Ralph Gardner, Jr. is freelance writer whose work has appeared in New York magazine, the New York Observer, the New Yorker and other publications.

As friends gather to mourn financier Bruce Wasserstein, Ralph Gardner Jr. reports on the future of Lazard Frères, New York magazine, and his sister Wendy’s famous daughter.

Brooke Astor’s son and his lawyer have been handed a guilty verdict, but Ralph Gardner Jr. still can’t crack the trial’s central mystery: What made them think they’d get away with defrauding a New York social icon?

As closing arguments get under way, the attorneys in the epic trial fire their parting shots, and try to weave four months of testimony into a narrative for the exhausted jury.

Could Pearline Noble, who dubbed the Marshalls “Miss Piggy” and “the golden retriever,” help get Brooke Astor’s son Anthony off the hook by painting his wife as a villain?

There are no secrets from the servants. After weeks of celebrity witnesses, Brooke Astor’s maid and butler take the stand. Ralph Gardner Jr. reports.

That was the question at the Astor trial, as the longtime lawyer for New York society’s grande dame was hit hard both by prosecutors and attorneys for the son who seized control of her estate.

Barbara Walters, Graydon Carter, and Henry Kissinger joined the chorus of witnesses at the Brooke Astor trial who say the society doyenne lost her marbles before she changed her will.

How can the defense in the Brooke Astor trial possibly call witnesses as charming and believable as socialites Louis Auchincloss, Annette de la Renta, and Nancy Kissinger?