The night Denis Johnson's novel Tree of Smoke won the National Book Award, FSG¹s Lorin Stein, who edited that and two other fiction nominees, decided to celebrate his very good year at the Russian Samovar.
Night Sky Holdings, which formerly operated Windows on the World at the World Trade Center as well as the Rainbow Room, has signed a contract to run the Oak Room and the Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel. Also, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s former sous-chef Didier Virot will be helming the kitchen at the hotel’s other eatery, the Palm Court. [NYP]
Sushi chef Hiroshi Nakahara has left New York’s BondSt to run the kitchen at a new outpost in Beverly Hills. [PR Newswire]
Chipotle will be serving 200 million meals using naturally raised meat this year, a 40 percent increase from 2007. [The Grinder/Chow]
A little bit more news has come out today about yesterday's collapse at the Trump Soho. Apparently it was not a bucket swinging into the scaffolding, as we and others reported yesterday, that caused the accident. Rather, a wooden mold in which a worker was tamping down concrete collapsed, and the wet concrete caused the worker to fall 42 stories to his death. Though the name of the worker, who was decapitated, according to the Times, has not been officially released, the Post is still flagrantly identifying him as Yuri. The Daily News points out that the company in charge of the site, Bovis Lend Lease, was also the company whose violations at the Deutsche Bank building led to a fire that killed two firefighters last year, and notes that their projects have "a history of worker injuries and deaths and objects hitting passersby." Meanwhile, the Times digs up the fact that Joseph Fama, one of the owners of the DiFama Concrete Company of Brooklyn, the subcontractor hired by Bovis, who employed the deceased and the other workers, has been in jail since 2004 for racketeering and extortion, and according to federal authorities is an associate of the Lucchese crime family. And still, no one has heard from the Family Trump.
Construction Worker Dies in 42 Story Fall in SoHo [NYT]
Worker plunges to death at Trump site [NYDN]
Trump Horror [NYP]
Diane Sawyer interviewed Katie Holmes on Good Morning America yet neglected to ask her about the rumor that she was impregnated with L. Ron Hubbard's sperm. New York Giants Plaxico Burress, Antonio Pierce, and Ruben Droughns went to Home nightclub in Manhattan after flying back from Dallas and ordered $1,000 of Bacardi, vodka, and Champagne, but forgot to tip their waitress. Waiters at Brasserie 44 in the Royalton Hotel thought they discovered Frank Bruni's notebook, but it turned out to belong to someone else (and they slipped in some Bruni ass-kissing to boot!). Jil Scott picked up a male model at an Allure fashion shoot and took him to Nobu. Keith Olbermann's quote to Playboy that "Fox News is worse than Al-Qaeda" did not go over well with many of the magazine's readers.
Though it may not be a journalistic scandal up there with the Judith Miller saga, the missing notebook found in Brasserie 44, which may or may not belong to Danyelle “Restaurant Girl” Freeman, is getting a lot of play this morning. The story: Notes were left behind at a dinner and, according to their finders, could only be those of a restaurant critic. And, since Freeman is reviewing Brasserie 44 this week, they are naturally thought to be hers. What's the big deal? Aside from the sloppiness factor on the critic's part, which is fun for a quick snicker, what real difference does it make to the reviewer, the reader, or the restaurateur if someone has a piece of paper that says “mushy chicken” on it? Something about Danyelle Freeman just brings out the hate, but we can't say it's not entertaining to watch from the sidelines. Meanwhile, it's a good thing Adam Platt only scribbles his mordant asides on a vellum tablet, or we'd be in trouble here at New York.
Which NYC Food Critic Is An Idiot? (Hint: Danyelle Freeman!) [Gawker]
Now that yesterday's poll numbers on Giuliani in Florida have sunk in, campaign staffers and political analysts (those that can stand to take a break from dissecting Hillary and Obama's race kerfuffle) are trying to figure out whether this means the end for the former New York mayor. Yesterday, the Times reported that one of their polls showed McCain edging ahead of Giuliani by a small amount in the southern swing state, where Giuliani has been concentrating all of his campaign efforts. Huckabee and Romney were a mere percentage point behind, putting all four within the same margin of error for the poll. Now, with the arrival of the Michigan primary (Giuliani's first real chance at a strong finish, some are taking a hard look at his future prospects:
• Today Giuliani's chief strategist Brent Seaborn saw a bright side in not being part of the brutal Huckabee-Romney-McCain battle in early primary states: "I think we’ve been in the fortunate position that a lot of attacks haven’t been directed our way.” Giuliani may remain remarkably unscathed late into the race, which will be a surprise boon for a candidate with many potential negatives.
