Carl Icahn is struggling with various projects, Sharon Waxman becomes the latest media lady to start a news-aggregation Website, and — it's official! — most City Council members pay less rent than you do, in our daily roundup of finance, media, real-estate and entertainment news.
It's been so long since we've heard about Eliot Spitzer getting all angry, we were starting to suspect that L'Affaire Bruno had caused him to simmer down for good. Au contraire! Maybe we just haven't been paying enough attention. According to anonymous sources in the Post, the Spitz apparently laid into Council Speaker Christine Quinn last week over his proposed sale of land near the Javits Center. When Quinn's people called the governor's office to say they opposed the sale, his aides apparently greased the wheels by calling them "fucking idiots"; then Spitzer himself got on the horn. "He was angry and screaming," a source told the Post. Boringly, Quinn's spokesperson declined to repeat exactly what he said and told the Post that things were "smoothed over" now. Smoothed over like a steamroller, we bet.
There He Blows Again [NYP]
The year’s first blanket of snow dropped from the skies two days before Valentine’s Day, but it soon washed away — and on the ground, heartbreak abounded. Barack Obama spoiled the Clintons’ romantic holiday, beating out Bill for a Grammy (with his reading of The Audacity of Hope) and stomping Hillary in eight primaries. Roger Clemens told a congressional committee that best bud Andy Pettitte was mistaken in his recollection that Clemens took human growth hormone, maintaining that wife Debbie was the only family member who’d done so.
In 1978, before we knew we really like boys, we had the mad hots for our bubbly 13-year-old babysitter, Lisa, who rocked gym shorts, knee-length Jox socks, and two perfect, feathered brunette wings over her forehead. But why did we really worship her? Because she was a dead ringer for Valerie Bertinelli, that spunky Italian nymphette who, back then, played youngest daughter Barbara on One Day at a Time. (Today, she duels with Kirstie Alley in those Jenny Craig commercials.)
So, in this new NY1 clip, when our (sometimes) bubbly, openly lesbian City Council speaker Christine Quinn said that she likes to chill out by watching Lifetime flicks starring the adult, still-perky Val, we knew just what she was talking about: "Anything with Valerie Bertinelli is usually a good show because there are struggles," said Quinn, who also did the usual dodge of the usual probe into her mayoral ambitions. "They are strong women, and it usually ends on an up note."
One of New York's top political-consulting partnerships — they've repped Mike Bloomberg, Christine Quinn, and Joe Lieberman, plus unions, other Dems, and developers including Forest City Ratner — is splitting up. Knickerbocker SKD — the highly influential pairing of wunderkind strategists Josh Isay, who made his name managing Chuck Schumer's 1998 defeat of Al D'Amato, and Micah Lasher, who's been a strategist for dozens of campaigns, including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's 2005 victory over eight other Democratic contenders for the beep job — now faces an uncertain future as Lasher plans to leave the firm, according to sources. Lasher feels it's the right time to depart, the sources say, and he also has his eye on Gale Brewer's Upper West Side City Council seat. (Brewer will have to leave her post in 2009 because of term limits.) Isay will continue running the firm with other strategists; it's unclear how the split will affect top clients like Council Speaker Quinn, who is likely running for mayor, and Stringer, said to be eying the comptroller position. —Geoffrey Gray
• The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 13,089 yesterday, leaping past the 13K mark on a 136-point rally — and, no doubt, giving yet another batch of small investors the tragic impression that they, too, can be Jim Cramer. [NYP]
• With all the money floating around City Hall (the surplus is now even larger than estimated — $4.4 billion), Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants a tax credit for renters to match Bloomberg's proposed property-tax rebate. The mayor's not sold. [amNY]
• Al Gore ("the world's hottest leading man," per Bloomberg's press-conference remarks) is in town to open the Tribeca Film Festival. If he were running for office, last night's gala would sure feel a lot like a Dem fund-raiser. But he's not, so it didn't. [WNBC]
• Corzine walks! New Jersey's governor took a few steps for the first time since the car crash that broke half the bones in his body. He also felt up to taking a phone call from … President Bush. [NYT]
• And Condi Rice apparently wields major power over New Yorkers' consumer habits. After she endorsed a beef stew at Brooklyn's Sea Tide Gourmet Fish Store (huh?), it's supposedly been flying off the shelves. The story feels planted, but by whom? The store or Condi? [NYDN]
Is the longtime lovefest between City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the city’s AIDS activists finally over? Quinn rose to power working under HIV-positive then-councilman Tom Duane, advocating for tenants, gays, and people with HIV and AIDS when Duane pushed through legislation enabling poor New Yorkers with AIDS to get housing assistance and other benefits. But now a broad swath of activists want those benefits to be available to low-income HIV-positive New Yorkers before they progress to AIDS, and Quinn opposes the plan.
