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Spring 2009

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One More Thing About the Pirros: Al Wants Counseling

When Jeanine Pirro's campaign for attorney general is over — or, to be cruel but precise, once she loses — she'll be going straight into marriage counseling, at least if her husband has anything to do with it. New York's Steve Fishman profiled the Pirros' increasingly confounding marriage for this week's magazine, and he found Al Pirro, Jeanine's wayward husband — by all accounts a screamer, a bruiser, a brusque alpha male — surprisingly wounded and therapized, talking about his anxieties. Al knows he needs to be flattered, to be reminded that he makes more money than Jeanine, to feel generous (Fishman zeroes in on his compulsive need to pick up the check, even for parties of 30). He denies the infidelities that drove Jeanine up the wall (and into the dubious confidences of Bernie Kerik) while readily admitting something even more hurtful to a relationship: that he needs outside female companionship, be it platonic or not, because he doesn't feel encouraged, admired, or appreciated at home. And he knows the couple needs to work on these issues. "He was essentially stewing," Fishman says. "He feels that he's been shut out, silenced, and attacked, both by the campaign and by his wife personally." Is there enough therapy in the world to get the pair past all that? Maybe, Fishman says. The real turning point for the relationship, he says, was Al's tax-evasion conviction. "But it was never a fake marriage. There's a basis of deep mutual admiration — hell, love." Can This Marriage Be Saved? [NYM]

‘Izakaya’ Boom Hits Chelsea; Japanese Chains Plant Flags Uptown

If you still don't know what an izakaya is (or haven't lately been to St. Marks Place, where most of them are clustered), enlighten yourself at Izakaya Ten, the latest iteration of the space that was the French-Korean D'or Ahn, and then, for a nanosecond, the sushi restaurant Anzu. Owner Lannie Ahn has hired a veteran of Morimoto and Nobu to supplement the raw fish with a selection of small plates of the home-style Japanese fare one finds in a sake bar or pub — not your basic mozzarella sticks or buffalo wings but more exotic tidbits like natto omelettes, ginger pork belly, pan-seared rice balls, and the ever-popular chicken-meatball skewer.

Bloomberg and Schwarzenegger, Up a Tree

• 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]

James Truman Leaves MacBain, Hasn't Heard From Si, and Will Stay in New York

James Truman, the Condé Nast wunderkind who rose to become Si's second-ever editorial director and then resigned at the start of 2005 after Newhouse said no to his pet project, an art magazine, resigned today from his job as editorial director of Louise MacBain's LTB Media, a publisher of art magazines, which he joined about a year ago and where he recently launched a travel mag for well-off aesthetes, Culture + Travel. "I was never going to do it long-term," Truman told the New York Observer, which broke the news this morning. "The project interested me because I tried so long to get an art magazine at Condé Nast." New York's Carl Swanson — who has written about Truman's Condé Nast departure and his LTB arrival — checked in with him this afternoon for some elaboration.

Jane's Carousel Spins With No One to Ride It

There's something almost novelistic about Jane Walentas's well-documented obsession with a wooden carousel. The wife of the man who built Dumbo first found the quaint thing in Ohio in 1984, at an auction for a belly-up amusement park; she's been repairing it, piece by piece, ever since. During those twenty years, her husband turned a shady warehouse district into one of the city's more enviable addresses and something close to a personal fiefdom — but it still doesn't have a place for Jane's carousel. The Walentas' ultimate goal is to mount it in the Brooklyn Bridge park, but for now a kid-free indoor installation during the Dumbo art festival will have to do. And no, you still can't ride it. But you can — thanks to the kind bloggers at Gowanus Lounge — at least take a spin on the YouTube. Jane's Carousel Debuts in Dumbo [Gowanus Lounge]

Jersey Kitten Named Cat Champ, Doesn't Care

The smell at the fourth annual Iams Cat Championship hits you before the cuteness does. Held in the Expo room in the bowels of Madison Square Garden, the show — sponsored by the century-old Cat Fanciers Association — featured felines representing 41 certified breeds, booths advertising "world's best kitty litter," charcoal drawings of cats drinking out of toilets, and presentations like "The Secret Sex Lives of Dogs & Cats." (Can't some things stay secret?) Sunday was time for the Best of the Best awards, the kitty equivalent of Best in Show. (It came after the trained-cat show and the feline agility competition.) The judging took place in the front of the room, before dozens of people on folding chairs, on a stage with a small, pink-beribboned table. The judge, Walter Hutzler, brought out each cat and held it aloft, stretching it out vertically or horizontally into a sort of Superman pose, before setting it down briefly on the table. The crowd oohed and aahed constantly. Two gray-haired announcers — Kent Highhouse, in a tux, and Gail Frew, in a black pantsuit — sat to the left of the stage, keeping up a running commentary.

