I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING: New York magazine kicked off its 50th anniversary festivities with pastrami. To celebrate the milestone, as well as the publication of a coffee-table book, “Highbrow, Lowbrow, Brilliant, Despicable: 50 Years of New York,” the magazine threw a party at Katz’s Delicatessen on New York’s Lower East Side.
“We thought, let’s go Lowbrow/Brilliant,” New York Media chief executive officer Pam Wasserstein explained, alluding to the approval matrix. “What would that be? And clearly, it’s Katz’s.”
“We’ve been told that the last memorable private event hosted here was the owner’s son’s Bar Mitzvah, so this is really a special treat,” Wasserstein said.
A tower of Champagne glasses, brimming with Moët, sat atop a blue Formica table. Waiters passed around mini knishes and pigs in a blanket, while local bold-faced names balanced drinks and pastrami sandwiches that, while a fraction of the size of Katz’s usual, were still daunting. Trays of sour and half-sour pickles lined the counter. Bartenders mixed drinks across the room from “cutters,” who skillfully carved the smoked meat with a flick of the wrist. New York magazine covers blended into the framed photos of celebrities on the walls.
“Last time I was at Katz’s was when I first moved to New York. And this was my dream,” designer Cynthia Rowley said, before turning to a conversation about pre-school interviews.
“Tiffany isn’t paying me anything to advertise for them,” former New York governor Eliot Spitzer grumbled, before being persuaded to pose for a picture on the red carpet in front of the step-and-repeat that said the name of the jewelry brand, which was the evening’s sponsor.
Spitzer’s verdict for the party? “Highbrow, and excellent.” The former governor, who has been well-covered by the magazine, jokingly estimated that he had eaten five pounds of pastrami.
“I’ll be brief so you can get back to your fatty meat,” New York editor in chief Adam Moss told the crowd. “When Clay and Milton founded that magazine, they proceeded from a sort of radical premise: that as much as New York was an actual place, it was also an idea, that there was such a way as a New York way of looking at the world.”
“We are proud to carry the flag for New York values, for the values of cities — never more so than right now, when those values find themselves in crazy combat over the meaning of America itself,” he continued.
Moss reminisced about childhood trips into the city from suburban Long Island, when his family would make the pilgrimage for knishes at Yonah Schimmel and hot dogs and pastrami at Katz’s.
“Katz’s was very early and central to my idea of what New York was,” he told WWD.
Asked whether he was interested in replacing Graydon Carter as editor of Vanity Fair, Moss, whose name had been bandied about, gave an unequivocal answer.
“No,” he said. “No. I am very happy here, I love it. I have a great job working for Pam and the family. And that’s what I love. You got to do things you love, right?”