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Starbucks Nixes Breakfast Sandwiches; Kenny Shopsin Ready for Mind-Altering Substances

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]

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For Blythe Danner, New York Is Wistful, Energetic

Blythe Danner
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

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Gucci Would Prefer a More Flattering Cut

FASHION • 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]

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Molecular Gastronomist Wows Them in Rare New York Appearance

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.

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‘House of Baldwins’ More Likely Than We'd Hoped

Alec Baldwin
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

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Columbia President Steals NYU President's Logic

Presidents
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.

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Wherein We Try to Help the Little People

You.
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.

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NYU to Go Arabian

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]

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Divorces, Horses, and So On

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.

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Sarah Carlson Doesn't Think Academics Have Much Style

NYU master's student Sarah Carlson just finished her thesis on "the generation of buzz toward art openings on the New York gallery scene." She's Scandinavian, and she thinks Scandinavians are fashionable, but she's "a bit schizophrenic" when it comes to style, she says. "Today I was going for a sort of perky look," she says, "so lots of colors." Where'd she get her colors? Find out in this week's Video Look Book. Sarah Carlson [Video Look Book]

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Clinton-Gore '48

The Gores and the Clintons ran into each other at kiddie restaurant Mars 2112. Warner Bros. execs told Tim Burton to tone down the gore in his upcoming Sweeney Todd. (Perhaps he'll be an only mildy disturbed barber?) Oprah is trying to get a woman to relocate her wedding because it is being held at a ranch that Oprah wants to reserve for guests attending her Obama fund-raiser. For some reason, ex-CNN anchor Paula Zahn kept a detailed diary of her affair with ContiGroup CEO Paul Fribourg. New York Rangers Sean Avery and Brendan Shanahan may star in hockey nut Mike Meyers's upcoming movie. Bono's duplex in the San Remo on Central Park West, once owned by Steve Jobs, may soon be for sale. Princess Diaries author Meg Cabot is setting her upcoming murder mystery at an NYU-like school.

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756*

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• Juror Bloomberg is back at his day job — and he's brokered a deal with Albany that will require more developers in more neighborhoods to include low-income housing in their projects. Spitzer's likely to sign. [NYT]

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Death at NYU

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• The daughter of two prominent NYU professors was discovered dead in a university-owned apartment in Washington Square Village. If it's a homicide, expect it on Law & Order when the new season starts. [amNY]

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Hearth Spawns a Wine Bar in the East Village

East Village: It looks like Hearth may spawn a wine bar. [Eater] A date with Momofuku’s David Chang is only worth $1000 at auction (Jean-Georges Vongerichten brought in $6100) but that’s not too bad for a night at a dive bar. [Snack] Greenwich Village: NYU is hosting a panel on Building a Food Professional Pedigree from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. this Thursday, with speakers including Michael Lomanaco and Florence Fabricant. [NYU] Long Island City: The Food Film Festival at Water Taxi Beach kicks off tomorrow. [The Food Section] Midtown West: Brasserie 8 1/2 will join the dessert-bar fray starting tonight by repackaging its lounge as After 8.5, and serving desserts after 8:30 p.m. — get it? [NYT] Times Square: Insieme is starting weekday lunch service between noon and 2 p.m. [NYS] Tribeca: Fresh Pie has been taken over by Ruben’s Empanadas at 149 Church Street. [Grub Street]

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Green School

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• Nine New York universities, including Columbia, CUNY, NYU, and Pratt, have signed on to cut their greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent by 2017. This exceeds Bloomberg's PlaNYC goals and should, the mayor says, "make a sizable dent" in the city's carbon footprint. [amNY] • A 15-year-old Connecticut girl who disappeared a year ago was found alive, apparently imprisoned in a secret room of her parents' acquaintances' house. [NYP] • Someone is destroying entire print runs, and harassing the editors, of the city's two Urdu-language weeklies that cater to Pakistani-Americans. This is perhaps an inopportune moment to say it, but how cool is it that we have two Urdu weeklies? [CPJ] • More mayhem: A "strapping" and "burly" (in the Daily News' oddly swooning description) ex-con prowled the 2 train for a week, stealing iPods and gold jewelry plus kissing and exposing himself to women. [NYDN] • And Frank Gehry is going to design a playground in Battery Park, as a "gift to the city." Aw, you shouldn't have! As opposed to Miss Brooklyn, which you really, you know, shouldn't have. [NYT]

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Bloomberg Goes for Mexican

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• The mayor is visiting Tepoztlán, Mexico — the site of the slightly kooky, yet reportedly very effective, cash-for-good-behavior program that he's hoping to implement here. Hey, if it's good for Tepoztlán …NYT] • NYU Student Council president Meredith Dolgin, 21, is in hot water for (a) tampering with elections, (b) using school funds for a personal trip, and (c) getting her own grandmother a paid speaking engagement at the university. [NYP] • We may get to read more by former journalist Peter Braunstein. His journal has been deemed admissible at his trial, and it reportedly contains detailed plans for the costumed kidnapping and assault that made him infamous. [NYDN] • It's not all luxury condos for Brooklyn: A blockwide affordable-housing complex will be built in Fort Greene, the city says. More than 300 apartments of the 434 total units will be subsidized. [amNY] • And, here's an idea how to save Little Italy: high-end Italian boutiques! A neighborhood activist, working with the Medici Foundation, wants Armani, Fendi, et al, to give Mulberry a "Little Milan" tinge. Too bad they're all five blocks away, on West Broadway. [MetroNY]

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