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Spitzer to Split Up Control of New York's Three Racing Tracks

As one of the many controversy-spurning agenda items Eliot Spitzer has to deal with, we hear some progress being made in the ongoing discussions with Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno over Bruno's pet issue: the future of the New York horse-racing industry. One source involved in the private talks tells us that the tentative plan is to split up control of each of New York's three horse-racing tracks: Saratoga, Belmont, and Aqueduct. The New York Racing Association (which faces an expiration date at the end of this year) will get to keep control of the track in Saratoga, and thus stay alive. This would help the Spitzer administration avoid a potentially lengthy lawsuit.

Hipsters Marvel at the Kind of Stuffed Animals You Don't Want for Christmas

Grub Street's Daniel Maurer felt pretty guilty about taking up space at last week's third annual Carnivorous Nights taxidermy contest at Union Hall — after all, so many people were clamoring to get in to the sold-out event that bouncers had to man the door. "You have to let me in!" one girl begged. "I've been obsessed with taxidermy my whole life!" (Hey, it beats the usual "I know the owner.") Nevertheless, if we had ceded our place at the bar where Wet Specimen cocktails were served, we wouldn't have captured the mind-blowing footage you're about to see of human-head replicas made from animal parts, mermaid rabbits with duck feet, and two-headed cat skeletons (real or fake? Not even a judge from the Museum of Natural History could say for sure). Click above to see the video. We promise that after watching, the words "Pope squirrel" will forever be lodged in your brain. Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest [NYM Video]

‘Gossip Girl’ Giveth and ‘Gossip Girl’ Taketh Away

Gossip Girl
You might expect that we feel some solidarity toward the TV and film writers who are striking this week, since we're writers too and all that. Yeah, not really. Actually, we have always kind of resented TV writers since they get paid way more than we do (damn them for making such a smart career choice), and we suspect that most other print/Internet-y people feel the same way. Or, at least, their mothers do. Basically it's kind of like a Serbs-versus-Croats situation. But now we at Intel have a real reason to be pissed at those guys. Our too–small–to–write–for–the–Harvard Lampoon brains just realized that because of the strike we may be deprived of future episodes of GOSSIP GIRL. Although (thank you sweet Jesus Imitation of Christ) new episodes will air tomorrow night and next week, the L.A. Times is reporting that the CW only has 13 of the 22 planned episodes for 2007–2008 in the can, which means that, depending on how long the strike lasts, we could run out of new episodes by February.

Hartnett and Co. Go Bowling, Get Rejected by Gutter

Josh Hartnett
It's always exceptionally weird when you see a celebrity doing something almost normal, like bowling, in a normal place, like Williamsburg. But it's even weirder when you see one getting rejected like a normal person. That's what happened to Josh Hartnett this Saturday night around 2 a.m. He rolled up to Williamsburg bowling bar Gutter with another guy and two girls (even mix of guys and girls, good!). To his chagrin, one girl was turned away when she told the doorman she had lost her ID (traveling with people who might be underage, bad!). Hartnett briefly entered the bar (maybe to try to smooth-talk the management? Maybe to bowl a quick strike?) only to emerge to tell the woman it was a no-go, but not to worry— he and his friend would drive her home. In bowling parlance, we'd call that a spare. —Daniel Maurer

Todd P Explains It All: Hipster Is a Seven-Letter Word

Todd P
As we mentioned earlier this week, back when we described the residents of 1717 Troutman Street, who had been evicted from their apartment, as "hipsters" in a headline, some of the residents took issue with the term "hipster." That is so typical, we said to ourselves. Hipsters never will admit to being hipsters. It's so silly! So we made a joke about it, not because we didn't feel bad for the people who got kicked out of their houses since we quite clearly did, but because it was just … absurd. And the outcry got louder! The writer (who didn't write the headline, by the way, or choose the photo) was harassed on MySpace, accused of "name-calling" and using hipster as a pejorative, "sort of like using the term 'negro' to describe an African American person." Um, what? "People are offended by the term hipster because it implies a life of ease dedicated to appearing cool and nothing else," one commenter explained. Huh. But we feel like we know plenty of hipsters who don't have trust funds. Some of them even work retail, like at Trader Joe's and American Apparel! But apparently that perception is pretty common: "Bunch of whiny trust fund 'hiptches' if you ask me," wrote one commenter on the folks at 1717 Troutman. "I'm sure they are all back in CT and RI with mommy and daddy by now." We had no idea we were so wrong and old and irrelevant! Well, we did, but, you know. So we asked Williamsburg indie-rock promoter Todd P to teach us the nuances.

