December 18, 1989 12:00 PM

Spurred on by Barbara Bush’s efforts to curb illiteracy, New York’s very finest recently put on a not-so-low-down hoe-down in the basement of Manhattan’s St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, lassoing $500,000—before expenses—for their cause. Sponsoring the Wild West event, a benefit for the Literacy Volunteers of New York City, were cosmetics queen Georgette Mosbacher, who’s married to Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher, syndicated columnist Liz Smith and socialite Veronica Hearst Joining these urban cowgirls in a Tex-Mex feast which included margaritas and impromptu square dancing and cost $500-$2,500 a head, were the citified likes of Claudette Colbert Kathleen Turner, Frances Lear, Malcolm Forbes, Nancy Kissinger, Fran Lebowitz, Barbara Walters and Ivana Trump. In an effort to pass for simple folk, the 400 guests wore Western attire, including vests and cowboy hats. Who said you can’t go down-home again?

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