Perhaps it was the schizophrenic weather that kept most of the familiar faces and celebrity diners away. It was a pretty subdued crowd at 55th & Fifth today. No big stars of stage, screen and nary an editor in sight. (Okay, Kathie Lee Gifford was there.) Since there wasn’t much star gazing to do, lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane was left with plenty of time to chat with some regulars and learned this fun fact from a longtime staffer who managed to satisfy our celeb craving for the day: Did you know that actress Gretchen Mol (last seen in The Notorious Bettie Page) once worked as the coat check girl? Legend has it that CAA’s George Lane (who was dining today with Jean Doumanian) discovered the one time Vanity Fair cover girl on one of his visits to the restaurant. It got us thinking — perhaps our salad nicoise was served up today by a future Oscar winner. Food for thought …
1. The early shift: Hallmark TV president Henry Schleiff and CNN honcho Jim Walton (who picked up the check). Round two: Peggy Siegal who did her usual round of glad-handing before settling in with two colleagues — but not before telling the staff: “We have to order now!” The hyper-busy trio spent much of the meal on their phones talking to other folks. Oh, the pressure!
2. Mike Ovitz and, we’re told, Melanie Hobson. We don’t know what mighty Mike was talking about with his lovely companion but we did notice he was doing a lot of leaning in closer and loosening his tie …
3. Steve Rubenstein and Portfolio deputy director of communications Serena Sassoon Sanandaji.
4. Off The Record author and former Time Inc. honcho Norman Pearlstine.
5. New York Jets owner Woody Johnson who entertained Peggy Siegal while she waited for her table to be set for the second shift.
6. BJ Coleman (who left his mirrored shades on throughout lunch) and a casually clad (shorts? sneakers?) group of guys who were glued to their Blackberrys.
7. Alexandra Trower
8. David Patrick Columbia. The always-dashing editor of New York Social Diary introduced us to his guest, Portfolio‘s Alexandra Wolfe (she covers the art world). Glad to make your acquaintance! And, by the way, we were coveting those fabulous earrings throughout lunch.
9. Kathie Lee Gifford sporting loose, flowing locks, a peasant blouse and a serious belt over her jeans. The Greenwich earth mama brought her charming daughter Cassidy along as her companion. The well-mannered young lady was careful to thank the waitstaff after being served each of her three Shirley Temples. How sweet!
10. mediabistro.com CEO Laurel Touby and Fotolog’s Rachel Glickman.
11. Bobby Friedman of Radical Thinking, formerly of AOL.
12. Nick Seminack.
14. Chuck Roven, who, we’re told, is Bon Jovi’s manager — just though you’d like to know.
15. Our good pal Walter Sabo with Parade‘s vice president and creative director Ira Yoffe (loved the pink on pink shirt and tie — very dapper!).
16. Two unidentified ladies …
17. Ruth Vitale.
18. Jean Doumanian and George Lane.
20. Bonnie Timmerman.
21. Valentino’s CEO Graziano de Boni
22. David Alder
23. Jason Rapp, a VP with Barry Diller‘s burgeoning empire.
24. The lush summer greenery blocked our view …
25. Ditto …
26. Cablevision’s Barry Frey.
27. All in the family: Quest’s Chris Meigher with daughter Elizabeth, who runs CUE.
28. A scribe from the Financial Times whose name we didn’t quite catch …
29. PR maven Lisa Linden.
Please send comments and corrections to diane AT mediabistro DOT com & lunch at mediabistro DOT com.