“Sea lions are covered by a fine layer of fur,” a woman announced over the loudspeaker as guests noshed on appetizers of smoked salmon and potato gratin at the Central Park Zoo Thursday evening.
“They are mammals and they eat mackerel,” The Observer exclaimed, having learned a similar speech by heart during a recent run-in with dolphins in Jamaica.
“Whoa, how did you know that?” A reporter from The Wall Street Journal asked us. We were just that good.
As part of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s 2012 gala–this year the theme was The Coasts of Patagonia, prompting more than one party-goer to ask where in the world that was–a pre-show involving the sea lions doing tricks was par the course.
“Last year, one of the sea lions was blind….she was the best,” exclaimed one of the PR women for the event. We wandered off, only to be confronted by the flashing lights of Bill Cunningham‘s camera.
“I saw a woman wearing your dress in Brooklyn,” the pseudo-Lynchian character said with his typical air of cryptic ambiguity; half-smiling and nodding his head in approval.
“Yes…she wasn’t selling it though,” he countered, before moving on to the next guest.
Brooklyn seemed to be a theme of the evening, with Chilean designer Maria Cornejo talking about several dresses she had made in the theme of “leaves falling in Brooklyn.”
“Where in Brooklyn do you live?” We asked.
“Carroll Gardens,” she frowned. “It used to be so quiet, and now there are baby strollers everywhere!”
No baby strollers could be found in the zoo that evening, and until the 10 p.m. after-party, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person under the age of 25. (Perhaps it was the price of admission for $1,000.)
While table-hopping, we found ourselves next to Tinsley Mortimer in a mirrored mini-dress. “I’ve just been so busy with my book tour, I feel like this is like the first week I’m actually back-back,” she told us breathlessly. But now Ms. Mortimer is back-back, with her man-man Prince Lorenzo Borghese sitting dotingly by her side. (We had wondered what had happened to the cosmetics king after his season on The Bachelor.)
One table over, Jean Shafiroff was telling her seatmates about her time in a Cambodian orphanage and the charity organizations in China. Next to her, Jamie Figg was talking about the wonders of Costco. The conversation was about as synchronous as putting the polar bears next to the giraffes.
We left around dessert time, when hundreds of collegiate-appropriate mini-donors began streaming in. “Is that Cindy Sherman?” We heard one of the girls squeal to her date. “From the MoMa??!”
It was. Apparently sea lions weren’t the only mammals to watch for while visiting the zoo.
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