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One Glass of Champagne, Lots of Esberitox

Veteran partygoer Helen Lee Schifter offers tips on weathering the party season.

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How to survive the next several weeks’ worth of parties? Jada Yuan asked Helen Lee Schifter, board member of God’s Love We Deliver and seasoned party-attendee, for her advice.

How many benefits do you go to in any given fall season?
Not that many. Maybe half a dozen. I’ve been to the Neue Galerie and the Botanical Garden, and I’ll probably go to the Guggenheim on the 16th.

How do you juggle all the galas and regular-old Christmas parties?
One good thing is to lump your events together. I really only like to go out one or two nights a week, but in that one night, you could go to three or four things. And as soon as you get invitations, you must send them to your husband’s BlackBerry. That way they can say “Yes,” “No,” “Maybe,” “I have a business dinner.” Otherwise, they can get very grumpy.

What do you always have in your clutch?
Altoids. That’s my main essential. And I have a tiny Estée Lauder compact, like, one inch in diameter—the size of a pocket watch.

Does your husband carry the keys and the money, then?
We don’t really have keys. We don’t lock our door.

How do you stay healthy during party season?
I always go to bed before midnight. Also, there’s this herbal remedy called Esberitox. I found out about it from Blaine Trump. It’s like a supercharged kind of echinacea. I take it at the first sign of a cold or fatigue. And I drink a lot of water. I think it’s better if you’re going out to a lot of parties to have just one glass of champagne.

What food should never be served at a benefit?
The worst is when the food comes really, really late—and if it’s very, very small, no matter what it is. Because the men really need to eat a real dinner. Outside of that, anything goes.

Is there a theme party you’d like to see attempted?
I always thought it would be fun to do something that was like Dante’s Inferno.

Have you ever gotten sick and missed a bunch of parties?
No. I mean, in some ways I think it would be a relief. Then you can just stay home and wrap gifts and write Christmas cards. It would be like Bing Crosby.


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