Wednesday, August 11, 2021. Nice sunny day again, yesterday in New York with temps in the mid-to-high 70s. By early evening the skies turned that dark grey that says rain. By 7:30 it was lightning followed by thunderclaps so loud the floors seemed to shake. And then it poured, washing the flowers and the bushes and the trees and the sidewalks.
It was a quiet day in the city for this writer, although as the world now knows, our governor Andrew Cuomo resigned from office. His was an interesting tabloidal journey to resignation. Without an actual virus to harm, his exit was nevertheless Covid-related. His reputation and problems in office seem to be highlighted first by the many Covid-related deaths in the senior citizens homes.
That eventually faded from media topic to his various and sundry relationship with women, and his alleged inability to “keep his hands to himself.” (Remember that one when you were a kid?) From the sound of it, that’s why he had to leave office. Is this another Harvey Weinstein moment or is that a stretch? I don’t know Mr. Cuomo, but I was a fan of his father’s time in office.
Back in the late ’90s or around the turn of century, the prominent real estate broker (and Democrat) Alice Mason had a late afternoon cocktail reception at her apartment on 72nd Street for Andrew who was about to run for some office (I think it might have been Senator). His father arrived at the reception with him. Mario Cuomo had a very open and congenial personality as a candidate, and very much a Noo Yawker in self-expression. He dominated the reception because of that charm. His son, who did not appear to have that ebullience, remained by his father’s side, and had little to say to the guests.
The matter at hand which apparently motivated the resignation was his “relationships” with women. This is, as we are all well aware just from observation of many politicians lives and activities, nothing new. The matter has been very topical for years now because of the Jeffrey Epstein affair which ironically Mr. Cuomo was never a part of.
Mr. Cuomo is being succeeded by a woman, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, the first woman governor of the State of New York and the perfect Hollywood ending. Irony — or is it coincidence? — everywhere.
Meanwhile, the Boys are Back In Town. Jonny Friedman, Michael Della Femina, Rocco Ancarola, and Michael Mailer are dusting off their shoes and shooting new material for their in-the-know (or rarely known depending on who you talk to) series, Ivy League Crimelords.
For those of you who don’t know the “Boys,” Mr. Della Femina is a producer, actor, and restaurateur and the son of advertising guru Jerry Della Femina; Mr. Mailer is a film director and producer (20 and counting) and the oldest son of the great American novelist Norman Mailer; Mr. Friedman, besides being the cousin of JH and the “official family historian,” is a seasoned hedge fund manager; and Rocco (no one calls him by his last name) is a well known and well liked restaurant/club owner and promoter, who also happens to be an old flame of RHONY’s Sonja Morgan.
If we’ve piqued your curiosity, here’s a short clip from Season One …
And if you can’t tell from the above clip, Ivy League Crimelords is about three middle-age friends from Harvard, Yale and Princeton (Mailer, Friedman, and Della Femina) who create a fictitious mob leader in order to shake down the industry and get their TV show made. Think “Curb Your Enthusiasm” meets “GoodFellas” with the naturally revolving door of archetypal New Yorkers making regular cameos. According to Della Femina, “It’s a unique New York show that integrates iconic New Yorkers in a fact meets fiction story.”
Guest stars have included Abel Ferrara, James Toback, Jerry Della Femina, Matti Leshem, William “Blood Bill” Annesley, wine expert John Ryan, performance artist Thomas Morrison, FBI Agent Mark Rossini, comic Josh Weinstein, Emmy winner Jerry Perzigian (The Golden Girls, Frasier, The Nanny, Married… with Children), actor Adam Storke (remember Julia Roberts’s love interest in Mystic Pizza?), Dylan Page, and the ghost of Norman Mailer.
Della Femina is also shooting his new show around town and in LA called “Martini Confidential aka Coffee & Cocktails.” The Romcom fiction film-series is set around the search for a perfect martini & the wild restaurant business and co-stars some of the ILCL crew along with Adam Storke.
Della Femina knows a thing or two about the restaurant biz; he co-owns the wildly popular Beverly Hills and West Hollywood eatery’s Croft Alley, which is also in development to open in San Francisco and Maryland with the Highgate Hotel group this Fall. He’s also looking for Manhattan locations, so if anyone has any ideas give us a holler!