January 22, 2001

Leo DiCaprio’s Members-Only Club
If you haven’t seen that naughty photo of Leonardo DiCaprio with pals David Blaine and Tobey Maguire, you’re about the only one left. For more than a month now, an explicit shot of the trio has been making the rounds through cyberspace, arriving in e-mails from here to Los Angeles. The spicy pic shows DiCaprio and the gang lounging in a Tokyo hotel room with Blaine and Maguire wearing open kimonos – leaving their respective manhoods hanging free and easy. Of course, close inspection of the shot reveals it’s been ingeniously doctored. One inspector is Blaine’s publicist, Jill Fritzo, who tells us, “I enlarged it a couple of times, and it’s clearly a fake. I told David, ‘If I get that naked picture of you one more time, I’m going to jump out a window.’ ” It turns out that a perfectly innocent photo was snapped by a friend around the time Titanic was released and that Blaine gave it to a fan outside their hotel room. Years later, it has clearly ended up in the hands of a twisted prankster. For Blaine’s part, his only dismay comes from seeing that Maguire’s instrument is depicted as significantly more substantial than his own. “I guess whoever did it must like Tobey a lot more than me,” he says.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Hidden Taste
Baggy sweatshirts may be good enough for America’s youth, but when it comes to his own body, Tommy Hilfiger prefers a decidedly slimmer silhouette. The designer and his partner Lawrence Stroll hit the East Sixties boutique Borrelli last week and dropped a cool $150,000 on shirts before they were through. Owner Domenico Vacca personally escorted the pair around the store after closing while they chose fabrics for 250 shirts, which will be custom-tailored in Naples. Vacca tells us Hilfiger’s taste ran “very Italian” – he chose mostly Pietro-style collars in Egyptian and Sea Island cotton, which is the same style Harrison Ford picked when Borrelli outfitted him for his last two projects. Robert Redford is scheduled to be fitted for some threads of his own in February – which, we hope, will leave plenty of fabric for the rest of us.

Benicio del Toro Is a True Moonie
We assumed that Benicio del Toro would have some deep insights into America’s narcotics problem after having slaved away on the drug-war epic Traffic. We were wrong. “You know, the drugs, the war alone isn’t going to win it,” Del Toro cryptically mumbled at the bar of the Tribeca Screening Room, where Blackbook was hosting a party for the squinty-eyed star. Moving on, we wondered if Del Toro had ever had any trouble with the law himself. “Yeah,” he offered, “you know, cheating … cheating on my term paper.” Uh, okay. Finally, we asked the high-on-life hunk to tell us what was in that mysterious black bag we reported him carrying around the Traffic set every day. “Man, a telescope,” he offered. “I get my information from the moon. I hook it up and ask the moon.” And what does the moon say? “It tells me, ‘Go ahead. Do what you’re doing.’ ” The moon could not be reached for comment.

Giants Score at Flesh Emporium
The Giants know what it takes to prepare for the second-biggest game of the year: strippers. Just days before their do-or-die showdown with the Minnesota Vikings, about a dozen of the boys in blue showed up at East Side pleasure palace Scores. Although it was a relatively quiet weeknight at the gentlemen’s club, our witness says that some of the Giants stayed until four in the morning to close the place. “They really partied,” says the source. “They’re heavy drinkers. They got lots of dances and spent lots of money – a couple thousand dollars.” While our source declined to name names, we’re told the hard-charging players were mostly offensive and defensive linemen – and that quarterback Kerry Collins was not among them. A rep for the team insists, “Our players are at work at 6:30 and nobody looked like they’d been out until four in the morning. One of the strengths of this team is its ability to focus on the task at hand, and this week was no exception.” Our tipster also vouched for the men’s strength, saying, “They showed real unity. They told the girls that they were going to go all the way.” To the Super Bowl, of course.

Hair Salon Accused of Anti-Semitism
A former employee of the Jean Louis David salons will file a discrimination suit against the chain this week for allegedly refusing to let him cut hair while wearing his yarmulke, a source close to the case tells us. The Hebraic hair technician’s suit – which will be filed by legal powerhouse Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz – seeks punitive damages plus legal fees, claiming that he was forced out of the salon after ignoring management’s demands that he remove the sacred headwear. Ironically, the allegedly ousted snipper fled Russia in 1995 to escape anti-Semitism. A rep for the salon says that the hairdresser was not fired, but our source counters that the stylist was effectively forced to resign because “they would not let him work with his yarmulke on.” The Jean Louis David spokesman says his company has offered to let the former employee return to work, skullcap and all. When asked if the beautician in question was ever told he could not work while wearing his yarmulke, the rep declined to comment.

