Semel Out at Yahoo, Microsoft In?FINANCE
• Courtenay Semel’s dad, Terry, is out at Yahoo. And Microsoft’s $44.6 billion bid for the company might just be déjà vu. [NYT, Deal Journal/WSJ]
• Recession-has-already-started watch: The economy lost 17,000 jobs in January, the first time since the lovely tech-crash days of 2003 that total payrolls have shrunk. [Reuters via NYT]
• One of the few lucky bankers with a bonus burning a hole in your pocket? Try London restaurant Vivat Bacchus’ new “Bonus Tasting Menu” for a mere £1,000. [DealBook/NYT]
No New British Editor Yet for New York’s Hometown NewspaperAfter the Post’s to-do today about Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman’s search for a new editor, Portfolio scribe Jeff Bercovici spoke with current editor Martin Dunn about the whole thing (something Kelly, despite a source inside the News, did not manage to do). Bercovici wondered whether the search for a new editor meant anything was going to change for Dunn himself.
“I signed a new contract last year,” [Dunn] says. “We were working on it from last September. There wasn’t a great deal of rush because I wasn’t going anywhere, anyway. So I’m definitely tied in for the next couple of years, at least, and probably longer.”
Dunn also explained that he will remain editor-in-chief of the tabloid, which means that any high-profile British editor (like Daily Mirror editor Richard Wallace, who Kelly reports has talked to the News and turned them down thus far) will have to fill a different role. “We’ve got some big announcements coming up in the first part of this year,” Dunn said. “Major announcements, which are going to cause huge amounts of extra work.” Ooh! Like what? Surely not another ill-fated weekly celebrity magazine. Perhaps a new Web presence to compete with PageSix.com? A full-fledged national edition? Ooh, ooh! We know! A Website with live streaming video: AllCopFuneralsAllTheTime.com!
Daily News EIC: Actually, I Have a New Contract [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
MIRROR ON THE WALL [NYP]
show and talk
Footage From London Fashion Week
Last week’s mix of shows, parties, models, and high-heel-induced blisters may have left you in a haze — and in massive fashion withdrawal. Luckily, our pals across the pond put on their own Fashion Week, with freakier clothes, wilder makeup, and, let’s face it — a lot more fun. Couldn’t get your passport in order? Check out our runway videos and interviews with the designers, from stately Paul Smith to monochromatic Sinha Stanic (where a stampede nearly caused a real fashion emergency). What was Christopher Kane (see above) thinking with the chiffon and snakeskin combo? Did Eley Kishimoto drop acid and take a trip down Strawberry Fields? Watch the videos to find out. And check out slideshows of all the London collections.
Video: Christopher Kane Collection
Videos: The London Collections [Archive]
in other news
The British Aren’t Coming, and Neither are the IPOs
The August issue of Fortune takes a panoramic look at the bloodless battle royale between New York and London. You know, kind of like we did in March. Except, being Fortune, it’s more concerned with the fiscal side of things: is there any truth to London’s progressively louder claims that it has overtaken us as the world’s financial capital? “The short answer is yes, in some ways,” writes Peter Gumbel, “but in other ways, not at all.” So helpful. Fortune’s best insight is into the IPO race between New York and London. London gets more IPOs because it’s more omnivorous and culturally open. London actively courts Middle Eastern and Russian investments and its stock exchange, reflecting that, is far more eager to list companies from those parts than the still somewhat isolationist NYSE/Nasdaq. Even so, Londoners are realistic about how far they can take this approach. “I don’t expect Goldman Sachs to close down in New York, and I don’t think properties in the Hamptons will plunge in price,” says the dean of the London School of Economics. Well, of course they won’t: with the pound worth $2.03, the damned Brits will snatch them up.
Related: Our valiant, doomed insurgence against Little Britain.
in other news
Smile, You’re on 3,000 Cameras!
