The Robin Hood Foundation's annual gala raised an estimated $47 million to help New York's poorest and U.S. veterans last night.
Wall Street's elite and top executives from corporate America mingled and dined to the music of Tony Bennett, Kid Rock and Lady Gaga.
Those seated at the $250,000 tables closest to the action included SAC Capital’s Steven Cohen, Paulson & Co.’s John Paulson, General Electric’s Jeff Immelt, Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn, Saba Capital Management’s Boaz Weinstein and Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos.
Paulson, when asked if he liked Lady Gaga, answered "I'll tell you after her performance."
A great insight, perhaps, into how this billionaire hedge fund manage arrives at his investment decisions.
Paulson graciously added how much he "loves CNBC.” He freely admitted to watching our network "the entire day, all day. I really like it!"
(Thanks, John! We like you right back!)
Donald Trump, holding court near the stage, was nearly trampled by a coterie of financial big-wigs, all clamoring for conversation and a photo. Steve Cohen, clasping hands with wife, Alexandra, made a bee-line for the New York real estate icon early on. Also in hot pursuit of The Donald was Starwood Capital's Barry Sternlicht and a dapper Wilbur Ross.
As Robin Hood's Co-Chair, Blackstone Chairman & CEO Larry Fink, nattily attired in a blinding lime green shirt and matching tie worked the crowds tirelessly, while the two other co-chairs, Goldman Sachs Investment Banking head, David Solomon and developer Richard LeFrak, were content to linger at their respective tables.
Third Point founder Dan Loeb beamed brightest when talking about his four-month old baby, while Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn's bragged loudly about how several of his employees dressed in Robin Hood costumes for the promise of $4,000 in additional pledges.
U.S. Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) was seen chatting near Hollywood honcho Harvey Weinstein, but neither showed any inclanation to talk to anyone outside of their very tight circle of friends and acquaintances.
General Electric Chairman & CEO Jeff Immelt, on the other hand, were spotted looking relaxed, smiling and happily striking up conversations with seemingly anyone who came near.
Fergie and will. i. am. of the Black Eyed Peas easily mixed it up with bankers and society types, alike.
The highlight of the evening, though, were the multiple standing ovations for Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Mike Mullen, and for the uniformed military personnel who marched through the 4,000-deep dining room. There were also several moving tributes to several Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.
Wall Street does indeed have a heart, and a soul. And last night, it took them both out of whatever vaults in which they are usually locked up.
» Check out a slideshowof the guests that attended this year's Robin Hood Foundation's annual gala
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