Dan Doctoroff is leaving City Hall with a lot of big real-estate projects unfinished, but he's done his best to make sure they have the momentum and guidance to be completed in his absence (which meant coordinating a lot of egos and favors). The mayor remains urgent about his green agenda, and the staff Doctoroff leaves behind seems to click. Plus, he’s not exactly dropping off the grid: "One of the great things about going to [Bloomberg LP] is I’m not going to be that far away," he told us, murkily. But without strong-willed Doctoroff forcing players to negotiate, will everything go according to plan? After the jump, a handy guide to Doctoroff’s key reform campaigns, with assurances from Doctoroff himself included. Think of it as a cheat sheet for who now controls their (and our) future. —Alec Appelbaum
Exactly seven minutes before their scheduled 3 p.m. protest today, Viacom freelancers received a memo from HR's JoAnne Griffith saying that the company had decided to let them keep their old health-care plans (although the controversial Aetna plan "has certain advantages that may make it the preferred option for many of our freelance and temporary employees," the memo said — as if!). When the e-mail arrived, "there was a palpable sense of relief," said one freelancer, "however, we are still missing several key items that we had before," including the company's contributions to their 401(k) and paid holidays. So it was back out to Times Square and chanting, and someone even started a blog for True Life stories of Viacom freelancers, such such as this one, titled "Engaged and Underpaid":
"My girlfriend and I recently got engaged and set a date for the fall '08 for our wedding, but [getting on her health-care plan] will cost us a huge chunk of what we had been saving for our wedding. So much for getting married in ’08. THANKS VIACOM!"
Acclaimed writer Stewart O’Nan’s latest novel, Last Night at the Lobster, isn’t about a couple who hits the motel after one too many gargantuan Lobsteritas instead it follows a hard-working general manager, Manny DeLeon, through his last night at a Red Lobster in New Briton, Connecticut, that has been closed by parent corporation Darden Restaurants. O’Nan got the idea after a Red Lobster near his home in Avon suffered a similar fate. “I knew how it fit into the community and started thinking about how every restaurant is a world onto itself,” he tells us. “I thought of that suddenly going away.” We asked him what he learned about the chain while doing research so obsessive that it involved poaching the Lob’s menus and coasters.
Will Smith plays the last man on Earth in I Am Legend, and at the premiere at the Wamu Theater at Madison Square Garden, when we asked the predictable "what if it were you" question, there were lots of predictable answers — living in mansions, driving other people's sports cars, wearing diamonds, finding food, etc. But rocker Pete Wentz had a refreshing outlook on the whole scenario: "I'd probably just go everywhere naked," Wentz figures. "I like being alone a lot," the Fall Out Boy front man told us. "I turn off my phone. That's my best way to do it." Based on trailers of I Am Legend, however, Wentz questions the premise. "From the preview, it looks like he's got his dog in the movie. And that's not really like being alone. That's like a dog buddy flick, you know." And Wentz never quite feels alone with his English bulldog, Hemingway, around. "He looks like an alien," Wentz says. "He looks like Stitch, and he behaves like Stitch, actually. Prime mission: to destroy everything I have in my house. He's like, is this an antique book? Delicious!" What a bummer. Now we can't name our dog Hemingway. —Bennett MarcusHear more about I Am Legend from Will Smith, Alice Braga, and others at our complete coverage of last night's premiere.
And here’s the Taco Bell on Sixth Avenue that spurred the Department of Health to strap on its boots and go to war. When we peeked in this morning, it looked rodent-free; according to construction workers, it will soon be a T-Mobile store. Meanwhile, down the block, the Beard Papa store, which was supposed to reopen in mid-October, is still closed for renovations. We have a call in to Papa himself to see what’s up, though his side project, Santa Claus, might be keeping him a little busy these days.
Related:Beard Papa Returning Downtown, May Hit the Slope
If you joined the jet set down in Miami last week, you might have seen these towels floating around Art Basel (they were the official towels at Balazs's posh Raleigh Hotel, meaning guests likely scored on the stolen-amenities front), but if you, like us, were stuck here in the ambiguously seasonal weather, amid sinus-infected friends and co-workers, fear not: They're available online for a pretty reasonable $50.
