The Shmooze

Rita Cosby Shows How Ladies Get Things Done

By Masha Leon

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“It’s been crazier than ‘reality TV’…many of you have heard the name “Carlos Danger”…it’s nice to be here and back to sanity,” said keynote speaker TV news personality Rita Cosby to the 700 guests at the April 1 St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters’ “Women of Valor Tea” at the Waldorf-Astoria.

Emceed by Fox News anchor Ernie Anastos, the event was hosted by Macy’s. Emmy award-winning TV anchor and author of N.Y. Times bestseller “Blonde Ambition,” Cosby offered “a special shout -out” in the ballroom to mayoral wannabe John Catsimatidis, his wife Margo — who offered a mini-campaign speech — and Veronica Kelly, wife of N.Y.C. Police commissioner Ray Kelly “who work so tirelessly for so many New York charities.” The event was co-chaired by Faith Hope Consolo, chairman, The Retail Group Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate and [my table mate] Jeffrey Mann, publisher, Mann Publications.

Karen Leon
Veronica Kelly and Margo Catsimatidis

Cosby mused: “We in this room are blessed to have nice clothes, warm meals and a warm place to stay at night. Many New Yorkers don’t even have the basic necessities—50,000 people are sleeping in shelters each night—20,000 of them children. That’s a 22% increase from last year.” Thanking the St. Francis Food Pantries for their “life-saving” work, Cosby, a gleam in her eye added: “The reason this event is called “Women of Valor Luncheon” is because—face it ladies, we know how to get things done better than the guys.”

Cosby referred to the book she wrote about her father — a Polish POW rescued by American troops [who — she told me long before it appeared in print–organized an escape from a Nazi concentration camp]. Copies of the book “Quiet Hero: Secrets From My Father’s Past” (Threshold Editions] were at each table. Three years ago, at a book-signing event at the Polish Consulate — with her father at her side — she told that he had lived a few blocks from Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto and that during the [1943] Warsaw Ghetto Uprising “witnessed a woman, her dress on fire, jumping from the balcony.” Cosby recounted that though her father had fought in the 1944 [Polish] Warsaw Uprising as a teenage “eaglet,” he so completely tried to block his past that not until his daughter dug into his history did he reveal his courageous and tramautic wartime experiences. Born Kossobudzki, he had changed his name to Cosby upon becoming a U.S. citizen.

The stated mission of St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters, led by its executive director Joseph Sano is “to help improve the lives of the disadvantaged and those most in need of assistance. The program seeks to promoted human dignity by providing supplemental nutrition to poor families in order to enhance their well being so that they too can lead productive lives.” Among the event’s six Humanitarian Award recipients was “Woman of Valor” honoree Shelly Bloch, Director of Global Real Estate, Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom L.L.P.


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