First Google Street View and now this: Should you venture below Canal Street starting later this year, prepare to give up all expectations of privacy. Wherever you look, chances are you’ll be recorded. The city (once again aping London) is about to begin installing a massive system of cameras, license-plate readers, and “movable roadblocks” on the city’s southern tip. While the Brits have an appropriately imperial name for it — Ring of Steel — we’ll have to make do with the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative. If all goes well, the total number of new downtown cameras will eventually exceed 3,000. (That’s, to put it conservatively, several per street corner.) And wait until they figure out that those anti-terrorist plate readers can be put to great use minting tickets for running a red light. Or, at least, catching you eating trans fats.
New York Plans Surveillance Veil for Downtown [NYT]
Enquiring Minds Want CashThe wife and son of deceased National Enquirer founder Generoso Pope Jr. are suing each other for the remainder of his $418 million fortune. Barbaro was the focus groups’ choice for August’s Vanity Fair cover, but Graydon Carter nixed him for Shia LaBeouf. CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo will soon have her own show titled Money Honey. The Giulianis like golf, bargains, The Tudors. Chris Noth tried to poach talent for his club from Hawaiian Tropic Zone but failed. Tinsley Mortimer and Lydia Hearst are attending a dinner thrown by Pete Wentz in the Hamptons. Jon Anderson of Yes canceled a benefit show for a bunch of kids because his spiritual adviser told him to.
it just happened
London Bomb Plot Foiled, Mildly Terrifying
We’ve been avoiding reading the article about the foiled bomb plot in London, because we suspected we’d find it troubling. We finally read it, and we did. A car packed with gasoline and nails was left parked in the West End, London’s theater district. (It was even, you’ll note from one of the pictures on the Times site, parked in front of a restaurant called Angus. No offense, Mr. McIndoe, but we’re now thinking tonight’s a Joe Allen night.) It was found not by cops who suspected something was afoot; rather, ambulance workers, en route to aid a sick nightclub patron, happened to notice smoke inside the car and alerted police. “There could have been significant injury or loss of life,” Britain’s top counterterrorism official said, because the bomb was in a busy entertainment district. Oh, and there was no prior intelligence about this; no “chatter” or whatever. See? It’s scary — and also sort of a Giuliani campaign ad.
Explosive Device Found in London, Police Say [NYT]
the morning line
What a Bargain!
• Thanks to the limp dollar, New York is now only the fifteenth most expensive city in the world. Moscow (where a luxury bedroom is $4,000 a month), London, and Seoul are the top three. [amNY]
• The Post is up in arms over Bloomberg’s pay-to-the-poor incentive program, with experts warning it may cost the city “hundreds of millions.” Those poor get all the breaks. [NYP]
• In the wake of the Sean Bell case, NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly wants to institute sobriety testing for every cop who shoots someone. (One of Bell’s killers had two beers before the shooting.) [NYDN]
• The city has paid a $29,000 settlement to Jill Coccaro, a woman erroneously arrested for going topless. In New York, of course, women have a full, if woefully rarely exercised, right to take off their shirts in public. And yet we can’t dance in bars. [CNN]
• And, you think Bush v. Gore was bad? Residents of Potter, an upstate town, accidentally voted to ban alcohol in a ballot mix-up and might soon be forced to go dry. [NYT]
Hedge-Fund Managers Have Ostentatious HobbiesFINANCE
• Young hedge-fund managers play in cover bands but instead of sticking to local bar gigs, they fly to London and rock out there. [BBC via DealBreaker]
• The only humans left on the NYSE trading floor are tourists. [NYP]
• Bank of America is sued for racial discrimination after five black current and former employees claimed that white employees get all the lucrative clients. [NYT]
Want a Raise? Move to LondonFINANCE
• Another point for London: U.K. traders average salaries and bonuses 50 percent higher than their U.S. counterparts. [Bloomberg]
• Everyone has a theory about why Goldman and J.P. Morgan were shut out of Blackstone Group’s IPO, but who’s right? [Deal Journal/WSJ]
• Ernst & Young was censured and sanctioned by the SEC on Monday for alleged violations of auditor-independence rules. This was the second slap against the accounting firm in nearly three years. [AP via Forbes]
The Irresolvable Argument Heard Round the WorldIn this week’s New York cover story, we considered the merits of both New York and London. Who has better food, fashion, and nightlife? Is New York still the world’s financial capital? What about progressive city planning or juicier gossip? We were hesitant to cede some of these points, but London got more credit than we knew we could give. And judging from the reactions of British papers and blogs, it’s about bloody time. (But we still have better sex.) After the jump, opinions from around the world.