Astoria: Bar 36 at 36-05 30th Avenue hosts Martini Thursdays, where it’s "$2 off every martini on their menu (or create your own). Can’t beat the free snacks, too!" [Joey in Astoria]
East Village: You’d be hard-pressed find a better, more satisfying "fantastic when it was hot but … made for a mean late night snack as well" deal than bär-bo-ne’s nightly five-course fresh pasta tasting menu. [Gluttoness]
Flatiron: Eisenberg’s has been serving tater tots as latkes, but "the owner talked about getting in some big latkes soon. Let’s hope so … A place like Eisenberg’s deserves to have the best latkes." [Lost City]
Midtown West: Norma’s has added new breakfast items to its menu, including hot chestnut pancakes and a chocolate waffle with peanut-butter-toffee-crunch filling, but don’t expect to get in and try them until the tourist exodus in January. [Eater]
Tribeca: With chef Amanda Freitag at the helm, Jimmy Bradley plans to strive "for a bold, lusty, soulful menu at the Harrison." Saucy! [Restaurant Girl]
Upper East Side: On weekdays through December, Zoë Townhouse at 135 East 62nd Street is offering a 15 percent discount off bottles of wine from noon to 7 p.m. [Grub Street]
Williamsburg: From these pictures, the opening of the Peter Luger annex, which would significantly expand the restaurant, seems imminent. [Eater]
Today on the Comics Page, we're proud to present an excerpt from The Goon: Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker, another gorgeously drawn volume in the continuing over-the-top noir by Eric Powell, on sale now from Dark Horse.
Today on the Comics Page, we're proud to present an excerpt from Lawless, the second collection of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips's outstanding noir comics series Criminal, on sale December 12 from Marvel Icon.
There's really only one acceptable explanation for the Guardian's breathless article about the vitality of the Brooklyn music scene: The editors filed the story back in 2002, misplaced it, found it yesterday, and published it today with some of the band and venue names changed in the hope that readers wouldn't know the difference.
Jenna “ex-porn honey-turned-businesswoman” Jameson and Heatherette designer Richie Rich plan to open a nightclub/clothing shop in Chinatown next year called the General Store. [NYP]
Part-owner of the Waverly Inn and Maritime Hotel Eric Goode enjoys retreating to small-town Ojai in California. [NYT]
Nobu executive chef Mark Edwards reveals not only that the restaurant’s infamous black cod is actually sablefish (which is so not endangered), but also that he can’t stand the dish anymore after tasting it day after day. [Bloomberg]
Not only did Brooke Astor's son, Anthony Marshall, allegedly steal $132 million from his mom's estate, but he also wanted to kill her dogs. The latest issue of Vanity Fair chronicles Governor Spitzer's "troubling, tantrum-filled" first year in office. A week after her kidney infection, Mary-Kate Olsen is back to partying around town. Tony Bennett is giving a "special performance" on behalf of Hillary Clinton in New Jersey in December. Jenna Jameson and Richie Rich are opening a bar together in Chinatown. Chelsea Clinton ate at Veritas with a "very handsome, dark, Indian male companion." David Mamet is a fan of the New York Post.
Last month the Wu-Tang emcee announced intentions to sell a hat on eBay. When the bidding ended on November 4, the lucky winner of said hat — a fitted "Atlanta Backwoods" cap which, we'd like to remind you, has "been in front of Halle Berry" — agreed to deposit $355 in the PayPal account of Ghostface's intermediary seller. At least that was the plan.
Official word has come that Red Mango’s first NYC location at 182 Bleecker — long a source of fascination — will open at 4 p.m. on December 6 with “FREE FROZEN YOGURT, GIFT CARDS, GIFT BAGS, MUSIC PRIZES” (emphasis theirs). Obviously they’re trying to trump Yolato which promised free fro-yo at their recent opening only to dole out sample sizes. So will Red Mango be fudging it, too? The publicist assures us “free frozen yogurt” means an honest-to-God half-cup (small-size) serving. We have this on tape (kidding). Gifts, meanwhile, will go to the first 50 people in line and will also be given to people throughout the day, especially people who can answer trivia questions like, “How many calories are in Red Mango?” That we’re not kidding about — so study up!
Earlier:Cold War: Yolato Now, Red Mango in December, and MySpace Forever