Bloomberg Meets Ganek and Touts HerLast night found the Guggenheim, hosting a book party for Danielle Ganek’s Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him, an art-world tell-all, appropriately crawling with Upper East Side collector types. “Is Larry [Gagosian] here yet?” was the recurring whisper up and down the spiral gallery — until an even heavier hitter dropped in. At around 7:15 p.m., many burly security guards began to traverse the crowd, and soon several handlers were ushering in none other than Michael Bloomberg. Awkwardly, the mayor was not there for the festivities: He’d come specifically to take in Alyson Shotz’s “The Shape of Space,” the title piece of Guggenheim’s current here’s-a-little-something-while- we’re-renovating exhibit. No matter. The Lulu people saw a good chance, and they took it. A lightning-quick negotiation took place behind the wall-like sculpture, and within a minute, the mayor was holding up Lulu Meets God for the cameras and being snapped mid-chitchat with the author. After another minute of this, the genial if slightly befuddled Bloomberg made a brisk exit, with the muscle clearing the way. The party, having officially bested its own Scheduled to Appear list, pressed on. —Michael Idov
the morning line
The Best of Times Is Now
• Mayor Bloomberg is seeking to boost his proposed property-tax cut to as much as 8.5 percent, says the Post. The goal is to roll back a bit of 2003’s infamous 18.5 percent hike, something the City Hall promised to do “in better times.” [NYP]
• Ad firm Saatchi & Saatchi got the $16 million account to overhaul the 30-year-old “I Love New York” campaign. (Spitzer says, a bit haughtily, that he won’t appear in the ads.) Let’s hope they do better than Saatchi’s recent Kurt Cobain fiasco. [Crain’s NY]
• Mistaking her for an intruder, a New Haven cop opened fire on his own daughter, who was sneaking into the house after a late date. The girl, 18, has a bullet in her thigh. [NYDN]
• Railway boozers, rejoice! The proposal to curb the oh-so-European practice of selling alcohol on Metro-North is pretty much kaput in the face of a commuter outcry. [NYT]
• That outcry, however? Could have been just drunken babbling. Almost a thousand LIRR and Metro-North passengers got so trashed on the trains last year they needed medical attention; some 287 were ticketed for booze-fueled shenanigans. [Newsday]
Comic Book Guy Searching for Formal Trivia Night• Darna Center quiz night. Gramercy Park Hotel, 2 Lexington Ave., nr. 21st St., 7 p.m. Oscar de la Renta hosts; scheduled guests include Rachel Weisz, Sienna Miller, Petra Nemcova, Minnie Driver, Milla Jovovich, and Harvey Weinstein. The Darna Center is a provider of children’s services in Tangier, and the gimmick of the fund-raiser is that the winners of the twelve-team trivia competition get a weeklong Tangier luxury vacation. Let’s hope some sort of magical madcap trivia-prize switcheroo occurs and a team of scruffy twentysomething regulars at the Baggott Inn’s trivia night spend the week in Tangier while a gaggle of swells in Darna Center fund-raiser eveningwear stare forlornly at their prize bucket of free Rheingolds.
Broadway/Lafayette- Bleecker Combo Just the Start of F-Line ChangesWe picked up the news from 2nd Ave Sagas that the MTA is set to combine the Broadway/Lafayette and Bleecker Street stations, so you can transfer from the B/D/F/V to the 6 going both downtown and — this is the beauty part — uptown. But wait, as the disembodied voice says, there’s more! This is just one part of a whole menu of subway projects for which the MTA is seeking $3.8 billion in federal funding. There’s $37 million for the Broadway/Lafayette-Bleecker work, plus another $12.6 to make the combined stop ADA-compliant. There’s $11 million to replace “historical arch canopies” over Fourth Avenue at the Smith-9th F stop “as per the National Register of Historic Places” — that means fixing the roof spanning the control houses at either end of the stop with original details— plus $23 million to fix lights and MetroCard collection at Smith-9th stop. There’s planned work on the 6 in the Bronx, and on some stations in the Rockaways, as part of the proposal, too, but never mind that. With all this new F work, it’ll be a nice ride to Park Slope. —Alec Appelbaum
Notice of Public Hearing and Description of Projects [MTA, PDF]
Earlier: The Subway Transfer We’ve All Been Waiting For
Central Park’s Imagine Mosaic Is Collapsing
Imagine there’s no Imagine Mosaic (it’s easy if you try): The centerpiece of Central Park’s Strawberry Fields is in danger of collapsing. The first cracks appeared in the 25-year-old memorial five or six years ago, according to M.C. Reiley, the Central Park Conservancy’s supervisor of monuments conservation, and what he called the “last, best chance” to save it came last week. “The problem is that it wasn’t constructed very well,” said Reiley, who is also a sculptor. The mosaic is eleven feet in diameter but sits on a concrete slab only ten feet across. “So, right off the bat there’s been this problem with a half foot of the mosaic all the way around not resting on anything,” Reiley explained.
in other news
Lindsay Lohan and a Normative Definition of NewsWe have a vague memory of a professor in an undergrad media-theory course lecturing us one day on what he called the normative definition of news. Best we can recall, he explained that news, definitionally, is information that is true now but was not previously, that has an effect on your life, and that will require you to change in some way in response to it.
On an unrelated note, Lindsay Lohan apparently drinks excessively and uses drugs.
