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Living the High Line Life
Living the High Line Life
$2 million raised to support "the greatest urban renewal project of our lifetime"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Elizabeth Banks in Tory Burch with Simon Doonan
© Patrick McMullan
Friends of the High Line hosted their 7th-annual summer benefit Wednesday night, drawing hundreds of New York’s movers and shakers from the fields of art, architecture, real estate, media, and entertainment to raise over $2 million to help transform the elevated rail structure space into an open public venue.

Following cocktails at Barry Diller’s new Frank Gehry-designed IAC building, where event details and images were displayed on the block long video wall, guests migrated across the street for dinner at the David Zwirner gallery where Bronson Van Wyck turned the space into three unique rooms: one in gem toned orange and red, a second white space-age dining room with barbed wire and topiary centerpieces, leaning wall mirrors and steel platforms with candles, and the third, a plush garden where lime green Victorian chandeliers elucidated the leafy accents.

Dinner at the David Zwirner gallery
© Patrick McMullan
Deborah Needleman
, an event vice chair and Domino editor-in-chief said her magazine’s support of the High Line was a logical move. “I love this project and think it’s one of the most interesting and ambitious public design projects in New York,” she said. “It takes such innovative thinking to turn a decrepit rail line into the coolest thing New York has seen since Central Park.”

Needleman, who was seated for dinner in the garden-themed green room with friends Simon Doonan, Jonathan Adler, and actress Elizabeth Banks, marveled at the décor. “If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing, I’d want to be a landscape artist,” she noted, prompting her seatmate, Adler, to quip, “I’m sitting next to ‘La Needleman.’”

Deborah Needleman in Bruce
© Patrick McMullan
Doonan, for his part, joshed that he was more a friend of Needleman’s than a friend of the High Line. “I guess I’m too short and it’s just too…high,” he said. Doonan relished comments on his New York Observer story about straight men getting radical hair removal treatments in their nether regions. “I’m not a very hairy person,” he laughed. “When I was 17 I had a very Frida Kahlo uni-brow that I plucked out for a David Bowie concert and it never grew back; now I’m afraid to remove any hair for fear it may not return.”Andrew Rosen, whose Theory company was one of the event’s title sponsors, sported a Rag & Bone shirt and Theory khakis. He said he got involved in the High Line project three years ago when looking to move his company’s New York headquarters. “We were captivated and inspired by what they were doing for the area,” he added.

Banks, meanwhile, recalled a time in the ‘90s when she was looking for an apartment on 21st Street and 11th Avenue—she looked out her window and saw a raised railroad track covered in garbage. “I’m for anything that makes New York more beautiful, friendlier and more interesting,” petitioned the actress, currently in town shooting a movie with Eddie Murphy at another city landmark, The Statue of Liberty.

Bronson Van Wyck and Richard Meier
© Patrick McMullan
Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit
star Chris Meloni came to support what he considers to be “the greatest urban renewal project of our lifetime.” Others in attendance included Needleman’s husband, editor Jacob Weisberg, Jessica Joffe, Richard Meier, Sunhee Grinnell, author Malcom Gladwell, Rag & Bone’s David Neville and Marcus Wainwright, and honorees Phil and Shelley Fox Aarons.

After the seated dinner, Doonan and Adler escorted Needelman to the Domino-sponsored summer party for the Highliners, the organization’s young donor group. The IAC building’s lobby was transformed into a chic lounge with cubic accents, ottomans, and mirrors, and at the end of the night, guests departed with a new addition of the much loved High Line umbrella, designed by Kent Henricksen.


Rag & Bone's David Neville and Marcus Wainwright
© Patrick McMullan

Sunhee Grinnell in Temperley with Glenn Ban
© Patrick McMullan
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