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Spring 2009

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Russian Hockey on Brooklyn Ice? A Miracle!

Feeling nostalgic for the Cold War? Then head to Brooklyn this weekend for a completely un-ironic celebration of one of the reddest symbols of Communism — the Soviet Red Army hockey team. An exhibition game at the Aviator Sports and Recreation complex Sunday is meant to recognize the 50th anniversary of the USSR’s first Olympic gold medal in ice hockey. And though the team is perhaps the most historically unpopular one ever assembled — among Americans, at the very least — you wouldn’t know it from the publicity material for the game, which could have been published in Krushchev-era Pravda. “Historically, Russia and the former Soviet Union have produced some of the strongest, most talented and admired hockey players the world has known,” says a blurb on Aviator's Website. Organizer Alexander Vasiliyev insists that the game is completely void of politics and that the fans who attend — 90 percent of whom he estimates will be Russian — would agree with him. “These are really sports people,” he says. “They don’t care about the politics. They care about hockey.” Even, apparently, commie hockey. —Joe DeLessio 50th Anniversary of the First Victory of Team USSR at the Olympic Games [Aviator Sports]

Times Square Dirty Like the Old Days

Brooklyn Heights: Local resident and restaurant owner Gianluca Martorelli launches mag and Website compiling area’s eateries. [Ready to Order Guide via Brooklyn Heights Blog] Chelsea: Della Valle Bernheimer’s futuristically fabulous High Line–snuggling 245 Tenth Avenue development is ready for takers, complete with snazzy Website. [245 Tenth Avenue via Curbed] Coney Island: New mailers going out to residents talk up the "future of Coney Island" but neglect to mention high rises or Thor Equities. [Gowanus Lounge] Midtown: Are Mickey and pals staging an offensive old-time minstrel show atop the Disney Store entrance … or do they just need a scrubbing? [Englishman in New York] Park Slope: Let there be light! Half a mil earmarked so that everything is (better) illuminated at Grand Army Plaza. [Dope on the Slope] Times Square: Hotel Carter and New York Inn, two of the cheapest stays in the city, also among Top 10 Dirtiest Hotels in the country. Old Times Square lives! [Trip Advisor via NewYorkology]

Forge an Inexpensive Path in Red Hook

Let others stake their claim on Crown Heights or Fort Greene: Fans of Red Hook believe it's the next best Brooklyn neighborhood, à la Williamsburg. This despite the area's staunchly industrial feel and proximity to the constantly belching Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Or its remoteness — Red Hook's so far from the subway it feels like its own port city. In fact, those who can still get more space here for the money than in other, more fashionable parts of Brooklyn, may actually be attracted to it because this waterfront slice of the borough feels so removed from every other part. But the neighborhood is changing. Fairway has arrived, Ikea's on its way, restaurants are moving in, condos have sprouted, and asking prices are inching up: A townhouse on Pioneer Street is said to have fetched more than a million dollars last year. (Pioneer, indeed.) After the jump, a map shows you what all the fuss is about. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Ramsay Feeling the Love — in Britain, Anyhow

Looks like his status as (an admittedly lower-tier) gay icon isn’t all the embattled Gordon Ramsay has to be thankful for these days. Ramsay’s Petrus was awarded two stars in the 2007 Michelin Guide to Britain, and his new London restaurant, La Noisette, got its first star. (None of his already-starred outposts were demoted, either.) Good going, Gordo. Just don’t get a big head over it, okay? Chef Ramsay Still on Top in New Guide [Yahoo News] Earlier: Gordon Ramsay, Gay Icon [Grub Street] Gordon Ramsay Would Like the Honor of Humiliating You [Grub Street] We Spot-Check Gordon Ramsay's Stink [Grub Street]

Tess Lindgren Bought Her Jacket in Northern Minnesota

Tess Lindgren is a Parsons student who lives on Union Square, listens to "strange avant-garde music," and makes most of her own clothes. "Someone told me," she says, "that how I look every day, I looked like I was attacked by my wardrobe." She's this week's Video Look Book. Tess Lindgren [Video Look Book]

CNBC Backs Anchor Maria Bartiromo

MEDIA • The story of the jet-fueled relationship between ex-Citigroup exec Todd Thompson and CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo has turned from a snowball into an avalanche. [WSJ] • Newspapers eliminated about 1,500 positions in 2006, an improvement over 2005, when 2,500 scribes took a walk. [E&P] • Putting scratch-and-sniff ads in the Wall Street Journal actually makes us less inclined to read a newspaper. [AdAge]

All These People Wore Khakis

On Monday the Gap — you know, that ubiquitous purveyor of khakis and pocket T-shirts you stopped shopping at sometime in college — fired its chief executive, Paul Pressler, after it decided he couldn't turn around the flailing brand. As the company searches for a new direction, we sent an intrepid New York reporter to the enormous Fifth Avenue store in midtown to chat with shoppers on their way out and see what advice New Yorkers have for the retailing giant.

