Special ‘Evening’ Edition: The Media Mob Turns Out for Michael’s 25th Anniversary

LunchAtMichaelsWe’re serving up an extra helping of Lunch this week to bring you the rundown on Michael’s 25th anniversary party at 55th and Fifth last night. At one point, it felt as though all 600 invited guests were there at one time. A few minutes after six o’clock, the steady stream of A-listers had already bottlenecked at the front door, filled the dining room and had migrated to the Garden Room, causing one regular to quip, “Oh so this is what it looks like back here!” Here’s a collection of news and notes we collected as we ricocheted from one cluster of fabulous folks to the next…

Hilary and Bryant Gumbel
Hilary and Bryant Gumbel
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I arrived right behind Jann Wenner and his perpetually scruffy son, Gus Wenner, who dutifully waited on the check in line. “Name please?” requested the clipboard-wielding young gal at the door. “Wenner, the two of us,” said Jann, who put an arm around his son and ushered him inside. Right behind him came Bryant Gumbel and his wife, Hilary Gumbel. I’d last seen Hilary at a Michael’s lunch for Cosmo editor-in-chief Kate White a while back when we feted Kate on the occasion of her latest book. “Hilary’s got a book now,” Bryant told me. The book, Unichef, is a collection of international recipes from chefs around the world with proceeds from book sales benefiting UNICEF. Hilary has been a consultant for the U.S. fund of UNICEF for years.

While standing at the bar waiting for our drinks, we got to chatting about the idea of how little has stayed the same (except Michael’s) over the past 25 years. I asked Bryant (who looked better than ever, by the way) what he remembers most about what he was doing 25 years ago. “Hmm… 25 years ago, I was hosting the Today show and covering the Olympics.” When I asked what’s the most important lesson he’s learned during that time, he answered without skipping a beat: “The older you get, the more you realize that life is stupid and not to worry about so much.”

Matt Blank
Matt Blank
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By this time, the place was really filling up as Les Moonves, Cindy Adams, David Lauren, Rikki Klieman, Peggy Siegal, Sharon Bush, Laurie Tisch, Cornelia Guest, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Blythe Danner, Jay McInerney and Anne Hearst arrived. Michael McCarty and his wife, Kim McCarty, greeted each and every person with hugs and kisses. GM Steve Millington was glad-handing like there was no tomorrow. Patrick McMullan himself was there, shooting everything and asking everyone to shout the spelling of their last names into his camera over the din. I bumped into Showtime’s Matt Blank and told him I was encouraging viewers to watch The Affair in my TV recaps, and it’s been something of a tough sell because the show hasn’t exactly delivered based on all the hype — but this week’s episode was a game changer. “I’m three episodes ahead of you and I’m telling you, it’s great. You’re gonna love it,” he promised. All I really want to know is how Alison (Ruth Wilson) goes from a depressed boho townie to a Prada-toting hipster, I told him. Stay tuned.

Blythe Danner
Blythe Danner
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Across the room, I spotted a bevy of fashionistas: Fern Mallis, Mickey Ateyeh, Amy Fine Collins, Liz Lange and Joanna Coles, among others. Kate Falchi, with whom I lunched a while ago with Mickey and her famous father, Carlos Falchi, came up to say hello and introduce me to her guy, Philippe Danielides. I spotted his mother, Joannie Danielidesdeep in conversation with Deb Shriver earlier. “We actually came to Michael’s to introduce our parents to each other,” cooed the lovebirds. “We figured it was the perfect place because the mood is so great.”