As a judge allowed the Grinch into his theater, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the city last week. The season’s first powder dusted treetops, and Super Cute Hello Kitty and Jeff Koons bunny balloons paraded down Broadway. Barack Obama sledded ahead of Hillary Clinton in the latest Iowa poll, while Clinton settled for the Democratic equivalent of coal in her stocking—a pat on the head from President Bush, who called her a “formidable” candidate. Governor Spitzer, whose approval ratings are hovering near those of Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, had a Scrooge-like epiphany and declared that subway fares should stay at $2; meanwhile, the Feds coughed up another $1.3 billion for the Second Avenue subway. The Trust for Public Land bought an undeveloped seven-acre East River island to preserve it for commuting birds. The gift shop at Saint Patrick’s agreed to investigate whether its crucifixes were made by Chinese sweatshop laborers paid 26 cents an hour. A beleaguered Wall Street rallied behind record pay, while the luckiest bankers of them all, at Goldman Sachs, decided to give something back by starting a billion-dollar philanthropy fund. New crime stats indicated muggings are making a strong comeback in Central Park, Charmin's public potties received their ceremonial first flush from Molly Shannon. Robert De Niro accused Salander-O’Reilly Galleries of heartlessly stealing a dozen of his dad’s paintings. Mary-Kate Olsen went to the emergency room with a bum kidney. A-Rod bagged another MVP trophy, while the state-income-tax authority went gunning for Florida resident Derek Jeter. The Department of Buildings revealed that 40 percent of construction-site accidents are owed to projectiles plummeting to the ground below. And the landmarks commission decreed that the Guggenheim Museum must keep its seasonally appropriate off-white instead of reverting to the more yellow hue Frank Lloyd Wright preferred. —Mark Adams
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