Eating London: Please, Platt, We Want Some More
From Scotland to England: New York’s inimitable and indomitable Adam Platt spent five days eating his way through London for this week’s magazine. He learned that now, finally, there’s plenty worth eating alongside the Thames but that there’s more density and variety — and less cost — next to the Hudson. But he also learned a whole lot more, which couldn’t all fit into his allotted magazine space. Head, then, to Grub Street, where he provides the Gobbler’s Ten Rules for Eating Well in London. (Hint: You’d better like lamb.)
How to Eat in London [Grub Street]
A Win for London: Green Electricity
We’ve learned from this week’s magazine that London’s got a construction boom now — an interesting construction boom — plus an immigration influx, great theater, “a civic boldness,” and plenty of good food. And here’s one more accomplishment for our once-Dickensian rival across the pond: London is perhaps greener than New York, today producing more than twice the renewable energy we do. This news came at the latest PlaNYC 2030 forum, held at NYU yesterday, where electricity experts confirmed that New York’s power supply will fail to meet demand by 2012 unless more buildings start generating and reusing their own electricity. And why don’t we?
show and talk
Fashion Report Card: Critics Rate London Shows
Over at Show & Talk, our fashion team has scoured dozens of reviews to bring you the critics’ opinions on London Fashion Week. Marc by Marc Jacobs was universally admired, and Biba failed to impress anyone. Fashion writers had a fantastic time dissecting Gareth Pugh: “The boy is showing promising signs of outgrowing the thrill of being poor and mocked,” Sarah Mower said. Get more opinions about these designers, and Giles Deacon and Christopher Kane, over at Show & Talk.
Fashion Report Card: London Fashion Week [Show & Talk]
the morning line
• We’re 48 hours into Hillary’s official campaign for the presidency, and already the Times is wondering who’d fill her Senate seat. Names that have come up: Paterson, Meeks, Velasquez, Lowey — and even Suozzi. A News survey, meantime, finds Hillary beating Obama handily — in New York City. (Of course, we’re pretty sure Gore and Kerry did likewise to Bush here.) [NYT, NYDN]
• Damon Mootoo, the deaf guy from Guyana who disappeared in Queens last week hours after arriving in the United States, was finally found and returned to his relatives. He said he lived in cars and backyards for four days. [NY1]
• Tired of the busy signals when you try calling for that Per Se reservation exactly two months in advance? You’ll be thrilled to learn that a new service charges clients $35 to $45 to nab them rezzies at tough-to-get-into hot spots. [NYP]
• London may be edging out Gotham as the biz capital of the world, due in part to the United States’ lawsuit-heavy culture and tough immigration rules, says a new $500,000 report. [NYDN]
• Waitress, the movie made by New York indie-film actress Adrienne Shelly before she was murdered in her apartment last year, was shown to applause and tears at Sundance. [1010WINS]
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]
Ralph Lauren to Open Hamptons Eatery, No Doubt to Be Filled With Old-Time AmericanaAt last, there’ll soon be a chance for East Enders to actually eat at Ralph’s. Designer Ralph Lauren, who owns the steak-and-seafood joint RL in Chicago, is taking over the space in East Hampton that for 25 years has housed the popular, unprepossessing, vaguely surf-themed Blue Parrot. “They signed the contract, and we should close in a couple of weeks,” confirms Parrot owner Lee Bieler, who is moving to L.A. to pursue an acting career. “They said they wanted to renovate the building and do a restaurant. His designer said it would be a concept similar to the Ivy in Beverly Hills.” The restaurant, complete with outdoor patio, is next door to the Polo player’s East Hampton boutique. Word is it’ll be open for business by the spring. —Beth Landman