Blowin’ in the WindBobby Kennedy Jr. says he and his uncle Ted aren’t as opposed to the proposed Cape Cod wind farm as a book says they are. Liza Minnelli and Isle Werther are fighting over a dress. Barneys creative director Simon Doonan is happy to be a “card-carrying fag.” Boxing will go upscale when three Ford models replace the traditional ring girls at the upcoming welterweight championship at MSG. Former Justin Timberlake flame Cameron Diaz and current Justin Timberlake flame Jessica Biel will both be at the MTV Movie Awards, which may be awkward. Adam Carolla noted that Rosie O’Donnell is a fat female lesbian, and thus has “triple coverage as a minority.” President Bush’s chief domestic policy adviser, Karl Zinzmeister, reportedly said he’d never hire another woman because they “just get pregnant and leave.” Dean McDermott broke up with girlfriend Mary Jo Eustace via “Page Six.”
Don’t Get Martha Plimpton Started on Duane ReadeName: Martha Plimpton
Job: Actress; Tony nominee for The Coast of Utopia; host of the 826 NYC fund-raising concert, Tiny Smooshy Sunday On Fire, on June 3.
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
Quentin Crisp and Holden Caulfield.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
It’s a tie, I think, between anything at Peter Luger and the insanely delish bacon death at Gramercy Tavern.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I put dead people’s hair on my head and speak loudly in front of hundreds of strangers while pretending they are not there.
it happened this week
On the Town
The arrival of Fleet Week’s giddy sailors on shore leave marked a summery spate of punch-drunk recklessness, with five intoxicated Long Islanders starting a brawl at Space Mountain at Disney World and Jets cornerback Justin Miller hitting a female Barack Obama staffer in the face at a Chelsea nightclub. And it just got odder from there: A coyote bit a kindergartner on the head in the Jersey suburbs. A 60-year-old woman delivered twins, to the displeasure of her adult children. (“It’s my life and it makes me happy,” explained the new mom.)
Even Crazier Love
Dan Klores’s new documentary — the boy-meets-girl, girl-leaves-boy, boy-hires-thugs-to-blind-girl-with-lye, girl-marries-boy-after-he-gets-out-of-prison love story of Burt and Linda Pugash — tells an amazing and freaky story. But, as Klores confessed to us at the premiere earlier this week, he collected some even weirder material that didn’t make it into the film. For starters, there’s rampant speculation among people who know them well that Burt and Linda have never had sex, even to this day. And then there’s the story of Pugash’s first sexual experience. “The first time he got laid, he totally deceived and lied to a woman,” Klores told us. “He met her, and she said, ‘Are you from New York? I hate those Jews.’ And he says, ‘Me, too!’ And then when he was making love to her, she saw that his dog tag had an H on it. In those days they were labeled C, P, or H, Catholic, Protestant, or Hebrew. And she said, ‘What’s that?’ And he said, ‘Hindu.’” Jimmy Breslin puts it just right in the movie: “I’ve been covering news in New York City for 50 years,” he says, “and no one is as visibly insane as Burt Pugash and is not institutionalized.” —Jada Yuan
the morning line
• Eliot Spitzer doesn’t just want DNA samples from all convicts and parolees. He also wants automatic HIV tests for all rape suspects, in a bill that’s dividing Albany, where some Democrats see testing “by virtue of indictment” as a slippery slope. [NYT]
• Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is quickly turning into a tiny local version of Tom DeLay: First came the strategic purge of a community board, now he’s in hot water for accepting a free cruise on Queen Mary 2 after lobbying Cunard to dock the ship in Red Hook. [NYP]
• Accounting assistant could be a pretty lucrative job, provided you’re ready to (a) steal and (b) go to jail. Eileen Koranteng, for instance, parlayed said gig at Riverdale Country School into both a $500,000 windfall and fifteen years behind bars if convicted.
• Chuck Schumer has Lyme disease! The senator is receiving treatments after he was bitten by a deer tick in the Hudson Valley. In an odd coincidence — this is not a joke — he’s proposed a $100 million research grant to study the disease. [WNBC]
• And in a first that doesn’t bode well for the future of the Postal Service, Saks Fifth Avenue’s shoe department got its own Zip Code: 10222-SHOE. Nice PR move, but we’re not sure Saks is ready to embrace the yo-mama-so-fat- she-has-her-own-Zip-Code jokes. [amNY]
Is Everyone Out of Town Already?• The Britannia Ball. Aboard the Queen Mary 2, nr. Bowne St. and Van Bruck St., Red Hook, Brooklyn, 6 p.m. A benefit for BAM and the New York City Opera, the ball will feature a performance by Patti LuPone. CIT Group chairman Jeffrey Peek hosts. Top headline on the CIT Group’s homepage? “CIT Completes $512 Million Collateralized Loan Obligation Transaction, First in a Series of Asset Management Initiatives Designed to Leverage CIT’s Expanded Origination Platforms.” Sounds awesome, but we’ve heard that Jeffrey Peek doesn’t go quite as crazy after completing collateralized-loan- obligation transactions as he used to in college. God, we can’t even remember how many times we woke up with hangovers and only the barest memory of all the origination platforms we’d expanded the night before.
Or check out our Agenda listings for tonight, selected by New York’s culture editors.
Just How Bad Are Things in Iraq?
There’s a new Times/CBS poll out today on the Iraq war, and it’s bad news for Mr. Bush. “Americans now view the war in Iraq more negatively than at any time since the war began,” as the Times bluntly put it. Six in ten say the country should have stayed out of Iraq in the first place, the paper reported. Three of four say things are going badly there. And a whopping 63 percent disapprove of Bush’s overall performance as president, with only 30 percent approving. The one bit of good news is that a majority support continuing to finance the war, assuming the Iraqi government meets benchmarks. But it’s a poll of all Americans. What do New Yorkers think? We asked the first twenty people we found on Madison Avenue in front of the office. Oddly, only 45 percent said the country should have stayed out of Iraq (we think maybe we phrased that one wrong). Otherwise, the locals are even more pessimistic than the rest of the country. By a lot. The questions and tallies are after the jump.