The candidates for president met on Long Island, near the capital of the global economic meltdown, for a Charlie Rose–style debate last week, but everyone seemed concerned only with how they were playing to the successful plumbers in the hinterlands. The following night, John McCain came under fire on David Letterman, then exchanged a few rounds of jokes with Barack Obama at the Al Smith Dinner. Obama stressed how tight his opponent was with George W. Bush, whose national approval ratings hit new record lows.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn threw her weight behind Mayor Bloomberg’s three-peat bid; both pols hinted that property- and income-tax hikes were on the way. Hillary Clinton pegged her chances of hitting the White House campaign trail again at “probably close to zero.” Jon Bon Jovi scolded Sarah Palin for insinuating that his anthem “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” referred to Alaska, not Jersey.
An NYSE rally on Columbus Day was erased—and then some—after Fed chairman Ben Bernanke gave a gloomy speech at the Empire State Building. Other indicators of impending economic doom: Construction spending in the city was expected to fall by $7 billion over two years; Wal-Mart opened a temporary store in Times Square; and, most shocking, the number of entrants at MSG’s national cat show dropped by 23 percent.
An heir to the Hermès fortune was arrested on a Paris-JFK flight for allegedly grabbing the pilot’s crotch. Oliver Stone’s W. premiered at the Ziegfeld. Hot-dog-eating champ Joey Chestnut vacuumed up a record 45 slices of Famous Famiglia pizza in ten minutes. A 19-year-old Rangers prospect died on the ice in Russia, of an apparent heart attack. Eli Manning kept throwing despite suffering a painful-sounding bruised chest. The QE2 docked for the final time at its West Side pier. Madonna shocked no one by splitting up with husband Guy Ritchie, just days after attending Yom Kippur services with her just-good-friend A-Rod. And artist Olafur Eliasson turned off the tap on his salt-spraying waterfall installations.