Breaking: The Mets Snag Johan SantanaIf USAToday.com is to be believed, the Mets, after eating the Yankees’ dust all off-season, have just become the National League East favorites — and Omar Minaya has once again become a hero. The general manager who presided over the greatest-September-collapse-ever last season has apparently stolen Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins and out from under the Yankees and the Red Sox. (You’ll recall, Hank Steinbrenner had been full of bluster about a potential Yankee deal for Santana for months, though lately he’s been claiming he doesn’t care.) Yes, the Mets are trading away four highly rated prospects: outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey. But odds are that two, at most, will become big-league regulars, let alone stars. Santana, on the other hand, is the best lefty in the bigs, in his prime, and exactly the ace that’s missing from the Mets’ rotation. Supposedly the only hurdle is a contract extension. Here’s betting that the Wilpon family gives Santana everything he wants, up to and including his name on the new ballpark. Heck, the way things are going on Wall Street, he’ll be worth more than Citigroup. —Chris Smith
Twins agree to deal Santana to Mets for prospects [USAT]
Earlier: Hank Steinbrenner Talks Himself, Twins Into a Tizzy
early and often
Bloomberg Meets With Perot’s Ballot Expert, Also Lance ArmstrongNow, we don’t know Elizabeth Benjamin from the Daily News’ Daily Politics blog, and we have never met Azi Paybarah from the Observer’s Politicker. But sometimes we want to give them a standing ovation. On days when Mayor Bloomberg’s maddening presidential flirtations make us want to pull our hair out, rip at our fingernails, and start talking really loudly on the subway to nobody in particular, they maintain a cool composure. Every hint, tease, and come-on that the mayor makes toward entering the 2008 presidential race they report with grace and ease. Like, today, for example, when Bloomberg sat down with Texas ballot-access expert Clay Mulford, the guy who put Ross Perot’s name in voting booths in 1992 and 1996. This is yet another strong signal that the mayor is setting up plans to make an independent run, but he once again made an exasperated denial of any such plans to reporters today. “Read into that what you will,” Benjamin reported coolly. “Another sign that he’s running for President or another well-placed tip that keeps the buzz alive.” Paybarah doesn’t even offer up an analysis, other than explaining the ballot logistics. We don’t know how you do it, people. We literally don’t have eyebrows anymore.
Bloomberg Meets With Ballot Expert [AP]
white men with money
Bank of America’s Friends: One Is Silver and the Other’s GoldEmbattled CEOs like Citigroup’s Chuck Prince, whose departure has been rumored and longed for since he announced profits were down by 60 percent last month, and Merrill Lynch’s Stan O’Neal, who the other day announced they’d be taking $8.4 billion — that bears repeating: $8.4 billion — in write-downs, ought to take a cue from Bank of America’s Kenneth Lewis, who after reporting a 32 percent drop in third-quarter results decided to do like a smart despot and start executing his cronies before the people start marching him to the gallows. Last night, Lewis announced a restructuring of the bank, which includes the “early retirement” of B of A head of investment banking R. Eugene Taylor, above, a trader for some 38 years and a longtime tennis buddy of the CEO’s. He’ll be replaced by Brian Moynihan, a bright young thing who will move from Boston to New York to take over the division. But Moynihan has never run a capital markets unit before now, and honestly, with the Red Sox in the World Series, how popular will he be in New York?
BofA’s Wall Street Retreat [WSJ]
Related: The Hanger-on [NYM]
Murdoch Mulls the Liberation of WSJ.comMEDIA
• Murdoch is hinting heavily that he’ll take WSJ.com free, but Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino doesn’t think it’s such a great idea. [WSJ]
• Well, we’ll be — Portfolio pulling down pretty good ad pages. [NYP]
• Roger Ailes, former CNBC president now with Fox Business Network, making many CNBCers interested in switching teams. It may be many things, but it won’t be boring! [NYO]
white men with money
Michael Mukasey: Giuliani’s Inside Man?Yesterday, when we gleefully listed Michael Mukasey’s homeboy specifications (born in the Bronx, went to an UES yeshiva, etc.), we glossed over the most intriguing part: the current A.G. nominee’s extensive ties to Rudy Giuliani. The connections between the two deserve their own list. Not only did Mukasey swear in the mayor in both 1994 and 1998, he donated heavily to his presidential campaign; Mukasey’s son Marc works at Bracewell & Giuliani, Rudy’s boutique law firm; and both Marc and Michael are the Giuliani campaign’s judicial advisers. In fact, as a federal judge in the Giuliani era, Mukasey had to recuse himself from some City Hall–related cases because of his friendship with the mayor. Today’s Times even describes a less-than-hilarious prank Mukasey played on Giuliani in the seventies (it involved Rudy getting a job at a law firm).