Elite Enclave in Midtown EastMake no mistake: Beekman Place and its nearby blocks are as rarefied as the moneyed thoroughfares of Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue. No matter that it’s just minutes away from unpretty Second Avenue with its fratty bars and dusty traffic. (Why else would the Rockefellers, the Barrymores, and the Vanderbilts have roosted here?) One Beekman Place is the queen of this tiny kingdom, a highly selective, white-glove building with stunning river views that’s supposedly terribly fussy but, without a doubt, grand. Open houses are unlikely there (it’s that exclusive), but a walk through the enclave and the few buildings hosting showings there this Sunday (listed below) will be enough to give you a hint of the good life. S. Jhoanna Robledo
Indie Rockers Losing Death Grip on WilliamsburgBoerum Hill: Atlantic Yards’ next sin? Illuminated billboards that are fifteen stories tall. [Gowanus Lounge]
Chelsea: The High Line might not make it north of 30th Street after all. [Blog Chelsea]
Park Slope: Park Slope Towers is really a dorm, not a condo building. [Curbed]
Upper East Side: Meet the Gael Pub Quizmaster, David Jacobson. [Upper East Side Informer]
West Village: On Saturday, join the memorial ride for Eric Ng, a 22-year-old bicyclist who was killed December 1 by a drunk driver on the West Side bike path. [onNYturf]
Williamsburg: Parks Department placates angry residents by promising to diversify McCarren Park Pool concerts with Colombian and Polish music. [Brooklyn Downtown Star via Brooklyn Record]
Last Night, Morocco Came to Miami
MIAMI BEACH — The celebrities at Art Basel Miami Beach are rich collectors and powerful gallerists, for the most part, which means the sightings are usually less than glamorous. (Look, there’s Tony Shafrazi in orange swim trunks!) But one bit of Hollywood celebrity hanging around has been Keanu Reeves, who was spotted last night by the bar at the Standard and quickly ushered into the dinner there hosted by Yvonne Force Villareal and Mark Fletcher. When a photog tried to snap his picture, Reeves begged to share a smoke instead, offering up a menthol cigarette as a consolation prize. It worked.
Inside, the art stars were lounging on $50 beach towels designed by Richard Phillips, Marilyn Minter, Rob Pruitt, and Alex Katz that are sold through Target to benefit Force’s Art Production Fund. It was very Morocco meets Miami, and everyone looked good in the low candlelight.
in the magazine
Cops Catch Up With Brooklyn Rabbi
Rabbi Joel Yehuda Kolko was arrested yesterday in Brooklyn and charged with child sexual abuse. Back in May, New York’s Robert Kolker detailed allegations against the rabbi that went back at least two decades, noting that the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office would often defer to Orthodox authorities instead of investigating complaints. But David Framowitz, a former student of Kolko’s, sued the rabbi and his Flatbush yeshiva for $20 million in federal court in May. Kolko now faces other civil suits filed by adults who claim they, too, were abused. “The bottom line is that abuse is a universal issue that closed communities hide because it threatens them,” one former Lubavitcher who said he was abused told Kolker. “Whether it’s Jewish or Amish or Mennonite or Catholic or Muslim, it doesn’t make a difference.”
On the Rabbi’s Knee [NYM]
Sex-Rap Rabbi is Busted in Brooklyn [NYDN]
Peter Blake, 1920–2006Peter Blake, New York’s first architecture critic, died this week at the age of 86. An architect himself, Blake was known for his stylish, refined orthodox modernism (even though he hated “modernism” as a term). His writing for the magazine, as a columnist from 1968 to 1976 and then on and off for another twenty years, was similarly polished, a refined voice in an age too often given to unrefined buildings. Here’s his witty conversation with the late Philip Johnson, published on June 9, 1996, shortly before Johnson’s 90th birthday.—Christopher Bonanos
Magic Johnson [PDF]
Peter Blake, Architect, 86, Is Dead; Designed Houses in the Hamptons [NYT]
More Actual Progress at Ground Zero!
