Thursday, March 28, 2013

Escaping the winds of March

Soaking up the late afternoon sun in Palm Beach. 5:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Thursday, March 28, 2013. Sunny and cold yesterday in New York. But I didn’t need an overcoat; a scarf could handle it.

I went to lunch at Michael’s. Traffic was light on the way and traffic seemed lighter than usual at Michael’s. Although I noticed the tables were occupied, for a Wednesday it seemed they turned down the Sound. I was lunching with Nina Griscom, who’s just back from a five day trip to Paris with her daughter. This was a foodie’s delight, according to Nina. Two over from me Debbie Bancroft was lunching with Michael Boodro the editor of the very hot Elle Décor.  Next to them Hilary Geary Ross, who often contributes to the Palm Beach Social Diary, was with Dailey Pattee. In the Bay at Table One, where the gang, Bonnie Fuller, Gerry Byrne and Carlos Lamadrid usually hold forth with their guests on Wednesdays, was just two guys yesterday: Bob Barnett and Howard Wolfson.

Bob Barnett and Rita Braver Barnett.
You know about Bob Barnett? You do if you’re Somebody. He’s a Washington lawyer (although I see him fairly frequently at Michael’s), a partner of the venerable Williams & Connolly --  the Edward Bennett Williams/John Connolly -- law firm. He is married to the wonderful Rita Braver, whom you know from CBS News.

I met him once. I can’t recall where – perhaps in Washington at some event, and remembered him because of his famous wife who had a very pleasant husband. However, I soon learned he wasn’t exactly Mr. Rita Braver, as often it goes in the world of show biz media. This guy represents, or has represented an army of stars, boldfacers, VIPs and even Presidents on book and media details, including Bob Woodward, Ann Curry, Tim Russert, James Patterson, Barbra Streisand, James Carville, Mary Matalin, Dick Cheney, Lynne cheney, James Baker, Karl Rove, Queen Noor, Sarah Palin, David Petraeus, Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Madeline Albright and Barack Obama.

The list tells you all you need to know. Geezus, the book he could but will NEVER write. Whatever he does for his clients, nobody does it better. Barnett’s lunch partner, Howard Wolfson, is counselor to the Mayor and a well known Democratic strategist.

Another Washingtonian in the room was Jonathan Capehart, also once associate of the Mayor, and now a columnist for the Washington Post.

Click to order.
A lotta literary in the mix: Diane Clehane, the Brenda Starr of was across the way with Kathryn Leigh Scott, whom you may know from ABC’s cult classic Dark Shadows where she played Maggie Evans the love interest of Barnabas Collins.

Kathryn, who lives in Los Angeles although gets to New York often, has a new book out “Down and Out in Beverly Heels.” It’s a novel but it's also about the women in Beverly Hills who have ridden the roller coaster of success and abject failure and discreetly end up living in their cars. In Beverly Hills.

At the table on the other side of us Star Jones was celebrating her birthday with a couple of friends. Next to her 48 Hours Mystery exec producer Susan Zirinsky; next to her PR exc Steven Rubenstein, and when he left, media exec John Sykes took the table.

Around the room: TV producer Joan Gelman was with Lynn Goldberg, the literary agent and her client Betsy Prioleau, who also has a new book out: “Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them.” She runs the range all the way from Casanova to Ashton Kutcher. Moving along: Bill Siegel; Candia Fisher; Michael J. Wolff; Da Boyz, only three this time: Andrew Bergman, Jerry Della Femina  and Dr. Gerry Imber. Two tables over, Melody Hobson (George Lucas’ fiancée); Simon and Schuster’s Alice Mayhew; next to her, Willie Geist, papa Bill Geist with Gretchen Young, Tom Connor – the subject: Willie is doing a book with his pop; Dr. Sarah Simms Rosenthal with Jane Hartley; Kevin O’Malley (Elle); Jack Kliger (TV Guide CEO); Jolie Hunt; Sanford and Stein; Beverly Camhe; CBS’ David Poltrack.

Bill and Babe Paley.
The Laurens.
Several who stopped by the table made a reference to how quiet the city is right now, as did the cabbie. So it’s not just me. Although when Nina and I left Michael’s and walked up Fifth Avenue (she was headed to the Apple cube), the sidewalks were jammed. “What’s this?” Nina asked. “Tourists,” explained this reporter. “School’s out and the town’s still around.”

And where else could they be?  Well, our Caribbean correspondent reports that the weather this week (and almost every week) in Jamaica was incredible. Josef Forstmayr's Round Hill on Montego Bay was jam-packed with a marvelous world of guests and villa owners visiting for Passover, Easter and Spring Break. There were lunches, moonlight dinner dances and an Easter Egg Hunt on the beach.

Among the guests were Conde Nast's Steve Newhouse and his family; Kate Hudson and her husband Matt Bellamy with their children. Also Mary Ellen Trainor-Zemeckis. Mary Ellen is also the godmother of Kate  Hudson).

David Gregory of Meet The Press was there with his family making this their 8th annual Spring visit. Also villa owners Veronique and Bob Pittman and Ricky and Ralph Lauren (the Laurens own two Villas at Round Hill, one of which was built by the late Babe and Bill Paley. When it was built in the 1950s, it was said to be the most beautiful beach house in the world). Courtney Ross, who recently sold her 740 Park Avenue co-op for $50+ million has been enjoying the month of March in Jamaica. Also in residence: Pat and Ed Falkenberg. Heiress Caroline St. George, over from London with Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia houseguesting ... Guy Monson and  Lady Rose Fitzroy-Monson ... German Countess Claudia Von Bismarck-Piasecki and her husband Frank Piasecki of New York, biographer/editor Jon Meacham and his family. Sunny days, and warm, balmy nights, the Carribean-perfect paradise to escape those winds of March in Manhattan ...

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