Jewish World Review Dec. 5, 2003 / 10 Kislev, 5764

Lloyd Grove

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The knives are out; Who's sorry now?; JWR in the news | NEW YORK — NEW YORK — Is the young whippersnapper of New York's power-lunch world finally getting to the old codger?

It certainly sounds that way from this column's chat yesterday with Julian Niccolini, managing partner of the 44-year-old Four Seasons Restaurant.

The subject was his tooth-and-nail competition for high-spending moguls and celebs on expense accounts with the folks who run the 100-day-old Lever House Restaurant a block away.

When asked about the rivalry, Niccolini burst into peels of disdainful laughter.

Why was this man laughing?

"I laugh because it's incredible that nowadays Lever House is associated with The Four Seasons," he answered. "We don't have the same clientele. I'm just very surprised to hear 'power lunch' and the two names together. What — anything that's within 15 feet of The Four Seasons is a power lunch?"

Niccolini added: "I've never been there for lunch. I've been to Michael's — and that is definitely a power scene."

But that didn't stop Niccolini from giving this assessment of the typical Lever House lunch: "It's the same people all over and over. Boring, boring, boring. The same faces all the time.

"Honestly, I'm not trying to start anything. I respect those people," Niccolini went on. "I'm not worried about Lever House."

Lever House owner John McDonald responded: "That wouldn't surprise me that he said that. I think we've always said that their crowd is their crowd. This has a more youthful spin and a more contemporary state of mind. It's very diversified and there is a sense of youth and excitement. They are so established, we are new. . . . The irony, I guess, is they are saying that we have the same faces over and over, but I'm assuming they have the same people every day sitting in the same table. I would assume that's the goal — to establish a clientele."

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McDonald stressed: "In no way do I mean to start anything — that's theirshtick: they are Old World, we are New."


In the venerable tradition of Emily Litella, Susan Estrich said something like "Never mind!" Thursday when challenged on the premise of her latest syndicated column — an impassioned attack on Hollywood liberal Laurie David for allegedly putting "Hate Bush" on an e-mailed invitation.

Estrich is a University of Southern California Law School professor and Fox News commentator who gained fame in 1988 as losing Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis' campaign manager.

Litella, of course, was the late Gilda Radner's "Saturday Night Live" character who delivered ranting, fist-pounding editorials on "Weekend Update," only to back down immediately when told that she had misheard a central point.

Thus Estrich scorched David, the organizer of this week's celeb-studded, closed-door Democratic strategy session at the Beverly Hilton, for hurting Democrats everywhere by sending "an e-mail forwarding invites to the 'Hate Bush 12-2 Event.'"

"Who is Laurie David?" Estrich demanded in her column. "In news clips, she is identified as Larry David's wife. Who is Larry David? He's the star of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.' Maybe his wife should curb hers. It is only helping Republicans."

But Estrich promptly changed direction when made aware of an item in our Tuesday column, which concluded that David wasn't to blame. Indeed, a man with a different e-mail address from David's, and no apparent connection to her, identified himself as the culprit.

"My apologies to Ms. David if she was not in fact the individual who was so foolishly sabotaging the Democratic effort," Estrich wrote me. "Somebody was."


BAD MARRIAGE?: Angry conservatives are apparently up in arms over this week's report on the Jewish World Review Web site that a religious coalition against gay marriage — including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Lieberman's Orthodox rabbi, Barry Freundel, and Rabbi Marc Gellman, who appeared regularly on "Good Morning America" as a member of the so-called God Squad — has links to the Islamic Society of North America.

The group is described by terrorism expert Steve Emerson as "a radical group hiding under a false veneer of moderation."

But I hear that the conservatives are mad at the Web site, not the coalition. Editor in chief Binyamin Jolkovsky tells me more than 100 faithful readers — angry that JWR would publish a piece critical of conservatives of any stripe — have canceled their subscriptions.

