Blackstone Group Vice Chairman Byron Wien took a break from his chilled corn lobster bisque last night to talk about “the big ideas” of the summer.
“Europe is going to survive the crisis and there are going to be lots of opportunities there,” he said during a fundraising supper for the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. “The European Union is going to stay intact, but in the next two years they will restructure.”
As for U.S. politics, Wien, who described himself as a “disillusioned Obama supporter,” said he’d like to see presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney “get off a plane and say something right.”
Across the room, Blair Effron of Centerview Partners LLC and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, an adviser to Centerview Partners Holdings LLC, dined together. Anna Benton, chief investment officer of Axel Capital Management LLC, and employees of Morgan Stanley (MS:US) the firm sponsoring the festival, occupied other tables.
Dinner remarks acknowledged the service of the festival’s music director, Louis Langree. For the past 10 years the Frenchman has worked through August, and will become more Americanized next year when he adds the role of music director of the Cincinnati Symphony. Lincoln Center’s president, Reynold Levy, gave Langree’s son a Cincinnati Reds baseball cap to acclimate him to the Midwest city.
Before the concert, Avery Fisher Hall’s promenade filled with recorded birdsong. This was a tactic devised by Lincoln Center’s artistic director, Jane Moss, to bring some of the experience of an outdoor music festival to this indoor one. The festival also includes bird walks and a panel discussion on whether birdsong is music, moderated by New York Public Radio’s John Schaefer.
Bruce Kovner, chairman of Caxton Alternative Management LP and of the Juilliard School, arrived for the concert, after a meal of coq au vin at Bar Boulud with a group of friends including the president of the Juilliard School, Joseph Polisi. His ear for music also took him to Tanglewood over the weekend.
The gala drew 210 guests and raised $700,000
Warby Parker Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer Neil Blumenthal said the company will soon introduce eyeglasses in rich tones of burgundy, brown and blue, as well as titanium frames.
Blumenthal’s autumn preview came at a party at Maison 24 in Bridgehampton, the exclusive East End retailer of the eyewear brand that everyone in Brooklyn started wearing two years ago, and now everyone else is wearing.
Warby Parker frames retail for $95, lenses included. The titanium frames will be more expensive, though “still a quarter of the price of other brands,” Blumenthal said. The company donates a pair to someone needy for each pair bought.
“The key thing is the company was started by normal people trying to treat a problem that normal people have every day,” Blumenthal said.
Guests ogled Maison 24’s merchandise at the Saturday gathering, including an $895 Lucite turtle.
A waiter passed a tray of Rickshaw Dumplings, from a food truck brought in for the occasion.
Maison 24 co-founders Allison Julius and Louis Marra had cocktail napkins printed for the event, which read “Sip Snack Schmooze Shop.”
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include Manuela Hoelterhoff on books.
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