John was seated between two of New York's most remarkable grandes dames, Brooke Astor (who made a charming little speech extolling him) and Mrs. John Barry (Nin) Ryan, both friends of many years. Next to Brooke sat the young Rory Howard, nephew of the Duke of Norfolk, and next to Rory was Eliza Reed, Annette de la Renta's striking daughter. Also at John's table was another of his oldest friends, Stuart Preston, who flew in from Paris especially for the party. Also surrounding the birthday boy were David Mortimer, Sir John Plum, Barbara Epstein, Renata Adler and Arthur Schlesinger. Not a low I.Q. in the bunch.
Everywhere you looked you saw Mercedes and Sid Bass, Annette de la Renta, Donna and Bill Acquavella, Nancy and Henry Kissinger, Bessie de Cuevas, Maxime de la Falaise, David Pleydell Bouverie, Shelley Wanger Mortimer, Diane Von Furstenberg with Barry Diller, Mica Ertegun, Drue Heinz, Brooke Hayward, Peter Duchin, Fernanda and Jamie Niven, Sarah Giles, Katherine Warren, Camilla and Earl McGrath, Beatrice di Monte (who has just joined Vanity Fair as an editor), Johnny Galliher, Brad Gooch, Princess Firyal of Jordan, Linda Wachner, Gita and Sonny Mehta, Bill Lieberman, Ashton Hawkins, Annie Leibovitz, Susan Sontag (who spoke, mellifluously, I might add, of John's body of work), Robert Silvers, Patricia Patterson, Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera, Jerry Zipkin, Boaz Mazor, Robert Denning, Alexandra Schlesinger and Tina Brown.