With public enemy no. 1, Paris Hilton, temporarily behind bars, the city turned its attention to more-mundane threats — like the alleged plot to blow up JFK airport. For Mr. 9/11, Rudy Giuliani, the foiled plan confirmed that he was the only presidential candidate qualified to keep the country safe — or to use the phrase Islamic terrorist, for that matter. “If you hear them utter those words,” he said of debating Democrats, “give me credit for it.” Budget officials warned that scary $3 subway fares were in the offing but estimated that some of that cost could be offset by making the city a gay-wedding destination. The other option is Rollerblading everywhere: The city’s transportation commissioner seemed open to closing Central Park to auto traffic during the summer.
Federal investigators examined State Senate majority leader Joseph Bruno’s lucrative investments in horseflesh. A Harlem man claimed that a cold can of Boost energy drink went down smoothly but that his resulting erection would not. (He’s suing.) An East Side insurance broker was busted firing arrows into his neighbor’s apartment. (He’s sorry.) The crime rate continued to fall in America’s Safest Big City (except where Hiltons were concerned, naturally — Paris’s brother Barron was mugged near Penn Station), possibly because of incompetence: A hit man — distracted, one would assume, by the impending Sopranos finale — botched a job on an accused mob associate of John Gotti’s.
Rupert Murdoch sat down to try to make an offer to the Bancroft-family owners of The Wall Street Journal that they couldn’t refuse, as the always newsworthy Ron Burkle reached out to the paper’s union. Muhammad Ali took an honorary doctorate at Princeton, Oprah and others fêted Ralph Lauren at the CFDA awards, and dirty hypodermic needles poked Staten Island beachgoers. Mayor Mike kept cool. “You can’t sit there and worry about everything,” he said of the JFK conspiracy. “Get a life.” —Mark Adams