WILL THE REAL BOSS PLEASE STAND UP?
George Steinbrenner isn’t afraid of fanning rumors. As the Yankees won their playoff game last Tuesday, the Boss played host to several Dolans in his private box. Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan was there, along with his wife, Helen, and son (and Cablevision CEO) James Dolan. Since the New York Post broke the news last month that “the Yankees could have new owners by the end of the World Series,” monitoring the exact status of the talks between Steinbrenner and the Dolans has become a favorite pastime around town. One well-connected source insists that “lawyers are crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s” right now on a deal that will allow Steinbrenner to continue to have a role with the Yankees (but not the Knicks or the Rangers) for around $500 million. Other insiders caution that while talks are ongoing, no final deals have yet been struck. Cablevision’s official line: “As we have said in the past, Cablevision maintains an active interest in the future of our relationship with the Yankees, and we talk with Mr. Steinbrenner all the time.” Beyond that, they won’t “comment on rumors.” Stay tuned.
BULLISH ON BELLINIS
The Ciprianis are forging ahead with their plans to make the financial district a cash cow. With the hotel on Wall Street not yet open, they are already in negotiation to purchase a second building on Wall Street. Plans include a garage, a movie theater, and a supermarket, above which will be hotel rooms, time-share housing, and apartments. “We really want to cultivate this area as a neighborhood, not just a financial district,” says Louis Rose, managing director of Cipriani Wall Street. Given the stock market’s turmoil, that might be the best use for it.
SCHUMER: VICTIM OF MCCARTHYISM?
Not everyone has picked sides in the hotly contested battle between Senator Alfonse D’Amato and his Democratic challenger, Charles Schumer. Representative Carolyn McCarthy has yet to endorse her fellow Democrat – a failure that’s being talked about by party apparatchiks who remember how much Schumer helped her in ‘96. Back then, Schumer lent her his longtime aide (and current campaign manager) Josh Isay for a few weeks. But when the senior congressman asked for her endorsement this year, he got only her policy statement against endorsements. Her chief of staff, Beneva Schulte, explained that the congresswoman “always looks at the issues” instead of at “people’s endorsements.” Of course, Schumer shares her prime issue – gun control. Credit over drafting legislation on that issue has caused friction between them, according to the Washington Post. “I’m appalled,” says one Democratic insider not on Schumer’s payroll. “She never had a problem asking Schumer and others for support and endorsements.” Schumer, however, is keeping his powder dry. “Carolyn McCarthy’s position is not to endorse in any race, and we respect that,” says his spokesman, Howard Wolfson.
NASDAQ’S FASHIONABLE THEME PARK: Finance, fashion, and interactive fun, all under Condé Nast’s falling roof. Next year, nasdaq will be moving its MarketSite media center into the ground floor of the new Condé Nast Building at 4 Times Square. While the area will serve as the stock exchange’s hub for TV stations, it will be no mere studio. A source says the center is being designed by Edwin Schlossberg, creator of Sony Plaza’s “Wonderland Technology Lab” and husband of Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. The project will include a “visitors’ gallery” visible from the sidewalk, what one nasdaq spokesman called “a multimedia kaleidoscope.” Publicity-seeking and aggressive, the center will surely have stiff competition from the editors upstairs.
ANNIE’S SECOND ACT: Is it time to retire that old stereotype about Los Angeles airheads who don’t read? This week, Glue put out its second issue, with Details founder Annie Flanders as the creative consultant. “It is not my magazine, but it is the magazine I dreamed of doing in Los Angeles for years,” says Flanders.
NO HEROES AT THE WHITNEY: Maxwell Anderson really is ushering in a new age at the Whitney. He had only been at the helm of the museum for a week when he brought in Stanford-business-school professor David Bradford to lead seminars for the staff. Bradford, co-author of Power Up: Transforming Organizations Through Shared Leadership, met with groups of Whitneyites in the conference room for two days to teach them how to share. Bradford touts a “shared-responsibility system,” which he calls “Post-Heroic Leadership.” Staff members have since been seen carrying his book, proving the art world hasn’t lost its taste for jargon.
