Rachel Uchitel Creates A Stir at Michael’s


Having covered the scene at Michael’s for some time now, I’ve been witness to plenty of Fellini-esque tableaus where the head-spinning mix of stars and strivers, masters of the universe, and alien-like actors never ceases to amuse and occasionally amaze me, but today was off the charts. What started as an afternoon of ramped up power lunches (Harvey Weinstein and James Dolan! RogerAiles and Jon Meacham!) turned into a game of Spot The Tabloid Temptress. I just happened to be at the front desk when regular Henry Schleiff came in followed by a blonde, pillow-lipped gal hiding behind her huge sunglasses. I immediately recognized her as Rachel Uchitel.  What was Tiger Woods’ infamous mistress doing with Henry? I couldn’t wait to ask him. Before I could, she darted around us, averting my eyes and making her way into the dining room. Turns out she was on her way to meet Vanity Fair’s Michael Callahan. “Did you see who that was?” I asked Henry. When I told him, he quipped, “I didn’t recognize her with her clothes on!”

Even though the party girl-turned-private eye (according to The New York Post, she’s on her first case here in New York and awaiting her gun license) and Callahan were seated behind a pillar in the back of the room, word of her arrival spread like wildfire.  I wonder what the two of them talked about during their fairly quick lunch. Could it be that Graydon Carter has greenlit yet another piece on Woods? It would be quite cheeky of him to put Uchitel on Tiger’s tail, wouldn’t it? It seems more likely that Callahan is penning a piece on Uchitel’s post-Tiger life as a self-confessed recovering “love addict.” Stay tuned …

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. It’s Harvey’s world and we just live in it. Shortly after noon, Harvey Weinstein arrived with two guys — one looked like Robert Pattinson’s younger brother and the other like Vladmir Putin. Once the trio was seated, Harvey busied himself playing with his phone while his two babysitters? bodyguards? couldn’t sit still. One spent the entire time pacing between the table and the front door, while the other hopped up every other minute to look out the window as he talked on the phone. Could they have been tracking Harvey’s lunch date? All I know is when Cablevision’s James Dolan finally arrived, they took off.  Harvey then took out a pair of earphones to listen to a recording of some importance while Dolan sat by impassively. I don’t know what the hell really went on, but observing the scene felt like watching an episode of Mission Impossible.

2. PMK’s Cindi Berger and a handsome fellow we didn’t get to meet

3. Political commentator and marketing maestro Robert Zimmerman and Tad Smith

4. Random House EVP Jon Meacham and Fox News chief Roger Ailes, chowing down on burgers and fries. Jon arrived early and spent the time waiting for Ailes by chatting with the staff. We couldn’t help but notice that the ex-Newsweek editor looks a lot more relaxed since leaving the struggling magazine. It’s Tina Brown’s problem now! Their table was clearly the center of gravity today as pretty much anyone who is anybody (read: all the suits in the room) stopped by to pay homage.

5. CNBC’s Joe Kernen, who upon arrival bellowed, “Is Welch here yet? ” Minutes later, Jack Welch’s appearance was a lot quieter but turned a lot more heads.

6. Kay Koplovitz (Nice to meet you!) and pals. The founder of USA Networks now helms Springboard Enterprises, a venture capital company for women entrepreneurs, and is the chairman of the board at Liz Claiborne. She kept everybody guessing this afternoon as she hosted a table of five very diverse looking ladies no one seemed to know, including one dramatically dressed gal who raised plenty of eyebrows with her Elvira-crossed-with-Joan Crawford-inspired looks.

7.  Julie Macklowe (rocking a serious leather t-shirt) and three fabulous fashionistas who came equipped with folders and notebooks.  Scoring a lunch with Julie is like striking gold for fledgling designers and fashion brands these days, since the former hedge funder decided to start her own firm that makes ‘seed investments’ in fashion companies.

8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and The New York Times’ Geraldine Fabrikant

9.  The Washington Post‘s Lally Weymouth. Granddaughter of the legendary Katharine Graham, she garnered her fair share of ink earlier this week when it was reported she pockets $1.6 million for her gig as editor-at-large while the paper continues to shed reporters and hemmorage cash. A girl has got to making a living, doesn’t she?

11. The Early show: Stephen Scheffer. Act two: uber agent Wayne Kabak.

12. Dr. Ronald Dozoretz

14. Discovery ID’s head honcho Henry Schleiff with Charles Grodin who resembled an overgrown junior high schooler in his baseball cap (which he kept on throughout lunch) and jeans. No word on what was in the sad little briefcase he was toting.

15. My pal Tony Hoyt (Long time no see!) I’m guessing the former publisher of National Enquirer and Star was undoubtedly amused by sitting directly across from Uchitel.

16. Piper Jaffray’s Mark Leavitt

17.  National Park Foundation’s Vin Cipolla

18.  PR princess Lisa Linden with Charles Millard and former New York State Comptroller Carl McCall

19. Rachel Uchitel and Vanity Fair scribe Michael Callahan

20.  Two of Estee Lauder’s most polished power gals: Alexandra Trower and Pamela Van Zandt

21.  Beauty Fashion‘s George Ledes

24. The Wall Street Journal‘s David Sanford and his equally casually clad pal Lewis Stein

25.  Octagon CEO Rick Dudley (my pal Bonnie Dudley’s handsome husband) and Nick Brien, CEO of McCann Worldgroup.

26.  Broadway producer Liz Oliver who, we’re told, is also an owner of Equinox fitness clubs. Just thought you’d like to know.

27.  Peter Price and Skip Stein

28. Financial scribe Zachary Karabell

29. Avon’s Charles Cramb

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

@DianeClehane lunch@adweek.com Diane Clehane is Adweek's weekly 'Lunch' columnist.