Tom Hoving, the former head of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, died this morning, reports Michael Gross, the author of Rogues' Gallery, the tell-all about the museum that was published this past spring. A "scholar, curator, commissioner of parks in New York City, bestselling author, magazine editor, raconteur, and perennial thorn in the side of the museum mafia," Hoving long had testy relations with the man he picked to succeed him, Philippe de Montebello. But the two men settled their differences in the days leading up to Hoving's death, says Gross. "The city of New York and the museum world will be far less fun without him." [MGross.com]
Will Ferrell turns 42 today. Actress Phoebe Cates is turning 46. Playwright Tony Kushner is 53. Violinist Pinchas Zuckerman is 61. Stewart Copeland, the drummer from The Police, is turning 57. Former U.S. attorney general Dick Thornburgh is 77. Doug Herzog, the TV executive who oversees Comedy Central and Spike, turns 50. WABC weatherman Bill Evans is turning 49. Author Michael Gross is 57. Pharmaceutical mogul Michael Jaharis turns 81. François Payard is 43. 90210's AnnaLynne McCord is 22. Former teen star Corey Feldman turns 38. And Ugly Betty's Mark Indelicato celebrates his 15th birthday today.
• David Letterman's ratings have gone up thanks to his very public spat with Sarah Palin. So don't be the least bit surprised if it continues. [NYT]
• Ann Moore signed a new contract with Time Inc. that will keep her around through 2012; John Squires, meanwhile, has a new gig at the company. [NYP]
• Newsweek is cutting out an issue this summer. You can guess why. [WSJ]
• Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's latest project? That would be something called "Martha University," which sounds horrifying, frankly. [PC]
• Michael Gross's new book isn't available at the New York Public Library and chances are Annette de la Renta had something to do with it. [NYO]
• Negotiations continue between the Boston Globe and union reps. "People briefed on the talks say a deal is close." Don't hold your breath. [NYT]
We knew Michael Gross's exposé of the Metropolitan Museum of Art would ruffle feathers. It's juicy stuff, clearly. But we didn't expect it would be banned. But that's what seems to be happening. The Independent reports that Amazon's British arm has stopped selling Gross's Rogues' Gallery "for fear of action from a libel tourist," namely Annette de la Renta, the museum vice chair and wife of designer Oscar de la Renta, who has threatened Gross with a libel suit. The ban isn't limited to foreign retail outlets, however.
Michael Gross' hotly anticipated tome about the Metropolitan Museum, Rogues' Gallery, arrived in bookstores last week. An account of the museum's "history of curatorial excellence, social climbing, and skullduggery," the book is full of salacious detail about some of the most prominent members of the New York society. But you won't hear much about the book's juiciest bits in the mainstream media coverage. Could it have something to do with the fact that Gross delves into the murky past of Oscar and Annette de la Renta, a couple at the very top of the social pyramid?
Michael Gross's book about the Metropolitan Museum doesn't come out for a few weeks, but it looks like some members of the museum's board—including Henry Kravis, Henry Kissinger, and Annette de la Renta—are already unhappy with the tome. Although the Met refused to cooperate with Gross on Rogues' Gallery, a Met official conceeded recently that "some staff and alumni have answered questions." This probably means you won't be able to pick up a copy at the museum's official gift shop, although considering many of them are now closing, that may not matter all that much. [NYM]
"People need to be encouraged to start spending again," Michael Gross writes, especially the masters of the universe—such as John Thain, left—who made a mint during the boom years and then led us into this mess. So how do we go about doing that? Not by shunning them, or requiring them to take their fortunes and turn the cash over to the government. (It would probably be wasted on Citigroup anyway.) Maybe we could just force them to pump the cash into the local economy?
So you know how PETA is trying to get rid of horse-drawn carriages in Central Park and replace them with electric vehicles? It turns out that the initiative isn't just ridiculous, it's pretty fishy, too. Michael Gross points out today that the "prime mover behind the latest anti-horse gambit" is none other than parking garage tycoon Steve Nislick, the CEO of Edison Properties, who produced a brochure last year touting the Model T plan and projecting "a windfall for the carriage industry from the sale of its multi-million-dollar stables." Team up with PETA to get rid of the horses, force the stables to sell their property, and then convert the decrepit buildings into gleaming garages. This Nislick is clever! [Gripebox]
Animal rights activists have been trying to ban horse-drawn carriages in Central Park for several months now. (For some reason, they think the practice amounts to animal cruelty.) But now they've come up with an alternative: They're proposing that the city replace the horse-drawn buggies with replica of Model Ts. Tourists visiting from Iowa will still get to feel like they're stepping back in time, and because the vehicles will be powered by electricity, it'll be entirely eco-friendly, too! Aside from the grim aesthetic implications—"the sound of clopping hooves is one of the only aural pleasures available on the edge of the oasis that is Central Park," Michael Gross points out today—and the fact the proposal would put hundreds of carriage drivers out of work, PETA has managed to line up support from attention-loving City Councilmember Daniel Garodnick, who now says he plans to put the matter before the City Council this spring.
Brooke Astor died last year at the age of 105. If you looked at the papers with any regularity in the months that proceeded and followed her passing, you're probably familiar with the controversy involving Astor's son, Anthony Marshall, who was accused of neglecting his dying mother, forcing her to change her will, and plundering her estate. New details surrounding Astor's final days are now emerging with the publication of Mrs. Astor Regrets by Meryl Gordon, several passages from which were excerpted in the Post over the weekend.
The Metropolitan Museum wasn't especially pleased when it was revealed to be the subject of Michael Gross's latest juicy tome, Rogues Gallery: The Secret History of The Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitan Gallery. A dispute over cover photo rights was settled several months ago; now GalleyCat reports that the book, which promises to unveil "the secrets behind the upper class's cultural and philanthropic ambitions," is scheduled for an April release. [GalleyCat]
1) 7 For All Mankind launched its first Manhattan flagship last night with a Vogue-hosted/Paul Sevigny DJed party and photo exhibition by Tim Mantoani. Among many others there: Dylan Lauren, Gossip Girl's Jessica Szohr and Nicole Fiscella, CariDee English (left), Kelly Killoren Bensimon, Olivia Palermo, Anisha Lakhani, Mary Ellen Mark, Tony Sirico, Rebecca Guinness and Poppy de Villeneuve. [Paper/PMc]
Investment banker Peter Huang has placed his apartment at 740 Park on the market for $38 million, Michael Gross reveals today. The duplex (4-5D) features a private elevator landing, wood burning fireplaces, grand staircase, and separate set of stairs for the staff, just so you don't have to worry about tripping over Guadalupe in the middle of the night when you head downstairs on your ritual Oreo run. More photos below.
Phoebe Cates, who made memorable appearances in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Gremlins and later settled down with Kevin Kline and opened a boutique on Madison Ave., turns 45 today. Cheerful WABC weatherman Bill Evans turns 48. Author Michael Gross is 56. Former teen star Corey Feldman is 37. Will Ferrell is 41. Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner turns 52. And pharma billionaire Michael Jaharis is 80.
Remember when we posted that YouTube clip of Beauty Junkie Alex Kucz lambasting 740 Park author Michael Gross via voicemail? And remember when, after the clip, we mentioned that "This obviously has nothing whatsoever to do with Monday's Kucz Fresh Air interview, by the way"? Well, David Patrick Columbia wants to lift the scales from your eyes, America: that "voicemail message" is actually a clip from the Fresh Air interview, taken out of context and spliced together with Gross's voicemail via the magic of technology! Let's let Columbia explain it a little more thoroughly: