Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who bought the Washington Post, Senator Ted Cruz, who battled Obamacare, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who introduced Citibikes and tried to ban 20-oz. sodas, were raked over the coals at the 71st annual “Financial Follies” of the New York Financial Writers Assn. Nov. 22 at the Marriott Marquis.
A black-tie audience of more than 1,000, which included more than 300 financial reporters, enjoyed not only the show and a night of networking but an after-party in the hotel’s duplex penthouse hosted by Vapor Corp., marketer of nicotine-delivering electronic cigarets, cigars and hookah sticks.
Contributing to the joyous atmosphere is that the stock market is at an all-time high as measured by both the Dow Jones and Standard & Poor’s 500 index.
|Retired New York Times financial reporter and former NYFWA president Leonard Sloane performs in the 'Follies.'
Photo: Steve Govoni
About half of the well-dressed gathering were women, some in floor-length gowns. The “Follies” night was for males only during its early years.
The 14-member chorus serenaded Bezos as follows:
“Oh my God this dweeb is brilliant
He’s worth 27 billion
Even though he’s crocodilian
We just wanna be Jeff Bezos”
The tune of “Sea Cruise” was used for Cruz:
“Come on, sailors, let’s make some news
Defund Obamacare, the socialist ooze
Now hop on board, lose your Tea Party blues
Won’t ya let me take you on a Ted Cruise?”
Bloomberg Ribbed About Bikes, Sodas
Bloomberg took a ribbing for providing thousands of bikes to city residents, defending stop-and-frisk, and trying to eliminate 20-ounce sodas.
The chorus sang, to the tune of “Thank You Herbert Hoover” from “Annie”:
“Today the city is a dandy
Today the real estate’s a steal
Today we’re flying down the bike lanes
It’s damn near ideal
We used to smoke with wild abandon
We’d chug a 20-ounce or four
We used to care about the homeless
We don’t any more”
SAC Capital Advisors, headed by Steven Cohen, which paid $1.2 billion in fines in November on insider trading charges, was one of the targets.
Chorus sang, to the tune of “Jet Song” from West Side Story:
“When you’re with SAC, you’re with SAC all the way
From your first inside trade to your last dying day
When you’re with Steven A. Cohen’s hedge fund
You don’t take any risks, the deal always gets done”
50-Year-Man Sloane Honored
Leonard Sloane, retired New York Times financial reporter and former NYFWA president, was honored for being a “Follies” cast member for 50 years. A video of some of his past performances was shown.
Members of this year’s cast, besides Sloane, were Lawrence Carrel, Carolyn Crapo, Joseph Dietrich, Melissa Gordon, Kyle Gulielmo, Michael Hayes, Sarah Kronenberg, Alex McDonald, Sheila Mullan, Matt Nelko, Maryellen Tighe (debut), Irene Weissman and Heather White Godfrey.
Video parts of the show were provided by Al Jazeera America, CNN, CNNMoney.com, Fox Business News, TheStreet.com, and Thomson Reuters.
Laura Josepher was director of the Follies and Jill Brunelle, musical director. Book and lyrics chair was Bill Egbert assisted by Peter Coy, Josh Friedlander, Peter Phelan, Larry Carrel and Mullan. Video co-chairs were Phelan and Myron Kandel assistedby Steve Gelsi.
Officers of NYFWA are Jan Alexander, president, Institutional Investor’s Alpha; Pierre Paulden, VP, Bloomberg; Terry Wooten, treasurer, Crosstie Media Services, and Stephen Foley, secretary-assistant treasurer, Financial Times. Britt Tunick is executive manager.
Rooney, Ketchum, FH, SV Among Supporters
Rooney & Assocs. and Ketchum, which took five tables each, FleishmanHillard, taking three, Sard Verbinnen & Co, three, and Brunswick Group, three, were among the biggest supporters of the Follies, which each year awards ten $3,000 scholarships to financial journalism students.
Two tables were hosted by Gorkana, which has a database of hundreds of thousands of editorial contacts. It tracks traditional and social media usage, conducts networking events, posts jobs, and interviews journalists including those who have taken PR posts. It was a major sponsor of PR Society of America’s conference in Philadelphia Oct. 26-29.
Recipients of the 2013 scholarships were Minsi Chung, Thomas Corrigan, Alex Morrell, Camilo Vargas and Peter Ward of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism; Kathryn Dill, Megan Durisin, Liyan Chen and Katie Lobosco of New York University, and Craig Giammona, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Hill+Knowlton Strategies and Burson-Marsteller, units of WPP Group that have taken tables in the past, were not listed in the program.
PR firms taking two tables each included Edelman Financial, KCSA Strategic Communications, Prosek Partners and RF|Binder Partners.
BlackRock, Credit Suisse, NYSE Back Follies
Wall Street and corporate supporters of the night included BlackRock ($4 trillion under management), Bank of New York Mellon, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, Deutsch Boerse Group, NASDAQ, NYSE Euronext, PNC Financial Services Group, Prudential Financial, USAA (United Services Automobile Assn.), Wels Fargo Advantage Funds, Vanguard Group and Verizon Communications.
Al Jezeera America hosted a table.
Reporters present included 36 from Bloomberg, 34 from Thomson Reuters and 32 from the Wall Street Journal as well as staffers from numerous other financial media including the Financial Times, CBS, Associated Press, Market News, CNBC, Fortune, Investment News, BBC, American Banker, Daily Beast, Fox Business, The Street, CNN Money, Yahoo!Finance, The Deal, BuzzFeed, Barron’s, Forbes, and WCBS CEO Radio. Five reporters were present from NYT.
|Sloane with NWFWA alum George Auerbach
Above photos: Steve Govoni
|Photo: Sharlene Spingler
|Photo: Sharlene Spingler
|Photo: Sharlene Spingler