WITH SPENCER MORGAN
April 19, 2004
Fund-Raising: Cash For Kerry
Many of New York’s most influential Democratic fund-raisers, several of whom backed Wesley Clark or Howard Dean during the Democratic primary, are now rushing to show their devotion to John Kerry. And their efforts appear to be paying off. A well-placed Kerry fund-raiser says that the campaign is on track to haul in at least $4.5 million, and possibly as much as $5 million, at a massive gala planned for April 14 at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers. This means the Kerry camp has a shot at breaking what many say is the record for cash raised in $2,000 contributions at a single event—the estimated $4.8 million raked in by George W. Bush one night last year in New York. Among those who have raised more than $100,000 from their friends for the upcoming event are Hassan Nemazee, Robert Zimmerman, Orin Kramer, Stephen Green, and Carl Spielvogel and Barbaralee Diamonstein, as well as onetime Clark supporters alan and susan patricof. People who have raised more than $50,000 include Roger Altman and Richard Holbrooke.
Fridays Off: Like A Prayer
Madonna’s Kabbalah studies appear to be eating into her work schedule. For the first time in her career, the superstar—who was born Catholic but has a longstanding interest in Jewish mysticism—will not be performing on Friday nights. (She will play at Madison Square Garden in mid-June as part of her upcoming fifteen-city tour.) “She is observing Shabbat on Friday evenings,” says her longtime publicist, Liz Rosenberg.
Hadid’s New Work: In Meier’s Neighborhood
Pritzker prize–winning architect Zaha Hadid is working on her first Manhattan project—literally in Richard Meier’s shadow. She’s designing a nine-story apartment building and gallery for art curator Kenny Schachter, who’s razing his four-story townhouse at 163 Charles Street, where he’s lived since 1996. The lot is next to a future Meier tower, the third of his transparent West Side apartment buildings. Unhappy about living next to a construction site, Schachter’s also closing Rove, his temporary gallery on Perry Street, and moving to London—where Hadid is designing him a gallery—for a while. Among other things, Schachter complains that mice are crawling into his kids’ backpacks and that workers broke through a wall of the building. “There have been various claims made, but I haven’t sued them. I’ve just sort of accepted my fate,” he says. A publicist for 165 Charles Street’s developers, Izak Senbahar and Simon Elias, says building codes are being observed. Meanwhile, Meier was surprised that Hadid didn’t mention her new project during a recent dinner he had with her in New York. “But I think it’s terrific!” he quickly added.
Model Home: Brinkley’s Bungalow
Former supermodel and Billy Joel ex Christie Brinkley recently closed on a deal for a $7.5 million estate on Fahys Road in North Haven. The 4.4-acre property features a 10,000-square-foot, six-bedroom nineteenth-century house, a pool, and 327 feet of waterfront and private beach. But if you want to live there before she does, it can be rented this summer for a mere $295,000. Eight years ago, Brinkley and architect peter cook married at their lavish Bridgehampton estate, which brokers expect to hit the market soon for approximately $25 million. Prudential Douglas Elliman broker Lori Barbaria, who handled the deal, declined to comment.
Keller’s cooks: Free Range
Chef Thomas Keller’s misfortune is a windfall for the city’s other fancy French chefs. After a fire broke out in the Time Warner Center’s Per Se in February, Keller was forced to delay his grand opening until next month but has to continue paying his staff. While they wait for the restaurant’s repairs, Keller’s cooks are training in other uptown kitchens, including Le Bernardin, La Grenouille, and Daniel. “We make them work like regular employees,” brags Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. “But we don’t pay them. It’s a great deal!”
Tim Robbins’s Next Act? Extended Play
The set of Tim Robbins’s play, Embedded, is buzzing with rumors that it will again extend its curtain date, now set for April 25, and that Robbins himself is contemplating taking over one of the roles that will be vacated by two departing cast members. Robbins’s rep denies the current rumors, but despite exceedingly bad reviews (“slapdash and adolescent,” said the Daily News), the play, which condemns Bush’s invasion of Iraq, has been selling out and has already extended its run at the Public Theater twice.