Scene Last Night: Yacht Club Warms to Oyster Boy, Harbor School

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Murray Fisher, co-founder of the Harbor School and president of the New York Harbor Foundation, which raises funds for the school.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Murray Fisher, co-founder of the Harbor School and president of the New York Harbor Foundation, which raises funds for the school. Close

Murray Fisher, co-founder of the Harbor School and president of the New York Harbor Foundation, which raises funds for the school.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Mary Burnham, an architect, and Brad Burnham, a venture capitalist and chairman of the New York Harbor Foundation board. Close

Mary Burnham, an architect, and Brad Burnham, a venture capitalist and chairman of the New York Harbor Foundation board.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jayni Chase, environmental education advocate and benefit co-chairman. Close

Jayni Chase, environmental education advocate and benefit co-chairman.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Nathan Dudley, principal of the New York Harbor School; Murray Fisher, co-founder of the school; and Edward Biedermann, assistant principal of the school. Close

Nathan Dudley, principal of the New York Harbor School; Murray Fisher, co-founder of the school; and Edward... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Alex Matthiessen, former president of Hudson Riverkeeper and principal of Matthiessen Strategies, and Marc Yaggi, deputy director of Waterkeeper Alliance. Close

Alex Matthiessen, former president of Hudson Riverkeeper and principal of Matthiessen Strategies, and Marc Yaggi,... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Edward Amorosi, a trustee of the New York Harbor Foundation, and Sarah Mason, who works for an investment manager and runs her own gluten-free baking business, Mason Made. Close

Edward Amorosi, a trustee of the New York Harbor Foundation, and Sarah Mason, who works for an investment manager and... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Craig O'Brien, a designer for Vineyard Vines; Carrie Waible, who is organizing the Harbor School Regatta on September 22; Sarah Douglis, vice president of creative affairs for CBS Eco Media; and Marc Yaggi, deputy director of Waterkeeper Alliance. Close

Craig O'Brien, a designer for Vineyard Vines; Carrie Waible, who is organizing the Harbor School Regatta on September... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Phoebe Dick, Christina Bennison, and Leslie Smith compared notes on life as the girlfriend/spouse of a sailor. "It means on many weekends you're alone at home," Smith said. Close

Phoebe Dick, Christina Bennison, and Leslie Smith compared notes on life as the girlfriend/spouse of a sailor. "It... Read More

In the model room of the New York Yacht Club last night, the crowd threw around some big numbers.

“A billion, we want a billion,” said Alpha Francois.

The high-school senior at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School was referring to the number of oysters his school hopes to grow in the harbor.

As Francois explained at the public school’s fundraiser, student and volunteer scuba divers are planting oysters at five sites around Governors Island, home to the school.

He first tasted an oyster when he was a freshman. “I was tricked into it,” he said. “You had to eat it to pass.”

As for whether those billion oysters will drive down the price of one’s next romantic night at the raw bar, the answer is no.

The oysters are planted to rejuvenate the harbor. The gooey creatures act as filters that keep the water clean.

Also there: the man whose passion had inspired many guests to attend, Murray Fisher, co-founder of the Harbor School and president of the New York Harbor Foundation; honoree Alex Matthiessen, former head of Hudson Riverkeeper who now runs his own environmental consulting firm, Matthiessen Strategies; honoree Rob Pirani, executive director of Governors Island Alliance; and the school principal, Nathan Dudley.

Near a glass vitrine filled with America’s Cup vessels rendered in miniature, Jayni Chase, a benefit co-chairman and wife of actor Chevy Chase, told of a recent expedition to the Galapagos with marine biologists.

Smart Octopus

“Octopus are extremely intelligent,” she said. “In one study, an octopus climbed out of his tank and got to the one next door to get food.”

Food was closer at hand for guests: sushi, rigatoni and roast beef.

Sarah Mason, who by day works for an investment manager and by night has started her own gluten-free baking company, Mason Made, donated the dessert she and a friend prepared for all. Exiting guests received little cardboard boxes containing her cupcakes: one “Perfect Pearl Vanilla” and one “Regatta Red Velvet.”

The school is hosting a fundraising regatta around Governors Island on Sept. 22.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the art and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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