The blond nurse, in white uniform, had a message pinned to her back: “Obama Wins 2nd Term!”
“I dressed as my host’s worst fear,” said the nurse, actually Ron Grelsamer, a knee surgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital. “I thought, what would scare him the most?”
The joke was intended for Blackstone Group LP’s chief executive officer and chairman, Steve Schwarzman, a Romney supporter and the host of a Nui Nui Hui Table last night at “Hulaween,” a costume party to benefit the New York Restoration Project.
Asked if he’d been scared, Schwarzman said “No comment” as he dug into a meal of pate and steak frites prepared by Jean-Georges Vongerichten at a table decorated with mini-Eiffel towers and bloody gourds (the blood was dripped red wax). The party’s theme this year was “Une Saison en Enfer.”
Besides the nurse from hell, Schwarzman’s company included a fetching Marilyn Monroe, a prim French maid, Batman and a woman in a tinsel wig who said she came from Planet Fabulous.
Schwarzman dressed as a French devil. He’d arrived at the Waldorf Astoria holding a pitch fork and wearing tails, a red sequined bow tie, a black top hat and a Gallic sash.
“I’ve always loved Halloween,” Schwarzman said. He could not recall his favorite costume as a kid growing up in Abington, Pennsylvania.
The event took place two days after Hurricane Sandy struck the region. Conversation revolved around the destruction she caused, including loss of life, homes, and power outages.
“I can’t believe you’re here, give yourself a great big hand, you made it!” Bette Midler, founder of New York Restoration Project, said to guests from the stage.
Costumed as Coco Chanel, Midler then did a musical number set to “Can Can,” thanking donors. Michael Kors, Al Gore, Martha Stewart, Ellen Levine, Ann Ziff and Warren Eisenberg, co-chairman of Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. received mentions.
Many focused on the storm’s impact on the very things that New York Restoration Project works to create and maintain: community gardens, green spaces in underserved neighborhoods, trees all over the city.
“I’m weeping for a lot of trees at the New York Botanical Garden,” one of the event’s honorees, Amy Goldman, said. “We lost about 92 old-growth trees.”
Goldman dressed as a hot chili pepper, a nod to the book she’s working on about peppers.
Blondie closed out the evening, with Debbie Harry, in Heidi braids and blue showgirl feathers, singing the band’s hits and one cover.
“Since so many of us don’t have them, I’m going to sing ’Lights,’” Harry said, introducing Ellie Goulding’s pop hit.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include Scott Reyburn on the art market, Greg Evans on TV, Craig Seligman on books and Jason Harper on cars.