Could it be? Yes, it could. A mere three weeks after real, genuine construction started at ground zero — the concrete foundation was finally poured for the much-delayed Freedom Tower — there’s set to be some more real, genuine progress today. Five years after it was badly damaged and rendered uninhabitable by the attacks, the long-shrouded Deutsche Bank building is finally coming down. The AP is reporting that the building’s façade is being removed starting this morning; once that is gone, the steel-and-concrete infrastructure comes next. One of the new WTC towers is set to be built on the site, plus a new Greek Orthodox church. Don’t start rushing to say your Greek prayers, though: It’ll be a year till the current building is gone.
Work Begins Friday to Take Down Damaged WTC Skyscraper [AP via Newsday]
Earlier: Freedom Tower Construction Finally Begins, Boringly
Spitzer Feels Good (Just Like He Knew That He Would, Yeah)Eliot Spitzer’s New Year’s Day inauguration will feature James Brown and Natalie Merchant but not Alan Hevesi. Yes, Beyoncé threw Jay-Z a big birthday party in St. Barts. No, they’re not getting married, at least according to Rush & Molloy. John Kerry threw a dinner party for Democratic donors at his Georgetown home, at which he may or may not have shilled for his party’s 2008 nomination. Paris Hilton may be engaged to “student” Stavros Niarchos. Tinsley Mortimer’s sister-in-law is getting married to the director of Syriana. The reigning Miss Universe, also Miss Puerto Rico, is dating a fellow Puerto Rican. Mandy Moore had dinner with former flame Wilmer Valderrama. The director of scary when-scuba-goes-bad flick Open Water is set to direct another movie about sharks. A lot of people went to go see Annie at Madison Square Garden, and not everyone got in on time. Celebs donate time, company to an auction run by Martin Luther King Jr.’s eldest son. Colin Firth is a picky eater. Lindsay Lohan’s former assistant, now Jessica Biel’s assistant, was the subject of much of Lohan’s vitriol in the rambling e-mail she wrote two days ago. Eddie Murphy and his ex–Spice Girl ex-girlfriend continue to disagree over whether Eddie is the father of her baby, according to “Page Six.” (The News has this Murphy-Spice “exclusive,” too, worded the exact same way.) Britney Spears bought expensive lingerie, Dakota Fanning bought a dog, and Courtney Love is moving to London. Liz Smith claims John Stamos will be on an upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars, based on his affinity for tango. Molly Sims got stung by a bee in Hawaii.
27th Street Shuffle: West Chelsea Nightlife Mogul Snatches Plagued MegaclubWhile Amy Sacco may or may not be selling Bungalow 8, Jon B, owner of cash cows Home and Guest House, is in contract to purchase another slot on the coke-dusted Monopoly board that is West Chelsea. Having convinced the yoga-loving owner of Spirit, Robbie Wootton, to abandon his fight to reopen since the club’s forcible closure in August, Jon B says he’ll take over its West 27th Street space and bring an upscale crowd to rock shows and big-name D.J. performances. “I intend to operate it totally differently,” he says of a space that has been under scrutiny since its days as Twilo.
