Scene Last Night: Schwarzman as Sardine, Jon Stewart

Asia Society
Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group LP. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

“I wasn’t worried” about a default on U.S. debt, Blackstone Group Chief Executive Officer Steve Schwarzman said at the Asia Society’s gala.

“I was a little worried,” said Bill Ackman, Pershing Square Capital Management CEO, at Park Avenue Armory’s gala.

“I don’t believe the market felt that the debt ceiling would lead to a default,” BlueMountain Capital managing partner Jes Staley said at the NYU Cancer Institute gala. “If it had, we wouldn’t be here tonight.”

With the shutdown ended and Standard & Poors 500 reaching a record high, last night the mood on the social circuit was fizzy.

This was especially true at the Park Avenue Armory, where special effects put guests in the clouds.

The experience, dubbed “Into the Void,” was event designer David Monn’s first piece of performance art. Some of its features: One continuous S-shaped table under strings of white paper leaves; waiters in black burglar-like attire (complete with sunglasses), and 140 dancers who laughed in guests’ faces -- all of which managed to upstage honoree Robert Wilson’s four-minute monologue.

The “clouds,” the harpist, and the violinist disappeared when waiters on CitiBikes drove out with dessert. Guests hopped on and rode around.

Meanwhile, Schwarzman was packed like a sardine in the Pierre Hotel ballroom for a more traditional gala.

On the default, he said he was “worried that they’d get the timing wrong of playing the hand out until the end. I never thought it would last longer than a day or two. Fortunately for the United States and the world, that didn’t happen.”

Schwarzman spent dinner seated next to honoree David Bonderman, chairman of TPG Advisors V Inc., and across from Stephen Bird, CEO of Citigroup Inc.’s Asian Pacific unit.

“China’s going to be a winner,” Schwarzman said.


Comedian Jon Stewart, at a gala for the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, said his kids have celiac.

“When they’re out of the house, my wife and I have a gluten fest,’ Stewart said. Not last night: the meal at the Mandarin Oriental was gluten-free, including the breadsticks and the dinner rolls.

Valor Medal

Czeslawa Zak’s Polish family hid 14 Jews during the Nazi invasion.

“I was being normal,” Zak said, through an interpreter, at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s New York gala on Oct. 16, where she received a Medal of Valor. “I’m not a hero. I’m human. I’m just a regular person.”

At the Waldorf Astoria were Trian Fund Management LP’s Nelson Peltz and Lazard Ltd.’s Ken Jacobs. The event raised $1.6 million to promote global Jewish human rights.

Zak, 86, who lives in Warsaw, had never flown in an airplane until a few months ago, when she made her first trip to Israel. Last night, “Pippin” became her first Broadway show.

Muse highlights include the New York and London weekend guides, Scott Reyburn on the art market, Lewis Lapham on history, Jeremy Gerard on U.S. theater and Amanda Gordon’s Scene Last Night.

(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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