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Urban Achievers Celebrate ‘Lebowski’ in Queens

Lebowski Fest
New York has a reputation for tamer costumes. That's what we learned from Lebowski Fest co-founder Will Russell, who started celebrating the not-so-underground Coen Brothers movie The Big Lebowski with a day of bowling in Louisville in 2002. For the third contiguous year, the New York event (mirroring those in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Austin) was at Cozy Bowl in Jamaica on Sunday. But if New Yorkers don't dress like the Jesus, they are delightful in their minutia: People were dressed as the amputated toe, the board the Dude nails to his front door, and a Moses and a Sandy Koufax, together spanning 3,000 years of beautiful Jewish tradition.

Real-Estate Developers to Middle Class: Drop Dead

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• The NYPD has made six arrests in its hunt for "the fourth man" from the scene of the Queens shooting that killed Sean Bell. The dragnet, which involved cops raiding houses in the middle of the night and picking people up on unrelated gun charges, infuriated the already jittery community; the surviving victims' attorney says the fourth man doesn't exist. [NYDN] • First Stuy Town and now Starrett City. The subsidized Brooklyn megacomplex (140 acres, 46 towers, 5,881 apartments, 14,000 residents) is up for sale. The enclave, which has its own schools and even its own newspaper, is expected to fetch over $1 billion. [NYT] • The populist Post sides squarely with the riders on the cab-fare issue, insisting the new hike boosts fares up to 27 percent instead of the promised average of 11 percent. Which is not to say the paper wasn't indignant about the 11 percent, too. [NYP] • MTA head honcho Peter Kalikow is making noises about stepping down from his post in mid-2007, despite having five more years left in the term. (Spitzer wants him out.) The always-gracious Roger Toussaint responds by saying "even six months is too long." [amNY] • Oh, and you don't cross Kalikow and not pay for it. Here you go, NYC — no subway cell service for you! [amNY]

Caiman Island

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• The 2008 battle lines are just being drawn, and already they look ugly. Richard Collins, a principal donor to Rudy Giuliani's political action committee, also turns out to be the main man behind Stop Her Now: a PAC devoted to tainting the presidential prospects of Guess Who. While not illegal, the situation is ever-so-slightly uncouth, especially as Collins has taken to describing himself as Stop Her Now's "chairman." [NYT] • Seems Mike Bloomberg may actually be overdoing the anti-cop stance after the Queens 50-bullet shooting. The mayor said that the cops should face a Queens jury — a reference to the Albany trial in the Diallo case; the statement didn't sit too well with the officers' families, since there aren't even any indictments yet. Everyone else kinda loves the Angry Populist Mike, though. [NYP] • The belt-tightening program for the New York State health industry, created by a Pataki-led panel, has finally released its report, and the plan would shut down five hospitals in NYC, eliminating 7,000 jobs. City Hall calls the proposal "reasonable," and Spitzer isn't commenting. The rest of us will try extra hard to stay healthy. [NYDN] • Not that anyone expected otherwise, but Coney Island's Astroland Amusement Park has been sold to a huge developer, Thor Equities. The original owners, the Albert family, will keep the octogenarian Cyclone. The rest of the park will close after the 2007 season for "renovations," which we somehow doubt include an expanded Shoot the Freak pavilion. [NYDN, amNY] • And, it wasn't exactly a crocodile in a sewer, but a two-foot caiman in a cardboard box is close enough. The cops found the "feisty," in their words, reptile abandoned on a Brooklyn street. In a lovely touch of local color, its jaws were kept shut via a double-knotted sneaker shoelace. [AP via IHT]

Bad News and Bad News

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• After undercover cops fired 50 rounds into a group of unarmed bachelor-party revelers at a Queens nightclub, killing the groom, the five officers involved are on leave and stripped of their guns; crowds demanded more action against them at an angry Sunday vigil. The situation is developing fast, with new witnesses coming to the fore. [NYP, WNBC (on new witnesses), NYDN (on the emotional toll), NYT ("experts offer theory")] • Incidentally, the trial is about to begin in a callous murder of two undercover policemen back in March 2003. The officers were killed execution style while attempting to buy a handgun from a Staten Island dealer. [amNY] • New York's health sector could lose thousands of jobs thanks to a report coming tomorrow. That's when a state commission is expected to release a list of belt-tightening measures, including the downsizing of hospital and nursing-home staffs across the board. In a rare provision, only the whole plan can be rejected or accepted by the governor — no picking and choosing. [NYT] • A 73-year-old Park Avenue rabbi is being sued by his mistress for a breach of the "cohabitation contract" the lovers signed at the outset of their seven-year affair. The paper demanded liposuction and continuing education from her (she complied) and fidelity from both sides (he evidently didn't). [NYP] • And, the future of dry cleaning is now: A fully automated "ADM," currently testing in the Bronx (uh, okay), will now mangle your clothes and singe off the buttons just like the real thing. [NYDN]