Of course, Jennifer Moore, the New Jersey girl who was murdered in July after a night of clubbing, spent her last hours at Jon B’s Guest House, and the subsequent nightlife crackdown raises question about how easy it’ll be to transfer Spirit’s liquor license. After Wootton pays off the estimated $6,600 in State Liquor Authority fines, Jon B estimates it’ll be two or three months before a transfer is granted (a year-end freeze on new licenses in the area has caused a backlog of applications). After that, he says, it’ll take another few months to turn the place into something “very different than what everybody is used to.” And what’s a suitable name for this new club, something that outclasses even Jon B’s other venues, Home and Guest House? Alas, Mansion is already the hottest club in Miami. Daniel Maurer
the morning line
Bloomberg Succeeds in Prying Guns From Warm, Live Hands
• Bloomberg’s novel anti-gun initiative — going after out-of-state dealers — is paying off. (It also shows an unusually, um, national-minded thinking from a city mayor). Six gun stores in outlying states have agreed to let court officials monitor their sales; twelve more are being sued into agreement. [NYT]
• The Daily News has a cover story that would drive O. Henry to suicide: A Staten Island woman gets the news of her fiancé’s death in Iraq, followed two hours later by a FedExed engagement ring from him. We don’t normally fall for the human-face-of-war stuff from our tabs, but Christ. [NYDN]
• D.J. Carl Blaze of Power 105.1 is in the hospital after getting shot “at least 13 times.” The details are murky, and the shooter took Blaze’s $20,000 gold chain, but the hail of bullets appears far too excessive for a robbery. [NYP]
• A Brooklyn rabbi was cuffed and jailed on child-molestation charges last night, after the lawsuit against him made the papers earlier in the week. The alleged victim is a 9-year-old who claims to have been abused for two years. Neighbors say the rabbi “doesn’t fit the criteria.” [WNBC]
• Demolition is set to begin in a couple of hours on the iconic, conical Revere Sugar Refinery in Red Hook. Thor Equities, which is also building on the Williamsburg-Greenpoint and Coney Island waterfronts, snatched up the factory in a less-publicized deal for $40 million. [amNY]
Hasselhoff Continues to Show Up at Things• High Fidelity opening night. Imperial Theatre, 249 W. 45th St., nr. Broadway, 5:30 p.m. Nick Hornby, Hope Davis, Alec Baldwin, Rachel Dratch, Lauren Bacall, Bebe Neuwirth, and David Hasselhoff expected. Free premise for aspiring “Shouts & Murmurs” writers: What if Nick Hornby had written Baywatch?
in other news
‘Time Out’ Likes Our Critics! They Really Like Our Critics!So Time Out New York is out today with a big cover story rating and ranking all the city’s cultural critics. It must be said: We give two thumbs up to this review of the reviews. Of course, why wouldn’t we? New York’s critics fared well (if not quite as well as Time Out’s own critics, who did — surprise! — fabulously). Our Peter G. Davis was the No. 2 classical-music reviewer, Adam Platt came in third for foodies, Jeremy McCarter was named the fourth best theater critic, and Mark Stevens was No. 6 among the art experts.
The one exception was our esteemed film reviewer, David Edelstein, who ranked an unimpressive eleventh. Why is that? Well, according to his Zagatian write-up, it’s because he’s insufficiently attentive to independent film. “If you were to read only his column, you’d never know that foreign-language films and independent documentaries were opening,” wrote one panelist. “A fine critic for first-run films. I wish he was able to write more about off-the-beaten-path films,” wrote another. And just what industry experts came to these damning conclusions? Well, from the roster of reviewer-reviewers provided, we can pick out the director of the Film Forum; the publicist for the Film Forum; the publicist for the IFC Center, who was formerly at the Film Forum; the publicist for the Museum of the Moving Image; and two independent publicists of indie films. Hey, at least they know about indie film.
Judgment Day [TONY]
Iraq Study Group: Perhaps Monkier Than We Thought?
The Iraq Study Group report is out, obviously, and now, it seems, all the important players have weighed in: Bush says he doesn’t want to decrease troop levels and the Post says the panel’s chairmen are “Surrender Monkeys.” Clearly it’s time for another 20-Person Poll. New York’s intrepid interns hit Madison Avenue to ask three questions.
Question No. 1: The Iraq Study Group says “the situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating.” Does that come as a surprise to you?
Big surprise: 2; no surprise: 18
Question No. 2: Who has a better plan for Iraq, President Bush or the Iraq Study Group?
Bush: 3; ISG: 12; neither: 5
Question No. 3: Are James Baker and Lee Hamilton, the chairmen of the Study Group, in fact surrender monkeys?
