Lunch at Michael’s: Tina Brown, Downright Subdued

lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpgOn the menu at today’s lunch: a tasty stew of pop culture icons, publishing legends and power brokers — with a side of TV’s young-ish guns. There must have been big things afoot. Instead of the usual glad-handing and table-hopping, most diners were deep in conversation and slipped in and out without much fanfare. We barely recognized Dan Abrams, who had exchanged his clean cut pinstripes for a four o’clock shadow and a tieless khaki suit. We had to look twice when a downright subdued Tina Brown almost slipped past us. Then we settled in and watched the show:

Table 1. The top power spot was occupied by some interesting and intriguing folks today. The early show: Howard Rubenstein and guests. Now that we’ve been doing this for a while, we’ve noticed that the master of spin likes to dine, dish and be on his way before most of the other movers and shakers have had a chance to order their Fiji waters. Second shift: Judge Robert Keating presiding over a table full of jovial guests. Here’s an interesting bit of NYC trivia: the bow-tied jurist set up the first Midtown Community Court in Times Square in 1993 when the tourist trap was attracting a whole different type of thrill seeker. His forward-thinking move helped to all but eliminate the low level crime that was so rampant during the mid eighties and early nineties. Remember those dark days?

2. Peter Brown and Time‘s Michael Elliot. The jet-setting Mr. Elliot tells us he is currently based in New York but is splitting his time between Time‘s London office (where he edits the Europe, Middle East and Africa editions) and Hong Kong (for the Asia edition).

3. 60 MinutesSteve Croft and MTV’s John Sykes.

4. Wayne Tabach.

5. Time Inc.’s John Huey with a cool, Grace Kelly-ish blonde we didn’t recognize.

6. MSNBC’s general manager and legal eagle Dan Abrams with Good Morning America‘s newish news anchor Chris Cuomo. Good to see you Chris, after your close call in Iraq …

7. Charles Schuler.

8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia with Barbara Spiegelvogel. DPC: loved your photos on your site of the soon-to-be divorced Tory Burch and her new beau Lance Armstrong at the book party she hosted in her apartment for makeup maven Bobbi Brown. (How sweet — they were holding hands!). Those of you that are following the oh-so-glamorous life of the intriguing Ms. (Mrs?) Burch, check it out!

9. Holly Peterson.

11. A very chic looking Hannah Storm.

12. New Yorker publisher Lou Cona.

14. Tina Brown and guest. After being fêted last week at table one with Mayor Joe Armstrong, Newsweek‘s Jon Meacham and other powerful pals, we’re eager to hear more about Tina’s new book, The Diana Chronicles. Tina, why so low key?

15. Jay Kriegel.

16. The beautiful spring flowers blocked our view …

17. Parker Ladd.

18. The ageless Helen Gurley Brown and, we’re told, Betsy Perry and Betty Sargeant.

19. A table of lucky “civilians.”

20. PR maven Joannie Danielides and Freddie Friedman — who, they said, were deciding which authors to publicize for the upcoming season. Do tell…

21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher.

22. We couldn’t see…

23. Ditto.

24. Walter Sabo, who was kind enough to stop by and say hello at the bar to lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane and’s departing editorial director Dorian Benkoil, who was bid a fond farewell by the always affable staff at Michael’s. Walter introduced us to his guest, 1010 Wins executive editor Mark Mason. Thanks gents!

25. Steve Greenberg.

26. Marshall Cohen and CBS marketing guru George Schweitzer celebrating their annual joint birthday lunch. Thanks for introducing yourselves — we feel so popular! To those of you out there who want to see your name in this column (come on, admit it!) but haven’t yet made our acquaintance, don’t be shy!

27. Jim Mitchell.

28. Dan Ragna.

29. Our good pal Sasha Charnin Morrison and PR powerhouse Jason Weisenfeld. US Weekly‘s top fashionista is becoming quite the regular. (“I was here yesterday with the Prada people!”)

See you next week …

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