And so it begins: the final season in the old Yankee stadium (built in 1923) begins today. The first regular game, against the Blue Jays, starts today at 1:05 p.m. What the press is wondering about on the big day.
Jerry Stiller said he had a senior moment when he exited the locker room at the Jewish Community Center on Amsterdam sans bathing suit. Peter Brant, who bought out his ex-wife's half of Interview magazine last week, is pleased to have traded Ingrid Sischy for Glenn O'Brien. On Friday, Lindsay Lohan drank vodka at the Box and at the Beatrice Inn while partying with Stavros Niarchos and Brody Jenner before returning to the Four Seasons Hotel to spend the night with Niarchos. Eli Manning and fiancée Abby McGraw ate dinner at Il Mulino in the Village (he got a standing ovation when he left). At the Plumm, Tracy Morgan ordered two bottles of Champagne, ripped off his shirt and started dancing on the banquette, seemingly lost his credit card, found it in his pocket, and then asked a waitress if he could father her baby. Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher ate at Café Gray.
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In the magazine this week, architecture critic Justin Davidson considers the recently restored Eldridge Street Synagogue, calling it a “splendid relic of a more deprived age.” Now a museum and Jewish cultural center, the synagogue opened in December after a decades-long restoration. We took our camera for a grand guided tour. Read the review, watch the video, and then take a trip downtown to see for yourself.
Reconstructionist Judaism [NYM]
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New York reporter Shira Levine ran into Kid Rock, divorced and full of vim on New Year's Eve, at the party he was hosting at the Gansevoort. "I'm a lot of fun at parties," he announced. Shira tactfully did not mention that she wasn't so sure about that; she had, after all, seen that video of him and Scott Stapp. They enjoyed a few moments of conversation, and he asked for her name. "Shira," she said.
Then he made his indecent proposal. "Shira, will you marry me?"
"No," she said. "I'm not marrying anybody who has been married as many times as you." Shira's mom raised her right, you see.
"I've only been married once!" Kid protested. "I got married to the same girl like five times. Does that count?"
Shira wasn't sure. She sized Kid up. He was wearing a white tracksuit, a bowler hat, and a fur stole. "Would you convert to Judaism?" she asked.
Kid replied enthusiastically: "Yeah! If I can get lifted up on the chair at the wedding! I love Jewish people."
Shira had heard this from men before. It usually meant they were after her money. "What do you love so much about Jewish people?" she asked warily.
"They just fucking got 50-caliber fucking guns in Israel. They don't give a fuck. They'll unload on anybody. 'Fuck with us? We'll fuck you up.' That's my motto in life. 'Be nice to everybody, but if somebody fucks with you, FUUUUCK them up.' We're fucking saving your country basically."
"Thanks, but I'm not Israeli, just Jewish," Shira said.
"Same thing. You say tomato, I say fuck off!" Kid Rock let loose a big, raucous laugh.
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We love Sherri Shepherd. Since she came on The View, the show has had more energy, more weaves, and a hell of a lot more on-camera drinking. Also, it's had a lot more interesting Christian moments. Like today, when Sherri claimed that Jesus Christ arrived on Earth and started the Christian religion before anything else in history happened. During a discussion about the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 B.C.–270 B.C.), the following debate popped up among a lot of cross chatter:
Whoopi: Keep in mind probably when he was around there was no Jesus going on. Sherri: No, they had Christians back then.
[Cross talk] Sherri: They had Christians, they threw them to the lions.
[Cross talk] Whoopi: I think this might predate that. Joy: They believed in polytheism. Sherri: I don't think anything predated Christians. Joy: No, the ancient Greeks were earlier. It went Greeks, Romans, then Christians. Sherri: Jesus came first before them. Whoopi: [Gently, bless her] Not on paper.
Now, Sherri is not wrong about people in the Bible being thrown to the lions way before then. But people called them Jews then, because Jesus didn't come until 300 years later. All in all, probably a fair mistake. Just not one we expected to hear in the same episode as Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul talking about aborting an 8-month-old baby.
