Another New York week passes by ...
At the Union Square Farmers Market 3:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Catching up. This always turns out to be a very busy time of year. I’m always surprised and a little done in only halfway through. That’s because. after all these years we still don’t wanna miss anything. You never know when you’re going to see something interesting, or someone interesting, or learn something along the lines of a building brick. And besides, it’s New York where “amaze me” is often the motto or the first rule.
DPC and Channing Chase

Yesterday in New York, I lunched at Michael’s with my old friend Channing Chase from Los Angeles. NYSD readers first read about Channing and her remarkable recovery from death’s door twenty-four years ago at my house out there. (SD 9/2/03).

Michael’s was happening. Right next door to us Andre Leon Talley was lunching with Ralph Lauren. Andre often has the wowser fashion names at his lunch table. The day before it was George Malkemus, the business partner of and also lunching with ... Manolo! Manolo Blahnik, the Balenciaga of modern feminine footwear looks like a kinda ordinary, albeit stylish guy. But a very unassuming bearing for a man who can turn an ounce of leather into 800 bucks (if you’re lucky). Behind us was Barry Diller, and on the other side was Bobby Zarem schmoozing up Chris Lemmon.

Last night in New York was a social calendar on overload. At the Angel Orensanz Center on Norfolk Street, there was a Tribute to Spalding Gray to benefit Performance Space 122, Kathleen Russo, Lucy Sexton, Stephen Daldry, Scott Rudin and John Barlow and Donald Guarenieri hosting. At the home of Nina Winthrop there was a tribute to Ned O’Gorman celebrating his 40 years as an educator in Harlem. Then there was the Tribeca Ball at Skylight on Hudson Street, and the opening night gala for the newly refurbished Morgan Library. And CITYarts at the Chelsea Museum, the first annual Hamptons Preview Party.

Down at Capitale (where I went), the Home for the Homeless organization held its first benefit (after twenty years in operation) honoring its inspiring founder Leonard Stern and Mayor Ed Koch. And up on the edge of Central Park, in the Sherry-Netherland, Doubles, the private club was celebrating its 30 anniversary with several hundred of its members dining and dancing to the music of Peter Duchin and his orchestra along with the vocals of the great Roberta Fabiano. I was there too. But more about that on Monday.

Leonard Stern and Ed Koch at the Home for the Homeless' first annual benefit
Candace Beinecke, Dan Lufkin, and Wendy Carduner at Doubles' 30th anniversary celebration

The night before last, after the Conservancy lunch, I went down to Swifty’s where Sylvester and Gillian Miniter were hosting a “welcome home” party for Steven Stolman, the designer/retailer/party designer/you-name-it who’s just returned north from another season in Palm Beach.

Steven, who is a northerner and a New Englander by birth and breeding (Hartford, Connecticut), has a shop in Palm Beach and another in Southampton. He doesn’t really live in New York. He’s one of those non-New Yorker New Yorkers. They know so many New Yorkers they may as well live here. Except business takes him elsewhere.

I just went to the drinks part of the dinner, which started at eight o’clock, in the backroom of Swifty’s. There were twenty or more guests in the Miniter party; they took over the whole room.

R. Couri Hay
Liz Finkle and Alex Lind Rose
Cricket Burns
Marshall Heyman and Dennis Basso
Sylvester Miniter
Steven Stolman and Gillian Miniter
Paul Podlucky, Pauline Pitt, and Ralph Rucci
Roger Webster, Michael Cominotto, and Julie Dannenberg
Fred Adler with Hilary and Wilbur Ross
Ellen Welsh and Isolde O'Hanlon
Steven Ladd, Richard Lambertson, Maribeth Welsh, and Michael Formica
Melanie Wambold, Steven Stolman, and Heather Leeds

In my foto-foray, I caught Pauline Pitt in conversation with Ralph Rucci and Paul Podlucky. Ralph Rucci has been designing for some time but in the last few years, especially the last couple of years, his public profile has emerged along with the recognition of his ability to articulate a contemporary chic and elegance. When I see Ralph Rucci’s clothes in the windows of Bergdorf, I always think of those women, many of whom are now only known as Truman Capote’s “swans” — those girls who had mastered the classic style and imbued it with their enormous discipline and personifications of self-confidence (no matter the truth). Rucci’s done that. Women who wear his clothes look like they have perfect taste. And understated. Although some girls like to look overstated. And why not?

And in the front room of Swifty's (Clockwise from top left): Mai Harrison, Joan Schnitzer Levy, and Mariana Kaufman; Pat Altschul; Candy Hamm and Karen Clarke.

The other guy in the picture, Paul Podlucky is one of those famous New York celebrities famous to the famous. And the well-fixed and fashionable. Paul’s a hairstylist. He works out of his modest East Side apartment, the last I heard (about a year ago). However, he’s got a big big time clientele and from the sound of the prices to these male ears, I don’t know why he doesn’t also have his own private jet. For all I know he does. He lives in a modest apartment but he owns the whole block. I’m making this up but only maybe.

I’m always amazed by the culture of the beauty crowd. They’re all workers/workabees, without exception. And do very well, damned well. No loafing around for these guys and girls. And they have this revolving door of clientele who come in for all kinds of maintenance. Which reminds me of last Monday Night at Literacy Partners when Nora Ephron read from her upcoming book called ... Maintenance. She talks about those girls who go to those guys, like Paul Podlucky. She’s one of them. In the room the women come and go, Talking of Michelangelo. Talk about a walk on the wild side.

Swifty’s was packed this night, front and back. After I got some pictures I went up front and had a drink with Jill Spalding and Asher and Michelle Edelman. Asher is the former takeover tycoon from the roaring 80s. His main interest and activity (from what I could gather) is art, and the art of collecting art. Or, as Andy Warhol would say, the business of collecting art. The group had just from the Sotheby’s auction where the Picasso went for $95 million (including the auction house’s percentage).

At another table, that Texas gal Joanie Schnitzer Levy was dining with Jim Mitchell, Mai Harrison and George and Mariana Kaufman. Next to them Mario Buatta was with Pat Altschul. In the corner Mark Gilbertson was with his cousin Lise Arliss, and as soon as they left Alfred Taubman and his beautiful wife, Judy Taubman took the table to dine with a friend. Also in the crowd: Karen and Howard Clark with Candy and Bill Hamm; Lee Thaw with Larry Lovett, and a lot more where they came from. I took a few pictures and hit the road, glad we’ve come to the end of a beautiful week in New York.


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May 5, 2006, Volume VI, Number 78
Photographs by DPC/


© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/