May 24, 2004
Trump Canard: Wedding Bling
When the New York Post reported that the twelve-carat engagement ring from Graff jewelers that Donald Trump gave 33-year-old model Melania Knauss was worth “a staggering $2 million,” the paper—and many other media outlets—apparently thought that any old seven-figure number would do. But people are saying Trump didn’t pay nearly that much for it, and a diamond-industry source confirms that the ring retails for “about $1 million.” Trump didn’t quibble with the price of the impressive, if overhyped, rock: “It’s just a nice ring.”
Collins Avenue Condos: Miami Nice
Real-estate mogul Aby Rosen, whose properties include Lever House and the Seagram Building, recently bought the Holiday Inn on Collins Avenue and 22nd Street in South Beach with other backers for about $79 million. “Miami has so much bad architecture with all the new buildings going up,” says Rosen, who owns RFR Holding with Michael Fuchs. “And we can do the same thing with great architecture. I’m going to rip it down and put up a great hotel and condo. I’m talking to a bunch of architects. Richard Meier and those kind of guys.” Last year, Rosen bought the Gramercy Park Hotel with Ian Schrager in a deal that also involved Andre Balazs and resulted in lawsuits over who would actually get to operate the place. Rosen and Schrager bought out Balazs earlier this month for an undisclosed amount. Balazs declined to comment, and Meier could not be reached.
Hot Boîtes: Feuds, Openings
Daniel Boulud and Sirio Maccioni had a bitter breakup thirteen years ago, when Boulud left Le Cirque. But last Monday afternoon, Boulud reluctantly agreed to attend a lunch at Le Cirque in honor of Maccioni and Peter Elliot’s book, Sirio: The Story of My Life and Le Cirque. (In the book Maccioni complains, “The last years, Daniel wasn’t cooking, he was just handing out business cards.”) “Daniel and I talked about business a lot and the future, which may bring a big surprise for everyone,” says Maccioni, hinting that they may form another partnership. Restaurant sources also say Boulud is opening a new restaurant in an old bank on the Upper West Side, but Boulud declined to comment… . Meanwhile, downtown, Jack Lamb—the self-proclaimed “Danny Meyer of the East Village,” who owns Jewel Bako, Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar, and Blue Goose Cafe with his wife, Grace—is shutting down Blue Goose for renovations. In a few months, it will reopen as Jewel Bako Makimono, a casual version of Jewel Bako. In Soho, John McDonald is closing Canteen until Fashion Week in September, when he’ll reopen with a face-lift overseen by serge becker, who designed Joe’s Pub and Lever House.
She’s A Survivor? Reality Check
Reality-TV guru Mark Burnett’s meeting with Martha Stewart last week may have created the impression that certain minimum-security prisons would soon be outfitted with cameras. But a reality show wasn’t on his agenda. “I have spoken to her about the syndication of her show with CBS,” Burnett says. (Martha Stewart Living is no longer being being carried by Viacom, and there’s been talk she may be dropped by her syndication company, King World.) So, he wouldn’t do a reality show with Stewart? “She already has a great show,” says the producer of The Apprentice and Survivor.