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Pique Time

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Perhaps because of an unexpected chill in the spring air, New Yorkers showed their peevish side, vexing over grievances both real and imagined. Nearly everyone seemed exasperated by the deadlock at ground zero. With the Freedom Tower looking more and more like a turkey, some demanded that the Twin Towers be rebuilt. Others bitterly wondered whether it wouldn’t be more sensible to restore the old Radio Row—which, in combination with Century 21, would at least turn the area into a magnet for shoppers from abroad. Or perhaps Anna Wintour, fresh from triumphantly orchestrating yet another Costume Institute Ball at the Met, could be put in charge of ground zero, decorating the hole with gardenia blossoms and topiary. On the other hand, even this year’s gala—pronounced “terrific” by Pat Buckley, who has seen enough of them to know—apparently left some feeling resentful. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana pulled out at the last minute, reportedly because their table was in Siberia. On Broadway, the brilliant but sometimes bilious actor John C. Reilly was officially barred from speaking to any member of the backstage crew of A Streetcar Named Desire. A happier note was struck by Robert Goulet, who said, apropos of his role in La Cage aux Folles (and of his mustache?), “I’m not gay, but I’m thinking about it!” Alain Ducasse, stung by the Times’ demotion of his restaurant from four to three stars, reacted by firing chef Christian Delouvrier. Meanwhile, the critic behind this contretemps, Frank Bruni, used his platform at the Times to pule about his difficulties achieving “catharsis” in the newfangled toilettes one has to negotiate in restaurants these days. The week’s greatest display of petulance took place at Waikiki Wally’s in the East Village, where Ashley Olsen tried to pull rank so that one of her half-dozen girlfriends could bring in a bottle of vodka. “I do not know who you are,” the manager reportedly told Olsen. “I am French, I don’t watch MTV. You need to take off your stupid sunglasses.” Oh dear. Life is full of misunderstandings.


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