Chelsea Hotel Bars Right to Peaceably AssembleIllegal and blatant fruit stands in Brooklyn Heights, Donatella in the Clock Tower building, and maybe even rats on a beach (awesome potential metal-band name, right?) in Staten Island: That wackness and more, in today’s neighborhood report.
They Waterboarded Christopher HitchensFinally, right? Plus, David Brooks thinks Goldman Sachs may be on the cusp of a coup, and the “summer of legal vindication” kicks off in our hump-day roundup of media, finance, law, and real-estate news.
MSNBC Trades Tucker Carlson for David Gregory, Interminable Election Coverage So,
Tucker Carlson’s show Tucker on MSNBC has been canceled, Carlson confirmed to Politico this morning after what felt like five to seven years of rumors of its demise. As of 10 a.m., his Wikipedia entry had already been updated to reflect his status as the “former host.” Now, MSNBC tells us that the Tuck will stay on as a correspondent, but his time slot will be taken over by David Gregory, MSNBC’s silver fox of a White House correspondent, who will cover the campaign with a show called Race to the White House With David Gregory. That’s fine and all — we understand that in these fraught times the people need another show that will debate campaign minutiae — but we’re a little disappointed that they didn’t go with Rosie.
Angelo Mozilo Just Wants to Help PeopleLAW
• After testifying in front of the House Committee on Government and Oversight Reform last week about the gargantuan pay package he picked up while his company hemorrhaged money, Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo made Congress a nice little offer: “Mr. Mozilo said he had left a card in each Congressional office with a help line for constituents having problems with their loans. He added that if the number didn’t work, “call me— I take this very seriously.’” [NYT]
• Since the federal death-penalty statute was revived in 1998, New York federal juries have been reluctant to impose the death sentence. [NYT]
• You know those ads for legal firms in the Metro? Yeah, they’re really not all that effective. [Legal Blog Watch]
white men with money
Do John Malone and Barry Diller Have Irreconcilable Differences?Well, it’s time. With heads bowed and hearts, perhaps, heavy, longtime partners Barry Diller and John Malone will appear in Delaware chancery court today, where a judge will help the two moguls, who have been financially intertwined for the past twenty years, make up or break up. The court visit comes after a lengthy and sometimes ugly public battle, during which Malone maligned Diller’s lavish lifestyle and Diller called Malone “crazy,” among other things. For two well-regarded, exceedingly clever businessmen, it has been something of an undignified spectacle. Why, many are asking, couldn’t they just work it out?
She Was a Day-tripper, Ferry Driver, Yeah!Coney Island: “Imagine getting on a ferry at Hunt’s Point for a day trip” here! That’s what Christine Quinn floated yesterday in her big speech. Could it really happen? [Kinetic Carnival]
East Village: McMansion mogul Robert Toll’s 27-year-old NYU social-work-student son Jacob lives with two of his buds in a $2.2 million condo in his dad’s glossy new One Ten 3rd building. How will he pay that mortgage on a social worker’s salary? (Cue cynical chortles.) [NYO]
Midtown: Wouldn’t it be cool if the retired math professor who nearly died of a bondage incident in a sex club here could get his wife in on his S&M thing instead of having to shamefully confess it to her in the Post? Now he’s vowing to break his addiction. Why not just go safe, sane, and consensual? [Gothamist]
white men with money
UBS Replaces Old Jerk With New JerkerJerker Johansson, a 22-year veteran of Morgan Stanley and a close ally of former Morgan Stanley co-president Zoe Cruz, who was fired in December, was named the head of UBS’s investment-banking operations this morning. He takes over from Huw Jenkins, who left in October after write-downs due to the subprime crisis, and CEO Marcel Rohner, who was serving as the interim head and who last month had the pleasure of announcing the largest-ever quarterly loss by a bank. Also, he is Swedish. Okay, let’s face it: Dude will be based in London, so it’s not like we care about him that much. We just wanted to say, Jerker. Jerker, Jerker, Jerker. Heh.
