Rosie O'Donnell emceed a luncheon for Women in Communications, and she offended audience members with off-color jokes. Cindy Adams liked her act, though. Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Norman Mailer, and Anna Wintour all showed up for the memorial service for JFK aide Arthur Schlesinger Jr.Rudy Giuliani's success in presidential polls is making Mike Bloomberg want to run for president. Martha Stewart's billionaire boyfriend, Charles Simonyi, returned from a visit to the International Space Station. An Icelandic billionaire bought an Ian Schrager penthouse in Gramercy Park for $10 million. Hotelier Jason Pomeranc celebrated his birthday with Kate Hudson. Sheryl Crow may be an environmental activist, but a performance rider shows she demands three tractor trailers, four buses, and six cars for a gig. Speaking of Crow, she may have had a falling out with fellow activist Laurie David during their anti-global-warming cross-country tour.
• The City Council overrode Bloomberg's veto and instituted a ban on metal baseball bats in high schools. And council members did the same with his veto of pedicab restrictions. A two-hitter, if you will. [Bloomberg]
• President Bush is in town today for a speech and a photo op at the Harlem Village Academy Charter School, because it's been doing well under the No Child Left Behind act. We're sure the city had nothing to do with the improvement! At any rate, enjoy the gridlock. [amNY]
• Historian David Halberstam, Pulitzer-winning legend of New York journalism died in a Bay Area car crash. Halberstam covered the Vietnam war for the Times and went on to write dozens of widely read books on that and other subjects. [WNBC]
• The condo-weary Upper West Side is making like the Lower East and mulling a height limit on buildings. Under a proposed plan, all new construction west of the park between 97th and 110th Street would top off at about fourteen stories. [NYDN]
• And the Waverly Inn — still not officially opened! — got slapped with 38 points for nine violations by the Health Department, including "mouse activity." We're sure our Grub Street brethren will have more to say, so let us just quickly smile at Mr. Carter's plan for a "Waverly cat" to deal with the mice. [NYT]
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Mayor Bloomberg's released PlaNYC 2030, his environmental agenda for the next quarter-century, yesterday (on Earth Day! get it?) at the Museum of Natural History (nature! get it?). It's almost too sprawling to recap, not to mention hell to pronounce ("plan-why-see twenty-thirty"?), but we know we'd be thrown out of the Bloggers' Association if we didn't do our best to take the most multifaceted matter and reduce it to five talking points. Herewith, our attempt to suss out the essence of the 127 proposed projects.
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• After a long and suspenseful run-up, Mayor Bloomberg finally revealed his 25-year plan for "the first environmentally sustainable 21st-century city." On tap: enclosed highways, more green space, river cleanup — and $8 congestion charge. [NYT]
• Four Brooklyn policewoman have filed complaints against three of their superiors for allegedly calling them — you're not going to believe this — "nappy-headed ho's." (As in: "Don't give me no lip before I have to call you [one].") Great: postmodernist slur use. [NYDN]
• A Mets fan is pleading not guilty to "interfering with a professional sporting event"; he has allegedly tried to blind two Atlanta Braves players with a flashlight. He's represented by Legal Aid, which can always use a diversion, and faces a year in jail. [WNBC]
• Dina Matos McGreevey claims she had learned of her husband's sexuality early on, perhaps by 2000. Also: The Post should really stop calling McGreevey "McG" lest Charlie's Angels director McG sue. [NYP]
• And The Producers ended its Broadway run yesterday after 2,502 performances, leaving behind only fond memories. Well, and two movies. [amNY]
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• The mayor will use Earth Day to unveil a barrage of housing, transit, and environmental proposals. In the spotlight today: a charge for drivers to enter midtown, a cabbies' dream and car commuters' nightmare. [NYT]
• Governor Spitzer is requesting FEMA aid, including disaster unemployment relief, for twelve counties hit hard by the weekend's nor'easter. New York City is in line for some federal funds as well. [WSTM]
• Albany, meantime, is proposing the so-called Paw and Claw Tax (on pet food, natch), with the money going toward shelters. The tax would apply to "dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits and birds." Your ferret is now a bargain. [NYS]
