Lunch at Michael’s: Gridlock Alert

lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpgCrushing citywide gridlock be damned. Nothing keeps Manhattan’s news makers and spinmeisters from lunching with their powerful peers. (We, not of the town car set, arrived a bit late for lunch having to hoof it across town to avoid the massive street shutdown which will, mercifully, be over tomorrow). The scene at Michael’s could have used their own traffic controls as the bustling dining room was packed from wall-to-wall with bold faced names that included CNN’s Jeff Greenfield, ad man Jerry Della Femina and Reese Schoenfeld.

Here’s the rundown:

Table 1: Henry Schleiff presiding over a table of local news gals Penny Crone, Lynn White and Rosanna Scotto. The penultimate power luncher, the former chairman and CEO of Court TV is closing in on the end of his six-month contract with Time Warner as the non-executive chairman of the network that was inked with the media giant acquired the crime and punishment channel in May. We’ve seen Henry lunching with just about everyone here at his favorite spot at one time or another. Today’s guests have us wondering if he’s thinking of starting up an all-female netlet. ‘Course, that wouldn’t include Al Roker, who gave Schleiff a hearty “hello.”

2. PR guru Steve Rubenstein and guests.

3. Mayor of Michael’s Joe Armstrong with the always dapper David Patrick Columbia. (We found his recent musings in The New York Observer on the downfall of western civilization tied to the retrieval of his too-expensive cell phone by the last polite cabbie in New York riveting and all too true. Bravo!)

4. A barely recognizable Christie Hefner, empress of Playboy Enterprises (she’s blonde!) and, we hear, some publishing bigwigs, including the head of the Magazine Publishers of America Nina Link.

5. News America’s Herb Siegel with ?

6. Al Roker with frequent Today Show contributor and Men’s Health editor Dave Zinkzenko (Care to share how you scored that gushy story in the Times‘ Style section, Dave? Time to give your publicist a raise!) Others at the table were Stephen Perrine, editor-in-chief of Best Life and folks from Al’s production company including Lisa Sharkey, whom we knew when she was a senior producer at Roker’s competition, Good Morning America.

7. The champagne was flowing at this packed table to celebrate

media maven/author Lisa Birnbach‘s “35th” birthday. Maria Cuomo Cole (daughter of Mario, wife of Kenneth) presided over the party fresh off a stop at the Clinton Global Initiative going on a few blocks away at the Sheraton. (That was us, editorial director Dorian Benkoil and celebrity journo Diane Clehane, at the bar chatting with Maria while she waited for all her guests to arrive. We missed Ken’s show at Fashion Week — his requisite short film is always one of the more interesting highlights — this go round. Come back next season, please!)

8. Harriet Weintraub entertaining fellow fashionistas, one of whom was a dapper gent in a fine-fitting suit expounding on all that is Soho to a reporter, pad in hand. (We’re multiplying!)

9. & 10. Lucky “civilians” in the center of the action.

11. Linda Janklow and ???

12. Condé Nast’s marketing honcho Richard Beckman and guests.

14. Bright lights, big city: Gerald Schoenfeld, chairman of the Shubert Organization.

15. PR guru Jim Mitchell, with?

16. Plastic surgeon extraordinaire, author and Today Show contributor Dr. Gerald Imber.

17. The Post‘s Keith Kelly with PR maven Chris Taylor.

18. Billy Kimball, writer/producer of The Al Franken Show and ??

19. Couldn’t see from our blocked viewpoint. (Those mirrored columns are lovely, but they do make it hard to see who’s behind them.)

20. Elizabeth Harrison and Cartier’s Marion Gulbrandson.

21. Avenue’s Heather Cohane.

22. Time Warner’s “relationship guru” Cleary Simpson.

23. Looking chic in head to toe black: DeBeers CEO Alyce Alston.

24. Langford Film’s Chuck Pfeiffer.

26. Marie Claire editrix Joanna Coles (who recently spoke to our CEO Laurel Touby) dishing with Cosmo editrix Kate White.

28. Ad Age‘s Jonah Bloom (we couldn’t see his companions).

29. Liz Finkel (ditto), who didn’t come say “hi”. Promises, promises, Liz!

From our barstool perch, we spied Michael, himself, chatting up an elegant gent (elegantly picking Michael’s legendary “frites” from the “assiette” of his female companion), telling how his son will forego Manhattan’s glitter for a more bucolic college setting, maybe at Bard. And Kathleen Fleming of Niche Media laughed heartily, and lovely-ly when we told her we’d note we bumped into her. Who was it who gave maitresse-d’ Joanna that lovely scarf, upon entering the room? Do tell.

Please send any and all correct spellings, additions, and what-have-you to Dorian AT mediabistro Dot Com AND FishbowlNY AT mediabistro Dot Com.

Map of Michael’s