Although the iniquitous were mostly out of town—in Utah for a film festival, in Paris for couture, or, in the case of the truly evil, at a certain developer’s wedding in Palm Beach—New York was hit by blows of fire and ice that felt like divine retribution. “The gods are not smiling on us,” declared Mayor Bloomberg. The ice was easier to take, as the city dug itself out of a snowstorm that was promptly (if perhaps prematurely) dubbed the Big Blizzard of ’05. But fires in the Bronx and Brooklyn left three of New York’s Bravest dead, and a blaze in a lower-Manhattan subway station—possibly started by a homeless person trying to keep warm—fried a room full of crucial switching equipment dating from the Depression. The Transit Authority announced it would take three to five years to restore full service on the A and C lines—which, as one historian pointed out, was almost as long as it took to build the entire IND route in the first place. The next day the TA (apparently having had a What were we thinking? moment) said the repairs would actually be completed in months, but there was little jubilation among straphangers. The Lower East Side felt dangerous (again) when a young actress, out bar-hopping with fiancé and friends, was killed after reportedly asking her mugger, “What are you going to do, shoot us?” Local comedians paid tribute to Johnny Carson, whose decision in 1972 to move the Tonight Show from Rockefeller Center to the dismal environs of Burbank shifted the balance of pop-culture power from East Coast to West, and from live to taped. Those who could remember claimed that Carson was funnier and more spontaneous in his New York days, when he was still drinking heavily and had dark hair. Diva Beverly Sills, Brooklyn’s greatest gift to opera, stepped down as chair of the Met. Philip Johnson, the dean and self-proclaimed “whore” of architecture who gave New York such camp classics as the Lipstick and AT&T buildings, died at the age of 98. And SpongeBob SquarePants, the cartoon character that Christian conservative James Dobson accused of being gay, got a straight makeover from style experts at the Post, emerging as a tougher, more Brillo-pad-like guy—with Carmen Electra as his new arm candy.