Surrounded by artifacts from investing’s past -- a New York Stock Exchange ticker tape from the morning the market crashed on Oct. 29, 1929, old Federal Reserve notes -- guests at the Museum of American Finance last night contemplated what would feature in exhibits of the future.
“IT guys,” said Ivan Brockman, a senior managing director at Blackstone Group LP who works with technology companies.
“A BlackBerry,” said Sarah Kadetz, a vice president at Blackstone, which her colleagues agreed has already earned its place.
“It will have to be interactive, so you can play with the data,” said John Studzinski, a Blackstone senior managing director who served as a chairman of the museum’s gala.
Duncan Niederauer, chief executive officer of NYSE Euronext, predicted that “20 years from now, there might be a Bitcoin in here.”
He also hopes that fewer people make the wrong assumption that the museum is focused on the stock exchange, given that it’s just down Wall Street.
“We keep saying to the financial-services industry: this is your museum,” Niederauer said. “I almost wish the museum is in midtown, because no one would confuse it with the visitor’s gallery. It really is about American finance. The museum shows the evolution from when there was no technology to today.”
Niederauer was honored with the Whitehead Award for Distinguished Public Service and Financial Leadership, named after John C. Whitehead, the former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs who served in the State Department and led the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Niederauer and his wife, Alison, led a fundraising campaign to build the Newmark School in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, for children with autism, and has served as a chairman of the Autism Speaks to Wall Street Celebrity Chefs Gala. He is on the advisory board of the finance museum.
Over the weekend, the honoree, who overlapped with the 91-year-old Whitehead at Goldman, re-read parts of Whitehead’s book “A Life In Leadership: From D-Day to Ground Zero.”
“It’s quite an honor for me to receive an award named after someone I’ve looked up to my whole adult life,” Niederauer said. “I hope there will be somebody my age now who will feel the same way about me the way I feel about John now. He’s a combination of a gentleman and a statesman, somebody who cares about everyone else more than himself. If we all lived our lives that way, it turns out the world’s a pretty good place.”
Guests included Robert Nardelli, the CEO and founder of Xlr-8 LLC and former chief of Chrysler and Home Depot, and Ruurd Kranenberg, the North America CEO of Rabobank International. The event raised $675,000, said Kristin Aguilera, the museum’s deputy director.
The museum’s current special exhibit is “The Fed at 100,” on view through Oct. 1.
Matisyahu played songs from his upcoming pop-reggae album last night for an audience that included Morgan Stanley managing director David Bieber and Goldentree Asset Management’s Jon Greenbaum. They were the honorees of the the American Friends of Sheba Medical Center -- Tel Hashomer gala.
Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, founded the medical center in 1948 to rehabilitate wounded soldiers. It has expanded to include heart, cancer and pediatric care and clinical research.
The event at Chelsea Piers raised more than $1.2 million to help build bomb-resistant emergency operating rooms, said Helene Feldman, the chairman of the organization’s board and wife of HFZ Capital Group founder Ziel Feldman.
“It’s an amazing idea that healing can take place amidst explosions, that there would be recovery happening through that,” Matisyahu said. “That is what the Jewish people are all about.”
The hospital is equipped for war and peace. An underground parking garage under the maternity ward can instantly be transformed to care for patients.
Matisyahu wasn’t the only singer at the event: Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary was in attendance.
Bieber said when he first learned about the hospital, he asked its director-general, Zeev Rotstein, “Why commit to a hospital 5,000 miles away?”
The hospital’s research endeavors were part of Rotstein’s answer. So was its policy of employing and treating people of all races and religions. “Sheba is fighting for peace by bringing many people together,” Bieber said.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)