What Does Not Kill CNBC Makes It StrongerIt’s hard to pick just one beautiful moment from today’s rollickingly emotional story about CNBC’s success, despite, or perhaps because of, the introduction of Rupert Murdoch’s rival Fox Business Network. But pick one we did.
Greenwich Police Chief Disappointed That Real Police Work Not Like TVAndrew Kissel, the real-estate developer who was found tied up and stabbed to death two years ago in his Greenwich, Connecticut, home after being found guilty of fraud, probably hired his driver to kill him. Yeah. It’s actually a really dramatic, juicy story, but Greenwich detective chief David Ridberg can’t tell us about it, even though he’s dying to. But he can tell us about his TV-watching habits.
How Eliot Spitzer Missed His Money Shot
Eliot Spitzer’s political career, gravely injured after a collision with reality on Monday, finally passed into the great unknown two days later. But Spitzerism — the soul, that is, of his career — expired months ago.
Unlike virtually every other Democratic politician in the country, Eliot Spitzer understood markets. He believed in the potential of widespread investing in stocks to build and spread genuine wealth, and as attorney general, he was like a Money magazine editor on crack, targeting enemies of small investors: self-promoting analysts, corrupt mutual-fund traders, predatory lenders. Spitzerism wasn’t about taxing and regulating profits; it was about diffusing profits to people who have never received a dividend check.
it just happened
David Paterson: ‘The Only Whores I Know Are Lobbyists’
David Paterson just gave his first public address since Eliot Spitzer’s resignation yesterday. He made noises about “getting back to work” and the budget, talked about being black and blind, indicated he wasn’t planning any major changes to his predecessors more controversial policies, and became the first human being in government to express sympathy for Spitzer himself. “My heart goes out to Eliot Spitzer, his wife Silda, his daughters,” he said. “I know what he’s gone through this week. In my heart, I think he’s suffered enough.” Paterson also displayed a rather awesome sense of humor. “Just so we don’t have to go through this whole resignation thing again,” one ballsy reporter asked, “have you ever patronized a prostitute?” Patterson thought for a minute. “Only the lobbyists,” he said.
in other news
As We Win One Hooker, We Lose Another
In the excitement surrounding the unveiling of Kristen, the Jersey-grown hooker who (accidentally) brought Eliot Spitzer down, we almost missed the fact that last night, the city lost another famous prostitute. Andreia Schwartz, the “millionaire” madam who was arrested last year for running a brothel on West 58th Street where call girls got paid between $700 and $1,500 an hour (how quaint!), was quietly deported back to her native Brazil after twenty months in prison and, the Post tells us, serving as a source for the federal authorities who were probing Spitzer. Schwartz’s biggest client was Time Warner CFO Wayne Pace, who she said paid her about $200,000 and helped her buy the apartment out of which she ran her business. He denied it and got off with only a terrible reputation, but now we’re wondering … who were clients one through eight?
Kinky Link to Brazil’s Bombshell[NYP]
Earlier: Eliot Spitzer’s ‘Kristen’ Somehow Much More Adorable Than Anticipated
New York Newspapers Tanking More Slowly Than Papers ElsewhereMEDIA
• Of the top twenty American newspapers, the circulation of New York ones suffered less than others over the past few years. [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
• We hear … that gossip Website Jossip.com is up for sale. [NYP]
• And that ESPN The Magazine is beefing up its fashion coverage. [WWD]
‘Kristen’ and Eliot Issue Dual Releases
Last night Eliot Spitzer finally released his official letter of resignation. It was short, simple, and hand-signed:
Dear Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Bruno,
I am writing to advise you that I am resigning my position as Governor of the State of New York effective 12:00 noon on Monday, March 17, 2008.
We love that (a) he’s still governor until noon on Monday, which is surely a few extra hours that Paterson didn’t ask for (think of how many personal checks pardons he can issue in that time!) and (b) how he had to put “Eliot Spitzer, Governor” at the bottom of the letter. Savor that, dude. “Eliot Spitzer, Attorney-at-law” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
But more importantly, as Vulture pointed out, our beloved “Kristen” had a very important new release today, too. Her latest song track! It’s called “Move Ya Body.” We were going to make a joke about that song title and Eliot Spitzer, but then we realized that every pop name ever could be a pun about hookers and governors.
