New York Night and Day
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
The day The New York Sun published a letter to readers stating that the paper was in danger of closing, I was at the New York Public Library’s flagship building. I had come to write, but all I could think about was the parties I had attended there on assignment for the Sun. The rooms that day were quiet, well lit, and filled with people hard at work studying their many subjects — and so were foreign to me, who knew them best filled by candlelight and men and women in evening attire, deep in conversation. I could almost hear the halls echoing with applause when the Library Lion medals were awarded or the amount of money raised was announced.
Realizing that the space was the stage for such different activities underscored the value of the fund-raising parties. They are not just parties: They help make an institution’s daily life possible. In the end what is really important at galas is not who comes or what they wear, but the sense of connection and purpose they generate, the way they connect people to the institution.
The small gestures matter most. The president of the library, Paul LeClerc, once interrupted a polite chat he was engaged in before a luncheon to show guests the rare volumes of Voltaire’s works that sit on the shelf in his office.
The daily life of the library also intersected with its fund-raising life in a memorable way at the dinner to honor the chairman of the Blackstone Group, Stephen Schwarzman.
There were many luminaries in the room, but the unlikely person charged with introducing Mr. Schwarzman was a new face: a teenager from the Upper East Side, Miranda Tygert.
“I had never heard of this man, but when I found out he gave $100 million, I knew I wanted to meet him,” she said.
In writing about these events, it was my aim to help all of New York meet him and the many others who help support the institutions that enrich all of our lives.