UBS Names Johansson Chief for Investments [WSJ]
in other news
Jason F. Is Called ‘Douche’ by His FriendsWe admit it. We read Portfolio’s story on Outsourcing Valentine’s Day twice before we realized it was written by the comedian Andy Borowitz and therefore, totally fake. Yes, we’re gullible. But aren’t magazines supposed to put disclaimers on this stuff nowadays? Especially when they have paragraphs such as this?
Jason F., a risk arbitrageur whose friends call him “Douche” relates a cautionary tale. “My assistant spent weeks researching the perfect gift for my girlfriend and chose a Givenchy handbag that matched her eye color. But as soon as my girlfriend unwrapped it, she smelled a rat — so much thought had gone into it, she knew that I couldn’t have been involved.”
Okay, a Givenchy handbag that matched her eye color — that, we don’t buy. But a hedge-fund guy named Jason F. whose friends call him “Douche”? That sounds completely plausible. In fact, we bet that some of you readers know guys named Jason F that are — or should be — called “Douche.” Submit their names in comments below.
Outsource Valentine’s Day [Portfolio]
The Multi-Orgasmic Woman Test-driving a Potential New BoyfriendOnce a week, Daily Intel takes a peek at what your friends and neighbors are doing behind doors left slightly ajar. Today, the Multi-Orgasmic Woman Test-driving a Potential New Boyfriend: 23, female, Greenwich Village, straight.
5 a.m.: Suffering from insomnia, horny. Contemplate how I’ve been single for over a year after an intense three-year relationship, burnt out on casual/drunk/let’s-just-be-fuck-buddies sex. Realize Potential New Boyfriend is just finishing his shift at Über-trendy restaurant. Send booty-call text.
6 a.m.: Potential BF arrives smelling like truffle oil. He suggests he shower, I respond by yanking him on top of me. He tastes like red wine. Excellent sex ensues.
Union Rat Invades Gramercy Park, Emerges VictoriousAfter two weeks of unsightly picketing and the (even more unwelcome) presence of a giant inflatable union rat in genteel Gramercy Park, Local 6 of Unite Here and the Players Club reached an agreement Friday afternoon. It reinstates sixteen union members from the club’s restaurant and bar operations who were fired as a cost-cutting measure. John Turchiano, a union spokesman, said the terminated union members return to work today with back pay. “They got everything they wanted, and now we will sit down with management and try out to work out any financial difficulty now that they’re abiding by an arbiter’s ruling,” he said, referring to an arbiter’s January 15 ruling ordering the Players Club to reinstate the terminated employees with back pay.
Hathaello Checks Out Miss Sixty
•Lela Rose thinks she’s still in the running to design Jenna Bush’s wedding dress, despite a first family visit to Oscar de la Renta last week. [NYDN]
•Anne Hathaway totally lied when she said she wouldn’t be attending any fashion shows this week. She and Raffaello Follieri were at Miss Sixty. [The Cut]
• Sheryl Crow enters the fashion arena, with an affordable denim line by the same people who make Victoria Beckham’s dVb line. [WWD]
it just happened
Breaking: Hillary Reemploys ‘The Cry’Yep, it’s official. Hillary Clinton is running to be Crybaby-in-Chief. According to the Tribune Co.’s politics blog, the Swamp, Clinton teared up after a heartfelt introduction by a former colleague at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, where she worked in college. The emotional speech led “Clinton’s eyes to fill with tears, which she wiped out of her left eye,” reads the report (so clinical). “Well, I said I would not tear up; already we’re not exactly on the path,” Clinton said immediately after. AHEM. Now, to be fair to Clinton, who after all is human no matter what people say, hearing a tearful tribute to you from a former mentor is exactly the kind of thing that would choke up nearly anybody. But it won’t be lost on the press that she happened to cry just on the eve of an important primary vote, and that she happened to do so in a state where she has been losing her edge. After all, she is four points behind Obama in Connecticut in some polls after this weekend. We don’t think Hillary was dumb enough to think that crying again would be to her political advantage — the last thing she wants to be seen as is weak. But there’s no question that people will say it was a ploy. Come on, lady. You’ve been through a hell of a lot that was worse than this. At least wait until after tomorrow. If you lose Super Tuesday, then nobody will blame you for crying.
