Don’t Tell Hillary Clinton About Any Surprise Parties
It seems that a certain potential future leader of the free world can’t keep a secret. In a continuation of their very Demi Moore–Bruce Willis split, Kimora Lee Simmons planned a surprise 50th-birthday party for her hip-hop-mogul ex, Russell Simmons, at Gustavino’s last night. How Kimora expected to keep the party under wraps (especially when she’d invited the press) we have no clue. But Russell was in the dark, we hear, until Saturday night, when Hillary Clinton almost blew it.
Webster Hall Owner Spending $3 Million to Open a Nice, Quiet PlaceWebster Hall owner Sean McGarr and his partner, Michael Sinensky, are spending $3 million to turn a former stable at 621 46th Street — a space also pursued by Ivan Kane for his controversial Forty Deuce project — into a nightclub and events hall named Hudson Terrace. The community board, concerned about improper zoning and neighboring club Pacha’s plan to open a rooftop bar, has recommended that the State Liquor Authority deny the new club’s pending liquor-license application, but McGarr isn’t sweating it. He says that come Thanksgiving he’ll be ready to show off a 6,000-square-foot first floor with a video ceiling and a 4,000-foot semi-enclosed rooftop terrace that will emit radiant heat in the winter and Vegas-like mists in the summer. “It will be a comfortable place to have a cocktail and lounge,” McGarr says, pointing out that 50 percent of his business will be corporate catering, with the nightclub open only during the weekend. “I won’t be installing a Steve Dash sound system like I have here at Webster Hall.” Sinensky and McGarr’s East Village sports bar, the Village Pourhouse, will also be opening an outpost at Amsterdam and 109th Street in November. Cheap pints or double-digit cocktails? Pick your poison. —Daniel Maurer
Trendy Moms Leave the Kids at Home to Watch ‘Nanny Diaries’
Several of Manhattan’s chicest moms, including Nina Garcia and Cynthia Rowley, ditched their kids to catch a private screening of The Nanny Diaries. Peggy Siegel, the iron-thumbed PR doyenne who hosted the event, was on vacation in Italy. But even though it was after midnight over there, she still insisted upon babysitting her own kiddies, aides John and Andres. Their BlackBerrys lit up all night (“Is everything all right?” “How is the dinner?” “WHAT IS GOING ON?!”) as they tried to keep tabs on stars like Laura Linney and Alicia Keys. Meanwhile, Rowley was feeling pangs of guilt after the movie. “How can you feel good about watching it?” she asked Daily Intel. “I definitely felt like I should be at home eating peanut butter out of a jar and singing songs in French to my kids!” —Jocelyn Guest
Bonus Party Lines: What made Nina Garcia nearly “drop dead,” and other quotes from the Nanny Diaries screening.
Norm!Norman Mailer still hates Michiko Kakutani, dislikes Janet Maslin, too, and did an interview with Martha Stewart for her TV show. CNN execs went on a corporate retreat to the Bahamas, and “Page Six,” presumably on behalf of Fox News, mocks them for it. If you complain at Nobu, Drew Nieporent might blacklist you. Peter Cook, Christie Brinkley’s soon-to-be ex-husband, went grocery shopping. (Cindy Adams, meantime, dubs Brinkley Professor Emeritus in How to Handle El Piggo, which she actually means as a compliment.) Retired Ford Models vet Neil Hamil to run Elite Models. There’s a reality show being shopped in which ten virgin men compete to lose it to “a celeb.”
Condé Nast Balls for Africa
Last night was “The Black Ball,” Condé Nast’s curiously named benefit gala for African AIDS charity Keep a Child Alive, and the arrivals line at Hammerstein Ballroom looked like a high-society version of that bit in Legally Blonde when the Harvard snobs tell Elle Woods to come to the party in costume but they’re totally lying. White person after white person — Elijah Woods, Sophie Dahl, Tinsley Mortimer, Garavani Valentino (whose skin, admittedly, more closely resembles orange) — showed up in head to toe black, as Iman in bright red and Gayle King in yellow sauntered by, laughing away. We imagined joke invitations and meetings on subterfuge strategies, but, thankfully, the gala was not a room divided. Here, some touching moments of togetherness …