Linda Stein's Funeral Reveals Fondness, Anger

Linda Stein
Hundreds turned out at the Riverside Memorial Chapel on the Upper West Side this afternoon for the funeral of murdered real-estate icon Linda Stein. Fellow brokers, longtime friends, and even celebrities like Trudie Styler and Brett Ratner showed up to pay their respects. There were so many attendees, the chapel had to open another room for overflow, though many chose to stand in the main chapel. While the funeral was in parts a celebration, Stein's daughter, Samantha, didn't let the gruesomeness of her death go unmentioned. She said the family would not rest until "the bastard" responsible for her death is found and justice is served. As friends voiced fond and complex remembrances, someone recounted one of Stein's favorite quotes, which captured her aggressive outlook on life. It was Rosalind Russell's famous line from Auntie Mame: "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death." —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Remembering Linda Stein

In September of 1991, Michael Gross profiled Linda Stein, the punk-rock manager turned real-estate agent who was found murdered in her apartment building Tuesday evening, for this magazine. "Diminutive, brassy, and caustic, Stein has a face as expressive as a truck driver's mouth," Gross wrote. "Everything about her is too much, from her too-high Manolo Blahnik heels to her too-short Gianni Versace skirts. Yet somehow, it works for her. 'Her nerve is beyond anything,' one longtime social observer says, laughing. 'You can't help but admire her.'"

Imaginary Eavesdropping on Lance and Ashley's Date

Lance and Ashley
Okay, so we know it's totally possible that "Page Six" has been exaggerating the crap out of this Lance Armstrong and Ashley Olsen relationship. Like, we heard from an eyewitness that they weren't actually making out at Rose Bar the other night, they were just whispering. But anyway, they were spotted again at Waverly Inn on Tuesday, so maybe there's something to it. For our own amusement, we tried to imagine the conversation they had over delicious chicken pot pie at the trendy restaurant: Lance: You know, I've been a fan of yours since Full House. Ashley: Aw, thanks. That's so sweet. I was so fat then! Lance: I thought you were adorable. I watch the reruns with my kids. You really pulled off all of those matching baby jumpers! I never dreamed I'd get to actually make out with you. Ashley: I get that a lot. I really admire what you did with, you know, your ball cancer. You took lemons and made them into lemonade..

Bushwick Hipsters Turn Out to Be Queens Hipsters, Actually

1717 Troutman
Our post last week about a protest at 1717 Troutman Street, a warehouse whose residents were "evacuated" by fireman with sledgehammers after only ten hours' notice, generated quite a few comments. "1717 Troutman Street is in Ridgewood, Queens, not Bushwick, Brooklyn," Liz Sweibel, a former resident wrote. This is true although the press release sent to us from the residents did say Bushwick. But perhaps that was wishful thinking? Because contrary to commenter Jomo, a resident who did "not appreciate the use of the term 'Hipsters' to describe the tenants," we maintain that the residents of 1717 were at least mostly hipsters (see above) and, hey, we call it like we see it. But! As Liz and Jomo said, hipsters are people, too. Which is why we checked back to see how everyone was doing, and if they had gotten any results from their protest.

Gorbachev Louis Vuitton Ad Hides Sinister Secret Message

Perhaps you've seen a memorable Louis Vuitton ad in the back of New York and other magazines: a pensive Mikhail Gorbachev being driven in a limo past the remains of the Berlin Wall, his only companion a trusty piece of LV luggage with some reading material sticking out. Well, we just now happened to take a closer look at that material, and Ho … lee … crap. It's a Russian book or magazine, strategically posed so that the title is upside-down but readable: “Litvinenko's Murder — They Wanted to Give Up a Suspect for $7,000.” Litvinenko, of course, is the Russian ex-spy whose death — by polonium-laced sushi — has been widely attributed to Putin's goons. We have no idea what the business with the $7,000 is (maybe it's the price of the bag?), and nor do we want to know! The very fact of Litvinenko's name in the middle of the meticulously composed Annie Leibovitz shot is enough of a jaw-dropper. Is Gorby sending the world secret messages through luggage ads? —Michael Idov

Could ‘Gossip Girl’ Have Been Even Better?

Gossip Girl
Well, hello there, Upper East Siders. Haven't been thinking about Gossip Girl in a couple of days? Well, we have. We happened to pop on over to the Wikipedia page for the book series by Cecily von Ziegesar, which inspired the show. It turns out that Cecily, or perhaps just an overenthusiastic Wikipedia amateur editor, has quite the imagination. And the show's creator, Josh Schwartz, isn't sticking to it. It's not just the little things that the show ignores, like the fact that Nate is supposed to have blond hair and green eyes, or that Jenny is supposed to be short and have brown hair and breasts the size of basketballs. It's the big things, like this: "Chuck has an obnoxious pet monkey named Sweetie, who can often be found perching on his shoulder and wearing coordinated outfits." If this is true, how could Josh Schwartz have done this to us? We are being denied a monkey in funny outfits! Now, we could read through the books and figure out whether the Wikipedia page is accurate, or we could put it to our readers. Add to this post (using our brand-new commenting feature) and tell us what we've been missing by not reading the books. Don't pretend you haven't read all of them. We saw you on Saturday night — we know how much time you put into those Blair and Serena costumes. Gossip Girl [Wikipedia] Related: Psst, Serena Is a Slut. Pass It On...

