Lunch: Tom Brokaw Holds Court; Jane Friedman Works The Room


‘Tis the season to be lunching, and the usual A-list suspects were out in force today with plenty of glad-handing and air kissing all around. Maybe it’s because this is (mercifully) the last full week of work for the year or perhaps it’s just because everyone is tired of all the doom and gloom. (There’s plenty of time for that in January, anyway.) We were happy to talk about something other than layoffs for the afternoon and set off to ask about people’s holiday plans. I wanted to ask former Harper Collins president Jane Friedman what she wanted from Santa, but she was too busy working the room like nobody’s business. Proprietor Michael McCarty, who has plenty to be grateful for, says the whole clan is going to Los Angeles for the holidays. His parents are coming in from Kittery, Maine and his wife Kim’s parents are coming from London. “It’s great because we all get along.” I caught up with Tom Brokaw while we waited to get our coats on the way out, and asked him what he was wishing for this holiday. “Survival,” he said with a bemused smile. A sentiment no doubt echoed by one and all. Here’s hoping…

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Tom Brokaw and Meredith Brokaw with Toni Goodale and her hubby

2. Jack Rovner (he’s Bon Jovi’s manager in case you were wondering) with another hip-looking fellow…

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and gossip guru Richard Johnson. The prince of Page Six promised he’d talk with us for an upcoming ‘So What Do You Do?’ We’re calling you January 2…

4. Barbara Walters, looking resplendent in red (loved that Chanel tote!) with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s lady love Diana Taylor. Barbara stopped to chat with me at the bar and I was pleased to hear my recent interview with her longtime executive producer Bill Geddie had made the rounds at the office. I told Barbara that I loved that Bill described their relationship with the ladies of The View as one where he was the ‘mommy’ and Barbara acted more as the ‘daddy’ disciplinarian. “We’re like an old married couple,” she laughed.

5. Money man Stan Shuman and two distinguished gents (a squadron of suits stopped by on their way out to offer their holiday wishes)

6. Katherine Oliver (another lady in red) with Chris Taylor

7. Pat Mitchell and pals

8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia, social scribe Meryl Gordon, and another gal we’ve not yet met…

9. Rob Weisenback

11. Lisa Caputo and Bobby Friedman

12. Jesse Kornbluth, Wendy Goldberg, and Marshall Cohen, a partner of the Pilot Group who was nice enough to stop at the bar and say hello. As you probably know, the Pilot Group is the holy grail for Internet entrepreneurs these days, having just ponied up $1.5 million for Joni Evans and company’s (Read all about it in today’s So What Do You Do? interview) Turns out Marshall and I have a lot in common — we’re both Westchester residents and parents of adopted daughters — his is from Hungary; mine is from China. Small world! Marshall tells me the online newsletter business “is doing great.” Not everything can score the killer number of uniques Daily Candy gets, but still… Their latest —, offering dish about the best in New York City restaurants, is up one month and going great guns.

14. Alice Mayhew

15. Susan Lyne

16. Ed Victor

17. Linda Janklow

19. Missy Godfrey

20. Jane Friedman and Lynn Goldberg

21. Michael Greece

22. Dennis Ray of Star Media Properties

23. Dan Wassong; Second seating: The Early Show‘s Steve Cohen and “guest”

24. Martin Puris

25. Tom Goodman

26. Men’s Journal honcho Will Schenck

27. Laura Bodor and Ira Neimark

28. Sarahbeth Shrager

29. My pal, Cablevision exec Barry Frey who introduced me to his guest, Marcelo Salup. We agreed that while most folks are forsaking sending holiday cards this season for a whole host of reasons (Marcelo sends his via email), it’s a tradition worth keeping. So all you Grinches out there, take note!

In the Garden Room: Beverly Cahme, who was sporting a festive holiday scarf she said came from Barbara Orbison (yes, Roy’s wife).

Happy holidays to all you ‘Lunch’ loyalists. We’ll be back serving up lots of tasty dish in January, See you then!

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