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2010 October 15

Ralph Lauren's Key to the City

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Ralph Lauren Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Ralph Lauren
Dimitrios Kambouris / Wireimage
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(NEW YORK) “It’s great to be in a small building that was built on a budget,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg deadpanned last night as he addressed the crowd at the new Ralph Lauren women’s flagship on 888 Madison Avenue. Guests including Martha Stewart, Jessica and Jerry Seinfeld, Charlie Rose, Graydon Carter, Vera Wang, Cathie Black, and a slew of editors and friends filed into the expansive, 22,000 square-foot mansion, patiently waiting at the foot of the grand marble staircase, where the mayor would present Lauren with the Key to the City of New York, an honor which fittingly coincided not only with the store's opening, but also Lauren's 71st birthday.

The crowd craned their necks in unison, leaning against the French Neoclassical architecture as the mayor and Lauren slowly descended down the stairs. Bloomberg took to the podium, continuing his mini stand-up routine. “Above all, I am a fashionista,” he declared as guests chuckled. “Even if I only do own two pairs of shoes! Although, I hope you all recognize the tie. It is, of course, Ralph Lauren. How embarrassing would it be if I didn’t wear a Ralph Lauren tie?” Switching tempos, the mayor continued, “New York is home to some of the most talented and dedicated people, and Ralph is such a tremendous example.” Handing over the venerable Key to the City, he also presented the designer with a keychain to the city, asking, “Isn’t it the accessories that make the outfit?”

A humbled Lauren confessed, “Thinking back to when I was a kid playing basketball outside the schoolyard, never did I think I would one day have the Key to the City.” He paused, promising, “I won’t get choked up,” and explained, “I remember years ago going into one of those old-fashioned phone booths and hearing the words, ‘You didn’t get the job.’” Glancing around the colossal venue (Lauren’s second Madison Avenue mansion), it seemed hard to imagine his rejection decades earlier. As photogs snapped furiously, the marble glittered and Lauren added, “But I feel like I’ve come a long way.”
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