Last Monday, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, of Lincoln Center, held its fiftieth-anniversary gala at the N.Y.P.L. mothership, at Forty-second and Fifth. The gala honored the L.P.A.’s benefactors Lewis Cullman, Barbara Fleischman, and the Jerome Robbins Foundation, as well as three artists: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Angela Lansbury, and Jessye Norman. During the cocktail hour, in Astor Hall, a harpist on the landing played “Flower Duet,” solo, while festively dressed celebrants—including Bill T. Jones, Joel Grey, Christine Baranski, Oskar Eustis, Patricia Clarkson, Michael Cerveris, Tovah Feldshuh, Chuck Schumer, Baryshnikov, and Lansbury—milled around, on and off the red carpet, hugging hello and drinking champagne. Bill Cunningham, in a puffy jacket the color of DeRay Mckesson’s vest, delightedly snapped photographs of partygoers while partygoers delightedly snapped photographs of him. Projections shone on the ceiling; servers offered hors d’oeuvres. “I came here in the seventies once, and this was all partitioned off—cubicles everywhere,” George Boziwick, the chief librarian of the Music Division, said, looking around. “They’ve done a nice job.”

Scroll to Top