One might think that Park Slope mommies, who have a reputation for uptightness, might be concerned about Little Phineaus wanting to go check out the colorful Rabbits when Toys in Babeland opens a few blocks from the Gymboree on Bergen Street. That's what the Post thought, anyway, when they headlined an article about the opening "SEX-TOY SHOP HAS BAD VIBES IN PARK SLOPE" and indicated that residents were displeased. On the contrary! "This is seriously the best news I've heard in months," wrote one poster to the Brooklynian message board. "No longer will I have to hear the plaint 'Where can a girl go to get a decent strap-on round here???'" said a commenter on Brownstoner, where posters were affronted by the Post's assumption that Slopers parents are too uptight for kinky sex. In fact, they're downright kinky! "My wife and I have a weird thing goin," shared an anonymous commenter. "I pretend I'm Marty Markowitz and she's Randi Weingarten. Our slave boyfriend, The What, is tied up to a big statue of Atlantic Yards. It gets kinky from there."
• New York said farewell to Fashion Week, but don't be sad! It's not really over — it just moved to London, where shows began yesterday on a sober note, signified by the appointment of the prime minister's wife as spokesperson. Look for slideshows on nymag.com soon. [Guardian]
Leven Rambin, the 17-year-old soap star, has landed a role in the new Lipstick Jungle series. She plays an actress, so it couldn’t have been much of a stretch. At the Saks party celebrating the new show, she said she prepared for her role by studying all her gay best friends. “They were like, 'This girl’s over the top! She’s dramatic, she’s mood-swingy, she’s bitchy, she’s out of control!' And I was like, 'Hmmm who do I know?'” So, who does she know? “I have one person in mind, but I don’t want to say his name. I already told him he was my inspiration, and he’s very, like, proud of that,” she said. At this point, Rambin left us, dashed across the red carpet and wrapped Über-dandy Patrick McDonald in a hug, and exclaimed, “Patrick! You better work!” Aha! Did she base her character on McDonald? “No, no no! This one is, like, she’s flamboyant," said Rambin. "She’s like, all over the place.” Wait, "she"? Leven, we wondered, are you a fag hag? “I would say so. He says I’m the youngest one he knows.” —Bennett Marcus
Chelsea: The owner of the Cuban restaurant that replaced Havana Chelsea says he’s not trying to copy the former tenant: "It took years of grease to get on those walls and the smell of rotten wood and mice and stale water and dirt. We gutted the entire place, not even a tooth pick was worth saving." [Eat for Victory/VV]
Clinton Hill: Greene Grape Provisions has opened with fresh fish and meats, and if you bring a receipt to their nearby wine store, the owners will take 5 percent off your purchase of their recommended pairings. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Midtown East: Chocolatier Charbonnel Et Walker on the eighth floor of Saks sells a rich chocolate cupcake drenched in sticky toffee, which is well worth its $6 price tag and still "way cheaper than a pair of Chanel pumps" sold nearby. [NewYorkology]
Midtown West: Brasserie Cognac is coming to 55th Street and Broadway. [Grub Street]
Tribeca: Dekk seems closed indefinitely. [Grub Street]
Union Square: In an unsurprising conclusion, Bruni finds that Indian and Italian restaurants are better equipped to satisfy vegetarians. Dévi is one example where even meat eaters may want to eat those vegetable-based dishes. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]
Upper East Side: Barbejew Steven Levy hopes his new BBQ joint, Smokin’ Q, which opens this week at 206 East 63rd Street, will succeed where twelve restaurants have failed since 1977. Levy may have an edge against predecessors, however, since writer Gay Talese, who included the doomed space in his memoir, plans to be the writer-in-residence. [NYT]
Upper West Side: The Magnolia and Mermaid Inn uptown aren’t the first companies the Abrams brothers have introduced to the nabe; cupcake guru Steve owns "a construction company, high-end residential construction, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous sort of stuff. My clients are Samuel Jackson, Annie Leibovitz, Jeff Gordon." [NYO]
• Thom Browne's maybe-twink is cuter than all of our boyfriends put together. [Daily Intel]
• The early word from Baby Phat: shitshow. Stay tuned for Fuggish impressions. [Jezebel]
• Candace Bushnell's Fashion Week has been rough. Maybe that's why she looks so wounded. [Fashion Dish/NYDN]
• To celebrate the end of the taxi strike, Robin Givhan hits Saks' Shoe Megaloporium for some proper heels. Alas, if only Chloé boots were made for women with regular calves. [Off the Runway/WP]
• We're just going to throw some phrases around out there: Pete Wentz. Clothing line. Macy's. God is dead. [StyleHive]
• Memo to YSL: What the hell are you guys doing with your new marketing campaign? It's a really busy week; we don't have time to wrap our heads around whatever you're up to. [Fashion Inc.]
