Last night was the social event of the year for the finance community: It was the annual gala of the Robin Hood Foundation, the poverty-battling non-profit backed by banking heavyweights. The usual suspects from the worlds of hedge funds and private equity were in attendance, as were a smattering of celebs too classy for the Sex and the City premiere, including Jay-Z, Conan O'Brien, Russell Simmons, Tom Brokaw, David Byrne, and Cindy Sherman. Performances by Shakira, Sheryl Crow, and John Legend had noted hoofers like Henry Kravis, Steve Cohen, and Art Samberg tapping their feet underneath their tables.
It was a dream come true for the ego: Everyone felt simultaneously extremely rich and extremely generous. The only downer was that when the proceeds from the gala were counted, the total was $56.5 million—$15.5 million less than the $72 million raised last year and a rather unsettling reminder of the sorry state of the economy. The SATC premiere may have had less billionaires per capita, but at least it didn't make you feel queasy about the economy.