Restaurateur Marc Packer is bringing back Canastel’s. Nearly a decade ago, Packer closed the popular Italian restaurant on Park Avenue South where Prince and Quincy Jones were regulars, and it morphed into Angelo & Maxie’s steakhouse. In the spring, Canastel’s will reopen in an 8,000-square-foot space with outdoor seating in Times Square that will presumably be more appealing than it sounds. “I’m going to Italy in a couple of weeks to research some chefs,” says Packer, who also owns Tao, Rue 57, and the Harley-Davidson cafés. Packer is also opening a 17,000-square-foot banquet space with Giuseppe Cipriani, also in Times Square.
Add downtown art-world darling Yvonne Force Villareal (president of the Art Production Fund) to the ever-growing list of reality-television hopefuls clamoring for their fifteen minutes of network fame. At the recent party for the opening of “Plan B,” an installation of 27,000 square feet of Durkan Patterned Carpet (designed by Rudolf Stingel) covering Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall, Villareal was trailed by a camera crew and director Douglas Keeve, of the Isaac Mizrahi documentary Unzipped. “We’ve been shooting a reality pilot over the last six months,” says Villareal, adding that they’re going to start shopping the show in the fall and have also taped footage of her singing in her band, Mother Inc. “It’s me as a producer, an art life, a performer.”
Thriller director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs) recently closed on a $6 million, 4,829-square-foot condo in a new development on Walker Street in Tribeca, through broker Iva Spitzer of Douglas Elliman. But the director will have to trek to Brooklyn to attend the premiere of his new film. “We will enter the woods, for that is where they wait,” states an advance copy of the cryptic invitation to the July 26 debut of The Village. The waiting “they” apparently refers to event planners who will be manning a theater in the woods built for the event. Guests will be bused to Prospect Park (“Now, that’s scary!” says a source) for dinner before the screening.
“Basically [Peter Kaplan] keeps requesting audiences with me and then not being available,” recent college grad and freelance fact-checker Mollie Wilson wrote of the New York Observer editor-in-chief on her blog, She’s Not a Girl Who Misses Much. “The most irritating part of all this is how everyone there has been sure to let me know that this kind of treatment is nothing personal; it’s standard operating procedure … This whole time I was looking around his pigsty of an office, wondering how he gets any work done at all,” she adds. “I find most weeklies have incredibly disorganized offices, but the Observer is the worst I’ve seen so far.” The Observer staff quickly caught on and started reading the blog, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt Wilson’s career prospects. “Mollie’s not working here anymore,” says Kaplan, “but I thought her blog was so amusing and well written that we gave her an assignment.