For the boldface names and media mavens who flock to 55th & Fifth on a regular basis, the dining room is like a high school cafeteria without the adolescent angst. The richest and coolest kids in the class spend lots of time table hopping and there’s plenty of gossip on the menu. Today we got a heaping helping. Thanks to Mayor Joe Armstrong, we made the acquaintance of Worth magazine founder W. Randall Jones, who told lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane and her pal, Hallmark’s corporate communications VP Jennifer Geisser, that he and Bob Friedman were enjoying today’s meal because “we’re off to prison on Friday.”
Randy, who is credited with turning Esquire around in the 80s (no wonder he was the best dressed man in the room), then explained he and Bob weren’t pulling a Martha. They’re headed for the boonies of Pennsylvania at week’s end to visit an unnamed pal “who got a little creative with accounting and a little something about corporate jets” and wound up in the slammer. A timely and cautionary tax season tale for all of you moguls out there …
Here’s a rundown on the rest of the ‘in’ crowd:
1. Hallmark Channel honcho Henry Schleiff (Happy Birthday!)and Kerry Kennedy.
2. Peter Brown.
3. Joe Armstrong and W. Randall Jones.
4. Quest’s Chris Meigher with Dominick Dunne who told us he’s headed out to Los Angeles to cover the Phil Spector trial for Vanity Fair. We’ve missed his reporting of late and eagerly await his dispatches from the left coast …
5. CBS’ Gil Schwartz with his agent Kris Dahl. The master spinmeister tells us his new book Crazy Bosses (Harper Collins) is due out May 8. One Hundred Bullshit Jobs, his last effort, is soon to be released on paperback. Next time you’re looking for material on these subjects, Gil, be sure to give us a call.
6. Paul Wilmot, Time Inc.’s Kate Betts and a few unidentified fashionistas.
8. Adman Peter Rodgers and pals.
9. Maryann Benicam, so we’re told.
11. Time Warner’s Ed Adler and Radical Thinking’s president Bob Friedman.
12. Tony Hoyt and Hallmark magazine’s Lisa Benenson (loved the Chanel!).
14. Gerry Byrne and guest.
15. NBC’s Jonathan Wald.
16. Larry Kaiser.
17. Myrna Blyth.
18. Tina Brown and Robert Zimmerman.
19. The gorgeous cherry blossoms blocked our view …
20. Glamour editrix Cindi Leive, who we met in the men’s room. Don’t get the wrong idea — the women’s room was out of service. Thanks to the always gracious Michael’s staff for standing guard …
21. Hearst publicity maven Deb Shriver and Nancy Murray.
22. A late arriving Ivana Trump and her doppelganger guest both in head to toe black. The former Ms. Trump didn’t notice her son, Donald, Jr, was seated on the border of the Garden Room (?) until her pal pointed him out. Curiously, she didn’t get up to greet him but did give him an enthusiastic hello (but no kiss) when he stopped by her table on the way out.
23. Walter Sabo with Bridget O’Brian. Mr. Sabo made sure to give us Ms. O’Brian’s CV — she’s formerly of the Wall Street Journal and MSNBC and currently an adjunct professor at Columbia. Just so you know.
24. Nick Rubenstein.
25. Tom Goodman.
26. Jacqui Lividini.
27. Lou Margolis.
28. PR princess Elizabeth Harrison.
29. Marie Claire‘s Joanna Coles.
30. Jennifer Geisser and Diane Clehane.
Spotted on their way to the Garden Room: Women’s Wear Daily Marc Karimzadeh and author and former Vanity Fair scribe Jennet Conant.
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.