Of course they did not, but the complete transformation of the Hilton Anatole Hotel into the Big Apple Saturday night was very, very real as more than 1500 attendees slogged and slid through icy Dallas roads, braving freezing temperatures, to attend the most highly anticipated Dallas social event of the year. The 2013 Crystal Charity Ball was themed “Magnificent Manhattan” and magnificent it SO was despite Ice-mageddon. The Anatole had the pavement free of ice, and covered the exterior walkway with clear plastic, heat steaming from about 12 butane heaters on a runway-red carpet that felt great on the heels. The doors were opened by a doorman, and a glass of bubbly was handed to you from a silver tray.
I spotted several top Dallas agents in the crowds and on the dance floor: Eve Sullivan from Allie Beth Allman and her hubby, Travis, plus Gene Taylor from Briggs Freeman Sothebys. I did not see her, but sure Doris Jacobs (ABA) was there somewhere and of course, OF COURSE, Kari Schlegel Kloewer (ABA) and her hubby, Troy, plus her parents. I caught all of these agents kicking it up on the dance floor.
The large north lobby of the Anatole was superbly transformed into the bright lights of New York circa a few years back, with street performers, Broadway entertainers, and a street cart or two. Thankfully, there were no Citi bikes, beggars or piles of garbage as I recall from my days in graduate school at 116th and Broadway. This was the Manhattan of your dreams, the best of Times Square, serenading by the Hunter Sullivan Band, hundreds of luxury silent auction items — I had my eye on the private jet packages, what a deal for $6000! — portraits, champagne, food, friends and barely a line at the many bars set up around the lobby. There were live, Gatsby-esque models and to illustrate the Silent Auction area, live vignettes in “windows” specially constructed for the event, designed by celeb decorators the likes of Sherry Hayslip/ Hayslip Design Associates, John Phifer Marrs and Gonzalo Bueno Ten Plus Three. Sherry’s had a model in her window who must have been a size 6 at the most, gorgeous, with fresh flowers. Somehow, Curtis Specialized Moving and Storage did all the careful moving.
At nine p.m., the doors of the Chantilly Ballroom opened, and guests were ushered into a romantic winter wonderland very unlike the sloshy reality they had travelled through en route to the Anatole. Rockettes kicked across the dance floor as a prelude. Tom Addis once again totally outdid himself, as did the ball committee who chose the menu: a hollow-ed out boiled half- lobster shell was waiting on every plate, stuffed with salad leaves, the lobster meat removed and ready to consume. Next came a main course of steak and potato souffle and spinach, set on elegant tables adorned with tall, crystal-enhanced floral arrangements. The men at our table, hosted by David and Stacey Blank of The Diamond Doctor, were in heaven. The ladies loved our blue Tiffany boxes holding a beautiful porcelaine mug as well as a CBB calendar and the famous Children’s Book.
Who all was there? Earlier in the day I had been told that a lot of people who thought they were going out of town to the ranch or second home were forced to stay in Dallas because of the ice, so they got dressed and headed to the Anatole. According to Diana Oates at CultureMap, it was an impressive crowd:
“Caren Kline, chairman of this year’s fantastic fete, glowed in a grand Marchesa gown as she welcomed faithful friends — including Kay Bailey Hutchison, Lucy Billingsley, Lynn and Allan McBee, Karen and William Seanor,Mary Gill, Brooke Shelby, Barbara and Don Daseke, Mary Clare Finney, Niven Morgan, Nancy Carlson, Marlene and John Sughrue, and Myrna and Bob Schlegel”
It didn’t take long for everyone to dance shortly after dinner was served. The James Davis orchestra was in full force as the singers belted it out — I think they started with ‘New York, New York.” Dessert magically appeared while we danced — tiny chocolate cakes and an edible Empire State Building — and the gleaming white dance floor got fuller with every song. Adelle and Richard Toussaint were shaking it, as were Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Skye and Bill Brewer, Gene and Jerry Jones, Carrie and Craig Levering, among others.
Not only is CCB the epitome of the Dallas social scene — tickets run about $5000 a couple — it is the most generous: beneficiaries will receive nearly $5 million all given to children’s charities in Dallas.
The party was still going strong well past midnight, ball-goers wound down from the dancy frenzy, scooping candy from Dylan’s Candy Bar and perking up with coffee. As we collected our coats and walked out to the extremely efficient and warm valet area, we grabbed bags of bagels and cream cheese from Cindy’s Deli for the morning. Of course, a lot of folks told me they had just checked into the Anatole either because they feared the driving or had no heat at home. So they just strolled back to their rooms, didn’t even have to catch a Taxi. Or Uber it.
I’m sure the CCB committee never imagined that the entire city would transform into a giant ice sculpture just to go along with the theme of the ball, but in a way, Ice-Mageddon did make it feel like an even-more Magnificent night in Manhattan. What a fantastic night to escape the house if you didn’t have heat chez you, and turn a cold weather negative into a warm and fuzzy positive for hundreds of children!