It was a dark and stormy night — the sky opened and the heavens poured forth. But you could still see stars at the Waldorf-Astoria and the Mary Boone Gallery Saturday.

At the Waldorf, the New York Friars Club honored Barbara Walters, but unlike last year’s roast of Whoopi Goldberg (where her relationship with Ted Danson got cooked), Walters’s famous friends — Henry Kissinger, Beverly Sills, Candice Bergen, Sam Donaldson, Mort Zuckerman — showered her with toasts, not roasts. While we know Babs can make ’em cry, everybody was all smiles in this group — except perhaps Diane Sawyer, whose husband, Mike Nichols, spent more time chatting up carefully Valentino-clad Sharon Stone, seated next to him on the dais, than he did his wife. Everybody talked about the elegant simplicity of Sharon’s black tube and simple red scarf and about Barbara’s bias-cut red jersey gown.

“I wore it on Academy Awards night, too,” Walters admitted. “It’s Donna Karan. Sometimes we do wear the same dress twice!”

Nor did rain dampen the spirits of the crowd that turned up in SoHo for artist Ross Bleckner’s opening at the Mary Boone Gallery and a party afterward in the outdoor garden at Barolo. Even while it poured, downtown revelers partied outside and showed they’ve got thick skin — and leather jackets.

Bleckner’s show of six paintings was almost sold out before the doors opened. Among the lucky buyers were Agnes Gund for the Museum of Modern Art, Eli Broad and Peter Morton. Word is the Whitney wants to buy the last piece. Meanwhile, Tatiana Von Furstenburg showed off a more thrifty purchase — a new tablecloth — to haute cobbler Christian Louboutin, in town from Paris for the week. Later, Bleckner, Bob Colacello and Bianca Jagger were treated to a three-way birthday party at the Pierre by Doris Ammann. Among the crew were Agnes Gund, Claudia Cohen, Francesco and Alba Clemente, and Brice and Helen Marden.

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