Hillary Clinton cries in Connecticut [The Swamp]
Earlier: Hillary Clinton: Minority Candidate
Heath Ledger Would Have Found Fox News Comments Funny, Friend SaysTalk of Heath Ledger’s death continues to dominate the Sundance festival in Utah. “It was a terrible place to get this news,” actor Brady Corbet, in Park City to promote Funny Games, told us yesterday. “It was supposed to be a time for celebration, and now this town is just abuzz.” Corbet, who was friendly with Ledger, says he’s been disturbed by the tone of some of the gossip, particularly John Gibson’s comments on his Fox radio show. “All this Fox News shit, I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It’s so shocking and totally unacceptable. The guy John Gibson should just be fucking shot.” Er…right. Let’s move off that thought. “The only thing that’s charming about it,” Corbet continued, “is that I know Heath would have gotten such a kick out of it. ‘Oh, you played a gay cowboy so you were condemned to death.’ I really think that Heath would have thought that was funny. He would love how it makes them look and how it sheds some light on how disgusting a corporation Fox is.” —Steve Ramos
William Kristol Has the Gray Lady’s Knickers in a TwistMEDIA
• Both Times public editor Clark Hoyt and former Times conservative standby William Safire have panned Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger’s decision to foist William Kristol on the editorial page. Among the other conservatives considered and passed over: Charles Krauthammer, Ross Douthat, Max Boot, and a bunch of other Weekly Standard stalwarts. But at least Judith Miller approves: “[I]t’s an appointment that’s a long time coming. The page needed balance.… [But] an unabashed neocon without remorse is unacceptable to Times people.… He’s not kosher in that sense.” [New Republic]
• New York Observer president Robert Sommer nailed his MSNBC interview: “We like to view our readers as some of the smartest, most insensitive — most… Some of the most brightest readers in the country and especially New York.” [NYO]
• David Blum goes through his fifth sex columnist in little more than a year, firing his latest hire at the New York Press after she stole questions from Dan Savage. Some might call that slutty! [NYO]
Ally Hilfiger on the ‘New Generation of Creative People’When last we checked in with Ally Hilfiger, daughter of Tommy and appealing teenage star of 2003’s Simple Life precursor Rich Girls, she was living a bohemian life between her Manhattan apartment and Berlin and working on a series of paintings featuring the number 8. “It’s a lucky number for me,” she explained. Tomorrow night, the fruits of her creative period will be on display at the Chelsea Art Museum, as part of a multimedia installation she collaborated on with her friend and painting partner Izzie Gold, otherwise known as Francesco Chivetta, a 26-year-old D.J. and multimedia artist who describes his work as “Warhol-esque Lichtenstein with a slight case of Basquiat.”
The other day we spoke to them about the show over the phone. Ally was sick. “I sound like a dead cow,” she said. “My throat is going to fall out of my ass.”
in other news
Hey! Natasha Lyonne Is Still Alive!
Apparently after the whole partying and drinking and drugging and missed court dates and “random dudes sprawled on the couch” and threatening to molest her neighbor’s dog and spending five months in a hospital with Hepatitis C, there wasn’t anywhere to go but up. “I took it about as far as I could,” Natasha Lyonne told the Times this weekend. “And I didn’t die, so I decided to live, basically. Obviously it’s complicated, but it’s also very simple. I wasn’t dead at 27, so I might as well be 30. You’re already in it. You may as well be in a rocking chair some day eating a lobster club.” Mmmm, a lobster club. We’re so relieved! (And sorry to say, she looks a little better than Tara Reid these days.) Lyonne is starring in Mike Leigh’s Two Thousand Years at the Acorn Theater starting June 15, but she’s quick to point out that just because she’s working and, you know, able to stand again, she’s not exactly having her Little Girl Lost moment. “I’d love to say that there’s been this great 180 and happy ever after,” she told the Times while puffing on a Marlboro. But “I’ve always been both sides of the coin,” she said. “I’m very full of life, but at the same time very dismissive of it. Not really highs and lows, just a steady state of ‘Oh, hey, isn’t this great?’ and ‘Who gives a damn anyway?’”
When Living at All Is the Best Revenge [NYT]
‘New York’ Wants to Know How You Chill OutWow, New Year’s Day seems so long ago. Remember, last week? When you had a day off just to nurse your hangover? It was really great. Not because you got anything done or because you were particularly festive. It was great because it was quiet.
