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Returning to the New York charity circuit less than a week after the New York collections have ended can feel a bit like returning to school’s varsity sport after just barely surviving pre-season training. Are you ready for your first match?
The New Yorkers for Children fall gala Tuesday night was the first in many games to be played this season and a large roster showed up at Cipriani 42nd Street for the event, sponsored by CIRCA and St. John. Within minutes of the start time, a bottleneck of servers and long trained dresses clogged the entrance (as if we hadn’t already endured the General Assembly traffic outside).
“Waiters trays and handbags!” said Daniel Benedict as he tried to maneuver with three drinks in hand (they weren’t all his).
“It’s a mosh pit,” said a nearby acquaintance.
From left: Cristina Greeven Cuomo, Coralie Charriol Paul, Ivanka Trump, Maggie Cordish, Julie Macklowe
Ivanka Trump, Julie Macklowe, Debbie Bancroft, Muffie Potter Aston, Alexandra Lebenthal, Melissa George and Tinsley Mortimer hung near the bar during cocktails as Sotheby’s Jamie Niven jokingly tried to weasel his way out of manning the live auction later in the evening.
“I’ve lost my voice,” he said, sounding perfectly fine to me. “Do you want to do it for me? It’s easy.”
It certainly wasn’t easy corralling people to their chairs, as waiters tried to usher them towards the tables in vain.
“It’s more fun at the bar,” said one woman, ignoring their pleas.
“The anthropology of this event is as interesting as the event,” remarked Alexandra Kerry as she took her seat. No kidding. Where else would you find society grand dames rubbing shoulders with a Victoria’s Secret model (Selita Ebanks), a basketball player (Carmelo Anthony) and a tennis star (Serena Williams)?
From left: Selita Ebanks with Serena Williams; Carmelo Anthony
“My husband was just looking at Serena Williams’ butt. He was like, ‘It’s amazing!’” said my seatmate of the athlete, who was wearing a purple jersey body-conscious dress that showed off every curve. “She’s got buns of steel!”
Over a dinner of beet salad and filet mignon or fish, guests listened to humbling stories from NYFC Guardian scholars and Spirit Award recipients (the non-profit helps provide scholarships and education opportunities for children in foster care), before Anthony received a special honor for his work with underprivileged youths.
“I haven’t been nervous in a long time,” said Anthony, wearing thick-framed eyeglasses. “I grew up in the projects. I didn’t always have it easy.”
As the speeches ended, glow sticks were passed out to some confusion, which Nivens quickly cleared up when he approached the podium.
“This, ladies and gentlemen, is not a suppository, it’s a glow stick. And you raise it when I glower at you,” he said as he began a live auction that started with $50,000 lots and moved down to $1,500 pledges.
“And now this is the part I’ve dreaded,” he finished. “I once introduced ‘N Sync as ‘N,’ ‘S,’ ‘Y,’ ‘N,’ ‘C.’ This is ELEW.”
The performer then took to a piano center stage before dessert and dancing ensued.
Photos: Billy Farrell Agency