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In a week of memorable words—“Habemus papam,” intoned an old man in red; “One final one, and then I stop,” vowed a six-time Tour de France champion—some of the most momentous were uttered by New Yorkers. George Steinbrenner pronounced himself “bitterly disappointed” by the losing ways of his high-priced Yankees, who responded by scoring thirteen runs in a single inning the next day. “Leo is in extraordinary shape,” chirped a publicist for Leonardo DiCaprio, after the star was observed stertorously huffing and puffing on the treadmill at a West 49th Street gym. “Are you going to shoot me now?” was the unfortunate question posed by a graduate student living on the Upper West Side to a home invader, who responded by pumping three bullets into him. (The student survived, unlike the young woman who, a few months ago, asked a Lower East Side mugger a similarly ill-advised question: “What are you going to do, shoot us?”) “I’m not running for the mayor of New York City,” declared Bob Kerrey, putting a very quick end to a period of cryptic indecision that could have seen him displace Mario Cuomo as the local Hamlet. A pollster who doubted whether Kerrey had any “base” here said, “This guy, maybe he was a pretty big deal out there in Nebraska, but this ain’t Nebraska.” The cry “Surf’s up!” resounded through the city as a stretch of Atlantic beach near 90th Street in Queens was officially reserved for the hang-ten set. In a week that saw some agreeably summerlike weather, perhaps the most eloquent words—a bacchanalian affirmation of life, really—were spoken by a city dock builder named Rob DelGrasso as he enjoyed a few rounds of al fresco beer with friends: “A day without a buzz is a day that never was.”


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