Tour Kanye West's New Apartment

Taxicab Cash
Brooklyn Heights: It's either a yoga center with an aggressive marketing plan or a cult. You decide. [Brooklyn Record] Gowanus: Demolition starts on land owned by the Toll Brothers. What happened to that mixed-use development? [Food of the Future via Gowanus Lounge] Greenpoint: Why should bodega phone cards be dull when they could be completely offensive? [Holla Back NYC via Newyorkshitty] Midtown: Kanye West's new apartment (above), designed by Claudio Silvestrin, is beautiful. But where's the master bath? [dezeen via Curbed] Nolita: Sheetrock shipment arrives at 11 Spring Street. Just in time to cover up all that nasty interior artwork so the place can go condo. [Curbed] Sunset Park: Expect a major ruckus as this pretty nabe of three-story homes wakes up to a new ten-story, view-wrecking, context-snubbing leviathan. [Brownstoner]

And Another East Village Rock Club Goes Away: Sin-é

It's last call for another of Manhattan's hard-rocking music venues. Sin-é, the epicenter of the nineties St. Marks scene, shut its doors once before and relocated to the Lower East Side in 2003. But come March 31, it'll close — for good — at its Attorney Street location. The original Sin-é hosted some of the most infamous songwriters of its decade and produced the seminal Jeff Buckley album Live at Sin-é. The current incarnation gave play to New York staples like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Walkmen. "It's over," said Shane Doyle, Sin-é's owner. "It's all changed around here. I'm just not gonna keep doing this." —Annmarie Pisano

Stewart Airport: Good for Everyone, Great for Rich People

As you may have heard, the Port Authority is planning to soup up sleepy Stewart International Airport in New Windsor, New York — that's about 55 miles up the Thruway — and turn it into the area's fourth major airport. (The already-crowded Kennedy, La Guardia, and Newark airports are projected to reach capacity in 2020.) Moving to the big leagues will be a major change for the now-underused airport, which currently touts its appearance in an upcoming Denzel Washington movie as a primary claim to fame. But more than just easing congestion for all of us and giving New Windsor something to brag about, the transformation of Stewart will also have one more major effect. The new airport will significantly benefit the area's posh exurbanite community; local VIPs will be able to dash to L.A. and back to their organic-squash farm without the hassle of swinging by Teterboro. The Catskills: soon to be just like Aspen. 4th Major Hub for Air Traffic Moves Ahead [NYT]

Spin the Shawarma Wheel

Edible Brooklyn has a piece on a subject very dear to our hearts: Those mysterious wheels of meat called shawarma that you find in falafel and gyro joints around town. The article covers the best of Brooklyn; our picks for outside of Brooklyn follow.

Obama Snags Major Clinton Money Man

Add to Barack Obama's list of marquee New York donors — and former Clinton supporters — the name of Orin S. Kramer. Kramer is an enviro-friendly financier and author who has been a stalwart in Clinton money-raising quarters for years. He played a key role in the Al Gore and John Kerry presidential campaigns, serving as New York co-chair for both. A domestic-policy staffer in the Carter White House, Kramer is currently the general partner of Boston Provident, L.P. He's the latest fund-raising coup for the Obama camp, which also picked up support from lefty billionaire George Soros earlier this week. How did Kramer reach the decision to leave team Clinton? "I ran up against my pain threshold," he said. "I have unalloyed respect for Senator Clinton. She is eminently electable, and some of my closest friends are major players in her universe. But despite being a dinosaur, I'm drawn to a different kind of political experience. Whether large numbers of people will see the world that way, we'll see." —Geoffrey Gray

Left Behind: Editors-in-Chief Are Different From You and Me Edition

Thing's You'd Find in Our Office If We Were Fired Desk drawer: Post-its, rubber bands, tampon, CapitalOne bill, draft of resume Shoved in closet: All papers belonging to previous resident of office Tacked to wall: Picture of ex (forgot to take down) Things HarperCollins Found in Judith Regan's Office After She Was Fired Desk drawer: Financial statements, will, children's report cards, divorce papers Shoved in closet: Clothing, unopened Christmas gifts Hung on wall: 30-foot high painting of Judith Regan Pinup Emotions Surface in Wake of Regan's Firing [NYDN]

