Mark Teixeira upped his game Monday night: He brought along Alex Rodriguez to Harlem RBI’s Bids for Kids. Because when fans are in the house, two first-place Yankees at a charity benefit are better than one.
“A-Rod has outperformed, Tex has outperformed, Pineda’s been better than expected,” said Goldman Sachs’s Don Truesdale of the infielder, first baseman and pitcher Michael Pineda.
“Keep away from injuries and great things can happen,” said Blackstone Group’s David Blitzer.
Vik Sawhney of Blackstone said he has the game on in the background wherever he is. “They play in the weakest division in baseball,” Sawhney said. “If they stay healthy, they have a reasonable chance of winning the division.”
To all of which, Rodriguez said: “So far, so good. We’re getting contributions from our entire roster. We hope to keep improving as the summer gets hotter.”
Oh, there was at least one Mets fan on hand: Colbert Narcisse of Morgan Stanley, who called his team support “35 years of pain -- and character building.”
“It’s great to have the Mets and the Yankees both in first place,” Narcisse said. “The more the merrier. The Mets have a great starting rotation.”
The Bids for Kids gala, which included live and silent auctions, celebrated the completion of a new building on 104th Street in East Harlem. The facility features affordable-housing units, Harlem RBI’s offices and the DREAM Charter School that Harlem RBI founded. Built with Jonathan Rose Companies, it will be ready in time for the next school year.
Teixeira helped raise $22 million for the project and gave $1 million himself.
Like this season for the Yankees, with its winning and losing streaks, the fundraising had its ups and downs.
“The story of the building and the capital campaign is a great lesson for all of our kids,” Teixeira said. “If someone told me as a kid, ‘Hey Mark, you have a 0.01 percent chance of making the major leagues,’ I wouldn’t have tried. But every single day you keep fighting, you keep trying to do good things, you keep trying to reach your goals. The lesson is, it doesn’t happen in a day, it’s not magical. It’s hard work and perseverance.”
Harlem RBI serves more than 1,700 boys and girls, ages five to 22, with a combination of academics, sports, college prep and enrichment. The DREAM Charter School Chorus performed Estelle’s “Conquerer” at the top of the program at Cipriani 42nd Street. The third-grade members were absent because they were on a college tour.
A few blocks uptown at the Waldorf Astoria, two seniors at the Bronx High School of Science shared their college plans at Prep for Prep’s Lilac Ball.
Ian Effendi will go to Rochester Institute of Technology and wants to become a video-game developer. (His favorite game is “The Legend of Zelda.”) Prep for Prep gave him “a core feeling of being prepared,” he said.
Dion Aljure, who will go to Stony Brook University to study psychology, said Prep for Prep “opened doors,” including enrollment during middle school at the private St. Bernard’s School.
Prep for Prep identifies high-performing students of color in the fifth, sixth, and seventh grades in New York City public schools, and helps them prepare for college and life. Many are enrolled in independent and boarding schools.
The event’s honorees, Richard Reiss of Georgica Advisors and Byron Wien of Blackstone Group, formed a friendship over ski trips and with their wives have traveled the world together. A meaningful component of the trips has been visiting schools in India, Egypt and South Africa.
Closer to home, Reiss said he first got to know the quality of Prep for Prep students when he met some in his daughter’s class at Brearley. He then created a scholarship at Dartmouth, his alma mater, that has so far supported six Prep for Prep students.