2011 November 2

Legends of Lower Manhattan

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Salman Rushdie, Laurie Anderson, William Wegman, Margaret Russell, Dr. Thomas F. Schutte, Juan Montoya Salman Rushdie, Laurie Anderson, William Wegman, Margaret Russell, Dr. Thomas F. Schutte, Juan Montoya
Patrick McMullan
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(NEW YORK) Leave it to a design school to yet again transform a completely raw expanse of 7 World Trade Center, perched over 50 floors in the sky, into an evening with ambiance and character. Well, it didn’t hurt that mesmerizing performance artist Laurie Anderson was one of the Pratt Institute’s Legend award winners, since dessert was nibbled to the synth-addled acoustical accompaniment of Anderson’s music. But more on that later.

Attendees supped on house-cured Alaskan salmon and salad, in tandem with the intro remarks and a current Pratt industrial design student sharing her experience, before it was time for an entry of succulent roasted chicken atop buttery spaetzel, crowned in thyme sprigs and bathed in thyme jus, as everyone’s favorite canine photog William Wegman accepted his Legend award, introduced by Amy Capellazzo and presented by Agnes Gund. Sadly, Wegman was not accompanied by a Weimaraner.

Much to the delight of the literati in attendance, Kurt Andersen introduced his same-surnamed pal, albeit with different spelling, and Salman Rushdie presented the award. Anderson wove in a bit of political commentary while accepting the honors, taking note of the tremendous, sweeping downtown views, with mentions of Occupy Wall Street to the east and Goldman Sachs to the west. "I’m not sure what they're doing at Goldman at this hour, with all those lights on,” Anderson mused. “Maybe they’re shredding paper?"

The evening’s last honoree, interior designer Juan Montoya, was commended by presenter and Architectural Digest editrix Margaret Russell for making “our rooms less beige,” before the crowd ambled to the northern end of the space for a performance by Anderson, who managed to weave in one more Goldman reference for good measure.

Prosecco paired well with the delectable dessert morsels on offer from The Cleaver Company caterers, namely, the cardamom cupcakes topped with rose-flavored buttercream. Once Anderson wrapped up, the surprisingly up-tempo tracks piped back into the space (was that a bit of Lady Gaga?), and a faction of the crowd traded doting on desserts to full-fledged twirls and whirls across the cold cement floor—the kind of dancing you don’t often see at far more polished spaces. And with that, it was difficult to depart into the slightly desolate streets on the southern edge Tribeca without a little bounce in one’s step.

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