Spotted at the Port Authority this afternoon: Paris Hilton.
In the inevitable high heels and platinum coiffure, an hour and a half late, Ms. Hilton strutted through the hall not of one of the upscale hotels of her family’s dynasty, but of one of the city’s less glamorous day spots.
Fortunately, she was not trying to catch a bus. Escorted by an entourage of girlfriends and police officers, Ms. Hilton came to attend a lunch party organized by the United Service Organizations, the private nonprofit providing support and recreational services to members of the American military and their families, which has an office in the terminal’s north wing.
By the time Ms. Hilton, who turned 30 today, showed up, several Homeland Security officers had already gone back to work, and many of the sandwiches and potato chips had been consumed.
“Who keeps the military waiting like that?” asked one Port Authority officer called in to watch the place and enforce the strict — and perhaps puzzling for such an event — no-press mandate.
Ms. Hilton was all hugs and smiles as she was welcomed by a soldier in combat uniform who offered her a cupcake with a birthday candle. She had a bite of a sandwich and a bite of a cookie and drew a heart next to her name on a poster reading, “Tomorrow’s warfighter needs you today,” calling for donations to the Army Emergency Relief.
She then made the “V” victory sign for countless cellphone pictures with U.S.O. guests in uniform, suit or sweatpants, chatted with army wives and kids and kept her smile unshaken for some 25 minutes. She then left, parading by the information desk and cheap jewelry stands in the station’s entrance hall.
Travelers and Port Authority employees raised a few eyebrows, but most seemed unfazed.
“What,” asked Liz Hohn, who was selling apple cider and cabbage at the Thursday farmers’ market “is Paris Hilton doing at the Port Authority?” She added: “I can’t believe we pay tax dollars for her to be escorted here by the police.”
The event was not without its moment of drama, though. As Port Authority officers were trying to get an intern with the photography department of The New York Times to comply with Ms. Hilton’s people’s request that she stop snapping pictures, a crowd began to build, the situation started to get out of hand and the intern, Karly Domb Sadof, pushed a police officer in the face, said John Kelly, a spokesman for the agency.
Ms. Domb Sadof was charged with disorderly conduct and harassment. She denied pushing the officer. The officer, Mr. Kelly said, refused medical attention.