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Henry Kissinger Had a Birthday Party at the NYPL and You Weren’t Invited

Oops, totally forgot to wish him a happy 100th on my Instagram story.

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and national security advisor for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, discusses the Vietnam War with LBJ Presidential Library director Mark Updegrove on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Kissinger, who played a leading role in U.S. diplomatic and military policy during the Vietnam War, was the keynote evening speaker on the first day of the LBJ Presidential Library’s three-day Vietnam War Summit. We edited a party hat and balloons into the photo because this is a story about Henry Kissinger's birthday party

(Photo by Jay Godwin / Collage by Hell Gate)

Henry Kissinger, now 100 years old, is best known for butchering Southeast Asia, promoting a fascist coup in Chile, backing a junta notorious for disappearing dissidents in Argentina, ignoring genocide in Pakistan in the interest of the U.S. economy, and supporting the violent occupation of East Timor as the national security advisor/Secretary of State to Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. But he's so much more than that—he's also one of those people when it comes to his birthday. You know the type: Someone whose "birthday week" stretches into a birthday month, and before you know it, you're like, OK Henry, how many times are we supposed to tell our server it's your special day while you "go to the bathroom?" 

Because only a certified Birthday Person would have two separate black-tie birthday parties, which is exactly what Kissinger did; one on May 24, at the Economic Club of New York, three days before his birthday on May 27, and another on June 5, nine days after, at the New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. 

Clearly our invitation got lost in the mail, but it's cool. We were busy anyway. Plus, it would have been a whole ordeal to figure out what kind of gift to bring. What do you get the guy who has everything, including the political capital to sneer and deflect any time he's asked (asked!) to be accountable for all of the literal war crimes he orchestrated? Oh God, would we have had to buy a second gift for his second party? We certainly don't envy former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, or any of the H.W. Bush, Obama, and Biden administration officials—think Larry Summers, Samantha Power, Tony Blinken, and Jim Baker—who were spotted at last night's soirée and must have had to figure out how to toe that dicey social line.

The lone reporter who does seem to have gotten the Partiful link for Kissinger's bash was Jonathan Guyer, a senior foreign policy writer from Vox who covered Kissinger's May 24 party—although even he was not allowed to actually enter the festivities. Instead, Guyer dutifully tweeted from the scene and bothered the birthday boy's distinguished guests as they trudged up and down the red carpet laid out for the event and generally tried to ignore questions like, "What do you like about Henry Kissinger?"

A century on this mortal plane has clearly netted Kissinger some special, special friends. There's veteran broadcaster Ted Koppel, who basically admitted to giving Kissinger a softball interview for the politician's centennial; current Secretary of State Tony Blinken, whose aide became visibly flustered when referring to Blinken's "good and cordial relationship with a number of his predecessors"; and whatever anonymous buddy threw HK this swingin' party!

A spokesperson for the New York Public Library told Hell Gate that the party was a private event, not one arranged by the library, and that "anyone can request to rent space at the Library and we assess each request individually considering availability and the unique needs of the event. Rentals do not constitute an endorsement of a group, a point of view or an individual. Events are a source of revenue for the Library, which relies on a mix of public and private funds for support." The spokesperson declined to specify how much it costs to rent the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building out per night (probably more with bottle service, which feels kind of mandatory for a landmark birthday, no?), and directed us to David Monn, an event planning company that also does weddings and, cough, end-of-life celebrations. A representative from David Monn also declined to tell us exactly who loves Kissinger enough to host his "Fun-Hundred Years of Henry!" celebration "out of respect for the clients." 

And, sadly, the man himself has also not responded to our requests for comment—or the subtle implication that we deserve an invite to the big 1-0-1, so we can update Guyer's list of craven enablers and ass-kissers in attendance.

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