Resignation Letter Released [NYDN]
Kristen Releases Another Song! [Vulture]
Earlier: Eliot Spitzer’s ‘Kristen’ Somehow More Adorable Than Anticipated
early and often
Gavin Newsom, Taking Over Where Spitzer Left OffWhen Eliot Spitzer announced this morning that he was dropping his driver’s-licenses-for-illegal-immigrants proposal, you would think that Hillary Clinton heaved a sigh of relief. After all, now no one would have an excuse to try and pin down her stance on the issue, like they did so excruciatingly in the October 3 Democratic debate. See, Hillary supported Spitzer, and his “efforts,” she has tried to clarify, but if she were president, she’d make it so that all of that was unnecessary. Of course she caught tremendous flack for being too political and not giving a precise answer about the topic, which amounted to her first serious stumble of the campaign. (Clinton wouldn’t sell out her friend and ally Spitzer by undermining his plan but also couldn’t come out strongly in favor of it, knowing full well it was a giant target for Republican terror rhetoric.) But now it’s over, right? Wrong. Just yesterday, as Spitzer began spreading the news that he was dropping his case, over in San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom was helping to pass very similar legislation. The West Coast city will begin issuing I.D.’s to everyone, including those in the U.S. illegally, so that people can better open bank accounts, get insurance, and access law enforcement. Gavin Newsom, of course, is a pal and California co-chair of Hillary’s campaign. So if Republican critics (and Democrat opponents) want to keep tearing at her for her flimsy position on the issue, well, they have another excuse. Man, Hillary’s the last person in this campaign who we thought would get in trouble because of all her friends.
S.F. supervisors approve ID cards for residents [San Francisco Chronicle]
Isn’t It Ironic? Alanis Embarrassed by Own SongsAlanis Morrisette, in from L.A. for the Adrienne Shelly Foundation benefit, had loose blonde curls and a West Coast attitude toward the writers strike. “I support writers in being compensated well, so I’m all for it,” she said. She’d even support a songwriters strike, if anyone felt like starting one. “I’m on one right now,” she laughed. It’s true, we haven’t heard anything from Alanis in a while, although Jagged Little Pill remains inescapable. How does Alanis cope when that song she supposedly wrote about the guy from Full House comes on in a public place? “Whenever that happens, I look up to see if anyone’s staring at me to see if I should feel awkward,” she said. “After that, I hightail it out of there.” It’s fine when she’s not around, though. “If it’s playing and a family member or loved one hears it, I tell them it’s my way of saying hi to them when I’m not around.” Aw. That’s sweet! So next time we hear her screaming, “Are you thinking of me when you fuck her?” over the speakers at the gym, we’ll know that it’s just Alanis sending her regards. —Amy Preiser
Should Stuyvesant Heights Secede?Bushwick: This blogger hates on gritty Bed-Stuy, claiming that it’s nothing compared to its slicker, ‘shwick-er neighbor. That’s harsh, but maybe he’s right to suggest that pretty Stuy Heights secede from the rest of the hood. [BushwickBK]
Chelsea: Even before 100 Eleventh Avenue developers could obscure Knox Martin’s landmark mural next door, they’ve covered his signature with their ad. It’s a proto-dis! [Chelsea Blog]
Coney Island: An ice-skating rink at the base of the Wonder Wheel? That’s bigger than Wollman? That’s a summertime sailing pond? Yes, yes and yes! [NY1 via Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn]
in other news
Ashley Olsen: Best Show-and-Tell EverWhen most kids bring something in for Show-and-Tell, it’s something from their home. A pet, perhaps, or a rock collection. Something that’s in their house and part of their regular life, that other people might not know about. Also, usually it’s small and portable. So it’s no surprise that when it came to 6-year-old little Isabella (daughter of Lance) Armstrong’s turn to do Show-and-Tell, she decided to bring in Ashley Olsen. Radar reports that the little girl toted in daddy’s new special friend. “Celebrities do this all the time,” Radar’s spy explained — and it’s true! Lance himself was once a Show-and-Tell item for his ex-girlfriend Tory Burch’s young son in New York. Now, to be completely fair, according to Radar, the story might not be completely accurate. It may have been Isabella’s twin sister Grace who brought in the former Full House star. (Wait. They’re twins, and the Olsens are twins. Showtime synergy!). Since Radar doesn’t provide much more information, we’ve imagined what little Isabella’s introduction would be like.
