Lunch: The Gang’s All Here — Take That Frank Bruni!

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— DIANE CLEHANE

You might have heard a little something about the restaurant wars around town. Seems like all those power lunch spots have been getting plenty of ink by upping the ante and taking swipes at each other with one declaring the other one ‘Over.’ Well, over at 55th and Fifth, seems like no matter what’s been said in a few small neighborhood newspapers, the joint is really jumping. I got a serious case of whiplash trying to keep track of all the goings on today while media mavens devoured their Cobb salads and the pike special — which I was hoping to try, but it was so popular, I missed the last order by a minute. Seems I spent too much time chatting. An occupational hazard, I guess…

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. The Real ‘Women’ of New York City: Hearst president Cathie Black being feted by a table full of pals: Liz Smith, Joni Evans, Ellen Levine, Deb Shriver, Donna Hanover, Lifetime’s Andrea Wong and Lisa Caputo. The gals were gathered to celebrate the publication of the paperback edition of Cathie’s guide to getting ahead, Basic Black. (Thanks for the book, I’m starting it tonight!)

2. Sony’s Michael Barker and a table full of pals

3. Melania Trump, designing woman Rachel Roy (and Damon Dash’s wife) and another dark haired gal we didn’t recognize…

4. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, Jack Myers and media director extraordinaire Mike Drexler. A little birdie told me that Joe, during his tenure as president of New York, gave Cathie her first gig as publisher at the title back in the day. It’s such a small world, but you knew that, didn’t you?


5. Mort Janklow

6. The Imber Gang all present and accounted for: Dr. Gerry Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield, Andy Bergman and Michael Kramer. I asked the good doctor if Sarah Palin seems to have visited any of his fellow plastic surgeons. The verdict: all natural. Must be that Alaskan air…

7. My pal Victor Neufeld (who left his Vespa at home today. Drats! We were hoping for a ride) with the lovely Felicia Taylor (Love those Louboutins!)

8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia with, we’re told, Barbara Lieberman

9. The always dapper Randy Jones with Jeff Sharpe

10. Elle Decor‘s Margaret Russell and a bespectacled gent

11. Bobby Friedman enjoying his burger…

12. Steven Swid

14. Would love to have been a fly on the wall for this one: 60 Minutes legend Morley Safer with Vartan Gregorian

15. Sotheby’s Jamie Niven

16. Ed Rollins and Bob Bradley. On his way out, Ed and I had a nice chat about our daughters — both adopted from China. “She’s the light of my life,” says Ed of 13 year-old Lily. Ed’s ex, and Lily’s mom, Sherrie Westin, was one of several media mavens I interviewed for my essay on VanityFair.com about adopting girls from China. CBS 48 Hours’ Susan Zirinsky and WCBS TV reporter Cindy Hsu also shared their very personal stories with me. Dads didn’t get equal time in my piece, but it was clear from talking to Ed that fatherhood is his “most important job.”

17. Judy Price

18.The legendry Eileen Ford with son Bill. Our sincere condolences on Jerry’s passing

19. Jim Peterson

20. Glamour‘s Cindi Leive (whose new headshot is just killer — just ask WWD) with Sports Illustrated‘s Bob Durst. Newsflash: Cindi told me both pubs are planning 3-D issues…

21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher with daughter Elizabeth

22. Gerry Byrne with a fellow that bore a striking resemblance to Matt Lauer

23. Don Welsh

24. Vanity Fair‘s David Friend

25. Tom Goodman with sports spin-meister Al Abrams. Tom stopped by to chat with me at the bar just as fellow public relations maven Lisa Linden was saying her hellos. The two ‘competitors’ were trading tips on who should talk to who. At least some folks know how to play nice.

26. Lisa Linden, who was kind enough to introduce me to Cathy Blaney, executive vice president of development for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

27. Jim Mitchell, and we’re told, Kay Pick

28. My good pal Beverly Cahme (Is there anyone you don’t know?) who brought over her lunch date, the enterprising Jonas Norr, founder and CEO of Ethos Investment, to say hello. Seems Jonas is responsible for — I kid you not — getting the Vatican to go green. “He got them to reduce their carbon footprint,” says Bev who is in top secret talks with Jonas for some big doings. We’ll be the first to know, right? Next stop, Monaco, says Jonas.

29. My good pal Pamela Keogh, who was thrilled to be with her sister, Deirdre, who has decamped from Boston and moved back to the Big Apple. Welcome home!

Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.

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