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Benefit Shows New New York Style

September 18, 2002, 12:00 AM EDT

New Yorkers for Children fall gala Regent Wall Street Tuesday, 09.17.02, 7 PM onward
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Last year, the much anticipated New Yorkers for Children benefit went on just eight days after the September 11 attacks, and the tony event was watched as a bellwether for event style in the newly sober times. (The decor switched from green tablecloths to red, white and blue streamers.) This year the nonprofit's fall gala had less obvious pressure to acknowledge the tragedy, but the benefit still had references to the changed city. For starters, it was held in the Regent Wall Street hotel, located in the financial district just blocks from the former World Trade Center site.

For the decor, Bill Tansey of Tansey Design Associates used custom-made lampshades that used the same graphic elements that appeared on the invitation. Small black and white photographs of children—the beneficiaries of the nonprofit's work—were used to create a silhouette of New York's changed skyline. The three-foot tall lamps were staggered on some of the dinner tables, which were covered with black and white tablecloths.

The tables were also themed with different colored flowers in autumnal deep reds and oranges, and lighting designer Bentley Meeker used amber spotlights on the ballroom's columns, accentuating the grace of the room's design.

Designer Oscar de la Renta, along with W magazine's Patrick McCarthy and New York's socialite actress Gwyneth Paltrow chaired the event and held court greeting guests on the ballroom's mezzanine during cocktail hour. Later Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a short speech on the importance of the charity to a crowd that included Anna Wintour, Angela Bassett, Salma Hayek, Marina Rust Connor, Tory Burch and Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer. For dinner, the hotel served rack of lamb with mustard herbs and saffron potatoes for the main course, and assorted pastries for dessert.

Toward the end of the evening Paltrow and de la Renta held a live auction for the Movado SE denim watch Paltrow helped design for the company, the event's lead sponsor. The watch, whose style will go on sale to the public later on, brought in an additional $16,000 dollars to the more than $900,000 the event raised. As a parting gift, guests received a purse from Le Sportsac designed by Diane von Furstenberg, Kiehl's beauty products and a Swarovski crystal tattoo.

Paul Ohan

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