As any self-respecting power luncher knows, December is no time to slack off and dip into the egg nog. Quite the contrary. The noontime hour during the holidays may be reserved for a little shopping for those that still go the brick and mortar route, but the regulars at Michael’s know that now is the time to get real business done, score some valuable face time and plot your next big move. As one mogul told me today, “I’ll celebrate in January. Now is the best time to get in there when the competition isn’t looking.” Consider yourself warned.
Judging from the interesting combinations of folks at the tables around the dining room today, I’d say there are plenty of movers and shakers whose New Year’s resolutions involve making some changes to the resume and fattening up that portfolio (even if the tax man is going to come looking for a bigger piece of the action come 2013). There were so many suits in the lounge eagerly awaiting to be seated when I showed up that I thought there was some kind of Wall Street holiday hoo-ha going on. The appearance of Mark Zuckerberg’s sister Randi Zuckerberg with AOL’s Jolie Hunt caused a bit of stir, and I spotted more than a handful of mavens “in transition” who have seemingly aligned themselves with some interesting power players in hopes for a brighter new year. Here’s hoping.
I was invited to join ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and David Zinczenko for a dishy lunch. While Joe and I waited for Dave to arrive, I noticed that the Mayor’s omnipresent, tri-colored western boot that doubles as a centerpiece when he’s in the house had been replaced by a bigger, bronze version. The Mayor tells me that he decided to keep the red, white and blue version at home for safe keeping. It’s signed by music men Jimmy Buffet, Willie Nelson, Fats Domino and Elton John (on the day Joe hosted a lunch for Elton in celebration of the Broadway debut of Billy Elliot in this very dining room), as well as Laura Bush who happened to spy it on Joe’s table during a visit a while back and whipped out a Sharpie before Joe knew what hit him.
I couldn’t wait to catch up with Dave when he arrived. His headline-making departure from Rodale a few weeks ago after his incredibly successful tenure at the top has gotten plenty of coverage. Just this week Women’s Wear Daily and AdAge weighed in, with the latter speculating on “Rodale’s Rocky Road” in the face of Dave’s exit. As you undoubtedly know, Dave was the high-profile face and voice of the Men’s Health brand, with regular appearances on the Today show and scores of other shows from Ellen to Oprah. His much imitated Eat This, Not That bestsellers became their own franchise for Rodale, cementing the company’s place in pop culture as long as Dave kept churning out different versions.
Now that Dave is no longer a company man, he’s busier than ever taking meetings with some very interesting folks that shall remain nameless. For now, he’s staying mum on his plans, but let’s just say that thanks to Maria Rodale, Dave is going to have his own Mad Men-inspired next act some time soon. Living a “high-profile life” definitely has its career advantages. Stay tuned.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. A birthday celebration with Cheri Kaufman (of Kaufman Studios) and a table full of ladies who lunch
2. Most of the ‘Imber Gang:” Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina and Andy Bergman, trading their usual spot (Table Six) for a different table
3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, David Zinczenko and yours truly
4. A very dapper Tom Brokaw (We particularly loved the blue blazer and natty foulard pocket square), who stopped by our table to say hello, and Kati Marton
5. Bill Tortorella (brother of Rangers’ coach John Tortorella) with, we hear, the CEO of Warner Music Group
6. PR maven Maury Rogoff, Radical Media’s Bob Friedman, Marshall Sonnenschein, Deborah Fine and Barry Frey
7. Neal Boulton, celebrating Stu Zakim’s birthday. Cheers!
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia and Emilia Saint Amand. A longtime chronicler of cafe society, DPC does a fabulous job writing about his decades-long affiliation with Quest in the magazine’s recent 25th anniversary collectors’ edition. I loved reading about his early years working with the magazine’s founder Heather Cohane who smartly predicted way back when that Gotham’s A-list would flock to a magazine that combined the two consuming interests of the Upper East Side: their own privileged lives and real estate. The issue is filled with great photos from Quest‘s archives of the bygone era of the go-go eighties and acquisitive nineties. It’s a keeper, for sure.
11. Former New York City public advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Imax’s Rich Gelfond
12. My pal, producer Joan Gelman with radio icon Joan Hamburg and another gal named ‘Joan’ we didn’t get to meet
14. A Fox 5 reunion with BFFs Lynn White, Rosanna Scotto and Penny Crone
15. Hampton Carney
16. Public relations guru Tom Goodman, celebrating some big news with a well-heeled fellow we didn’t get to meet
17. Conde Nast’s Peter Hunsinger
18. Lisa Linden and Eric Gazin, president of Auction Cause
20. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at this table: AOL’s Jolie Hunt, who breezed by our table for some air kisses before settling in for lunch with Randi Zuckerberg (Yes, Mark‘s sister)
21. USA Today‘s Larry Kramer
22. Scalamandre’s sartorially splendid president Steven Stolman and Barry Goralnick. It seemed only fitting that Steven accessorized his look with red cashmere today. A little birdie told me he recently scored a signed print of Kim McCarty‘s (Michael McCarty‘s better half) “The Red Suit” at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Thrift Shop.
23. Stylish scribe Wednesday Martin and Camille Massey, a ‘policy wonk’ with The Council on Foreign Relations. I finally got a chance to meet Wednesday today (So glad to hear you and hubby Joel Martin are avid ‘Lunch’ loyalists), and I found out that she’s just finished her second book, Primates of Park Avenue (great title!) which she describes as an “anthropological memoir” and a great follow-up to her first book, Stepmonster. We’re definitely intrigued.
24. Lucianne Goldberg and her associate Bonnie Dudley
25. Television writer (Mary Tyler Moore)-turned radio personality and blogger Susan Silver. Long time, no see!
26. Harlem Village Academies’ Deb Kenny
27. Chuck Pfeiffer
28. CBS SVP Scott Koondel
29. The Early Show: Allen & Company’s Wendell Brooks; Act Two: producer Beverly Camhe
30. Michael Peterson (Pete Peterson‘s son)
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