Christiane Amanpour Is Kinkier Than We ThoughtDid Blair kick Kati off ‘Gossip Girl’? Does Gwyneth really eat? Is Diane Von Furstenberg really a dominatrix? (Christiane Amanpour says so!) The answers to these questions lie in today’s roundup of gossip.
Oh La La! Les Frenches React to Le Spitzer ScandaleThe other night when David Paterson announced, in a rather blasé way, that both he and his wife, Michelle, had had multiple affairs during their marriage, we all (except the Post) basically shrugged. “I’m not shocked by anything a politician does anymore,” one gentleman, interviewed in front of the New Jersey T.G.I.Friday’s where Dina and Jim McGreevey had allegedly met their limo driver for their Freaky Fridays (or whatever they were called), told the CW. Cool, we said. We’re turning into France! But we may have overestimated the French’s tolerance for les liaisons. Today, the Sun interviewed New Yorkers of the Gallic persuasion about the recent spate of gubernatorial sexing, and while they were indeed laissez faire about affairs — “It’s a well-known fact that some of our politicians have extramarital affairs or an active sexual life,” Pierre Battu, the founder of something called French Tuesdays, yawned to the paper — using prostitutes is not okay, even in France. “The Spitzer case is a deep problem,” said Laurent Guerrier, a French headhunter. In France “it would have been a big thing also.” Especially because that Ashley Alexandra Dupré clearly did not know how to tie a scarf or make a cassoulet.
French Shrug At Paterson, Gasp at Spitzer [NYS]
Earlier: David Paterson Had an Affair! But It’s Okay Because His Wife Loves Him. And We Do Too!
PETA Causes a Ruckus in the House of Donna KaranA PETA protester accosted designer Donna Karan inside her Central Park West apartment after an assistant mistakenly let her in. Kyle MacLachlan and his wife are expecting a child. Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Demi Moore, and a host of other stars all turned out for Madonna’s “Raising Malawi” (Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon did not, however, after learning that the event was sponsored by Gucci). Rachel Zoe came to Fashion Week with eight suitcases, two of which were for accessories. R.E.M. played a series of impromptu shows on the Lower East Side earlier this week.
Steve Schwarzman Takes the Fun Out of BuybacksFINANCE
• 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]
The Seth Tobias Case Gets (A Little Bit) HairierA gay porn star named Angel is now claiming that he used to shave deceased gay hedge-fund manager Scott Tobias’s genitals. New York Giant Michael Strahan said that he wouldn’t mind dating Tony Romo’s girlfriend, Jessica Simpson. Oprah Winfrey showed up to watch Chaka Khan’s Broadway debut in The Color Purple. Robert Kennedy wants Hillary Clinton to remain in the public life even if she loses her presidential bid. Donna Karan failed a bunch of her classes at Parsons, including typing and draping. Jim Neal is coming to New York to raise money for his Senate run in North Carolina (he’s gay!).
Donna Karan Accepts CougarhoodFifty-five-year-old Donna Karan’s boy toy is 30-year-old model J.J. Biasucci. Ethan Hawke allegedly started dating “secret” girlfriend (his former nanny!) Ryan Shawhughes before he was divorced from Uma Thurman. Steve Martin played the banjo and read funny poems at the Cutting Room. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin shared a happy dinner at BLT Fish. Eighty-eight-year-old Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau may step down from his post, which would allow Governor Spitzer to appoint Cyrus Vance Jr. Michael Kors served mini-cheeseburgers at his store opening in Soho. Madonna kicked 25 yoga students out of a studio at the Reebok Sports Club on Columbus so she could practice by herself. Howard Stern is annoyed at Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner for bringing paparazzi to his Upper West Side block.
it just happened
Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff Out at City Hall, In at Bloomberg LPDan Doctoroff, who has been toiling away since 2001 as the mayor’s get-it-done man, will announce today that he will be out of City Hall by the end of the year. He’ll be named president of Bloomberg LP, reports the Times.
“Our administration and the city of New York have been incredibly lucky to have Dan in City Hall for the past six years, and I’ve personally been very lucky to have him sitting just six feet away from me,” the mayor said in a hastily scheduled news conference in the Blue Room of City Hall. “He has been a true partner, a trusted friend, and the architect of the most sweeping transformation of New York City’s environment since the days of Robert Moses.”
Doctoroff, a former investment banker who, like the mayor, earns only $1 a year for his civil service, is the deputy mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding. He’s overseen successful projects like the High Line redevelopment and the rescue of the city’s waterfronts, including Governors Island. He was also a force behind the mayor’s ill-fated West Side Stadium and Olympic bids. Doctoroff was popular in City Hall and is credited with helping Bloomberg with much of his economic and redevelopment success. New York’s Geoffrey Gray reported that Doctoroff was planning a departure last month.