Yes, monkeys: 6; no, not monkeys: 14
Nothing Gets Between Dakota and Her Jacobs
Marc Jacobs, it seems, likes ‘em young. He has unveiled his new ad campaign — it breaks in February issues of fashion mags, and you can see two of the shots above — featuring 12-year-old actress Dakota Fanning, as WWD reported today. Slightly skeevy fashion advertising, of course, is nothing new, but, still, this one manages to be, we think, a bit creepier than shaved pubic hair (Gucci), awkward celebrity stand-ins (Versace), or emaciated models (pretty much all of the major labels). Perhaps Marc’s avant-garde taste is more attuned to European tastes: WWD also reports that he’ll be showing Marc by Marc in the London shows for the first time this February. —Kendall Herbst
On Your Marc [WWD]
Christmas Trees Look Good in Chelsea, Struggle in the Slope• Chelsea: The Hotel Chelsea gets festive in the lobby. Or at least more so than the Allerton. [Living With Legends]
• Coney Island: So which is worse, Thor Equities or Forest City Ratner? [Gowanus Lounge]
• Flatbush: With Yvette Clarke on her way to Washington, the fiasco to fill her City Council seat begins. [Daily Gotham]
• Flatiron: No more feeling inferior to every other area of Manhattan with an H&M. But we’ll miss Daffy’s. [Metroblogging NYC]
• Park Slope: This place has questionable Christmas trees, at best. [Brooklynian via Daily Heights]
• Sunset Park: How long will one man’s fight against litter last? [Cloud Starchaser via Sunset Parker]
XBox Beats PS3, Saves Relationships
At the PlayStation 3 vs. Xbox 360 Challenge at the Apollo Theater yesterday, H3TV — apparently “the only high-definition flat screen that allows players to simultaneously compete on both gaming systems” — allowed players to, well, simultaneously complete on both systems. (The crowd seemed to prefer the cheaper XBox.) Juelz Santana of Harlem’s beloved Diplomats rap crew — also known as Dipset — sat down for a spirited game of Madden and was all business, dodging both autograph requests and an aggressive pass rush from his opponent, an anonymous Dipset affiliate he swore was the crew’s resident gaming ringer. Santana came up short, but he made it out of the loss with his swagger intact, turning right around to sign those autographs for his patient fans and to extol the virtues of the H3TV. “If you’re always playing your game, your girl can watch Lifetime or something. She ain’t got to leave the room. It’s good for relationships!” Armed with that, we’re sure you can finally convince your girlfriend to let you buy a high-def flat-screen. Amos Barshad
Doing Good at Ralph Lauren; Eating Late With David Bouley
MIAMI BEACH — Fashion met art at Art Basel Miami beach last night, and this was not necessarily a good thing. The worlds collided in David Bouley’s place — specifically, his gorgeous new South Beach restaurant, Evolution, where Jimmy Choo’s Tamara Mellon was throwing a fête for the Whitney. The problem: There were other, nearly as important places to be, and stops at those other events made everyone very late for this one. What were the rivals? A Russell Simmons dinner at the Delano penthouse, and a lush UBS-sponsored dinner, where billionaires were as common as palm trees. At the packed and chaotic Ralph Lauren party to benefit RxArt, which was one of the rare and welcome charity events at the otherwise largely venal Art Basel, the wife of a hedgie, bearing an invitation, was initially denied entrance — to a store, she noted, annoyed — because she hadn’t RSVP’d. (Once she got inside, she’d find Andrew Shriver, Nikki Haskell, Gene Pressman, Bob Colacello, the lovely mom of Ralph Lauren exec David Calle, and some nice clothes.)
But what about back at swanky Evolution?
Paying for Drinks, Partying With Deitch
MIAMI BEACH — South Beach started to resemble spring break last night — but with much more money, and with Europeans. There was a preview of the actual art at Art Basel from 6 to 8, which gave everyone a chance to check out the maze of work from galleries all over the world. A VIP collectors’ suite was actually for collectors of other expensive things, like jets and beachside condos. Cipriani, Related, Netjets, and Bulgari had outposts to offer consolation prizes if you couldn’t get the art you wanted because it had already been bought or, more likely, because the gallery wanted to sell it to someone better than you. Unlike New York corporate parties, however, there were no free drinks flowing to impair inhibitions. These companies may have had enough marketing cash to be in a classy place, but there was a cash register set up on the bar. Not classy at all.