MARKY’S PRIVATE BOOGIE NIGHT
Leonardo DiCaprio may be taking this King of the World stuff too far. Last weekend, he and Mark Wahlberg were at Veruka just before closing when they decided they had had about enough of the other patrons. So Veruka co-owner Noel Ashman booted out everyone except for about ten women and a few male friends. “It was unbelievable,” recounts one observer. “They stood by the door, pointed to certain girls, and said, ‘Stay.’ Some of them left the guys they were with right on the spot. Noel wasn’t even allowed to have any of his guy friends stay.” Wahlberg, along with P.R. pal Samantha Stein (daughter of music mogul Seymour), took over bartending duties, and the private club raged until 7 a.m. According to one insider, Wahlberg vowed he was just having fun, not looking to score. “He said, ‘I’m a serious actor now. I can’t behave like that anymore.’ ” And the irony was, Mark and Leo both went home alone.
STONE’S EFFORT BLACK(BOOK)LISTED
Now that she’s married San Francisco Examiner executive editor Phil Bronstein, Sharon Stone is getting in touch with her literary side. Not surprisingly, the editors of Black Book eagerly agreed to publish her short story “Cat Food,” but getting the piece from manuscript to magazine wasn’t exactly trouble-free. Having agreed to publish the story “as is,” Black Book senior editor Anuj Desai wasn’t sure how to handle the typo-riddled draft that confronted him. After copy-editing the more glaring mistakes (without touching stylistic choices such as “violent quietude” and “the nauseating weave of his unborn ecstasy”), Desai faxed the corrected version to Stone’s reps for approval; they never responded, so Desai had to publish the story errors and all. “When I actually had to reinsert all those mistakes,” he says, “it was like bleeding all over the page.” There is also the nagging detail that no one seems to know what the story is about. “Essentially, someone walks into a place and someone walks out,” says Desai. “There are ideas in there that Stone either didn’t articulate or didn’t care to.” Still, Desai is not entirely unhappy with the work. “Her story might not be the clearest,” he says, “but there’s an element of intrigue along with the element of confusion. I think it would make a cool short film.” A spokesperson for Stone says that there were no errors of any kind: “It was supposed to be that.”
L.A.’S TWELVE-STITCH PROGRAM
Can the competitive bitchiness of the fashion industry be overcome by touchy-feely encounter groups and yoga posturing? Leave it to Los Angeles to make the attempt. Some of that city’s hippest fashion designers, including Trina Turk, Alicia Lawhon, Monah Li, and 1997 California Rising Star Award winner Eduardo Lucero, have set aside their differences and formed the support group clad (Coalition of Los Angeles Designers), which meets monthly in their various studios. Designers sit on the floor in a circle, sharing, caring, and passing the chips. “Look, I don’t want to blow my brains out over a dress, and talking to other designers makes me feel so much better,” says Lawhon. The sessions cover topics ranging from fabric and yardage to stores that won’t pay up. “They get together and say things like ‘This collection was very difficult for me, personally,’ ” says one fashion insider. The designers involved seem to have different visions of what the group should accomplish. “I hope it will raise awareness about L.A. designers and help us to be taken more seriously,” says L.A. designer of the moment Turk. But for Lawhon, it’s a stop on the road to inner peace. “I’d really like it to be a place where we can have sharing and a safe place where we can do yoga and get together and support each other,” she says. Just like Seventh Avenue.
MONICA’S SHRINK MAKES HER DEAL
Monica Lewinsky’s shrink will have an easier time getting into print than her client will. Last November – two months before Matt Drudge ever typed Monicagate – Los Angeles?based psychologist Irene Kassorla found an agent in New York, Alex Smithline. He works for the agency run by David Vigliano, who just happened to represent Lewinsky’s mother, Marcia Lewis, in her now-infamous biography The Three Tenors. But that’s just a coincidence, according to Smithline, who says Kassorla was referred to him “through a publicist.” Kassorla had two best-sellers in the eighties. “After that, she retreated into her own practice,” says Smithline – until late last year, when she started working on two new books. One will be a memoir of her training with catatonic adults (“sort of like Awakenings,” Smithline reports), and the other will be a women’s self-help book. Kassorla was outed as Monica’s shrink in the voluminous documents released by Ken Starr, but Smithline bristles at mention of his client’s now-notorious patient. “We’re working on a motivational book for women,” he insists. “It has nothing to do with Monica.” Though the two do seem to think alike. Kassorla’s previous books were titled Nice Girls Do and Go for It.
Additional reporting by Ian Spiegelman and Elana Zeide.