George Kaufman, Bill Cosby

There are multiple honors bestowed each year upon luminaries on the New York scene, but how often is one designated a Living Landmark? The New York Landmarks Conservancy turned “Sweet 16” this year, as its Annual Living Land­marks Celebration, held at Cipriani 42nd Street, added six noteworthy New Yorkers to its distinguished roster.

Landmarks of 2009 included longtime (like forever) D.A. Robert Morgenthau, real-estate developer and film studio chief George Kaufman, Tony Award-winning theatre legend Tommy Tune, the Italian Baroness and renowned philanthropist Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimo, distinguished playwright, author and screenwriter and “Newman’s Own” co-creator A.E. Hotchner, and peerless New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham.

Past honoree Liz Smith hosted the gala, and Peter Duchin, another past honoree, and his orchestra, provided the music.

Bill Cosby had the crowd cracking up with his award shtick: when he presented to George Kaufman (chairman of Kaufman Astoria Studios), he “dropped” his award, which was actually a fake.

Beth Rudin-DeWoody presented Morgenthau with the Lew Rudin Award for Outstanding Public Service. Morgenthau proved that Bill Cosby was not the only funny man in the house, when he recounted a conversation with Sam Waterston, who plays a character on Law & Order based on the iconic D.A. “I understood he was getting $25,000 an episode, so I said to him, ‘When you’re getting ready to retire, let me know, because I want your job.’”

The event raised $650,000 for the Conservancy, and each Landmark received a beautiful Cartier silver plate.

It was a quintessential New York night, and nobody had to worry about whether these Landmarks were in danger of being mowed down by a condo developer.

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Beth Rudin DeWoody, Bill Cunningham Barbara and Donald Tober, Peg Breen
Sirio Maccioni, Elaine Kaufman, Liz Smith
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Former NYS Comptroller Carl McCall and Dr.Joyce Brown Alexi and Priscila Zoullas
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Elaine Stritch David Patrick Columbia
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Yaz Hernandez, Elizabeth Stribling, Sharon Handler Liz Smith, Veronica Kelly
Elke Gazzara, Marty and Cornelia Bregman, Ben Gazzara
George and Mariana Kaufman (in red dress) with beautiful family
photos by Joan Jedell
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