James Staley, chief executive of investment banking at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said he was at the NYU Cancer Institute gala last night “to support my wife.”
“I am involved because my father died of stomach cancer,” said Debora Staley, who is on the institute’s advisory board. “And because I have so many friends with cancer.”
The gala tables filled the Plaza Hotel Ballroom and the reception area, accommodating 600 guests in an area usually used for 300 or so.
“We had to turn people away,” said Lori Fink, chairman of the institute’s advisory board and wife of BlackRock Inc. Chairman Laurence Fink. “The reason we’re so successful is our board. Every meeting we learn about the science.”
“I love learning, but I’m biased,” said Kenneth Langone. “I’m chairman of the NYU Langone Medical Center,” of which the institute is a part within the larger domain of New York University.
The next board meeting will include presentations on integrative medicine and biomarkers, said Dr. William Carroll, the director of the NYU Cancer Institute.
The event raised $3.2 million.
Julianne Moore admitted she felt nutty reading a children’s book to adults but she was game. Her mother-in-law, Deborah Freundlich, had asked her to.
John C. Reilly was roped in by his mother-in-law’s best friend, Linda van Schaick.
And so a benefit for the Children of Bellevue Reach Out and Read program came together.
The idea was to simulate what happens at the hospital, where volunteers sit down on blue mats and read to every child who comes in, even if it’s just for a checkup.
The event, “Starry Night Stories,” took place at Florence Gould Hall in midtown Manhattan.
Moore and Samuel Jackson read “Freckleface Strawberry Best Friends Forever,” which Moore wrote. She is a dead ringer for Freckleface Strawberry, and gave her a giddy, sweet voice. Jackson deadpanned as her best friend Windy Pants Patrick.
Later Jackson made some very realistic pigeon coos as sound effects for Mo Willems’s “Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late,” read by his wife, LaTanya Richardson. Jackson is playing Martin Luther King Jr. in the Broadway production of “The Mountaintop,” which opens Oct. 13.
Ana Gasteyer brought down the house as a bratty, emphatic Olivia the Pig, reading “Olivia ... and the Missing Toy” by Ian Falconer.
Billy Crudup read “Duck for President” by Doreen Cronin, and Brooke Shields joined Reilly to read “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” by William Steig.
At Bellevue, doctors encourage parents to read aloud to their children at home by giving them free books in their native language.
Moore said the key to reading to children is to “give them enough space to use their imagination.”
Uptown, another organization also entertained adults with kid-like fun. Friends in Deed, which offers support to people with life-threatening illnesses, presented a treasure hunt at the American Museum of Natural History. Composer Stephen Sondheim designed the hunt.
“He is the master,” said Benjamin Rosen, a Sondheim game veteran and former chairman of Compaq Computer Corp. “The clues are as clever as his lyrics.”
The final clue required locating “Hall 4, Section 8, Aisle L, Case F8, Position R.”
Sound out 4-8-L-F8-R and you get, more or less, “freight elevator.” Team 18 got to the elevator first, and won mini dinosaurs and Droid mobile phones.
The rest of the event was less taxing on the brain: Waiters gave guests including Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick a choice of chicken or gnocchi for dinner, and Melissa Errico and Raul Esparza performed Sondheim songs.
Back at home, two babysitters watched over Errico’s three daughters, all under five.
“It takes a lot of people,” said Errico, who has a new CD of songs by Michel Legrand. “Everyone is very small. Bedtime is harder than daytime.”
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Korean Costume Science Foundation presented guests with a fashion show of Korean royal costumes and a dinner including rice and milk porridge and braised beef short ribs.
Guests included Bill Hwang of Tiger Asia Management, soprano Kathleen Kim (who played Madame Mao in “Nixon in China” at the Metropolitan Opera last winter), New York Philharmonic violinist Na Sun and costume designer and stylist Patricia Field.
“These clothes make Marie Antoinette look bourgeois,” said Field. “The embroidery, the fabric, the balance, it was all beautiful.”
The program included a presentation on the “Every Woman, Every Child” public-health program launched by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who dined with ABC correspondent Juju Chang and her husband, Neal Shapiro, president and CEO of WNET.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)