Stephen Schwarzman’s 60th-birthday party at the Park Avenue Armory last year, replete with its lobsters and baked Alaska, Patti LaBelle and Rod Stewart, has, fairly or unfairly, become a symbol of the wealth and self-indulgence of the private-equity set and made the Blackstone CEO “the designated villain of an era on Wall Street,” as James Stewart put it recently in The New Yorker. Exactly one year later, with the country in the midst of a credit crunch on the verge of a recession, people across the Internet are heralding Schwarzman’s birthday as a turning point and offering the multi-billionaire some very special birthday wishes — with a side of Schadenfreude. Reuters gloatingly notes that “Blackstone’s stock hasn’t topped its opening day price, politicians have proposed restrictions on the industry’s tax status, and a credit crunch has made financing deals difficult” in an article headlined “Happy Birthday, Mr. Schwarzman.” Portfolio made a musical, interactive card that readers can use to send him messages. “Still down with EOP? :)” says one signed “Sam.”
Douglas McIntyre of 247 Wall Street wishes happy birthday to “the shareholder’s worst enemy,” while 1440 Wall Street wonders if, this year, he’ll celebrate with “human sacrifices.” Meanwhile, Breaking Views’ Lauren Silva says she hopes Schwarzman gets “a new chef in Florida who won’t blab all his secrets to the Wall Street Journal” and suggests that, rather than having Stewart play this year, Barry Manilow performing “We Live On Borrowed Time” might be a more appropriate choice. Ouch.