Penn Badgley, Chase Crawford Give It Up for Pakistan Flood Relief

Ever wonder what hedge fund guys and CW starlets discuss over expensive, handcrafted cocktails up in the lofty heights of the Boom Boom Room? Bet your first guess wasn’t the recent floods in Pakistan. But on Monday Night, an odd mash-up of young Hollywood and Wall Street folks didn’t just talk about this major disaster up on the 18th floor of the Standard Hotel—they ponied up some serious money for flood relief. (Tables for four went for $10,000 a pop.)

Michael Bloomberg was to have been the special guest, but he didn’t show (to be fair, it’s hard to make it to the Meatpacking District via the mayor’s preferred subway, the 4/5 train—specially in the rain), instead sending Fatima Shama from his office to give a shout out to those who donated as well as Pakistanis in “the five boroughs and beyond.”

After other speeches and more cocktails, the guests who filled the art deco lounge were treated to an “intimate” performance by John Legend, who sang a handful of songs from a grand piano with the drizzly NYC skyline behind him. (A few days before, he did the same thing over at the Wall Street Journal.)

Legend said he travelled to Pakistan recently, “and the numbers coming out of there are pretty dramatic: 14 million people displaced. When you’ve been there and have that context, it changes the way you receive the information. You feel closer to it.”

After his set, guests like actor Aaron Yoo, “Gossip Girl’s” Penn Badgely, Vincent Piazza (Lucky Luciano in “Boardwalk Empire”) and “Top Chef Masters'” Kelly Choi, plus Keenan Thompson, Seth Myers, and Kristin Wiig of “SNL” listened to DJ Diallo Riddle, a former music director at the Standard who also writes for “The Jimmy Fallon Show.”

Jessica Stroup took two days off of filming the current season of “Beverly Hills 90210” to fly to NYC for the event. “I’m missing a table read tomorrow for this,” Stroup said. She even booked a plane ticket herself on-line to make the trip because “the situation is more serious than people realize there. The stories I’ve read really hit home, so I wanted to do what I can.”

Chace Crawford didn’t have as far to travel—he was filming an episode of “Gossip Girl” here in town: “Actually, we were shooting a big party scene earlier, so I just had to leave that and come to an soiree I really wanted to go to.”

Despite the incredible devastation—more people have been affected by the Pakistan floods than by the other recent high profile-tsunamis and earthquakes combined—the disaster has received surprisingly little attention (blame distance, U.S.-Pakistani politics, “disaster fatigue,” and perhaps religious prejudice), which is what prompted the Nur Project to put the fundraiser together. The evening raised almost a half a million dollars for victims, and that total, according to George C. Biddle of International Rescue Committee, who also spoke at the event, will help provide clean water to 140,000 people and medical relief to over 70,000 people.

“You’re just not hearing enough about how many people are in trouble,” Legend noted to the Observer. “And hey, a little “Gossip Girl” action never hurts.” Penn Badgley, Chase Crawford Give It Up for Pakistan Flood Relief