As the first arctic blast of January weather whipped through town last week, the city was chilled by news that Iowans had frozen out New York’s candidates for the White House. Hillary Clinton’s last-minute plea on the first post-hibernation Letterman show —starring Dave’s new reindeer-wrangler beard—failed to help her, and she finished behind Barack Obama and John Edwards. Rudy Giuliani finished sixth behind Mike Huckabee but had left Iowa five days before the caucus anyway. Dark horse Michael Bloomberg denied that there was any significance in his attendance at a caucus of potential third-party candidates, though he took pokes at the front-runners’ lack of ideas. Fourth-place finisher Fred Thompson, who’s probably wishing he’d never quit as New York’s fictional D.A., lost his old Law & Order job to Sam Waterston.
The Port Authority blew its deadline to prepare the World Trade Center site for developer Larry Silverstein’s builders and started forking over $300,000 a day in fines. Manhattan apartment prices bucked national trends yet again, rising 17 percent to an average of $1.4 million. Firemen rushed into a burning building to rescue two toddlers left behind by their mom’s boyfriend. Police in Brooklyn shot and killed one of the FBI’s most-wanted criminals when he emerged from a bodega with a bag of Doritos and a loaded gun.
Tom Wolfe ankled publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux, taking his new novel to Little, Brown for a reported $6 million to $7 million. A-Rod popped up on Carson Daly’s New Year’s special to celebrate his new management deal with Madonna (and Daly) rep Guy Oseary. Former Yankee Jim Leyritz, allegedly driving drunk on a suspended license, was jailed on manslaughter charges. Iron man Stan Friedman demolished all comers in the ESPN Zone’s TV-watching endurance contest. Isiah Thomas, coach of the bottom-dwelling Knicks, resolved not only to bring a championship to the Garden but also to leave behind “legacy, a tradition, an imprint, and a blueprint.” And the papers reported that Alcides Moreno, the window washer who fell 47 stories on December 7, spoke for the first time since the accident — on Christmas Day. —Mark Adams