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Mary Higgins Clark, The Hiltons And The Media Mob

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– DIANE CLEHANE

The sweltering heat (wasn’t it just snowing last week?) didn’t keep the regulars away from Michael’s today. The dining room was jam packed with authors, agents and media mavens all deep in conversation about who knows what. From the looks of things, the power lunch crowd here is gearing up for a busy season of neworking that has to be crammed into a four-day work week now that those summer cottages are open.  Oh, the pressure!

I was thrilled to join Vi Huse and Kira Semler for lunch today. I met them almost five years ago when I first started covering the scene at Michael’s and was fascinated by these two attractive, fun loving gals who always seemed to have a grand old time at their monthly champagne lunch (and always ate dessert!). Turns out these two good friends have been keeping their Michael’s lunch date with each other for over ten years! “This is only the second time we’ve sat in the dining room,” Vi told me.  “We always sit at the bar and it’s just become our spot.”

Today, the three of us sat with the big kids in the dining room to celebrate Vi’s 23 years as owner of Kerygma, a gallery in Ridgewood, New Jersey specializing in contemporary American art. Vi just retired yesterday but tells me she will continue to work with artists like Peter Fiore, Gerald Doudera, David Lee and Jane Owen online. Kira, a jewelry aficionado and freelance bookeeper, was one of Vi’s first clients and the gals have been fast friends ever since. Cheers!

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Mary Higgins Clark, Carolyn Reidy and a table full of pals. The indefatigable 83-year-old author was the subject of a glowing profile in The Wall Street Journal last month which chronicled her success: she’s sold 100 million books in the U.S. alone, and all 42 of her novels have been best-sellers. With I’ll Walk Alone, released in April, she’s keeping her winning streak going. We’re in awe.

2. Michael Holtzman (Peter Brown’s VP and right hand man, so we’re told.)

3. Joan TischCandace Leeds and Marcia Stein

4. The always distinguished Stan Shuman

5.  Herb Siegel and Frank Gifford (who were at this very same table last week) enjoying some white wine with lunch.

6. United Stations Radio’s Nick Verbitsky with his wife and a table full of well heeled folks

7.  Attorney Richard Bressler and some equally dapper gents

8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia and Joely Hunt

9. My friend, fabulous fashionista Fern Mallis who was nice enough to introduce me to Marc Worth, chairman and CEO of the UK-based style site Stylus. Marc was the brains behind Worth Global Style and is now concentrating on this new media company. Fern, who is about to take off for Europe and India later this month, has some big things brewing. When you’re ready to talk, we’re all ears …

10. Niche Media’s  Jason Binn, who kicked off the summer season this weekend by hosting a posh shindig in the Hamptons with his wife Haley for Hamptons cover girl Chelsea Handler. Among the summer swells in attendance: Beth Stern (Howard’s wife), Katie Lee (Billy Joel‘s ex), and Real Housewives Kelly Bensimon and Ramona Singer.

11. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for this one: New York Jets VP Matt Higgins and Mets COO Jeff Wilpon.

12. Agent Esther Newberg and a table full of movers and shakers

14. Showtime’s main man Matt Blank

15. Pat Schoenfeld

16. Producer Joan Gelman with her sons Josh and Gregg

17. Judy Price

18.Les Moonves with CBS spinmeister Gil Schwartz (aka author Stanley Bing!)

19. Producer Beverly Camhe (long time no see!), fresh off a trip to Cannes where she was in talks about her latest work, Disclosure Files.

20. Stylista Lottie Oakley

21. The Early Show: Today show contributor Bill Stanton and GMA’s Lara Spencer. Act two: Kathy Hilton and Rick Hilton Yes, Paris’ parents.  Just this morning, Kathy appeared on The View with Paris to talk about her new reality show premiering on Oxygen tonight, The World According to Paris. Barbara Walters  asked the heiress why she was doing another ‘fluffy’ reality show after she’d promised to pursue loftier goals (like helping female prisoners) after her stint in jail. Paris demurred answering the question directly, but said she was “doing some charity work” but also liked to “have fun.” Duh.  After fielding such tough questions, I guess the tabloid princess had to rest up. (If we remember correctly, there was a bit of a dust up over who was going to get Paris’ first post-jail interview and Ms. Walters bowed out when there was some talk about Paris wanting to spill to the highest bidder. Larry King — who did not pay to play — wound up with the ‘get.’)

22. Jack Myers

23. Francine LeFrak, who got a big hello from Kathy Hilton.

24. Kira Semler, Vi Huse and yours truly.

25. Steve Rattner

26. Estee Lauder’s Alexandra Trower, looking chic and cool in navy blue

27. InStyle’s Connie Anne Phillips

28. The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove, who passed the time waiting for his date by reading The Wall Street Journal.

29. Euan Rellie 

Faces in the crowd: Designer David Biscaye at the bar … Gail Greene, Lynn Nesbitt and Mark Whitaker mingling in the dining room.

Please send comments and corrections to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.

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