in other news
Katie Couric, ‘This Tart Is Ready to Go’
We can’t tell if this clip of Katie Couric preparing for a Nashville broadcast is real or an awesome, purposeful spoof on Dan Rather’s unfortunate trench-coat video of last year. Either way, it’s a brilliant piece of daytime cinema, in which Katie fumbles with her own coat issues while talking smack about Rather (“Heh, I’m like Dan Rather on You Tube … What? Don’t you think he deserves a little payback?”), snorts, decries “nursing home” lighting, mourns her missing Uggs, and calls the production guys “dude” and “bro.” As in, “I’m serious, you’re moving the camera all around. I’m like, bro, what up.” We’ve never loved her more.
Bloomberg’s Baby Problems: They Just Keep Popping OutFINANCE
• Another woman joined the federal discrimination lawsuit against Bloomberg LP. After her first child in 2005, her pay fell and her colleagues turned into sharks. One supervisor even asked, “What is this, your third baby?” [NYT]
• More of the same on the Street: Bank of America wrote down $3 billion, Bear Stearns $1.2 billion, and British bank HSBC took the cake with $3.4 billion, largely due to U.S. mortgage weaknesses. Meanwhile, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein laughed in everyone’s face, predicting no more write-downs (not that they lost much in the first place) at the Teflon bank. [NYP, NYT, NYT, DealBreaker]
• Is the credit crunch just like Enron all over again? So says Bethany McLean, the reporter who first broke Ken Lay’s fraud wide open. [Fortune]
Con Ed Terrifies East Village BargoersFor once, it wasn’t a bar that caused an Alphabet City noise disruption; last night the culprit was Con Ed’s East River Generation Station at 14th Street and the FDR Drive. Around 11 p.m., the plant began issuing dozens of deafeningly loud blasts of steam every fifteen seconds or so, and imbibers around the neighborhood decided it was a good time to step out for a ciggie and make sure the world wasn’t coming to an end. A disheveled man who was awoken by the blasts held his cell up in the air so a friend could hear the ruckus. “You don’t know what it is, but you like it,” a woman chirped at her excited dog, while someone else likened the steam puffs to those of a volcano. “This hasn’t happened once in 25 years,” said a woman bedecked in eccentric chinoiserie as she retreated into an Avenue B apartment. “If that thing blows up, we’re all fucked.” (A transformer at the station did explode, causing a fire and a blackout, in 2002.)
the morning line
Airplanes and Stem Cells
• A single-engine plane crashed into the driveway of a New Jersey home last night, killing the pilot and barely missing a row of houses. Details are still murky at the moment; the flight originated in North Carolina and was headed for the Essex County airport in bad weather. [WNBC]
• Governor Spitzer is about to sign off on a $1 billion government-financed stem-cell research initiative. Before we get too proud, however (or scream godless pinko), let’s recall that California is spending three times the amount on the same. And their governor used to kill clones personally. [NYT]
• The NYPD has been cracking down on one of its formerly invincible nemeses — diplomats who use their immunity to park wherever they want. The city’s already collected $3 million and is still owed $18 million more, from 77 countries. Worst offender? Egypt ($1.9 million in unpaid tickets). [NYDN]
• Miss New Jersey USA has resigned because she’s pregnant, and you can’t compete while pregnant. (By the way: Why not?) The runner-up, Erin Abramson, is presumed to be running around the living room yelling “I won I won I won I won.” [amNY]
• And a French-born New Yorker got slapped with an insulting “foreigner fee” at Aquagrill; the story is remarkable for marking the first time in the years the Post published a photo of a French person without Photoshopping a weasel head on him. [NYP]
it just happened
You Can’t Spell MLK Without Al SharptonWhen New York politicians think of the Reverend Martin Luther King, they think of the Reverend Al Sharpton. They have to, because Sharpton has built his annual “public policy forum” into a mandatory Martin Luther King Day stop for politicos across the state. Today’s gathering, at Sharpton’s new digs off the corner of Malcolm X Boulevard and 145th Street, was no exception. Honored guests included Governor Eliot Spitzer, Lieutenant Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, several members of Congress, and Attorney General Anthony Cuomo, who joked that he was modeling a Phat Farm suit by Russell Simmons, as the hip-hop mogul looked on approvingly from the dais.
