March 6, 2000

Big Splash Over Haute Water

It may still be winter, but the residential wars in the Hamptons are already heating up. If Georgica Pond residents get their way, outsiders may soon be strongly discouraged from canoe trips and crabbing sessions on the pond. According to the East Hampton Star, East Hampton Village mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. and the Department of Transportation recently fired off a letter to the owner of a nearby surf shop demanding that he stop sending canoeists to the pond. The order has infuriated the populist Town Trustees, who argued that the pond should be completely open to the public and that monied residents–like Steven Spielberg, Martha Stewart, and Calvin Klein, who all live on the water–should learn to put up with paddlers in their midst. Not surprisingly, as in most Hamptons controversies, Ronald O. Perelman has come in for special scrutiny. The Star claims that the trustees suspect that the Revlon chairman and Georgica dweller used his considerable clout to influence the government’s actions. According to Steven Gaines’s book Philistines at the Hedgerow, Perelman is so dedicated to keeping the pond private that he reportedly once tried to rent every kayak and canoe from the surf shop to prevent oglers from spying on him in his 57-acre “Creeks” estate. When that failed, he unsuccessfully attempted to buy the surf shop in order to shut it down. But Perelman insists that this time his hands are clean: “This comes as a complete suprise,” he said through a spokesman. “We are not a party to this dispute in any way.”

Kylie Swims Off With a Prize

Though Kylie Bax partied hearty last week at the Sports Illustrated swimsuit soirée, it seems the real fireworks took place later that evening. After arriving at the Lava Lounge with a few New Jersey Devils hockey players in tow, the Barbie-esque supermodel huddled with the likes of Heidi Klum, Evander Holyfield, and LL Cool J over magnums of champagne. But just as the party took off, Bax booked … with New York’s Singles issue cover boy Marcus Schenkenberg very close behind. A fellow reveler says Bax grabbed the chiseled model and whisked him out the door. Bax’s rep declined to dignify reports that the two are dating: “They are neighbors,” she sniffed. “They live across the street from each other.”

Sushi Kingpins Hit a Raw Nerve

Has the very profitable partnership between Robert De Niro and Drew Nieporent hit a rough patch? According to industry insiders, the two nabobs behind Nobu have been feuding and are abandoning plans to open two new Nobu restaurants together–one in London’s Canary Wharf and another in Miami. Nieporent insists that the two new Nobus will go ahead as planned. “I get along with everyone, and I stand behind what I’ve done,” he says. “There are all kinds of projects under the Nobu mantle. Nobu Matsuhisa, the restaurant’s part owner and acclaimed chef controls those decisions, not Robert De Niro.” Meanwhile, De Niro has met with Ian Schrager about restaurants for his hotels in London’s St. Martin’s Lane and in New York’s upcoming Astor Place hotel.

Magnolia Blossoms: Paul Thomas Anderson may be used to having final cut on his movie shoots, but to the producers of Saturday Night Live he’s just another semi-funny writer. The Oscar-nominated director of Magnolia was put to work writing sketches for the recent Saturday Night Live hosted by Ben Affleck, and NBC confirms that Anderson will return to work on the March 11 show. Television sources say that when SNL producers approached Anderson’s girlfriend, Fiona Apple, to perform, the pouty singer asked whether she could bring Anderson along. He ended up directing a pre-filmed MTV parody and contributed to other skits, but insiders say his work was edited like everyone else’s, some of it landing on the cutting-room floor.

Words Awry: William Safire didn’t have to search very far recently to discover errors in print–the Times embarrassingly misspelled the wordsmith’s name as “William Saire” above his column. Eagle-eyed 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer didn’t help matters; he dashed off a tongue-in-cheek letter to the “new” columnist, welcoming “Mr. Saire” to the Paper of Record. Despite the ribbing, Safire insists he isn’t upset about the error: “Considering all the times copy editors have saved my neck, this doesn’t bother me a bit,” he says.

Cat’s Meow: Are felines falling out of favor with the radically reconstructed Jocelyne Wildenstein? Sotheby’s is planning to auction off 40 pieces of jewelry from the Lion Queen’s extensive cat-themed collection, including a diamond-and-onyx tiger brooch from Cartier valued at nearly $100,000.

Additional reporting by David Amsden and Suny Sehgal.

March 6, 2000