One day after marrying the beautiful Krystyna Anna Stachowiak-a Polish-born 39-year-old reporter turned public-relations executive-in a small ceremony at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Mount Pocono, Penn., Howell Raines, the 60-year-old executive editor of The New York Times , raised a glass at a March 9 post-wedding fête at the Bryant Park Hotel and toasted his good fortune.
“We’ve had a marvelous weekend,” said the silver-haired Mr. Raines, after guests requested the staff turn down a Rufus Wainwright piano ballad playing in the background.
The groom, known to be most comfortable in a fully stocked fly-fishing vest, wore a dapper white dinner jacket, a black neck tie and handkerchief, and black dress pants.
“I want to toast to my family, Krystyna’s family, especially her parents, Henryk and Zofia, for entrusting her to me,” Mr. Raines continued. “I will assure you and them that I understand what a lucky man I am, and I will treasure her and we will be together for the rest of our lives.”
On Mr. Raines’ arm was the new Ms. Raines. The former Ms. Stachowiak, a blue-eyed brunette who spent the early 1990′s as a Washington correspondent for the English-language Warsaw Voice , wore strappy white sandals and a shiny, backless white silk gown that revealed the small curve of her abdomen and porcelain-perfect shoulder blades.
Times Sunday Styles writer Alex Kuczynski-who wore a leopard-print skirt and was there with her husband, Charles Stevenson-said the bride’s dress was made by Monique Lhuillier.
“She’s the same designer who made my dress,” said the recently wed Ms. Kuczynski. “I loved it so much I had two made!”
Mr. and Ms. Raines met, appropriately enough, at The Times . In 1996, Ms. Raines-who recently left her job as the executive consultant at the public-relations firm Coltrin & Associates-brought a client, Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski, to meet with The Times ‘ editorial board, then helmed by Mr. Raines, the editorial-page editor, Women’s Wear Daily reported in January. The couple live together in Greenwich Village, and have a second home together in Pennsylvania. Mr. Raines proposed during a vacation in Paris on Dec. 20, 2002.
Though Mr. Raines has been aggressively remaking The Times since becoming executive editor in September 2001, lately he’s been behaving very much like a man in love. He recently invited his newsroom staff to join him on Valentine’s Day for cake and chocolate kisses.
Mr. Raines is hardly the first to be struck by Cupid while ensconced at the newspaper.
“The Times newsroom has always been a very romantic place,” said former Times managing editor Arthur Gelb, who wore a charcoal-gray jacket, gray cardigan and wavy-striped tie to the affair. “I’ve seen generations of editors and reporters find love in and outside the newsroom. I myself fell for an 18-year-old copy girl and later married her.”
Asked to rank the Raines-Stachowiak marriage in the line of nuptials he’s seen since coming to The Times in 1944, Mr. Gelb said: “In terms of joy? As high as you could place it. Howell and Krystyna are truly in love.”
Besides the members of their families, the “regrets-only” party attracted an impressive roster of the city’s power elite. Political guests included Senator Charles Schumer, Governor George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the latter of whom arrived with bodyguards, but sans necktie. Media heavies included NBC anchor Tom Brokaw and CBS anchor Dan Rather, as well as PBS interviewer Charlie Rose.
“I’m a sucker for love,” said Mr. Rose, who was there with his girlfriend, Amanda Burden, the chair of the city planning commission.
The Times was also very well represented. Guests from West 43rd included publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., managing editor Gerald Boyd, assistant managing editor Michael Oreskes, editorial-page writer Brent Staples, Washington bureau chief Jill Abramson, and former executive editors Abe Rosenthal and Max Frankel. Well-known bylines in attendance included Mr. Frankel’s wife, Metro Matters columnist Joyce Purnick, former theater critic and Op-Ed page columnist Frank Rich-now the paper’s associate editor-national correspondent Rick Bragg and book critic Michiko Kakutani.
Also among the 300-odd of guests in attendance at the reception-which was held inside Ilo, the Bryant Park Hotel’s sleek, modern restaurant (the name means “joyous state of being” in Finnish)-was Grady Hutchinson, who first met a 7-year-old Mr. Raines when she came to work as a housekeeper in his family’s home in Birmingham, Ala.
Mr. Raines made Ms. Hutchinson famous through a 1992 Times magazine profile which also netted its author the Pulitzer Prize.
“The picture in The Times didn’t do me justice,” she told The Observer . “I’m prettier in person.”
Ms. Hutchinson, who currently works in hospitality at a Fairfield, Ala., hospital, attended the reception with her grandson, a student in forensics at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She was generous in her praise of the new Ms. Raines, whom she met when Mr. Raines brought her to Alabama to meet his family.
“I think she is a lovely woman,” Ms. Hutchinson said. “He loves her, and I think she’s good for him.”
According to Ms. Hutchinson, Mr. Raines was always something of a romantic.
“As a child, he would always write little poems and stories,” she said.
Around her, the party continued merrily. It had kicked off around 6 and was a happy if mild-mannered affair. Dancing there wasn’t, but the conversation was loud and plentiful. The food was abundant. Jammed on the restaurant’s two levels-which were separated by a perpetually blocked staircase-was a wait staff offering up mini crab cakes, salmon tartines, egg salad topped with caviar, and foie gras–filled wontons.
The guests dressed for a party, not black-tie formality. The men mostly wore dark suits and ties; the women favored cocktail dresses. Fish fashions were in evidence-a tribute to the groom. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who attended the party with his wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, is a fishing buddy of Mr. Raines’, and he wore a red fish-patterned tie.
“Then again, all his ties have fish on them,” Ms. Kennedy said of her husband’s taste.
The bride and groom’s wedding announcement appeared in that morning’s Sunday Times , without a photograph.
Ms. Raines-who, like her new husband, was married once and divorced-spent much of the night meeting guests and trying gracefully to avoid stepping on her elegant gown. As the evening wound down, she was asked if she thought marriage might lead to a kinder, gentler era at Howell Raines’ Times .
“I don’t know about a new era,” Ms. Raines said. “But I know this is going to be a happy marriage.”