The queen is dead; long live the tiara. Socialite Rank, the adorably ungrammatical Website that chronicled, lampooned, and at times brought to tears the new generation of charity-circuit women, announced today that after a year's effort it will publish no more. SR’s creators, tenaciously anonymous even at the height of their fame, now plan to publish a book, The Year of the Rank. The faceless bloggers promise insider tales of the Tinsley set, “behind-the-scenes triumphs, power struggles, love affairs,” as they wrote in their farewell note, and — here's the must-have fillip — “more unpublished ‘Palermo’ letters."
And so Rosie O'Donnell is out at The View, leaving when her contract expires in mid-June, according to today's announcement. It's sad news for fans of unexpectedly in-your-face happy-talk morning TV, but if you were paying attention, you'd have seen it coming. Lloyd Grove profiledView creator Barbara Walters in New York recently, and he questioned how much longer O'Donnell would be with the show:
O’Donnell’s arrival in September — to replace the deferential Vieira as moderator — has been unquestionably a success. She has been credited with an over 20 percent hike in the ratings in the key 18-to-49 female demographic, which has fueled speculation about her bright future on daytime TV. Will ABC cash out Walters’s stake and retire her in favor of O’Donnell, who, after all, had her own very successful show from 1996 to 2002? The betting in Las Vegas at last month’s programming-executives convention was that O’Donnell will leave soon to launch her own show for either ABC or a major syndicator. At minimum, O’Donnell — who’s said to be pulling down nearly $3 million from The View, about twice what Vieira was paid — will likely be demanding a big raise.
A New York State judge announced this afternoon that she won't stop Bruce Ratner from razing several Brooklyn buildings to start construction on his Atlantic Yards project. Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn appeared in a lower Manhattan courtroom Tuesday to request a temporary restraining order against Forest City Ratner, keeping the developer from starting demolition pending a May 3 hearing on DDDB's lawsuit claiming in inadequate environmental-review process. Justice Joan Madden promised a decision today, and she has now denied the DDDB request. FCR showed Madden a schedule Wednesday outlining the demolition of fifteen buildings between April 18 and the end of June, she wrote. Reasoning that a restraining order "is a drastic remedy which should be sparingly used," she wrote she failed to find "factual support" that the first nine buildings on the block will "affect the nature and character of the area." DDDB chief Daniel Goldstein quickly issued a statement. "The court expressly stated that in making today's TRO decision it was not pre-judging the merits of petitioners claims filed on April 5th," he said in a press release. He has called a protest for Monday at 8 a.m. at 191 Flatbush Avenue, where he expects demolition work to begin.
In the Matter of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn v. Empire State Development Corporation [PDF]
The Pulitzer Prizes were announced about a half-hour ago, and let's put it this way: It's a good day for Hassan Elmasry. The Times snagged only one award this year, in the Feature Writing category. That's the same total as the Daily News and Newsday — and for that matter, the Oregonian, the Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Times — which all also won one prize, but without the pesky dual-class ownership that Elmasry so dislikes and we'd all like to argue protects the paper's superior journalism. Then again, it was a year without any big winners, and the only paper to win two prizes — the Wall Street Journal, with Public Service and International Reporting — is a dual-class paper, too. Congratulations, Bancrofts.
The Pulitzer Prizes 2007 [Pulitzer.org]
This just in from the Associated Press, and more than a bit disconcerting:
NEW YORK (AP) — A man jumped to his death Friday out the window of a 69th-floor law office in the Empire State Building.
Police responded to the New York City landmark shortly before 3 p.m. after a 911 caller reported seeing a severed leg — covered in a gray sock — on the street below. The rest of the body was recovered from a setback on the 30th floor.
After a fire in the transformer yard at Indian Point nuclear plant in Westchester, Reactor No. 3 was shut down late this morning. The fire was extinguished by Indian Point staff, and officials don't believe any radioactive material was released. No problem for now (so they say!), but we were reminded of the magazine's handy 2005 guide to "When Bad Things Happen." In short, let's hope the winds are blowing north today. And pick up some potassium iodide on the way home. Just in case.
Transformer Yard Fire Prompts Shutdown of Indian Point 3 [The Journal News]
When Bad Things Happen [NYM]
We'd sort of convinced ourselves that the British sailors and marines captured by Iran were going to become the Archduke Ferdinands of the Middle East–centered World War III Bush and Cheney have brought us to the precipice of. But there's the good news today that Iran is releasing them, and we're pleased to see the conflagration is staved off for at least another day. "We're not looking for confrontation over this," Tony Blair said in a radio interview yesterday. Funny what happens when you choose not to look for confrontations.
Iran to Release 15 Britons Held Since March 23 [NYT]
The big idea lately in newspapering — poor, beleaguered newspapering — has been the proposition that newspapers of the billionaires, by the billionaires, and for the people might just be the best kind of newspapers. (One well-known billionaire, goes the logic, is better than anonymous private-equity firms or, worse, Hassan Elmasry.) The proposition hasn't worked out quite as believers hoped in Philadelphia, and in Boston Jack Welch hasn't even been allowed to try. But this morning Chicago's Tribune Company — owner of the eponymous paper, plus the insurrectionary Los Angeles Times, Long Island's Newsday, and other newspapers, TV stations, and a baseball team — announced that it has accepted an offer from local billionaire Sam Zell.
