• The Times reveals that the Garden State has been regularly raiding its own state-worker pension fund, funneling billions into other government projects. Given the size of its public sector, disaster looms; New Jersey, we thought better of you. [NYT]
• Activists in East Harlem faced bulldozers in a dramatic, and failed, showdown over a community garden. The site, on 110th and Fifth, is being cleared for the future Museum for African Art — and, of course, a luxury condo tower. [amNY]
• The Giuliani campaign, God’s gift to tabloids, has turned to Rudy’s international-policy experience: “I’ve probably been in foreign lands more than any other candidate” as a private consultant, he assured New Hampshire and hinted he’ll hit Iraq next. [NYDN]
• The Knitting Factory, the Tribeca music institution, is promising not to go the way of Tonic, Sin-é, CBGB, and many others: Should the rent skyrocket when its lease runs out, the club will try buying the whole building. [MetroNY]
• And midtown’s old-money hangout/tourist trap ‘21’ Club has even longer arms than previously thought: It just stopped the Pittsburgh Pirates from naming a stadium sports bar “Club 21.” Because otherwise the two would be indistinguishable. [NYP]
Let It Shine, Let It Shine, Let It ShineA choir sang “This Little Light of Mine” at Eliot Spitzer’s inauguration; the Albany Times Union editor was one of the singers. The owner of Patroon, who used to run ‘21,’ brought his current staff to his old restaurant. Courtney Love made 53 New Year’s resolutions. Casa Casuarina in South Beach lost power on New Year’s Eve, and Anna Anisimova and Jonathan Cheban couldn’t take the heat. Brad Pitt wants to produce a Borat project. Spirit Airlines lost James Gandolfini’s luggage. A producer was going to make an Elmore Leonard book into a movie but now isn’t. Oprah is happy that Madonna adopted that Malawian kid. Semi-disgraced Miss USA Tara Conner might pose for Playboy. Someone hit on David Schwimmer at Pastis. The Soup Nazi actor took Kramer’s Reality Tour. Former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe has a new memoir out, in which he tells stories about raising money. George Michael did a private New Year’s Eve concert in Russia for $3 million. Wilmer Valderrama is set to launch a menswear line. Meatpacking club Double Seven is moving down the block. Will Ferrell won’t do Elf 2. Kevin Connolly pulled a blonde out of the way of an ambulance in Miami.