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On a two-block stretch of Manhattan’s High Line park on Tuesday night, the occasional report of a popping balloon sounded over the usual chitchat of the post-work crowd ambling this way or that on the elevated walkway. Coach had taken over the stretch of the park that runs from 14th Street to 16th Street for its summer party, a carnival-themed cocktail benefit for the public space, and the accessories firm had gone all out for the occasion. The bursting balloons were the result of a game in which contestants raced with air pumps to explode them.
There was also a fortune-teller, arcade games and vodka-spiked snow cones.
A well-dressed crowd of civic-minded partygoers roamed the temporary midway while a DJ supplied a very loud soundtrack. Dianna Agron, Mamie Gummer and Benjamin Walker chatted in a corner huddle, sampling the pretzel bites being passed around by waiters wearing straw boaters, suspenders and fake moustaches. A small contingent of “Saturday Night Live” cast members, including Bobby Moynihan and Abby Elliott, circulated around. With one well-aimed baseball, David Neville sent a fit model-looking young man in red swim trunks into a dunk tank, a feat the Rag & Bone designer’s young son hadn’t been able to accomplish despite considerable effort. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Kate Mara posed for photographers in the too-perfect available light as the sun set on the Hudson River.
Toward the park’s 14th Street entrance, Anna Kendrick sat on a wooden lounge with her brother, a friend and two freshly opened bags of cotton candy.
“These are two victories,” she said as she finished untying a tricky knot of red ribbon that had sealed the bag. “This is going on my wrist….Only wear items of clothing that you consider a victory. Quote: Anna Kendrick.”
The actress paused from her celebration to consider the carnival atmosphere.
“I’m excited about it,” she laughed. “I always liked it when carnivals would come to my hometown, because it was kind of extra scary. It felt like the rides were going to fall apart, so there was a sense of real danger….It makes it feel more special.”