The scene at Geoffrey Bradfield's soiree for about 300 of his closest friends. 9:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Last night was another beautiful night in New York with temperatures in the 60s. I put on a black tie and headed out first to the New Yorkers For Children benefit at Cipriani 42nd Street. Honorary Chairs, Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta and Commissioner John B. Mattingly. Gala chairs: Oscar de la Renta, Deborra-Lee and Hugh Jackman, Christine and Steve Schwarzman. Gala co-chairs: Kevin Huvane and Sarah Jessica Parker. Emcee Diane Sawyer.
New Yorkers for Children was started ten years ago, an idea in the cap of Commissioner Scoppetta looking for a way to help children in the foster care system in New York. Mr. Scoppetta was once one of those children. Susan Burden told me he called her and asked her to join him. Mrs. Burden has already had experience of a similar sort with her participation in the Burden Center for the Aging which was started by her late husband Carter Burden many years ago when he was on the City Council. The first fundraiser which was seven years ago was a pretty good affair – held at the Chelsea Piers, I think, and raising a good sum for a start-up. There were 34,000 children in the system then. This year’s fundraiser was a smash. I don’t know what they raised but I know it was up there. There are now 17,000 children in the foster care system in New York.
Diane Sawyer, who’s made an ABC-TV documentary special on the issue of foster care children in America, told the audience that New Yorkers for Children believes in approaching it one child at a time, one day at a time, one year at a time. They’ve been making great strides going that way.
They honored Rev. Alfonso Wyatt, a minister on the staff of The Greater Allen Cathedral of New York, who works with the Fund for the City of New York, an independent private operating foundation. He has developed innovative initiatives that respond to the needs of young people in foster care, institutional settings, public schools, employment/training programs and faith-based projects.
The 2006 Freddie Mac Foundation Spirit Award was presented to Sha’Rhone Frost, a freshman at John Jay College for Criminal Justice. Ms. Frost hopes to attend law school when she graduates in 2010 with the goal of becoming a District Attorney. Ms. Frost, who is 18 years old, has grown up in foster care and is a great role model for other young people in care.
The partial underwriters of the evening’s event were Nokia, and the Scott and Donya Bommer Foundation and the Jay and Kelly Sugarman Foundation.
Susan Burden and Sha’Rhone Frost
I left the dinner about nine-forty and headed up to 67th Street between Madison Avenue where Geoffrey Bradfield was holding at one his very special soirees for about 300 of his closest friends, for champagne and a buffet dinner served by a staff in 18th century costume and observed by a several very much alive blackamoors.
Both JH and I were there with the Digitals, snapping away in this crowd of the rich, the chic and the shameless, everyone within one and a half degrees of separation and otherwise practically pressed up together. The mansion belonged to publishing tycoon Bob Guccione of Penthouse and is now for sale. When Geoffrey saw it, he said to the realtor, “what a great place for a party.” “It’s yours anytime,” the realtor said and that was that. Last night’s party was also a birthday celebration for the host who turned ... something more than 59 two days ago. The new 38. But more, much more on all that with lotsa party pictures on Monday’s Diary.
L. to r.: Geoffrey Bradfield; David Beers and Ann Nitze; Sylvia Miles.
Monique Yazigi and Sabrina Forsythe
Charlie Scheips, Ann Rapp, and Tom Fallon
Felicia Taylor with Frederick Anderson and Douglas Hannant