Public-radio pooh-bahs including Ira Glass, Jonathan Schwartz, and Brian Lehrer were among the 150 or so who gathered this morning for breakfast in the Varick Street building that will soon house WNYC's airy new studios. (The station was heretofore crammed into a tight warren of offices near the top of the Municipal Building.) The new digs will feature a these-days de rigueur street-level studio with seating for 120 and picture windows onto the sidewalk. Kristen Chenoweth hosted, her typically perky self despite getting off a plane, she said, from "the vapid wasteland" of Los Angeles only six hours before. She serenaded Dawn Greene — the name of her late husband, Jerome L. Greene, will grace the street-side space, for which his foundation donated $6 million — and the audience applauded not only the emcee but also themselves for not stooping to the ratings-grabbing level of people like, say, Don Imus. Leonard Lopate, for one, recalled one of the raciest moments on his long-running interview show, when Kurt Vonnegut asked in the middle of a conversation whether Lopate was having an affair with his wife. "I said, 'I don't think so,'" recalled the host, who insists he wasn't. Vonnegut later apologized.
Besides interviewing his share of Nobel, Pulitzer, and Oscar winners for his eponymous WNYC show, Leonard Lopate has picked up a few commendations himself, including a James Beard Award for a conversation in which Ruth Reichl and his favorite chef, Daniel Boulud, explored the relationship between scent and taste. This past week, the Park Slope resident treated his nose to some of the city's finest bagels and (possibly) the best baguettes outside of Europe.