When we heard “The Explorers Club,” we assumed they were being ironic. Would we be whisked away on an “expedition” of Cafe Carlyle’s arsenal of booze? Or better yet, a geological dig inside of a Hermès bag? But no, these people were serious.
The Explorers Club is squeezed into a historic townhouse on East 70th Read More
Last month, more than 700 tuxedoed and ball-gowned revelers gathered in the Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life for the annual S.L.E. Lupus Foundation gala. As the attendees feasted on black American caviar, Margaret Dowd, the foundation’s executive director, was marveling at something else: the size of the crowd.
The foundation had not seen so many people at its annual gala since 2007. “It’s been very tough the last few years, and we had to cut expenses drastically,” she said. “In 2009, many of our donors said, ‘Our portfolios were really harmed and we have to cut our donations, but we’ll be back.’ And they did come back. This year has been much, much better.”
The benefit raised $2.5 million—a significant jump from the $2.2 million raised at last year’s. Things have not returned to the 2007 level, when the gala’s $3.2 million haul set a national record, which has yet to be topped, for lupus research funds collected at a single event, but the foundation is on track to raise 10 to 12 percent more this year than the previous one. Ms. Dowd added that the nonprofit’s spring luncheon saw such a dramatic spike in attendance this year—a 30 percent increase—that next year they plan to hold it in the Plaza.
Occupy the Hamptons
On Sunday, with temperatures hovering around 85 degrees, the Occupy Wall Street movement headed Out East to protest Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s $50,000 a plate dinner at the Southampton home of billionaire David Koch— one of three local fundraisers expected to raise a cumulative $3 million over the weekend.
Shouting “Election for sale” and “For $50,000, you could be a Koch whore too,” the crowd of approximately 150 people assembled with signs and music behind a banner reading “Mitt Romney Has a Koch Problem,” the event’s unofficial slogan. A similar banner was flown above the nearby beach, towed behind a MoveOn-commissioned plane. That organization also brought its Romney Mobile, complete with fake dog strapped to the roof and company logos such as UBS and Bain Capital Ventures on the side.
More than an anti-Romney protest, the focus was on Koch and the influence of wealth on the electoral system. Signs read “Romney is All Koched Up” and “End Corporate Personhood” while a balloon was scrawled with “Romney = Koch Sucker” (the protestors apparently wanting it both ways, pun-wise, when it came to Mr. Koch’s surname).
“Honestly, there is nothing like it,” Dianna DiMenna told The Observer Monday evening. “The beauty, the discipline, the lineage, the heritage, the history!” she gushed. While Ms. DiMenna’s lavish words may have applied to a great many ventures beloved by the city’s gentility, she was in fact referring to ballet. As the evening’s prima, she greeted guests in the marbled lobby of the David H. Koch Theater with that particular hostess’s élan, kissing elegant consoeurs and their bow-tied husbands. The decorous crowd had gathered for the School of American Ballet’s Winter Ball, and there was surely no shortage of pomp or circumstance.
When David Koch left his home at 1040 Fifth Avenue, which was once occupied by Jackie O., he said one of the things he would miss the most was his views of the Temple of Dendur at the Met across the street. One thing he did not miss? The deteriorating plazas out front.
On Monday afternoon, across the street from Serafina on East 61st Street, a coffin sat on a black metal platform-the latest attention-grabbing prop adopted by union members now that Scabbie the inflatable rat has become more a beloved urban mascot than a shocking symbol of corporate malfeasance.
The mostly plastic casket was black with faux Read More
Funding Cuomo: David Koch and wife gave $87,000. [Chris Good]
Funding Cuomo: Koch gave $100,000 to the state GOP. [Liz Benjamin]
Voting the Budget: “They perform all right. Like trained seals.” [Larry Littllefield]
Lawsuit: Goo-goo considers one, over access to capital building during protest. [Liz Benjamin]
State Budget: Silver gives Read More
The Koch BrothersLists
Forbes released its annual list of the 400 richest Americans last night, and the two New Yorkers in the top ten have swapped positions. David Koch, the billionaire right-wing Tea Party benefactor, has seen his fortune increase to a hefty $21.5 billion, placing him fifth on the list. Bloomberg’s riches increased as well Read More
David Patrick Columbia, the author of the Web site New York Social Diary, was sitting where he often sits, at the front table at Swifty’s on the Upper East Side. He was talking about what makes the arts possible, the web of money, power and ambiguous motives that has for a long time successfully convinced Read More
Despite the kaleidoscopic proliferation of political media over the past decade, most of what Americans hear and read about the workings of our democracy can be politely termed superficial. Only very rarely does journalism fully penetrate the glittering illusions created by partisans on every side to reveal the grittier realities. When a reporter Read More