Democrats Gather in New York City to Celebrate David Koch

Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) join David Koch to celebrate his philanthropy / AP
September 15, 2014

Democrats Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler appeared with none other than David Koch for the unveiling of the revamped fountains in front of New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was funded by $65 million from the libertarian philanthropist and has been renamed the David H. Koch Plaza.

The New York members of Congress also attended a star-studded party following the ceremony in honor of Koch in the Met's famed Temple of Dendur, according to the New York Post.

VIPs at an evening soiree following a ribbon-cutting included Pepe and Emilia Fanjul, Larry Gagosian, Martha Stewart, Dixon Boardman, Vito Schnabel, David Boies, Bob Colacello, Vera Wang, Lally Weymouth and Nacho Figueras (whom Koch was overheard telling inspired the name of his family dog).

After a dinner with 1920s club décor, guests grabbed Champagne and headed outside to admire the fountains. [...]

Spies said eagle-eyed MIT grad Koch noticed some lights that were slightly off and had them adjusted as Barbara Walters approached to inexplicably hand him a furry stuffed elephant as a gift.

The entire project to revamp the area in front of the Met was Koch's idea and Koch surprised everybody involved when he offered to pay for everything, according to the Wichita Eagle.

"The trees that were there were all old, broken and ugly," [Koch] said "And the illumination of the facade overlooking Fifth Avenue was carried out by searchlights, harsh blue searchlights. It reminded me of when I went by a penitentiary once, at night, the purpose of the searchlights being to catch prisoners escaping."

"I suggested the whole project," he said of the Met’s plaza. "It took about two years of working with the final architect to come up with all these different designs. I suggested a number of things, too ... and at the end of months and months of work ... the chairman of the building committee said: ‘We’ve got this fantastic project, and the big question is, how do we pay for it?’

"And so I raised my hand, and said, ‘I’ve got a good idea. Why don’t I pay for everything, including all the extras?’

Koch is one of the biggest philanthropists in New York City's art community. Across Central Park from the Met is the Natural History Museum, and its famous dinosaur hall received $35 million from Koch in 2012, who already funded the museum's David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins.

Koch earlier this year donated $100 million to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, which prompted massive protests from unions and liberal groups in the city angry that the museum accepted the generous donation.

The billionaire philanthropist has unfortunately been called "un-American" and "against everything that’s good for America" by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.).

It is unclear if Reid is aware that Maloney and Nadler were present for the celebration of Koch's generosity to the city.