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NY Heard Scene
Holiday Traditions on the Party Circuit
From the Wall Street Journal of Fri, 19 Dec 2014 00:08:18 EST
Michael Mailer, Lisa Crosby, Chuck Pfeiffer and Taki Theodoracopulos at a holiday party at the Doubles.
Michael Mailer, Lisa Crosby, Chuck Pfeiffer and Taki Theodoracopulos at a holiday party at the Doubles. Patrick McMullan

One of the nicest things about Chuck Pfeiffer ’s annual holiday lunch is that, going into it, you know what you’re going to get.

Mr. Pfeiffer, a former adman, model, sometime film producer, and actor who appeared in Oliver Stone ’s “Wall Street,” has been inviting his friends to a private club in Midtown for the past 25 years, ever since Reinaldo Herrera suggested the idea.

“I did it, and it just led to an annual enterprise,” said Mr. Pfeiffer.

It started out as a dozen pals. Now, it’s almost a dozen tables dining on crab cakes and buffalo filet, a mix of writer friends (usually Gay Talese, Candace Bushnell, Alex Kuczynski and when they were alive, Norman Mailer and David Halberstam ); actors (including James Woods, Christopher Walken and Harvey Keitel, though none of them could make it this year), football players, plus West Point graduates and Vietnam veterans like Mr. Pfeiffer.

To be invited, he said, “you have to have a certain sense of accomplishment. All of these people are stars in their own right.”

You also have to have a stomach for bawdy humor, which often comes in the form of a roast by Mr. Pfeiffer’s longtime friend, Taki Theodoracopulos, not to mention an appreciation for Mr. Pfeiffer’s crooning. Every year, he pulls out his guitar and sings three songs he’s written: “Paddy Brown,” about his friend, a New York City firefighter who was killed in 9/11; “SoHo Girl,” about a Montana cowboy who meets a girl in SoHo; and “Montana,” an ode to the state where Mr. Pfeiffer spends many a month of the year, and which, at this point, nearly everyone who attends his lunch can sing along with.

“Anyone want to hear some cowboy music?” Mr. Pfeiffer asked the other day, before he went into song.

A few guests, including Mr. Theodoracopulos and Michael Mailer, who is planning to direct a movie in which Mr. Pfeiffer will star, joked that listening to Mr. Pfeiffer sing is a painful experience. But they, of course, joined in.

George Farias, Anne Hearst McInerney and Jay McInerney host a part at the Doubles.
George Farias, Anne Hearst McInerney and Jay McInerney host a part at the Doubles. Patrick McMullan
Carolyne Roehm, Simon Pinniger and Nina and Lily Griscom
Carolyne Roehm, Simon Pinniger and Nina and Lily Griscom Patrick McMullan

There was some overlap between the guests at Mr. Pfeiffer’s lunch this year and the annual holiday party thrown by George Farias and Jay and Anne Hearst McInerney at Doubles, which has a similar editorial and social patronage. Three men dressed as toy soldiers sang Christmas songs and posed for photos on Tuesday.

Spotted attempting to avoid some of what are traditionally the best Christmas cookies in town were: Messrs. Pfeiffer, Theodoracopulos and Mailer, as well as Donna Tartt and Neal Guma, Carolyne Roehm and Simon Pinniger, Barbara Bush , Patty Hearst, Alex Hitz, Susan Lyne, Sydie Lansing, Anne Bass and Julian Lethbridge, Daniel Boulud , Ara and Rachel Hovnanian, Stephen Gullo, Ken Auletta, Binky Urban and “Divergent” director Neil Burger with his wife, Diana Warner Kellogg.

A slightly different but equally festive holiday tradition in New York is the Jewish Museum’s annual Hanukkah fundraiser. It is slowly gaining on Mr. Pfeiffer’s lunch, as this year’s was the 20th.

New York Giant Geoff Schwartz and his wife Meredith Snipes with others at the Jewish Museum’s Hanukkah party.
New York Giant Geoff Schwartz and his wife Meredith Snipes with others at the Jewish Museum’s Hanukkah party. Craig Warga for The Wall Street Journal
DJ Kai Song
DJ Kai Song Craig Warga for The Wall Street Journal
Lyla Joy Golding dances at the party.
Lyla Joy Golding dances at the party. Craig Warga for The Wall Street Journal

Here, instead of black-and-white cookies, they’re blue-and-white. In many ways, Wednesday’s event, which included face-painting and dreidel-spinning as well as, of course, the lighting of the menorah, was hipper than ever, thanks to the presence of DJ Kai Song, who hails from Red Hook and happens to be 10 years old.

“Every year we try to make it a little more groovy,” said Sharon Coplan Hurowitz, one of the party’s co-chairs.

As DJ Kai shifted from “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars to “Fireball” by Pitbull—music that was very different from Mr. Pfeiffer’s acoustic country— Claudia Gould, the museum’s director, said the entertainment was selected based on a request by children in attendance.

“You’ve got to listen to your constituency,” said Ms. Gould. “This is the kids gala.” She added that she thought Kai was such a hit, she was considering hiring him for adult parties, too.

Kai, whose father develops products for Pioneer and taught his son how to use the equipment, said his plan for the evening had been to play Jewish music until the menorah lighting, and then pop music afterward.

He added that he celebrates Christmas, not Hanukkah, and this year had asked for a “Star Wars” Lego set and an Xbox.



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