shouted, "Hello, New York! It’s good to be home."
The 600 guests at the 92nd
Street Y spring gala went nuts as they cheered, hollered and
wriggled in their seats through a throbbing Las Vegas production of
classic Manilow hits.
The singing star said that
although he’s originally from Brooklyn, this was the first time he
performed at the venerable 92nd Street Y. But he
remembers coming here for the Lyrics and Lyricists program.
His Russian immigrant
grandfather was the only one in the family who recognized little
Barry’s musical talent.
"My grandpa would walk me
across the bridge to a store where you’d make those scratchy voice
recordings. He’d put a quarter in the machine and plead with me to
sing Happy Birthday. I was too intimidated to open my mouth."
When Manilow sang in Carnegie
Hall, there was Grandpa jumping up from his seat and clapping hands.
Everyone got up and joined in a standing ovation. The audience
settled down, but Grandpa kept standing, kvelling.
"I made it, Grandpa!" Manilow
Y president Thomas Kaplan was
so exuberant with the success of the benefit that he announced,
"Tonight we raised $2.7 billion!" You know he meant "m," not "b."
The gala co-chairs were NBC
Universal president Jeff Zucker and wife Caryn,
Observatory Inc. founder Darius Bikoff and wife Jill,
and Loews Hotels chairman/CEO Jon Tisch and wife Lizzie.
Lizzie revealed, "We went to
see Barry Manilow on the first night of our honeymoon."
Jon explained, "We are
fanilows." (Read: fans of Manilow.)