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NEW YORK Following the Belmont Stakes the previous weekend, the 21 Club--famous for the rows of jockey statues that adorn the exterior--hosted Literacy Partners' Dress the Jockeys auction to raise money for the adult reading nonprofit. Designers Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Kenneth Cole, Josie Natori, Salvatore Ferragamo and others dressed four-foot cast-aluminum statues in a variety of outfits, from a harlequin-dressed doll by LeRoy Neiman to a Marilyn Monroe look-alike by Harry Winston. (Some designers chose to ignore the jockeys' gender and clothed them in female attire.)
George McNeely of Christie's hosted a live auction of the attractively attired jockey statues, successfully coaxing higher bids out of some participants by repeating things like, “Come on! It's for charity!” Three of the club's second-floor rooms were filled with rows of chairs, and bouquets of flowers (by Jonathan Florist) set around the room gave the atmosphere the delicate scent of lilies. The most coveted jockey: The New York Yankees' jockey, which fetched $5,000 for the association.