Eavesdrop NY 12

Eavesdroplet
The Four Seasons celebrates its 50th. Can you spot Phyllis? (Hint: Shes in Canada.) (Courtesy PaperMag.com)

The Four Seasons celebrates its 50th. Can you spot Phyllis? (Hint: She’s in Canada.) (Courtesy PaperMag.com)

No Room at the In Place?
Eavesdrop was thrilled by a friend’s “plus one” at the June 11 gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram Building. We all know Mies and Philip’s icon, so we’ll skip the background and move on to name-dropping. The 800-person guest list was so diverse we concluded that it must have been gleaned from the reservations book.

The hosts, building owner Aby Rosen and wife Samantha Boardman and restaurateurs Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder, greeted the multitude, which included David Dinkins, Ray Kelly, Star Jones, Fern Mallis, Henry Kissinger, Barry Diller, George Wayne, Michael Gross, Thom Brown, Salman Rushdie, Jay McInerney, Michael Ovitz, a couple of Nederlanders, several mannequins, and generations of age-free socialites.

Okay, so with representatives from every walk of life from the sacred to the profane, where were the architectural luminaries? Where was Phyllis Lambert, whose vision and perseverance are the sole reasons New York’s most storied interior even exists? Well, there was one bold-face architect in the crush of swells: Belmont “Monty” Freeman held court in the Grill Room, answering questions about overseeing the restaurant’s renovation, which is to begin next month. Lambert handpicked Freeman because she’s known him for many years and had admired his respectful and meticulous renovation of the Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University, designed by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo in 1970.

So where was Phyllis? It turns out that the New York party was the same night as the annual Canadian Centre for Architecture ball. As the founder and director, Lambert had to host her own event—and send her Four Seasons regrets.

The Scarano Files
Perhaps more than any other New York architect, Robert Scarano has come to symbolize the five-borough building boom. Known to many for taking advantage of a loophole in the city’s self-certification program—resulting in a number of over-built projects—Scarano recently sat down for an interview with The Brooklyn Paper. Where’d he find the time? The developer’s darling admits to being out of work, after logging roughly 600 projects a year during what still seems like just yesterday. Among other things, Scarano was not surprised to see Frank Gehry depart Atlantic Yards—his “shelf life was up.” Scarano likes SOM’s Toren but not Ismael Leyva’s Oro, while being torn about Enrique Norten, whose BAM arts center “would have been a good project” but whose Park Slope apartment complex “is as non-contextual as you get.” If work dries up for good, he should try his hand at criticism.

Send martinis and twizzle stix to shart@archpaper.com

A version of this article appeared in AN 12_07.08.2009.

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