— DIANE CLEHANE
Remember a few weeks back when I promised Lunch readers a full report on the off chance we had our own encounter Lance Armstrong at 55th & Fifth? Well, here’s your early holiday treat. The Tour de France winner-turned-man about town was holding court at Table One today so I couldn’t resist chatting up the surprisingly shy guy. When I first spotted Lance in the power spot I was struck by how dashing (and slim) he looked in his power suit (accessorized, of course, with his own LiveStrong bracelet). All you gossipmongers out there will probably be disappointed to learn he wasn’t dining with his ex-Tory Burch or his one time canoodling partner Ashley Olsen. When I introduced myself to Lance as he got up to leave, he looked a bit nervous when he spotted me surreptitiously (or so I thought) taking notes. “What are you writing?” he asked nervously. That’s when I knew it wasn’t exactly the right time to ask about Tory or Ashley, so I told him I write this little column about who lunches at Michael’s on Wednesdays and asked him if he could tell me who he was with today. After giving the question a bit more time than one would think it warranted, he warmed up and answered. Turns out my new pal was dining with the head of his foundation, Doug Ulman and Kathy Giusti, founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. “She does an incredible job raising money for the prevention of that cancer,” he said. When asked why he chose to come to Michael’s (it’s his second visit in so many months), he said with a big smile, “Whenever I ask people where they want to have lunch they say, ‘Let’s go to Michael’s!” He told me he had another date planned but since he seemed a bit skittish about generating any press I promised him I’d keep mum on the specifics. In the meantime, ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong says fellow Texans are so impressed by Lance’s heroic fundraising efforts that there’s a movement afoot to draft him into running for governor of the Longhorn state. If Arnold can do it, why not?
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Lance Armstrong, Doug Ulman and Kathy Giusti.
2. Peter Brown.
3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Dorothy Kalins enjoying a long awaited “reunion lunch.” These good pals go way back to the days when Joe was founding publisher of Saveur and Dorothy was editor …
4. Would love loved to have been a fly on the wall for this one: Jim Dolan and Viacom’s Philippe Dauman.
5. Herb Siegal — congrats on your engagement! Ain’t love grand …
6. A group of gents we didn’t recognize …
7. Vogue‘s André Leon Talley with Jaqui Lividini and Richard Baker. Before Andre’s guests arrived, he and I discussed the finer points of dieting. Andre is a big proponent of Jenny Craig (I’m a Weight Watcher fan myself) and says the food — despite the minuscule portions — is actually pretty good. “Sometimes, though, you just have to add some hot sauce.” I can attest that André was doing is best to stay on program during lunch. When the waiter arrived with the bread he decried, “Oh take that away! Bread is evil!” We feel your pain.
8. David Patrick Columbia and Brooke Duchin.
9. We couldn’t see, but my spies tell me it was someone “from NBC.”
11. Michael Gross and Today‘s travel editor Peter Greenberg (who gets kudos for his cool business card that is also written in Braille).
12. Marshall Cohen.
14. Mike Ovitz & Herb Allen Jr.
15. Power blondes Cathie Black and Susan Lyne. When I congratulated Cathie on the success of her new book, Basic Black, the Hearst hotshot seemed genuinely delighted telling me, “I can’t believe it! Go figure.”
16. Jonathan Wald and Tim Arango.
17. Myrna Blyth and Janet Eissenstat, executive director of the President’s Commission on White House fellowships. Myrna, who is chairman of the commission, made a point of telling me that they’re in search of worthy fellows looking for “the experience of a lifetime.” Says Myrna: “It’s the perfect opportunity for anyone in this business, senior editors, people between 20 and 40, who want to be in Washington, get to work with the president and travel.” Past fellows include Colin Powell. (“He told me the experience changed his life and gave invaluable experience.”) Okay, where do we sign?
18. Peter Price.
20. People‘s Jess Cagle. Congrats on your promotion!
21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher and Jim Mitchell.
22. Larry Leighton, who was nice enough to chat with me and my good pal Susan Malinowski at the bar before and after his lunch. Nice meeting you …
23. Kate Betts.
24. Jack Myers.
25. David Adler.
26. Two gents no one seemed to know …
27. Katie, Jerry and Eileen Ford. These icons of the modeling world slipped in practically unnoticed but on the way out were afforded gracious greetings from plenty of diners including André Leon Talley, who was overheard telling Mrs. Ford, “You look lovely!” (She did.)
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.