John Varvatos Replaces Indies With UndiesUnbelievable trauma visited upon the children of the Slope, outer Queens folks take a protest of a “whore motel” out to Great Neck, and John Varvatos’s carrionlike radar takes him to the meatpacking district. And other stuff in our daily hood scoper.
Pro-Pussy Activists Attack Port AuthorityAnimal activists defend the feral kitties of JFK against collective euthanasia, a stolen bike is rescued by East Village heroes, and a man in Coney Island suffers a craptastic fall — all in your daily dish from the five boroughs.
JPMorgan Will Take On Half of Bear Stearns StaffOr you could say JPMorgan will FIRE half of Bear Stearns staff. It’s all how you look at it, really. Plus! The GM building may have a new owner, ‘People’ people get a hairy new deadline, and a lawyer’s advice for tax dodgers in our daily roundup of industry news.
Ramona the PestIs Real Housewife Ramona Singer the “most hated woman in New York”? Which famous-for-being-rich couple had to borrow cash to pay for their wedding license? And what other screen star may have had an affair with JFK? All this and more in today’s roundup of the best of the gossip pages.
in other news
The ‘Times’ Gets All Pouty About Mitt RomneyYesterday’s speech by Mitt Romney on religion was big news. Forced, like JFK was decades ago, to explain his religion to voters in order to dispel any alienation they might feel, the Mormon candidate made a heartfelt speech mimicking the one made by his Catholic predecessor in 1960. In Texas, he delivered “Faith in America,” a sermon he says he wrote himself. Naturally, when we opened today’s papers, we were interested to see New York’s take on a speech that was so plainly not directed at voters here. The reviews were nearly unanimously positive. “Romney created the most presidential 20 minutes of his campaign,” reported Tom DeFrank in the Daily News. “He demonstrated the courage of controversial convictions by refusing to equivocate about his beliefs. Simultaneously, he struck a Kennedy-esque chord.”
the morning line
Thrice-Married Catholic Not Considered So Religious
• Only 13 percent of responders think Rudy Giuliani is “of strong religious faith,” according to a Time poll — and that’s lower than Hillary’s number (15 percent). But he once wanted to close down an art exhibit for blasphemy! [NYP]
• “The very character of the Northeast is at stake” if greenhouse gases aren’t reduced, a new study warns. Poised to vanish: Long Island lobsters and New York apples. What will thrive: smog, pollen, and floods. And, clearly, Claritin sales. [NYT]
• An L.A.-to-London flight was diverted to JFK this morning because of a “suspicious passenger.” Michael Chertoff’s gut told him it was a harmless misunderstanding. [WNBC]
• Shelly Silver still won’t agree to bring the Assembly to the table for congestion-pricing talks — even as the desperate Mayor Bloomberg says he’ll fly to Albany tomorrow. By now, we’re just looking forward to Monday, when this mess will be over. [NYDN]
• And, starting today, the MTA adds a “Mets express” to its 7 line: a one-stop service from midtown to Shea. It’s just for an hour on game days, but funny thing: If they did it year-round, Willets Point might actually be habitable. [amNY]
in other news
‘Times,’ Bloomberg Decree JFK Terror Plot Barely Fit to PrintIt’s good to see some old-fashioned New York spirit seep back into our dealings with the evil, evil evildoers. Yesterday, we happily listened to Mayor Bloomberg channel (for once!) an authentic fuggeddaboudit ‘tude: “You can’t sit there and worry about everything. Get a life. You have a much greater danger of being hit by lightning than being struck by a terrorist.” Flippancy is the new vigilance! Today, the Times gets in on the act the way only the Times can — haughtily yet self-consciously. National editor Suzanne Daley, fielding readers’ questions, explained why the paper defiantly stuck the JFK pipeline plot into the Metro section: “Not all plots are the same,” she wrote. “The plotters had yet to lay out plans. They had no financing. Nor did they have any explosives.” Hear that, aspiring terrorists? No above-the-fold action unless you’re sitting on an A-bomb. Daley continued: “Some [editors] argued [the story] should have been fronted, regardless of the lameness of the plot, simply because it was what everyone was talking about.”
It’s nice to know the days when John Ashcroft would hiss something about “chatter” and we’d all dash for duct tape are gone with, well, John Ashcroft. It’s equally nice that a story’s popularity apparently doesn’t even figure into the logic of the Times’ front-page meetings.