Uniqlo's Success Brings More Japanese Retail

FASHION • Following the ultrasuccessful debut of Uniqlo, Japanese store Muji to open two stores in NYC. [WWD] • Libertine settled its copyright-infringement suit against knockoff king Allen Schwartz. [Downtown Darling] • Tyra Banks gains weight, laments fashion's unreasonable expectations. [People] FINANCE • Merrill's top brass gave themselves a big ($172 million) pat on the back for a job well done in 2006. [WSJ ] • Venture capitalists invested $2 billion in 249 companies in the New York area last year, up 18 percent from 2005. It was the highest level of funding since 2001, when the Internet broke. [Crain's] • If increasing the size of the biggest leverage buyout bid in history doesn't make Stephen Schwarzman sweat, the Blackstone Group should be just fine. [DealBook]

Watching ‘Top Chef’ With a Top Chef

Everybody's watching Bravo's latest hit, Top Chef — even professional chefs (and professional food bloggers). After last night's installment, Grub Street's Josh Ozersky checked in with chef Jimmy Bradley for the Red Hat, Mermaid Inn, and Harrison restaurateur's take on the developments. Last season's winner, Harold Dieterle, previously worked at Bradley's the Harrison. With that insight, who does Bradley think will win this time? Ilan. Why? Find out on Grub Street. Red Cat Owner Betting on Ilan to Win 'Top Chef' [Grub Street] Related: Sam Talbot (Formerly) of ‘Top Chef’ Splurges at Nobu [Grub Street] Earlier: ‘Top Chef’'s Marcel Doesn't Love Joel Robuchon That Much [Daily Intel] So Hot She’s Flammable: Host Roasted by Top Chefs [Intel]

His Video Clip Will Touch You, Even Though He Can't

Edward Scissorhands is coming to BAM in March, but it's not the familiar old Tim Burton movie. Nope, this version is a dance play, directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne and with original music by Terry Davies. The preview video clip alone is worth the price of admission (which for the video, come to think of it, is free). It's weird and oddly entrancing, and for some reason — the music, the slo-mo — it reminds us of a credit-card ad, or maybe a De Beers commercial. Even weirder. Video Preview: Edward Scissorhands [BAM.org]

The Freedom Tower Exists for Anyone Who Truly Believes in It

How starved is the city for any tangible progress at ground zero? Well, consider this bit from today's Times:
Stand on Vesey Street, between Greenwich and Washington Streets. Look through the chain-link fences and over the Jersey barriers. The tops of six columns of the tower’s south perimeter are now visible, sprouting from the depths of ground zero. A seventh column, standing alone nearby, is where the Freedom Tower’s east plaza will be … They are visible from the sidewalk now because a second tier of steel has been added to each column, bringing them up to about 8 feet below street level.
That's right, reporter David Dunlap gives you step-by-step instructions on where to stand, which way to face, and how hard to squint to see the thicket of steel that will eventually become the foundation for the Freedom Tower. Imagine the corks that will pop when the construction actually reaches sidewalk level. What a View to Behold, and It's Really Something [NYT]

Rupert Knows Whether Judith Regan's Kids Are Actually Honor Students

Lawyers for HarperCollins are in possession of Judith Regan's financial statements, will, divorce papers, photographs of her children, unopened Christmas gifts, and a 20-by-30-foot painting of her, among other things. Because she left them all at that office. Ralph Ellison didn't like Norman Mailer and his beat pals because they reduced the world to sex. As Harvey Weinstein was buying the rights to her movie, Mandy Moore was making out with D.J. AM. Hugo Chavez tried to meet Gisele when they were both in Rio, but she shot him down. Owen Wilson hung out with Kate Hudson in Australia.

Is GoldBar Readying Its Blowtorches for Cain's Biggest Spenders?

The plot grows thicker in the curious case of Little Italy hot-spot-to-be GoldBar: A tipster says the owners of Cain (who are joined in the secretive opening by David Tetens, former operator of Lotus) have been tracking that bar's biggest spenders so they can give them VIP cards for the new place. (“As for Cain tracking top clients, of course they do …” e-mails a publicist. “But are Cain clients getting VIP cards to GoldBar? NO.”) So what can we expect when it opens on February 1?