• Och, Dinan, Karp among guests at Alternative Investment Gala
  • Cohen says `who knows' if he'll invest others' money again

"I’m in to win," Steve Cohen said Wednesday night at the Rainbow Room as the volume heightened on a throbbing bass line spun by globe-trotting DJ Mia Moretti and a waiter offered a tray of sliders pierced by pearl-clad toothpicks.

A pearl with your slider?
A pearl with your slider?
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Cohen was talking about the Powerball lottery with its $1.5 billion jackpot, but it was tempting to read into his remark a desire to return to managing other people’s money.

A few days ago, he reached an agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission that could have him back in the game as early as 2018.

And here he was taking a victory lap among peers and their underlings gathered at the Lincoln Center Alternative Investment Industry Gala. It may as well have been his party, given the warm greetings Cohen received.

Julie Macklowe and Steve Cohen
Julie Macklowe and Steve Cohen
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg
Jason Karp and Ilana Weinstein
Jason Karp and Ilana Weinstein
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Guests included established hedge-fund chiefs Dan Och, James Dinan, and Bruce Richards, and newcomers like Phil Hilal and SAC Capital alumnus Jason Karp, as well as Ilana Weinstein, a recruiter specializing in hedge funds. Who didn’t wonder, watching Cohen circulate in the room with sparkling crystals and miraculous city views, whether he’ll get back in the game.

"It’s one of those decisions, who knows, who knows what the markets will be like," Cohen said, noting that 2018 is a long way off. "All I know is things are good, we’re happy."

Avis and Bruce Richards
Avis and Bruce Richards
Phtoographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

"The beautiful thing is, it’s Steve’s decision to make," Richards said during the music performance of the evening by Five for Fighting (John Ondrasik).

Around the room, guests played the guessing game, asking if taking outside investments would be worth the headache, given Cohen’s already ample fortune -- and if his ego would push him to return, or just the opposite?

Julie Macklowe, who once worked for Cohen and now runs a beauty company, said she wants Cohen to "Take the money. I told him, I’m saving him my wheelbarrows to collect it. I want to be the first in."

Lincoln Center president Jed Bernstein and Anna Nikolayevsky
Lincoln Center president Jed Bernstein and Anna Nikolayevsky
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Anna Nikolayevsky of Axel Capital Management, the chairman of the gala, brought the focus back to the present moment -- that is, to the day’s stock plunges.

"It’s really not a bad night for the hedge fund industry to get together and have a couple of drinks," Nikolayevsky said. "I’m really glad all of you managed to overcome the markets and the freezing cold to be here."

James Gemmel and Marina Dobreva
James Gemmel and Marina Dobreva
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The event raised almost $1 million to support performing arts and educational activities on Lincoln Center’s campus.

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