Scene Last Night: Druckenmiller, Gary Cohn, Langone, Larry Fink

NYU Langone Violet Ball
Stanley Druckenmiller, who manages his own fortune, and Gary Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs Group. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Stanley Druckenmiller greeted Gary Cohn before the two waded into a maze of seated guests last night for the Langone Medical Center Violet Ball at Cipriani 42nd Street.

Druckenmiller, who recently closed his fund Duquesne Capital Management LLC, shot ahead to his front and center table, where he found his wife, Fiona. Their neighbors included the dean of New York University’s Langone Medical Center, Dr. Robert I. Grossman, and Dr. Richard Tsien, the newly installed director of the center’s Neuroscience Institute, funded by a $100 million gift from the Druckenmillers.

Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., took his seat at an adjacent table and pulled out the thick journal with more than 50 pages of tributes to the Druckenmillers, the ball’s honorees. His seatmates included Larry Fink, chairman and chief executive officer of BlackRock Inc. and a board member of the Langone Medical Center, and Thomas S. Murphy, co-founder of Crestview Partners LP. Nearby were portfolio managers John Long and David Rogers of PointState Capital, formed by former Duquesne Capital staff, and Thompson Dean, managing partner and CEO of Avista Capital Partners LLC.

Kenneth Langone, a $200 million donor to, and chairman of, the center, came to the lectern and announced that the event had raised $9.7 million, $3 million above the previous record.

Of the honorees, Langone said, “To Elaine and me, they’re part of our family.” He noted with pride that he is the godfather of the Drukenmillers’ daughter Tess, who is headed to Brown University in the fall.

Closing his fund hasn’t made Druckenmiller more hands-on with his philanthropy.

‘Ensembles of Neurons’

“We try to back the best people at the various nonprofits,” Druckenmiller said during cocktail hour. “The best thing I can do is to make money to help them do their job.”

The Druckenmillers have placed their bets on Dr. Tsien, recruited from Stanford University. He is focusing the institute’s work on network neuroscience.

“We’re talking about how ensembles of neurons work together,” Dr. Tsien said. “Like a symphony orchestra.”

The medical center presented the Druckenmillers with a framed photograph of a neuron within the hippocampus.

Many Wore Hats

Robert E. Diamond Jr., chief executive officer of Barclays Plc, arrived at the Central Park Conservancy’s Frederick Law Olmsted luncheon with his daughter, Nell, a senior at Princeton University who is joining Deutsche Bank on July 6.

Diamond, the event’s corporate chairman, assumed his post on the receiving line next to the chairman of the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy, Gillian Miniter, to greet more than 1,000 guests.

Many wore hats. Nell Diamond wore a red topper made of turkey feathers and ostrich quills. Donya Bommer, a former television anchor who is married to hedge-fund founder Scott Bommer, crafted her hat in her kitchen with her 3-year-old from a Zitomer headband and tin foil. It was a copy of the hat Princess Beatrice wore to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Robert Diamond was hatless. “If I had worn one, it would have been a Red Sox cap,” he said.

Also hatless were the guests at Jeffrey Peek’s “Annual Men’s Table,” including Gerald Hassell, president of the Bank of New York Mellon, and William Harrison, former chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase. Peek is vice chairman for investment banking at Barclays Capital.

“We’re here to see all the beautiful women,” said Harrison.

‘British Weather’

Inclement weather meant umbrellas and tents.

“If you invite a British bank, you get British weather,” Diamond said at the lectern, as guests including Conservancy trustees Richard Gilder and Diana DiMenna nibbled at their roasted chicken and wheatberry farro salad.

Diamond noted he left New York for London in 1988, and returned in 2008, to find Central Park “incredibly transformed” thanks to the work of the conservancy, which raises money for, and manages, the park.

Now he lives on Central Park West with his wife, Jennifer. “The first thing we do and the last thing we do every day is look out on Central Park,” he said.

The event raised more than $3 million for the park.

(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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