The most popular speech topics were critiques of the Iraq war, police brutality, and racial discrimination, along with repeated praise for Sharpton. Queens congressman Gregory Meeks was the most effusive, calling Sharpton a modern-day Martin Luther King. Indeed, it’s a testament to Sharpton’s tenacious chutzpa that he’s taken the official holiday devoted to Dr. King and fused it with a celebration of himself, a day for some of the most powerful New Yorkers to pay homage to both men in one easy stop. And lest they forget, Sharpton told Spitzer today: “You run Albany, but I run things here!”
Sharpton, who has recently stoked rumors of another presidential run, asked Bloomberg if he would run against him. Bloomberg replied that he already had a New Yorker in mind for the job: Charlie Rangel. If Sharpton’s out campaigning next January, perhaps Martin Luther King Jr. will have the day all to himself. Ari Melber
Matt Damon Learns an Important Lesson• The Good Shepherd premiere. Ziegfeld Theater, 141 W. 54th St., nr. Sixth Ave., 7 p.m. Director Robert DeNiro and stars Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Billy Crudup, and John Turturro expected. Based on the movie’s title and trailer, we’re supposing that a white-haired mentor figure will shoehorn some sort of half-assed allegory about sheep into a conversation with Matt Damon’s character.
• Partnership for Public Service gala. Cipriani, 110 E. 42nd St., nr. Vanderbilt Ave., 6:30 p.m. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly will award Senator Joe Lieberman with the Theodore Roosevelt Award for the Advancement of Public Service. Humorously, Dennis Haysbert will be honored for the “portrayal” of public service but sadly will not receive it from Commissioner Tony Scali.
Hark! The Herald Angels Burn Energy!
Amazingly enough, there really is some religious devotion to be found in this godless city. And how is it displayed? With enormous, expensive lighting displays, naturally. The good people at Gowanus Lounge took a trip over the weekend to Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, which is apparently the extravagant-Christmas-lights capital of New York City. This picture’s our favorite, mostly for the rows of herald angels flanking the entryway, which provide a nice counterpoint to the usual excessive rows of lights and signs. But there’s lots more what that came from. And, hey, Merry December 11!
Dyker Heights Lights! The Photos [Gowanus Lounge]
Malcolm Gladwell, 4-Year-Old Sheriff
So we happened past New Yorker scribe Malcolm Gladwell’s blog today — don’t ask; we have no good excuse — and we were struck by what we found there. It seems Gladwell is in a big ol’ blog fight with professional conservative Steve Sailer, and the argument has driven the extravagantly coiffed author — heretofore known for his incisive journalism, his best-sellers, and, well, his exuberant coif — to adopt another claim to fame. Perhaps, from now on, he will be known as the Internet sheriff who saddled up on his blog and roped one errant hive-mind contributor like a straggling baby calf:
Imagine my surprise, then, when I discovered that Steve Sailer doesn’t allow readers to comment on his posts. Can you believe that? Here we have the aggrieved Steve Sailer, donning the cloak of victim as he decries my attempt at censorship. Here we have the allies of Steve Sailer, speaking out on behalf of the virutes [sic] of the free exchange of ideas, the importance of confronting one’s critics, the necessity of fighting the good fight in arena of free speech. And all the while their leader is cowering behind the gates of a comment-free blog.
Oh my. Is it possible that in addition to everything else, Steve Sailer is also a chicken?
See? That’s what’s so revolutionary about the Internet: It can turn a dude with a camera phone into a photojournalist, some dorky grad students into billionaires, and, it now seems, Malcolm Gladwell into a 4-year-old.
