Tina Brown, Al Roker and Facebook’s Flummoxed Friends



The holidays are over (finally!), so it was back to business for the moguls and mavens that trickled into Michael’s today. The telltale sign was last month’s run on red wine has been replaced by orders of Diet Coke (No more ducking out early ‘to go Christmas shopping’ for you!), and there was plenty of talk about New Year’s resolutions and diets of every description. “I hate January,” said one fashionista who hardly looked like she had anything to worry about. “Nothing fits! And going back to the gym is such an effort.” We feel your pain.

The other hot topic everyone was talking about was Facebook — but not in the way you might expect. While the news is full of reports about the cash infusion from Goldman Sachs and the $1.5 billion fund from private investors (helped, no doubt, by all our witty posts), the movers and shakers in the dining room were debating the finer points of what to post and who to  friend on the site.

“I’m using it to build my personal brand,” one diner told me. “And I’ll do it as soon as I figure out what I want that brand to be.”  Author Pamela Keogh told me she maintains two friends lists: one for her nearest and dearest and one for fans of her books. Her lunch date, James Curtis, who is new to the whole thing, is trying to build a friends list without committing any social faux pas. “It’s funny,” he noted. “You’re friends with people on Facebook that you don’t know that well, and then there are people you do know well that you don’t want to ‘friend.’ It’s like high school all over again.”

We understand completely. That mean girl who kept us out of the popular sorority keeps sending a friend request which we just keep ignoring. Sweet revenge!

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. The “Imber Gang” all present and accounted for: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield, Michael Kramer and Andy Bergman

2. New York Observer publisher (and Ivanka Trump’s adoring hubby) Jared Kushner with a well-heeled fellow we didn’t recognize.

3. The Early Show: Public relations maven Lisa Linden with New York lobbyist Kevin Fullington.  (He’s a Republican, in case you were wondering) Take two: Today show weatherman Al Roker enjoying a romantic lunch with wife Deborah Roberts.  See, sometimes lunch is just lunch.

4. Leonard Lauder with two pals. The cosmetics industry legend recently received WWD‘s first-ever Visionary Award. Congrats!

5.  Money man Stan Shuman

6. Project Playlist’s CEO John Sykes looking fitter than ever. What’s your secret?

7.  Tribeca Film Festival’s co-founder Craig Hatkoff

8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia

9. The Paley Center’s Pat Mitchell. Did you know that Pat’s one-on-one’s with Hollywood heavyweights are broadcast on PBS? I recently caught an encore of her chat with Ted Danson and it was fascinating! Next time you see it on your TV listing, set your DVR!

11. Tina Brown (in leather!). The Daily Beast editrix and soon-to-be headmistress of Newsweek slipped in practically unnoticed for her lunch with a  mystery man. But when my pal Pamela Keogh spotted her, she immediately gave Tina a signed copy of her latest book, Are You A Jackie or A Marilyn? I’m guessing Tina’s response would be, “Neither.”

12. Richard Bressler

15. New York magazine publisher Larry Bernstein

16. Dream Water’s marketing guru Adam Platzner

17.  Avenue’s Judy Price

18.  Randy Jones and The Wall Street Journal’s David Kahn. When I stopped by their table to say hello, these longtime pals regaled me with tales of their time together at Worth in its heyday when Randy was the editor and David was publisher. Back when money was no object in the mid-nineties (Oh, the sweet memory!), the guys threw a blow-out bash  where they turned Roseland Ballroom into a beach complete with imported sand, sun-kissed babes and a performance by the Beach Boys. Randy also admitted that his usually flawless sartorial style suffered a blow when he was forced to wear a canvas jacket that fashioned with an all-over pattern of the Worth logo and life preservers that evening. (David donned one, too.) It seems that the tailor hired for the fun fete got confused and used the linen that was earmarked for the guys for the beach umbrellas and the canvas for the clothes. Why not post some photos on Facebook for the fashion police? I suggested. “We should do it,” said Randy. But I think he was joking.