Mellow Tuesday in New York

Looking south from Union Square. 3:00 PM. Photo: JH.

Beautiful summer days; hot but not oppressive, sunny and mild. Today is the birthday of Reinaldo Herrera, Freddy Eberstadt, Mick Jagger, George Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung, Stanley Kubrick, Jeremy Piven, Sandra Bullock, Blake Edwards, Kevin Spacey, Helen Mirren, Gloria Lanfield, and DPC. And many many others, of course. Happy Birthday, now and in memoriam, fellow Leos.

DPC and Felicia Taylor at Michael's

Yesterday I had lunch with Felicia Taylor, the NBC anchor who is one of New York’s favorite girls-about-town. And a most serious one, too, it should be noted. I told JH yesterday morning I was going to be lunching with Felicia and he said: “what’s with her hair?” Not knowing what he meant because her hair always seemed the same to me, he told me that on TV she has a different hairdo everytime she goes on camera. I thought that was interesting because JH is not one of those guys who is inclined to reference or even notice (or so I thought) coiffure. So when I sat down at Table 8 in Michael’s with Felicia, I said: “what's with the hair?” thinking she wouldn’t know what I was talking about.

I thought she’d look at me like I was crazy. But she didn’t. “Oh, the hair,” she said, throwing her head back and warbling that escalating bubbling-champagne laughter of hers. “Do you know there are even web sites about my hair?”

No. It turns out JH is only one of many who notice Felicia’s different hairdos from telecast to telecast. (Which is good, meaning people are watching.)

Why this is, she isn’t quite able to explain. It’s who’s-ever-on-hair that morning when she goes into the studio. And who ever is, calls the coif. And with the very pretty Felicia, the differences are always apparent to the regular viewer. And Felicia is one of those women, pretty as she is, who’s focused more on what she’s going to be reporting on camera. This is what she cares about.

It’s interesting to this observer who’s known her for some time and also knows her as one of the most socially visible young women in New York. Yet: This is a girl who gets the Financial Times, the International Herald-Tribune and the New York Times (and of course the NY Post, boys) every morning and reads them. It’s what’s in her head that she’s concerned about, not so much what’s on it.

I know, I know, almost corny, but true. Terribly, tragically true. Do you know how many TV newscasters do that kind of reading? It’s not just the President who doesn’t have time (or interest) in reading the morning papers. You’d be surprised. (Or maybe you wouldn’t be.)

So Felicia and I discussed the events of the world and John Kerry who’d been lunching at Michael’s the day before when we were both also present, and Rahm Emanuel who was lunching there the same day and very few people recognized him (or knew who he was). And the tycoons like Diller and Perelman, and all the publishers and editors and journalists that gussy up Mr. McCarty’s establishment on West 55th Street. And after we were finished discussing the world around us, we went to the reporting of the events, Felicia’s job.

A tribute to Felicia (and her hair) ...

We also discussed hair-do’s (briefly), plastic surgery and Alex Kuczinski’s upcoming book on the culture of plastic surgery in America. And just at that moment, Peggy Siegal, Hollywood’s uber-hostess in New York, came by. Peggy’s procedure entailed filling in the gaps on the face with material removed from another naturally fattier part of the body. I’m being coy on purpose. Ms. Kuczinski will fill you as trenchantly as possible. (I think it’s out in October, so you’ll just have to wait). The story of Peggy and Alex and the book is making the rounds right now because it was said that Peggy didn’t like seeing it in print (she’d told a lot of people, including this writer at the time — because it was successful).

We talked about the Middle East. Howard Gittis and Ron Perelman stopped by the table. Howard told us about his trip to the Mediterranean – Firenze, Naples, Capri. Wistful sighs of nostalgia from this end. The Mediterranean is so beautiful and at this time of year, so heavenly. So we asked Mr. P, with his yacht, if he were going there. Oh yes, he’d get there too. Then Felicia and I discussed her trips on boats in the Mediterranean. And Greece and Turkey. Lebanon and Israel are on the Mediterranean.

After that we talked about aspirations. I’m a big believer in aspirations. As I reflect on my life at this moment, marking the end of my sixty-fifth year, aspiration has been the key. Aspiration provides the dreams and provides the focus, then you’re in sync with the universe. We’re very out of sync these days and in these treacherous times.

Meanwhile, hey kids, let’s eat. Last night at Le Cirque, Liz Smith invited me to join her and friends for a celebration of Iris Love’s birthday. Iris is an archeologist and conversations with her, no matter the subject can even move into some aspect of archeology, since it’s the cradle of our civilization and we’re still babes in arms in so many (and unfortunate) ways. So I love talking to Iris.

Sirio Maccioni and Iris Love at Le Cirque

Although last night we somehow drifted into Cole Porter lyrics and Iris began singing some of the brilliant and now almost obscure ones from “Out of This World” (which may have been his last show).

Poets always speak of youth
With such admiration
But we all must face the truth,
Age has many compensation

When I was younger,
when I was younger
For nightlife I used to hunger
I sleep easier now.

When I was prettier
When I was prettier,
In bed I did not read Whittier
I sleep easier now.

When I was hopin’
When I was hopin’
I left all the doors wide open!

I sleep easier now.

— “I Sleep Easier Now” from Cole Porter’s Out of This World

Le Cirque was booked solid last night. Amongst the crowd I saw Pete Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney, Laura and Will Zeckendorf, Donald and Melania Trump, Princess Firyal and Lionel Pincus; Mario Buatta with Pat Patterson.

And meanwhile over at Swifty’s, my home away from home, they’ve been booked to the rafters. Last night and the night before: Harry and Gigi Benson, Anne Slater and John Cahill, Eileen Goodman, Ahmet Ertegun, Lee Radziwill with Elaine Stritch, Iris Love, Francesca Stanfill and daughter Serena Tufo and the next night with husband Dick Nye. John Loeb and Sharon Handler with Mariana and George Kaufman; Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley, Gerry and Pat Schoenfeld, Lise Arliss with Geoffrey Bradfield and Mark Gilbertson. And last night Bobby and Barbara Liberman entertained the very entertaining Peter Rogers and Lisa Fine, in from Paris; also in the room: Alison Mazzola, Judith Chiara. 
Flashback to last week: Downtown at the Knitting Factory, Jimmy Kuhn, President of Newmark Knight Frank, and his two-time Jammy Award winning band Square Feeet rocked the house bringing out New Yorkers of all ages.

Marjorie Kuhn, David Moussazdeh, Jennifer Goodkind, and Catherine Moussazdeh.

Below: Jimmy Kuhn (on the keyboard) and Square Feeet.


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July 26, 2006, Volume VI, Number 119


© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/