Imagine My Surprise … [Gladwell.com]
Michael Chabon, Defender of the AcknowledgmentLast week, Times books reporter Julie Bosman took a swipe at Norman Mailer’s Aeneid-length acknowledgments. In today’s letter column, Pulitzer-winning novelist Michael Chabon presents a defense:
Here’s a crazy reason your article did not mention for including an acknowledgment at the end of your novel: to acknowledge. If there is some kind of old-fashioned virtue in concealing one’s debt to and gratitude for the hard work of others, it’s difficult for me to see where it lies.
But of course Chabon approves of the public airing of private gratitude. He’s married, after all, to novelist Ayelet Waldman, who famously published a certain delightful bit in a March 2005 “Modern Love” column. What did she have to say?
Upscale Dry Cleaning Comes to Harlem
Astoria: Shooting on location is On 31st Street, coming soon to Greek TV. [Columbia Journalist via Joey in Astoria]
Brooklyn Heights: Brigate Bocce got the boot in the first round of the New York Fall Bocce Playoffs. We’ll keep you updated. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
Chelsea: Burgers & Cupcakes waits till after dark to erect a new awning on its 23rd Street location. [Blog Chelsea]
Fort Greene: Are hedge-fund managers actually invading, or is that a real-estate urban legend? [Set Speed aka One Hanson Place]
Harlem: New condo buildings bring with them new dry cleaners. [Uptown Flavor]
Midtown: Inside the closed stacks (right) of the New York Public Library. [NewYorkology]
Red Hook: The Revere Sugar factory is going down, but slowly at first. [Gowanus Lounge]
As Art Fair Ends, It Becomes Clear: Girls Ruled
Amid the dense and hedonistic five-day spree of partying at Art Basel Miami Beach, it’s easy to forget that millions of dollars of art changed hands, too. And when the rhinestones had settled, the surprises went far beyond the no-shirt dress code (for men, at least) at the Visionaire party Saturday. Art dealers at the fair, which drew a record 40,000 attendees, had braced for Russian buyers, hedge-fund spending, and buzzy interest in the new new things. Instead, Latin Americans went on a binge, artists from the seventies outdrew emerging stars, and there was furious — even competitive — buying by a suite of New York–based real-estate developers.
So who bought what?
Mel Gibson Rides Feathered Serpent to Boffo B.O.Seems he will work in that town again. Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto is the weekend’s No. 1 film. Okay, it’s true: Its haul was only a so-so $14.2 million, which means its top rank was due mostly to lack of competition — the only potential challenger, Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle Blood Diamond, flopped hard with an $8.5 million box office, which means it’ll be okay to wear diamonds to the Oscars. And Gibson’s take also pales next to the $83.8 million premiere of his previous directorial effort, The Passion of the Christ. (Then again, more people seem to be into Jesus than the Mayan god Chac.) But the main point remains: The auteur’s DUI arrest and the subsequent Jews-and-sugartits business apparently did little to hurt the film. Apocalypto’s dialogue is entirely in Mayan, it has no stars, and it’s rife with Gibson’s trademark torture-porn, so it’s hard to see it making any more money even without the baggage. It’s amusing, however, to see the industry insiders’ tone shift from gleeful derision to polite surprise (“The movie obviously succeeds on its own level”) at the first hint Gibson might actually still be financially viable. Oy.
Gibson Delivers Another Box Office Win [Yahoo News]
in other news
Despite our odd obsession with the Charmin Times Square toilets, we confess this hadn’t previously occurred to us. But thanks to the latest installment in the Times’ ongoing coverage of the recent invention of the Internet — today we learn about YouTube videos of Times Square marketing — we decided to check YouTube for some videos of Times Square marketing. Oh, the mother lode! Feast your eyes on an oddly hypnotic, entirely unnarrated four-minute travelogue of a visit to our favorite public bathrooms. (There are plenty of other, related videos available, too, if this one doesn’t quite do it for you.) It’s almost like being there — but you won’t need to wash your hands when you’re done.
