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How's McCall's doing three years after coming under the Gruner & Jahr banner? Madelyn Alpert Roberts tells me the November issue closed up 15% in ad pages over the month a year back. "We are enjoying our new success," says the VP-associate publisher.

If you are, as I certainly am, fascinated by the Marquess of Bath and his ancestral home (complete with his own, rather odd paintings), do get the sleek premiere issue of an interiors mag called Nest, edited here by Joseph Holtzman but printed in Milan. It costs seven and a half bucks.

Doretta Sperduto joined Metropolitan Home as senior editor. I'm not sure she's acquainted with the Marquess of Bath, but she knows her stuff.

Last week the Dr. Scholl's footwear folks were raising money for the Children's Hope Foundation (kids with AIDS and HIV) at Sony Plaza in N.Y. by getting celebs to donate sandals to be auctioned off. Among those who did: Linda Wells, Barbara Walters, Bonnie Fuller, Matt Lauer, Mary Hart, Bill Cosby, Martha Stewart, Liz Tilberis and lots more.

Cindy Adams of the New York Post wasn't auctioning the stuff off but was out there doing the talk shows promoting her new perfume, Gossip. Did Winchell have his own perfume label? Did Hedda or Louella? Cindy does and it's in Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Sears and other national chains.

Today's Homeowner (Times Mirror) hired two new sales reps, Eileen Shiels in N.Y. and Victoria McLeod in Chicago.

Christmas in Dublin? Check out The Clarence (right on the River Liffey), owned by U2 and rated a top hotel by both Conde Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure. Who stays there? Michael Douglas, Jack Nicholson and like that.

Diana Murphy reports Country Living Gardener (Hearst) is raising its rate base from 400,000 to 425,000. Newsstand, she says, is hot, "selling more copies than all of the gardening titles combined."

Lunching at the Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan, Howard Stringer with Dick Snyder. At other tables, Ralph Lauren, Art Cooper, and in from Paris, Pierre Berge, the genius behind the Yves Saint Laurent empire.

Ruth Reichl reports in The New York Times that the single most exciting place to eat in this country is the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif. Closer to home, the hot new place in East Hampton (it opened in September) is Peconic Coast on the Montauk Highway near Jerry Della Femina's Red Horse market.

Kid City, the mag from Children's Television Workshop in NY, says these are the kids' category favorites: 5,000 respondents between 7 and 10 voted for, Michael Jordan, pizza, Nintendo 64, the book "Matilda," "Home Improvement," the movie "Space Jam," and Kristi Yamaguchi (the skater born with club feet). Grossest veggie? Broccoli, natch.

Tom Wolfe, dapper as ever, slogged through the nor'easter to intro John Weitz's reading of his latest, "Hitler's Banker," at Bookhampton in East Hampton. Weitz

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