Last night’s party at the 346, an annual benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, was by all accounts a smashing and swinging success. Wynton Marsalis and members of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra entertained a crowd double the size of last year’s, according to Brooks PR (see our report on ’09’s festivities).
As I pushed through the throng, the first person I ran into was BB’s gran signore Claudio Del Vecchio. When a dapper gent (below, right) walked by and said hello, I asked CDV who he was, and he replied that the man was doing some consulting with the brand — on what he wouldn’t say.
The gent himself, Alan from the firm Graj-Gustavsen, was eager to share his big idea, which will be unveiled next year, but his partner quickly shut him up.
My friend and I escaped the madness by taking our drinks up to the fifth floor, where the new bar and pool table are located. Here’s a shot from Brooks’ Facebook page:
There’s even a spot in the corner with a few seating tables. And check out the chairs. Is Brooks testing concepts for the restaurant idea? Sure enough the consultants also came upstairs to look around and discuss among themselves. Could the restaurant be their big idea?
My friend, jazz musician and major clotheshorse Jason Marshall, and I leafed through fabric swatches.
Then my other friend Kalu showed up. As I shot pool, Kalu, whom I’d met in California shortly before moving to New York, and whom I haven’t seen in nearly a year and a half, said I looked in my element. First person out here to say that (of course, that kind of remark necessitates someone who knew you in the other element).
In fact, years ago someone told me, “It’s never to late to go to New York.” And for some people, it’s never too early.
I first met Kalu under interesting circumstances. During my layover between LA and NY, I spent five weeks in a former flame’s guest house in Oakland. I had no Internet connection and had to spend much of my day using the wi-fi at a cafe inside a Whole Foods. You can imagine that crowd, given the proximity to Berkeley. So one day I come in looking for a seat, and amid the sea of hippies and bohemians I see this young man, newly arrived from Boston, it turned out, dressed in a navy blazer, rep tie, khakis, bit loafers and tortoiseshell glasses. I took the seat next to him.
Oddly enough, Kalu is not the only Nigerian preppy I know. There’s also Yalie and frequent Ivy Style comment-leaver MAO.
The huge crowd made it hard to spot fellows in festive finery, so I actually shot more mannequins than people:
Forget smoking my pipe in a leather club chair; what I want is one of these patchwork tweed ones:
When Marsalis came on, we made our way downstairs. Jason, of course, knew all the cats in the band. “That guy played with me at my dissertation performance,” he says.
Here’s Kalu and I. Though he lives in DC now, he brought back a certain California influence with him. Not exactly the Boston prep I first met.
As for your humble blogger, I was wearing:
And below the waist:
Cranberry cords from Mr. Davidson
Alden tassel loafers
Before heading out to catch the train, I went upstairs to the restroom. A woman stopped me and said, “Nice outfit,” proving that the kindest compliments always come from older women.
“You got the vote from my two daughters,” she added with an encouraging smile. “They’re downstairs.”
I sought but could not find. It was just too crowded. — CC