It was estimated that two-thirds of office holiday parties have been canceled, but some New Yorkers still found reason to celebrate. Hillary Clinton formally accepted her nomination as Barack Obama’s secretary of State, while Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Nita Lowey seemed all too happy to withdraw their names from consideration for the new prospective Senate vacancy. State Senator Malcolm Smith made a deal with the Gang of Three, solidifying Democratic control of the Senate. Governor Paterson gave two thumbs up to an MTA rescue plan that would reduce fare hikes but institute tolls on the Brooklyn Bridge, among others. Giants receiver Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg at a midtown nightclub.
As Viacom and NBC announced big layoffs, economists boldly declared that the nation had entered a recession last December. Deutsche Bank sued Donald Trump for missing loan payments, while his ex-wife Ivana announced divorce No. 4, from 35-year-old Rossano Rubicondi.
The owners of Saigon Grill were arrested and charged with 242 felony counts for tampering with their own records. A Paul Weiss attorney was killed in Philadelphia by a former client of his girlfriend, a onetime Ph.D. student who moonlighted as a dominatrix. Sure-handed climber Alain Robert got off with a slap on the wrist for scaling the new Times Building, but Jeb Corliss, who tried to parachute off the Empire State Building, was convicted of reckless endangerment. A veteran bus driver was stabbed to death in Brooklyn, the police said, after refusing to dole out a free transfer. Two perps mugged an elderly Bronx woman, then hailed an undercover cop car for their getaway.
Eliot Spitzer resurfaced, writing a finance column for Slate.com. A sane-looking Britney Spears performed on Good Morning America. Beyoncé and Tony Bennett rang in the holidays at Rockefeller Center, rocking around a soon-to-be-recycled tree. And musician and activist Odetta, dubbed the “Queen of American Folk Music” by no less than Martin Luther King Jr., passed away at Lenox Hill Hospital. She was 77.