Archive for March, 2007

Clap Your Hands Say… Huh?

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Adam Moss‘s New York magazine looks great, gives good service, and just won lots of magazine-world Oscar nominations, so why is Mediaweek looking askance at its declining newstand sales and advertising pages and asking how come “business-side achievements are not keeping pace with editorial plaudits”? Here’s a hint: Courtney Sale Ross, widow of Time-Warner founder Steve Ross and owner of a double duplex apartment at 740 Park, gets the write-around treatment from Phoebe Eaton in this week’s issue. But why on earth is this quintessential New York Magazine feature not the cover story? In fact, it’s not even mentioned on … Continue reading

Off the Record — On the Money

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“You’re naive if you think people are going to go on the record. We need more unnamed sources, because people who are on the record are lying.” Bob Woodward‘s blunt comment, quoted in today’s Daily Texan at the University of Texas, pretty much says it all.

Geckoration

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Andrew Ross Sorkin keeps the pressure on private equity players like 740 Park’s Steve Schwarzman and Henry Kravis (who has left the building, but like Elvis, is not forgotten) in his latest Dealbook column in the New York Times. This time, Sorkin seconds the notion that closes 740 Park, namely that “for some inexplicable reason, private equity guys have rarely been big philanthropists — at least not publicly. That’s led to ugly comparisons to robber barons.” Sorkin suggests the public opening of checkbooks. That would be a start.

Zippy

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Residents of 740 Park can breathe easy this ayem, as Sam Roberts of the New York Times singles them out as even more elite than they were a few days ago. They’ll get to hold onto their precious 10021 zip code status signifier when the Post Office slices the east side of the big apple into finer slices late this year.

Trippy

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Travel & Leisure, where I’m lucky enough to be a Contributing Writer, has just published a book, 100 Greatest Trips and I’ve written about three of them: Harbour Island (stay at the Landing) , the Mexican Riviera (Ikal del Mar) and Bermuda (9 Beaches).

Hot Boites

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I’m quoted briefly in Spencer Morgan‘s cover story in the New York Observer this week, the latest of many reports from the open-but-not-really-open Waverly Inn, but as almost always happens here in Sound Bite City, a lot of what I said didn’t make the cut. For one thing, I noted that while Graydon Carter is getting most of the attention, another reason for the Waverly’s instant success is one of his partners, Sean MacPherson, who has been running restaurants for a long time. Then, there’s good food and a reasonably-priced and excellent wine list, which may not be important to … Continue reading

What Becomes a Legend Most (Often)?

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Ralph Lauren, who has already won the Council of Fashion Designers of America Lifetime Achievement Award, is now being named a fashion legend by the same group, a move that surely wasn’t timed to his 40th business birthday. The CFDA often gives out consolation prizes like these when a big fashion advertiser designer isn’t winning the awards that some think actually matter (they don’t, but never mind), like women’s designer of the year. True, Ralph has been nominated for menswear designer of the year this year, but that happens almost every year (he last won in 1996), and he hasn’t … Continue reading

Avast Ye, Scurvy Buyout Boys!

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Of all the bad press generated by Steve Schwarzman‘s recent 60th birthday party, the worst may be tucked within today’s Dealbook column in the New York Times in which Andrew Ross Sorkin takes on the highly-paid pirates of private equity. “It is a charade that private equity firms have claimed their 20 percent performance fees at the lower capital gains rate,” he writes. “To qualify, they invest a nominal amount of their own money to demonstrate that they have put something at risk, but it’s a ruse. They are paying capital gains rates for doing their job, which should be … Continue reading

The Write Stuff

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Taki and Dominick Dunne are two of my favorite writers. I moderated a dishy conversation between them that’s just been published in the spring 2007 issue of Bergdorf Goodman Magazine — and it’s already been covered on Page Six and in WWD’s Memo Pad. Caveat lector: It’s a pdf and you’ll have to enlarge it to read it. Get loaded while it’s loading if you must; Taki, the proprietor of Taki’s Top Drawer, would surely approve.

Box ‘o’ Billions

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A dozen present and former residents of 740 Park made this year’s Forbes Magazine’s Billionaire’s List. Among current residents, David Koch (#49) ranks as the richest, followed by Colombian Julio Mario Santo Domingo (#132), the suddenly ubiquitous Steve Schwarzman (#249), Ronald Lauder (#287) and hedge fund honcho Israel Englander (#799). Past residents on the list include Edgar Bronfman. Sr. (#279), Campbell Soup sisters Elinor Dorrance Hamilton (#840) and Hope van Beuren (#754), Henry Kravis (#349), Ronald Perelman (#104), Steve Rales (#336), and David Rockefeller (#349). And then there are two who wanted into 740 but weren’t wanted, their financial achievements … Continue reading

Ratdominium

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The New York State appellate court decision yesterday to allow the controversial renovation of Washington Square Park to go forward will likely have an unintended side-effect that will make the recent Kentucky Fried Rat infestation just around the corner look like, well, a day in the park. Ever since 9-11, when rats surged away from ground zero through subway tunnels, the area around Washington Square has been infested with them. They party on street corners, feast on garbage and cavort (and breed) in neighboring gardens like so many randy club kids. And recent building in the area, including the excavations … Continue reading

The Anti-Donors

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My second column for Contribute magazine is about what I call My Way Philanthropy. It is hands-on, do-it-yourself, do it now, and if someone can make a little money doing it, too, all the better. And for the moment, at least, this new beast is unpredictable, hard to control, big and getting bigger, and pretty much free of oversight. Check out a pdf here.

Vive La France

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Don’t try and wipe that spot off Metropolitan Museum of Art director Philippe de Montebello‘s lapel. It’s the Legion of Honor, which France has previously awarded to American cultural icons such as Marvin Traub of Bloomingdales, Oscar de la Renta and Pauline Trigere of Seventh Avenue and Colin Powell of the State Department (and Weapons of Mass Destruction). De Montebello got his yesterday. Hopefully, Italy and Greece, which have had their issues with “The Montebello” as the Washington Post calls him, were paying attention. Also today, Newsweek chimes in on the subject of black market antiquities, asking “Who really owns … Continue reading

White Knight

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A source working with Italy’s carabinieri says I got it wrong in my post last week about antiquities collector Shelby White‘s negotiations with the governments of Italy and Greece, two countries that claim her collection includes objects looted from their soil. “Shelby initiated the negotiations and that they are progressing,” says this source. “The opening [of the Metropolitan's new antiquities galleries] will not be like the Getty Villa when [Getty curator Marion] True resigned and [antiquities collector, donor and Getty trustee] Barbara Fleischman left, too.” Let’s hope that’s true for New York City’s sake. True ended up on trial in … Continue reading