It’s been a long spring gala season. Yes, it’s only mid-May, but charity circuit regulars have already supported children in foster care (New Yorkers for Children), two ballet companies (NYCB and ABT), the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and underprivileged youth in the South Bronx (the East Side Settlement House), among many other worthy causes. So when one very well-heeled woman, upon arriving at the Starlight Roof of the Waldorf Astoria Tuesday evening, whispered “This is for cancer, right?” you had to forgive her.
Also, she was correct. The event was the annual Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s spring ball. This year the proceeds were earmarked for the society’s financial assistance program for patients. Graff sponsored the high-octane to-do, setting up heavily guarded jewelry displays in the cocktails room. (Secondary sponsor, Valentino, accounted for many of the night’s flowing gowns.).But some guests didn’t need to press their noses against the glass.
“I’m flying the flag,” said Jamee Gregory, showing off a pair of white and pink diamond chandelier Graff earrings. “And I don’t have to be Cinderella. My husband gave them to me for our anniversary.”
Others were feeling a little less buoyed by their dazzling jewels.
Just as attendees wrapped up their main courses, Sotheby’s auctioneer and member of the MSK Board of Overseers and Managers, Jamie Niven, took to the stage to wrangle pledges out of his audience. “An auctioneer’s worst nightmare is a room like this,” he lamented of the long, narrow space. “And a lot of white orchids on the tables enables people to hide from me.”
The proceedings then to moved on to a performance by Seth Meyers, a vice chairmen (his wife, Alexi Ashe Meyers, served as chairmen), followed by dancing led by DJ Mad Marj (aka Marjorie Gubelmann). “Is everyone enjoying their prom?” asked Meyers, to much laughter, before launching into a routine that covered everything from the White House Correspondents’ dinner to his post-college years in Amsterdam. His wife, however, bore the brunt of his ribbing.
“She’s the first woman I’ve lived with,” he said, explaining he’d only had male roommates before. “[The major difference] when you’re living with a woman is how much more often you’re asked, ‘What are you doing?’”