Lunch At Michael’s: NPR Checks Out the Scene — Meets Al Roker & The Gang!

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— DIANE CLEHANE

It’s true: 55th & Fifth has long been a media hotspot. Back a few years ago when ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong hosted a lunch for Bill Clinton on Table One that made headlines in Newsweek and subsequently became fodder for David Letterman on his show, the already cool canteen was vaulted into the social stratosphere. Lately, though, there’s been much speculation about why there’s been a renewed “feeding frenzy” at lunch among the literati as Keith Kelly opined in his column in today’s New York Post. (We can think of one reason, but we’re too bashful to toot our own horn). I was happy to take NPR’s Lynn Neary, who was there to check out the phenomenon firsthand for her publishing beat, along on my weekly anthropological expedition observing the customs of Manhattan’s various media tribes. We made the rounds in the dining room where I introduced her to regulars Al Roker, Marc Victor, Joan Gelman and Dave Zinczenko (Welcome back!) who told Lynn that despite the all the table-hopping and air-kissing that goes on “real business does happen here.” Well, you didn’t think these people were paying for their Cobb salads on their own, did you?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Joan Jacobson feting author R.Scott Briggs, author of the new novel Feel the Burn, with a gaggle of social swans and New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia.

2. Nick Simunek & Christopher Bass

3. Peggy Siegel and, we think, two young flacks, who took over ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong‘s regular spot whilst he’s off to London.

4. Early shift: Al Roker and Today‘s senior producer Marc Victor. Second shift: Terry Allen Kramer and two folks who started lunch with a champagne toast.

5. Arnold Scaasi, Parker Ladd and pals.

6. John Jacobson.


7. Vogue‘s Andre Leon Talley sporting a smashing grey suit — sans socks — and a Princess (really!) of some exotic locale.

8. Kathie Lee Gifford (loved the hipster outfit!) and a gal pal.

9. Lynn Hirschberg.

10. Scott Donaton.

11. Dave Zinczenko, looking tanned and camera ready, with Today show producer Noah Oppenheimer. The prolific Men’s Health honcho gave me a preview of his new book Eat this, Not That out December 10. I’m pretty sure young Dave will be talking about it soon on The Today Show couch.

12. Our good pal Joan Gelman who was toasting the success of Triple Sensation with the show’s lovely stars.

14. Pat Mitchell with Amy Gross who edits Oprah (the magazine, not the person).

15. Jonathan Wald.

16. Jerry Della Femina, Gerry Imber and the gang.

17. Charlie Schuler.

18. Time Inc.’s Ed Adler.

19. Chris Taylor.

20. Freddie Friedman.

21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher.

22. The stunning fall arrangement blocked our view…

23. Jack Myers .

24. BJ Coleman and a squadron of staffers.

25. GCI‘s Marc Rosen.

26. Susan Silver.

27. Cindy Adams (sporting a bold red hat), Julie Dale, Caroline Fitzgibbon, Marilyn Gross, Rita Fredericks Saltzman and Eleanor Taftner who were there to welcome ‘Lady S’ — wife of the ambassador to the UN to the UK — so we’re told. Things looked quite festive. General manager Steve Millington served the ladies who lunched a specially made cake which Lady S praised as “excellent gateau!” Why does everything sound better with said with an English accent?

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

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