Robin Williams Bounces Back QuicklyWho is Robin Williams new girlfriend? Which socialite is shipping out of town? And which actress-singer’s voice “doesn’t match her face” according to a Grammy-winning artist? Find out in our daily rundown of the juiciest bits from New York’s gossip columns.
Katie Couric Goes There With Larry KingThe CBS anchor unleashes her inner adolescent boy, JPMorgan wins again, and a big-time lawyer heads to the pokey in our daily roundup of news from the fields of media, finance, and law.
early and often
Bill Clinton Takes a Break From Being Nasty to Get Condé Nast-y Spotted! Yesterday afternoon, Bill Clinton and a team of Secret Service agents hanging around the lobby of 4 Times Square, the headquarters of Condé Nast Publications. What were they doing there? WWD, which reported the sighting, doesn’t know. Could Hillary have been making a mea culpa to Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, for backing out of a photo shoot for the magazine (and appearing several months later in Harper’s Bazaar)? Or was Bill, who leveraged access to himself to force GQ into killing a Hillary profile a few months back, just there to bully Jim Nelson some more? Personally, Intel suspects that they were making arrangements to appear in Golf Digest. Now that’s how you get the Florida vote.
Memo Pad [WWD]
Update: A reader points out that he was probably visiting his lawyers at Skadden, Arps, whose headquarters are in the Condé building. Duh! Also: Snooze. We were digging the image of Bill and Hill posing in plaid trousers.
‘CosmoGIRL!’ Parties Like It’s Freshman Year All Over AgainLast night saw loads of magazine parties: The blazered GQ staff boogied down at Passerby, Wenner Media rocked out at Madison in the meatpacking district, and W celebrated its continued existence at Death & Co. We didn’t go to any of those, because we were at New York’s own fiesta at the Cub Room. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you much about that, partly because we’re not allowed to but mostly because we can’t remember much — except that we were pleased to learn that our co-workers like to party. And that Jessica Coen will do the splits if you ask her nicely. But we can offer you a report from inside the CosmoGirl soirée, held at the decidedly un-girlie Rumours, a tinsel-decked, wood-paneled sports bar on Eighth Avenue in midtown.
Cobble Hill Shall Only Remain Yea HighCobble Hill: In a last-minute about-face, Councilman Bill De Blasio said he’ll vote to deny developer Two Trees the right to build ten feet over the height limit in the quaint hood. [Brooklyn Eagle]
Coney Island: The deal has been inked, folks. Starting in March, Astroland will be open for one more season before the bulldozers roll in. [NYDN]
Flushing: Yeah, we know this blog features hideous new architecture around Queens every day, but these specimens are particularly heinous. What’s that thing atop the building in the first picture, a big brick handle? [Queens Crap]
Falling Glass a Metaphor for Bank of America’s Finances?FINANCE
• The debris falling off the new Bank of America tower at 42nd Street may have been metaphoric. The firm just reported steep losses, and their wannabe investment-banking unit, set to anchor the new tower, performed the worst. [MarketBeat/WSJ, Deal Journal/WSJ]
• Congrats, James Cayne — nobody wants anything to do with Bear Stearns. Contrary to reports, both Warren Buffett and China’s Citic Bank denied any interest in the bank. [DealBook/NYT]
• Today’s the real anniversary of the 1987 stock-market crash, but at least one veteran thinks parallels to the present are overblown. “The market is just like generals — everyone prepares for the last war.” [MarketBeat/WSJ]
it just happened
Brooke Astor Dies at 105After a messy year of battles between her son and her friends for control of her finances and well-being, Brooke Astor died today at her Westchester estate in Briarcliff Manor. She was 105. For decades Astor was a paragon of Upper East Side elegance and noblesse-oblige charity, but last year a legal battle waged on her behalf against her son, Anthony Marshall, resulted in a series of embarrassing accusations: neglect, misuse of family funds, and fraud. A year ago, Meryl Gordon examined Mrs. Astor’s life, including its messy final chapter, for New York, and found that “the story of the Astor lawsuit is also something simpler and sadder, a tale of parental neglect, repeated generations over.” Annette de la Renta, who took over as Astor’s guardian after charges were first leveled, told Gordon that she hoped the society matron would “slip away” at Briarcliff, “a place she adores.” She got her wish, and Astor can now go back to being remembered as the legend she was.
Brooke Astor, New York Socialite, Dies at 105 [NYT]
Related: The Family Astor [NYM]
James Taylor Crowd Knows Nothing of His WorkThere was the usual phalanx of celebs at the Ross School in East Hampton Saturday for James Taylor’s penultimate concert in the Hampton Social series — the Olsens, Richard Gere, Jimmy Buffett, Daryl Hannah, even Paul McCartney — but, as it turned out, they weren’t all necessarily there to see Sweet Baby James. “I don’t know much of his music,” James Blunt admitted to us before the show started, “but I’m looking forward to it.” So no favorite songs, then? “I’ll have to get back to you at the end of the night,” he said. Mischa Barton was equally flummoxed. “Um, I don’t know,” she admitted. “Everyone’s been asking me. I put it on my iPod before we left, but I haven’t listened.” Beth Ostrosky, there with her boyfriend, Howard Stern, was one of the few who could answer the question. “‘You’ve Got a Friend,’” she said proudly. And local gal Christie Brinkley eventually came up with an answer, too. “I sing the kids this song at night to help put them to sleep,” she said. “I don’t know what it’s called, but it goes, ‘There is a young cowboy ’ Oh, ‘Sweet Baby James,’ that’s it.” Yup. —Brett Amelkin
International RelationsGQ editor Jim Nelson has come under fire for using the phrase “Asian whore” twice in his editor’s letter. A staffer for Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t believe in global warming. Chelsea Clinton ex Ian Klause has a book coming out about his exploits teaching U.S. history and English in Iraqi Kurdistan. Iggy Pop’s Egyptology studies at the University of Michigan were the basis for the Stooges aesthetic. Some claim Starbucks only decided to stock Ishmael Beah’s memoir about the child soldiers of Sierra Leone to deflect criticism for exploiting Third World country farmers.
‘GQ’: Is the Republican Party Invading Air America?Egads! There’s a Republican infiltration of liberal radio network Air America’s uppermost ranks, according to the new GQ, hitting stands tomorrow. The ailing talk-radio experiment may have been saved from obsolescence when developer Stephen Green — along with his brother, omnipresent New York Dem Mark Green — scooped it up at a bargain-basement price in January, but it turns out at least one member of Green’s team is a Bushie. Quoth Scott Elberg, the company’s chief operating officer: “I voted for George Bush. I’d been a Republican since I started making money.” Elberg now claims that the Iraq mess has turned him to forces of goodness and light — which, actually, might be the biggest shame of all. Isn’t a touch of old-fashioned, GOP, utterly unprincipled capitalism just what Air America needs in its executives?
CORRECTION, April 18: This item originally described Elberg as Air America’s “new” COO, brought in by the Greens to run the network, a characterization provided to us by GQ. The Greens inform us that Elberg worked at Air America before the purchase, GQ has acknowledged the error, and we’ve corrected the item.
Earlier: Daily Intel’s coverage of Air America