Big Urban-Planning Issues: How Do We Get LeBron?It’s been a bad week for massive urban-planning projects. First came news that Madison Square Garden would be renovating instead of moving into the Moynihan Station megadevelopment across Eighth Avenue.
Put Your Hands All Over Madonna’s GlobeHow big of a Madonna freak are you? Big enough that you would be thrilled to have the chance to wager your hard-earned, depreciating American paycheck on a four-foot, 80-pound globe made of plaster, marble dust, and recyclable polystyrene because Madge rubbed her 50-year-old butt against it?
Simon Doonan Is a Delicate FlowerThe Barneys creative director and author of ‘Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely More Fabulous You’ answers those 21 questions we’re always asking.
There Goes the SchneighborhoodRichard Gere has put his apartment in Julian Schnabel’s Palazzo Chupi on the market, private-equity execs come down to earth, Sam Zell continues to be wacky, and Jeff Zucker and Harvey Weinstein fight like a couple of queens over ‘Project Runway’ in our daily roundup of real-estate, finance, media and law news.
early and often
Heilemann: Clintons Had South Carolina Coming“A good, old-fashioned butt-kicking” was the phrase that Barack Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, used to describe what went down on Saturday in South Carolina’s Democratic primary. And that’s exactly what it was. I’m not talking here just about the overall margin — 55-27 — by which Obama whomped Hillary Clinton. I mean the composition of his victory (the details of which you can find here.)
Among the most noteworthy stats to be found in the South Carolina exit polls is that the collapse of Obama’s support among white voters suggested by some pre-primary polls did not occur. As Axelrod noted, the unofficial over-under number on the eve of the vote was 10 percent of this category — but Obama actually ended up with 24 percent. More stunning, he essentially tied Clinton among Caucasian men and captured more than half of the white voters under 30. Finally, the hopemonger reached beyond his customary well-off/well-schooled constituency and carried at least a plurality of voters at every economic and education level – and this is crucial to his prospects on Tsunami Tuesday, February 5.
it happened this week
BrokenheartedNew Yorkers enjoyed a three-day weekend thanks to Martin Luther King Jr., but the first day back at work was even worse than usual. Heath Ledger, the gifted and restless Aussie actor who seemed to have found a welcoming home here, was found dead in a Broome Street apartment at age 28. (Police officials, stumped by indeterminate autopsy results, said it might take two weeks to unravel the actor’s cause of death.) The Clintons bullied Barack Obama — Bill on the stump and Hillary in a Democratic debate; the Illinois senator finally snapped, “I can’t tell who I’m running against sometimes!” Rudy Giuliani’s all-or-nothing strategy in Florida looked increasingly headed toward a “nothing” outcome; meanwhile, comeback kid John McCain raked in a million dollars in a single night of midtown fund-raising.
Hedi and LVMH: Together at Last!FASHION
• Hedi Slimane is back in talks with LVMH to launch his own fashion house. Everyone, commence jumping up and down. [WWD]
• IMG is behind Bravo’s new model show but won’t be giving the winner a contract. [Fashionista]
• Not even Cavalli can rev up H&M’s sales. [NYP]
Cavalli, Jersey Madness Take Over H&M
In true Roberto Cavalli form, the H&M launch this morning was the flashiest of all the clothing company’s collaborations so far. The sidewalk in front of the Fifth Avenue store was lined with a red carpet, where supermodel Jessica Stam joined the designer for photo ops. Over 50 people were in line by 8 a.m., surprising even Cavalli himself, who admitted he “didn’t expect so much success.” But the Cavalli-aholics, mainly hailing from New Jersey, were as frenzied and savage as the animals whose print they so furiously coveted. The first in line (since 7 p.m. last night!) were a pair of cousins, 12-year-old Margaret and 24-year-old Frances. When the doors opened at ten, they sprinted first toward the gold minidresses and floor-length gowns, swooping up entire racks of the same item. Later, at the cash register, the cousins carried bundles so huge that only their faux-Ugg boots were visible. Was it worth the wait? “I’m going to pass out. I’m not even kidding,” one replied before breaking down into tears on the phone. The other boasted that she fought a woman for a dress. “I hit her with a hanger!” she yelped. Their mother, however, wasn’t satisfied. “Whurs the jewelrrrrrrrry?!!!” she shrieked.
