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Illustrate — Don't Destroy

Seems it’s not all lawsuits and protests in Brooklyn activists’ war on Atlantic Yards; there are cartoons, too. Disturbing, disturbing cartoons. A tipster calls our attention to MissBrooklyn.net, a new and subtly deranged wiki site for posting your own apocalyptic fantasies of what the Frank Gehry centerpiece of Ratner's project will look like. So far, the pickings are slim. The most prominent picture depicts Bruce Ratner as a sort of Evil Jew, flashing a devilish grin as he exposes a strangely buff bicep with a “Miss Brooklyn” tattoo. Instead of horns, however, this Ratner has a rat’s tail. In another bit of symbolism, a wad of dollar bills is hanging out of his zipper. We strongly prefer another cartoon, which features an MS Paint girl’s-head doodle over the Gehry model: It makes the design, an inarguable folly, into something endearing. Is it too late to work it into the actual blueprints? MissBrooklyn.net

Bank-Branch Infiltration Reaches Madison Square Garden

This just in via e-mailed press release: The space formerly known as the Theater at Madison Square Garden, formerly known as the Paramount Theater and even more formerly as the Felt Forum, will now be known as the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden. "The name of The Theater will be changed immediately," the release reports, and the deal will include signage throughout the Garden and eleven WaMu ATMs at the venue. (Please tell us this doesn't mean the end of the Chase machines near the Seventh Avenue entrance. WaMu, as we discovered the other night, is now up to a $2 charge for using its ATMs. So much for the buck-fifty stopping there.) Six months ago, the city's three major sports venues — the Garden, Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium, — remained proudly unsponsored. Now the Garden's got WaMu, at least peripherally, Shea's gone Citi, and only one question remains: Which bank will meet Steinbrenner's price? Full press release is after the jump.

At New Location, J. Press Hopes for New Money

J. Press
J. Press, the venerable clothier of generations of New York Wasps and their privileged offspring, moved from East 44th Street — once the epicenter of conservative men's fashion — earlier this month, after nearly 50 years on the block. (Brooks Brothers, bless them, remains.) Just around the corner on Madison and 47th, a few changes at the new J. Press stand out. The old shop, like a Wasp wedding, was a little too big and a little too quiet. The clothes were immune to the vagaries of new fashion; you could always find a sport coat that went out of style sometime during the Carter administration and dress shirts with little button flaps over the chest pockets.

No Olympics, But Maybe the X Games?

Bike Trail
Not content to sprinkle skate parks amid its acreage, the city will open its first BMX and mountain-bike trail this Saturday in Washington Heights’s Highbridge Park. The three miles of trail includes jumps and a BMX track and will give cyclists a legal place to ride. "We had had mountain bikers riding through historic landscapes, so we had to criminalize it," says Parks Commission Adrian Benepe. "This was a way to come up with a positive use for a remote area of the park." The New York City Mountain Bike Association supported the trail with money and volunteers, and the commissioner hopes the peer endorsement will keep kids from turfing the city's lawn. —Alec Appelbaum All-City Cross Country Race [NYC Mountain Bike Association]

Never Doubt Tiki

NBC Football
Tiki Barber just retired from football, but has his throwing arm already atrophied? At NBC's upfront presentation yesterday, the former Giant and the rest of the Sunday Night Football sportscaster team were trotted out to face advertisers. Barber and colleagues Jerome Bettis and Chris Collinsworth rehashed a bet from last year: Who could toss a football into the balcony of Radio City Music Hall?

Giuliani Blames Aide for Poor Emergency Planning

Rudy Giuliani
Republican presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani — whose campaign is based on his reputation as "America's Mayor," the hero of 9/11 — is famous for a lot of things. Letting bygones be bygones is not one of them. Thus Giuliani is blaming an old aide turned adversary Jerry Hauer, the city's first director of the Office of Emergency Management, for the much-criticized decision to locate the emergency command center at 7 World Trade Center instead of a site in Brooklyn. After terrorists flew planes into the Twin Towers, 7 WTC burned and collapsed, and the 23rd-floor command center was rendered useless. "Jerry Hauer recommended that as the prime site and the site that would make the most sense," Giuliani claimed this week on Fox News Sunday. "He recommended that site as the site that would be the best site. It was largely on his recommendation that that site was selected."

