“Park Avenue is a state of mind, not a location,” said Dr. Stuart Fischer. The graying founder of the Park Avenue Diet Center, with his small, intense eyes and professional tan, looked the part of socialite-whisperer as he stood in the foyer of a fifth-floor room at Townhouse 2 at 807 Park Avenue Tuesday night, his blue shirt and tie accentuated by the blue-brown zebra striped curtains against the windows, greeting his guests.
They had come to celebrate, or to help him publicize, the launch of his book, The Park Avenue Diet.
“I decided to concentrate on people’s overall image as residents of Park Avenue do,” he told the Daily Transom as he stood near a table displaying stacks of the book.
Dr. Fischer describes the book as “the total package,” and to write it he recruited lifestyle experts ranging in areas of expertise from makeup and fashion to self-esteem and weight loss, he said.
But the book’s perhaps more noteworthy contributor is socialite Tinsley Mortimer, who gives “interpersonal” advice, according to the book’s jacket.
For example, on Week 2, Day 3 of the prescribed diet, readers are given a recipe for a four-bean salad, assigned 12 counts of reverse crunches, are told to pick out their outfit for the following day to avoid a “fashion faux pas” when scrambling for clothes in the morning, and under the heading “Interpersonal Skills,” Ms. Mortimer advises dieters to always arrive at appointments on time. "Being late doesn’t just cause you to miss a train, a movie, or a dentist appointment. It also makes you appear rude, careless, and disorganized," the section begins.
“Tinsley really surprised me,” said Dr. Fischer. “Her ideas about developing some of these skills even I, who studied psychology at Yale, found to be some of the most profound advice I had ever heard.”
And what specifically might this profound advice be?
“I just tried to stress that it’s easier to be nice to people than it is to be mean,” said Ms. Mortimer, who in fact arrived later than the other contributors, wearing a gray and pink binding Herve Leger dress. (She was headed to the Whitney Art Party afterwards, sponsored by the label.)
Ms. Mortimer was accompanied by her husband, Topper, who has mused publicly about the usefulness of attending Events; he seemed almost relieved when Ms. Mortimer asked him to go fetch a few bags that were apparently downstairs.
“Sorry, my husband,” she said, giving a knowing, slight roll of the eyes and focusing her attention back to the reporter.
“Smiling, saying, ‘Thank you,’ being respectful and just having an overall positive energy is good for you,” Ms. Mortimer continued. “I think growing up in the South, being more open and inclusive rather than exclusive, helped me make friends when I came to New York.”
We asked Ms. Mortimer what she thinks a “Park Avenue” makeover means exactly.
“Someone on Park Avenue is someone who pays attention to their maintenance, their makeup, and their fashion sense along with diet and exercise,” Ms. Mortimer said.
Dr. Fischer was quite candid in his reflections on the meaning (or value?) of the book’s title.
“People on Park Avenue are very put together," he said. "Just walking here tonight, I noticed that there are very few overweight people on Park Avenue.”
That’s O.K.; plenty of overweight people want to live on Park Avenue.