• New Jersey governor Jon Corzine has acknowledged giving "large gifts" to union boss Carla Katz, whom he dated shortly before running for the office. How large? Well, the words "tuition bills" and "mortgage forgiveness" come up. [NYP]
• The city is on what the News gleefully terms "pervert alert," as a whopping 64 sex offenders who had claimed to be living in NYC housing projects turn out to be unaccounted for. (Giving cops a bogus address is a misdemeanor in itself.) [NYDN]
• RightRides, a ride-home service for women who'd rather not walk alone at night in troubled neighborhoods, is giving volunteers camcorders to film their walks; eerie first-person views of deserted streets are intended as evidence but accidentally double as compelling video art. [MetroNY]
• We knew Chuck Schumer was a bit of a compulsive camera hog, but we had no idea why: Turns out the senator's Rosebud is a triumphant quiz-show TV appearance in 1967, wherein 16-year-old Chuck helped his James Madison team defeat Flushing High. [NYT]
• And it's on: White Castle versus Mayor Bloomberg! The slider chain, as well as its buddies Wendy's and Quiznos, are pulling all nutritional info from their menus in defiance of the new NYC law mandating just the opposite. The reason is, supposedly, lack of space, and we're far too classy for a rat-as-ingredient joke. Or are we? [All Headline News]
• 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]
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, and so did Holtsville Hal on Long Island. But the only weather marmot residing in New York City — Staten Island Chuck — woke up, saw no shadow, and thus allows us to confidently predict spring will come early for our fair (if, granted, soon to be inundated) city. The good people at Gothamist provide the picture we've been looking for, and it reminds us — in case we've forgotten — that Brooklyn Chuck will never miss a chance for a photo op.
Early Spring, Says Staten Island Chuck [Gothamist]
Chuck Schumer's favorite Chinese restaurant in Washington was closed for a private party — his Positively American book party — Tuesday night, and Bernie Sanders, the Brooklyn-born Socialist senator from Vermont, was impressed. "This is a historic night," Sanders said, picking string beans straight from the buffet and chatting with Jerry Nadler, the West Side's man in the House of Representatives. "I've been coming here for years and I've never seen it shut down, but they shut it down for Schumer. He has reached the top. He has shut down the Hunan Dynasty."
In Factory Girl, Sienna Miller and Hayden Christensen might have engaged in not-so-simulated sex on camera. (Also, Diddy doesn't want anyone taking pictures of him with Miller. Also, all Sienna's partying is merely PR for Factory Girl.) The house that Graydon Carter threw scaffolding outside of yesterday? Harvey Weinstein's. (Graydon's also having a tough time selling his new documentary, Chicago 10.) Chuck Schumer has imaginary friends. Former Paramount exec Gail Berman and former ABC exec Lloyd Braun are starting their own production company. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is going to bare all onstage in a London play.
You'd think Chuck Schumer was busy enough in 2006, masterminding the Democratic takeover of the Senate while also doing his day job as a member of that body. But he also found time to write Positively American, which hit bookstores this week. It's part memoir and part branding strategy for his party: The key, both to Schumer's own career and to his vision for the Dems, is a relentless focus on the needs of a mythical suburban Long Island middle-class family he calls "the Baileys." He recently told us all about them.
In the book you're tough on your own party, criticizing Democrats for losing touch with middle-class voters and pandering to interest groups.
I felt a real need — an urging almost, a yearning — to get the Democratic Party to start coming up with a model, a platform of ideas, that would appeal to the average voter. Everywhere Democrats went throughout the 2006 campaign, middle-class voters said to us, "Look, we don't like Bush, we're tired of Reaganism — but what do you guys stand for?"
