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When Worlds Collide

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Epic suffering elsewhere in the world made the misfortunes of New Yorkers seem merely farcical by contrast, but they were real enough to those who experienced them. A Manhattan man who had been drinking with his girlfriend stumbled into his aquarium, cut his arm on the broken glass, and bled to death. A woman who had caught a hockey puck in the face during a Rangers game won the right to sue Madison Square Garden for her demolished nose. Another woman bravely leaped into the East River to save her dog, a Shiba Inu that had escaped his leash. Happily, both were rescued by onlookers. “If they didn’t help me, I would have been in deep doo-doo,” she said. In Central Park, workers began constructing the greatest public artwork in the city’s history: 7,500 steel structures festooned with saffron-colored drapes and installed over 23 miles of pedestrian paths. The $20 million cost of the work, titled The Gates, is being entirely borne by the artists who spent 25 years planning it, Christo and his wife, Jeanne-Claude. The Post, xenophobically mistaking Christo for a Frenchman (he’s actually Bulgarian), denounced the project as “self-indulgent” and—mixing Philistinism with a newfound love of charity—argued that the money should instead be sent to tsunami victims. In Greenwich Village, the noble and quixotic Ramsey Clark, an attorney general under LBJ who drew up articles of impeachment against George W. Bush, began preparations for the trial of his latest client, Saddam Hussein. New York improbably showed up as No. 8 on the Men’s Fitness list of the 25 fattest American cities, while diners in Manhattan reportedly repented for their holiday indulgence by eating quantities of artisanal tofu. Chelsea Clinton and Monica Lewinsky were sighted on the same night in separate areas of Soho House, pulling the tone of the place every which way. And Joyce Wadler’s meta–gossip column in the Times lapsed into utter unintelligibility, from which its band of loyal fans hoped it would soon recover. Okay, Mr. Finale Man—looking tanned and rested from your holiday in Mustique—hit it!


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