Ramona the PestIs Real Housewife Ramona Singer the “most hated woman in New York”? Which famous-for-being-rich couple had to borrow cash to pay for their wedding license? And what other screen star may have had an affair with JFK? All this and more in today’s roundup of the best of the gossip pages.
School Principal Single-handedly Stops Ratner DrillersBruce Ratner has plans to build Brooklyn’s tallest structure using air rights from CUNY’s NYC Technical College. The City Tech tower, to be designed by Renzo Piano, is being built with the collaboration of the school — and in return, they’ll get a new class and lab building, built by Ratner. But there’s one loser in this deal: George Westinghouse High School, which uses an auditorium and parking lot on the CUNY site where Ratner will be building. School officials only received a fax with the announcement a couple of days before a crew arrived to start work for excavation. “The principal asked the workers to leave the property, and they did,” a community activist explained later. The school has rented the space from CUNY for years, and administrators have tried since September to learn what will happen to it. “They had one sit-down with construction people that ended poorly,” says the activist. The school’s PTA will meet with representatives of both Ratner and the Department of Education on January 19 (which would seem to make them more influential than dozens of celebrity protesters against Ratner’s other Brooklyn projects, who can’t seem to get a meeting with him). Ratner spokesman Lorin Reigelhaupt promises to restore lost parking spaces on-site or nearby, but neither Reigelhaupt nor the DOE will comment on the future of the auditorium. —Alec Appelbaum
Padma Leaves a Bad Taste in Fiamma’s MouthManhattan Moms, an East Coast equivalent of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Orange County, will premiere early next year. A lot of the city’s foremost graffiti artists congregated for a book party at Auto in the meatpacking district. Billy Joel is in talks with the Mets to perform a bunch of gigs at Shea Stadium. George Steinbrenner will have a high school named after him in Tampa. Padma Lakshmi was rude to the staff at Soho eatery Fiamma, but Martha Stewart overtipped and was nice. CNN gave out an award to someone for forcing “one of the world’s largest oil corporations to pay more than $6 billion to clean up toxic waste in the Amazon rain forest,” but didn’t name Chevron as the company because they are an advertiser.
Linda Stein’s Funeral Reveals Fondness, AngerHundreds turned out at the Riverside Memorial Chapel on the Upper West Side this afternoon for the funeral of murdered real-estate icon Linda Stein. Fellow brokers, longtime friends, and even celebrities like Trudie Styler and Brett Ratner showed up to pay their respects. There were so many attendees, the chapel had to open another room for overflow, though many chose to stand in the main chapel. While the funeral was in parts a celebration, Stein’s daughter, Samantha, didn’t let the gruesomeness of her death go unmentioned. She said the family would not rest until “the bastard” responsible for her death is found and justice is served. As friends voiced fond and complex remembrances, someone recounted one of Stein’s favorite quotes, which captured her aggressive outlook on life. It was Rosalind Russell’s famous line from Auntie Mame: “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.” —S. Jhoanna Robledo
Ew, Lance Armstrong Is Hooking Up with Ashley Olsen?Lance Armstrong and Ashley Olsen hooked up at Rose Bar and then left at 2 a.m. The Jewish Theater of New York claims that the Times won’t review its plays because the paper is anti-Semitic; the Times says it won’t review its plays because they are bad. Kim Cattrall actually showed up to work before the other SATC cast mates for once. AOL chairman and CEO Randy Falco was roasted by Bob Costas and Brian Williams, among others. Ivana Trump made a kind of funny joke about Harper’s Bazaar editor Glenda Bailey being the devil in Prada at Denise Rich’s Angel Ball. (Diddy also left the ball with model May Anderson.) Michael Jackson went to Brooklyn to shoot a cover for Ebony magazine and was sweet despite prattling on about how much he likes kids.
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.
Here’s … Billy?Billy Crystal is looking to take over a late-night talk show. Jimmy Fallon proposed to longtime girlfriend Nancy Juvonen. Brett Ratner won’t make as much money from Rush Hour 3 as he could have because it didn’t meet expectations at the box office. A White House staffer didn’t recognize David Beckham and asked if he was a friend or relative of the president. Val Kilmer dropped out of playing Adolph Hitler in Hebrew Hammer 2 because he was either scared or too bloated. Staffers at now-defunct Green Stone Media are complaining that the site won’t file for bankruptcy because founders Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem don’t want to be embarrassed.
