Fete de Swifty

The Hampton Sheet
by Joan JeDell

The first annual Fete de Swifty had nothing to do with this election year’s non-stop focus on what did, or did not happen in a swift boat! This eagerly anticipated event was the brainchild of the reigning Queen of Gossip, Liz Smith. She co-hosted the bash with Swifty’s owners Robert Caravaggi and Chef Stephen Attoe in a party tent that stretched an entire avenue on the Upper East Side and raised $500,000 for the Parks AfterSchool Program of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

Here’s how it evolved: Last year, Liz asked her pals to contribute to the Mayor’s Fund, in lieu of gifting her with varied trinkets for a milestone birthday. When a record $200,000 was generated, she expanded her philanthropic effort, which culminated in this glib and glam gala.

The tone of the evening was set by the clever descriptions of live and silent items auctioned off by Sothebys’ Jamie Niven, including dinner with four boldname “authentic Texans” who promised to all talk at once, ply the highest bidders with frozen Margaritas, and force their signed books on them! One lucky bidder won the privilege of joining one of Bette Midler’s special garbage details, picking up trash in a NYC park with the “The Divine Miss M,” herself, for her pet Restoration Project. There was also the unique opportunity to dish dirt at an exclusive Le Cirque dinner with La Liz and three other gossip columnists.

Victoria Gotti also auctioned herself off as a dinner companion at Rao’s, the impossible-to-get-into Harlem eatery. The Sheet asked Gotti about the over-the-top popularity of her three hunky teenage sons Frank, Carmine, and John (often called “The Hottie Gottis”), who appear with her on her A&E reality show Growing Up Gotti. “The girls are out of control with my sons!” she sighed.

Among the 600 notables: Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Ahmet and Mica Ertegun, Barry Diller, Dr. Sherrell Aston and Muffie Potter Aston, Jamee Gregory, Jo Hallingby, Cynthia and Dan Lufkin, Nan Kempner, Stephen and Christine Schwarzman, Iris Love, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Barbaralee Diamonstein Spielvogel and Carl Spielvogel, Hilary Geary and Wilbur Ross, Daisy Soros, Carroll Petrie, Debbie Bancroft, Daniel Benedict and Andrew Saffir, Sam and Judy Peabody, Joel Getz, and tent designer Robert Couturier.

As guests munched on the superb fare from Swifty’s, they were entertained by acrobats, juggling acts, and stilt walkers. Some posed for snapshots in the Coney Island-style photo booth, and a woman even made hats and jewelry-right on the guests! Pretty swift!

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