Doctoroff Is Leaving Bloomberg Administration [NYT]
Related Doctor! Give Me a Job [NYM]
For Viacom Freelancers, Neither Happiness Nor Health for ChristmasMEDIA
• Viacom screws over its army of freelancers by rolling back benefit programs drastically. Merry Christmas! [MixedMedia/Portfolio]
• The Washington Post is sending veteran reporter and inveterate partier Keith Richburg to town to take over the paper’s New York bureau. He’s well known for throwing parties with, get this, as many as 30 people! Will Manhattan will be able to handle it? [NYO]
• No holiday party at Time Inc. or the New York Times. Suckas! [Radar]
Calvin Klein and Donna Karan’s Bentley Accident: Hilarious!Donna Karan rear-ended Calvin Klein’s Bentley while in her own Bentley. And get this, she was actually driving herself! Don Imus will have a co-host for the first time in his career when he returns to the air on December 3. Bryant Park charges the crew of Sex and the City $100,000 for each day they film there. (Also, the film’s ending is supposedly not yet written.) NBC Universal Jeffrey Zucker bought Kitty Carlisle Hart’s East 64th Street co-op for $12.3 million, “Page Six” reports, making us happy to see that they’re catching up on two-month-old Daily Intel posts. More Secret Service guards have been hanging out on Barbara Bush’s West Village block, perhaps because Janeane Garofalo gabbed on Bill Maher’s show that she’s Bush’s neighbor. Downtown promoter Ivy Supersonic spent a night in jail after being accused of stealing $7,000 by the owner of the Plumm. ‘Mocialite Kristian Laliberte hosted a party with BlackBook magazine for Carlos Campos at Upstairs in Soho.
Stan O’Neal Disinvited to the Literal and Figurative PartyFINANCE
• Stan O’Neal wasn’t invited to a big Merrill Lynch reunion party thrown by Evelyn Juan, the son of a Merrill founder. Guess Stan will just have to drink himself to sleep in his board-provided office. [DealBreaker]
• Goldman’s unbelievable success is forcing all the other top banks to dig deep into the honey pot and pay out a record-setting $38 billion in bonuses, despite losing $74 billion in market value. Goldman, of course, accounts for almost half of the bonus pool. Let’s just say it’s good to be Goldman. [Deal Journal/WSJ, Bloomberg]
• Steve Schwarzman spared no expense for his son’s wedding and the tab ran to $150,000, including a $20,000 BBQ supper, $7,000 for drinks, and $50,000 to rent an entire hotel and keep the riffraff out. Still pales in comparison to Schwarzman’s $3 million birthday bash. [NYP]
Gandolfini, Falco, Turturro Reunited!• Romance & Cigarettes American premiere. Chelsea West Cinemas, 333 W. 23rd St., nr. Eighth Ave., 6:30 p.m. Writer-director John Turturro will be there; so will stars James Gandolfini and Bobby Cannavale, plus Edie Falco, Bebe Neuwirth, Aida Turturro, and others. Romance, a musical comedy set in working-class New York City, was finished a few years ago and is finally being released, just in time for our joke about how foolish it is to make a musical about working-class types to be ruined by the $100 million-grossing Hairspray.
Closing the BoxSome Lower East Siders are trying to get the Box closed because it’s more a nightclub and less the “cultural institution” its owners promised it would be. (And also, we presume, because it’s utterly insufferable.) At the age of 50, Kelly Klein, ex of Calvin, is finally having a baby. Hillary Clinton raised $500,000 at a fund-raiser at Ted Danson’s house on Martha’s Vineyard. The beach is eroding in front of Tina Brown and Harry Evans’s place in Quogue. John McEnroe is in talks with Larry Ellison to establish a tennis training center in Flushing Meadows. Andy Roddick had stage fright when asked to say a few words at a party in his honor at Tenjune. A bunch of guests got lost en route to Donna Karan’s house in East Hampton. Tom Petty played two gigs in the Hamptons for $1.7 million. (Paul McCartney and Renée Zellweger were there.) Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning looked for the entrance to La Esquina.