Talk to the Newsroom: National Editor Suzanne Daley [NYT]
Earlier: Bloomberg On JFK Plot: ‘Stop Worrying, Get a Life’ [WCBS]
the morning line
• The fourth suspect in the alleged JFK pipeline plot is in custody. At the urging of a friend, Abdel Nur, 57, walked into a police station in Diego Martin, Trinidad, and turned himself in. [NYDN]
• More surrenderings! Former assemblyman Clarence Norman Jr. and former State Supreme Court justice Gerald Garson, the main characters in a protracted judgeships-for-sale investigation, were sentenced yesterday. Both men left a Brooklyn courtroom in handcuffs, although Garson eked out a stay of his sentence. [NYT]
• Ready for a $3 subway fare? By 2010, warns the Straphangers Campaign, the unlimited MetroCard will likely be $112 or, if the state coughs up some extra MTA cash, $92. But that’s okay, because all our salaries will rise by 50 percent, too — right? Right? [amNY]
• Gay marriage: bad for the baby Jesus, great for the economy. A new study by the city comptroller suggests that legalizing same-sex marriage would result in $142 million in economic benefits for NYC. [Crain’s NY]
• And Carla Katz, the Jersey union leader who’s also, awkwardly, Governor Corzine’s ex, tells all! In a Post exclusive! To Cindy Adams! Her big revelation: “There’s absolutely nothing I have on Jon.” [NYP]
the morning line
The Kennedy Conspiracy
• There’s more on the weekend’s big story, the foiled plot to blow up JFK. One angle: The fourth suspect, still at large, could be an Al Qaeda lieutenant with direct ties to bin Laden. [NYP]
• Another: The man who led the Feds to the plot was a twice-convicted drug dealer who successfully infiltrated the terror group after being muscled into serving as a government informant. [WNBC]
• Rudy Giuliani, seeking to diversify his stoicism-in-the-face-of-tragedy bona fides, stopped by to speak at Montoursville High School, which lost sixteen students aboard TWA 800. The campaign hilariously insists he just popped in for no reason. [amNY]
• Gun groups nationwide are casting Bloomberg as their No. 1 enemy, despite his concentration on illegal weapon sales. The NRA (whose site has a breaking-news ticker!) calls the mayor a “billionaire, Boston-grown evangelist for the nanny state.” Boston-grown — now that stings. [NYT]
• And OTB wants to put touch-screen terminals into city bars and accept “BlackBerry bets,” convinced it will find a new demographic there. We eagerly await the spectacle of drunken hipsters ironically losing their shirt on their ponies. [NYDN]
the morning line
Breaches of Etiquette
• In another proof that post-9/11 airport security is a lot like pre-9/11 airport security, except with more badges, a passenger van was discovered driving on a JFK runway. The guards apparently simply waved it past the gates. [WNBC]
• We’ve gone a full three weeks without being properly outraged by something someone said on the radio. How about a homeless man goaded by “Opie and Anthony” into saying he’d like to rape Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush, and Queen Elizabeth? Will that do? [NYDN]
• The Times serves up another “something cool’s about to happen to NYC transit, unless it won’t” item. The tortured peg: Tomorrow, parts of a giant drill will arrive in Newark, which, once assembled, will be used (next year) to dig a tunnel that will connect LIRR to Grand Central. Yay drill! [NYT]
• Finally, an animal-torture scandal with Anna Wintour at the center! Apparently, the live peacocks used as decorations at the Met’s Costume Institute gala were “fearing for their lives.” As were half the guests. [NYP]
• And, since the very idea of protest is hilarious, hope you enjoyed not one but two “Free Paris Hilton” rallies in Manhattan yesterday. There were eight actual mock-picketers, but “the media turnout was out of control” and “the online support has been tremendous.” We’re sure. [amNY]
Back and to the LeftA new book by Salon.com founder David Talbot claims that the JFK assassination was the joint work of the CIA and the Mafia. Philadelphia TV reporter Alycia Lane mistakenly sent risqué e-mails intended for NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen to his wife. Pete Wentz wants his new East Village bar, Angels and Kings, to be a place where people can have sex in the bathroom. A lot of bankers can no longer expense meals at Hawaiian Tropic Zone. Alec Baldwin skipped the premiere of his new movie to go to Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires. Good move: The screening — of a movie in which he plays an estranged father after a messy divorce — would have been awkward. Penélope Cruz bought the wait staff at the Waverly Inn a round of shots. Rosie O’Donnell dropped a subtle hint that she may be headed to CBS. Boy George was arrested in London for keeping some guy chained to his wall. Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields gambled together in Vegas.
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.