Thursday, May 25, 2000

A night of giving and gondola rides

As dusk was just descending on the pond, the gondolier pushed back and took a couple out for a small ride on the pond. An elegantly attired set of ladies and gentlemen looked on, as they sipped champagne and sampled caviar on chips. The Jerry Kravit band set the tone with old classics, jazz and swing songs to listen and dance to. In fact, one of the liveliest dancers was John Henry, an attorney for the NY Mets who stopped by for a few spins on the dance floor before Rick Reed, Al Leiter and Mike Hampton (pitchers for the Mets) joined him.

I am, of course, describing The "Cocktails with Courtney" Spring Black Tie benefit, held on Thursday, May 25, at Central Park's Boathouse. The night air was perfect. We had no rain, and the guests mingled and mixed. Sponsored by Oracle, eSpeed, IBM and iXL, the event attracted an interesting mix of guests, friends of the sponsors and a core of Silicon Alley supporters of special events and charity works. Sarah Holloway and Andrew Raisej of MOUSE, Catherine Winchester and Mark Lucente of Soliloquy; Alice O'Rourke and Ellen Auwater of NYNMA, and Diana Butler of iXL were among some of my closest friends in attendence. Renee Edelman of PR 21; Seth Price of US and his friend Chris Berger of NY Cares; Edmund Bogen of Bogen PR; and Laura Hamilton, Mark Modzelewski and his wife, Kelly, were some other fabulous friends who showed up. Nathan Tinker and other associates from Niehaus Ryan Wong, and Tom Dolby and Ken Henderson of City Tripping came to enjoy the view of the pond and the lush Central Park greenery. Guests could also view past shows from CyberScene TV, and chat with Laura Wells, who's heading up business development, and Chip Lewis, our show’s producer. My father made a special trip in, which really meant a lot to me.

My friend Kim Park displayed 10 of her beautiful paintings, now for sale. The proceeds will go to the charity. And what is the charity, you may be wondering? Our event kicked off a long-term relationship with City Care's Partners in Technology Program and the beginning of the Courtney Pulitzer Digital Divide Fund. This fund will be replenished with partial proceeds from events we hold across the U.S. and in Europe. City Care's has affiliates in cities around the country and Europe, each of which are eligible to apply for monies from the fund for programs focusing on the digital divide. The Partners in Technology Program was done first last year by New York Cares, which was quite successful in completing 414 projects with 48 Project Partners (14 schools and 34 nonprofit organizations), engaging over 1,300 volunteers to provide 3,000 hours of service to disadvantaged children, nonprofit organizations and public schools. Now City Cares is working to replicate this successful model with their other affiliates, which the fund will be supporting. We also held a raffle, with some fabulous gifts donated from 1800bonbons, My Optics, Sans Souci restaurant, Netsetgoods, and The Batchellor Mansion Inn. I have to admit, I was pretty tickled with our gift bags -- Cocktails with Courtney martini glasses (a set!) for everyone! We also had delicious chocolates from eChocolates and special coupons from and

Of course an evening wouldn't be complete without an appearance from Rainbow Heart and his protégé, who painted sparkly designs on adventurous guests’ eyes, chests and cheeks. Fred Varacchi, president of eSpeed, looked especially classy with an "e" from his logo on his cheek, and Laura Wells, who's in charge of business development for CyberScene TV, had a lovely rose that started at her neckline and continued down. I must extend a special thanks and use this opportunity to announce my new business development assistant Joanna Fabozzi. Also essential to the smooth production of the evening were Amy Conover, Myles Iezzi, Christopher Kresge and Chip Lewis.