Shunted to the back of tomorrow's St. Patrick's Day Parade, New York City firefighters aren't the only ones who are angry with parade chair John Dunleavy. For several years, Dunleavy has banned gay groups from marching and last year would not allow City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who's 100 percent Irish and 100 percent gay, to walk wearing so much as a pink pin. Though she marched on March 4 in a gay-friendly parade in Woodside, Quinn will blow off the Ancient Order of Hibernians entirely this year by taking her dad, her partner Kim Catullo, and five council members (including Staten Island Irishman Mike McMahon) to a more inclusive parade in Dublin. While Dunleavy didn't return calls for comment, Quinn did talk to Tim Murphy about accessories, the Irish, and her father. Her words are after the jump.
• That was fast: Spitzer has earned the epithet "tyrannical" for the first — and probably not the last — time in his gubernatorial tenure. Apparently, the Spitz now tours fellow Democrats' districts to individually rip the legislators for reneging on the comptroller deal. [NYDN]
• Late policeman Cesar Borja became the human face of the post-9/11 illnesses befalling first responders. The Times bursts that heroic bubble today by reporting that Borja wasn't even a second responder; he never rushed to the site on 9/11 and simply picked up a few shifts there, in December 2001, for overtime pay. [NYT]
• The president, meantime, can't keep his mitts off another hero — Wesley Autrey, our bunny-hat-sporting subway savior; weeks after his cameo at the State of the Union, he is back at the White House for some sort of George Bush Cares About Black People shindig. (Among other invitees: Charlie Rangel.) [NYP]
• Chuck Schumer, Christine Quinn, and Hillary Clinton pile on Clipper Equity, threatening to block its Starrett City purchase unless they see an ironclad pledge to keep the complex's 6,000 units affordable. Turns out Clipper "doesn't have a written plan" for its $1.3 billion impulse buy. [amNY]
• And get ready for actual snow, if you remember what the stuff is; a few inches of it are expected this afternoon. But don't get too excited: This bit of real winter will quickly be replaced by that post-millennial stand-in — freezing rain — by tomorrow morning. [4 Weather Plus]
Yesterday's Times brought word that Nancy Pelosi's elevation to House Speaker is changing not just Washington's politics but also its fashion. "[W]ith the ascent of Nancy Pelosi, 66, widely recognized and admired for her Armani and easy fashion savvy, the days of the dowdy Washington dress code may be numbered," wrote reporter Lizette Alvarez. She quoted Representative Mary Bono: "I am so sick of the matronly box — the rest of America doesn’t dress like that." It made us wonder: Do New York's big-shot female pols have better fashion sense than Washington's? We pulled a bunch of photos of five Big Apple power players and gave them to New York fashionista Amy Larocca for a once-over. After the jump, her verdicts.
Former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe says he once had a fight with Harvey Weinstein over Bill Clinton; Weinstein denies it. Madonna didn't fire back at Angelina Jolie over her adoption comments, but she did defend Rosie O'Donnell. Speaking of which: Rosie and Howard Stern used to be enemies but are now friends. Macy Gray was almost arrested in Barbados for cursing on stage. Lindsay Lohan's mom is not exactly the best role model for Lindsay. New York Giant LaVar Arrington, on the other hand, is a good role model. An aide of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn senses some vulnerability in Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi's hold on his seat, and may run for it. Dolce and Gabanna have a pictorial spread in W that some say is a cheap knockoff of a spread Tom Ford had in the same magazine. Disgraced former Miss Nevada might bare all (or, at least, more than you've seen) for Playboy. Stephen Dorff uses text messaging to try to pick up Australian model Miranda Kerr. The son of John Phillips and brother of Bijou Phillips wants to be famous. Sharon Stone'sBasic Instinct 2 was proclaimed the "Worst-Reviewed Movie of the Year" by Rotten Tomatoes. George Takei is too old to run marathons anymore. Rev. Ted Haggard's former male prostitute, Mike Jones, is writing a book. Liz Smith enjoyed Rupert Everett's autobiography.
Danny Meyer doesn't much appreciate the (mostly laudatory) reviews given to his restaurants by Frank Bruni et al, and lets them know it in his new book. Sean Lennon isn't exactly a hit with the critics, either. Kevin Federline is trying to sell some amateur video footage to make some extra dough. (No, it's not that kind of footage.) City Council speaker Christine Quinn cut the check-in line at JFK, and it angered her fellow passengers. Netscape founder James Clark's divorce cost him $125 million; his new girlfriend won't be nearly as fortunate. Media prankster Joey Skaggs is getting into the watch business. Katie Holmes couldn't stick to Victoria Beckham's recommended post-pregnancy diet of edamame, pretzels, sushi, and Diet Coke. John Krasinski loves David Foster Wallace. Dustin Hoffman makes sure that the hired help get to watch a screening of his movie. Leonardo DiCaprio is GQ's Man of the Year. (GQ likes Lindsay Lohan, too). Arab royalty laughs at President Bush in Qatar, raises a lot of money for Asia. Former Hell's Angel Chuck Zito — a.k.a. the guy who beat up Jean-Claude Van Damme — is launching his own radio talk show for men. You know, unlike all the other radio talk shows. A wealthy businessman was turned down by the co-op board at the Carlyle because he's too much of a playboy. Know any unemployed grandmothers? The New Jersey Nets are hiring.