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Bona fide altruism takes a big heart. The point was driven home on Tuesday night’s New Yorkers for Children Fall Gala, where upon arrival guests were greeted by a massive one. White cutout placards — a seven-foot-long electric guitar, an oversize globe, a hefty stapler — dangled from the soaring ceilings of Cipriani on 42nd Street, forming a giant mobile in the shape of heart, the display anchoring the room. The annual black-tie, which benefits youth in foster care, was honoring the man with the biggest heart of all, the charity’s founder Nicholas Scoppetta.
Echoing voices filled up the airy hall to a near crescendo as supporters — Alexandra Lebenthal, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Shirin von Wulffen, Debbie Bancroft, Sophie Theallet, Daniel Benedict and Andrew Saffir among them — trickled in and got chatty over champagne.
Photographers frenetically clicked away when Selita Ebanks materialized, the model sexing it up in a bone-white column, a see-through mesh sliver running down its side. Veronica Webb wedged by Lydia Fenet soon after arriving to greet friends towards the back bar. Lauren Remington Platt emerged in a Ralph Lauren gown-jewelry hybrid. “Isn’t it beautiful?” she cooed as she turned to reveal a shimmering waterfall of chain-link spilling down her back. Hugh Jackman and wife Deborra-Lee Furness gabbed with Gayle King. “I only go out once or twice a week,” King stated matter-of-factly to the couple. “That’s it.”
Crystal Renn dipped out for a quick predinner cigarette. “Oh, I’ll wear sequins at 8 a.m.,” she said of her predilection for glamour, evident in her glittery Gabriela Cadena floor-skimmer and sculptural beehive. “People will be like, ‘Look at that walk of shame’ and I’m like, ‘No, I just like a little razzle-dazzle in the morning.’”
Inside, guests were being implored to find their tables, each topped with flickering votives encircling flushes of white dahlias. Laura Love, in a frosty beaded cheongsam, refueled by the bar before scurrying over to hers where Hannah Bronfman, Peter Brant Jr., Annabelle Dexter-Jones and Dorian Grinspan were already plunked down. Guests grazed their plates — ribbons of pumpkin scapece over a bed of lentils and squiggles of marinated porcinis — as Mayor Michael Bloomberg approached the dais to acknowledge Scoppetta. “Nick, on behalf of 8.4 million New Yorkers, thank you for everything you’ve done,” Bloomberg said from behind the podium. “This guy really is a true hero.”
After touching words from the night’s honorees Crystal Cameron and Zinyusile Brian Khumbula, both receiving Spirit Award grants, Jamie Niven took the stage. “Listen,” he started. “We’re not selling happy trips to Rome or bad trips to Telluride [Colo.]. We’re not doing that. No mink coats, jewelry or hopes of getting lucky. You’re going to have to get lucky on your own. We’re just going to do pledges.” A performance by Common rounded out the night, reeling Bronfman, Dexter-Jones, Love, Renn and Ebanks onto the dance floor.