Victoria’s Secrets: Scene at The Colony Hotel

With Bryan Carey & Guy Clark

Hooray! The sun came out! It’s only the second sunny day since I arrived Jan. 4 to what was “Sunny Florida.” But I dare not complain when New York has 20-degree weather.

What I love about being here is all the people I meet, most of whom are from New York.

I got a surprise visit from my friend & neighbor Juliana Terian

I got an invitation from photographer Annie Watt to attend New York designer Tanya Taylor’s showcase pop-up store at the Colony Hotel.

There is a permanent Dolce & Gabbana boutique in the hotel, as well as an Asprey jewelry showcase, so temptation is all around me.

Fun with Meg Weinberger, a candidate for State House District 94 in Florida, at the Dolce & Gabbana store
Dolce & Gabbana’s Rachel & Amanda with Jane Scher (c.)

Artist Carol Calicchio, my Florida and Hamptons friend, and I had a lunch date at the Colony Hotel, but we stopped at the boutique in the garden first and delightedly saw many old friends, including Jean Shafiroff, Lauren Roberts, Guy Clark and Harrison Morgan, with Annie Watt taking photos! 

With Lauren Roberts, Harrison Morgan, Carol Calicchio & Guy Clark
Guy Clark & Annie Watt
Carol’s latest book from her last art show
Carol Calicchio, Jean Shafiroff & Grace Hyde Walker

But my biggest treat that day was to meet Bryan Carey, whose dad was the great Gov. Hugh Carey.

Bryan, with a twinkle in his eye, shared how my husband Murray was a constant thorn in his dad’s side because of the “Willowbrook Wars.” My daughter Lara was a named plaintiff in what became the Willowbrook Consent Decree forcing the closure of the infamous 375-acre Willowbrook State School on Staten Island for children and adults with special needs.

Gov. Hugh Carey signed the decree, making history! That decree forced state funds to go to group homes and ultimately to close down Willowbrook. CUNY College of Staten Island now sits in its place.

Bryan & Catherine Carey. Photo by Annie Watt

Bryan had a big smile on his face when he told me how happy his dad was to see it closed. It’s almost 50 years later, but meeting Bryan and recalling those emotional and painful, but prideful years gave me goosebumps.

Those were momentous days of war-fighting for my daughter’s rights and the 5,400 people who lived at Willowbrook. It was where I met Geraldo Rivera, whose passionate coverage of Willowbrook’s horrendous conditions came across all our TVs.

Geraldo’s news reports brought into every living room what we were marching, picketing and protesting for. His reporting shined a light on the conditions that resulted when Gov. Nelson Rockefeller slashed the state budget, which immediately affected the loss of direct care staff.

Today, people live in dignity in group homes throughout the country because of our model. But sadly, today we are still fighting another “war” that must be won — one to get people who take care of our residents a living wage!

Being in the garden and meeting Bryan Carey has been the highlight of my time in Palm Beach. Life is always about the people you meet and I feel blessed to have met Bryan. He kissed my hand, but I gave him an enormous warm hug for him to send to heaven where his dad now resides! 

Rest in peace, Gov. Carey. You did a great service to hundreds of thousands of special people!

Insurance broker Missy Sullivan with a well-dressed “local”
My guest Sandra Schoenbart and I surprisingly both wore yellow to brighten a gray day
Meg & James McCartney