The new shoe department at Saks opened this morning, and, much as we'd love to gush about it, we can't. Don't get us wrong: It's nice. It's very nice, and it's a major upgrade from the well-to-do-suburban-mom- attempting-to-be-fashionable selection the store formerly offered. But we're shoe addicts, and we were expecting more. The floor was buzzing with camera crews, waiters were serving breakfast munchies, and salespeople were announcing every two seconds how proud they were of the new space. They had the patent-leather Miu Miu spectators for sale, and the two-tone Pradas with the curved heel. They even had our knee-high Chloé boots, with the gold zipper going up the calf. But what they also had was way too many logos for our taste: Gucci, Chanel, and Dior; sneakers, loafers, and ballet flats.
The jury is still out on whether Americans can be forced to care about David Beckham the whiny-voiced British footballer plays his last game for Real Madrid this weekend, after which he'll descend upon L.A. but if yesterday's Saks Fifth Avenue appearance is any indication, we've already made up our minds about his wife, Victoria. The former Spice Girl was there to launch her new sunglasses and denim line, DVB, and initially it seemed as if a lot of people showed up. But as we listened closely to the confused buzzing behind cell-phone-camera flashes, giggles, and tittering from starstruck shoppers, we overheard one person explaining that "Angelina Jolie is here to promote her new clothes," while a Saks security guy admitted, "We've got people all the way down the block. But it's majority press that's here."
Things just have a habit of springing open around Paris Hilton, but this time, it wasn't her legs: The haughty heiress walked out of her prison cell early this morning after serving only five days of her already-reduced 23-day sentence. The Big House was causing her mental distress, she claims, so Paris will instead return to her own big house and wear a kicky anklet for the next 40 days.
So what really happened? Until her hyped prison diary is somehow released, nobody will know which is why we are so fortunate to have uncovered some exclusive excerpts.
Astoria: Sparrow bar at 24-01 29th Street has outdoor seating. [Joey in Astoria] And Fresh Start health-food store finally opens its back patio — only to jack it up with distastefully painted bricks. [Joey in Astoria]
Dumbo: Paella’s the main event at Rice today from noon to 11 p.m. [Dumbo NYC]
Red Hook: A new blog, Save Soccer Tacos, tries to get the little guys as involved in saving Red Hook Park’s vendors as the food-world celebrities who’ve recently united. [The Gowanus Lounge]
Prospect Park: The park is one of the few in the city that actually encourage public barbecues, with seven designated areas and three permanent grills. [Gridskipper]
West Village: Freemans owners to pair with the Spotted Pig’s Ken Friedman to redo the former West space — that, or to open a chain restaurant banking on little people serving drinks in pig costumes. [Eater]
The Bronx: Car-free Sundays return to the Grand Concourse. [Streetsblog]
Clinton Hill: Hollenback Garden invites all the neighbors to soil the soil, but wait until the composting toilet is built on Saturday. [Clinton Hill Blog]
East Village: One Ten 3rd is still not ready for human occupancy, but for now it's populated by a bunch of Sub-Zero refrigerators. [Curbed]
Jackson Heights: The normally private gardens here are open to the rest of us schlubs for the weekend. [OuterB]
Kensington: Virgin doesn't even bother giving this underrated neighborhood its own ad. They just get a generic "Brooklyn" one. [Kensington Blog]
Park Slope: Anyone want to buy Seventh Avenue Books? It's "priced to sell." [Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn]
It's never too early to start Manhattan tykes on high-end real-estate mania. The Parks Department has just announced that Frank Gehry will be designing a no doubt titanium-clad playground for Battery Park — which puts the L.A.-based starchitect in head-to-head competition with New York's own David Rockwell, the man behind countless restaurant and hotel interiors, some of Broadway's wittiest set designs, and a planned "imagination playground" on Burling Slip, a bit uptown on the East River. How do the two compare? See for yourself.
Alaska’s Copper River is home to some of the most prized wild salmon, but they only come our way for a few brief weeks. The one being served (for $32) tonight at Lure Fishbar couldn’t be more basic. Chef Josh Capon grills the fish very simply, and then plates it with plump, earthy morels, crispy peas, and asparagus. “Copper River salmon is truly the king of all salmon,” says Capon. “They are the oldest wild-salmon species caught today. And due to their long swim upriver, they have a very high fat content, because they store a lot of fat to make the trip. It has a much sweeter flesh that almost melts when it cooked.” Which is one reason Capon barely cooks it, getting out of the way as much as possible so as to let its extraordinary flavor come through.