Remembering 587

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• A new memorial to American 587's crash, the second-deadliest air disaster in U.S. history, was dedicated Sunday in Belle Harbor. It's a curved granite wall with the victims' names and a line from a poem in Spanish (most of the 265 victims were Dominicans heading to Santo Domingo). On the crash site itself, residential construction is in full swing. [NYT] • If you lived through the transit strike last year, you kind of hated union boss Roger Toussaint. And that was before you knew he had a secret deal with the MTA while the strike was still going on, as the Daily News reveals today. What a guy. [NYDN] • A high-powered Manhattan lawyer was found dead near his abandoned BMW in an upstate bird sanctuary — an apparent suicide; the man was out on $225,000 bail on a rape charge he vehemently denied. [NYP] • The flap over Charlie Rangel's already-infamous "Who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?" continues, with local newspapers there alternately asking the feisty congressman to come visit their fair state and heaving invective on New York. [Gotham Gazette] • And what's the Post's headline of the day? There are plenty of contenders, from "Mick Jagger Rocks On in Grief" to "Bearied!" but we'll go with Egg Foo Gun, about a handgun smuggled into a hospital in a Chinese-food carton. Well done, Post. [NYP]

Bloomberg and Schwarzenegger, Up a Tree

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• Now this hasn't happened in a while: Rapper Fabolous is in stable condition at Bellevue after getting shot in a Manhattan parking garage. The would-be assassin and his three friends, who fled in a vehicle, were quickly arrested after running a red light. Update: Now Fabolous is under arrest as well. Developing, needless to say. [AP via amNY] • The Gubernator toured Bloomie's turf yesterday, not two weeks after the mayor's Cali visit. Says the Times in the vintage Times deadpan, "The two men seem to be genuinely fond of each other." We know they're both post-ideological moderate Republicans and all, but this love-in is giving us the heebie-jeebies. [NYT] • You may remember Dean Faiello as the guy who allegedly (a) impersonated a doctor, (b) botched a cosmetic surgery, (c) killed the patient to cover it up, and (d) buried her under his New Jersey house. Well, feel free to remove "allegedly" from that litany. Faiello pleaded guilty in exchange for a twenty-year prison stint. [NYDN] • Queens assemblyman and union leader Brian McLaughlin is expected to surrender today to federal corruption charges. The rap is a rather shopworn classic: contractor bid-rigging, with a side of possible expense-account abuse. [WNBC] • Finally, in case anyone cares, and some of you must, Rangers 4, Devils 2. Oh, come on, people, it's one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports. Or so we're told. [Fox Sports]

‘Suicide in Buffalo Would Be Redundant’

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• Blackouts, school closings, downed trees and power lines — and that's just on the first day of snow! Bewildered Buffalo registers two feet of the white stuff, making for the snowiest October day on record. An auspicious beginning, that. [AP via NYT] • Hey, you know what hasn't happened on the Upper East Side in a while, if by "a while" you mean 48 hours? Raging flames and mass evacuations. Behold, then, a three-alarm fire in a historic — and thankfully unoccupied — townhouse on 70th and Park, six blocks from the Lidle crash and eight blocks from the Bartha place. Does God not like UES anymore? [AP via amNY] • Istithmar, a Dubai-based investment firm, buys the W Hotel in Union Square, paying a per-room rate that beats the prices paid for the Plaza and the Essex House. The company already owns the Knickerbocker and Helmsley hotels and could well be the final bidders for Stuy Town. Cue the eighties-style the-foreigners-are-taking-over-New York hysteria. [NYS] • Some Muslims are reportedly offended by the new Apple store on Fifth Avenue, finding its architecture too similar to the Ka'ba, the sacred edifice in Mecca. They should see the Rubik's Cube. [ZDNet via Curbed] • And Con Ed has released a "definitive," 600-page report on the July blackout in Queens. We'll only need six words to capture the gist. It was all someone else's fault. The cited number of affected customers (6,800) also differs wildly from the city estimates (over 100,000). Damage control? On it. [WNBC]

Queens Latest Borough to Get New Museum; Staten Islanders Forgotten?

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Like so many city trends these days, it started in Brooklyn. First, in April 2004, the Brooklyn Museum of Art unveiled its $63 million renovation, complete with a new 15,000-square-foot entrance pavilion. Seven months later came — did you hear about this little thing? — Manhattan's new MoMA, built at a cost of $858 million. And last week the Bronx Museum of the Arts unveiled a hipper façade and addition, by the Miami architects Arquitectonica. (Nicolai Ouroussoff called it "unpretentious," which is so very outer borough). Now, not to be left out, the Queens Museum of Art has announced its own $37 million expansion plan, which includes doubling the size of the museum, building an Olympic-size indoor pool, and adding an ice-skating rink with seating for 400. (It may sound more fun than it looks; the Sun called the new design "a drab gray structure.") Which all adds up to one question: What about art lovers in the city's so-often-forgotten borough, Staten Island? Don't they deserve a little newness too?

Five Nights in Queens

There was a time when just the words "Queens Restaurant Week" would have provoked laughter. But those days are no more: Beyond its cornucopia of dirt-cheap ethnic eats, the Big Borough hosts a range of good restaurants, many of which are offering three-course dinner specials for $19.86, starting tonight. There's a full list of participating eateries here, but there are only five nights to take advantage of the deal. Our choices are as follows.

Beer and Chicken, From Moonachie to Sunnyside

Every Monday, Click and Save surveys food service journalism from the previous week. Today, shaking the trees for plums, we came up with a collection that ranges from Sunnyside to Seoul, with special attention paid to beer and chicken.