The Insider

Feb 9, 2004  •  Post A Comment

You’d be surprised how fast 350,000 square feet of soaring and sprawling space filled up when 5,000 media titans and moguls and power brokers and swells gathered to help christen Time Warner’s new headquarters on New York’s Columbus Circle. Everyone sampled assorted public and pricey spaces in the $1.7 billion complex, which houses shopping, dining, performance and residential space.
The Insider gets a warm glow when she sees VIPs having to line up single file to enter. “You wanna stay or you wanna go?” Viacom Chief Operating Officer Mel Karmazin asked his wife, Terry, at the first sight of the line waiting in the brisk chill to enter the long check-in tent. They entered.
The fourth floor was essentially a feast for numerous senses. Guests marveled at the salmon tartare ice cream cones from French Laundry’s Thomas Keller at Per Se, the sushi at Masa Takayama’s Masa and the copious cleavage on display behind the bar at Stone Rose (owner Rande Gerber’s missus, Cindy Crawford, drew a crowd at the front door).
A few steps in one direction was a CNN cluster that included Larry King, Aaron Brown, Wolf Blitzer and Big Apple Bureau Chief Karen Curry. (No sign of CNN executives Jim Walton and Princell Hair, who skipped the check-in line when they arrived.)
In the other direction was Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ornate Rare, where the notables included Sir Howard Stringer and his Sony boss Nobuyuki Idei; NYC 2012 Olympics organizing committee chief (and long-ago Stringer CBS aide) Jay Kriegel; and Time Warner Chairman Richard Parsons. Even with a phalanx of sturdy security guys, the popular Mr. Parsons found the going slow when he tried to get to his appointed spot to play his role in the evening’s program. That was emceed by CNN’s Paula Zahn and Viacom’s intangible asset, Jon Stewart-who opted for blue jeans instead of black tie and who failed to convince the crowd that shopping was free for that night.
Lacking the wherewithal and energy to even window-shop, The Insider and her sister Cinderellas stopped only to chat with CNN’s boyish wonder, Anderson Cooper, and then headed for drinks, soft chairs and the glorious view at the MObar in the Center’s Mandarin Oriental hotel.
We didn’t order the $100-plus caviar appetizer.
Diane on `Kimmel’ couch
It’s a DVR alert (VCRs are so last year at The Insider’s house). ABC News’ Diane Sawyer is booked for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Friday, Feb. 27, when she’s already in Hollywood for the Oscars. Scheduled to follow Ms. Sawyer on the couch: Mr. Las Vegas, Wayne Newton.