The news that hordes of European tourists were propping up New York City’s economy comes as no surprise to those who caught a glimpse of a German fellow cruising the streets in a late-model Popemobile today. His Holiness Benedict XVI made a sightseeing trip up Fifth Avenue, blessing the Catholic faithful, and is scheduled to make stops at ground zero and Yankee Stadium. British P.M. Gordon Brown hit the U.N., where he napped. Barack Obama, still praying that rural Pennsylvania voters would forget his observation that bitter country folk feel clingy toward guns and religion, was charged by Hillary Clinton with overfriendliness toward a member of the Weather Underground. Clinton’s spokesman dismissed as “ridiculous” rumors of her seeking a job in Albany; Mayor Bloomberg denied that he hoped to repeal term limits and go for a third term. (He said he wants to tour the Empire State instead. Hmmm.)
Governor Paterson’s April 15 filings showed he’d given a paltry $150 to charity last year—in the form of used clothes donated to the Salvation Army. Two City Council aides were nabbed stealing cash from a phony children’s nonprofit. Federal investigators charged a rookie NYPD cop with knocking over an East Village bank twice. A librarian was driven to tears in a downtown courtroom over Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling’s accusations that he’d profit from her Hogwarts oeuvre. Average rents dipped slightly (except for one-bedrooms). John Paulson took honors as last year’s top-earning hedge-fund manager, with $3.7 billion. Former Newark mayor Sharpe James was found guilty of arranging shady real-estate deals with his former mistress. The Knicks’ cursed season ended with a 23-59 record. The Yankees spent $50,000 disinterring an unlucky Red Sox jersey from the foundation of their stadium-in-progress. And budget cuts raised the possibility that another white-hued visitor from across the Atlantic — architect Santiago Calatrava’s luminous, spiny ground zero path station — might arrive late, shrunken, or when hell freezes over.