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Intelligencer: January 3-10, 2005

John McDonald helps with Gramercy Park Hotel renovation, Elie Tahari buys Jay Chiat's oceanfront home, the Food Network goes all-American, and more.


Illustration by Vault 49

It Happens This Week
• Kids and politicians go back to school.
• Pataki delivers State of the State address. (Perhaps the dog ate his solution to the $6 billion budget shortfall?)
• Goofy rap icon ODB’s album is released posthumously.
• Michael Keaton’s message- from-beyond-the-grave flick White Noise is Hollywood’s sole new offering. (Cinema lovers are advised to see Taxi Driver at Film Forum instead.)
• And though it won’t open for a few more weeks, the Modern— Danny Meyer’s new restaurant at MoMA—starts taking reservations.

Schrager’s Lure: McDonald’s on Gramercy
A boutique restaurant for the once-dotty old hotel.
Ian Schrager’s glossy remake of the formerly shabby-genteel Gramercy Park Hotel continues apace. After taking meetings with trendy restaurateurs from L.A. to London, the hotelier is signing a deal this month with New Yorker John McDonald, proprietor of Mercbar, Lever House, and Lure Fishbar. Because the hotel’s restaurant isn’t due to open for a year, McDonald isn’t sure about the menu yet, though longtime area residents shouldn’t look for a reprise of the lobby-level Polish diner that served $3.50 bowls of borscht back in the eighties. “It’s an interesting follow-up to Lever House for me—another project that involves a building with historical significance,’’ says McDonald, who will insert the 140-seat brasserie in the southeast corner of the building, abutting the park. However, he says there are no plans for an Edith Wharton theme for the place.
—Beth Landman

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