New York Newspapers Tanking More Slowly Than Papers ElsewhereMEDIA
• Of the top twenty American newspapers, the circulation of New York ones suffered less than others over the past few years. [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
• We hear … that gossip Website Jossip.com is up for sale. [NYP]
• And that ESPN The Magazine is beefing up its fashion coverage. [WWD]
Mario Cuomo Not So Sure This Congestion-Pricing Thing Is HappeningMario Cuomo, like Mayor Bloomberg, knows presidential-bid scrutiny. But he knows Albany even better. And the former governor doesn’t see congestion pricing coming out of the legislative swamp by the end of March — when lawmakers must adopt a commission-sponsored plan to keep the city from losing $354 million in pledged federal transit aid. “I’m not ruling it out, but I’m not ruling it in,” Cuomo told us (there’s that hedging we remember from the presidential-run talk). After hearing Eliot Spitzer talk up an ambitious budget proposal to the developer-heavy Association for a Better New York, the former governor noted that Mayor Bloomberg’s air-quality cause seemed conspicuously absent from his successor’s weighty wish list. “He has a complicated and very impressive agenda,” Cuomo tells us, “and if congestion pricing were on it, we’d have heard about it.” To be fair, Spitzer’s slideshow did include an endorsement of the MTA’s five-year capital plan, which relies on upwards of $4 billion from bonds that congestion-pricing fees would support. But Albany can always find ways to borrow more money — that’s something Cuomo knows, too. —Alec Appelbaum
Has Al Gore Been Touching Bono in a Bad Way?
Bono says that being with Al Gore is like “being with an Irish priest.” Mel Gibson supposedly distanced himself from Heath Ledger after Ledger chose to play a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain against Gibson’s counsel. Celebs like Sean Penn and Kevin Spacey may like Hugo Chavez because of his drugs.
Cornering Cuomo on His Presidential PicksAt Charles Grodin’s book party at Le Cirque on Wednesday, we stopped by to ask former governor Mario Cuomo if we could have a word. Cuomo began by introducing us to his dinner partner. “This is Sandy Frucher,” he said. “Of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. Just made a big deal. NASDAQ is buying them out, and that’s like a $700 million deal. And even he’s here!” His mind wandered. “Who took my wine?” The wine was located. We figured it was as good a time as any to ask the tough questions. Who were his presidential picks? “I think Hillary wins the Democratic primary. I think Romney wins the Republican primary,” he said. “I suspect and I hope this is not true: That neither Hillary nor Romney is going to be such a towering figure that it will preclude third people from coming in.”
Summer of Sam Revisited: ‘New York’ on the Dems’ Lousy Mayoral CampaignThe Summer of Sam was also the summer of a hotly contested Democratic mayoral primary. Ed Koch, Mario Cuomo, and Bella Abzug were just a few of the politicians vying for the city crown amid all the chaos, and in a September 1977 issue of New York, Doug Ireland was disgusted with the whole process. “Surely this is the oddest Democratic primary in recent history. Seldom have the voters in our town had such a hopeless welter of nonissues thrown at them in a mayoral campaign,” he wrote. “[I]n a city still reeling from a swelter summer of blackouts, looting, criminally high unemployment, and Son of Sam, most candidates are as afraid of the voters as the voters are of the muggers in the streets.” Take a look at the whole article for a flashback to city politics, seventies style.
Democratic Dogfight: A Hopeless Welter of Nonissues [NYM (pdf)]
Earlier: Summer of Sam Revisited: ‘New York’ on the Search for Sam
Donald and Rosie, Still FightingDonald Trump tried to reignite his feud with Rose O’Donnell by sending Barbara Walters a giant framed bustier that O’Donnell wore in Exit to Eden. Usher’s fiancée may be pregnant, and it may not be Usher’s child. Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun had quite the send-off Tuesday at Jazz at Lincoln Center. A man is claiming to be Larry Birkhead’s former gay lover. Seagrams heir Matthew Bronfman unveils his Ikon condo complex in Williamsburg tonight. The father of deceased singer and socialite Kitty Carlisle Hart knew Abraham Lincoln. Nick Lachey is still sensitive about his divorce from Jessica Simpson. A lot of American films will screen at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Ryan Gosling won’t say whether his relationship with Rachel McAdams is over. Snoop Dogg’s love of video games and weed caused a chain reaction of snafus at the Pussycat Dolls’ UNICEF benefit at Cipriani Wall Street.
Non-Candidates in Non-Campaign Succeed in Raising Level of Debate
Last night’s non-historic Cooper Union face-off between famous formers Newt Gingrich and Mario Cuomo, billed by its organizers as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln’s actually historic 1860 speech at the same location, was explained as a challenge to 2008’s presidential candidates to campaign less in the modern, sound-bite-y style and more in the august Lincoln-Douglas tradition. A sedate, professorial crowd (read old) turned out to watch this exercise in bar-raising, at which at each speaker was given a full 30 minutes to orate. Gingrich went first and acquitted himself nicely, getting ovations for his emphatic bureaucracy bashing — “the machine doesn’t work!” — before finishing with some heartstring-pulling fearmongering, naming his two New York City grandchildren and declaring that he “fears for their safety.”
Obama Dunning Hill’s Dem Donors?Big Dem donors Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and George Soros have all pledged their support to Barack Obama, though Sant Chatwal and Ed Koch — who we’re shocked to learn is still considered a Democrat — are on Hillary’s side. Bill Clinton avoided a flirty blonde at a book party; Hillary called Obama to chat about her White House run. Michael Bloomberg doesn’t think taxpayers should have to pay for the mayor’s living expenses at Gracie Mansion. Shock jocks Opie and Anthony asked Donald Trump to come on their show and discuss the Rosie feud but afterward claimed that he had asked them. Derek Jeter went from Jessica Biel to Gabrielle Union.
Paris Hilton (Finally) Embarrasses HerselfParis Hilton’s next movie is so bad even she doesn’t want to be associated with it. Karl Rove ran a great campaign for student-body president in high school. Michael Jackson’s kids are polite, ate cake. Bob Costas told Mario Cuomo, others that the Yankees should trade A-Rod. Exes Kirsten Dunst and Jake Gyllenhaal ran into each other at Capitale, talked. Liz Smith likes Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers. A lot. Marc Ecko bought a rhinoceros. Lawyer Lynne Stewart eats healthy. Madonna, who rents her English estate out for pheasant hunts, recently imported some new birds from France. Model Tyra Banks doesn’t like porn star Tyra Banxxx, who just made a new video. CBS is casting a reality show about lazy people. (But nobody bothered to show up! Rimshot!) Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey went to a party, didn’t have their picture taken together. Ellen Burstyn wrote a book. U2 is moving its music-publishing biz out of Ireland, to avoid some taxes. Patrick McCarthy held a dinner for the new W, at which a photographer fell out of his chair. Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott is getting a big dinner at the Rainbow Room for being good to the environment; the Eagles will perform. Aretha Franklin is afraid of heights. “Page Six” is sorry for saying Vince Vaughn was “making out” with a chick he was actually just saying hello to. A blogger says Idaho Senator Larry Craig is gay.