October 4, 2004
Slate’s New Mate?
The Washington Post Company is said to be close to buying dot-com survivor Slate. Microsoft put the Webzine up for sale in July, saying it was looking to “find an owner where the rest of their businesses are more aligned.” (Slate is reportedly breaking even on $6 million in revenue.) The New York Times took a look but decided to pass. Maybe it figured it could continue to poach Slate’s editors and writers at will (see: Jodi Kantor, Dahlia Lithwick, A. O. Scott). In any case, the talent pool, and Slate’s smart-people-procrastinating-at-work readership, is part of what is said to attract the Post, since it regards itself as a national paper trapped in a local paper’s body. If it happens, New York–based Slate editor Jacob Weisberg (who refused to comment) isn’t expected to relocate inside the Beltway. A Post spokesperson said, I have nothing to offer.”
As it turns out, The New York Times’ Rick Lyman isn’t alone in feeling spurned by the vice-president. Last week in the paper, he mused about having become a Dick Cheney stalker, chasing Air Force Two around the country after being told there was no room onboard. Ron Hutcheson, the White House correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers, knows how he feels: “[Cheney’s] flack was direct with us. They didn’t like the stories we were writing which highlighted his role as the chief cheerleader for the war in Iraq. My colleague called asking to be put on the plane, and they said no to a number of trips.” The Washington Post has been denied a boarding pass, too. The paper asked to sub in Dan Balz for Amy Goldstein, who couldn’t make it. The response: We’ll have to get back to you. “It became clear to me that they were picking and choosing,” recalls their Post editor, Maralee Schwartz. Another time, Cheney’s people preemptively bumped the Post’s Dana Milbank. A spokeswoman for Cheney says, “We give preference to media outlets that travel on a consistent basis, and use the other seats as strategically as possible.”
Where for twenty years there was a soup kitchen soon there will be a boutique hotel. Plans are afoot for Richard Meier to possibly renovate a Stanford White–designed landmark. When it was built in 1904, the Lambs Club, at 130 West 44th Street, attracted members like Irving Berlin and Douglas Fairbanks; by the seventies, it was owned by the Church of the Nazarene, and it attracted the homeless. In 1999, the church and Hampshire Hotel Group teamed up. Now Hampshire scion Vikram Chatwal says that Meier (who declined to comment) may design a 100-to-125-room luxury hotel. “We’re relocating the homeless and adding four stories.”
In other glassy-hotel news, Charles Gwathmey has signed on to make the old Windsor Hotel on West 58th Street into condos. Developer Yitzchak Tessler and the Chetrit Group bought the place from Leona Helmsley last year for $55 million.