Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Trump Triumphs

The geodesic dome tent (designed by Pacific Domes, Inc.) on the Seagram's Plaza last night for the announcement of Donald Trump's newest Trump International Hotel and Tower Dubai. Photo: DPC.
The weatherman predicted rain at the end of the weekend. On Sunday in New York, it poured buckets in the afternoon ... and the Sun stayed out through the entire storm. A friend of mine who is an active conspiracy theorist was very suspicious. I was looking for the rainbow. I didn’t find one; but there must have been one: the rainbow comes and goes.

Yesterday in New York it got hot, like summer in the city. And muggy. And the traffic followed suit, so that when I was riding down gridlocked Fifth Avenue on my way to Michael’s, I finally got out on Madison and hoofed it.

On the sidewalk, a man rolled by on one of those motorized stand-up scooters. I thought to myself if I had one, I’d have been at Michael’s already, and fairly stress-free.

At lunch my friend wanted to know who I would vote for for President. I know many people who think Obama will win and McCain doesn’t have a chance. I also know many people who think McCain will win and Obama doesn’t have a chance. Which makes for a toss-up, no? I think (if you’re asking) that come November many things will look very different because of the financials, and even to the candidates. The writing is on the wall, in my opinion, and it’s beginning to look a lot like graffiti.

Last night I went to two cocktail receptions. The first was hosted by Donald Trump who was announcing the coming of his Trump International Hotel & Tower Dubai.

You’ve probably already seen the ad of the guy and the girl standing in front of the massive double glass tower sitting smack in the middle of “The Palm,” the man-made island shaped like a palm tree in the Persian Gulf. That’s The Donald’s new project.
I am not inclined to attend promotional events for new resorts or hotels, or even stores for that matter. The exception of course has to be taken for Mr. Trump, the showman’s showman who spreads his hype with gold dust at his feet, and they all come running.

It was the invitation that hooked me. It arrived in a shiny thick black plastic box, measuring 4 ½ X 7 inches, with in a “T” imposed on a globe of the part of the hemisphere that includes the Eastern Seaboard and the Persian Gulf. Inside was a smaller rectangular brass plate set in.

In the Presence of His Excellency
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem,
Executive Chairman, Nakheel
Donald J. Trump,
Chairman, The Trump Organization
Chris O’Donnell,
Chief Executive Officer, Nakheel
Invite you
To a Gala cocktail party

At the Seagram’s Plaza on Park Avenue. How many times have you ever been invited by a Sultan to anything? And with Donald Trump as co-host.
The invite with accompanying brass-cased USB flash drive.
It was called for seven to ten. The hour and length is significant. Most cocktail/ promotional receptions run six to eight, over and out. Starting later and going later meant a production, maybe even dinner.

Donald and Melania Trump
You can see the picture I took of the exterior on the corner of Park Avenue and 52nd Street. Parked just inside Park on 52nd were a fleet of black limousines with the named Nakheel embossed by the rear door of each. Was this for the Sheikh and his entourage? Possibly.

The entryway to the party was jammed with paparazzi, none of whom batted an eye when this reporter walked in. The stars had already passed by ... Demi Moore, Heidi Klum, Naomi Watts.There were feathery white swaying palms by the entrance to the white tent. Which I suddenly realized were moving, even walking, and even had white faces, and were even actors on stilts. A nice touch. Humor.

Inside, the tent was dome-shaped – unusual. I ran into David Monn, the international events-designer whose ideas thrill the swells. “Did you do this?” I asked, wondering what he was doing there.

“Yes.” Then he explained, as it was unfolding how the dome was a 360-degree screen (a first) and it showed what Dubai would look like if you were standing in the middle of the Trump Hotel & Tower Dubai looking out and around.

It was otherworldly, exotic, fabulous, fantasyland. It is fantasyland, you know. Nobody denies it as they rush to visit that part of the world.
The place was mobbed and alternating between dark and bright, just like jour et nuit. Dubai-style. I saw only a few people I knew as it is not easy in a jam-packed room of hundreds to see much other than whom you’re pressed up against.

I saw Richard and Renee Steinberg. You’ve seen him here on the NYSD where he also advertises his Warburg Realty. And I saw Sharon Sondes with her devoted Mugsy (Geoffrey Thomas), who is back from Palm Beach for the summer, dividing her time between New York, the Hamptons and her annual jaunt to California (LA).

And I saw Ann Dexter Jones, and Braden Keil from the NY Post who was with Andrea Peyser who writes those throw-the-book-at-em screeds about the avaricious, venal, greedy and grating. Ms. Peyser is very camera shy which is surprising considering the brimstone bravado of her pen. And I saw Virginia Coleman talking to Woody Johnson, and Daniel Benedict and Andrew Saffir, and Ivanka, the statuesque daughter of The Donald, and The Son Donald Jr. et al. And of course Mr. Trump and his beautiful wife Melania.
Artist's rendering of the new Trump International Hotel and Tower Dubai which will sit at the center of the Palm.
The waiters were in tropical white jackets, passing drinks and probably hors-d’oeuvres. I found my way through the crush of guests into a second tent where there was an enormous maquette of the new hotel (which will opened in 2010) in its state of the art environment. A sixty-seven story all glass double towered structure housing a 400-room hotel along with 400 apartments.

About 8:30, our host took the podium to tell us why the most famous hotelier on the planet decided to take his business out to the Middle East; a no-brainer: fabulosity. Probably the only disappointment in the tent (although no one brought it up except me when I asked) was that the hotel won’t be ready for another year and a half, so you’ll just have to wait.
Renee and Richard Steinberg
Andrea Peyser and Braden Keil
Sharon Sondes
Geoffrey Thomas, Virginia Coleman, and Woody Johnson
The Trump Dubai white swaying palms/greeters
Designer David Monn
Krista Schulz and Lesley .Schulhof
Daniel Benedict and Andrew Saffir
Mission accomplished, Trumps photographed, I decided to make my way out so that I could go to my second engagement of the early summer evening: a cocktail reception hosted by Cheri Kaufman at Le Cirque – just six blocks north and two over east.

Ms. Kaufman’s invitation also ran from 7 to 9 and the “buffet” part was a good bet considering the location. And I was right. In the private dining room on the second floor of the restaurant, there was a buffet, very simple, with filet of beef sliced razor thin to order and a cheese ravoli sautéed before your eyes an splashed with Le Cirque’s own tomato sauce and garnish. Seconds, thirds, and fourths anybody? Why not?

The Kaufman party was winding down by the time I arrived although Cheri had brought in a group called Here II Here whom she’d discovered through music impresario and producer Suzanne de Passe; and they were performing, keeping the party going.

Meanwhile downstairs in the main dining room, the place was packed. I saw Nancy and Bill O’Shaughnessy chatting with Sirio who leaves next week for his annual sojourn to Italy. At the next table was another hotelman, John Coleman, and across the way at a large table for eight was Marianna Kaufman whose husband George was married many moons ago to the lady who was giving the party in the private dining room upstairs. New York New York, a helluva town, the ex- is upstairs and the new wife is down. Room for everybody at Le Cirque.
The invite
Cheri Kaufman
Paola Rosenshein and Sharon Sondes
Cheri Kaufman with "Here II Here"

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