Gas may have fallen to a mere $4 a gallon in the city last week, but it didn’t seem like anyone else was getting their money’s worth. Leaked memos from Hillary Clinton’s $243 million campaign showed that strategist Mark Penn had advised her to avoid being too likable and to model herself after Margaret Thatcher. No one was buying John Edwards’s story that he knew nothing about $15,000 monthly payments to ex-lover Rielle Hunter. Governor Paterson recommended a healthy half-billion-dollar cut in the state Medicaid budget.
The FBI asked if anyone was missing any rare art, since the priceless trove left behind by collector William Kingsland includes stolen works (even a few Picassos). The NYPD rolled out a plan to ID every car that enters the city. A Pakistani scientist was asked to explain why her purse contained chemical-weapons recipes and a list of potential targets, including the Statue of Liberty and Times Square. Gumball-size hail fell in Queens and the Bronx, while glass continued to rain from the sky at the Bank of America building on 42nd Street. The City Council threatened to fine stores that crank the A/C and leave their front doors open. News broke that three sneaky straphangers had screwed the MTA out of $800,000.
Preppy killer Robert Chambers dropped his drug-insanity defense and copped a plea for dealing coke. NBC execs let out a $900 million sigh of relief as Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps struck ratings gold. Wall Streeters wondered who’d laid down a late $1.7 million bet against Bear Stearns that paid off at 158 to 1. Justin Timberlake signed up for double duty at the fall fashion shows in Bryant Park, both as performer and proprietor of his William Rast collection. Clint Eastwood’s Changeling (starring Angelina Jolie as a 1920s mom) was selected to headline the New York Film Festival. And Bob Dylan turned back the clock, playing an electrifying “Masters of War” in a set at the Prospect Park band shell.