Padma Will Have the Salman

Salman Padma
Like our cohorts at WWD, we spent much of the night at the after-party for the Keep a Child Alive benefit transfixed by the drama of the Salman Rushdie–Padma Lakshmi reunion. Lakshmi's presence at the event had been a given; she's a KAC "global ambassador," and she'd designed the gala's dinner menu. And it seemed pretty clear from repeated comments referring to her "ex-husband" earlier in the night that she hadn't been expecting Rushdie to show. But Rushdie is the one who introduced her to the night's honoree, Bono — they'd flown to a concert together once, Lakshmi said — and apparently the sneaky devil got an invite through other means and decided to come. God, we had an ex who used to do that all the time, just like show up places he knew we'd be. Padma! Fancy meeting you here! Actually, come to think of it, we've done that to exes ourselves. We're a little bit of a stalker like that. Salman! He's just like us! Anyway. To be honest, we were kind of shocked by the hot and heavy make-out sesh that ensued.

Bushwick Hipsters Left Out in the Cold

Another battle in the never-ending war between Man and Landlord was fought this morning, when a large collection of young artists and hipsters gathered in front of 17-17 Troutman Street, a warehouse in Bushwick, to protest their abrupt eviction from the building. On October 18, they said, they were given ten hours' notice to collect whatever belongings they could carry down the stairs (the service elevators had already been cut out) before the Fire Department broke down doors with sledgehammers and ordered them outside. Their landlord, David Steinberg, has been scarce since the trouble began. “I’ve talked to people who have talked to him,” ex-tenant Evan Greenfield said. “But he hasn’t returned my calls. He says he doesn’t want us to vilify him.” That hope was probably a tad unrealistic, as Steinberg had been signing up new leases mere days before the city deemed the building uninhabitable, citing fire-code violations.

FBI Reopens Infamous D.B. Cooper Case

DB Cooper
In response to a story in New York this week, the FBI has decided to revive its decades-old file on D.B. Cooper, the mysterious hijacker who parachuted out of a Northwest Airplane in 1971 with $200,000 in ransom money and was never seen again. The case, one of the FBI’s most legendary, is the only skyjacking in history that remains unsolved. This week, New York presented a new suspect in the case, Kenneth Christiansen, a deceased Northwest purser and ex-paratrooper. The resemblance of Christiansen to a composite sketch of Cooper was “uncanny,” according to Larry Carr, a federal agent in Seattle now spearheading the Cooper case. “It was the piece that pushed it over the edge,” he says. Carr’s hope is that “a relative out there might think, ‘Boy, Uncle John was a lot like that and he disappeared around that time.’” Carr says that the prevalent view inside the bureau is that Cooper died the night of the jump. “Conditions were too poor,” he says. And Carr suspects that, contrary to popular belief, Cooper was not a professional skydiver. As for Christiansen, the agent was troubled by certain physical characteristics that didn’t match eyewitness accounts, like height and eye color. But he is not ruling out any suspect until “we get a new starting point in the case.” —Geoffrey Gray Related: Unmasking D.B. Cooper [NYM]

Fergie to Release ‘Hart Moor’ in 2008

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has finished her historical novel, Hart Moor, she told us earlier this week at the Quill Awards. It's scheduled to come out next year. "It's my first historical novel, but I have written 24 books and I've written 12 children's books," she explained. Fergie spent three years on research (she was paid a reported $1.8 million for the book from St. Martin's in 2005, before it had even been started). "It's about my heritage: a redhead," she said. "It's set in 1759." We hear Fergie's been in talks to make it into a movie as well, which is very exciting. The British royal has managed to keep her profile up even after she left the ruling family. She's done a lot for charity work, and she's won children's-book awards. If she makes an Oscar-winning movie, somebody get this lady a Nobel Prize! —Amy Odell

Daily Intel: Now With Comments, It's Your Responsibility, Too

So, readers. We know you have lots of things to say about Gossip Girl. Who doesn't? But lately we've been wondering what you think about other things we write about. Like, you know, Rudy Giuliani, sports, or people who are bonkers. We know you have opinions and jokes, and we're betting they're usually better than ours. Which is why we've added comments to Daily Intel. From now on, you can comment on any and every post we write, from the lame to the genius. Registration is quick and easy, so don't hesitate. The comments show up on the main Daily Intel page, which you should have bookmarked anyway, you jerks. We really need the backup. Seriously, we're even ripping off the LOLCats. Throw us a bone!

