Archive for May, 2007

Party Hearty

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My latest column for Contribute, the philanthropy magazine, is out this week. It’s about the big business of benefits. Check out a pdf here.

New Kid on the Block

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Danielle Ganek, who, with her husband, the hedge fund operator David Ganek, now owns the 740 Park apartment where Black Jack and Janet Lee Bouvier raised their children, the future Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill, joins the ranks of published authors in the building, which includes such illustrious names as Bette Bao Lord. Ganek just published a novel about the contemporary art world, Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him (Viking, $23.95). USA Today visits her in her apartment today.

Immune Deficiency

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Talks between Italy and Metropolitan Museum of Art trustee and benefactor Shelby White have bogged down, says the New York Times, over White’s demand for a lifetime laissez-passe in exchange for nine objects (part of a great antiquities collection created with her late husband, the financier Leon Levy) that Italy contends were illegally looted from its soil. A 1999 study by two British archaeologists found that 93% of the objects in a show of the Levy-White collection lacked provenance. An unidentified Italian official characterized White’s demand as, in effect, a license to pillage. White who has refused my request for … Continue reading

Caryl Palin, R.I.P.

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Another death at 740 Park Avenue: Caryl Entratter Palin, a resident of 740 Park since 1973, the wife of developer Mickey Palin and the daughter of Smilin’ Jack Entratter, the one-time manager of the Copacabana and the Stork Club and part-owner of the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas is remembered in today’s New York Times..

Making the Mummies Cringe

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Does the Metropolitan Museum of Art practice censorship behind the scenes? After its recent, fabulous, sex-charged show of German art of the 1920s, Glitter and Doom, you wouldn’t think so, but arts journalist Judith H. Dobrzynski says otherwise. A new book, Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, by Danny Danziger, described by its publisher as “oral history at its best” has apparently been delayed and given a thorough cleansing after an “uproar at 1000 Fifth Avenue” when galleys were sent to the museum employees and trustees who’d been authorized to speak to Danziger by the Met’s … Continue reading

Roots, Ralph-Style

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In the coverage of the opening of the first Polo store in Russia near Moscow’s Red Square in Friday’s Women’s Wear Daily, Ralph Lauren‘s son David Lauren is quoted saying his family had visited a genealogist there, because “my dad really wanted to trace his roots here.” Funny, as that job has already been done in Genuine Authentic: The Real Life of Ralph Lauren, my biography of the designer (which Lauren asked me to write before refusing to cooperate and has long claimed he’s never read. David Lauren apparently has, as he’s publicly upbraided people who are quoted in the … Continue reading

Sell, Steve, Sell

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The New York Observer’s Max Abelson reports a new high water mark in Manhattan apartment sales — a $50 million contract for a flat in the unfinished Plaza Hotel condominium. A year ago, a broker told me that if Blackstone Group chairman Steve Schwarzman put his 740 Park Avenue duplex on the market it would easily fetch that same figure. Just think, Steve, you can now ask $60 million, set a new record, put 740 back on top where it belongs, move into a studio in the financial district (I hear they have saunas and lap pools these days) and … Continue reading

One for the Books

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Though it no longer holds the record for the most expensive co-op apartment in New York, 740 Park remains at the pinnacle, says The Cooperator. When New York Stock Exchange boss John Thain bought Enid Annenberg Haupt’s two-bedroom apartment there last year for $27.5 million, it was “the equivalent of an extraordinary $7,638 per square foot, exclusive of terraces, which must be a record on a per square foot basis,” says the mag. “A more typical sale of a quality cooperative would be $1,700 to $2,200 per square foot.” According to super-realtor Kirk Henckels of Stribling, prices like these reflect … Continue reading

Brokerback Mountain

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In today’s New York Observer, real estate reporter Max Abelson reveals that there are now two — count ‘em, 2! — vacant duplexes at the summit of Manhattan real estate, 740 Park Avenue, and calls 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building “a nose-twitching biography of the building.” Janet Coleman, the 89-year-old Mosler Safe heiress (before she moved in, the family company built the building’s basement vaults), died last week. Unfortunately for the real estate community, neither her apartment, nor that of “Harry” Cheng Ching Wang, the designer Vera Wang’s father, has yet come on the market, … Continue reading

The Very Model of a Modern Hedge-Fund Billionaire

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Noted without comment: 740 Park’s Steve Schwarzman and wife Christine Hearst rock out at Dan’s hamptons.com.

Leo Roars

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What’s now called “Anna’s Party,” the annual benefit at the Metropolitan Museum for its Costume Institute, held last night, was once a society party, but now, chaired by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, it’s become a celebrated celebrity petting zoo. According to the New York Times report, social leaders like Annette de la Renta and Jayne Wrightsman chose to enter through a service door rather than walk the red carpet with the Hollywood types who now dominate the night. If you wanted to see media power last night, the place to be was at “Leo’s Party” on West 57th Street at … Continue reading

When Worlds Collide, Pt. 2

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I’ve long thought it odd that in the five years since I published a biography of fashion eminence Ralph Lauren, I’d not run into him even once in public. So I guess it’s not odd that Fishbowl NY thought it worthy of comment when I finally did. But what I like more than the name check is blogger Diane Clehane‘s comment that that thoroughly unauthorized biography, Genuine Authentic: The Real Life of Ralph Lauren, is “deliciously dishy.” (And still in print: click the books link to the left to read reviews and buy a copy.) I much prefer hot dish … Continue reading

The Sun Shines on Shelby

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There’s a lengthy, even-handed, comprehensive and quite intelligent article on the simultaneously revered and reviled antiquities collector and Metropolitan Museum of Art trustee and benefactor Shelby White in today’s New York Sun. The most revealing passage is this quote from fellow collector Michael Steinhardt, not coincidentally a co-owner of the Sun: “I would say, Shelby has stood alone, and was not as strongly defended as she should have been by those very institutions to whom she had been a too-generous donor.” No wonder the normally silent White gave the Sun a rare interview.