Tag: TriBeCa

Project Runway finale party!

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008 | All Things, Events, Friends

Well, it wasn’t quite effortless, but in the end I made it onto the list for tonight’s Project Runway finale viewing party at the Tribeca Grand Hotel. Most who know me know that I’m a huge Project Runway junkie, so this was a big night for which I have SC to thank — both for putting the plans into motion and for rallying to the adventure, despite battling a 103 degree fever.

When would we have this opportunity again, after all?

Contestants from all four seasons of the Bravo reality series were on hand for the broadcast, which took place in the hotel’s subterranean screening room. But before the airing, there were cocktails, champagne, passed hors d’oevres, and lots of people watching. Among the constantly popping flashbulbs, I very quickly overcame my initial reluctance to snap copious photos of the festivities. It seemed that at every turn was someone I recognized from television: Ted Allen of Queer Eye and Top Chef fame, Kara Janx (Season 2), Malan Breton (Season 3), Alison Kelly (Season 3), random models scattered throughout — instantly identifiable for towering head and shoulders above everyone else…

And at the center of it all, in the press area, was tiny 21-year old finalist (and fan favorite) Christian Siriano. Hmm, interesting…

Project Runway press

Christian Siriano

Now at that point in the evening the finale had yet to air, so the season’s winner was not publicly known. We had our strong suspicions, but although several in attendance clearly had inside information, they were sworn to secrecy. SC and I had no luck wheedling the information in advance out of the The Weinstein Company producer we met at the coat check.

Tim Gunn was one of the most popular guests at the party, chatting with everyone (designers, reporters and lay people alike), and being generally charming.

Tim Gunn

Finalist Rami Kashou (below) arrived about an hour before the show, all smiles, followed last of all by Jillian Lewis, petite and beautiful in her strapless, lacy metallic minidress, and escorted by her boyfriend/business partner Lewaa Abdulkhalek.

Rami Kashou

Victorya Hong, whose new line na•be — nah-BEE, Korean for “butterfly”– launches in Fall 2008, was accompanied by her tall, bespectacled husband, and smiling more than she ever had on the show. Tim gave a dishy, refreshingly candid post-show interview in which he confirmed what a “sourpuss, a crabby apple… a sour pill” Victorya was throughout the entire PR run. (Me-ow!) Christian was considerably less harsh in his characterization of her… but he may not be the most impartial judge as we all know how he feels about Asians, generally.

[Update: Oh, snap! Victorya responds to Tim’s comments via Blogging Project Runway!]

Victorya Hong

Chris March in animal print (of course!) and a dry-eyed Ricky Lizalde in red patent cap (ditto!), with Andy Cohen, Bravo’s senior VP of Programming:

Ricky Lizalde & Chris March

I was pleasantly surprised to run into KC seated with another editor on a banquette outside the theatre. We spent a brief time catching up, and before we knew it, the 10PM hour drew nigh, and the guests were herded inside for the finale broadcast.

By the time Heidi Klum announced “This… is Project Runway!“, almost every seat in the theatre was taken: Tim, the three finalists, a couple of their models and assorted VIPs were seated on couches in the front row, facing the hovering cameras, while several of Season 4’s contestants clustered in a row near the rear. CS and I were relegated to perching on the steps along the side — total fire hazard, but at least we were in good company with PR stylist Nathaniel Hawkins behind us and, for a while, the Project RunGay Boys.

Kathleen “Sweet P” Vaughn, Jack Mackenroth (his boyfriend, Top Chef Season 3 runner-up Dale Levitski was not in attendance), Victorya, her model Jacqueline and Carmen Webber (seated):

Project Runway audience

Last year’s PR winner Jeffrey Sebelia, Santino Rice (Season 2) and Kit Pistol (Season 4) watched the broadcast with fans in Los Angeles.

Here in New York City, the screening was rather lively, with much cheering from the audience for all three designers. Commercial breaks were muted, and offered everyone a good opportunity to speculate amongst themselves and to dash to the bar for refills.

The Bryant Park collections drew lots of appreciative oohs and ahhs for Christian’s, Rami’s and Jillian’s work. (Not aired: Sweet P’s and Chris’s showings before guest judge Posh at Fashion Week in early February — decoy collections which predated the broadcast of their subsequent elimination episodes.)

I will say that Bravo did a reasonable job maintaining suspense when most (including judge Michael Kors) seemed to have the winner of this contest pegged early on. And though I’d found Christian’s preening — dare I say: bitchy — affectations throughout the season pretty off-putting at times, it was rather endearing to see him humbled at the end — clearly wanting the win so much, but extremely nervous that it would slip away.

It didn’t, of course. Christian Siriano wins Project Runway Season 4! (“Hello, did you have a doubt? Come on, what up?“) Later that night when Christian was presented with that comically giant $100,000 check in front of his competitors, they seemed as a whole thrilled for him, which suggested to me that his antics didn’t generate too much ill will, and were probably exaggerated for good television.

Post-show, Tim with Kevin Christiana (whom I startled on the way into the party by inadvertently squealing his name… forgetting for a moment that this wasn’t my living room and that the contestants could, you know, hear me) and Sweet P, pretty in purple.

Kevin Christiana, Tim Gunn & Sweet P Vaughan

When we congratulated Christian’s runway model Lisa for winning the spread in Elle magazine, she thanked us sweetly and beamed in her new outfit — a one-shouldered dark blue ruffled mini-dress, created by you-know-who the night before, just for this occasion.

Season 1‘s winner Jay McCarroll, whose “homelessness” as reported in a New York magazine feature on the post-show difficulties faced by Bravo reality stars turned out to be greatly exaggerated. With Nora Caliguri (Season 1) and her sister.

Jay McCarroll

The party continued late into the night at Marquee, but CS and I headed home with our TRESemmé gift bags, having had our fill of fierceness and fabulosity for one evening.

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Province Chinese Canteen

Thursday, November 15th, 2007 | All Things, Eats

For a change of scene from our usual Chinatown lunch, we wandered over to the eastern edge of TriBeCa this dreary afternoon to check out Province Chinese Canteen, based on yet another of JL’s recommendations, making it a three-peat ™ for the week.

Province opened last August during a spate of Asian snack-food openings, and quickly distinguished itself to earn a spot on New York magazine’s Cheap Eats list in 2007. The scaled-down, industrial cafeteria design — brushed metal, blonde wood, white Christmas lights strung from the ceiling — seems appropriate for the simple offerings: sandwiches, sides, soups, salads, desserts and beverages.


The sandwiches are what comprise the bulk of the menu, and based on the steady stream of walk-ins, the bulk of their take-out business. And we could see why: what they do, they do addictively well. The assorted Asian-inspired fillings (grilled chicken, braised pork shoulder, spicy pork and short rib) are presented on griddled round mantou — the Northern Chinese bread, the diameter of an English muffin, the density of a fluffy bagel. Province’s version are slightly sweet and topped with a sprinkling of dark-toasted sesame seeds, which add a nice texture.

The snack-sized buns are $4.25 apiece, making them a bargain in the city’s most expensive zip code, but on the pricey end for the market a few blocks north in Chinatown; a filling meal can be made of two sandwiches for $8, or three for $11.75. Here, the short rib, topped with kimchi (lettuce may be substituted upon request), and the spicy pork, topped with Japanese takuan. Good stuff. I would have liked to stay on to sample more items, particularly the cold sesame noodles — “the must-eat item on the menu” — but this afternoon, I had neither ample appetite nor time.

Province mantou

As I raced back to the office, one particularly strong gust inverted and bent in half my favorite Lulu Guinness umbrella. Drats.

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