Norman Mailer still hates Michiko Kakutani, dislikes Janet Maslin, too, and did an interview with Martha Stewart for her TV show. CNN execs went on a corporate retreat to the Bahamas, and "Page Six," presumably on behalf of Fox News, mocks them for it. If you complain at Nobu, Drew Nieporent might blacklist you. Peter Cook, Christie Brinkley's soon-to-be ex-husband, went grocery shopping. (Cindy Adams, meantime, dubs Brinkley Professor Emeritus in How to Handle El Piggo, which she actually means as a compliment.) Retired Ford Models vet Neil Hamil to run Elite Models. There's a reality show being shopped in which ten virgin men compete to lose it to "a celeb."
Sean Combs threw a hissy fit when he wasn't allowed into CAA's post–Golden Globes party, may have gotten himself banned from Sunset Tower. Lindsay Lohan may have hit the bottle, and then hit rehab, after being rebuffed by James Franco. Paris Hilton's left eyelid is droopy because she once had surgery to raise her lids, and it's getting worse because she continues to wear tinted contact lenses. (We can't believe we just typed that.) British chef Marco Pierre White claims the New York Times once hired a private eye to dig up dirt on him in an unsuccessful attempt to prove he had a booze and drug problem. Hillary Clinton to throw a book party for Chuck Schumer at his favorite Chinese restaurant on Capitol Hill.
Sean Penn wants Bush and Cheney to be impeached, he said while accepting an award at a Creative Coalition dinner. Josh Hartnett may have been texting could-be girlfriend Scarlett Johansson from a movie screening. Sharon Elghanayan, girlfriend of Jon Corzine, wants to marry the New Jersey governor, but he's not biting. Fabiola Beracasa gave her boyfriend and her fellow socialites a little strip show at a Lower East Side club on Saturday. Reese Witherspoon and her kids moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where they attend public school. (The kids, not Reese.) Diane Kruger and boyfriend Joshua Jackson (yes, Pacey from Dawson's Creek) hung out in Dubai. Fat Joe spent $20K over three nights on strippers and booze at Sin City near Yankee Stadium. Canadian heiress Lisa Belberg says she and Harold Ford Jr. are "great friends" not "boyfriend and girlfriend." Mayor Bloomberg, Senators Clinton and Schumer, Eliot Spitzer, and others schmooze the media tonight at the New York Press Club's holiday party. Oprah, Jude Law, Damon Dash, and others are turning their humanitarian efforts to South Africa. Former Miami club king and Madonna pal Chris Paciello is out of jail after eight years and back on the town. Barnard alum Joan Rivers instructed fellow graduates to "go through your husband's wallet and give everything in it" to the school. Nas claims he was drunk on Hennessy during many of his early recording sessions. Lewis Black admired a painting of a naked woman. Mischa Barton drank a beer in Hoboken.
Bob Dylan claims that upcoming Edie Sedgwick biopic Factory Girl falsely portrays him as the cause of Sedgwick's suicide, threatens to sue unless he is allowed to see the film before it is released. Chuck Schumer wrote a book. An employee of Wyclef Jean was kidnapped in Haiti and held for ransom; he was released for free. An L.A. Times reporter scored an "exclusive" interview with Martin Scorsese, featuring quotes that are actually two years old. Popular Greenwich Village drinking hole Boxers lost its lease, is shuttering. Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurant partner, Phil Suarez, put on quite the culinary show at an apartment party he threw. Access Hollywood host Billy Bush might be leaving L.A. for the Today show here. Tom Brokaw made an "insensitive" joke about public housing that doesn't really seem to be that offensive. Uma Thurman was bailed out of a stuck elevator by her buff bodyguard. Marc Jacobs and Jason Preston are officially broken up, according to Jacobs. The high-octane friendship between Paris Hilton and Britney Spears is over, because the latter was told to stay away from the former if she ever wants to make a comeback. Nancy Sinatra celebrated what would have been her father's 91st birthday at his favorite restaurant, Patsy's. Peter Boyle's greatest regret was not taking the role of Popeye Doyle in The French Connection. Mariah Carey is pitching a "lifestyle-type book-cum-pseudo memoir." Let Meryl Streep eat steak!