griffin O’Keefe for their assistance at the Gala.
(by Jim Beirne and Vic Mason)