• Tom Cruise, whom the Post now dubs "the diminutive Scientologist," hit Chelsea (an easy joke there) to raise funds for his questionable sauna-and-vitamins program for 9/11 emergency workers. Reporters were banned. [NYP]
• And it took two fumbling attempts for the NYPD scuba team to tow the departed Sludgie the Whale from Gowanus to his final resting place in Jersey City. Deadpanned one detective by way of equivocation, "This was my first whale." [WNBC]
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You may have heard that Tom Cruise was sponsoring a Scientology-flavored detox program for 9/11 first responders (the fund-raiser is tonight, in fact), and that the City Council was about to honor him for it. Yesterday, reports the Post, Mayor Bloomberg finally decided this wasn't such a great idea. The initiative to give Cruise official kudos belongs to Councilman Hiram Monserrate, who claims that the program was secular in itself and the religion of its underwriter was thus irrelevant. Yet even the most casual fans of Xenu & Co. could spot that some features of the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project — specifically the sweat-and-vitamins regimen — were indistinguishable from the intro stage of Scientological indoctrination. Not to mention some of the families' claims that the patients are being told to stop taking anti-depressants. Bloomberg didn't provide any pithy sound bites on the matter, but he'd be hard-pressed to beat a remark by Councilman Peter Vallone; commending Cruise, Valone said, would cross the line between "cult and state."
Mike Thumps Tom [NYP]
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When it comes to guns, Mike Bloomberg behaves less like a mayor and more like the 101st senator. His national anti-gun drive (okay, an anti-illegal-gun drive) began with a lawsuit against firearm dealers in neighboring states and grew from there to encompass efforts in such far-flung places as Ohio and Kentucky. Normally, and ingeniously, Bloomberg works by recruiting other city mayors to his cause, cobbling together a coalition of counterparts, now about 180 strong. Now, though, he's also lobbying Washington directly: At issue is a Republican measure that bans the ATF from sharing gun-trace data with the police, except in special cases. As a result, says Bloomberg, local authorities never get to see the full scope of firearm traffic in their own communities. A Bloomie-financed TV ad campaign is careful to draw the line between "crime" guns and "legal" ones, but the National Rifle Association is decrying it nonetheless. It's hard to tell if crafty Bloomberg is actually all-out anti-gun or not, much like it's hard to tell how, if at all, Republican he really is. In the meantime, we're just enjoying the sight of our mayor pissing off conservatives from shore to shore. As any good New Yorker should.
Bloomberg Bolsters Gun Drive in Ohio and Kentucky [NYT]
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PlaNYC — the catchall term Mayor Bloomberg has given both the planning document being drafted to guide New York's development over the next 23 years and the months-long process of public meetings to gather input for it — is, it turns out, almost ready to be unveiled. The formal announcement will come next Sunday, April 22 — you know, Earth Day — at the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side, a City Hall source confirmed to us today. The city has been explicit that PlaNYC is needed to help it deal successfully with an anticipated population explosion while our infrastructure ages and the environment deteriorates. So, while we're excited to see the plan, we confess the museum's symbolism is making us nervous: dinosaurs … carcasses … oy. —Alec AppelbaumREAD MORE »
Among the skits to be put on by the city's political journos at the upcoming Inner Circle roast is one featuring Judi Giuliani as a blow-up sex doll. Us Weekly, Star, and other weekly tabloids are upping their negative coverage of Brangelina because they are sick of getting scooped by People. A handful of people are angling for a portion of deceased Dr. Robert Atkins's $600 million estate. Mike Bloomberg's 98-year-old mother sometimes pretends she's not related to him so people don't ask her to hook their grandkids up with jobs. NBC's Today show is losing serious ground to ABC's Good Morning America and even CBS's Early Show in the ratings game. Charlie Rose and Amanda Burden may not be broken up, despite reports they are. Jay-Z has plans to ink a deal with Champagne label Ace of Spades to replace Cristal as his drink of choice.