The ‘Atlantic’ 150th-Anniversary Party: A Play in One ActThe curtain rises on an empty stage, set with just one large circular bar in the center, manned by four bartenders dressed in black. The house is empty, so the hundreds of red velvet chairs cast an eerie crimson glow on to the party. Revelers drift in, including the writer Tom Wolfe, Amanda Burden, Moby, P.J. O’Rourke and Atlantic editors. A Boy Reporter and Girl Reporter from New York Magazine drift in. In actuality, they had arrived at the party too early and had to go across the street to get drinks at a noisy club. So they are both a little sheepish. And drunk. The pair begins to look for famous people to interview and spot Mayor Bloomberg, who arrived on the same elevator as drag king Murray Hill.
Girl Reporter: Mayor Bloomberg, hello! We write for New York Magazine. Could we-
Mayor Bloomberg: I subscribe to New York Magazine. I pay your salary.
Girl Reporter: Oh, um, thanks! So, we were wondering [Mayor Bloomberg walks away]
Boy Reporter: Good try!
Girl Reporter: Eh, let’s get a drink.
Now hear this: The city will not sell out Coney Island’s Astroland. Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden told a roomful of civic heavyweights this morning that the city is weeks away from announcing a rezoning plan that will “save the amusement park, an icon of democracy which is beloved by the whole world.” She continued: “The strategy will catalyze a new park which will be open year-round…and housing, in the right place.” Planning insiders have long doubted rumors that Astroland would become a northern outpost of Del Boca Vista (come on, Seinfeld’s parents’ retirement community? Anyone?). Thor Equities, which had floated the idea of time-shares near the hallowed ground, has also been pretty quiet lately. But this hammers the point home. The devil will be in the details, as any change to Coney’s curious chemistry will be hard for some people to swallow. Mayor Bloomberg, in a speech at the same conference, promised that the rezoning will “take full advantage of the wonderful new subway terminal at Stillwell Avenue.” So apartments could still cluster near the Cyclone. As long as we get direct access to the boardwalk from the subway, that’s fine with us. —Alec Appelbaum
City Hall Officials Have Summer Fridays, Better Lives Than You
High-level city officials have been fleeing the city – and work – early on Fridays this summer. The Sun tried calling a bunch of different agencies at the end of the week to try to figure out who was there and who wasn’t, and turned up ten missing top officials (of the 25 city agencies). Some had just taken half-days, and others, like school chancellor Joel Klein and Parks commissioner Adrian Benepe had taken some August days off as vacation. We’re trying to get offended that they’re skipping out — technically, they do work for us, don’t they? — but mostly we’re just jealous. We want to be wherever City Planning director Amanda Burden is going. We bet it’s someplace fancy.
What Does Socialite/Planner Amanda Burden Do On Vacation?If you were a blue-blooded Upper East Side A-lister, glamorous Babe Paley’s daughter and on-the-scene Charlie Rose’s intermittent inamorata, wouldn’t a week in Montserrat seem the proper vacation? For Amanda Burden — who’s all that and also Bloomberg’s planning commissioner — it’s a different story. Turns out Burden was spending her downtime last week in Copenhagen, not so much seeing the sights as trailing new transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and two of her lieutenants as they studied public squares and waterfronts and bike parking, according to spokespeople at the Planning and Transportation Departments. Grants are paying for the trip for Sadik-Khan and her deputies; Burden, a source tells us, is traveling on her own time and nickel. There was no word on whether Charlie had joined her.—Alec Appelbaum
Judi, Judi, JudiAmong the skits to be put on by the city’s political journos at the upcoming Inner Circle roast is one featuring Judi Giuliani as a blow-up sex doll. Us Weekly, Star, and other weekly tabloids are upping their negative coverage of Brangelina because they are sick of getting scooped by People. A handful of people are angling for a portion of deceased Dr. Robert Atkins’s $600 million estate. Mike Bloomberg’s 98-year-old mother sometimes pretends she’s not related to him so people don’t ask her to hook their grandkids up with jobs. NBC’s Today show is losing serious ground to ABC’s Good Morning America and even CBS’s Early Show in the ratings game. Charlie Rose and Amanda Burden may not be broken up, despite reports they are. Jay-Z has plans to ink a deal with Champagne label Ace of Spades to replace Cristal as his drink of choice.
How Chic Is Our Power?
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.