I am the public face of philanthropy today! • Brooklyn Paper

I am the public face of philanthropy today!

Picture this: Our editor, Gersh Kuntzman, and his wife (middle picture), are the public face of Brooklyn philanthropy. Even more so than…

Look, I know I’m good-looking. I know my wife and I are the kind of couple that makes every married Brooklynite jealous. And I know that I have a great love of Prospect Park.

But how did I become the public face of philathropy in the borough?

Sen. Chuck Schumer, seen here at last year's gala…

I started asking this question on Tuesday night, when, lo and behold, this e-mail popped into my Inbox:

“Subject: Save the Date — Party for Playgrounds 2009,” it read.

Or the stunning Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy honcha Marianna Koval…

The rest of the message was the standard boilerplate reminding me to buy my ticket to the Prospect Park Alliance fundraiser for playgrounds on Friday, June 5.

I was about to delete it — “Charity?” I grumbled. “Are there no fire hydrants in which the spoiled tots can recreate? Are there no broken-glass-filled vacant lots?” — until I saw that a picture of myself, accompanied by my stunning wife, was one of the illustrations for the fundraiser.

Or even the dashing Navy Yard President Andrew Kimball and his glamorous wife Sarah Williams…

This left me with the unmistakable conclusion: my wife and I are a power couple of Brooklyn philanthropy.

Though the picture was uncaptioned, there could be no ignoring that the Prospect Park Alliance believes — wrongly, I would argue — that when people see a picture of me, they will reach into their wallets and give heartily to charity.

Or even Borough President Markowitz and his wife Jamie…
Paul Martinka

Or maybe not. When I asked the Prospect Park Alliance why I had been chosen as the event’s poster boy, the group admitted its mistake.

“Our apologies go out to all who cancelled their reservations after receiving this e-mail,” said the Alliance’s director of new media, Jesse Adelman. “It does remain Park policy, however, to refer to Gersh as ‘handsome.”

Or even this lady.
Paul Martinka

I’ll leave it to others to assess that policy, but Adelman’s statement worked on me. Of course, I purchased the $75 ticket — but not because I’m a latter-day Brooke Astor, but because the playground party is one of the great events on the Brooklyn social circuit. The ticket price includes great food, booze and plenty of local celebs to schmooze, the journalist’s trifecta. No wonder I usually find myself at the end of the night holed up in a corner of the Boathouse, surrounded by empty beer bottles and singing bawdy showtunes with Assemblywoman Joan Millman.

Like I said, a great time for a great cause — and now, with a new great spokesmodel!

Prospect Park Alliance Party for Playgrounds, Friday, June 5 at the Audubon Center and Boathouse [enter park at Lincoln Road and Ocean Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, (718) 965-8988], 7 pm. Tickets are $75 and include dinner, cocktails and dancing (with Gersh Kuntzman).

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