A noose dangling from the door of an African-American Columbia professor’s office was the only thing that kept Yankees manager Joe Torre off the front pages this week. Rudy Giuliani pleaded with a capricious higher power — God, that is, not George Steinbrenner — to save his pin-striped pal’s job (he’d already said he’d appoint Torre to his Cabinet if given the chance). Mayor Bloomberg, displaying the tendency to be not totally insane that has set him apart from his predecessor time and again, merely remarked that “you can have great people and great coaching and it’s just not meant to be.”
Elsewhere in the Bronx, Bloomberg — with the aid of Bette Midler and Big Bird — planted the first tree of his PlaNYC green initiative (999,999 less-photographed trees are scheduled to follow). Ice-skaters wondered if global warming was responsible for the 80-degree weather on a slushy opening day at the Rockefeller Center rink—it was certainly responsible for Al Gore’s Nobel. The 7 train abruptly decided to quit working, stranding subway riders en route from Queens. A Staten Island councilman earned Web superstardom by telling a Borat-esque Norwegian interviewer to “get the fuck out of my office.” Foul-mouthed Gordon Ramsay smoked his rivals in new dining guides from Zagat and Michelin, nabbing high marks for his eponymous restaurant.
The Ciprianis avoided prison sentences by agreeing to settle their tax tab. Tenants of the Ansonia swore that roaches had infested their building, while Brad and Angelina’s family swarmed a five-bedroom nest at the Waldorf Towers. The Globetrotters returned to Harlem for the first time since 1987. And though the Knicks were beset by two new employee lawsuits, creaky-kneed gunner Allan Houston showed that at least one ex-Gardenite is still loyal, signing on with the team for a comeback attempt. —Mark Adams