September 6, 2004
In mid-July, Republican conventioneers assessing their entertainment options on the city tourist bureau NYC & Company’s Website would have found discounts for the revue Naked Boys Singing! and $5 off admission to the Museum of Sex. But sometime in the past month, these two offers disappeared—and now appear as options only for holders of the Peaceful Political Activists savings card. Carl White, a producer of Naked Boys Singing!, says an NYC & Company rep told him that the RNC Committee on Arrangements had reviewed the offerings and declined to include the show. Calls to the RNC Host Committee were not returned by press time. Daniel Gluck, founder of the Museum of Sex, tells New York’s Amy Sohn it is offering a $5 discount to the general public through October 3, available via the museum’s Website. “We welcome delegates and protesters with open arms,” he says. “Sex is for everyone.”
For months, Russell Simmons has been planning to march up Eighth Avenue on the opening day of the convention with his Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and Still We Rise to protest the administration’s stance on a range of issues, from immigration to welfare reform. Simmons promised to pay $100,000 of the groups’ expenses and pledged to wrangle celeb friends like Sean Combs, Jay-Z, the Beastie Boys, and Mariah Carey into joining the protest. But Simmons quietly backed out after costs increased to $125,000. Activist sources claim Simmons wanted to distance himself from the spotlight since his wife, Kimora Lee Simmons, was busted for possession of marijuana last month and that he will continue to protest the Rockefeller drug laws. “He’s either cutting a deal with Pataki or at least doing some damage control,” speculates an insider. Simmons could not be reached for comment.
East Coast Outpost
The L.A. restaurant Ago, which is partially owned by Robert De Niro and the Weinstein brothers, will be opening a 250-seat boîte in a new luxury hotel, which is being developed on North Moore and Greenwich streets. The restaurant should open in spring of 2006. “New York is my town,” Ago owner Agostino Sciandri tells New York’s Beth Landman—though he’s never lived here. And Il Buco, on Bond Street, is expanding. Owner Donna Lennard says she recently bought the adjacent Spectra photo lab, where she plans to open a saluminaria (cured meats, etc.) with a bar and a bakery.
Norah Jones has upgraded from the $1,400-a-month Williamsburg rental the Post splashed across its front page when she won her Grammys in 2002. Brokers say Jones has purchased a $2.6 million loft in the Carl Fischer building on Cooper Square, where neighbors include Jim Courier and the Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz, who’s almost finished renovating his $2.4 million loft. The New York Health & Racquet Club has also signed a lease in the building. The gym and spa should be ready early next year.