Social Life Grinds to Halt as Whitney Museum, WNYC Cancel Galas
By Amanda Gordon – Oct 30, 2012
Daniel Loeb of Third Point Capital didnâ€™t do a yoga pose in a photo booth last night at the Bent on Learning benefit.
Citigroup Inc. (C)â€™s Raymond McGuire and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)â€™s Valentino D. Carlotti left their tuxedos in their closets Monday instead of wearing them to the Studio Museum in Harlem gala at Cipriani Wall Street.
And Lulu Wang, founder and chief executive of Tupelo Capital Management LLC, was in blue jeans at home, listening to Brian Lehrer on WNYC instead of being honored at New York Public Radioâ€™s gala at 583 Park.
Arriving in one of the busiest weeks of New Yorkâ€™s social season, Hurricane Sandy forced dozens of nonprofits to cancel their fundraisers. Vendors and nonprofits will have to work out the financials of the situation and determine their next steps.
New York Public Radio will pay the food costs for 470 people, the number who had been slated to attend the groupâ€™s gala on Monday, Margaret Hunt, vice president of development, said in a telephone interview. The organization wonâ€™t have to pay for staff because enough notice was given, Hunt added.
Another bright note: â€œSo far nobody is wanting their money back,â€ Hunt said. That will mean the stations, without even holding the event, will bring in $1.45 million, $200,000 above the fundraising target.
Itâ€™s still bittersweet for Hunt, though. â€œWeâ€™ve been working on this for a year,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s really hard to exactly get all the elements back together.â€
That statement certainly applies to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. For its annual symposium, it expected to present $40 million in grants to 197 researchers from around the world during a Tuesday luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria. The actress Kate Hudson was to have presented an award.
Hudson didnâ€™t make it to New York, nor did most of the scholars. As for financial loss: â€œIâ€™m not saying weâ€™re not going to lose anything, but after 20 years of doing this and the relationships weâ€™ve built, every effort will be made to help us have minimal loss,â€ Anna DeLuca, director of public relations at the foundation, said.
David Adler, founder and chief executive officer of BizBash, a trade publication for the event industry, said companies and nonprofits with events postponed due to Hurricane Sandy are not likely to recover the money theyâ€™ve put out to venues and caterers.
â€œVenue contracts have force majeure clauses, which means youâ€™re not covered by acts of God, theyâ€™re not going to give you your money back,â€ Adler said.
Elsewhere, the Whitney Museum of American Art canceled its Tuesday night gala, set to take place at a pier on the Hudson River, the Fortune Society canceled a Monday night gala at Tribeca Rooftop, and the East Harlem School canceled a gala last night at 583 Park. â€œZone Oneâ€ author Colson Whitehead was to have been honored at a Brooklyn Public Library gala that wasnâ€™t held last night.
These and other canceled events may be rescheduled. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts postponed a gala scheduled for tonight until November 7.
At least one fundraiser will go on as planned for Halloween tonight: Hulaween, organized by the New York Restoration Project, will take place at the Waldorf-Astoria.
â€œThe divine Miss M is undeterred,â€ said New York Restoration Project publicist Roberta Greene of the organizationâ€™s founder, Bette Midler.
Its cause, planting trees and maintaining green spaces in the city, is timely in the wake of Sandy, which took out so many trees on the East Coast.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)