Good Causes

BY Janel Bladow | With all the financial and management troubles and construction projects plaguing the South Street Seaport businesses and museum, it’s a wonder the whole area is still afloat. But we neighbors believe in our hood. And know that all this, too, shall pass.

Good Cause Gala…
It was a starry night of champions at Cipriani Wall Street, Wednesday, May 11. Celebrities and local politicians and even former victims of domestic violence gathered for the 16th annual Safe Horizon gala dinner.

SR mingled over Bellinis and tasty canapés including tuna tartar and scallops wrapped in bacon in the festively decorated, ornate, former bank with movers and shakers from all over the city. As the partygoers placed bids on more than two dozen silent auction items — from golf packages at Chelsea Piers to dinner at Rao’s — SR spotted one bold-face name making bids and scurried over. Former Special Victims Assistant District Attorney and current best-selling novelist Linda Fairstein was making her way around the long table loaded with hot items.

“It’s a stunning event,” she said to SR. “Safe Horizon has been my passion. I’ve been on the board 12 years, since it was created with Special Victims Service. They do such wonderful work and have helped so many women, families, children.” We asked what items she bid on and were not surprised when she offered, “There are some really nice restaurant packages.” Having read several of her detective/DA novels we know she likes fine dining.

“And tickets to the ‘Jimmy Fallon Show.’ I really hope I get them.” (P.S., we think she did; at bidding close she had the last and highest bid). Congrats, Linda!

Later we saw her talking to the evening emcee Stephanie March who plays the Fairstein-based character Alexandra Cabot on “Law and Order/SVU.” What an image: Both tall, willowy blondes in silver and white. Both on the side of the good guys. Sweet.

SR caught up with Stephanie a few minutes later and she was thrilled to talk about her involvement with Safe Horizon. “I’m on the board and Linda is a big reason. I sometimes get carried away and think I’m an ADA in real life. This is such a huge part of my life,” she said looking smashing in white linen top and peg pants designed by Brazilian-born Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein. “I can’t believe I’m nervous I have to emcee tonight!”

Stephanie, wife of famed chef and TV star in his own right Bobby Flay, teamed with New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn to honor fashion icon Elie Tahari with the annual Champion Award of the evening for his collaboration with actress Emmy Rossum on designing the Emmy handbag (proceeds of the sale of the bag go to Safe Horizon).

Other celebrities on hand included more “Law and Order/SVU” alumni: Dann Floreck and Diane Neal, maternity wear guru Liz Lange, “Top Chef” host Tom Colicchio, among others. Politicos and City officials in addition to Speaker Quinn were Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Deputy Mayor Carol Robles-Roman, and our own Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin.

Guests dined on red and yellow beets with goat cheese salad, individual prime roast filet with Perigourdine sauce or red snapper alla Carlina. Dessert was a light zabaglione cake with fresh strawberries.

A dinner bidding war broke out during the live auction over two tickets to a Victoria’s Secret fashion show. When things got hot and heavy, a second set was suddenly donated so the package sold twice. One set of tickets sold for $62,000 – the highest bid of the evening.

“We are excited to announce that 700+ supporters joined us for the 16th Annual Champion Awards to raise nearly $1 million in much-needed funding,” said Safe Horizon Chief Executive Officer Ariel Zwang in an email to SR the next day. “Safe Horizon is grateful for the ongoing commitment and financial support of so many influential civil, corporate and civic leaders across New York City. For the more than 250,000 victims of violence and abuse that we serve each year, it is so crucial to be connected to caring and expert services at all times – and this will help us meet our goal.”

A Gentle Giant falls…
Almost everyone who has walked through the Seaport over the last eight years has come across the glorious, blue-gray Great Dane Tyras, beloved dog of Amanda Byron Zink, owner of Salty Paw (Peck Slip and Front Street) and her family of fellas. So Mother’s Day was especially painful for her when Ty collapsed on his afternoon walk and the big boy had to be put to sleep. Amanda tells SR: “I’m grateful Rob (Zink, her husband) suggested we all as a family go on an early morning walk together to the pier. Although it was a struggle for him, he still said hello to some of the local pups.” The couple knew Ty had a bad heart when they brought him into their home so they were grateful to have him as long as they did.
“I have grown up with all sorts of dogs but never had such a deep connection as I did for Tyras,” wrote Amanda in an email. ”The first time we met him on this beautiful Great Dane farm in upstate New York, he was the puppy fighting hardest for my attention. And he continued to fight for my attention his whole life, and even when my two children were born, it was hard for him to accept he had to share my attention, but he loved the kids and was very protective. He found joy in his new role of protecting the children.”
He has left his big paw mark on our neighborhood.