• But Matthew Continetti in the Weekly Standardpoints out that Hillary's recent stumbles against Barack Obama may have taken the wind out of Giuliani's campaign, which early on was partially based on his unique ability to take down the Clinton machine in a general election.
• And Joel Achenbach adds that when Super Tuesday comes around, previous voting numbers are going to become irrelevant in the face of delegate accumulation. Giuliani has always been aiming for delegates, not total state wins, and this strategy may serve him well on February 5.
• Finally, Talking Points Memo reads the Romney-McCain-Giuliani tea leaves and declares that the question isn't whether it's judgment day for Giuliani, but whether it's high noon for Mitt.
Yesterday was new Citigroup honcho Vikram Pandit's 51st birthday, and pretty much everyone forgot, since this morning he had to announce the largest quarterly loss in his bank's history. To be sure, the $18.1 billion subprime-mortgage-related write-down is not as much as the $24 billion that was predicted over the weekend, but it was enough that it led to a fourth-quarter loss of $9.83 billion. But there was a silver lining: The bank says it has plans to raise upwards of $12.5 billion through a private securities sale, which includes $6.88 billion from Singapore. They also expect the Kuwait Investment Authority, Alwaleed bin Talal, and even former Citigroup CEO Sanford "Sandy" Weill to kick in with investments. That's "a huge vote of confidence on [Weill's] part," one analyst told Reuters. "I'm surprised to see his name there." We wonder if Pandit is surprised. Maybe today after work, he'll go outside and Weill will be waiting for him in his red convertible. "Me?" Pandit will say. "Yeah, you," Weill will say, and later that night they'll share kisses over birthday cake while the Thompson Twins' "If You Were Here" plays softly in the background.
Citigroup raising $14.5 billion [Reuters]
Even in the dead of winter, good new things keep happening to New York City. The Underground Gourmet giddily points out a new wine bar, Gottino, that is outpacing its panini-packing rivals. The Insatiable Critic found a new, urbane restaurant in Dovetail and loves the Sunday prix fixe. Among this week's openings, Periyali adds a midtown sister in Persephone, giving the city another blue-chip Greek restaurant. Ah, New York: Even our lean seasons have their harvests.
Steakhouses are valued for one thing: their meat. There are no chefs, and no one goes there for the décor. So if the meat is available elsewhere, such as DeBragga and Spitler’s new retail operation, why bother with the steakhouse? The beef supplier, one of New York’s most established, was once the source for most of the city’s top steakhouses, and still supplies some of the best, such as Craftsteak and BLT Prime. Now you can buy a steak that is “exactly, absolutely” the same, says DeBragga’s Marc Sarrazin. Other top meat operations, like elite-meat specialist Pat LaFrieda, and small-farm evangelist Heritage Food USA, have made their stuff available to the public as well. So the question is this: Is it worth it?
In an article in The Villager this week, State Liquor Authority spokesman Bill Crowley claims that Death & Co. has lost its license to serve and could be closed for “illegally trafficking alcohol.” But partner David Kaplan disputes the story.
Today the city issued a request for proposals to create a public golf course at Ferry Point Park, a patch of covered landfill at the Throgs Neck waterfront, in two years. Would-be developers have eight weeks to propose how that course will lie. (That's golf talk, isn't it?) Plans for an eighteen-hole links course at Ferry Point Park predate Mayor Bloomberg's overarching PlaNYC, but if it gets done soon, it would be a good centerpiece for the master plan. Like many PlaNYC projects, including the conversion of Staten Island's Fresh Kills landfill into a huge and sumptuous park, this aims to green up a dead place. It's no easy task: Trees won't grow on old landfill (hence the brilliance of a golf course), and the winning developer must propose an irrigation scheme to tax the city water table as little as possible. And it must harmonize with "the principles of green design," which presumably means extra points if a windmill on the course generates electricity for the South Bronx. Is there a Bobby Jones out there for this bog? Your city needs you. —Alec AppelbaumConstruction of a tournament-quality golf course at Ferry Point Park in the Borough of the Bronx [PDF]