Rob Corddry Didn’t Jump
The grand Art Deco observation deck of Rockefeller Center—closed since 1986, but to be reopened to the public on Nov. 1, thanks to a $75 million Tishman Speyer face-lift—is 850 feet high and affords magnificent views of up to 80 miles away. In theory, one should be able to see as far as Hyde Park.
Unfortunately, thanks to remnants of Hurricane Wilma, this theory could not be proven at Monday night’s private gala. While several dozen curious partygoers did brave the elements, risking water damage to their BlackBerries in order to peer into the urban darkness, most of the 800 guests settled for views of a more interior sort.
There were, for one thing, the walls. Jagged Swarovski crystal geodes were wrapped around the “Grand Viewing Room” on the 67th floor. “Each wall cost $2 million dollars,” said svelte blond art consultant Brigitte Saint-Ouen. “It gives the space a floating feeling.”
One floor up, Stacey Lender, a V.P. of marketing for Radio City Entertainment, was mesmerized by the “retro 70’s-era disco lights” in the ceiling of a 400-square-foot room. The subtle green lights seemed like an artful merger of modern and classic, in keeping with the ethos of John D. Rockefeller’s original vision. However, upon closer inspection, it became apparent that the familiar red bull’s-eye logo of the Target stores had been incorporated into the lighting design. Target, it turns out, is one of the sponsors of the observation deck, and this room has been christened the Target Breezeway. “It’s so subliminal I barely noticed,” said Ms. Lender. “They don’t even have stores in New York City! That’s quintessential brand marketing.” Ms. Lender is apparently unaware of the Target store on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, which is currently considered part of New York City.
While the dapper, silver-haired Robert Tierney, chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, claimed that he was “not here on an official inspection,” he felt certain that all of the renovations were in accordance with the commission’s rules and regulations. However, had Tishman Speyer wanted to, say, build an elongated diving board that extended over Fifth Avenue, they would have had some trouble. “It would have been very difficult for them to justify,” he said, playing along. “A diving board was never in the original plans, nor is it in keeping with the spirit of the intended design.”
What if they had wanted to open up a Gap or a Starbucks?
“We don’t regulate use,” said Mr. Tierney.
Of the 23,000 landmarks in New York City that fall under the commission’s jurisdiction, Rockefeller Center is high on Mr. Tierney’s must-have desert-island list—though the Municipal Building and the Woolworth Building are his top two picks. Here at the Top of the Rock, his favorite spot is the deck on the 70th floor, at the very crown of the building. The 20-foot-wide deck was originally designed to feel like a luxury liner. “It’s completely open,” he said.
In that case, is the top observation deck an efficient spot for someone looking to end it all?
“It’s only one story down,” he said, bearing with us. The observation area is built like a wedding cake, so the top deck overlooks the decks below them. “You probably wouldn’t kill yourself.”
Rob Corddry, a correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, was suited up and accompanied by his wife, Sandra. “We wrangled our way in, because I live for this ‘lost New York’ shit,” he said. “It’s beautiful. However, I did think that it would be a lot dustier than this.”
But wouldn’t partying in the middle of a rain cloud spoil all the fun? “Not if you’re a free spirit,” Ms. Corddry said. “Especially not if you’ve been drinking since noon,” Mr. Corddry said.
Mr. Corddry and his wife had actually been invited to attend by their friend Edith Hsu Chen. “She works for the sheriff of city planning,” Mr. Corrdry said. “Otherwise known as Larry Silverstein,” added another guest. (Her actual title is deputy director of city planning.)
How much greasing of city officials goes on with respect to zoning issues?
“There’s not a lot of bribery involved in what I do,” said Ms. Chen.
A man calling himself Michael Smith, and who said he was a real-estate sales broker, was dressed in what appeared to be the male uniform of the evening: gray suit, red tie, balding crown.
How much would this space be worth if it were an apartment?
“You mean residential? It’s not zoned for that.”
It’s not? Are you sure about that? Well, let’s assume it could be.
“Well, it’s a triplex, first off. Landmark building, 360-degree views, great light—I mean, you can’t get better light. This is probably, what, 20,000 square feet, plus all the outdoor space? I don’t know … $40 million.”
