Warm Winter Days

A snowman sweats in the West Village. 3:00 PM.

Putting Words In the Mouth of the He-Said/She-Said Brigade: Gawker.com launched a revolutionary cyber version of the classic “blind item” last week when they You-Tubed a voice clip headlined “Alex Kuczynski Leaves Mean Voicemail Message for Michael Gross,” author of “740 Park Avenue.” Eager to hear the “mean,” readers clicked on.

The clip is of Gross’ answering machine responding to a call: “This is Michael Gross, please leave a message at the sound of the tone and a buy a copy of ‘740 Park’” followed by the sound of the voice of “Beauty Junkies” author Alex Kuczynski saying: “You are a complete and total utter jerk ... I can’t believe you were ever my friend.”

Amazing! Except ... it never happened. Even though you might have heard it, what you heard never happened!  A fake! Fooled ya!

For those of you who haven’t been following the ongoing brouhaha (or haha-brou), co-starring Gross and Kuczynski over who-wrote-what-nasty-or-nice about each other’s Amazon book-reviews, Gawker has been diligently keeping a kinda socio-chronicle of the to-don’t’s of literary lionizing that goes on in today’s social insurgency.

Gawker’s also been devotedly keeping track of Ms. K’s latest columns (in the Thursday New York Times) as well as her other media forays (for the publicizing of her new book) including an interview on NPR the other day (which they also linked to for your listening pleasure – if you wanna know how goddawful lipo is to experience, for example). 

It was that NPR interview from which they clipped Ms. K’s voice saying “you are a complete and total utter ... etc.” about another subject entirely, to accompany the clip from Michael Gross’ answering machine. You with me?

In other words he said it and she said it but not in the sequence (or even on the medium) represented by the clip. They used their real voices saying things they actually said, albeit out of context (in a radio interview rather than a deposted phone message), and presented as truth to the undiscerning (most of us). Or maybe truthiness? Just like some other people we know?

Gross and Kuczynski are not strangers to each other. Furthermore Kuczynski lives at 740 Park Avenue, immortalized in Gross’ book, in an apartment that was previously occupied by Henry Kravis and Carolyne Roehm back when they were M/M, and thereafter by Ms. K’s husband Charles Stevenson who had previously lived there also with his previous wife Loriann. So there is a mutual interest of the two in the territory of 71st Street and Park Avenue. Mr. Gross has had no plastic surgery or aspirations to have any that we know of. So there’s no mutual interest there. Just anything to keep plugging those books. That’s where Gawker comes in handy.

Meanwhile for something not entirely stupid but fun: it’s holiday time in New York (and everywhere in the US and elsewhere) which now means parties. There have been some fancy ones, which I’ve only read about, and some epicurean ones (also only read about), and then there have been the Ye Olde Holiday Cocktail Party which is usually the best kind.

The Walker/Beitzel kitchen bulletin board of their world and friends and family.

Saturday night Darren Walker and David Beitzel hosted an annual holiday party at their Chelsea apartment. Mr. Walker has been profiled on The List and is a highly influential New Yorker. When I’m around him, I feel like I’m watching the future (it would be a better one than this present, incidentally).

The Walker/Beitzel parties are very congenial affairs often with people who know each other only through either host but are very open and friendly. Writers, artists, architects, business people, investment bankers, art collectors make up the mix and their interests make up the lively conversation. There’s the baked ham, the trays of hors d’oeuvres, the cocktails, the champagne; and over in the corner, the beautifully decorated tree with presents already under it.

Jonathan Capehart and Ashley Schiff

Fe and Alessandro Fendi

Debbie Bancroft and Paul Beirne

Courtney Sloane, Matthew Yee, and Cheryl Riley

Erana Stennett and Emil Wilbekin

Jonell Procope and John Reddick

The youngest guest of the party

Warner Johnson

Mashea and Kendrick Ashton with Marc Wolinsky

Jeff Hughes, Chris Browne, Karen Hughes, and Darren Walker

Yann Coatanlem, Billy Wright, and Richard Anderman

David Beitzel and Darren Walker with a friend

Giuseppe Lingmano

Miguel with James Reginato and Steve Godeke

The cocktail scene

Traffic in New York was slow-going on Saturday night. After leaving the Walker/Beitzel party, I grabbed the 7th Avenue (1) subway up to 59th Street and Columbus circle and grabbed a cab to take me across to Madison Avenue and 61st Street. The 37 block subway ride from 23rd to 59th took a little under ten minutes (and two bucks). The 4 block wide cab ride took almost a half hour (and thirteen bucks). So why didn’t I get out and walk? Yeah, why didn’t I?

Billy and Julie Macklowe

I went over to Geisha, the restaurant on 61st between Madison and Park where Billy Mackowe was hosting a 29th birthday party for his wife Julie. Just inside the door was the ubiquitous Patrick McMullan holding court and taking pictures of the guests (missing no one). Patrick’s presence with his camera is a benchmark on the social scene in New York.

All three floors of the restaurant were crowded; many faces I didn’t know. I was told there were a lot of hedge fund guys present.

“Hedge fund” is certainly not a new term in the parlance of finance and New York/Wall Street. But it has taken on a far more glittery charisma especially in the past year. Although there have long been very prominent hedge fund managers and owners with a social presence here in New York for a long time. But now the industry has grown so that it’s presence is going mainstream. There are an impressive number of young men (and some women) (20/30-somethings), raking in high six and seven figure incomes working in the industry.

Except for the phenomenon of their expensive houses, apartments, cars and planes, they have regarded as a “quiet” outside-the-radar group socially, preferring conventional and/or tradition quiet lifestyles away from the computer terminals. This is changing. More and more these people are going after and gaining a social presence in the community, in its cultural, philanthropic and ultimately social activities.

And while we’re on the subject of “social presence,” check out Ki Hackney’s “Passionate Shopper’ on the Shopping Diary about pearls. Pearls girls, pearls of wisdom, pearls for kings, pashas and apassionatas too.

Patrick with Brittany and Aaron Meyer

Amanda Tisch and Sara Steinberg Fiszel

Drs. Lisa Airan and Trevor Born

Lisa Anastos, Billy and Julie Mackowe, and Joline Stemerman

Mr. and Mrs. Fiszel with the birthday girl

The bday girl with Larry Leeds

Joline and David Stemerman

Brian and Gina Swerdloff

Chantal McLaughlin and S. Lan


Daniel Loeb and Julie Macklowe


Click here for NYSD Contents

December 15, 2006, Volume VI, Number 193


© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/NewYorkSocialDiary.com