Greg Larkin Was the Al Gore of the Subprime MessFINANCE
• Alan Greenspan was giddy when old buds Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney took over the White House. But it turned out they were bad boys and not his friends at all. Check out this and more in Greenspan’s new bio. [
show and talk
Feathers and Ruffles and Discounts! Cavalli to Design for H&M
Shoppers, mark your calendars. On November 8, H&M will unveil a new collaboration with Roberto Cavalli, the chain announced this morning. “The Roberto Cavalli collections represent an exuberant, successful lifestyle,” H&M’s design chief, Margareta van den Bosch, said in the announcement — which is something of an understatement. Cavalli has cultivated a notoriously wild aesthetic — his latest collection featured cowboy hats, leopard-print trapeze coats, skintight, sequined gowns, and jodhpurs — and one wonders how H&M’s mass clientele will react. Should we expect watered-down versions of these outrageous efforts, or will Cavalli stretch outside his trademark sensibility and design for everywoman? His canned quotes shed no light. “I love freedom and challenges: breaking down barriers, experimenting in different directions,” he said in the statement. The new collection “will add a dash of festivity and dreams.” Of course. —Kendall Herbst
H&M: The GameFASHION
• When shopping at H&M isn’t stimulating enough, play The Sims 2: H&M Fashion Runway. [Pro-G]
• The Olsens do menswear. [Fashionista]
• Ralph Lauren claims American fashion is just starting. [British Vogue]
show and talk
H&M and Kylie Minogue Want You to Support Water By Dressing Like It
Kylie Minogue is continuing to follow in Madonna’s footsteps, this time by launching her own collection at H&M, as the Material Girl did two months ago. As you know if you’ve passed through Soho lately, Minogue will have you covered this summer, with a small, fifteen-piece beachwear collection. It debuted today, and we visited the Fifth Avenue flagship for a peek. The line is done in sea colors — aquamarine, turquoise, sea foam, silver, white — and breezy cotton and rayon. The clear hits will be the embroidered tunic dresses, in white and aqua, and the metallic bikinis and one-pieces with sexy, dipping necklines. Of course, in typical Minogue form, there’s a splash of camp: silver turbans and mini-skirts so tiny they leave little to the imagination. Even better, you can feel good about your purchases; 10 percent of the proceeds will go to WaterAid projects in Africa. —Kendall Herbst
Earlier: Madonna Excitement at H&M? It’s Like a Prayer
video look book
From the Mall to Midtown
Liam James sells jewelry when he’s not aspiring to be a male model. A native of the small city of Port Angeles, Washington, James was pointed toward modeling by a stranger who suggested it to him in the mall. So now James and his 26-inch waist are strolling through the city, struggling to make clothes fit by stapling H&M shirts. “I’m one of those people who likes to use bronzer to make things look alive,” he says. See what other beauty aids James employs in this week’s Video Look Book.
Liam James [Video Look Book]
show and talk
Madonna Excitement at H&M? It’s Like a PrayerOmigod! A new celeb-driven line at H&M! Let’s get there fast, before everything sells out! Knowing the mob scenes that develop whenever a new, hyped H&M collection launches — we’re veterans of the great Viktor & Rolf Rush of ‘06 — we headed over to the Swedish chain’s Fifth Avenue flagship this morning to witness Madonna Madness ‘07, the debut of the Material Girl’s second H&M collection, the first that she actually had a hand in designing. Drew Barrymore, Kirsten Dunst, Carmen Electra, Stella McCartney, and Gwyneth Paltrow have all reportedly ordered pieces — and, if the scene on Fifth was any indication, they might be the only ones wearing them: The line had barely reached the corner of 51st Street when the doors opened at ten o’clock. “So I guess everything will be gone in two hours?” joked one shopper, who said she was a veteran of H&M’s crazy Karl Lagerfeld debut. Not likely. —Kendall Herbst
the morning line
• The City Council has approved — 49-0 — a symbolic ban on the N-word; the ban carries no penalties but already seems to be in effect, seeing that not a single publication covering it can bring itself to print the slur. [Newsday]
• And on the same day, a man pleaded guilty to scrawling “anti-Semitic slurs” — also unspecified — on cars parked near a Queens synagogue. City Council, get bannin’! [amNY]
• The Splasher, an anonymous culprit who defaces street art with violent handfuls of paint, has earned a chin-scratching Times profile. As expected, at issue is the line between “respectable” graffiti (Banksy, Swoon) and Splasher’s vandalism. Or is it art? [NYT]
• OMG Madonna’s collection at H&M! We’re more than a little perplexed why this is front-page material to the Daily News, so feel free to point out some sort of Mort-Madonna link we’ve accidentally missed. [NYDN]
• And in a particularly bizarre round of Mad Libs, a 46-year-old dominatrix … was busted for weapons possession … in a $3 million Bedford Hills mansion … owned by an Orthodox rabbinical school. [NYP]
video look book
Some People Just Aren’t Into BlackErin O’Conner is a graduate student of ancient history and an intern at the United Nations. Raised in Eugene, Oregon, O’Conner grew up muttering about Mesopotamians and Babylonians as her father slept in a tepee in the backyard. She shops at H&M but claims the pants and boots Amy Larocca saw her in are “the only black I own.”