Ellis Gallagher Will Make All Sidewalks Safe for Chalking Children Again

Ellis Gallagher
Meet Ellis Gallagher, Brooklynite and first non-child victim in the sidewalk-chalk war. Gallagher, who has been drawing silhouettes on the streets for the past three years (he's been profiled in the Times and has lectured on graffiti as art at the Brooklyn Museum), was the city's first chalk-related arrest last week when police saw him at work during the filming of a profile set to air in early November as part of Channel 13's "New York Voices" series. "I've been stopped before, but once they see it's chalk, they lay off," Gallagher says. He was carted around to three different precincts and charged with making graffiti, possessing graffiti instruments, and making mischief before charges were dropped in Red Hook court the next day.

Fans Dissect Our Dissection of ‘Gossip Girl’

Gossip Girl
It's very obvious that we have the best readers/Gossip Girl watchers in the universe. Because after today's recap, you sent us a flood of e-mails with observations and additional insight into what is real and unreal about television's most cruel addiction. (Starting very soon, you'll actually be able to comment directly on our posts — which is the kind of feedback we've been wanting/dreading this whole time.) Here's what some of you geniuses pointed out: • "FYI, Dan's mystery girl is clearly Hispanic — the hoop earrings, nylon belly jacket should've been your first clue. Besides with Token Black and Token Asian all that was missing was Token Latina, from Brooklyn! Gotta love the stereotypes!" [Ed.: This was so insultingly obvious that we are pissed at our eyes for not informing our brain about it. Damn you, you bewitchingly hazel beasts!] • "Did you notice that never once did they say 'Masquerade' (as far as I remember) and for some reason were only capable of saying 'masked ball.' Very unreal." • "It's funny when Blair tries to get emotional with Nate outside of her limo at the end. Either she's a really bad actress or a really good one." [Ed.: We say good. The things that she's asked to do are mind-boggling, and somehow she carries it off. While wearing bows, no less.]

Adam Duritz Knows How to Fix His Own Lights

Counting Crows
Okay, so on Sunday night we went to this Delta event with the Counting Crows, and ever since then our friends and co-workers have been making fun of us because we love that band. But we are not ashamed! Sure, you may have abandoned them after "Mr. Jones" got annoyingly stuck in your head too many times, or even as recently as their "Big Yellow Taxi" remake which was offensive to almost all humans. But we love them nonetheless, and they have a new album coming out. It was supposed to come out in November, but it got delayed. Lead singer Adam Duritz, who has been a New Yorker since their last album, Hard Candy, five years ago, recorded half here and half in his native Berkeley. The album is called Saturday Nights, Sunday Mornings, and they've begun testing out some of the tunes — including the ballad "Washington Square" — on concert audiences. And we are excited about it and don't care what you think. At the Delta event, where the airline announced an exclusive collaboration with the band (they'll offer an all-Crows music station on their onboard radio menu and will sponsor the band's tour), we actually got to sit down and talk with Duritz for a while about the album, the music industry, and living in the city. After the jump, we've posted a portion of our Q&A for your enjoyment. Nobody's looking, we promise. You can click through.

Chevyn McClintock Has a Little Problem With Pia Miller

Ron Burkle isn't the only one who gets burned in the memoir Chevyn McClintock is shopping, which "Page Six" reported yesterday contained the astonishing news that Burkle was a dud in the sack. Chevyn sent us another chapter last night, and it turns out she also has an ax to grind with Pia Miller Getty, the daughter of billionaire Robert Miller, the eldest of the troika of "Miller sisters"(the others are Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece and Alexandra von Furstenberg) and the onetime wife of oil heir Christopher Getty. Oh, about that last thing! According to McClintock, she was actually married to Christopher Getty when he was introduced to Pia (by "a New York gay investment banker named Alecko Papamarcko" whose "reputation as a matchmaker for children of the rich and famous was legendary" no less). But things really heated up between Miller and Getty at a party the three of them attended at the Met in New York back in the early nineties. According to Chevyn! We have no idea if the following anecdote from her proposal is true or not; she's sort of unreliable. For example, she admits in the manuscript that she was not exactly married to Christopher Getty, as "there was a problem with the legality of their union." And is that even her her name? But she is extremely entertaining. Seriously, a little editing and lawyering and this IS the society version of Confessions of a Video Vixen. Get this woman a book deal!