The Transom

Next Year in … Antigua? New Yorkers Flee City for Tropical Seders

We all know about L.A.’s power Seders, hosted by the likes of music mogul Guy Oseary and longtime manager Sandy Gallin. But the ones in New York City? Harder to find than the afikomen!

Stacey Bronfman, the socialite, fashion consultant and daughter-in-law of former Vivendi Universal and Seagram heir and Warner Music C.E.O. Edgar Jr., said she likes to bring a few outsiders to the first night of Seder, when she and her husband Matthew head over to his father’s house on the Upper East Side; these people have included clothing designers Adrienne Vittadini and Catherine Malandrino. “Though there may be people who are powerful, that’s not what it’s about,” Ms. Bronfman said. “It’s about being with your friends and family and not turning on the television. It’s not about being loud crazy.”

Public-relations magnate Howard Rubenstein, meanwhile, said he invites “friends of many years” to his second-night Seder. “Abraham Beame used to come, and we’ll often have Protestants and Catholics and people of all kinds of faiths,” Mr. Rubenstein said, adding that in recent years, members of his family have been heading to Puerto Rico for the holiday, staying in hotels “where there are kosher meals.”

Indeed, these days, many prominent New York Jews seem to be treating Passover as a sort of spring-break opportunity. Writer Erica Jong is headed to Antigua, and she scoffed at the whole idea of a power Seder. “They’ll do anything to get power in L.A., even collar people in A.A. meetings,” rasped Ms. Jong, who used a civil-rights Haggadah one year in which Martin Luther King was substituted for Moses. “Nobody has real relationships in show business; in L.A., their best friends are people they saw once in passing. That’s why I no longer live there.”

Art collector Doug Anderson said that he used to host power Seders for a select gathering of museum bigwigs, but now he heads to retired auto-part titan Don Schlenger’s Seder by the Sea on Jupiter, a tiny island off the coast of Palm Beach, where the 60 guests’ names are written on the matzo and attendees sit under a canopy looking at a canal that was built by the MacArthur Foundation. “There is where all the old C.E.O.’s go—there is a sense of relaxation that we don’t find when we’re in New York,” Mr. Anderson said. “My wife, Dale, is the youngest one there, so she asks the four questions … and, no, she is not 12 years old.”

As for the entertainment world, a source passed on the delicious tidbit that Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels and director Mike Nichols have been known to sit down to Seder together, but it proved a bitter herb for The Transom, as neither man’s representative made him available for comment.

—David Foxley

Rushdie, Crushed? Salman Might No Longer Sizzle For Top Chef Dish

Is it curtains for author Salman Rushdie and his fourth wife, the actress, chef and reality-show hostess Padma Lakshmi?

Late last week, a source overheard designer Diane von Furstenberg obsessing over the news that the luscious Ms. Lakshmi, 36, was set to drop the 59-year-old novelist, her husband of three years, like a heavy sack of unread best-sellers.

“I can’t believe she’s leaving him,” Ms. von Furstenberg kept saying, according to the source. The wrap-dress queen is a longtime friend of the couple and attended their wedding in April 2004, along with editor Tina Brown, comedian Steve Martin and assorted other famous guests.

Most troubling to Ms. von Furstenberg, apparently, was Ms. Lakshmi’s stated and not exactly literary reason for putting an end to the relationship with the Booker Prize winner: to focus on her big Bravo hit, Top Chef.

According to The New York Times Vows column that documented their nuptials, Mr. Rushdie first discovered Ms. Lakshmi in a 1999 issue of Panorama, an Italian glossy magazine for which he’d also posed. “If I ever meet this girl, my goose is cooked,” he thought, perhaps presciently. He did indeed go on to meet her, at the sweaty launch party for Ms. Brown’s now-defunct Talk magazine, and the Indian inamorati announced their engagement almost five years later, on the 15th anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s infamous Feb. 14 fatwa against Mr. Rushdie.

Through a publicist, Ms. Von Furstenberg declined to comment; Ms. Lakshmi’s personal publicist said she does not comment on her clients’ personal lives. A call to Mr. Rushdie’s publisher was not returned.

Star Alum Feathers Post Business Desk

On March 26, Sean Gannon began his first staff meeting as the New York Post’s business editor by talking about his résumé.

