Newsmax's Ronald Kessler spills the beans on how NY Daily News gossip columnist Grove compares NY to DC. Now that he's left the trade that brought him nearly a dozen invites a day, the guys swears he's dropped 20 pounds. Party on.
“In New York, more than in Washington, there are people who always want to give you things. Give you a handmade suit, or jewelry, or liquor, or whatever. And it was my practice really to shy away from that. But the culture of swag is very highly developed in New York in a way that it’s not in Washington.”
Washington is a company town, Grove says.
“Pretty much everything is focused through the prism of government and politics,” he says. “New York has 20, 30 major industries that are headquartered here, everything from the arts to sports to media to finance to real estate. And as a journalist covering both towns, I mean Washington is a lot easier to get your arms around. I pretty much got to know all the players. And in New York, it’s much more complicated, and I’m still on the learning curve.”
Events in New York are often organized to promote a movie or a product like Donald Trump’s vodka.
“The party at Trump Tower had the stickiest floor of any party I’d ever been to, from all the vodka that was spilled,” Grove says. “A lot of parties in New York are held to highlight some fragrance, movie, clothing line, hard liquor. And a lot of parties in Washington are held to highlight some kind of politician.”
In Washington, you see the same people.
“Meg Greenfield [the late editor of the Washington Post editorial page] famously compared Washington to high school,” Grove notes. “And there’s a bit of that in New York, because you have these different groups of people in various lines of work, but there’s so many of them, and they seldom intersect.”
As a journalistic butterfly, Grove would go from one group to the other.
“Depending on what party, whose group’s party you were at, it would often be many of the same people,” he says. “For instance, at least once a week, I would see Harvey Weinstein, the head of now the Weinstein Co. studio and before that Miramax. I’d see Barbara Walters everywhere. She would be at the opening of the opera, and at a book party. And you see the Clintons around too, particularly Bill.”
Asked if Bill behaves himself, Grove says, “He was very well behaved. Every party I saw him at, he behaved almost as much of a gentleman as you are.”
Donald Trump was omnipresent.
“Donald is a staple of the columns, and I developed a very good working relationship with Donald,” Grove says. “You also see these models everywhere—Petra Nemcova, Paulina Porizkova.”
In both cities, Grove was besieged by people wanting publicity.
“You’re constantly hearing from people who want something from you, and it’s understandable,” he says. “As in Washington, there are people who understand what you do, and you can have working relationships with them, and they know how to pitch a gossip column. And there are people who really are kind of clueless, and it’s just sort of stuff for the circular file.”
When it comes to food, the party scene is overrated.
“I’ve had a lot of cheap wine in my job,” he says. “I’ve rarely had beluga caviar..."