As guests made their way into Charlie Rangel’s 80th-birthday dinner at the Plaza Hotel Wednesday night, a heckler shouted at former mayor David Dinkins that he was “attending a party for a crook.” Dinkins — whom the Times describes as "a paragon of statesmanship and dignity" — responded by turning to the man and flipping the bird.
After much hemming and hawing from invited guests beforehand, most of the big names — including Michael Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, and Chuck Schumer — showed up, and were treated to a meal of roast beef, goat cheese, and onion rings. A spokesman for Rangel said that he sold 800 tickets for the event — which doubled as a fund-raiser, with tickets starting at $200 — and about 600 attended.
And though several fellow state lawmakers — including Representative John Hall and Representative Carolyn Maloney — did skip the festivities (after offering a range of excuses), Rangel was reportedly in good spirits throughout the evening. He sang along with Dionne Warwick as she belted out “That’s What Friends Are For,” and at one point, while looking out at the assembled guests, he declared, “This damn sure ain’t no funeral, is it?”