Did Obama Pick the Wrong Playmates?

Barack Obama
Barack Obama is heading to Greenwich this weekend to raise money from well-known hedge-funders (i.e. Paul Tudor Jones), but a minimum $1,000-a-head reception at the home of retired Knick Allan Houston on Saturday is drawing heavy criticism from some Jewish anti-discrimination groups. "It's very unfortunate," says David Twersky, communications director at the American Jewish Congress. "It looks like Obama is doing pretty well. He doesn't need Allan Houston's money."

Morris Brothers No More

And another landmark store bites the dust. Morris Brothers, the sportswear purveyor on 84th Street and Broadway, which has been selling the required T-shirts, tube socks, and name tapes to campgoing youngsters on the Upper West Side for the past six decades, unveiled new window displays this week and they're not pretty. Banners proclaiming final sales because of their imminent departure from the neighborhood were unfurled. According to local buzz, the rent for the 5,000-square-foot space has more than doubled, sending the owners packing. No word yet on what'll set up shop there once the sale ends in July, but we'd be happy to start a pool: bank branch, Starbucks, or nail salon? Heck, it's a big enough space, maybe all three! —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Congestion Pricing Needed to Fund MTA?

The MTA expects a windfall from the sale of Hudson Yards, but that doesn't mean it won't need the anticipated revenue stream from congestion pricing. The weekday drivers' fee into central Manhattan was proposed last month by Mayor Bloomberg to fund mass-transit improvements. New York City Partnership chief Kathryn Wilde, an early advocate of congestion pricing, told us this morning that even a record-breaking price at Hudson Yards would leave the MTA in the hole. "When we've cut ribbons on $50 billion of [needed] projects and have money to cover $20 billion, congestion pricing becomes not a new tax but a revenue stream," she told us. Like the mayor, Wilde expects state approval before this year's legislative session ends in June. Which would be some kind of record in itself.
—Alec Appelbaum Fight Looms Over High Line Section [Crain's NY]

Socialite Rank Saga, Cont'd.: Are the Creators Who They Claim to Be?

If New York society is more than a bit like a high-school cafeteria, it turns out that lately the jocks and valedictorians have been somewhat surreally lorded over by the Wacky Foreign Exchange Kids. It's among the strangest lessons of Isaiah Wilner's exposé in this week's New York, unmasking the writers and proprietors of the socialite-skewering Website Socialite Rank as the mysterious Russian-émigré duo Olga and Valentine Rei. The pair of step-siblings carved out an impressive New York niche, but it's their almost Zelig-like Moscow background that makes them most fascinating. Thing is, we at Daily Intel are starting to wonder if their version of life in Moscow is entirely true.

Biker Boychiks

If he was wearing a black leather yarmulke, Gil Paul, a fortysomething Jewish biker dad in black leather chaps and a black leather jacket, kept it under his stocking cap. Paul rode his tricked-out Harley Road Glide into town to participate in the Israel Day Parade with a dozen of his fellow Hillel’s Angels, a Jewish motorcycle club from Wyckoff, New Jersey. They rendezvoused at Temple Beth Rishon early Sunday and parked their kosher hogs at the marshaling point on East Broadway and Clinton Street, opposite the Young Israel orthodox shul on the Lower East Side. Then the Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance — a contingent of 150 motorcycles made up of Jewish biker clubs from all over North America — kept on truckin’ to 57th Street, to join the parade down Fifth Avenue.

