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Thursday, February 15, 2007
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Page Six

$3M PARTY FIT FOR BUYOUT KING

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February 14, 2007 -- HE'S got the biggest living room in the city, but for his coronation last night as the new king of Wall Street, buyout billionaire Stephen Schwarzman rented the cavernous Park Avenue Armory and felt right at home there - he decorated it as his palatial parlor.

Some 500 guests toasted Schwarzman on his 60th birthday, hailing him for reeling in the world's biggest buyout just four days earlier: the $39 billion deal involving commercial-building empire Equity Office Group. It broke the long-held record of financier Henry Kravis, who turned down his invite.

Those who came enjoyed a $1 million private concert by Rod Stewart, free-flowing wine and nonstop courses of gourmet feasting in a party said to top $3 million.

But, after all, the titans who partied control more than $3 trillion a day. They included Lloyd Blankfein, head of Goldman Sachs; Jimmy Cayne, the chief of Bear Stearns; Merrill Lynch boss Stan O'Neal; JPMorgan Chase head Jamie Dimon; and investment-banking chief Jimmy Lee.

CNBC's Maria Bartiromo and Charlie Rose of PBS blew kisses, as entertainment enchiladas Barry Diller, Sony Chairman Sir Howard Stringer and Donald Trump glowed in their tans.

Along with New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, former New York Gov. George Pataki and NYSE chief John Thain, the party drew a big turnout of buyout moguls, including Wilbur Ross, Joe Parella, Leon Black, Bruce Wasserstein, Byron Wein, Thomas H. Lee and David Rubenstein.

Cosmetics king Leonard Lauder mingled with richly gowned spouses, including Schwarzman's wife, Christine Hearst Schwarzman, the brains behind the party.

The cavernous armory, normally drafty because of peeling ceilings, was toasty and pristine because a huge indoor canopy rose high inside with a darkened sky of sparkling stars suspended above a grand chandelier. It was a copy of the decor in the living room at Schwarzman's $40 million co-op nearby on Park Avenue. It was copied even down to a grandfather clock and Old Masters paintings on the walls.

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