Stuff's Ivanka Party Turns Out to Be a Wake

'Fiddling While Rome Burns,' Says Staffer on Eve of Shutdown

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The last issue
The last issue
Stuff magazine's parties are usually big blowouts in cavernous West Side venues, but the party last night was a pretty subdued affair -- as you might expect on the eve of what everyone expected to be the magazine's shutdown.

Technically a celebration of Stuff's September issue and its cover model, Ivanka Trump, the party at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was completely overshadowed by the magazine's apparent impending end. (That fear was confirmed this morning, when Kent Brownridge and Quadrangle Capital Partners closed their acquisition of Stuff's owner, Dennis Publisher, and immediately gave the title the axe.)

Everyone was there, of course, including Editor in Chief Dan Bova, who had been on vacation when one round of reports on Stuff's imminent demise hit; Publisher John Lumpkin; and Kelly Rae, the fashion and grooming director who had been at Stuff practically its entire life.

"It's a great way to go out, with dignity and style," said one brave-faced Stuff executive, looking around at the elegant Trump Tower atrium. "Stuff magazine's come a long way in nine years."

Asked how he felt -- sorry, a reporter's got to do what a reporter's got to do -- the executive mostly demurred. "It's not fun in the office," he said. "It's not fun."

He asked not to be named because the shutdown wasn't official at all last night. It's also not clear who's being offered jobs at the new Dennis, now renamed Alpha Media Group.

"I've never had a party on the eve of a shutdown," another person said. "Fiddling while Rome burns."

But there was business to do, so Mr. Lumpkin got up and introduced Ms. Trump, calling her the "smartest woman ever" on a Stuff cover while her father beamed and tourists looked down on the scene from public floors above.

"We look forward to your issue becoming one of the best selling in Stuff's history," Mr. Lumpkin added. That would certainly be a nice coda for the magazine.
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