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12/04/03: The war of the gest-minnellis; something borrowed, something cashmere; fashion trendsetter, nailed!
12/03/03: Colombian grace under pressure; Lord of the Screwups; more
12/02/03: Curb your anti-Semitism?; fame fatigue?; bowing to pressure?; more
12/01/03: Dennis the Menace strikes again; first literary feud of the holiday season; Norma Jean & Hef in heaven?; the fog of McNamara; more
11/26/03: Catherine Crier raps Jacko's TV defender, refuses on-air hint of racism; At 50, Tina's in full cry; STAY OUT OF HER WAY!; more
11/25/03: The mogul strikes back?; go ahead, make Harvey's day; more
11/24/03: Georgette's pilfered baubles; prosecutor of pop?; absent but not missed?; Norman Mailer's prescription for education reform; more
11/20/03: Is a movie career in store for Maria Bartiromo?; People for the Unethical Treatment of Humans?; more
11/19/03: Scientologists on Razor's edge?; picking a winner?; source on a hot tin roof?; more
11/18/03: Clay Aiken neuters PETA?; THEM'S FIGHTIN' WORDS!; a mural for Joe
11/17/03: When networks attack!; leaky Fawcett; forget the Paris Hilton video!; more
11/13/03: Publicity hounds; Prophetic priest; Dumb and Dumber
11/12/03: Not so Rosie; do you believe in miracles?; catalogue of sins; My Heart Belongs to Koppel
11/10/03: Gen. clark on the Subway diet; life of the party; MTV's Dumb and Dumber?; the hug issue; but does the $6,000 shower curtain convey?; red faces at Buckingham palace?
11/06/03: Let them eat pita?; verbal jousting; pretenders to the throne?
11/05/03: Will Harvey Weinstein and Gregg Easterbrook now be pals?; crazed Quentin; more
11/04/03: Herding off the hipsters; more
11/03/03: Dean's tell-all on himself?; Lisaraye vs. Mya?; the odd couple; no need to panic; just don't call him "Scooter"!; Rosie scenarios
10/30/03: Autumn of the editor?; Cynthia Nixon's split may be costly; 'Burning' questions
10/29/03: Ah-nold, unauthorized!; a dilemma for Melissa Gilbert? not even Frank Gifford can help him now!; nobody wanted Elizabeth Hurley
10/28/03: It's Cher calling!; Brown Alert
10/27/03: Paparazzi uncensored!; where's Aaron Brown?; postcards from the middle; invasion of the party snatchers?; House flooded when not afire?; suspenders of disbelief?
10/23/03: Ace up Howard Dean's sleeve; Woody's ordeal; Paul Simon's kid makes good; the non-beginning of a beautiful friendship?
10/22/03: Showing the flag; Joe Frazier, smokin'!; see Carville bruised-up — sort of
10/21/03: Morris & Jaci's charm offensive; Hell hath no fury; Wintertime for Hitler
10/20/03: Isn't it rich?; men (and the occasional woman) behaving badly; peacenik John Lennon supporting the U.S. military?; courageous Connie
10/16/03: George Clooney and intolerable Drudgery; Cameron goes native; and you thought the war in Iraq was nasty?; now it can be revealed; star wars?
10/15/03: Kerik into the breach?; holiday pander?; "the Dink" corrects the record; more
10/14/03: Madge gets mad, lips are sealed; the candidates who listen; he who hesitates is Beatty
10/13/03: Clothes, but no cigar; New Yorkers put a Sox in it; mad at Matalin?; more
10/09/03: Gray Davis goes to the movies; Ali Wentworth, working blue; Law & Order?; pot of gold at the end of the rainbow room?
10/08/03: Art-time for Hitler; the actress who hates movies; lying "Liam"
10/07/03: Pond scum of the rich and famous
07/24/03: Ali and George, living it up; Mel Gibson's Washington power play
07/21/03: White House smear?
07/17/03: Yet another intern scandal; it's her party and she can pay if she wants to
07/14/03: On the auction block: JFK'S boxer shorts; love bytes the maestro
07/10/03: A hairy situation at Homeland Security; Van Susteren v. Orth
06/30/03: Rep. Patrick Kennedy: I've never worked a (bleeping) day in my life; Drudge's dressing down; Ken Lay's Kerry connection
06/26/03: Rapping the beat
06/23/03: Another Watergate scandal?; AL GORE TV!
06/19/03: Tony Snow, rocker?; that won't be crow on Mr. Carlson's plate
06/16/03: Missing dog, ransom demand, Hollywood ending
06/12/03: Giving both parties the needle
06/05/03: Incoming from Barbara Bush?
06/02/03: Bob Dole's plan for fighting unemployment
05/29/03: Newt's new novel
05/27/03: Hitchens & Blumenthal, together again; He still believes in a man called Hope
05/09/03: Close, but no cigar; Romeo & Juliet with a happy ending?; Geraldo to help Heebs?
05/05/03: So Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw walk into a coffee bar . . .; hotel hell; more

© 2003, Creators Syndicate