It’s not that Mr. Gannon is new to the Post: In the late 1990’s, he worked as a Page Six reporter. And, by several accounts, he’s continued to frequent the Post masthead’s preferred haunt, Langan’s Bar on West 47th Street.

But considering that Mr. Gannon’s subsequent places of employment were Phillip Morris and Star magazine, he still had to convince the Post’s business staff that he has a nose for news.

At the noon staff meeting Mr. Gannon said that despite coming from Bonnie Fuller’s celebrity-filled (and recently decimated) Star, he had no specific mandate to bring to bear upon the section, which is known for well-reported, breaking stories, according to a Post staffer.

“The business section has prided itself on being a little more serious” than the rest of the paper, said a former Post staffer. “He may be a great editor, but people only know him from Langan’s.”

Since late January, deputy Jay Sherman has served as the interim business editor, following Dan Colarusso’s promotion to metro editor.

Although it wasn’t expected that Mr. Sherman—who had only been at the Post for a few months—would get promoted to the job, multiple Post staffers said that they hadn’t heard about interviews for a replacement.

Indeed, Mr. Gannon said during the meeting that editor in chief Col Allan approached him to interview for the position, according to a Post staffer. (Fortunately, Mr. Gannon fled the Star before the firing of 10 staffers on March 27.)

However, the top editor did not want to elaborate on hiring Mr. Gannon.

“We are delighted he’s returning,” Mr. Allan said, through a spokesperson.

—Michael Calderone

Claire Who? Weeds Queen Mary-Louise Parker Works With Pitt, Loans Her Man to Uma

The course of true love rarely runs smooth for actor couples, as Mary-Louise Parker can attest (remember that little dust-up with Billy Crudup?), but her four-month union with Jeffrey Dean Morgan of Grey’s Anatomy seems to be strong, judging from their public display of affection at a Perrier Jouët party on Wednesday, March 21.

Ms. Parker, 42, is soon to appear in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford with Brad Pitt, which was filmed in Calgary. “It was lovely! I liked it! He works very hard!” she screamed over the escalating thumps delivered a blond model/D.J., whose undulating form was just visible on the other side of a dense fake forest sprouting bottles of bubbly. “The movie was really dusty. It was a Western, so there was a lot of dust.” But Ms. Parker cleans up nicely: She was wearing a white, silken, knee-length dress that flared just below the hips, tutu-style. “I’m trying to find a play,” she said. “I’m always trying to find a play.”

The 40-year-old Mr. Dean, meanwhile, said he just finished a romantic comedy called The Accidental Husband, alongside Uma Thurman. “She’s really tall,” he said. “I got really tired of looking up at her all the time.”

He apparently hasn’t tired, however, of plugging his girlfriend’s Showtime series, Weeds (“It’s such a good show!”), where they met when he made a guest appearance; nor her involvement in the Share Our Strength organization, to which this event was nebulously linked—something about a brooch that Ms. Parker designed. “Well, I mean, any charity that’s trying to stave off hunger is a damn good charity,” Mr. Dean said, as the guests around him nibbled on quail eggs with miniature nasturtium, spring-pea cordials and zucchini blossoms with chèvre, washed down with buckets of free Champagne.

David Foxley

Not Good Enough? New Yorker Writer Ignores Philanthropic Mag’s Public-Art Experiment

“Here we have people who are just literally engaging the news and drawing on it and getting involved,” said Good publisher and founding editor Max Schorr, regarding a roomful of revelers at the Felissimo Townhouse on Friday, March 23.

The party was to celebrate the philanthropic magazine’s “media” issue, and the walls were plastered with old newspapers, on which guests were being encouraged to scribble with colored markers. Over a picture of the late President Gerald Ford, one modern-day Dadaist had written the word “crakehead” [sic] in block letters. Another reveler had drawn a thought bubble coming out of astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s mouth with the trenchant caption: “Oh my fucking God … I’m on the fucking moon.”

Leaning against a wall in the room that recalled a scene from elementary-school arts-and-crafts class was writer Malcolm Gladwell, sipping a beer.

The Transom followed the big-haired New Yorker staffer to an adjacent hallway, where he had struck up a conversation with a pretty brunette, and asked what he thought of Good’s little public-art experiment.

“I don’t know; I haven’t seen it,” Mr. Gladwell said.

He hadn’t seen that giant wall of newspapers in the other room?

“I haven’t been in that room,” Mr. Gladwell lied, and resumed the conversation with his female friend.

The Transom