News of a minor metro baby boom, credited to the fertility-friendly Chinese Year of the Pig, seemed fitting for a week in which the entire city was talking about a pregnant teenager from Alaska. Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin attacked the East Coast media elitists who’d questioned her twenty months of executive experience; running mate John McCain gleefully blessed the shotgun engagement of Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, and her hockey-hunk boyfriend. Beloved ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani, briefly bumped from his speaking role by Hurricane Gustav, went Category Five in attacking Barack Obama’s past work as a community organizer.
Mayor Bloomberg sniffed around an (unpopular) plan to extend term limits, then skipped his former party’s convention to see “old friend” Whoopi Goldberg in Xanadu. A judge threw out a lawsuit against Governor Paterson that sought to stop the state from recognizing gay marriages. City transit officials estimated that 130,000 freeloaders per year were riding buses by sneaking in through rear doors. A million city kids went back to school, including two dozen kindergartners and first-graders who spent five after-school hours AWOL touring the back streets of Brooklyn. (Their driver got lost.)
Two baggage handlers at JFK, one a supervisor, were busted for allegedly lifting $280,000 in jewels from a passenger’s luggage and then boasting about the haul to co-workers, and a Queens man was arrested and charged with fencing $80,000 in stolen Victoria’s Secret merchandise via eBay. The Guggenheim said it would name a new director, Richard Armstrong. Keith Urban and Usher stopped traffic in Columbus Circle, teaming up for a free concert before the Giants’ opener. Fashion Week kicked off in Bryant Park, as couture fans wagered on whose show would start the latest. (The early line heavily favored Marc Jacobs.) And the first steel beam was laid at the site of the ground-zero memorial, just in time for the seventh anniversary of 9/11.