North Shore-LIJ, the third largest non-profit healthcare system in the U.S., led by Co. Limerick native Michael Dowling, hosted a gala black tie party last Thursday on board the Intrepid in New York that was, in a word, unforgettable.

There were 1,200 guests on the landmark aircraft carrier, and it was a picture perfect night in the city. The entertainment was top class with Harry Connick Jr. and singers from the LaGuardia High School of Music and Art– one teen was such an enthusiastic break dancer that he tumbled off the stage and took the podium with him, only to get back up unharmed.

NBC News correspondent Meredith Vieira and Bravo’s Andy Cohen were the emcees, and they were joined by a host of celebs in the crowd eager to show their support for North Shore-LIJ, among them Cynthia Nixon, Sherri Shepherd, Chris Cuomo and the legendary star maker Clive Davis, founder of Arista Records among other entities.

The evening raised in excess of $21 million, and there’s no doubt that Dowling is a huge reason why North Shore-LIJ is such a huge success story.  Cuomo introduced Dowling to the audience and spoke from the heart about how the Irishman has been part of the extended Cuomo family for years – Dowling was a top deputy in the administration of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Chris’s father.

“I remember he used to play a sport called curling,” said Cuomo, “with a long stick.”  

Chris was close – hurling was the affable Dowling’s game!  

The evening closed with a dessert buffet and fireworks over the Hudson River. Dowling and his colleagues are undoubtedly thrilled that everything was perfect from start to finish.

North Shore-LIJ Chairman Richard Goldstein, Andy Cohen, Meredith Vieira and North Shore-LIJ President and CEO Michael DowlingAdam Cooper