Video Look Book
in other news
Dubai? Duboughtit!Our real-estate market’s surprising refusal to cool down can be chalked up to a single, low-profile foreign player. The name Istithmar is still not exactly a mainstay of Manhattan conversation, but the Dubai-based firm’s purchases in the city make Trump look like an amateur apartment-flipper. In the past year alone, Istithmar, owned by the country’s royal family, set two major records in the field. It was the first to pay over $1,000 a foot for office space (on Park Avenue) as well as the first to pick up a hotel at over a million per room (W Union Square). The ease with which the firm parts with its funds has made some aristocratic jaws drop; best of all, though, Istithmar whose moves account for 12 percent of all office and hotel purchases in the city last year shows no signs of being done. They already found time to (unsuccessfully) bid on 5 Times Square, goosing up its price in the process.
Dubai Buyer Sets Records for Manhattan Purchases [Crain’s]
Duck! That Decoy Costs $800,000!
More ways to spend your fat bonus this year, Wall Streeters: a very manly wooden duck. On January 19, the auctioneers at Christie’s are hoping to be the first to break the $1 million barrier in folksy duck decoys, hawking a cute, rare, and immaculately preserved white-bellied merganser. Carved from cedar and hand-painted shortly after the Civil War by a Massachusetts cemetery caretaker named Lothrop Holmes, the merganser decoy (used by hunters to attract waterfowl) is estimated by Christie’s to go for between $400,000 and $600,000. In November, an 1890s-era feeding plover fetched twice the presale estimate: $830,000. “Decoys are the new macho territory of folk collecting,” declares Margot Rosenberg, who runs Christie’s furniture, folk, and decorative-arts departments. “For hunter-gatherers on Wall Street, collecting is a sport unto itself.” Along with the hedge-funders, collectors from across the country will be bidding on 58 lots of decoys. Geoffrey Gray
‘Top Chef’’s Marcel Doesn’t Love Joël Robuchon That MuchIn the magazine this week, Jada Yuan spoke to some of the contestants from Bravo’s Top Chef about host Padma Lakshmi, wife of Salman Rushdie. In her conversation with Ilan Hall, Sam Talbot, and Cliff Crooks, Jada also asked them about the show’s villain, Marcel Vigneron.
This season, everyone ganged up on one chef, Marcel, who had a penchant for putting foam on every dish. Was he really as annoying as he seemed?
Ilan: Much worse.
Sam: Much, much worse. The past couple of episodes they’ve made him seem like some sort of a sweetheart. Everyone was asking me why I had this outburst with him, but they didn’t show him accusing me of cheating for fifteen minutes. I mean, I hope he watches the show and picks up some social skills along the way.
Cliff: Everyone and their mother is beating up on the kid. You know, I saw him at the premiere party, and in a room of a couple hundred people, he’s okay.
Video Stores Diversify in Carroll Gardens
Brooklyn Heights: Who’s that portly older gent who snaps at folks when they step around his little bichon? [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
Carroll Gardens: Video stores (above) are dropping like flies — or repurposing to stay alive. [423smith]
Chelsea: Boho hotel residents receive belated, nagging New Year’s message from Patti Smith. [Hotel Chelsea Blog]
Clinton Hill:The nabe’s Myrtle Avenue gets its own event-listing blog, marking edgy, can’t-miss moments like a Bank of America opening. [Myrtle Minutes via Clinton Hill Blog]
East Village: Luxury-tower sales offices face off on lower Broadway. [Curbed]
Park Slope: Slopers worry that old-school sports bar Snooky’s may be history. [Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn]
Williamsburg: Former Old Dutch Mustard building owner makes nostalgic site visit. [Gowanus Lounge]
in other news
Roman à RosieFollowing the Rosie O’Donnell–Donald Trump kerfuffle, what better time for a Rosie tell-all? Little Pink Slips is a “novel” written by Sally Koslow, who just happened to be shoved out of her editor-in-chief position at McCall’s when O’Donnell improbably took over the magazine after a six-year stint as a talk-show host. In the book, according to early chapters obtained by Radar Online, Koslow harps on boss Bebe Blake’s “well-fed face,” “lady-wrestler legs,” and predilection for spandex. After the success of The Devil Wears Prada and How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, the publicist for Putnam can sit right back and plan her upcoming trip to Bermuda. The rest of us will hope for the movie, something to cleanse our minds of Rosie’s performance in Riding the Bus With My Sister.
