Archive for July, 2007

Vera Wang Walks the Aisle

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The blog Realestalker has found the listing for Vera Wang and husband Arthur Becker’s 778 Park Avenue apartment. Seems they’re moving on up the real estate pecking order, but down the avenue, by taking over the apartment previously owned by Vera’s late parants, Chen Ching and Florence Wang at 740 Park Avenue. So if you have $35 million to spare, or even if you don’t, take a look at the listing here.

Hello, I Won’t Be Going… Yet

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A portrait of the Director as a much-younger man. (Philippe de Montebello moonlighting as a book-jacket model.) Charles McGrath of the New York Times takes a fascinating look at the thirty-year-long reign of Metropolitan Museum of Art director Philippe de Montebello, 71, in tomorrow’s Arts & Leisure section — and the lingering uncertainty about who will follow him in the job. “I think dumbing down is not something that the Met has ever been guilty of,” de Montebello tells McGrath. Except when it comes to books, I guess.

D. D. Ryan, R.I.P

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Dorinda Dixon Ryan, better known as D.D., died this morning after a brief illness. She was a fashion editor at Harpers Bazaar, a costume designer (for Stephen Sondheim), the matchmaker who helped create the Eloise series by introducing author Kay Thompson to illustrator Hilary Knight, a central figure in the inner circle around the late designer Halston, a social lioness, a raconteuse and a genuinely original, irrepressible and irreplaceable New York character. She was also a dear, dear friend. I’ll miss her terribly. (photo of Halston and D.D. Ryan courtesy Drew D. Ryan)

Schadenschwarzmanfreude Pt. II

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Dealbreaker asks, “Does Private Equity Hate Stephen Schwarzman?” Though it practitioners do think him “ostentatious, churlish, megalomaniacal, tone-deaf — and a hypocritical dissembler to boot,” my impression is that they’ll hold their noses and do business with him when its to their advantage.

The Old New Journalism

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In today’s New York Times, George Vecsey writes on the baseball great Don Newcombe and mentions a story about Newcombe by my father, the late Milton Gross, who was a sports columnist for the New York Post for about thirty years, calling it “one of the great sports columns of that or any other era.” It led to me search for that 1956 column online — it was a bit before my time — and though I couldn’t find it, I did find a chunk of it in an article I’d never seen before, “Magazine Writing: The Curse of Tom … Continue reading

In the Pink

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My review of Fifteen Central Park West appears smack in the middle of this week’s New York Observer. Curbed.com says I gave the building “the gross treatment” but missed two little scooplets buried deep in the piece: banking biggie Sandy Weill and Och-Ziff’s head hedge hog Dan Och are among those soon to move in to this latest palatial addition to New York’s new Gold Coast. It’s my new neighborhood, too. I wonder if they’ll mind when I swing by to borrow a cup of cash? UPDATE: Dealbreaker adds some details I didn’t get from the Zeckendorfs, and calls Fifteen … Continue reading

Name Games

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From concert stages to museum toilets, anything goes (up for sale) nowadays when it comes to what philanthropic organizations call naming opportunities. In the new issue of Contribute, I look at the naming marketplace, its pleasures and its pitfalls. The biggest one? As Page Six writes of the article today, “Forever is no longer forever.” As the families of André Meyer and Avery Fisher have recently learned. UPDATE: MediaPost’s MagazineRack blog likes this article. They really like it. And I feel a little like Sally Field.

Win For All?

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Has Shelby White, the antiquities collector and Metropolitan Museum of Art trustee and benefactress, agreed to repatriate some of her storied hoard to Italy? Il Messaggero thinks maybe. The artsjournal blog CultureGrrl translates a vague but nonetheless promising comment by Italian culture minister Francesco Rutelli: “… We are a step away from a final accord… The negotiations are substantially concluded. They will permit the return of important pieces to Italy’s possession. Shelby White’s gesture is important, because there is no legal obligation for the restitution of works belonging to a private collection.”

“I embody the gag reflex.” — Doug Marlette, R.I.P.

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Doug Marlette, 57, the Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist and creator of Kudzu, died today in a car crash in Mississippi. Doug was one of the nineteen baby boomers whose stories I combined in My Generation. His part of it, based on a series of interviews conducted in 1999, is scattered throughout that book. I’ve gathered it all here in his memory.

Frank Talk

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I have a new favorite blog, The Wealth Report by Robert Frank, author of Richistan. In today’s post, he comments on my recent feature in Contribute about the bull market Naming Rights. “If you truly want to make the world a better place, please don’t clutter it up with more plaques and name tags,” Frank writes. A commenter replies with a quote from Cato the Elder: “After I am dead I’d rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one.”

Schadenschwarzmanfreude

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A Google search of 740 Park prince Steve Schwarzman’s name and the phrase “conspicuous consumption” yields 159 hits this morning, after a week in which the newly issued stock in the Blackstone Group briefly soared and then swooned to beneath its initial offering price. But cheer up, Steve! Sure you’ve lost a billion or so on paper, but that’s all it is. And a check of the Sunday paper will show you how easy it is to bounce back from a career dip. Just ask Tina Brown!