Thursday, July 28, 2016

Around the room

Night sky. 10:20 PM. Photo: JH.
Thursday,  July 28, 2016. (Birthdays: Jacqueline Onassis, Peter Duchin, Bill Bradley, Marcel Duchamp, Alexis Arquette, Woody Strode, David Brown, Jacques d'Amboise, Vida Blue, Phil Proctor, John Ashbery, Sally Struthers). Very hot in New York – and all over the country; so what else is new? 83 degrees as I write this at midnight. It’s not that New York humid heat, which is a blessing. But the forecast for the next two weeks doesn’t look much better, if not worse.

It was Wednesday, I went to Michael’s, as a guest of Bonnie Strauss and Liz Peek, the girls who hosted the Four Seasons “Dutch Treat” dinner that I wrote about last month. Julian Niccolini, the co-owners along with Alex von Bidder of the now former restaurant, was also at Michael’s yesterday again. Julian is looking good, in fine fettle, and getting a chance to see many of his long time guests. The restaurant is closed. Julian and Alex will be opening a new restaurant a couple of blocks down on Park Avenue although it will take some time to put it together. I’m sure it will be remarkable and a favorite for their clientele since they know how to do it for the Big Guns and Heavy Hitters who were comfortable and secure  at the Four Seasons. When I say secure, I’m talking about The Ego. Julian and Alex and their impeccable staff knew how to show the right amount of respect for all who were seated in those legendary rooms.
Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini soon to be at it again.
Michael’s was a mob scene. This unusual situation at this time of year – middle of summer and steaming hot out there – was the result of it being restaurant week in New York. A lot of the restaurants are jammed. Michael himself was there, fresh off the plane from Los Angeles. He told us this flight turned out to be a 30-hour trip, door-to-door. 

The flight left LAX on Sunday but because of the thunderstorms on the East Coast when they reached the East Coast, they were detoured to an airport in Virginia. Once on the ground they remained in cabin for five hours, waiting for the plane to head for JFK. However, by the time they had clearance to leave, the pilots’ and staff’s time was up and they had to be replaced by a new crew. So the entire passenger list was put up in a hotel over night. The next morning (Monday), they made the quick flight to New York.

Michael Caine with fan and actress Dylan Page.
Michael’s, the ultimate media restaurant, was hopping. Roger Ailes, looking very relaxed, was there with his wife Elizabeth Tilson drawing a lot of visitors at his table, including his next door neighbor Sir Michael Caine, who was lunching by the chicest most glamorous talent agent Boaty Boatright.

Around the room. Publicist/producer Bonnie Timmerman; Hollywood Reporter’s Roger Friedman with Wayne Kabak; Jonathan Estreich; Jimmy Finkelstein; Harry Hawks of Hearst Argyle Television; Jack Kliger; Eva Mohr with Cathie Lee Gifford; Jack Myers with  Renee Appel;  Jonathan Newcomb of Berenson & Co.;  Pete Peterson, Founder of BlackRock: Martin Puris; Euan Rellie; Tom Rogers; Shari Rollins; David Stern; Judy Twersky; Jeremy Zimmer of United Talent; Colleen Larsen;  Lisa Linden with Jeanne Pirro; Richard Lorenzen; Tomas Maier; Tom Strauss;  Philip Summers from Lazard; Natalie Moar; Dylan Page; Hilary Gumbel; Bill McCuddy; and this birthday boy who was gifted with a dessert with a candle and a Happy Birthday song from Michael’s Michael and Steve Millington, the GM.

Which, speaking of, the night before Gillian and Sylvester Miniter hosted a birthday dinner for Yours Truly, at Sette Mezzo. The guest of honor turned 75 officially. I say officially because I’m one of those people who claims the new year at the beginning – my 74th birthday – which was held at Swifty’s restaurant (and had for a number of years) which lamentably closed several months ago. The guest list at this dinner, besides the Miniters and my esteemed NYSD partner and his wife Jeff and Danielle Hirsch was the same – very old friends from decades back with whom I am still in frequent contact.
The birthday gang Tuesday night at Sette Mezzo (left to right): Sylvester Miniter, Pax Quigley, Steve Wells, Sassy Johnson, Dominique Kirby, The Birthday Boy, Danielle Hirsch; Philip Carlson (yellow shirt); Gillian Miniter (in red) Barbara Preminger, and JH.
The number – 75 – is awesome to consider, as is the whole experience of “aging.” When my mother turned 80, I asked her how she felt. I was seriously curious. “I feel like 40,” she answered enthusiastically. At the time I was 45 and dubious. I remembered her at 40 – her life was difficult for a number of reasons beginning with my father. I was a five-year-old and very conscious of the difficulties domestic and the toll they seemed to take on my then (to me) “old” mother. I didn’t say anything of course. I’ve thought of that moment not a few times as I've grown older, which serves as a reminder. At this specific age, I don’t feel any different, and certainly not older – although I know youth has evaporated. I am fortunate that my life is full of industry and many interesting and many wonderful, and kind, and even at times brilliant people, and that I have a lot of work on my plate on a daily schedule. The only difference from those early years when I was doubting Mother’s veracity about her “aging,” is that now much of the greatest pleasures is in observing the world around me, and its changes, in a single lifetime. I see life as history now, everyday.
Overcome by the sudden appearance of the Sette Mezzo staff serenading me with a Happy Birthday To You, Dear David. On the plate is my “cake” which is a ricotta cheesecake with one candle and a scoop of whip cream with a strawberry on time. Excellent cheesecake.
And now the time to Make A Wish and Blow Out the Candle. I was remembering when I was a kid and even after when we’d count the number of candles to make sure nobody was subtracting their age. Then at a certain point when no cake could handle the number, or the candlepower, it becomes ONE. I always feel like a goofball when I see photos of myself, and here is a perfect explanation. Go for it Big Dave!
Wish made, candle out, ready to chow down but first a quickie for the record taken by JH.
The Cake.
We were also served dessert plates with a host of the house pastries, cakes, tarts and berries.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch or sort of, our friend Joe Armstrong sent us a series of photos that are making their way around the web of the scene deep in the heart of Texas -- where if you think you’ve got heat, they are frying. Everyone and every critter is taking cover wherever it’s available ...

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