The Friars Club. Born 1904. The in-house chophouse for four-star showfolk: Sammy Davis, Lucille Ball, Nat “King” Cole, Milton Berle, Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan, Alan King, George M. Cohan. Famous for its yearly celebrity roasts, where if you had nothing nice to say about the Honoree, you sat on the dais.
Those biggies are gone. Also gone is the organization’s arithmetic, which attracted the Feds. Humbled, the place then fumbled, bumbled and crumbled. That was then. This is now. Enter attorney Arthur Aidala (clients like 50 Cent and Harvey Weinstein) saying: “Forget old mistakes. We’re reopening. New guests. New leadership. Floor to ceiling redone clubhouse.”
Me, Madam Adams: Happens I know insurance claims from a flood helped subsidize this multimillion-dollar redo of its East 55th landmarked clubhouse the Monastery.
Aidala: “Floor to ceiling, everything inside’s being totally redone. Even in place of our onetime fried chicken, a nutritionist’s menu will include gluten friendly food. We’ve got decorators, contractors, inlaid wood, Tiffany lamps, burnished banisters, gym, steam room, the old card game room’s now a computer room. Wi-Fi throughout.
“We’re not erasing history. Still the Barbra Streisand Bar and Billy Crystal Room. The Frank Sinatra dining room opens October. Phyllis Diller’s plaque and Joey Adams’ photo still decorate our walls. Larry King remains our Abbot.”
But their membership had become dentists and manufacturers. What now?
“Younger names. We have Jimmy Fallon, YouTubers, maybe we’ll get Tina Fey, Amy Schumer. We’ll have Big Band night. Comedians will try out on Thursday Comedy Night. Young people on network TV at 11 p.m.
Private club Midtown Manhattan. To join, $5,000. What could be more cool?”
So why’s former prosecutor Aidala hustling for the Friars?
“Listen, I came in years ago. It was floundering. I had leadership ability so they put me on the board.”
Mets as good as sold
Steve Cohen. Hedge-fund billionaire. Humming “Take me out to the ballgame …” Forget he’ll buy some peanuts and Cracker Jack — how about the whole damn team?
Cohen already owns 8 percent of the Mets. Guaranteed Grand Slam he’s approved to buy the team. Execs, owners, MLB types, dwarves around the commissioner, big mouths consider anyone else bush-league who’s borrowing, hustling, scraping pennies. This kind of money won’t dent Cohen’s pocket. And he doesn’t do partners.
Pros favor him because he’ll step up to the plate. He’ll buy heavy-duty players like the Yankees. Fans favor him because he can push the team into the World Series.
What I’m telling you is what I know.
Per a mega VIP once: Just one single thing makes you a standout in New York.
And that’s only if you own a sports team.
How to spend indoor hours? I stayed up all night to read James Patterson’s newies “The Summer House” and his thrilling chilling “1st Case.” So exciting. Better than sex.
E-mail ads must be trying to juice up my nightlife. One arrived offering me a free trial-size package of Viagra.
Beats Southampton Hospital. They once did fund-raisers every 20 minutes. Now they offer to cater food, flowers plus a 10-person sit-down dinner at your home. Give them a decent check, they’ll throw in a bedpan.
A tiny female puppy is brought to a clinic. Vet: “I’ll examine her.” Owner: “Not ‘her.’ The dog is transgender. Refer to this dog as ‘them.’ ” The flummoxed vet: “OK. So I’m taking this little 4-pound them inside to be examined.”
Oy. Only in New York, kids, only in New York!!!
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