Charmin’s Times Square Bathrooms [YouTube]
Times Sq. Ads Spread Via Tourists’ Cameras [NYT]
atlantic yards watch
Weekend Watch: Yards Supporters Approve It; Yards Opponents Sue to Block It; Earth Spins on AxisBruce Ratner’s Brooklyn juggernaut kept churning through the weekend, as two residential buildings in the way of his Atlantic Yards dream moved closer to a date with the wrecking ball. The Empire State Development Corporation, the state agency that’s been pushing this megaproject all along, unanimously voted to condemn any and all structures that stand in its way. Ratner’s Forest City already owns the buildings in question, having thoughtfully bought them two years ago; what it doesn’t own, and has little authority over, are some of the tenants’ stabilized rents. Thirteen of the affected residents immediately banded together and sued. The charge: You can’t condemn a building without officially erasing the tenants’ leases first. The question is now, and surely not for the last time, in State Supreme Court. Which should hold up that wrecking ball for at least a little bit.
A Nod for Atlantic Yards, and Then a Lawsuit [NYT]
in other news
New York’s Rats: Irritating When Infesting, Delicious When SmokedWhile New Yorkers have been tying up the 311 lines to report their ever-escalating rodent problems, as the Times reminded us early last week, the enterprising folks at West African Grocery in Hell’s Kitchen don’t complain about their rodents — they stock them in the refrigerator section. Food-safety inspectors seized two pounds of smoked rodent meat from the market last week; there’s no word on whether these were imported specimens or New York’s native Norways. According to Microlivestock: Little-Known Small Animals With a Promising Economic Future, a book put out by the National Research Council, an estimated 42 cultures worldwide eat rodents; the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that rat meat makes up half the locally produced meat consumed in Ghana. The rats for sale at West African Grocery don’t seem to be in quite as high demand — a prescient poster on Chowhound wrote of the place last May, “while I’m not at all squeamish about the arguable lack of sanitary conditions (to put it mildly), I’ve just never had the impression they have particularly high turnover.” And, really, who likes rat that isn’t fresh? —Wren Abbott
N.Y. Cracks Down on Armadillos, Iguanas, Rodents and Cow Lungs [AP via WABC]
Miss Anna May, In Fact, Like Fat PeopleA movement is afoot to regulate the body weight of runway models in New York City, and Anna Wintour is leading it. Blood Diamond director Ed Zwick took Russell Simmons to task after Simmons went on diamond-industry press junket to South Africa and Botswana and claimed the diamond trade there to be mostly beneficial. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin put their Tribeca pad on the market, but only for one day. The Hilton sisters don’t get much love from their potential in-laws. (One suspects the feeling is mutual.) ABC anchor Charles Gibson thinks Mayor Bloomberg will run for president. Nasdaq CEO Bob Greifeld admitted in court that he did not know the difference between a markup and a gross profit margin. The Little Dog Laughed star Julie White got a ticket for bringing her dog on the subway. Brazil’s first lady wants to adopt a child. Demi Moore dragged Ashton Kutcher to Fashion Week in September, but all Ashton wanted to do was watch football. The duo behind holiday show What I Like About Jew have gone their separate ways. Dakota Fanning thinks her next film is wonderful, despite the fact she’s raped in it. Matthew Fox and the cast of SNL hung out late night. Victoria Beckham styled Katie Holmes for a magazine cover shoot, and the 300-plus people involved were (allegedly) instructed not to make eye contact with the ladies. For reasons entirely unclear, Brett Ratner’s grandmother has her own realty show on VH1. Cindy Adams hates on Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto (although she hasn’t seen it), and Liz Smith loves James Lipton.
At Art Basel’s Weekend Parties, a Literal Social Whirl
It was a social whirl — quite literally — over the weekend at Art Basel Miami Beach, as weathered partygoers plotted their overflowing dance cards while the wind picked up, the rain beat down, and it felt like a hurricane was going to sweep away all the art and all the money and Steve Martin, who had arrived at the fair and was giving Keanu Reeves some competition for most Hollywood-celebrity sightings.
