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Last Lunch of the Year: Huma Abedin, Rikki Klieman and the Media Mob

LunchAtMichaelsThe artic temperatures and snow (It’s not even Christmas and we’re over it already!) couldn’t keep the faithful from 55th and Fifth today as the towncar set squeezed in the last Wednesday power lunch of 2013.

The usual contingent of media mavens (Connie Anne Phillips, Gerry Byrne), spin meisters (Tom Goodman) and fashionistas (Fern Mallis, Jaqui Lividini and LaVelle Olexa) were well represented, as there was plenty of air-kissing and glad-handing behind every poinsettia. After our own head-spinning schedule of sitdowns with A-listers of every description for our regular Wednesday confabs this season – along with a few “special” lunches (We’re still recovering from last week’s double bill of  “The Cosmo 100″ and a Thursday lunch with Downton Abbey executive creator Gareth Neame), I decided to go solo today after my date came down with the flu.

Diane Clehane with Michael McCarty

Diane Clehane with Michael McCarty

Making the rounds in the dining room gave me the chance to catch up with a lot of folks I’ve spotted as they’ve sailed past my table over the past few months. I just had to go over to Marie Claire editrix Anne Fulenwider‘s table to find out what she was wearing. “It’s Alberta Ferretti,” she told me as she petted her fabulous faux fur shrug. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d say Anne’s upped her own personal fashion quotient quite a bit since ascending to the top spot at the Hearst title. Well done!

We were in midst of talking fashion and about the upcoming season of Downton Abbey (Anne wanted all the details from my chat with Gareth) when her lunch date, none other than Huma Abedin arrived. It turns out Anne and Huma only recently met at an event highlighting the plight of elephants and the illegal harvesting of ivory. I kid you not. While Mrs. Anthony Weiner seemed absolutely lovely, I guess it’s only natural given what’s she’s been through the past year that she seemed a bit skittish to find a stranger standing at her table chatting with her new friend.

The scene in the dining room

The scene in the dining room

After we exchanged pleasantries (She was wearing faux fur too!) and she jokingly pleaded with me not to disclose any spoilers about Downton or Homeland (“I’m really behind and have to catch up”), I saw something in her eyes that told me it was best to say my goodbyes. I’ll have to ask Anne if she plans to have Huma write a piece for Marie Claire since her last essay for Harper’s Bazaar, in which she reiterated her love for her husband on the eve of the NYC mayoral election, got more than its fair share of attention. “Putting yourself out there comes with a cost,” she wrote. I bet, but some days it’s better to be just another swell among the glitterati.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Glamour‘s publisher Connie Anne Phillips, presiding over a table full of pals

2. Fashionista Jaqui Lividini and pals

3. Producer Francine LeFrak

4. The always-dapper (and gentlemanly) John O’Keefe

5. Andrew Stein

6. Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Andy Bergman and Michael Kramer

7. Us Weekly‘s publisher Vicky Lasdon Rose and three guests we didn’t recognize

8. David Patrick Columbia with Rikki Klieman, wife of the incoming NYPD head William Bratton. No doubt the publicity-loving power couple will be making regular appearances in DPC’s New York Social Diary now that they’re back on Gotham’s social scene as part of the de Blasio administration.

11. Fern Mallis and LaVelle Olexa

12. Katherine Oliver. We’re wondering what’s next for the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment now that her mentor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is cleaning out his desk. After all the inroads Katherine has formed with the honchos in the entertainment industry, surely an even bigger perch with the Hollywood on the Hudson set is in the cards…

14. Martin Bandier

15. Sirius Satellite Radio’s Scott Greenstein

16. Dini von Muefflingcofounder of Love Heals and co-principal of HvM  and Bettina Zilkha, who told me she’s just started blogging about fashion and the city’s stylish soirees for Forbes.com.

17. Digital Place-Based Advertising Association CEO Barry Frey

18. Charles Koppelman

20. The Paley Center’s Maureen Reidy

21. Penske Media’s Vice Chair Gerry Byrne with producer Beverly Camhe and two other movers and shakers

22. Harper’s Bazzaar‘s Liz Morina

23. Monica Corton

24. The Wall Street Journal‘s David Sanford and Lewis Stein, who brought along David’s colleague, Jesse Pesta, for a celebratory sendoff. It seems Jesse, who has sat next to David in the newsroom for eons and has been a Page One editor for six years, is off to India to cover South Asia for WSJ. He’ll be moving to Delhi at the end of January. ”I lived in India for a while and I really loved it,” Jesse told me. “There’s great India food there.” No doubt. I suggested that he might start before his bags are packed by covering the rapidly evolving Nannygate case of Devyani Khobragade, the NYC-based diplomat from India who has been charged and arrested for alleged mistreatment of her nanny. The arrest has become something of an international incident. This afternoon, the Post‘s website is reporting there have been large groups protesting the arrest outside the U.S. Embassy, where some were burning photos of President Barack Obama, and that earlier officials had removed the cement barricades in front of the building. Scary.

25. Spinmeister Tom Goodman, who brought along his pal accessory designer Kate Welsh to “kibitz” over her latest idea of adorning small leather goods with vintage images of different universities. And speaking of the old college try, Tom was bursting with pride with the news his son Matthew Goodman just got accepted to Harvard. Congrats!

26. Anne Fulenwider and Huma Abedin

27. Ralph Destino

29. Bookseller Glenn Horowitz

30. Former Marvel Enterprises’ exec Sara Beth Shrager

Faces in the crowd: Jean Shafiroff hosting a holiday gathering in the Garden Room with pals, including PR maven Norah Lawlor CNN’s Felicia Taylor and R. Couri Hay. Across the room: Business consultant Mike Berman with Curran & Connors’ Jeffrey Goldsmith, one of the communications and design firm’s top execs. And at the (SRO) bar: ‘The Bar-ettes” Kira Semler and Vi Huse in from snow-covered New Jersey for their monthly champagne lunch to ring in the holidays.

See you back in the dining room on Jan. 8. Happy New Year!

Diane Clehane is a contributor to FishbowlNY. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Please send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.

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