Randall's Island Scores Biggest Gala With Mack, Teixeira, Bubbly

  • Park Alliance fundraiser supports fields for team sports
  • Teixeira tells parents how to nurture kids’ athletic careers

The couples pouring into the Koch Theater Tuesday night glowed with fitness, affluence and the youthful exhaustion of parenting. They didn’t look like the typical crowd attending a weekday Lincoln Center performance, and they weren’t.

Michael Boxer, Stacy Bash-Polley and Jonathan Grayer

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

On this evening, the Koch Theater, the home for the athletic, handsome dancers of New York City Ballet, became the venue for the athletic, handsome supporters of the Randall’s Island Park Alliance, holding its 25th anniversary gala. They included Michael Boxer of Ramius, Stacy Bash-Polley of Goldman Sachs and Tim Barefield of Pershing Square.

Lucy Fato and Tim Barefield

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The theater was dark, but the halls around it buzzed. One of the bars was set up just outside a door to the front orchestra seats. The party playlist was filled with acts performing on Randall’s Island, so there was Phoenix (set to play at Governors Ball in June), Frank Ocean and Tame Impala (on the bill at Panorama in July). No EDM from Electric Zoo, though, because temples of high culture have limits.

Even without the Dutch DJ Tiesto’s remixes, the vibe was sexy. "Billions" so should have been filming a scene here.

In fact, if you’ve been following Lara Axelrod -- the fierce wife of Damian Lewis’s hedge-funder Bobby Axelrod on "Billions," played by Swedish-born Malin Akerman -- you’ve seen the commitment to family that anchors this event. Randall’s Island inspires support because it gives city kids a place to play team sports, as critical an ingredient for future success as Mandarin lessons and SAT tutors.

A Randall’s Island view decorates the Koch Theater’s promenade

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

In some ways Randall’s Island provides suburban amenities for parents choosing to raise their kids in the city. The diversity of that experience is also a reason why parents support this event. Kids from the Upper East Side and Queens play side by side.

Christine Mack at the lectern

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Nick DePaola and Jane Anne Randolph, physical education teachers at the Chapin School

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

"If we do not create an environment where our children know each other, what are we doing?" Richard Mack, chief executive of the Mack Real Estate Group, said in front of 700 guests as he and his wife, Christine, were honored with their three sons present. "There is no better way to level the playing field." In the suburbs, Mack added, "my kids would not get the chance to get their butt kicked by people who didn’t look like them."

Christine Mack -- who runs accessory line Creel-Mack with Jennifer Creel, and grew up in Stockholm -- took delight in his words. As she’d already told the crowd in her remarks, Richard, who grew up in Long Island, had wanted to move to the suburbs, but she was a "city slicker" who wanted to stay. "I said, ‘do it for our boys,’ and it worked. We’re still in the city. I do love the suburbs though."

Mark Teixeira

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The Champion for Children Award went to Mark Teixeira, the former Yankee who once made a cameo on "Billions." He thanked Randall’s Island for providing fields for kids from Harlem RBI (he’s on its board). And he told parents that if their kid has the ability to play college-level sports, it will come out, and they don’t have to pressure a son or daughter to choose one sport early.

"Let me tell you when I focused on baseball -- my senior year in high school," Teixeira said.

Brian Sullivan, co-anchor of CNBC’s "Power Lunch," then asked for donations from the crowd. "No sitting on the hands tonight," Sullivan said. "The Dow’s at a record high."

Randall’s Island Park Alliance had its biggest gala ever, raising more than $1.6 million. The xx came up in the playlist as guests lingered, sipping from their own personal bottles of Moet.

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