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Giles Deacon

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Ashley Dupré: Overachieving Ho?

We suppose it was inevitable that Girls Gone Wild head honcho Joe Francis would get involved with the whole Eliot Spitzer mess. But even we couldn't have predicted the depth to which "Kristen," a.k.a. Ashley Dupré, had penetrated the promiscuity market. Imagine Joe's surprise when, after he offered $1 million to Dupré to film her, a Daily News reporter called him and told him that she already starred in one of the GGW movies! Francis told the Post: "I personally remember Ashley. She was really at her peak back then. I'm glad I got to her before Spitzer — she looked a lot better at 18." You can judge for yourself in the tabloid's online photo gallery of Ashley from the movie (they're pretty tame, nothing like the "very good shower scene that alone is worth the money" Francis describes). So let's review. Ashley Dupré was a high-class call girl and, by the age of 22, had arranged for an expensive topless photo shoot for herself, and had gotten it on with another girl for the Girls Gone Wild cameras when she was 18. And you thought there was only one gifted go-getter in Room 871.

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Steve Schwarzman Takes the Fun Out of Buybacks

FINANCE • Steve Schwarzman found yet another way to stiff his investors, using the GSO deal as an elaborate cover to buyback shares of Blackstone without the typical benefit a buyback program gives to other shareholders. No wonder the Chinese, who have lost $1 billion on Blackstone, hate him. [DealBook/NYT] • Bank of America bought Countrywide Financial, the huge mortgage company teetering at the edge of bankruptcy, for $4 billion in stock. Some observers worry the deal will take the bank down, but considering Countrywide was worth $30 billion before the mortgage meltdown, it may yet make B of A CEO Ken Lewis a king. [Deal Journal/WSJ] • Merrill Lynch will likely take a $15 billion write-down next week, far in excess of the $12 billion some already bearish analysts had predicted. John Thain is looking to rescue the bank with still more foreign investment capital, but with the Senate getting anxious, that stream dry up. [NYT, NYP]

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A Very ‘Gossip Girl’ Christmas

Our mind-shatteringly detailed guide to what in this week's episode of Gossip Girl could pass for real-life New York experience, what seemed kinda fake, and what really put the "Jesus Christ" back in our Christmas.

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A Sneak Preview of the 2nd Avenue Deli

There's been plenty of coverage of the new 2nd Avenue Deli, but our feeling on Grub Street is that there just can't be enough. Into the Box TV, a real-estate video site, has an advanced tour of the deli. We like the finished interior, especially a mural depicting the old restaurant in its heyday that's an instant classic. And while there's a good video of owner Jeremy Lebewhol, we suggest reading Rob and Robin's more detailed one in this week's magazine. Having Seconds at The Second Avenue Deli [Into The Box] Related: You Can Take the Deli Out of Second Avenue [NYM]

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Fashion Report Card: Marc Wows London, Biba Falls Flat

London Fashion Reviews
Marc Jacobs won raves in New York, but just how well did his smaller line do? London reviewers were not amazed, but they did love the show. Can Giles Deacon continue his reign as the Brit visionary? Has Gareth Pugh gone off the deep end? And is Biba over?

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All the Petraske You've Been Dreaming Of

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How many openings has Grub Street broken in the last 24 hours? So many we've nearly lost count. First was news of a new Sasha Petraske saloon, this one to forgo the mixology maven's usual carefully constructed cocktails for beer and wine. Next was the report that Amalia, the restaurant and lounge scheduled to open a few weeks ago in the Dream Hotel, won't awaken there till late January. (But Grub's got renderings now!) Finally came one more bit of Petraskiana: The Milk and Honey and Little Branch proprietor wants to add food to his empire, aiming to open a restaurant in the old Grange Hall space in the West Village. Need to know more? It's all on Grub Street. Milk and Honey Owner to Do Wine and Beer — and Queens! [Grub Street] Dream Hotel's Restaurant Still a Dream, But Opening in January [Grub Street] Sasha Petraske to Take on Fine Dining, Too [Grub Street]

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Ralph Lauren to Open Hamptons Eatery, No Doubt to Be Filled With Old-Time Americana

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At last, there'll soon be a chance for East Enders to actually eat at Ralph's. Designer Ralph Lauren, who owns the steak-and-seafood joint RL in Chicago, is taking over the space in East Hampton that for 25 years has housed the popular, unprepossessing, vaguely surf-themed Blue Parrot. "They signed the contract, and we should close in a couple of weeks," confirms Parrot owner Lee Bieler, who is moving to L.A. to pursue an acting career. "They said they wanted to renovate the building and do a restaurant. His designer said it would be a concept similar to the Ivy in Beverly Hills." The restaurant, complete with outdoor patio, is next door to the Polo player's East Hampton boutique. Word is it'll be open for business by the spring. —Beth Landman

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Elite Enclave in Midtown East

Make no mistake: Beekman Place and its nearby blocks are as rarefied as the moneyed thoroughfares of Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue. No matter that it's just minutes away from unpretty Second Avenue with its fratty bars and dusty traffic. (Why else would the Rockefellers, the Barrymores, and the Vanderbilts have roosted here?) One Beekman Place is the queen of this tiny kingdom, a highly selective, white-glove building with stunning river views that's supposedly terribly fussy but, without a doubt, grand. Open houses are unlikely there (it's that exclusive), but a walk through the enclave and the few buildings hosting showings there this Sunday (listed below) will be enough to give you a hint of the good life. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

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