City’s top cop keeps his celebrity badge bright and shiny.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly must have New York City’s crime under control, because he certainly seems to have a lot of time to hobnob with celebrities.
Today’s Page Six notes that Kelly appeared at a Christmas Party thrown by supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis in honor of former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, and that socialites Patricia Duff and Rita Crosby were there.
That was no rare outing for Kelly. His social calendar is packed — he’s pictured above with bright light Ruth Lande Shuman — and the city’s gossip pages reflect that. Pretty surprising for a guy who promotes a self-image as a workaholic focused on keeping the city safe from crime and terror.
Only last month, colleague Roy Edroso noted Kelly’s selfless charity work with the current Miss America, Kirsten Haglund. The two of them, with Kathie Lee Gifford, were scheduled for the New York City Rescue Mission’s Thanksgiving Banquet.
On December 8, Kelly popped up at the Four Seasons to talk turkey with other celebrities at the eatery’s 50th anniversary.
But it’s not just the holiday season that draws Kelly out of his shell. In October, he showed up at a Mercy Corps benefit with a Kennedy, designer Donna Karan, and other bold-facers. And — whadda you know? — there was Kelly at a breakfast thrown by Men’s Vogue, which wrote a fawning profile about him and his fancy suit, “weighty gold links,” and a goldfish-colored Charvet tie.”
The guy’s a virtual Zelig in the social scene.
Veteran cop-watcher Leonard Levitt — the former Newsday columnist who still sticks his nose into the NYPD’s business in his NYPD Confidential blog — notes that Kelly is following in the footsteps of one of his predecessors, William Bratton.
(Bratton is now the LAPD’s police chief but was once just an ordinary New York City police commissioner who hung out at Elaine’s.)
Levitt notes that Kelly has used Bratton’s personal tailor.
“Bratton really reinvented the role of the police commissioner, and they all glommed on to it,” says Levitt. “In his first term, [Kelly] had almost ascetic image. He’s a totally different person now. People in the department even refer to Kelly I and Kelly II.
Levitt adds, “He’s just totally impressed with himself. I don’t see any benefit to the Police Department.”
Well, maybe Bergdorf Goodman needed police protection from the commish at its party in September for a famous fashion photog. And perhaps Kelly’s visibility ensured everyone’s safety at Bob Dylan’s August concert.
Who wouldn’t want to rub elbows with a top cop who himself has rubbed elbows with the likes of Stephen Colbert, Harvey Keitel, Gary Sinise, and Conan O’Brien.
Those are only a few of the celebs with whom Kelly has partied while protecting the city.
Perhaps Kelly is just following the example of not only Bratton but also the other commissioners between Bratton’s reign and his own.
Bernard Kerik didn’t consummate his relationship with the country as its Homeland Security chief, but Kerik really did have an affair with a celebrity: book publisher Judith Regan.
Always attuned to celebrity and status, Commissioner Kerik used to make sure that the press stayed out of Ground Zero, but if you had a Q rating, an agent, and “people,” you got a guided tour. (For more on Kerik and his dealings with underground celebs like mobbed-up contractors, see Tom Robbins’s July 2006 story “Kerik Cops a Sweet Plea: The guy Giuliani and Bush picked to protect us gets a rap sheet.”)
Kerik’s predecessor Howard Safir, another Giuliani boy, snared bit parts on shows like NYPD Blue. More to the point, Safir got so carried away with celebrity doings that he once accepted a free flight from a cosmetics mogul to attend the Oscars. The commish had to skip a City Council hearing on the Amadou Diallo shooting to take the junket, but as he told the press at the time, he had a “scheduling conflict.”
Hopefully Kelly got the message: Don’t let your police business get in the way of your social life.