Thy Neighbor’s Wife, and Thy OwnNan and Gay Talese are at work on his and her memoirs about their allegedly open marriage. Jon Bon Jovi is not pleased an energy drink named Mijovi is selling well near his New Jersey residence. Ted Koppel dropped the asking price for his Potomac, Maryland, residence from $4.1 million to $2.3 million. Hillary Clinton complained about the traffic in the Hamptons during her fund-raising stint out east. Stand-up comic Phil Stellar entertained an audience at the Ziegfeld after a movie projector broke during a showing of Hairspray. Meryl Streep says she was kicked out of Yale Drama School for not working hard enough. Gwyneth Paltrow uses face cream that contains snake venom.
Still Barkin Up Ron’s TreeEllen Barkin claims that Ron Perelman owes her another $3.4 million because he promised to fund a production company for her and her brother. (She already got $40 million in the divorce.) Lindsay Lohan was dropped as the potential face of Louis Vuitton after stealing a lot of clothing during an Elle photo shoot. Sagg Pond in the Hamptons was jokingly renamed On Goldman Pond after Lloyd Blackfein and other GS employees bought houses on it. Some staffers at the Russian Tea Room claim the restaurant is haunted. Sumner Redstone may sell Paramount to settle family squabbling. Keith Richards did snort his dad’s ashes — just not with cocaine.
Oprah’s Politics ClubOprah is throwing a $2,300-a-head fund-raiser for Barack Obama at her ranch in Montecito, California, and it’s sold out. Writer Robert Olen Butler’s wife, Elizabeth Dewberry, left him for Ted Turner, perhaps because Turner resembles the grandfather who once molested her. The Good Morning America intern who posed nude (for Playboy) is named Lace Rose Allenius, and she once dated Matt Dillon. Mayor Bloomberg, Donald Trump, Billy Crystal, and Joe Torre won a charity golf tourney by nine strokes. Uma Thurman is dating Elle Macpherson’s ex, Swiss banker Arky Busson. Lindsay Lohan’s bodyguard has received half-million-dollar offers to sell her out, but he won’t do it. Members of Usher’s camp maintain that fiancée Tameka Foster made up her “baby scare” so Usher would talk to her. Cindy Sheehan sang along to Cypress Hills’ “Fuck the Pigs” while drinking beer at a Randalls Island concert.
Regan Outfoxes News Corp.?Judith Regan has secret tapes that may help her $20 million lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch. The Land Rovers and helicopters used to launch a new Ralph Lauren cologne may have disturbed a community of East Hampton piping plovers. Cindy Adams, who has a vendetta against Larry David because he dissed her once, claims that Laurie had been stepping out on him for quite some time (and that he’s being set up with Ellen Barkin). Olivia Newton-John really liked Xanadu. OK! dropped $400,000 on sex pics of Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo, but the mag won’t publish them. Claire Danes may have landed the lead in the Pygmalion revival because the director directed her boyfriend in Journey’s End. Annie Leibowitz angered the Queen of England by asking her to remove her crown during a photo shoot.
The Soho Grand Is a WonderlandRumors of the demise of the John Mayer–Jessica Simpson relationship may be greatly exaggerated; the two spent Sunday night together at the Soho Grand. (Mayer is also still doing the stand-up comedy thing). Today show correspondent Jill Rappaport owns eighteen acres in the Hamptons. Johnny Damon hung out till 4:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, but he still hit a two-run double later in the day. Ivanka Trump and Zach Braff exchanged numbers. (Uh-oh. Does Jared Kushner know about this?) Warren Buffett, David Remnick, John Kerry, Ted Turner, and Jann Wenner, among others (ahem), were all rejected from Harvard. After asking for $5.5 million, Stone Phillips sold his penthouse on West 72nd Street for $4.35 million. Times managing editor Jill Abramson is suing the truck driver who ran over her foot.