Is there laundry in the apartment?
“It’s not really a residential building, so I have no idea.”
How are the schools in this area?
“I’m not sure.”
While mid-level real-estate development executives and tour-industry mavens in town on expense accounts enjoyed the Cipriani buffet and Bellinis long into the inclement night, The Transom was asked to leave early.
“I’m sorry, the press-preview period is supposed to end at 9 p.m.,” said one of the very pretty publicists from Rubenstein Communications. “You’ve had more than two hours.”
Are you kicking us out forcibly? We’ll catch our death out there in this storm!
“The press was never invited to begin with.”
Then how can there have been a press-preview period? How can a fictional occurrence come to an end?
“We’re very happy you came, and let us know if we can be of any help,” the publicist said as she escorted The Transom to the elevator. The renovated elevators, she claimed, took only 54 seconds to travel 67 floors. “That’s a New York minute,” she said as the doors slammed shut.
Back in July, the High Line crew threw their Fifth Annual Summer Benefit down at Cipriani Wall Street. The likes of Anderson Cooper, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, Ed Norton and Gifford Miller swilled and chatted with an utterly put-on gentility. All pinkie fingers up! It was like tea time in Larchmont down there!
But last Saturday night at the Roxy, restaurateur and legend Florent Morellet, in honor of the 20th anniversary of his eponymic restaurant, threw his own ball as a Friends of the High Line benefit.
And as far as could be seen, not a one of the usual High Line–lovin’ suspects were in attendance, even though designers Diane von Furstenberg, John Bartlett and Isaac Mizrahi, depression-explicator and pharmaceutical heir Andrew Solomon, and Mr. Miller himself, among other at-least-italic-faced names, were co-chairs of the event.
What did they miss—or intentionally avoid? “Utter gayhem!” said one gleeful attendee.
A stringy redhead named Tigger performed. After a bit where he pretended to pull an eight-foot string of enormous rosary beads attached to a giant crucifix from his rectum, he performed an interpretive—and totally nude—dance-cum-spanking-session with an unnamed partner, to the tune of Olivia Newton-John’s haunting “I Honestly Love You.” The performance culminated with Mr. Tigger inserting just a single moistened finger in his partner’s behind.
And then, of course, there was Julie Atlas Muz’s turn onstage. To the heavy-metal stylings of “Breaking the Law,” the gorgeous Ms. Muz lit a cigarette, stripped and then, well, body-synched to the song—first by manipulating her bare butt cheeks, and then by puppeteering with her labia.
Even a few of the most nightlife-hardened gays blanched at this. And talk about a tough act to follow! In fact, after Ms. Muz seized this big chance to “work pink,” Madonna’s much-publicized, albeit brief, 2 a.m. Roxy rump-shake later that same night seemed more than a little dull.
The Player’s Club
A large-type bouncer manning the ropes of Home tried making heads or tails of the night’s event. “What is ‘Thrillist,’ anyway?” he asked a nearby publicist.
“It’s an online newsletter for men,” she responded.
“It’s not,” he asked, “gay or anything?”
“No, no!” came the reply. “It’s for guys who want to get drunk while shopping at Bergdorf’s.”
And the men drifting in last Thursday were stylish, handsome—but gay, or even metrosexual, they were not. Dudes, bros and fellas only, son.
Inside, Thrillist.com co-founder Benjamin Lerer, a 24-year-old Manhattanite, explained that the site actually sprung from a more profound absence of information aimed at the specific needs of the city’s single, hard-working, hard-partying, deeply hetero young men.
Roughly a year ago, Mr. Lerer was at the gym with Thrillist co-founder Adam Rich, 25, of Oakland. The two had become friends at University of Pennsylvania, where they were both members of the same fraternity. Mid-manly-workout, Mr. Rich posed a question.
“He said, you know, ‘I’m taking this girl out for dinner this weekend, and I’m not really sure how good-looking she is. I met her out, and it was late, and I don’t really want to make a full dinner of it. Where can I go and not commit too much time or money?’” Mr. Lerer recalled asking.
Quickly, the two realized that there was no place you could go to find what Mr. Lerer called “trusted information.”
