There was no scolding last night when former Citigroup Inc. chairman Richard Parsons spilled red wine on the white carpet at the Apollo Spring Gala.
It happened while Parsons was talking with Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit and Gabon’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Moussa-Adamo. Both were unscathed.
Perhaps it was just a sign of a good party. High spirits had taken hold at the concert. Lionel Richie sang “Three Times a Lady,” Gladys Knight paid tribute to Etta James with “At Last,” and Chaka Khan belted “I’m Every Woman.” The gala raised $1.2 million.
At the late-night supper in the white-carpeted tent, Paul Tudor Jones of Tudor Investment Corp. and Maya Harris of the Ford Foundation said their favorite number was “Jesus Is Love,” performed by Donnie McClurkin and the Tuskegee Choir. Richie, inducted into the Apollo Hall of Fame along last night, recorded it with the Commodores. James was also inducted posthumously.
Pandit, recipient of the gala’s Corporate Award, said he likes all kinds of music.
The CEO also explained that he knows the area around the Apollo because he went to school a few blocks west. He was referring to Columbia University, where he earned degrees including an M.B.A. and a Ph.D.
Post-Citi, Parsons said he’s working on the things he loves, which include reopening the jazz club Minton’s at 118th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, in the second quarter of 2013.
“The idea is to pair great music with great food and ambience,” Parsons said.
To that end, he added, he’s hired Alexander Smalls, a chef, restaurateur and former opera singer.
New York Yankees player Mark Teixeira and Gary Cohn, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s president, were part of the dream team last night that helped Harlem RBI raise $2.3 million to teach kids baseball. Last year participants had a college placement rate of 100 percent.
“Baseball is a good metaphor for life,” Teixeira said. “You don’t hit every ball or win every game. What you learn is to dust yourself off and try again.”
Cohn agreed on how sports teach the importance of failure, “except when I’m coaching little kids,” he said. “Then both teams win.”
Meanwhile guests fancifully went back to school at the New York Public Library Spring Gala.
Waiters served peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches on silver trays. Tabletops were chalkboards, accessorized with cups of sharpened pencils and erasers.
The homework: taking in a concert by Tony Bennett and a ceremony that awarded teacher and education-reform advocate Seymour Fliegel with the Brooke Russell Astor Award.
TPG-Axon Capital Management’s Beth Kojima was a gala chairwoman along with library trustees Gayfryd Steinberg and Susan Morgenthau. The event raised almost $1.4 million.
At the Citymeals-on-Wheels gala at Rockefeller Center, chef Michael Cimarusti of the Los Angeles restaurant Providence served kelp-cured sockeye salmon with crispy buckwheat and salmon skin.
On his home turf, Yuji Fujinaga, the chef of Sea Grill, offered swordfish pastrami and pickled ramps on a bun. The secret ingredient: Urfa Bibar, Turkish smoked pepper.
The event raised $825,000 to deliver meals to 16,500 homebound elderly in New York City.
The Citymeals-on-Wheels fiscal year ends June 30, “so as of July 1, we start at zero again,” said the organization’s executive director, Beth Shapiro. The annual private fundraising goal is $18 million.