That's a whole $8 million more than the couple got for Shiloh! Is it because there's two of them or because of inflation? Plus: Citigroup's seven-point plan for saving itself, the Palazzo Chupi triplex goes on sale, and other things that make you go hmmm, in our daily roundup of media, finance, real-estate and law news.
Martha disrupts plans to make her seem like less of a perfectionist, Bear Stearns CEO Jimmy Cayne may face arrest (he'd better hide his stash!), and the FBI is slapping anyone who's ever said the word "mortgage" with criminal charges, in our daily roundup of media, finance, real-estate and law news.
At a NYU Media Talk last night focusing on "Publishing and the Election," Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter called Thomas Payne “the original blogger.” We bet he didn't have to deal with unending pajama jokes!
In addition to slowing its expansion (finally), Starbucks will halt “sales of hot breakfast sandwiches because their smell interferes with the aroma of coffee.” [WSJ]
If Padma Lakshmi could eat anywhere right now, she’d head to a little taco stand in Mexico for some fish tacos on the beach. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Chelsea hot spot Stereo, which was closed by police earlier this month, will not be reopening at its current location because the landlord bought out the lease. [NYP]
• The falling market has shaved off a big chunk of Wall Street hottie John Thain's compensation. Don't worry, Thainie-boy, we still love you. [DealBook/NYT]
• Wondering what the hell's happening in the markets? Watch one trader lose his life savings in a single day. (NSFW) [Crossing Wall Street]
• Ex–Goldman banker becomes underwater gravedigger. Say what? [NYT]
Blythe Danner still has a love-hate relationship with New York City, where she lived with her husband, Bruce Paltrow (dad of Gwyneth and Jake), until he died in 2002. She's still in mourning, she says. "A poet wrote, 'The edge softens, but it never leaves.'" And there are a lot of memories to contend with. "We met here," she said at a recent benefit for the Williamston Theater at the Puck Building. "I was in a show he produced that lasted two weeks. And we were walking home one night and went to a fortune-teller on a lark in the Fifth Avenue Hotel," she told New York. "And she told us we were going to get married. We weren't even dating." Yet in the end, she says, it's the city that keeps her going. "For a woman who's a widow and pretty much a loner, I can walk out and I'm surrounded by NYU kids. The energy jumps off the sidewalks, and I never feel sad or bored." —Tim Murphy
• The Gucci family is up in arms over Ridley Scott’s biopic. They fear he’ll focus on the family scandals. You know, instead of making a movie about all the boring stuff. [British Vogue]
• Helmut Lang is opening a pop-up shop in the meatpacking district. Just what we need, another fabulous place to spend our money while we are drunk. [Fashion Informer]
• Kaiser Karl rocked the U.K. with a Chanel fashion show. [WWD]
Hervé This, the famous French scientist who coined the term “molecular gastronomy,” yesterday made a rare New York appearance, lecturing first at the Institute of Culinary Education, then at NYU before the Experimental Cuisine Collective, and finally before the Culinary Historians of America at the soon-to-open Astor Center downtown. We were fascinated by This’s PowerPoint presentation, which featured food images, mathematical formulas, Venn diagrams, and images of classical artwork, all accompanied by gnomic, rambling commentary on the nature of things edible. (There seemed to be a lot of stuff about emulsification in there as well.) The truth is that we could make neither head nor tail of the talk, which apparently was totally different at each of the three appearances.
NYU alum Alec Baldwin arrived at the Totally Tisch Gala celebrating his alma mater but failed to give any face time to the intrepid Washington Square News reporters asking for tales from his undergrad experience. Luckily, he stopped to chat with us, though only by mistake. We asked him what might happen if his telegenic family had to resort to a House of Baldwins–style reality show when the writers strike ended all scripted programming. "You've got to be kidding — you're with The New Yorker?" he stammered. Nope Alec, New York. "Oh, that makes more sense." Um, thanks? "Well, I would be the neat one," he starts, grinning at the self-appointed casting. "My brother Daniel would be the one that we have to leave the key under the mat for, because he'd be coming home late at night. My brother Billy would be the diplomatic one, and my brother Stephen would be holding bible classes in the living room every Sunday." It came out a little too quick, causing us to wonder if maybe he's been spending some time thinking about this already. We know we have. — Amy Preiser
Was Columbia president Lee Bollinger actually taking his cues from NYU president John Sexton when he decided how and why to host Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a speaker? It seems like that might have been the case and that Bollinger's much-abused decision to host the Iranian leader would have been the same had it been made by Sexton. Ooh, geek synergy! In a November 2004 speech, Sexton outlined the exact protocol that should be addressed when inviting a controversial guest. "It is hard to make a case that the university’s sacred space should be available to the likes of a bin Laden or a Hitler," Sexton said then, arguing that bin Laden and Hitler's disrespect for freedom, safety, and open dialogue should prevent them from taking advantage of a university's adherence to those exact values. But Sexton, who has been accused of censorship himself, outlines how and why an exception should be made to that rule.
Late last week, the Times published an article directed at New York City's newest denizens, those brave college students who have decided to try their luck at Columbia, NYU, or any of the city's other fine beacons of higher education. The Times piece was a "don't" list for the newcomers, dispensing wisdom such as "don't fall asleep on the subway" and "don't buy condoms" (the latter sparking a debate on the fortitude — or lack thereof — of the city's safe-sex freebies). Helpful as these basic New York no-nos may be, we felt that the list was lacking in lessons on some of New York's finer nuances. As such, we'd like to give our new youngsters some practical advice.
NYU is set to open up a full-fledged campus in Abu Dhabi, reports today's Times. Negotiations over creating the school, which will be funded by the Abu Dhabi government, have stretched over a year. "We were extremely concerned that this be completely and fully an American N.Y.U. operation," said one senior faculty member, "with the same values that apply here, and no discrimination on the basis of national origin, race, sex or religion." We're guessing the net real affect on undergrads enrolled there will be minimal — falafel in Abu Dhabi can't taste that different from Mamoun's.
N.Y.U. Plans a Branch in Abu Dhabi, Officials Say [NYT]
Paula Zahn's friends say she wanted to stay in the Fifth Avenue apartment she shares with soon-to-be ex-husband Richard Cohen for the sake of their kids, but he made it too difficult. Lou Dobbs's daughter Hillary won the Open Jumper Class (and $7,500) at the Hampton Classic Horse Show. (Soon-to-be-mom Kelly Klein also rode there.) Heather Mills has racked up a number of parking tickets in her Bentley convertible in East Hampton. NYU's school newspaper went out of its way to point out that people use the campus library to commit suicide and hook up on Craigslist. Larry David doesn't like fund-raisers on yachts in Martha's Vineyard. Courtney Love is blaming ex-boyfriend Steve Coogan for Owen Wilson's attempted suicide, and now Coogan is worried about his career prospects. The New York Times has a clear anti-Yankees bias, "Page Six" says.