The first time The Observer met Niki and Shaokao Cheng, it was July, during the opening night of Julio Gaggia’s art show. Mr. Gaggia, the boyfriend of the plastic surgeon Mark Warfel, was preparing his work “Living Art: Chelsea Boy Apartment,” during which he would live for five days as a window display model at the BoConcept furniture store on West 18th Street. He spent the week eating, sleeping, working—and performing other, less-mentionable activities—in a showroom that divided him from gawkers outside with a pane of glass.
While we lounged about on the display furniture, socialite photographer Patrick McMullan brought over a petite woman with short, pixie-cropped hair.
“Niki is one of the few Power Asians in New York society,” he loudly whispered, flourishing Ms. Cheng before us. She smiled shyly and posed for a photograph before excusing herself.
It would be two weeks before we realized that Ms. Cheng and her husband owned the store where we had dropped more than one canapé between the cushions of a $3,000 couch.
In fact, the couple owns all five locations of the Danish furniture store in New York City, and another two in New Jersey. But the stores themselves aren’t the reason Mr. McMullan calls the Chengs “Power Asians.” Rather, it’s the couple’s seemingly innate social instincts, their ability to leverage a fairly cookie-cutter, mid-market design base into a celebrity-filled social whirl. One might say “Only in America,” or (even worse) “Only in New York,” but this wouldn’t exactly cover it. There is a certain type that thrives in Manhattan no matter what they’re selling, no matter where they’re from, no matter how few resources they have upon arriving.
The Wee Hours
They bid on hotel stays, spa weekends and oxygen cleanses. They bid on handbags, fashion runway shows and Broadway performances. They bid on sports memorabilia, tennis tickets and rounds of golf on celebrated greens. They bid on pet-themed tableware.
They bid on jewelry. “A diamond ring from Van Cleef & Arpels.” Value: $5,000.
They bid Read More
So, who’s bringing the coolest celebs to this weekend’s WHCD?
The Wall Street Journal‘s table sounds like a hoot, for example, with Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Schapiro, RNC chairman Michael Steele et al. And look at Newsweek (Chevy Chase) and The New Yorker (Tracy Morgan, Judd Apatow).
But Politico’s table might win for sheer Read More
At Thursday night’s American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR) gala at Cipriani, the attendees were all about the cause and less about Fashion Week, which officially kicked off the next day.
Among those present were Liza Minnelli and Donna Karan (both of whom were honored for their work for AIDS research), Kenneth Cole, Anna Read More
Last week, members of President-elect Barack Obama’s Inaugural Committee announced that they had chosen HBO to televise the opening ceremony of the inauguration, which will take place at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday, Jan. 18, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Today, HBO announced its lineup for the ceremony—dubbed "We Are One: Read More
Hamptons residents who paid up to $2,500 a plate to hang out with Gwyneth Paltrow at a benefit for the Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue Organization at Steven Klein‘s Bridgehampton farm (read Daily Transom’s account!) were upset when the actress refused to come out of the host’s house for most of the evening. [Read More
Mariann Florio, widow of former Condé Nast C.E.O. Steve Florio, is reportedly in a dispute with the company over payouts following her husband’s death last December. [P6]
Gossip Girl had a casting call in Southampton this past weekend and no one showed up. [Daiyl Intel]
Jay-Z dined with Read More
A snarky report in on Page Six of Wednesday’s New York Post claimed that CNN publicists were scrambling this week to convince B-list guests to attend the network’s first ever "Hero’s Tribute," which took place last night at the Museum of Natural History, after first choices like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt did Read More
Some of Diana Ross's beautiful progeny showed up at the Baby Phat show at the Roseland Ballroom on Friday. In fact, Evan Ross, 19, and his sister, Chudney Silberstein, 31, were early arrivals."We've been to a few parties," declared Mr. Ross, who said he's looking forward to an upcoming Roberto Cavalli event. "It's my favorite Read More
Spencer Morgan has arrived in Park City, Utah. Look out, hot tubs of Sundance!
Our trusty Transom reporter took the glam low-rent flight, of course, with a lay-over in Las Vegas. Some seriously lame situation at JFK caused him to miss his connecting flight. Naturally, he made the most of his six hours in Vegas, Read More