How to Make Women More Tender, for Only $2,400 Per Pound

Alexandre Dumas reckoned that white truffles can, "on certain occasions, make women more tender and men more lovable." We would hope so — the 'shrooms, imported from Piemonte, Italy, were selling last week for as much as $2,400 per pound. If you're going to throw down for some, you best leave their preparation to the city's top Italian chefs. (Or, better yet, go straight to the source — here's our five-point Piemonte Weekend Escape Plan.) Wait until you hear what these cooks are doing with truffles (hint: it doesn't involve pizza).

Aircraft Hits UES Building

A small plane — or maybe a helicopter; reports conflict — flew into an apartment building at East 72nd Street and York Avenue earlier this afternoon. Details coming....

Greatest Chef Ever to Make Best Meal Ever, Give or Take

The most admired chef in the world doesn't have a restaurant in New York, Paris, or Las Vegas. He doesn't appear on TV. His name is little known among the general public, but chefs speak it with awe, in low whispers. He is Ferran Adrià, and he is coming to New York on Saturday. We kid you not: Adrià, who heads up the kitchen at Spain's El Bulli, probably rates as the most influential cook in the world. As Rob and Robin explain, New Yorkers will finally have a chance to see him at work when he and nine other leading Spanish cooks demonstrate their "molecular gastronomy" techniques for Spain's 10: Cocina de Vanguardia, at Guastivino's, in the magazine. At $300 per person, the event, which includes food and wine samplings throughout the day and a tapas lunch, ain't cheap. But neither is a Manhattan tablecloth meal. Nor round-trip airfare to Spain. Buy tickets here. Spain's Ten: The Summit

Flatbush Farm Takes Haute Barnyard to the Next Level

Flatbush Farm 76-78 St. Marks Ave., nr. Sixth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-622-3276 With the possible exception of the Bay Area, Brooklyn may be the world epicenter of so-called local, seasonal, and — in the prevailing menu-speak — "organic whenever possible" cooking. In the past, it's been enough to cite farm sources (360, Franny's) or host farmer dinners (Applewood). Now, Kings County Haute Barnyard restaurants are confusing matters by naming themselves as if they were, in fact, produce-purveying competition for the Park Slope Coop. First came the Farm on Adderley, in Ditmas Park, and now there's Flatbush Farm, a bar and restaurant in the old Bistro St. Mark's space that started serving small plates over the summer and launched its dining-room menu late last month. Chef Eric Lind, late of Bayard's, has the right rural connections: His former boss, chef Eberhard Müller, co-owns Satur Farms on the North Fork and supplies Lind with locally grown produce. Aside from a few artfully displayed farm implements and staid portraits, the long, high-ceilinged space is more urban chic than country quaint; paper napkins and juice glasses for wine are the most notable signs of the restaurant's commitment to the Simple Life. But Lind's menu lives up to its rustic promise with hearty dishes like spaetzle with mushroom ragout and lamb shoulder with bubble and squeak. One night's pork goulash was a tough, chewy disappointment, but the special salmon-cake appetizer was a textural triumph, moist and meaty over a bed of leeks and grainy mustard. One of those and a Pinkus Organic Ur Pils in the Indian-summer-worthy garden is about as bucolic as Brooklyn gets. — Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld Read Adam Platt's Haute Barnyard top ten.

Early-Adopter Fans Kill ‘Studio 60’! (Maybe.)

On last night's episode of Studio 60, the fictional president of the fictional network explains the ultra-desirable demographic of "alpha consumers," by way of an extended Vanity Fair plug. That magazine's readers, says Jordan McDeere, are ideal viewers for her show: "The first to know, the first to try, and the first to buy. They are influencers and pleasure-seekers." Given the real Studio 60's Nielsens performance, we can't help wondering if these moneyed early adopters are precisely the problem.

UWS Teen Vanishes

Missing Teen Poster
With its yellow school bus–clogged streets and mom-and-pop-riddled baseball and soccer leagues, it's easy to mistake the Upper West Side for the suburbs. (Okay, maybe not always — this also being the land of screaming street preachers and the occasional red state–blue state smackdown — but it's close.) Which makes the appearance all over the neighborhood of this poster asking for information about missing Brooklyn Friends student Zachary Manning doubly distressing. Is there an abductor at loose? The Post says a suburban-style Amber alert isn't likely; the police don't believe Zach is the victim of "foul play."