What’s the Rushdie? Library Lions Prepare to Pounce on Polls

At the New York Public Library’s Library Lions benefit on Monday, Nov. 3, most guests were eager to get home at a reasonable hour—since polls around the city were scheduled to open at 6 a.m. the next day, and as several guests pointed out, open bars at benefits tend to make it difficult to get anywhere on time the following day.

“I’m going to vote early, probably right after my show,” said Live with Regis and Kelly host Regis Philbin, who was one of the earlier departers along with wife, Joy. “I’m just so glad it’s over! This has been the longest election. We’ve been through [Hillary] Clinton and [Barack] Obama—that took a year and a half—but we’re almost there!”

Nora Ephron—who was being honored along with playwright Edward Albee, children’s book author Ashley Bryan, and author Salman Rushdie—was rather excited.

“It’s going to be fantastic! It’s going to be great!” she said of Election Day. “Yes, we’re all going to have to wait on line, but I usually find that in the middle of the day, the lines aren’t so bad. So that’s probably when I’ll go.”

But not everyone among the attendees was carefully strategizing their trip to the polls the following day.

“I’m not a citizen so I don’t have a vote and I feel very frustrated not to have a vote, but hopefully I can join in the celebrating,” said the Indian-born Mr. Rushdie, who is a British citizen. “It’s going to be a long day and a long night, but I think there’s going to be celebration. I’ll definitely be out somewhere tomorrow evening.”

British-Iranian CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour, who was walking out on the arm of her husband, former Bill Clinton assistant James Rubin, was in a similar situation. “I can’t vote, but I am excited because it’s going to be a remarkable moment in history,” said Ms. Amanpour. “Wednesday will be a very different day not just for this country but for the world. I’ll be out touring the city and getting reactions. I am a reporter after all.”

Former New Yorker editor and Daily Beast founder Tina Brown, who was dressed in a slim-fitted blazer and a long flared black skirt, became a U.S. citizen in 2005 and was generally calm.

“I just don’t think there’s much to be stressed about. It seems like a shoo-in right now, but we’ll see. It would take some cataclysmic change for it to go a different direction,” said Ms. Brown.

Ms. Brown’s successor at Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter, who was walking out of the dinner with his wife, Anna Scott Carter, said he will be watching the election returns at home.

“What’s tomorrow? I love Tuesdays! Oh, you mean voting?” Mr. Carter joked with the Transom. “Yes, I am very excited, that’s why I’m trying to get home early so that I can vote around nine. But where I vote—the West 14th Street Gay and Lesbian Community Center—the lines are not that long.”

But when the Transom asked Mr. Carter what might happen to the city should John McCain take the presidency the following evening, Mr. Carter’s rosy cheeks turned a shade whiter. 

“I don’t even want to talk about that,” he finally replied. “It’s too upsetting.”

The last to trail off were 24-year-old Little Miss Sunshine actor Paul Dano and his girlfriend Zoe Kazan, who is currently appearing as Masha opposite Peter Sarsgaard in Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. (The Transom found the young couple snuggling on a bench, to the crooked looks of the older guests.) The couple had already filled out absentee ballots and planned to spend the election evening at a friend’s house in Brooklyn.

“It’s a small get-together so that we can all comfort each other, but generally I feel pretty good about it right now,” said Mr. Dano, an Obama supporter.

Ms. Kazan chimed in: “A bottle of champagne if it goes well and a razorblade if it doesn’t!”


What’s the Rushdie? Library Lions Prepare to Pounce on Polls