Here at New York, we want to know what you do to find peace and quiet in the city. We live here (believe it or not), so we know how essential it is to just get a minute to yourself to rest. We already know how we do it (three steps, in succession: Scotch. Law. Order.), so we’d like to know about your strategies. We’re interested in hearing about the most stressful five minutes of your day — in excruciating detail. Your boss is hysterical; your customers are angry; you’ve done the same thing 600 times in a row: Make us feel how miserable and stressed-out you are by heaping on the details of what happens to you at work or home. Then, we want to know how you calm yourself down. Do you run for ice cream? Breathe deeply and count? Stand on your head in a corner? Read the Sex Diaries? Tell us in detail your idiosyncratic habits. We can’t get enough of them. Plus, we need some help — the most stressful five minutes of our day is when our editor sends us an e-mail about a magazine writer who needs help on a story and orders us to do a post about it “ASAP.”
E-mail your stories to email@example.com, or leave them in the comments.
School Principal Single-handedly Stops Ratner DrillersBruce Ratner has plans to build Brooklyn’s tallest structure using air rights from CUNY’s NYC Technical College. The City Tech tower, to be designed by Renzo Piano, is being built with the collaboration of the school — and in return, they’ll get a new class and lab building, built by Ratner. But there’s one loser in this deal: George Westinghouse High School, which uses an auditorium and parking lot on the CUNY site where Ratner will be building. School officials only received a fax with the announcement a couple of days before a crew arrived to start work for excavation. “The principal asked the workers to leave the property, and they did,” a community activist explained later. The school has rented the space from CUNY for years, and administrators have tried since September to learn what will happen to it. “They had one sit-down with construction people that ended poorly,” says the activist. The school’s PTA will meet with representatives of both Ratner and the Department of Education on January 19 (which would seem to make them more influential than dozens of celebrity protesters against Ratner’s other Brooklyn projects, who can’t seem to get a meeting with him). Ratner spokesman Lorin Reigelhaupt promises to restore lost parking spaces on-site or nearby, but neither Reigelhaupt nor the DOE will comment on the future of the auditorium. —Alec Appelbaum
A Guide to Dan Doctoroff’s Unfinished BusinessDan Doctoroff is leaving City Hall with a lot of big real-estate projects unfinished, but he’s done his best to make sure they have the momentum and guidance to be completed in his absence (which meant coordinating a lot of egos and favors). The mayor remains urgent about his green agenda, and the staff Doctoroff leaves behind seems to click. Plus, he’s not exactly dropping off the grid: “One of the great things about going to [Bloomberg LP] is I’m not going to be that far away,” he told us, murkily. But without strong-willed Doctoroff forcing players to negotiate, will everything go according to plan? After the jump, a handy guide to Doctoroff’s key reform campaigns, with assurances from Doctoroff himself included. Think of it as a cheat sheet for who now controls their (and our) future. —Alec Appelbaum
Viacom Freelancers Continue to Protest Despite Love From AboveExactly seven minutes before their scheduled 3 p.m. protest today, Viacom freelancers received a memo from HR’s JoAnne Griffith saying that the company had decided to let them keep their old health-care plans (although the controversial Aetna plan “has certain advantages that may make it the preferred option for many of our freelance and temporary employees,” the memo said — as if!). When the e-mail arrived, “there was a palpable sense of relief,” said one freelancer, “however, we are still missing several key items that we had before,” including the company’s contributions to their 401(k) and paid holidays. So it was back out to Times Square and chanting, and someone even started a blog for True Life stories of Viacom freelancers, such such as this one, titled “Engaged and Underpaid”:
“My girlfriend and I recently got engaged and set a date for the fall ‘08 for our wedding, but [getting on her health-care plan] will cost us a huge chunk of what we had been saving for our wedding. So much for getting married in ’08. THANKS VIACOM!”
Another protest is planned for tomorrow, where the Viacom freelancers will be joined by members of the Writers Guild East, who are on full-time, as opposed to teatime, strike.
