BEHIND THE VELVET ROPES: Decades after Richie Notar learned the ropes as a Studio 54 busboy, he is still working the fashion crowd. When his old boss, Ian Schrager, rang him up to throw an impromptu 20-person dinner party Saturday at Notar’s new swanky eatery Harlow in New York, Notar was at the ready. The Nobu cofounder even trekked to the flower district for the peonies Schrager requested. Tables were shuffled, candelabras with 16-inch candles were found and staffers were repeatedly read the riot act. “All day I kept saying to them, ‘Do you know how important this is to me?’” Notar said with a laugh. “When I went by the table, Ian said, ‘Richie used to be a busboy for me. I’m really proud of him.’ That meant a lot to me.”
By chance, another Studio 54 regular, Stephen Burrows, was at Harlow that night. The East 56th Street address has age-old media ties, having been built by William Randolph Hearst, who gave it to his mistress, Marion Davies. “Half the people who dine out aren’t there for the meal — they’re doing it because they’re doing a deal,” Notar said.
This story first appeared in the April 26, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Notar’s Studio 54 know-how will be put to use this fall when choosing uniforms, lighting and the decor for a new place in what used to be the Lenox Lounge. In honor of Studio 54’s 36th anniversary, Notar will reminisce about the club Friday night on the “Marc and Myra Show” on SiriusXM with Bob Colacello, Beau Ryan (whose godmother Diana Vreeland was a regular) and Steve Rubell’s former boyfriend Bill Hamilton.