Lineman Vince Wilfork threw a football standing by his seat in the Waldorf Astoria ballroom last night to quarterback Tom Brady on stage, who caught it, then fumbled. Wilfork threw another to linebacker Jerod Mayo. It bounced on the piano where Elton John would later perform.
“Your job is safe,” New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told Brady.
The captains of the Patriots were on hand to fete Kraft as the recipient of the Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence.
So there was football, a football-inspired menu (Red Zone duet of beef and salmon), music (John’s 30-minute greatest-hits set was the surprise finale) and talk of football and music.
“In a world of technology that distracts, music and sport are the two things that bring communities -- people of all ages, ethnicities, people of all classes and religions -- together,” Kraft said in his remarks.
“I like to listen to music,” Wilfork said. “It keeps me level -- never get too high, never get too down. It gets me ready.”
“We all need a soundtrack to our lives, a score to think through,” said Anne Finucane, Bank of America’s global strategy and marketing officer and a Carnegie Hall board member.
Kraft said Finucane “nudged” him to be honored. She also recruited her boss, Brian Moynihan, chief executive officer of Bank of America, to serve as a gala chairman.
Among the others were Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Edward Forst, senior adviser at Fenway Partners LLC, and Ronald Perelman, chairman and CEO of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc. And of course there was Sandy Weill, Carnegie Hall’s chairman, who recruited Kraft to its board.
The event raised $5 million with guests including Les Moonves, CEO of CBS Corp., James Tisch, CEO of Loews Corp., and Robert Diamond, the former CEO of Barclays Plc, who said he’s been spending his time going to dinners like this.
As for the newest addition to the Patriots roster, Tim Tebow, Hall of Famer Andre Tippett had this advice: “You’ve got to fit in with the demeanor of the team; these captains have a high standard.”
Brady said he’ll spend his five-week break at the beach, wearing flip-flops made by Grendene SA, endorsed by his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen. “Then it’s back to cleats,” he said. “I don’t wear flip-flops in the locker room.”
In black tie and gowns, the guests of the Municipal Art Society added some elegance to the evening commute as they walked through the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal to dinner in Vanderbilt Hall.
The setting prompted the honorees to share cherished Metro-North moments. David Rockefeller Jr., the chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation, recalled commuting on the Hudson line with his father. “I’ve always wanted to say, ’Train leaving for Spuyten Duyvil,’” he said.
Judith Rodin, the foundation’s president, recalled her trip to New Haven to take her first faculty job at Yale. She stocked up on food at Zabar’s and, running to make her train, “paused for a moment on the steps and said, ’Goodbye, New York, I’ll be back.’”
Vin Cipolla, president of the Municipal Art Society, and Eugenie Birch, its chairman, both spoke of the organization’s campaign to transform Penn Station into a “jewel” like Grand Central. Birch recalled a time when Grand Central was a dump.
“It was a jewel even back when it was a dump,” clarified Shaun Donovan, U.S. housing secretary.
J. Michael Evans, a vice chairman of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Frederick Iseman, CEO of CI Capital Partners LLC, were among the guests last night. The event raised $1.1 million.
(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 Lance Esplund on art, Lewis Lapham on books.