— 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:
4. Mitch Kanner
5. Tivo CEO Tom Rogers
8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and an attractive blonde gal
9. Conde Nast’s Pamela Van Zandt
14. Attorney Richard Descherer
15. Playboy‘s Chris Napolitano
16. CBS’ David Poltrack
17. Avenue‘s Judy Price (loved that amazing necklace!)
18. Town & Country‘s dashing associate publisher Jim Taylor
21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher and my good friend Tony Hoyt. When I caught up with Tony on the way out this afternoon, I just had to ask what he thought of the kudos being given to The National Enquirer — he used to be the tabloid’s publisher — now that their breaking the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter love child story is finally being covered in the mainstream media. “It’s definitely validating,” says Tony. “People used to ask me all the time, ‘Do you make this stuff up?’ We didn’t have to.” Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
22. Real estate scion Harrison LeFrak
24. Money man Martin Puris
25. Howard-Sloan-Koller Group’s president Ed Koller
28. Elle publisher Carol Smith
29. My good pal, uber publicist Catherine Saxton
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