By Dogsled or HMS Beagle, Celebs Prepare for ‘Time’ 100

The Time 100 dinner, to be held tomorrow night at Jazz at Lincoln Center in celebration of the magazine's annual "Most Influential People in the World" issue, is a hot ticket, an exclusive and glittering black-tie affair. And it seems the influential people will go to great lengths not to miss it. Virgin mogul Richard Branson, on the list this year, is currently on a 325-mile dogsled journey across Canada's Arctic province of Nunavut to see the effects of global warming. He's rushing to reach his endpoint — the delightfully named Igloolik — by Tuesday morning so he can be whisked to New York to make the dinner that night. "Will get the husky dogs to work a little bit harder!" he e-mailed.

Bloomberg Won't Wait for Congestion Pricing

Mayor Bloomberg wants his congestion-pricing plan, and he wants it now. That's what he told a largely sympathetic, lunch-sated audience at the Regional Plan Association's annual meeting today, when he said he'll insist Albany approves funding for PlaNYC's congestion-pricing and transit measures in the next six weeks. The necessary legislation will "have to be in this legislative session," he said in one of several deviations from his prepared text — and the legislative session ends in the middle of next month. "The reason the legislature doesn't do what we want is we haven't gone to them and said, give us what we need, or else," the mayor said in another improvised bit. Later in the speech, he turned more conciliatory, reiterating a promise to implement short-term transit improvements like extra traffic cops in 22 driver-heavy neighborhoods. "The leaders in Albany really want to get together and get this going," he added. "It will be a phenomenal legacy for them." Let's see if they agree. —Alec Appelbaum

On the Sudden Seeming Ubiquity of Bill Clinton

Is it our imagination, or has Bill Clinton been a busy little bee lately — or, at least, a busy little potential First Husband? In eight recent days, he schmoozed, posed for pictures, and occasionally gave speeches at four different high-visibility charity events. The last time he'd attended a gossip-column-worthy event in town was in January, for his good friend Terry McAuliffe's book party. This latest burst started a week ago Monday, when he came to the Food Bank for New York City's "Can-Do Awards" at Pier 60, wandering in late from a Hillary fund-raiser at Pier 94 with Chelsea, who wore a Hillary campaign button. He introduced U2's the Edge, who was being honored, and then he fake-admonished Jimmy Fallon, who had just sung a ditty called "Car Wash for Peace," for withholding a plan that could have broken the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. The room exploded, and the Food Bank's coffers hit a record high.


We knew it was going to be a good night at the National Magazine Awards when we arrived for the cocktail hour at Jazz at Lincoln Center yesterday to find four or five full open bars — no white wine and Ellietinis only this year — and enough hors d'oeuvre to feed a Third World country (or, at least, Adam Platt). Still, we had no idea just how good. There were celebrities! (Presenters included John Waters, Carrie Fisher, Kevin Bacon, Aisha Tyler, the dude who founded Wikipedia.) There was creative math! (If last year was the 40th annual Ellies, how was this year's the 42nd?) There was Champagne and dessert for everyone! Oh, and there was also this: New York won five awards, more than any other magazine, and the most wins by one title since The New Yorker won five two years ago. We won Profile Writing, for Vanessa Grigoriadis's "Boy Prince of Fashion," about Karl Lagerfeld; Magazine Section, for the Strategist; Design; Interactive Feature, for nymag.com's Show & Talk fashion coverage; and the big one, General Excellence in our circulation class, for being generally excellent. "I'm sorry about this," editor-in-chief Adam Moss said sheepishly as he reached the stage for the fourth time last night. He was also pretty happy, we think, and proud. As are all of us. 2007 National Magazine Award Winners Announced [ASME]

Bring Me the Head of Boris Yeltsin!