Subway Evolution: It’s All Over the MapEver wonder/rage at the ponderous logic behind the New York subway system? For twenty seconds of late-afternoon fun, check out the animated subway map that the kids at Appealing Industries cooked up. It shows, segment by segment, the order in which the whole damn mess was created. And surprisingly enough, it wasn’t the G train that started it all
Animated History of the NYC Subway [Appealing Industries] via [Towleroad]
white men with money
The Beef of the Century: Jim Cramer Disses Chuck PrinceThe war of words between 50 Cent and Kanye West is yesterday’s news — but it is ON between Jim Cramer and Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince, whom Cramer thinks should be fired, like, now. Under Prince’s reign, “Citigroup has been at the cutting edge of everything that is bad,” Cramer told Farnoosh Torabi of The Street today.
in other news
‘Village Voice’ Calculates City Migration in Terms of HipstersVillage Voice blogger Michael Clancy takes a look at comptroller Bill Thompson’s analysis of city migration today, and decides that since twice as many people leave the city annually as arrive, the city must specifically be getting fewer hipsters. We have to question this logic, as it seems like there are more and more of them every day, and fewer and fewer people who wear jeans of an appropriate tightness. In fact, just recently, we couldn’t happen to notice that when the dive destination Spitzer’s Corner opened on Ludlow and Rivington, the vast space was immediately filled with hipsters, the way a hole dug by a child on the beach too near the ocean inexorably fills with water. And there was no dent in the population of hipsters everywhere else on the Lower East Side! Anyway, we digress. Thompson’s study also explains that it’s lower income families that are fleeing the city, especially those with young kids — and young unmarried college grads are replacing them. Interesting, right? Also, did you hear the MisShapes aren’t drawing people to the city any more? Now that’s news!
City Getting Less Hipsters [VV]
in other news
A Man Named HsuOh, crap. The Wall Street Journal today reveals a sad new twist in the story of Norman Hsu. It appears that the Hillary Clinton fund-raiser/alleged Ponzi-schemer may have tried to commit suicide on the Chicago-bound Amtrak train where he was arrested. Before getting on the train in California, Hsu FedExed a letter to a number of people in which, the Journal reports, he “very explicitly said he intended to commit suicide.”
‘Post’ Suspiciously Favorable of AstoriaAstoria: Which major Astoria developer paid the Post for this long-form blow job extolling the virtues of the vibrant hood? [NYP via Queens Crap]
Bushwick: Anyone who shells out $668,000 for a unit in the hood’s first Scarano building will enjoy funky radiators, the rumble of the nearby M train and exactly zero amenities. [BushwickBK]
Greenpoint: The soon-to-open Gutter, the first bowling alley in Brooklyn in 50 years, looks right out of 1975. Cool! [Gothamist]
Park Slope: We don’t know what’s weirder: That this mom lets her son take a leak on the subway in this bright red potty or that she schleps all the way from the Upper West Side to hit the food co-op here. [Gowanus Lounge]
Roosevelt Island: Should locals be elated to finally have their very own Duane Reade or miffed that Jenny Holzer picked that other Roosevelt Island (in the Potomac) to do her latest installation? [Roosevelt Islander]
Upper West Side: With Spanish-designed newsstands now joining their bus-shelter cousins, the relentless Eurosleekification of the city proceeds apace. [Curbed]
Someone Get This Lawyer a Monkey!LAW
• Did David Souter really weep when the Supreme Court handed down Bush v. Gore? Or is Jeffrey Toobin nothing but a big bad liar? [Above the Law]
• Big Law partner to summer associate: “Now the reason I’m giving this project to you, and not my secretary, or say, a monkey, is my secretary is busy doing much more important things, and I don’t have a monkey.” [Urban Agora via Above the Law]
• Jack Bauer, law professor? Georgetown plans to offer a course in The Law of 24. [Above the Law]
in other news
Countdown to iPhone: The Lines Begin
What hope does a covetous indie-film star have? The iPhone doesn’t go on sale till 6 p.m. Friday, but as Racked reports, queues at the midtown and Soho Apple stores started forming yesterday. Here, the first guy on line at each location. (We suspect this isn’t the first time the guy in midtown has slept out for days for something.) Good luck, kids.
iPhrenzy: The First People in Line [Racked]
So What Have You Done With Your Life?FINANCE
• Time to feel bad about yourself. Crain’s unveils its 40 Under 40 list. [Crain’s]
• Merrill Lynch will pay out $40.3 million to settle claims that it provided misleading research to investors about Internet stocks. [Bloomberg via DealBreaker]
• Instead of simply giving their employees more money, small businesses try to dupe them into thinking jumping out of an airplane is a perk. [NYT]
Factory Porn?In Factory Girl, Sienna Miller and Hayden Christensen might have engaged in not-so-simulated sex on camera. (Also, Diddy doesn’t want anyone taking pictures of him with Miller. Also, all Sienna’s partying is merely PR for Factory Girl.) The house that Graydon Carter threw scaffolding outside of yesterday? Harvey Weinstein’s. (Graydon’s also having a tough time selling his new documentary, Chicago 10.) Chuck Schumer has imaginary friends. Former Paramount exec Gail Berman and former ABC exec Lloyd Braun are starting their own production company. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is going to bare all onstage in a London play.
in other news
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]
Alexander McQueen Is One Sick Luggage Designer
Fashionable travelers who flocked to last night’s launch party for the Samsonite Black Label line, designed by Alexander McQueen, had the chance to walk away with something much more memorable than a mere piece of luggage. They could have caught bronchitis from the man himself.
“Unfortunately, I’m quite sick at the moment,” McQueen croaked when it was his turn to speak. He displayed his new suitcases, which resemble the ribs and spine of a very, very skinny model. “Fashion is sacrificial,” he explained. “I’ll give my body over to the general public whether they want it or not! I don’t care!” He may have been offering his body, but the fashion editors in attendance didn’t want it. They were keen to touch and photograph the collection, but they kept their distance from the sweating, pallid designer.
After his very brief talk, McQueen packed his own Samsonite luggage into a limo and left to recover in London.
— Faran Alexis Krentcil