It was very thoughtful of you and your family to take out an ad on the op-ed page of The New York Times the other week to comment on a column by Crain's Managing Editor Steve Malanga.
Thousands of potential readers who probably have never heard of our New York publication got their first impression of Crain's from your very forthright ad. They no doubt came away thinking that you were quite upset about Steve's comments, and many of them obtained a copy of Crain's to see for themselves what the fuss was all about.
Some readers, I'm sure, agreed with your unabashed sentiments that Steve was unfair in assessing your efforts to refurbish that great New York landmark, the Rainbow Room. But hopefully they took the time to flip through our pages and some of them liked what they saw and will buy a future copy on the newsstand and maybe eventually subscribe. So we are indebted to you for helping us sample our publication to an entirely new segment of readers.
Still other people attracted to our publication by your ad will find Steve's column provocative but fair comment. To wit: "In what is emerging as one of the most bizarre episodes in the history of the city's restaurant business, the Rainbow Room has been essentially closed to the public since January, when the Cipriani family took over management. Designed to be the centerpiece of the family's expansion in New York, the Rainbow Room has instead become enmeshed in the family's brawls with unions and has suffered from other miscalculations."
Steve, as you know, also had some uncomplimentary words about the real estate magnate Jerry Speyer, who Steve said started the whole thing by jacking up the rent on the Rainbow Room, "already the highest in the nation for a restaurant," to $4 million. "Since then," Steve says, "the Ciprianis have made one mess after another throughout their empire."
That's pretty rough stuff, I grant you, and I admire the way your ad gets right to the point. In an open letter to Steve format (which I copied for this column), you stated: "Your column in the July 19 Crain's New York Business is a sorry excuse for journalism. What is your motivation for this mean spirited, inaccurate and at times blatantly false attack on my family's business?" Steve's column, you said, "reached a new low."
What hurt the most is your barring Steve from darkening the doors of the Rainbow Room when it reopens. "When the new Rainbow opens in September, New York will have a restaurant befitting the greatest city in the world; but a friend will have to tell you about it, as my father and I have a strict policy that prohibits wantonly irresponsible journalists from entering any of our restaurants."
Ouch. That's really a low blow, Mr. Cipriani, because we love the Rainbow Room. We held the 10th anniversary bash for Crain's at your fine establishment (great dancing, great food, great service) but since Alair Townsend, our publisher, and I, as the editor in chief of Crain's, also bear responsibility for Steve's column, we stand shoulder to shoulder with our embattled columnist in having to find a meal elsewhere.
Luckily, there are other bistros in town that will welcome our business. Steve received an e-mail from an executive at Morton's of Chicago acknowledging that Steve must be alarmed -- "even petrified -- by the fear that you will be forced to go hungry in Manhattan. Not to worry. Morton's of Chicago will be happy to serve you, as well as all your wantonly irresponsible journalist pals!"
Just one more favor, Mr. Cipriani. You've already helped us with the recognition of our newspaper, but would you also be willing to take the call from one of our sales people to run your sprightly ad in our publication? Alair tells me we're