In Major Reversal, Viacom Returns Healthcare to Freelancers [Gawker]
Pete Wentz Wishes Everybody Were Gone So He Could Just Be NakedWill Smith plays the last man on Earth in I Am Legend, and at the premiere at the Wamu Theater at Madison Square Garden, when we asked the predictable “what if it were you” question, there were lots of predictable answers — living in mansions, driving other people’s sports cars, wearing diamonds, finding food, etc. But rocker Pete Wentz had a refreshing outlook on the whole scenario: “I’d probably just go everywhere naked,” Wentz figures. “I like being alone a lot,” the Fall Out Boy front man told us. “I turn off my phone. That’s my best way to do it.” Based on trailers of I Am Legend, however, Wentz questions the premise. “From the preview, it looks like he’s got his dog in the movie. And that’s not really like being alone. That’s like a dog buddy flick, you know.” And Wentz never quite feels alone with his English bulldog, Hemingway, around. “He looks like an alien,” Wentz says. “He looks like Stitch, and he behaves like Stitch, actually. Prime mission: to destroy everything I have in my house. He’s like, is this an antique book? Delicious!” What a bummer. Now we can’t name our dog Hemingway. —Bennett Marcus
Hear more about I Am Legend from Will Smith, Alice Braga, and others at our complete coverage of last night’s premiere.
Brooke Astor’s Dogs Were in Danger!Not only did Brooke Astor’s son, Anthony Marshall, allegedly steal $132 million from his mom’s estate, but he also wanted to kill her dogs. The latest issue of Vanity Fair chronicles Governor Spitzer’s “troubling, tantrum-filled” first year in office. A week after her kidney infection, Mary-Kate Olsen is back to partying around town. Tony Bennett is giving a “special performance” on behalf of Hillary Clinton in New Jersey in December. Jenna Jameson and Richie Rich are opening a bar together in Chinatown. Chelsea Clinton ate at Veritas with a “very handsome, dark, Indian male companion.” David Mamet is a fan of the New York Post.
early and often
Mike and Barack in Controversial Coffee KlatchHey, while you were standing on the subway this morning with your genitals squashed up against a dude who smells like Gouda, other people were actually doing something important. Like Barack Obama and Mayor Bloomberg, who quietly had a power summit over coffee this morning. CBS reports that the meeting is about “their mutual interest.” Bloomberg has long said he’d like to insert himself into the national debate this election season (BUT HE IS NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT), and he met with Chuck Hagel. We have no idea what they talked about, but we imagine topics of conversation included:
• Hillary Clinton is kind of a bitch
• Rudy Giuliani is kind of a bitch
• Al Sharpton is kind of a bitch
• Matt Drudge is kind of a bitch
• Is Hayden Panettiere too young to want to bone?
• George Bush is kind of a bitch
Or maybe they’re in better moods in the morning than we are?
Obama, Bloomberg to Hold Mystery Meeting [CBS]
The New Museum, Unleashed Upon the Bowery!
The Bowery may be moving toward the mainstream, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for fluorescent lights and papier-mâché nudes! Towering amidst restaurant-supply stores and flophouses, the fascinating, hyperbizarre New Museum is the Bowery’s latest step toward its new, haute identity. We were treated to a preview of the sure-to-be landmark, talked to architects Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, and checked out the locals’ reaction to their strange new neighbor. For your viewing pleasure, a sneak peek inside the new New Museum, opening Saturday. Click the image above to watch.
Related: Party Lines: Calvin Klein’s First Look of the New Museum
Art Review: Little House on the Bowery [NYM]
Architecture Review: The Gray Ghost of the Bowery [NYM]
Norman Mailer Dead at 84Prolific, outspoken novelist Norman Mailer passed away this morning at Mount Sinai hospital, where he’d been admitted several weeks ago with respiratory problems.
A true New York character, both colorful and controversial, Mailer co-founded The Village Voice, penned over 30 books, directed four movies, won two Pulitzer Prizes, and tossed at least one drink at Gore Vidal. A fascinating man with an ego to match, Mailer was nothing if not captivating, and the world of letters won’t be the same without his bluff and bravado.
Earlier:The Rise of Mailerism [NYM]
Father to Son: What I’ve Learned About Rage [NYM]