The Executive City Councillor of Finance, Economic and International Affairs of Vienna, Renate Brauner visited New York City to participate in the 61st Viennese Opera Ball New York and to honor Stephen Harnik, long-standing legal counsel to the Consulate General in New York.
The 61st VIENNESE OPERA BALL
The ball is held annually at New York’s iconic WALDORF ASTORIA Hotel. Brauner was joined by Ambassador Wolfgang Waldner, who wore his decorations by the City of Vienna and led the the Committee of Honor into the ballroom to enjoy the opening by the “débutants” couples to the familiar sound of Vienna Waltzes, framed by live opera performances, and a bright West Point color guard. Ambassador Waldner was delighted to attend the ball: "The Vienna Opera Ball at the Waldorf Astoria is arguably the most prestigious Ball outside of Vienna. A truly enjoyable evening, owed to the able organization of Ms. Marcie Rudell whom I hereby would like to congratulate for her outstanding work. A night to be remembered - until we meet again next year!"
Honoring Mr. Stephen Harnik
Stephen Harnik, long-standing Legal Counsel to the Consulate General and the other Austrian Missions in New York, was handed the “Silberner Rathausmann” award by City Councillor Renate Brauner, member of the City Government, on February 18th at the Residence of Consul General Georg Heindl.
Vienna Mayor Michael Häupl conferred this award to Mr. Harnik for his merits in promoting the ties of Viennese cultural institutions with New York. Harnik generously puts his legal expertise and contacts at the disposal of Vienna cultural flagships such as the Freud Museum, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Albertina Gallery or the Konzerthaus. He has become a key personality in cultural relations between Vienna and the United States.
Stephen Harniks parents were both born Viennese, but forced to flee in 1938 by the Nazi Regime. Stephen’s father Hans Harnik already served in the position now held by his son, as Legal Counsel to the Consulate General.
In her laudatory remarks, City Councillor Brauner praised Stephen Harnik as “The best Viennese New York has, and the best New Yorker Vienna has”.
The “Silberner Rathausmann” is a depiction of the figure of the medieval knight atop the highest tower of the Town Hall, who symbolically watches over Vienna.