Mr. Lerer and Mr. Rich subsequently decided to fill that void. The site’s content, which touches on man-gadgets like a $47 steel condom box by Alessi, and manly activities like fishing in the East River, is primed for the cad on the go.
“We always keep an eye on a specific move,” said Mr. Lerer. “Like great date places where you’re not going to bump into your ex-girlfriend, where you’re not going to bump into your current girlfriend, where you’re not going to spend $150—where you’re going to have the privacy that you need while not taking her somewhere that’s super-romantic and awkward. We’ve found bars with really great singles’ scenes for girls—scenes that you can count on.”
“And we’re going to be honest about it, you know,” Mr. Rich added. “Like a good place to show off the girl that you scored, or a good place to impress someone without spending all the money.” And they know their biz. “We have a special eye out for the BYOB,” said Mr. Rich. “That is gold, as far as we’re concerned, with our demographic.”
Mr. Rich has clearly thought long and hard about the men who reside between metro and macho.
“In terms of popular perception, things have vacillated a lot—from the very effete metrosexual to, you know, now things are going back to the sort of trucker-cap beer-drinking guy—and realistically it’s somewhere in between. And, you know, we’re trying to stay away from playing the fads, because the fact is, you know, the guy who likes to drink a gallon of beer in a night still might want to have an aftershave that’s going to keep his face from getting bumpy,” said the clean-shaven Mr. Rich, whose wavy locks extend just below his ears.
Indeed, if the crowd at the Thrillist party were any indication, this new man has largely retained the sartorial attention to detail of the metro, but features a marked increase in testosterone—a lion in Carson Kressley’s clothing.
Strewn about lounge tables were bags of Dee’s Nuts, a mail-order nut provider that actually filters its product through a woman’s cleavage. That’s so Thrillist. Adjacent to the D.J. booth was a giant beer fountain drooling Killian’s Irish Red, which Mr. Lerer and Mr. Rich said they’d spent all week constructing. Very Thrillist. As for the woman standing on a box in the middle of the room, painted silver and wearing a red bikini and matching red cape, with the Thrillist signature crosshairs emblazoned on her belly … well, that was just for fun.
“We realized that there was no man’s-man voice out there in New York,” said Mr. Lerer. “New York is so overrun with publications for women and, you know, fashion and all that stuff. And we really wanted to try to get back to our roots a little bit.”
The site, which recently discussed how useful a hot spot like Nolita’s Obivia is for ditching a “joyless ho” for a funner shag-bunny, is backed by some of the same investors behind Daily Candy, that sappy if incredibly successful online read of the Thrillist audience’s target booty.
Hulking footballist Mark Gastineau stomped by. “I think we’re throwing the kind of party I always wished I was invited to,” said Mr. Rich.
The $600,000 Watch
At 7:45 p.m., the pregnant Melania Trump, the host of Monday night’s Vacheron Constantin 250th-anniversary party, arrived wearing a lacy black J. Mendel frock and pointy-toed lace pumps. She also appeared to be shellacked in bronzer. Certainly one hopes that her makeup and tanning regimens have been approved by some obstetrics-fluent cosmetologist.
But really, her glow came from elsewhere. Notwithstanding her gigantic diamond earrings, onlookers practically needed sunglasses to protect their eyes from the blindingly diamond-laden timepiece on her wrist—a Vacheron 44-carat watch. The price tag: $600,000.
A publicist ushered Ms. Trump inside, and The Transom’s attention turned to an unbelievably hunky European whom the paparazzi were ignoring: a European Formula 1 driver named Jenson Button. Where did he acquire that fine black and ruffle-detailed blazer, which he wore oh-so-well with jeans, The Transom wondered? Mr. Button looked flustered for a second and, shrugging, opened one side of the handsome jacket to check. John Galliano, the label read. Oh.
“I have just the watch for you,” said a Vacheron rep inside the New York Public Library’s dim elegance. The exec pointed to a beautiful, asymmetrical Art Deco watch bordered in diamonds, suggesting that it would be the perfect watch for The Transom.
But someone else pegged The Transom’s class station with more accuracy. “Are you,” a fellow asked, “taking orders?” He had mistaken the reporter’s notepad for a waiter’s notepad, and he seemed awfully disappointed when informed of his mistake.