Schrager Takes NoHo
Ian Schrager may have helped colonize the West Forties and Fifties, but now he’s headed downtown. The hotelier, whose world of hypertrendy hostelries stretches from London to Buenos Aires, is finally opening not one but two new spots, in what seems like the most obvious of areas. In addition to the upscale hotel he’s planning on Astor Place, the Studio 54 founder is about to sign a lease for a building on Bond Street between Lafayette and Bowery, where he plans to build a less expensive hotel with Richard Born, a partner in the Mercer and the new Chambers Hotel. Says Schrager, “I missed the downtown thing and I’m trying to make up for lost time, so I’m going in full-steam.”

Michael Jackson’s New Playmate
Never mind the Jackson Five reunion. Brother Michael has partnered up with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach – the saucy Jewish wise man who wrote Kosher Sex – in forming the Heal the Kids Foundation. The unlikely couple are hosting an enormous Valentine’s Day bash at Carnegie Hall and have secured Johnnie Cochran and Judith Regan as panelists for the event. Elizabeth Taylor, Shimon Peres, Elie Wiesel, and Stanley Greenspan all serve as board members for the charity itself. For now, when not in rehearsals with the family, the whitewashed star has been throwing Heal the Kids fund-raisers with scads of Wall Street suits, including a surreal dinner last week at banker Steven Schoenfeld’s home where Jackson appeared with his babies in tow. Let the healing begin.

Sex and the Serial
Sex and the City scribe Candace Bushnell has just inked a million-dollar deal for two novels with Hyperion Books. Both will star Janey, the Hamptons-hopping, money-hungry model featured in Bushnell’s recent collection Four Blondes, which was published by Grove/Atlantic, the house that took Sex and the City to the top of the best-seller lists. So just why is the sultry writer straying from former publisher Morgan Entrekin? “I have a close and successful relationship with Morgan and Grove/Atlantic,” she says, “but Hyperion came to me with the idea, and I’m very excited about it.” A rep at Grove/Atlantic confirmed the story but declined to comment further.

Seinfeld: The Later Years
Will there be no more jokes about airplane peanuts? According to a club insider, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry Miller, and George Wallace recently took to the stage at the Comic Strip to perform impromptu sets. But some of Seinfeld’s material was strikingly different from the observational humor that made him a star. His half-hour routine included personal anecdotes about being a husband and father, along with a bit about wedding receptions that seemed better suited to the Lifetime channel than to his quirky hit series of the nineties. What’s next: the Baby Gap Nazi?

McNally’s Social Security
Brian McNally is finally returning to the Manhattan restaurant scene with his first new eateries in ten years. The man behind Odeon, Indochine, Canal Bar, 150 Wooster, and ‘44’ has just signed a lease for a large space at Crosby and Howard Streets in SoHo, where his new restaurant will open this fall. But before that, McNally will serve as a lower-key partner in a new spot due next month on 1st Street and First Avenue with brother Peter McNally and friend Maurice Bitton. “I miss having my own restaurant,” says McNally, who most recently has been involved with the upcoming launches of two hotels, the Bryant Park Hotel in New York and the Shore Club in Miami. “Tragically, it’s the only way I can have a social life.”

It’s a Rap
Busta Rhymes has busted out, abandoning his longtime label, Elektra, in favor of Clive Davis’s new venture, J Records. A music-industry insider tells us that Rhymes went to the mogul’s apartment in September and, after hearing new music from J artists, decided to jump ship to join Davis’s roster, which also includes Wyclef Jean, O-Town, Luther Vandross, and Monica. “He loved everything he heard,” says Davis, “and simply said, ‘I want in on this.’ ” Rhymes’s rep could not be reached for comment.

Disco Inferno
If you’ve ever secretly dreamed of seeing a posh Park Avenue hotel burn to the ground, your fantasy is about to be fulfilled. At the grand opening of the new W Union Square on Wednesday, the first- and second-floor windows of the hotel will be filled with six- and nine-foot candles to give the impression that the place is going up in flames. With any luck, we’ll all survive.

Additional reporting by Paige Herman

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January 22, 2001