— DIANE CLEHANE
Hail! Hail! The gang’s all here. Now that the holidays are in full swing the mood in the dining room at 55th & Fifth was downright festive — especially at one table where a little birdy told me two gents rang up quite a bill toasting themselves with multiple glasses of port at $250 a pop. But Gotham’s glitterati — A-list anchors (Brian Williams and Anderson Cooper at separate tables but back-to-back), actors (Natasha Richardson), authors (Ken Burns) and the usual Town Car set — seemed high on the sweet smell of success. It was air kisses all around as the fabulous and fashionable table-hopped between bites of their cobb salads. As one regular keenly observed: “Don’t these people know there’s a recession coming?” Evidently not and if they do, I don’t think they’re overly worried about it.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Peggy Siegal presiding over one of her legendary press lunches for Control with the film’s handsome young British star, Sam Rilley, doing a meet and greet with journos Roger Friedman and Michael Musto. Harvey Weinstein popped in for a quick hello as the group was finishing up their cappuccinos.
2. Glamour editrix Cindi Leive with Elle’s Roberta Myers, New York’s Adam Moss and David Willey of Runner’s World
3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong & Dave Zinczenko celebrating Dave’s birthday a few weeks early. Men’s Health‘s tireless honcho told me he was dashing off to Portland this afternoon with publisher Jack Essig to pitch the powers that be at Nike to get behind the magazine’s highly successful FitSchools effort. Dave told me the pilot effort to ‘adopt’ one middle school in South Carolina and teach the students about the merits of healthy eating and exercise as been a big hit. “We want to increase the number of charter schools we work with every year because this is such an important message to get out to kids.” So Nike execs listen up: Just Do It!
4. Anderson Cooper and a casually clad unidentified gent.
5. Brian Williams and Ken Burns. When I congratulated Saturday Night Live‘s newest star about his breakout performance as co-host and bit player (they’ve already rerun his show) he confessed, “I was so nervous.” It certainly didn’t show. The always unflappable anchor who has never taken himself too seriously told me he really got into the spirit of things when it came time to do the hilarious sketch where he played a deadpan firefighter (loved the moustache!) trying to explain fire safety to ‘Bronx Beat’ gals Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler. Williams, who once toiled as a volunteer firefighter in New Jersey, told me he relied a some method acting by using his own helmet from his hook and ladder days and by inserting the names of some real firefighter pals from the good old days into the dialogue. Well done!
6. ‘The Imber gang’: Gerry Imber, Jeff Greenfield, Jerry Della Femina, Michael Kramer and Andy Bergman.