If your May Day plans include buying a traditional nesting doll of your favorite first democratically elected Russian leader, you might be out of luck. A week after Boris Yeltsin's death, we had a hard time locating a matryoshka doll of red-faced former president anywhere in the city. Andre Abramov, the Moscow-born owner of Kalinka Gifts in Brighton Beach, says the items were once wildly popular but he's now out of stock. "We hope to get more," he added, hopefully. At Manhattan Russian Souvenirs on East 14th Street, there's only a single, large matryoshka of Yeltsin available — it's selling for $300. (Alex, the grizzled owner, a Leningrad native who wouldn't give his last name, has a smaller, empty Yeltsin nesting doll, but he says it's not for sale because it's going in his front window amid Soviet hats, old medals, and more traditional peasant-style nesting dolls.) Your best bet might be N.F. Hardware Store on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea. They've got a kitschy version that starts with Vladimir Putin, nests its way past Boris Nikolaevich, and ends with Stalin and Trotsky inside. All for just $49.99. —Mary Reinholz CORRECTION: This item originally stated that Manhattan Russian Souvenirs had no matryoshkas of Yeltsin for sale; that's incorrect.

Pocket Full of School Fund-raisers

Gruppy parents expecting nothing more than heated hors d'oeuvre, questionable D.J.-ing — La Isla Bonita, anyone? — and fevered over- bidding for class projects at an Upper West Side public-school auction Friday night got a rare treat when Chris Barron, lead singer of the Spin Doctors, took to the school's stage for a surprise set. Barron, whose child attends the school, worked the crowd into a near-fever pitch, sending them back to grungy college years — when school auctions were so, well, uncool — with his biggest hits, including "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" and "Two Princes," both from Pocket Full of Kryptonite, the Doctors's triple-platinum debut album. Does Barron, like other, crankier musicians, resent having to play old standbys decades after they first hit the charts? "That's silly," he said. "Those are great songs." Agreed. —S. Jhoanna Robledo Chris Barron [MySpace]

Say What You Will About Liberals, But They Can Spell

Tucked among several family reunions on Saturday on Central Park's Great Hill was a protest calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush. About 200 gathered for this "A28" event (similar protests were held nationwide and, in the city, at Tompkins Square Park and Coney Island) organized by the antiwar group World Can't Wait. The event drew the usual panoply of protesters: Code Pink ("women for peace"), Democrats.com ("the aggressive progressives"), and someone in an Uncle Sam costume. There were chants, there were signs, and even a human representation of the word "IMPEACH." World Can't Wait's national director Debra Sweet chastised the "smug cynicism" of today's young people but expected a near-certain presidential veto of a timetable for Iraq withdrawal this week would inspire some action. "If that doesn't serve as a catalyst for impeachment … " she said, trailing off. Sweet is helping to plan a post-veto protest in Times Square. The Reverend Lennox Yearwood of the Hip-Hop Caucus came up from D.C., fresh from an arrest for marching onto the Senate floor. "We're in solidarity," he said, but he thought protests could only do so much. "The revolution will not be televised. It will be uploaded." —Marc Tracy

Real-Estate Bubble: Are You in Triple Bubble Trouble?

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble — could it be that New York's real-estate market isn't as hot as so many brokers say it's gotten? According to PropertyShark, it depends on the neighborhood. The data-rich real-estate site offers a "Triple Bubble Trouble" city map, marking which Zip Codes suffer from three signs of a real-estate bubble perhaps set to burst: decreasing prices per square foot, increased foreclosures, and a slowdown in the volume of sales in the first quarter of this year compared to the previous three months. Which neighborhoods show a triple whammy? Some surprising areas, like Midtown East and the far West Sixties. "The market's softening up in some places," says PropertyShark CEO Ryan Slack. "Everything falls sometime." —S. Jhoanna Robledo Triple Bubble Trouble (by Zip Code) [Property Shark]

Report: Manhattanites Buy Expensive Apartments, Hate Pets

Citi Habitats just released its latest Black & White Report (named so because, well, we don't know) about Manhattan's residential real-estate market, and — newsflash! — it seems apartments are expensive. That's not news, of course, but there are some great nuggets in the report that get at The Way We Live Now. One revealing statistic: Only 7 percent of Manhattan renters have pets, compared to a national average of about 40 percent for dogs and 30 percent for cats. Another: The average renter is 30, which at first we found unsurprising until we thought of all those hanging on in sprawling rent-stabilized places uptown.