Axed Editor Takes Revenge on Rosie [Radar Online]
All Jack Bauer’s Pretty Horses
At Thursday’s Men’s Vouge screening of the season premiere of 24, Kiefer Sutherland took time out from dinner to smoke a cigarette on the deck. After offering us his custom-tailored jacket, and then complimenting us on how nice we looked in it, the charming star opened up about Jack Bauer’s highly plausible cell phone and his Kiefer’s, not Jack’s love of horse-riding.
Where can I get Jack Bauer’s cell phone?
It’s pretty good, isn’t it? We try to make it realistic. In a blocking situation, if I need to get from one part of a set to another and the dialogue doesn’t actually fit that situation, I’ll say, “Chloe, hold on. I can’t hear you.” And then I’ll move to that spot. We do try to answer those questions, like does the cell phone always have reception?
What’s the deal with the 24 movie?
We were going to make it in the break this year, but it’s just too much to ask the writers to do. We are going to do it. It’s just a question of when.
JFK, LBJ, TRLThe CIA official who organized the Watergate break-in claims that Lyndon B. Johnson might have been behind the Kennedy assassination. MTV’s TRL may be on the way out. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t like being famous. Gwen Stefani is a character in an upcoming novel. Madonna and ex-husband Carlos Leon are still friends. Paris Hilton pal Kim Kardashian may be making some money off her sex tape. Alec Baldwin’s directorial debut is, after much financial wheeling and dealing, finally getting released. Howard Stern lackey Artie Lange might be leaving the program for Fox. Andy Warhol’s former house in Montauk sold for half its asking price. Penélope Cruz and Pedro Almodóvar hung out at Cipriani Downtown.
The Half-Naked City
Improv Everywhere invited New Yorkers to ride the 6 train on Saturday sans pants. The partly dressed gathered at Foley Square and rode the train uptown, completing their ride with an impromptu dance party at 125th Street. Participants read or listened to music, but none of them mentioned that they weren’t wearing pants. Even improv has its rules.
the morning line
• With impeccable timing he would likely disavow, Governor Spitzer made his first judicial appointment yesterday — picking Theodore T. Jones Jr., an African-American judge from Brooklyn, for the Court of Appeals (the highest in our state’s counterintuitive hierarchy). Jones, by the way, is the guy who threw Roger Toussaint in jail after the transit strike. [NYT]
• We knew that if we stuck with the story of the Joseph Bruno probe, it would eventually get interesting. Pay dirt! The state GOP leader had hung out at Rachel’s, a West Palm Beach strip club, on his businessman friend’s dime. Dear Feds: More of this and less murky real-estate deals, please. [NYDN]
• Speaking of: Real-estate data is infinitely malleable, but here’s an upbeat nugget that’s hard to misinterpret — property values in New York City rose 19 percent in 2006. That, if you still want to talk about a “cooldown,” is double the gain of 2005. The bad news: Taxes will jump in July. [Newsday]
• Scientists are struggling to rescue dolphins stranded in shallow waters near East Hampton; four cetaceans have died and fifth was “euthanized.” Long Island has been reporting bizarre dolphin behavior all month long, triggered by the freakishly mild winter (coming, by the way, to a bitter end with tomorrow’s cold snap). [amNY]
• And, not so fast, Jay-Z: While Beyoncé’s mom is already sewing Nets’ uniforms, the team may first end up in Newark. Mayor Cory Booker is making a play for the franchise, offering to house it temporarily until its New Jersey contract runs out. In other news, Frank Gehry unveiled plans for “Miss Newark.” [NYP]
Maid Hits Naomi Campbell — With a Civil SuitWhile her criminal complaint against supermodel Naomi Campbell awaits a verdict this month — last we checked in, Campbell was considering a plea deal but unwilling to do community service — alleged cell phone victim Ana Scolavino is bracing for round two of JeanGate. In an 8-page civil complaint filed today in Brooklyn Supreme Court, Scolavino seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for the alleged March 30, 2006, incident at Campbell’s Park Avenue pad, in which Campbell is accused of chucking a cell phone at Scolavino’s head when a pair of jeans turned up missing.
Viktor & Rolf Invades H&M; Chaos Ensues!
Viktor & Rolf’s highly anticipated debut collection arrived at H&M this morning, but much of the action began well before the Fifth Avenue store’s 9 a.m. opening. The first customer on line arrived around 2 a.m., determined to buy a wedding dress, one of only twenty in stock. Another woman sprinted into the store as the doors opened, sweeping an entire rack of trench coats into her arms. It wasn’t pretty, but then, as they say, all’s fair in love and war — and this event had both: love for Viktor & Rolf designs and war with fellow shoppers. But war means some casualties, too. “This isn’t fun anymore,” complained one overwhelmed shopper, spun in circles by the violent currents of people swirling around her. It’s fun for H&M, though: Opening-day sales of Viktor & Rolf are projected to be at least $1 million.
— Kendall Herbst