early and often
Spitzer’s New Pal: Charlie RangelOnce upon a time, Charlie Rangel was the kind of entrenched political boss reformer Eliot Spitzer was trying to remove from the conversation. And once upon a time, Spitzer was the kind of steamrolling, prosecutorial, holier-than-thou Ivy Leaguer Rangel snidely termed “the smartest man in the world.” Spitzer ditched Rangel’s lieutenant-governor suggestion at last minute; Rangel dubbed Spitzer’s plan to reduce health-care costs “disastrous.” Now the two are about to step into a joint press conference to present a plan to protect health care for children. Strange bedfellows, indeed. What gives? According to a source close to Spitzer, making nice with Rangel is part of the embattled governor’s plan to reach out to old foes and shore up his political backing. “The governor is now looking to places where he never used to for support,” the source says. And Rangel sees Spitzer’s problems as presenting an opportunity to get a deal he likes, a source close to Rangel says. “The governor is certainly in need of some friends right now,” the source says. In exchange for political cover, Rangel is looking to pick up “chits,” the Rangel source says. “There are a lot of projects in New York that Charlie cares about, and I’m sure the governor is taking that into account.” —Geoffrey Gray
At ‘The Good Night’ Screening, Celebs Share Their DreamsAt the Cinema Society’s screening of The Good Night, in East Hampton on Saturday, celebrities had dreams on their minds. That’s because Jake Paltrow’s film is all about them; the hero even falls in love with a girl who exists solely in his sleep. The part of said lass is played by Paltrow’s sister, Gwyneth, who showed up at the party and mingled with East End A-listers like Bob Balaban, Billy Joel, Stella McCartney, Donna Karan, and Ed Burns. “I actually keep a dream diary,” Christie Brinkley told Daily Intel. “I actually created a dream club, where we’d all get together and tell each other out dreams.” Wait, really? “Oh, it was way back in the day when I used to be on tour with Billy [Joel]’s band, so we would all get together for dream clubs.” Mm. Touring with a rock band doesn’t sound quite like we imagined it. —Alex Gartenfeld
Bonus Party Lines: Read more about what goes on in celebrities’ heads in our coverage of The Good Night screening.
‘Times’ Couplets: Watch Where You’re Going!Wherein we arrange Times’ headlines in verse to bring you secret messages from the paper of record.
The Troubles: A Walking Tour
No Sleep Is Part of the Ordeal.
Passing Mile Markers, Snapping Pictures
Woman Falls Through Sidewalk Grate.
Going Like 60 (Tick Tick Tick)
The Suns Forge Ahead Without Stopping for Pity.
Rescuers Try to Lure Lost Whales With Sound.
5-Year-Old Marathoner to Walk 300 Miles —
Not for Kids Only, Seeking Buccaneer Bliss.
A Long Road Ahead,
The Last Eden. Paradise Preserved — in a Restless Continent.
video look book
When Hairstyles Are a Joke
The Video Look Book went to Union Square this week and found AV librarian Aliisa Lahti sporting a brand-new T-shirt. Her haircut “kind of just happened,” Lahti says, and then she started to grow the rat tail as a joke. “Lots of times people assume that I’m a lesbian or that I’m some crazy punk kid,” she says. “Neither of those things are true.”
Aliisa Lahti [Video Look Book]
early and often
Obama in New York: Lulling, Invading, Charming
Barack Obama came to town yesterday, both to schmooze donors for money and have a little chat with Dave Letterman. While Times politics guru Adam Nagourney reported Sunday that the senator has been taking a low-key, professorial tack at his recent talks, “lull[ing] his audiences into long, if respectful, silences,” the tabs are still writing up the appearance in terms of wild manic excitement: Obama “invaded” New York, as he “swooped” in on a break from his “cash dash” to “gobble up” campaign funds. Okay, sure. And how was he on Letterman? To be honest, we didn’t watch, and the clips are already gone from ever-vigilant YouTube. (CBS is a Viacom company, after all.) But our little brother, who was long ago nicknamed the family’s Peoria, because he falls for the same things average voters do, once actually saying, “I’d like to have George Bush as my little-league coach,” sent this e-mail at 12:20 a.m.: “I don’t know if you just saw Obama on Letterman but you cannot be more likable.” Hey, if it plays in Peoria …
‘I Am a NYer’: Obama [NYP]
I’m Not Running for 2nd — Barack [NYDN]
Donna Karan and Mira Nair, Ladies Who Hunch
Tuesday night, after the New York premiere of The Namesake, filmmaker Mira Nair — who was born in India and today divides her time between Manhattan and Uganda, her husband’s home country — will join pal Donna Karan to host a benefit for Nair’s Maisha Film Lab, which trains East African and South Asian filmmakers, and also Chelsea’s Iyengar Yoga Center which both women swear by. (Karan does
Iyengar every morning; Nair goes three times a week on her own and on Sunday with her husband and son.) We talked to them about yoga, relaxation, and competition.
Rudy No Longer Thanking God George Bush Is Our President?A high-level Republican official says that Rudy Giuliani, should he decide to run, won’t have the blessing of Bush or Rove. Recently fired Citigroup exec Todd Thomson, who got himself in trouble for flying Maria Bartiromo around, has flown his wife to Montana, on vacation. Diddy has been partying a lot with “friend” Sienna Miller while his wife Kim Porter stays home with the twins. Martha Stewart is a Hillary supporter, and the launch of high-profile Condé Nast business mag Portfolio may not be going as smoothly as planned.