Tom Brokaw, Vernon Jordan and the Shy Divorcee

It was SRO at Michael’s today. The dining room was so jam packed every sqaure inch was occupied by a mogul (Mel Karmazin!), media heavyweight (Tom Brokaw, Jon Meacham, Jeff Zucker), or social swan (divorcee of the moment, Mercedes Bass who moved to the Garden Room with pal Lynn Nesbitt when the decibel level and fabulousness of it all got to be too much).  Just a thought: if you’re looking for a quiet, out of the way lunch spot, you might want to consider going somewhere else on Wednesday.

I was joined today by Forbes‘ new editor, Randall Lane. In his new position, Randall is presiding over familiar territory to him: the lives of the ridiculously rich and ambitious. In a previous life, he was the editor of Trader Monthly which chronicled the age of excess of the Wall Streeter of days gone by.  That experience later provided plenty of fodder for his book, The Zeroes: My Misadventures in the Decade When Wall Street Went Insane. In the interim, he’s been an editor at large for Newsweek and written for The Daily Beast. Having worked with him years ago when he was the editor in chief on the startup Justice, which covered the hot trials and legal issues of the day, I was thrilled when I heard he’d gotten the top job at Forbes back in September.

Randall first worked at Forbes fresh out of college in the nineties and spent six years “chasing rich people” and working on the franchise’s venerated power lists which required (and still do) hundreds of hours of research and manpower. “In some ways, it feels like I never left,” he tells me.

Randall Lane and yours truly

Since taking the helm, Randall has been on a mission to make the book more visually exciting with interesting photography (the arresting cover image of Bill Gates in the “World’s 70 Most Powerful People” issue is a winner), fresh design elements courtesy of the Brooklyn-based shop Athletics, a livelier front of book section and more in-depth profiles on people the Forbes reader wants to know about.  Exhibit A: The cover story in the November 7 issue on Dropbox’s Drew Houston, the 28 year-old mogul who turned down Steve Jobs and is now worth $600 million which drew one million hits on Forbes.com.

Randall chose Sean Parker for the cover of The Forbes 400 issue. “I saw Sean at a party recently, and he told me that being on the cover changed the way a lot of people saw him,” says Randall.  “Forbes has always had a point of view and a perspective that works. Today,  it’s a magazine with an attitude and a world view that gives readers access to a world they want to know about. With everything that is going on right now, it is a really exciting time to be there.” I’ll say — the magazine was just named to Adweek’s ‘Hot List’. Meanwhile, Forbes.com is “killing it,”  says Randall, getting 25 million uniques last month. All in all, we’d say Randall is off to a very good start.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Producer Freddie Gershon and Eden Collinsworth

2. The Early Show: Hearst’s David Carey with Radical Media’s Bobby Friedman. Second seating: UBS’s Aryeh Bourkoff, presiding over a table of  ‘suits’

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Mort Janklow(Nice to meet you!)

4. Tom Brokaw (Loved the cool specs!) and his lovely daughter, Sarah Brokaw

Tom Brokaw making the rounds in the dining room

5. Vernon Jordan with a tweedy looking gent and a gal we didn’t recognize

6.  Dr Gerald Imber and Jerry Della Femina of ‘The Imber Gang,’ celebrating the good notices Andy Bergman’s new show,  Honeymoon in Vegas, got in today’s New York Post. Congrats!