2012 November 28

Early Snowflakes

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(NEW YORK) What do pop tart Selena Gomez and 86-year-old Tony Bennett have in common? Both could be considered icons for two very different generations, and both came out on a mushy Tuesday night for the 8th Annual UNICEF Snowflake ball, presented by Baccarat, at Cipriani 42nd St. The black tie gala opened with a set by the Wynton Marsalis Quintet and was hosted by Bryant Gumbel. "One thing that has not changed since this event began is the reason why we all come together," Gumbel said in his opening remarks. "It's a very simple cause, but one that can't be overstated. Simply put it is to better the lives of children throughout the world. If you have any question about how much of an effect UNICEF has made—here's one simple little fact, UNICEF has saved the lives of more children than any other humanitarian organization in the entire world."

Gala chairs Debra Shriver and Daniella Vitale welcomed guests like Katy Perry, Selita Ebanks, Kelly Ripa and Mark Conseulos, Uma Thurman, Carolyn Murphy, Matt Lauer, Jenna Bush, Barbara Bush, Ranjana and Naeem Khan, Allison Williams, Amy McFarland, Prabal Gurung, Narciso Rodriguez, Andew Rosen, Alexandra Lebenthal, Claudia Lebenthal, Pamel Joyner, Alicia Bythewood and Gillian and Sylvester Miniter. Apps consisted of a divine truffled lobster salad whipped up by chef Michael Anthony, Cipriani took care of a main course by way of a Wagyu strip loin steak, while a Jamaican chocolate mousse torte courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson wrapped things up on a sweet note.

This year the U.S. Fund for UNICEF presented their 2012 Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award to legendary singer and activist Harry Belafonte. Earlier in the night Bennett performed a few songs (including "Fly Me To The Moon" without his microphone! Show em how it's done, Tony!) and gave Belafonte a rousing tribute. "He came from humble beginnings and he spent the rest of life helping people less fortunate than himself. He's dedicated his whole life to being what I think is the greatest patriot of anybody that I've ever met in America." The Helenka Pantaleoni Humanitarian Award was presented by her granddaughter Téa Leoni to the organization's board member Dolores Rice Gahan. As a finale: given that $2.5 million was raised during the evening for UNICEF's global child and development programs, guests certainly had good reason to carry on after dinner to the jams of Mia Moretti.

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