Tilden Celebrates its 61st Anniversary Dinner at National Arts Club

On Thursday, April 24, 2014 The Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club held its 61st Anniversary Dinner at the National Arts Club. The event also celebrated Samuel J. Tilden’s 200th Birthday, as well as the birthday of one of the evening’s honorees, Jack Taylor, and one of our District Leaders, Steve Smollens.  With more than 150 guests seated at dinner, and several dozen more guests who came only for the cocktail hour, the event was a huge success and a tribute to Tilden’s importance and the strength of our community.

After opening remarks by Tilden Club President Mark Thompson, Chris Poe, President of the National Arts Club, spoke and welcomed Tilden members. He then introduced Rev. Dr. Thomas F. Pike, who conducted an Invocation.

During the course of the evening, we presented the Beth R. Cosnow Award for Democratic Leadership to State Senator Brad Hoylman, and the Millard L. Midonick and Margot Gayle Tilden Award for Community Service to Jack Taylor for his outstanding work in helping protect and preserve the cultural and historic character of our community.  Both of these awards were recently named in honor of outstanding leaders of the Tilden Club. We were exceptionally pleased to have been joined by Will’s widow, Jill Midonick.

A surprise took place when the Claude Kleefield Award was presented to Tilden Club member Arthur Wolf for his outstanding community service. The award was named for Claude Kleefield, who a beloved member of the Club whose life was devoted community service and whose grace and class serve as an inspiration to us all.

District leaders Louise Dankberg and Steve Smollens introduced a variety of special guests, including many Judges and individuals hoping to become judges, as well as several candidates for the Assembly from the Upper East Side.

More than 76 individuals or groups served as Patrons, and Sponsors, and for the first time three corporate sponsors took entire tables.  The Council of Supervisors and Administrators, the United Federation of Teachers, and the NY State Nursing Association had a strong presence, and we were joined by many of our elected officials including Minna Elias (representing Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney), County Committee leader Hon. Keith Wright, Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Liz Krueger, State Assembly Members  Debra Glick and Dan Quart,  Council Member Dan Garodnick (former Tilden Club President), and former Assembly Member Steve Sanders.

The event could not have been possible without the exceptional dedication and hard work of the Dinner Committee, which included Pat Levenson, Chair, and Wil Weder, Vice Chair, Louise Dankberg, Mollie Dunlap, Sandy Hecker, Laura Koestler, Zoila Poire, Roger Ribacoff, Marcia Robinson, Sandro Sherrod, Steve Smollens, and Shelley Winfield. Special thanks to Rick Eggers, for his photography, and to the staff and members of the National Arts Club, and our host member, Wil Weder.