Friday was the weekend’s busy night.
the morning line
Lurid, Infected, Leering
• A gruesome murder-suicide in Brooklyn left four dead and almost redefines “lurid.” Investigators believe an ex-con bludgeoned to death his girlfriend (who was also his half-sister), killed her two children, then overdosed on the scene. [WNBC]
• A former NY1 reporter says she was sexually harassed at work and fired for complaining about it. Among other things, a colleague Photoshopped giant breasts on her photo, which apparently passes for a joke at NY1. [NYP]
• E. coli is here! The first registered NYC patient (who has already recovered) is a Staten Islander who got the bug, like the other 60 victims, by eating at a local Taco Bell. [amNY]
• The Daily News is shocked to learn that about 70 percent of recent subway graffiti has been made by European kids looking for an “authentic” NYC experience. Next they’ll tell us those guys on Astor Place are not real punks. [NYDN]
• And the Times ponders the rise of “experiential marketing” in Times Square, wherein companies do something moderately freaky and hope tourists will photograph it and/or blog about it. Here at Daily Intel, we would never fall for such gimmicks. [NYT]
it happened this week
Figure It Out
As the number of shopping days till Christmas dwindled, the ten magi of the Baker-Hamilton commission told Bush 43 that he had “one last chance” to get Iraq straightened out and suggested that most troops come home within fifteen months. Other surprising figures popped up: The Senate confirmed Defense Secretary-nominee Robert Gates by a vote of 95 to 2 after he said that Saddam Hussein had no 9/11 connection. (The president called Gates the right man to tackle “the emerging threats of the 21st century,” leaving some to wonder where he’d been six years ago.) Hillary Clinton seemed ready to commit 110 percent to a 2008 presidential campaign, planning strategic visits to Iowa and New Hampshire and telling one pol, “I’m really going to go for this.” Meanwhile, her potential rival, Barack Obama (and many Dems’ No. 1 fantasy), gave at a $2,500-a-plate Manhattan charity dinner.
The High Line, Suddenly Not as High?
Not that it’s any big surprise at this point — after secret sets of books, and floated-and-then-retracted fare hikes, and all that — but the MTA might be up to something a little shady again. While everyone’s busy being excited about the redevelopment of the High Line, it turns out the MTA has been whispering to developers looking at its West Side yards — where Bloomberg wanted to build a Jets stadium, and which contain 31 percent of the elevated rail tracks — that a purchaser might be able to dismantle at least part of the Line. (You know, so building could start faster.) Last night, Friends of the High Line rallied its base in a meeting at Chelsea Market to protest this news and presented the case that maintaining the High Line on the MTA property would actually make it more attractive to developers, and thus more lucrative to the MTA. To that end, Friends of the High Line — with partial funding from developers with projects elsewhere along the structure — offered this sketch, from the Chelsea firm SHoP Architects, of what a redeveloped MTA yard would look like with the High Line still intact up there. Pretty, ain’t it? —Alec Appelbaum
Russell Simmons, Star of Art Basel
MIAMI BEACH — You don’t tend to find guys in baseball caps at art fairs. So when you spot one at Art Basel Miami Beach, it’s a good bet who’s underneath it: Russell Simmons. The Def Jams founder has been holding court this week at the Delano, the festival’s headquarters. His high-profile presence at Art Basel — he’s often seen chatting on the hotel’s front porch or just walking down the street in cap and jeans — has been a boon to fair organizers, some of whom have fretted privately that the otherwise hugely successful event has been a little low on non-art-world star wattage. Simmons — an Art Basel vet — is here to host a variety of events, most for his arts-education charity, Rush Philanthropic. But he’s also art shopping.
What does he collect?
All the Petraske You’ve Been Dreaming OfHow many openings has Grub Street broken in the last 24 hours? So many we’ve nearly lost count. First was news of a new Sasha Petraske saloon, this one to forgo the mixology maven’s usual carefully constructed cocktails for beer and wine. Next was the report that Amalia, the restaurant and lounge scheduled to open a few weeks ago in the Dream Hotel, won’t awaken there till late January. (But Grub’s got renderings now!) Finally came one more bit of Petraskiana: The Milk and Honey and Little Branch proprietor wants to add food to his empire, aiming to open a restaurant in the old Grange Hall space in the West Village. Need to know more? It’s all on Grub Street.
Milk and Honey Owner to Do Wine and Beer — and Queens! [Grub Street]
Dream Hotel’s Restaurant Still a Dream, But Opening in January [Grub Street]
Sasha Petraske to Take on Fine Dining, Too [Grub Street]