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Urban Renewal

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(Photo Credit: Mark Peterson)/Redux

As abundant sunshine coaxed into bloom the Bradford-pear trees lining the city’s sidewalks, change and renewal seemed to be in the air. Some New Yorkers abandoned their habitual all-black wardrobes for exuberant pastels, much to the delight of the local dry-cleaning establishments. Others explored exciting new cocktails, lighter and more colorful for the season, like the tequila rhubarb-a-rita at Lever House. Roving stars unexpectedly came into alignment—what but spring madness could account for the oddity of Matt Dillon, Tony Danza, and Al Sharpton sharing a table at Butter? It was a week of unexampled generosity, as David Rockefeller, perhaps the nicest man in New York, pledged $100 million of his own money to the Museum of Modern Art. It was also a week that saw cupidity thwarted: In the biggest crackdown on illegal trading in the history of the New York Stock Exchange, fifteen Big Board floor traders were arrested for allegedly bilking investors out of $19 million. Some New Yorkers flirted with the idea of change. Kevin Bacon, whose film Loverboy recently opened the Gen Art Film Festival, rued the bad puns to which his surname gives rise—“Every time one of my films comes out, I have to read ‘sizzling Bacon’ or ‘He’s sure bringing home the bacon’ ”—but had no real plans to change it. Others acted boldly to renew their lives. Judith Regan, publisher of such important authors as Amber Frey, Jenna Jameson, and Jose Canseco, announced that she would relocate her media business to Los Angeles and start a literary salon for Hollywood types. Paradoxically, Regan’s move from New York to L.A. is expected to raise the cultural tone of both cities. The week’s greatest sign of renewal was the return of the incomparable Barbara Cook, now 77, to the Café Carlyle, where she’s helping to fill the void left by Bobby Short’s recent death. Hearing Cook give voice on a fine Manhattan spring evening, one could be forgiven for briefly taking to heart that foolish lyric, “I’ve got the world on a string.”


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