A historic announcement was made inside the MTA's Madison Avenue boardroom this morning: The groundbreaking for the Second Avenue subway will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 12 — a mere two weeks away. The ceremony will be held inside a tunnel, which might suggest to literal-minded folks that ground has in fact already been broken. Of course it has! In fact, there have been two previous groundbreaking ceremonies for the star-crossed subway — first in 1925, again in 1972 — but MTA executive director Elliot Sander, who made the announcement, promised this morning that "the third time's a charm." Plans are in place, he noted, for noise mitigation and sidewalk navigability and tunnel-boring machines so badass they require assembly in Italy. Naturally, actual work won't start until several weeks after the ceremony. —Alec AppelbaumThe Line That Time Forgot [NYM]
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown just announced details from the indictment against the police officers accused of shooting and killing Sean Bell on November 25, 2006, outside a Queens strip club. Of the five cops under investigation, two were charged with manslaughter. Detectives Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora face up to 25 years in prison for charges including manslaughter, assault, and reckless endangerment. Another detective, Marc Cooper, was charged with two counts of reckless endangerment and could be imprisoned for one year. Two other policemen at the scene that night were not charged. Oliver, Isnora, and Cooper will be arraigned later today in the Supreme Court in Kew Gardens.
Statement by Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown [Queens District Attorney's Office]
The grand jury examining evidence in the Sean Bell shooting has apparently reached a decision, but Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown will not announce any indictments, or a lack of them, until Monday morning. However, at least one lawyer representing an NYPD detective in the case believes that his client will be charged. The Reverend Al Sharpton is also confident the case will continue: "If you seal something, that means someone has been charged," he told NY1. "You can’t seal an un-indictment." We can't fault his logic there.
Bell Grand Jury Decision To Be Revealed Monday [NY1]
The National Magazine Award finalists were announced today, and it's our reportorial duty — not any desire to brag, of course — that compels us to mention that New York Magazine was named a finalist in an unprecedented seven categories. (Last year we had five, which was a record then, too.) The New Yorker, as nearly always, led the pack with nine finalists, and Esquire tied us at seven. New York's nominations are for General Excellence, circulation 250,000 to 500,000; Public Interest, for Robert Kolker's "On the Rabbi's Knee"; Profile Writing, for Vanessa Grigoriadis's "Karl Lagerfeld, Boy Prince of Fashion"; Magazine Section, for Strategist; Design; Interactive Service, for Grub Street; and Interactive Feature, for Show & Talk. We keep telling ourselves we're writing this because it's real news (Ellie madness begins!) and because it's real service (and here's where you can find our finalists!). But to hell with that. We're kvelling a little. Forgive us.
ASME Announces National Magazine Award Finalists [Magazine.org]
It used to be that if you wanted to find the most slavish trend followers in this country, all you had to do was look to lower Manhattan, or parts of Brooklyn, or maybe Los Angeles. (Ugg boots in summer, anyone?) But now it seems that Washington, D.C. — Republican Washington, D.C., in particular — can go toe-to-toe on the fashion front. Have its denizens shed their navy suits and loafers? Of course not. Rather, they're all following the new vogue for "responsibility" — you know, where you "take responsibility" for something and leave it at that. No detention. No docked pay. No resignation. Just take responsibility and walk away.
So Harvey Weinstein bought Halston. The move puts the iconic seventies designer’s name — Halston was best known for his drapey jersey dresses, early adoption of Ultrasuede, and regular spot between Liza and Bianca at Studio 54 — back in the hands of a canny, culturally aware, media-manipulating New Yorker. Things haven't been going well lately for the once-powerful brand; there have been so many different designers and corporate owners since Roy Halston Frowick died in 1990 that the label is today unrecognizable.
Marc Jacobs went into rehab today, his business partner Robert Duffy announced, and it's hard not to feel bad for him. He's struggled with addiction for years, and it's a relief to see that he's on top of the problem this time around. He pulled off fantastic shows in New York (Marc Jacobs), London (Marc by Marc Jacobs), and Paris (Louis Vuitton) last month, and is expected back the second week in April, which should give him plenty of time to get to work on the collections for the September shows. We'll be waiting for his next chapter. —Amy LaroccaLost and Found [NYM]
Marc Jacobs in Rehab [WWD]
Aaaaand he's guilty: Dick Cheney's ex-chief of staff and noted erotica author Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been found responsible for obstructing the investigation into the Valerie Plame leak. The jury's deliberations took ten days. We hope it will take less time for Libby to finish up his internal deliberations and sell everyone he's ever worked for down the river in exchange for a little less time at Club Fed. As the man himself wrote in his eloquent letter to Judith Miller, the aspens are turning.
In the face of citywide grumbling and tabloid pummeling ("Nix Those Tix!"), Mayor Bloomberg caved and ordered an amnesty on all alternate-side parking tickets issued Thursday and today, seeing how most of the ticketed cars were encased in marble-hard ice moguls. The pardon went out roughly 24 hours after the mayor told people to "stop griping" and, in our estimation, marks just about the first time Bloomberg backed down so swiftly on, well, anything. The amnesty was even accompanied by an apology, of sorts: "I'm sorry for the inconvenience to people, but you know you have to make decisions." Indeed you do.
Bloomberg Backtracks on Parking Tickets [NYT]
And now it's official: Tiki Barber will become a television broadcaster. The Times is reporting that Barber, the Giants running back who retired from football at the top of his game, will join NBC, serving as a news correspondent for the Today show and a commentator for football broadcasts. Last month, David Amsden profiled Barber for New York, looking at why he wanted to leave football and why he wanted to go to TV. The answer? Because he realized it was time to grow up.
Tiki Barber to Join NBC's 'Today' Show [NYT]
Tiki Barber: The Exit Interview [NYM]
There is no particular New York connection to this, but it still seems worth mentioning: Anna Nicole Smith, who gave birth to a daughter in September and then watched her 20-year-son die while visiting her in the hospital days later, died today. The legal battle over the estate of J. Howard Marshall — the elderly oil millionaire she married when he was in his eighties — was never resolved, though it reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006. She was 39.
Anna Nicole Smith Dies After Collapsing in Hotel [CNN.com]