The combined holy powers of Easter and Passover together couldn’t prevent April’s week-that’s-all-about-money from coming early this year. Rather than respectfully waiting until Tax Day, the root of all evil crept its way into the headlines last week. Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani didn’t hold off till April 15, Federal Election Commission Filing Day, to announce their first-quarter contributions: $26 million for HRC and $15 million for Rudy, placing him between Mitt Romney (!) and John McCain. Barack Obama cleverly waited to announce his own number — $25 million. That surprised nearly everyone, except maybe billionaire Obama pal David Geffen, who lost out on his dream of owning the L.A. Times to another billionaire, Chicagoan Sam Zell.
Zell now owns Newsday too, the tabloid of record for Long Island, whose schools got a big bonus subsidy in Governor Spitzer’s first budget. City schools also did well, getting $637 million more than last year, as did middle-class kids, who can now be enrolled in the state’s health-insurance plan if their parents make up to $82,600 combined. Not that anyone making that middle-class salary of $82,600 actually lives in New York anymore; a new study showed that far more New Yorkers than in 1990 make either less than $30,000 or more than $135,000, while the median price of a Manhattan apartment tripled in the past ten years, to $1.22 million. So perhaps it was no wonder that three middle-class teachers from Urban Assembly Media High School on the Upper West Side sought escape in a spliff outside the Allman Brothers show at the Beacon. But police — who you’d think would have better things to do, like chasing down the thief of clown Bello Nock’s miniature bicycle (which a homeless man turned in for the $1,000 reward) — busted the trio.
In other ways, the city was dirty and lawless, since alternate-side-parking regulations were suspended all week owing to a rare alignment on the calendar of Passover and Good Friday, saving city car owners untold multiples of $65 and giving Orthodox Jews and Catholics something to agree on besides Friday-night dietary restrictions. —Paul Tullis