By Dr. Cynthia Paulis
On a spectacular evening, Coe Hall gardens were transformed to the era of the 1980s for its seventh annual champagne party.
For those who don’t remember because they weren’t yet born, or as in my case, the year I started medical school and all I can recall is the smell of formaldehyde from the anatomy lab, it was an era of big hair, big shoulder pads, jelly necklaces, leg warmers and all shades of neon. Ronald Regan began his ascent as the leader of the free world and marked the fall of the Berlin Wall. The entertainment world introduced us to “Dynasty” and “Dallas” and of course, the question on the minds of millions was, “Who shot JR?”
In keeping with the spirit of the evening, guests dressed up in clothes from that era and tables were decked out on the patio garden in neon colors, complete with those confounding Rubik’s cubes.
The always ebullient Henry Joyce, executive director of Planting Fields Foundation, who masterminds the creative and fun parties, was on hand to greet all of the 150 guests.
“This evening we have an ’80s night with people wearing fabulous costumes. It’s a beautiful evening, and we have a night of partying and dancing in this wonderful garden as it was meant to be used,” said Joyce.
“Over 100 years ago, people used this garden and we want people to enjoy this lovely garden. Last year we had a masquerade theme, and we have had Motown themes. The idea is to make it a garden soiree, because the garden at Planting Fields is so beautiful in the summer.”
Pearl Elion and Vincent Panella of West Hempstead come to the champagne party every year.
“Every time we get an invitation, we get excited because we know the parties are going to be wonderful and Henry is wonderful. You are participating in a very nice thing over here. This place is magnificent and so are the people,” Panella commented.
Dressed in Olivia Newton John attire was Connie Campbell Glowatz and her husband, Mark, from Locust Valley, who were enjoying the champagne.
“This is our first time, and it’s phenomenal. We should do more of this,” said Glowatz. “What a beautiful place to have it in.”
Frequent visitors to gardens and parties are Catherine and Gregory Raciborski of Glen Cove.
“We come here every year. We love these parties and we love being out here in this summer paradise,” said Catherine.
Glen Cove resident Victoria Crosby shared laughs with Joyce while taking in the scene.
“This place looks fabulous. Everything looks so 1980s, especially the colors and the way people are dressed,” said Crosby. “Henry is amazing with what he has done to fix this place up and buy all the furniture to make Coe Hall look the way it was when the Coes lived here.”
Crosby recently returned from her native homeland of England, where she attended a fundraising gala for the royal palaces held at Kensington Palace in the presence of Prince Michael of Kent and his wife.
Channeling her best Alexis Carrington of “Dynasty” was Madeline Strasser and her husband, Bob, of Massapequa.
“This is the first time we attended this champagne party. It’s the perfect venue and it’s the most glamorous that you can find on Long Island,” said Strasser. “It is an estate that has been here for 100 years as a Gold Coast estate, and is very well taken care of by the state and the foundation. This is one of the few estates you find that is still intact and preserved. There were hundreds of these Gold Coast estates and there are so few of them that are left. This is one of the jewels. Henry is our star; there is no doubt about it. Everyone adores him and he is the go-to guy for this.”
Madeline recently became a docent at the museum and shared historical facts during the evening. Her husband works for the architectural firm that originally built Coe Hall.
With tiki torches flickering and the music rocking, guests danced the night away at another fabulous party at Coe Hall. For upcoming events and to learn more about the estate and grounds go to www.plantingfields.org.