A stretch of freakishly cold and rainy August weather seemed all too appropriate for a week of unseasonably chilling news. A blaze at the Deutsche Bank building, unoccupied since 9/11, killed two firemen, possibly as a result of criminal negligence and the lack of a pre-fire plan. The CIA admitted that pretty much every spy this side of James Bond had viewed a 2000 report about two of the future Twin Towers attackers—and none had mentioned it to the FBI. Attorneys for Bernard Spitzer (father of Eliot) released tapes of a threatening phone message that referred to his “psycho, piece-of-shit son.” (The call came from the line of Republican strategist Roger Stone, who said someone had broken into his apartment to frame him while he was at Frost/Nixon—though it turns out there wasn’t a performance on the night in question.) Stone was subsequently fired by his client, Joe Bruno. A city inspector in the Bronx stumbled across a basement den of horrors festooned with animal skulls and a preserved human fetus. Fred Thompson called the Big Apple a “big bully” whose lawyers are stealing the lunch money of innocent gun dealers. Mayor Bloomberg admitted to Dan Rather that he almost certainly won’t be running for president. As trends continued downward on Wall Street, a new report showed that home foreclosures in Manhattan were up 184 percent in June. Donald Trump announced that he’s trying to book Britney, Lindsay, and Paris for his new series, Celebrity Apprentice. The usually reticent Giants quarterback Eli Manning tore into chatterbox former teammate Tiki Barber. The city’s four-legged residents were beset by new pet-food recalls, a spreading cough virus, strangers handing out toxic treats in Chelsea Waterside Park, and Stephon Marbury’s assertion in reference to Michael Vick that dogfighting is a sport, like hunting. Postmodernist writer and political activist Grace Paley died. And Leona Helmsley—the veteran of Reagan-era real-estate lunacy who once served her son’s widow with an eviction notice—passed on to the great park-view duplex in the sky.
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