The View [ABC]
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Jerry Seinfeld is off promoting his Bee Movie in Israel, and while speaking with reporters in Tel Aviv, he cracked a joke about how he was much better received this time around than when he came to the country to work on a kibbutz when he was 17. "I would be in the fields, and nobody wanted my autograph and nobody wanted to take their picture with me," he said, according to the Associated Press. "They just let me hack away at those banana leaves, and no, I didn't meet the prime minister even once." Oh, Jerry, you're such a G-rated kidder. Of course they wouldn't — hey, wait a minute. Seinfeld worked on a kibbutz? This was news to us. So we ventured out into the wilds of the Internet, only to discover that he's been talking about his days on the farm for years now. Still, we thought the cheap joke was worth a trip down memory lane, so we dug up the relevant section of Jerry Oppenheimer's unauthorized biography of the comedian, Seinfeld: The Making of An American Icon.
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Guess what everybody? This April, New York is going to get a very important visit! That's right, the Popemobile is coming! We couldn't be more excited. We've always wanted to see the Popemobile in person. It's such an honor that the Popemobile is visiting the city during our lifetime; it's only been here four times before, in history. Apparently, the pope-mobile is going to go down to ground zero and even take part in a giant Mass at Yankee Stadium (last time the pope-mobile was here, it visited Shea — the Popemobile, of course, is a nonpartisan car). During the pope-mobile's most recent visit to the Big Apple, in 1995, it was carrying Pope John Paul II. This time it will be carrying Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict was last in the city before he was pope, in 1988, when his arrival was met with protests by gay groups because he called their sexuality a "moral disorder" and also by Jews because he thinks that they should become Christian to get "perfected" (well, he said Judaism "finds its fulfillment" in Christianity, but the pope doesn't go on as many talk shows as Ann Coulter so he can't be expected to have his rhetoric quite so down pat). Anyway, we can't wait to go see the Popemobile when it comes. It's really caught up with the times. We hear it has power steering now!
Benedict Will Bless City With April Visit [NYDN]
When Benedict Last Visited New York [NYT]
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The Harmonie Club: Founded in 1852 by Jews after Christian clubs would not let them join, it's lately been hitting headlines because of its own exclusivity. MTA chief Dale Hemmerdinger was pressured by black and Latino politicians to quit the club (he was a former president) before taking on his post this month. The membership of Bernard Spitzer, father of Eliot, has been much discussed of late, as has Barack Obama's decision to cancel a fund-raiser there earlier this year. Mayor Bloomberg himself canceled his membership before taking office, citing their lack of diversity as his main complaint. So it's perhaps an off choice of location for Rudy Giuliani's Republican Jewish fund-raiser today, as the Daily News's Daily Politics blog reports. The campaign was hush-hush about it, so maybe they were hoping no one would notice. It might also be the case that he agrees with Ed Koch and thinks the club has every right to exclude non-Jews. Or maybe he just doesn't care what New Yorkers think of him anymore, unless they're giving him money. Our secret theory is that he was confused and thought the Harmonie Club was only keeping out straight people. Just because of, you know, the name.
Giuliani at the Harmonie? [NYDN]
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A day after we jokingly anticipated a Post headline "Rent Kikes," several female Israeli parliament members got upset that the country's New York consulate is participating in a Maxim "Girls of the IDF" feature and the Post obligingly delivered with "Hebrew-ha-ha" on the cover and "Babes in Oy Land" inside the paper. But what's the actual kvetch? "It's unfortunate that the Israeli consulate chose to emphasize Israel's relevance with a portrait of a half-naked woman, instead of with one of women of substance and accomplishments," one of the complaining Knesseteers told an Israeli paper. And, truth be told, we agree. So here's our road-map solution, submitted for Maxim's no-doubt-forthcoming "Israeli Women of Substance and Accomplishments" issue. Golda's balcony, indeed.
Babes in Oy Land Scuffle [NYP]
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So what happens when the (straight) associate rabbi at the Village's (gay) Congregation Beth Simchat Torah decides to get married in a state (New York) that doesn't allow same-sex unions? Rabbi Ayelet Cohen will put on a lacey Carmen Marc Valvo gown this Sunday, walk down the aisle, make a commitment to her husband-to-be, Rabbi Marc Margolius, and throw a traditional Jewish reception — "Hava Nagilah," raised chairs, food, cake, the whole megillah — for 200-odd guests at the Puck Building. But she won't actually, legally get married. "This is one of the major social injustices of our time," she said. "I cannot, in good conscience, participate in a system that actively excludes and discriminates against same-sex couples" — including her 4,000 congregants.
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