Breaking News

Tweet TWEET

Scene Last Night: Liam Neeson, Peter Rockefeller, Oysters

Tap for Slideshow
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Liam Neeson at the Museum of the City of New York Winter Ball.

Close
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Liam Neeson at the Museum of the City of New York Winter Ball. Close

Liam Neeson at the Museum of the City of New York Winter Ball.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Peter Rockefeller, Lavinia Snyder and Allison Rockefeller. Close

Peter Rockefeller, Lavinia Snyder and Allison Rockefeller.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Christopher Delaney, who works at an investment firm, and Lydia Fenet of Christie's. Close

Christopher Delaney, who works at an investment firm, and Lydia Fenet of Christie's.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jennifer Creel, an actress and designer, pauses as guests take their seats. Close

Jennifer Creel, an actress and designer, pauses as guests take their seats.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Brian Buckley McAllister and his father Brian McAllister, of McAllister Towing and Transportation Company Inc. Close

Brian Buckley McAllister and his father Brian McAllister, of McAllister Towing and Transportation Company Inc.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Hassan Barksdale, a graduate of New York Harbor School, James DeSimone, COO of the Staten Island Ferry and event honoree, Murray Fisher, president of New York Harbor Foundation, and Nate Dudley, Harbor School's principal. Close

Hassan Barksdale, a graduate of New York Harbor School, James DeSimone, COO of the Staten Island Ferry and event... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Seth Andrew, founder and superintendent, Democracy Prep Public Schools, Doug Snyder, chairman of the board of Harlem Prep and co-founder of Longbow Capital Partners, Katie Duffy, interim executive director, Harlem Prep, and Jake Foley, a Harlem Prep board member and managing director, Houlihan Lokey. Close

Seth Andrew, founder and superintendent, Democracy Prep Public Schools, Doug Snyder, chairman of the board of Harlem... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Vanessa Katzen, a mom, and her husband, Andrew Schleimer, a media and entertainment financier. Close

Vanessa Katzen, a mom, and her husband, Andrew Schleimer, a media and entertainment financier.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Tameka Royal, a Teach for America alumna and Cornell graduate, teaches 34 children in the fourth grade. Close

Tameka Royal, a Teach for America alumna and Cornell graduate, teaches 34 children in the fourth grade.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Devin Johnson, a Harlem Prep board member and COO, Studio One Networks, Nancy Fuchs, a partner at Kaye Scholer, and Roger Berg, a Harlem Prep board member and senior counsel, Pillsbury Law. Close

Devin Johnson, a Harlem Prep board member and COO, Studio One Networks, Nancy Fuchs, a partner at Kaye Scholer, and... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Lana Zak, an ABC News producer, and Chiv Heng, senior director for knowledge management at Democracy Prep Public Schools. Close

Lana Zak, an ABC News producer, and Chiv Heng, senior director for knowledge management at Democracy Prep Public Schools.

Last night Liam Neeson attended the Museum of the City of New York’s Winter Ball at the Plaza, with guests including Peter Rockefeller, managing director at Berkshire Capital Corp. and the grandson of Nelson Rockefeller, former New York governor and U.S. vice president.

The event drew 500 guests and raised $250,000.

A saltier crowd had gathered at the New York Yacht Club for a fundraiser for the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, including Brian McAllister, president of McAllister Towing & Transportation Co., a tugboat company his family founded in 1864.

McAllister has hired several graduates of the school and has high hopes for them.

“Someday they’ll own yachts like these,” he said, pointing to the models on display at the New York Yacht Club.

The public high school on Governors Island puts students on the water as part of a curriculum heavy on marine science. They even grow oysters.

“There’s no way to get around it, it’s expensive,” said Murray Fisher, co-founder of the school and president of the New York Harbor Foundation, which supports the school by raising $1 million annually.

Harlem Prep

Earlier in the week, Harlem Prep Charter School set out to raise its first $1 million, hosting a reception in the party space of Rouge Tomate.

The school opened six months ago with 270 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, but it’s not exactly new.

A year ago, the school was called Harlem Day Charter School, and it was failing. Then new management came in, Democracy Prep Public Schools, and a turnaround was born. The students and location -- in the public housing development Taino Towers -- stayed the same. Pretty much everything else changed.

Douglas Snyder, the chairman of the board of Harlem Prep, and the chief operating officer of Longbow Capital Partners LP, outlined some of these changes to a crowd from firms such as Apollo Global Management (APO) LLC, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Two Sigma Investments LLC, and Chilton Investment Co.

Twenty new teachers are at the helm, leading longer class days with concentrated instruction in reading and math, no recess. Every teacher has a BlackBerry and a laptop to easily communicate with parents. Classrooms are named after colleges the teachers attended (Cornell, Brown, Harvard, Northwestern, for example) to emphasize the school’s motto: “Work hard. Go to college. Change the world!”

And perhaps most impressive is the focus on learning. The time it takes to hand out a paper in class has been reduced to 22 seconds from 4 to 5 minutes.

“If you multiply those 4 to 5 minutes that were being wasted, 10 times a day, that’s almost an hour a day that was wasted on handing out papers instead of learning,” Snyder said.

Proof Point

He’d like Harlem Prep to become one of the highest- performing schools in the city.

“It’s important we do so, because it’s a national proof point that high-performing charter networks can take care of lower-performing charter networks,” he said. “In the maturation of any industry, it makes sense that those who do things well, the winners in whatever line of business you’re in, will take over the others and make them better.”

He’d like a hedge-fund or private-equity firm to adopt the school.

“It would make sense for a company that does turnaround efforts,” Snyder said. “It’s a natural pairing.”

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts 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 or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

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

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.