In the heart of the battered financial sector, at the grand former bank that is now Cipriani Wall Street, a charity banquet unfolded in high style Tuesday with nary a word about the country’s economic crisis.
The hush-hush streak ended abruptly when Tony Bennett, the night’s headliner and organizer of the benefit for Exploring the Arts, took the stage.
“George and Ira Gershwin wrote this in 1929,” he said matter-of-factly, before launching into “Who Cares?” Sample lyric: “Let it rain and thunder/Let a million firms go under/I am not concerned with/stocks and bonds that I’ve been burned with.”
The star-flecked crowd, among them Whoopi Goldberg, Jerry Seinfeld, Quincy Jones, Sumner Redstone, Katie Couric, Steve Wynn, John Mayer, Terrence Howard and Netflix chief Reed Hastings, erupted in nervous laughter.
Bennett slapped his head with his palm in mock-disbelief. The less said, evidently, the better.