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Posts Tagged ‘Barbara Corcoran’

Lunch: ‘Heroine’ Julie Menin Takes On Washington: “Move the 9/11 Trial!”

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— DIANE CLEHANE

When I met Julie Menin a few weeks ago in the Michael’s dining room and made a date for lunch, I was expecting to chat about her fabulous new show, Give and Take, which airs on Sunday night on WNBC’s NY Nonstop news channel. She’s already had Mika Brzezinski, Jane Velez Mitchell, and Barbara Corcoran as guests and is planning to chat with Annie Leibovitz on an upcoming show. Turns out we had a lot more to talk about.

In the past several weeks, Julie has been making headlines rather than reporting on them since she took up the cause of moving the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed out of Lower Manhattan. The regulatory attorney is a strong believer in public advocacy: She founded the not-for-profit Wall Street Rising in the wake of September 11 to revitalize the neighborhood and has served as the chair of Community Board 1 since 2005. After realizing that “no elected official wanted to jump into the fray,” Julie says she had “an Aha! moment” and launched into action. She penned an op-ed for The New York Times entitled “Trial By Ferry” where she proposed Governor’s Island be considered as an alternative and has been working “24/7″ to convince elected officials that a multi-year trial would paralyze the city and effectively shut down Lower Manhattan. “No one had even done a feasibility study before deciding this would happen,” says Julie. “It was foisted on Mayor Bloomberg with no analysis.”

When Bloomberg told Julie he opposed the Governor’s Island idea because he wants to build a school and recreation center there, Julie remained undaunted and came up with three other options: West Point, Otisville Prison, and Stewart Air National Guard Base. That got the attention of The White House who, Julie says, “was looking at the issue too narrowly.” Not anymore. All indications now point to an announcement of a new venue. “It’s really a testament to what a citizen can do if they speak up and insist on having their voice heard,” says Julie. As she was explaining the campaign, former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum stopped by our table, shook Julie’s hand, and declared, “She’s our heroine!” I asked if Julie is eyeing a run for office one day, and she didn’t rule out the possibility. “I’ll just have to see where life takes me.” Stay tuned.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Don Welsh and a table full of impressive gents including Jake Hill and Harold Shain.

2. Long time no see! Producers John Hart and Fred Zollo.

3. Former William Morris honcho Wayne Kabak, who now helms WSK Management LLC, and author Jackie Leo.

4. Mitch Kanner

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More Helps Women Reinvent Themselves

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Mika Brzezinski, Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron and Lesley Jane Seymour.

Yesterday, we stopped by More magazine’s Reinvention Convention at Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers just in time to see “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski dump the contents of her purse out. On purpose.

The stunt was part of the lunchtime entertainment, which featured a Q&A with Nora Ephron, Delia Ephron and More editor-in-chief Lesley Jane Seymour, centered around the Ephron sisters’ recent play, “Love, Loss & What I Wore,” based on the book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman.

The play, in which actresses read monologues about their memories and the clothes they were wearing during significant events, includes a section on purses called “I Hate My Purse.” “Your purse is you and unless you are a very weird person, it’s a mess,” Nora said, prompting Brzezinski — the day’s emcee — to show just how messy her blue leather shoulder bag was. It’s contents included two sticks of deodorant, several Ziploc bags filled with makeup and tea bags she had swiped from the earlier in the day. Nora’s purse held a small bottle of Diet Coke, a Kindle charger (but no Kindle) and a possibly used tissue.

So what does this all have to do with reinvention? Well, the lunch was the comic relief of a day filled with panels on topics from health to technology that sought to inform and motivate the female attendees. Former First Lady Laura Bush spoke first over breakfast, and the myriad panels included a presentation by “Today” show financial contributor Jean Chatsky, an interview with New York real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran about personal reinvention and an instructive technology seminar led by The Wall Street Journal‘s Julia Angwin.

In between sessions, attendees mingled among tables set up by sponsors like Talbots and got tarot card readings. “This is awesome,” Seymour told us. “I feel like it’s my wedding reception. I know people as readers, I know people from More.com, I know people from Twitter, from places where I used to work.”

The event, which is in its third year and will now travel to Chicago and Washington, D.C., aligns perfectly with the challenges women over 40 face in the current economy, Seymour said. “We knew this was going to be the right moment to make a push for this to be bigger than ever,” she said. “Right now we’re in a time of crisis. Maybe you thought you were going to retire and now you can’t. Or your business is folding. Or you’re afraid you’re going to lose your job. Now is a very important moment to think about reinvention.”

Seymour also said the event, which included humor, learning and fun, embodied the More voice and point of view. “I think of us as Seventeen for adults,” she said. “I think it’s telling that the line for tarot card readings is as long as the one for makeovers.”

More pictures after the jump.

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Lunch: The British Are Coming — Tomorrow!

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— DIANE CLEHANE

We’re still exhausted from hob nobbing with last week’s overflow of A-listers, so we were almost glad things were a bit more subdued at 55th & Fifth today. It gave us a chance to catch up and chat with some our favorite regulars. Imagine my chagrin when I stopped by Matt Blank‘s table and Showtime’s CEO told me had I switched my weekly reservation to tomorrow, I’d be chatting with some of the biggest stars of his network. On Thursday, Matt and entertainment president Bob Greenblatt are hosting their own “British invasion” at table one when the entire glorious cast of The Tudors — the dreamy Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Peter O’Toole and Natalie Dormer will be breaking bread with the network’s other stars — including Tracy Ullman, whose show State of the Union, will premiere March 30, the same night as the new season of The Tudors. Thank God, something to watch! (I’ve been completely depressed over the fast approaching season finale of HBO’s In Treatment…) Also in attendance, says Matt, will be Billie Piper, who stars in — and we’re not kidding — the upcoming Secret Diaries of a Call Girl, which will premiere in June. Talk about timely. Perhaps the newly unemployed Eliot Spitzer can make a cameo appearance.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Gerry Imber, Jerry Della Femina and the gang with Fox News’ Monica Crowley.

2. Showtime’s chairman and CEO Matt Blank with über producer Michael Davies.

3. “Mayor” Joe Armstrong and Glamoureditrix Cindi Leive (Glad you hear you’re a loyal “Lunch” reader!). The Mayor was celebrating with his friend Cindi over a glass of red wine — and a few asparagus spears — about her big news. Minutes before lunch, Cindi found out Glamour is a finalist for the fourth year in a row for the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. No woman’s magazine has ever been so honored! The worthy competitors: Time, People, National Geographic and Martha Stewart Living. Congrats! Before Cindi and Joe tucked into their lunch, we unanimously decided New York‘s Spitzer cover this week is one for the ages. Brilliant!

4. Norman Pearlstine and a young gent no one seemed to know …

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