Main Events

Rande Gerber and wife
Cindy Crawford

The Colossus On Columbus
Dazzles With Vertical Shopping

Story by Edward T. Callaghan
Photos: Rob Rich

ORGET the schlep to Manhasset, duck the tolls to Woodbury Commons and cash in the tix to Vegas to hit the Forum Shops.  The Big Apple can now boast its very own mall with a decided New York twist: the opulent Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle.

Opening night had all the air of the Academy Awards complete with red carpet and limo gridlock that choked Central Park South and West.  Thousands of New York’s movers and shakers, high rollers, celebs and wannabes swarmed over slick marble floors to get their first look at the latest big $$$ shot to New York’s economy.

For such glittering folks as Ahmet and Mica Ertegun, Gov. George Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Kevin Bacon, Danny Aiello, Jerry Della Femina and wife Judy Licht, Loews co-chairman Preston Tisch, Famke Janssen, Elizabeth Berkley and Fern Mallis, the lure was the roster of luxury product purveyors and 5-star chefs who have taken up residence in the 80-story twin tower structure.

NBC newscaster Felicia Taylor
and Jack Lynch

Thomas Keller, Gray Junz, Masa Takayama, Charlie Trotter and Jean George Vongerichten are some of  culinary world’s headliners who’ll be dishing up their specialties to the well-heeled around the clock.

Coach, Cole-Haan, Armani, Bose, Thomas Pink, Godiva, Tourneau and Hugo Boss are just a sample of the high-end retailers who are gambling that New Yorkers aren’t vertically challenged and will do their windowshopping via escalators from floor to floor.

And opening night they did just that – gliding up and down waving to friends and careful not to get their Manolo Blahniks caught.

Cindy Crawford with plenty of experience in that area shuttled friends up to the fourth floor to hubby Rande Gerber’s latest addition to his nightlife empire, Stone Rose.

Time Warner chairman Richard Parsons was beaming like a proud papa to CNN top talents Paula Zahn, Wolf Blitzer and Larry King who trekked north for a looky-loo.  The Daily Show anchor Jon Stewart was momentarily speechless but quickly returned to his customary quipping as MC.

Just to add a little more juice to the gala evening, pop star Jewel and crooner and hometown boy Marc Anthony a took to the stage.  As did, the always mesmerizing Cirque de Soleil troupe and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra which now calls the complex home.

Cirque de Soleil

Designed by David Childs of Skidmore Owings and Merrill, the $1.7 billion complex stands on the former site of the New York Coliseum, which for the last two decades had been a seedy reminder of better days the Circle once enjoyed.  We remember with great fondness a visit to the British Exposition some 40 years ago when the Coliseum was in its glory.

Now the twin 80-story edifice, with a super deluxe Mandarin Oriental Hotel, sky- high priced condos (up to $45 million and that’s without the curtains!) and the largest supermarket in New York City, Whole Foods (the star attraction in our book), sparkle over the treetops of Central Park.

Gov. Pataki may very well be right: “This will attract people not just from New York but from around the world.”  We bet it will!

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