Scene Last Night: Harbor Investment Conference, Dancers Party

Harbor Investment Conference
William Ackman, CEO, Pershing Square Capital Management, and Mark Axelowitz, director, Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

“I’m a good conversationalist,” said hedge-fund manager William Ackman at a reception Thursday following the Harbor Investment Conference.

“It comes from a lot of blind dating.”

Ackman, the founder and chief executive officer of Pershing Square Capital Management LP, plied his gifts earlier in an onstage talk with Bruce Berkowitz, president and director of Fairholme Funds Inc.

The conference combines philanthropy with a forum in which top money managers share their wisdom. It took place at JP Morgan Chase’s headquarters on Madison Avenue in New York.

The event raised more than $400,000 for Boys & Girls Harbor Inc., an East Harlem-based agency that runs college-preparation and arts-education programs.

“We think it’s every child’s birthright to have a great education,” said conference founder Mark Axelowitz, director of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management. Axelowitz, a Harbor board member, was co-chairman of the event along with Ackman.

Yoga, Botox

Featured speakers included Craig Nerenberg, managing partner of Brenner West Capital Partners, and David Darst, managing director and chief investment strategist at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, who disclosed the budget plans for many in the room:

“Are we going to give our wealth to our kids? No. We’re going to spend it on Botox and being stretched on a yoga mat by a swami,” Darst joked.

Dance Fete

Artist David Salle and choreographer Karole Armitage used to date in the 1980s. Now they make beautiful parties together.

On Thursday night the pair put on a fundraiser for Armitage Gone! Dance at Capitale, an event venue in Lower Manhattan located in a former bank.

The Chinese New Year and art spectacle included a giant pig sculpture and dancers in skimpy black underwear.

Guests included Calvin Klein, Salman Rushdie and Julian Schnabel and his son Vito Schnabel. Also in evidence was Pierre Olivier Sarkozy, a managing director at the Carlyle Group, and half-brother of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Alba Clemente, gala cochairwoman, shopped Chinatown for the table centerpieces, which featured fortune cookies, jumbo paper parasols and red silk lanterns.

Guest Marcia Mishaan had her own food news. The healthy frozen kid’s foods company she founded with Claude Wasserstein, Samantha Schlumberger and Susie Cover, Susie’s Supper Club LLC, is introducing its macaroni-and-cheese cupcakes in 11 Whole Foods stores on Feb. 8.

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

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