By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 09, 2002 11:00 AM

Lower Manhattan, currently experiencing the first-ever Tribeca Film Festival, got an extra jolt of star power Thursday afternoon when ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer was among those honored at the first Women Who Care Luncheon at Regent Wall Street Hotel, reports. The midday event benefited United Cerebral Palsy of New York City and was hosted by the town’s former first lady, Donna Hanover, 52, who listened patiently as speakers heaped praise upon her estranged husband, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, for his efforts on behalf of the neighborhood in the wake of Sept. 11. But it was a self-effacing Sawyer who commanded the spotlight. “I have a theory,” she said to the crowd, mostly made up of uptown media people and downtown Wall Streeters. “And that is, all of us walk around yearning for a particular compliment.” Apologizing beforehand for her language, she recounted the story of walking by a man who had been “inebriated for about six weeks,” sitting on a park bench. As she passed, he said, Nice a–.” To which she replied: “You think so? I’m 56 years old. . .” She went on to explain, “The thing is, I don’t care where a compliment comes from.” All this was by way of her thanking the group and saying that the greatest praise she could receive is “when someone says you care.” To that point, she added that she recently received an e-mail from her sister, who posited, “Every time you do something to bring a smile to a child or to someone who needs it, you’ve planted a tree in eternity.” Sawyer thanked the crowd for including her in the forest.