NEW YORK (AP) — A Chinese tycoon served up a fancy lunch Wednesday to homeless New Yorkers at a Central Park restaurant, but caught grief from attendees expecting cash.
Recycling magnate Chen Guangbiao selected a menu of sesame-seed-encrusted tuna, beef filet and berries with creme fraiche at The Loeb Boathouse restaurant for more than 200 residents of the New York City Rescue Mission, the nation's oldest shelter. He even serenaded them with a rendition of "We Are the World" and did some magic tricks.
Dozens of volunteer waiters sported green uniforms similar to those once worn by soldiers in China's People's Liberation Army, bearing the words "Serve the People."
"I'm looking forward to a good time and a good meal," said Antone Hills, a shelter resident. "I think he's a good guy and he's helping our country."
Wads of cash filled wire baskets at the restaurant, with Chen waving some of the money in front of the guests. But when they discovered that they in fact would not be given any money, an uproar ensued, with some yelling, "We want it now!"
Shelter officials urged Chen not to give cash to the group because many are being treated for addictions and the money could be better used for their programs.
Others waiting outside, unable to get in because they weren't registered, booed and cursed Chen, yelling "liar" and "con man."
Chen said he wants to disprove the image of rich Chinese spending money on luxuries.