But later things got classier.
in other news
Managing Traffic for Efficiency and Hilarity
We noted several weeks ago the city’s ambitious new plan to dedicate whole lanes of traffic to ultrafast buses with their own curbside turnstiles. And how would these buses battle unauthorized motorists slipping in and out of the lanes? By snapping pictures of them and ratting them out to the city. Nice. But not nearly as effective as a high-tech — yet awesomely brutal — solution implemented in Great Britain. Marvel at cars getting mauled by weight-sensing, automated retractable bollards.
Bollard Porn [StreetsBlog]
Earlier: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a … Bus!
M&M’s Opens Times Square Store, Tortures Willing Pedestrians
If you’re anything like us, nothing attracts your sweet tooth like “heavy, thin, old and young New Yorkers” sprayed in candy coating. So when we received a press release from the M&M’s people announcing that they’d be marking the opening of their new Times Square location by spraying those folks in their favorite M&M’s colors — and then branding their chests with an M, candy style — we knew we’d have to attend. Intern Everett was on the scene, where he snapped some pix and reported that nothing says yum like bikini-clad people, standing in 40-degree weather, getting sprayed with cold paint. Hey, at least the victims froze in their mouths, not in their hands.
Taxi Driver Speaks: ‘An Asshole Tax’Think this latest taxi-fare increase — which doubled the cost of standing time — sucks for passengers? Think again. Cab driver and self-styled livery-industry pundit Alexander Stone Dale calls us from time to time to give us his take on the business. Here’s his latest insight:
The new fare increase — it’s brilliant. It’s an asshole tax! Only four of my passengers paid more than they normally do. And all four were totally stupid assholes who didn’t want to hear about it, wanted to go the way they always go, weren’t concerned about my fucking convenience, weren’t concerned about anything. And all four freaked out. It was amazing. If you’re not an asshole, cab fares have remained unchanged.
An asshole tax? That we can get behind.
Taxi Fares Rise, and Only the Oil Companies Win
Are Taxi Drivers Metering All the Way to the Bank?
Amy Sacco Is Still Probably Not Selling BungalowLindsay Lohan wrote a long and incoherent e-mail, which for some reason referenced Al Gore and Bill Clinton. Amy Sacco says she’s actually not selling Bungalow 8, the Observer’s reporting to the contrary notwithstanding. (Daily Intel readers already knew that.) Mary-Louise Parker may be dating her Weeds co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Pataki consigliere Charles Gargano says he’ll keep his seat on the Port Authority board, even with his man gone from Albany. Frustrated Knicks fans, here’s your chance to vent: Garden chief Jim Dolan is performing with his band tonight at B.B. King’s. (It is, however, a cancer benefit, so don’t be too mean.) Paramount/Dreamworks execs are pushing Beyoncé over Jennifer Hudson for a Best Actress Oscar nod, and Jennifer Hudson is okay with it. Lenny Kravitz went to the dermatologist. Anna Wintour found The Devil Wears Prada “entertaining” and has had the same haircut since she was 15, she tells Barbara Walters during her “10 Most Fascinating People” interview (in which Wintour actually does wear Prada). TomKat didn’t invite Oprah to their wedding, and they didn’t invite her to their post-honeymoon bash, either. Kevin Federline showed up at a book reading for the free booze. Jordan’s Queen Rania and King Abdullah are on the rocks. Damon Wayans was fined $320 for dropping the n-word sixteen times at L.A.’s Laugh Factory. Jessica Alba and the Duff sisters are hosting a New Year’s Eve party at a club in Miami and are doing it for free. Ellen Pompeo wants to gain five to ten pounds, because they’d go straight to her boobs, she told Playboy. Robert Evans is suing the electrical company that installed a screening room in his home that mysteriously burned down. Liz Smith cried at the end of Dakota Fanning’s Charlotte’s Web.
in other news
The New York ‘Post’ Will Never Cut and Run (We Hope)We have nothing to add to today’s Post wood. We just wanted to make sure you saw it. And we wanted to make sure you realize how much poorer life in our fair city would be without the delightfully gleeful nut jobs at the Post. Thank you, Rupert, for this philanthropic contribution to city life, and may you never — even in the face of continuing multi-million-dollar losses at the paper — become a surrender monkey.
Iraq ‘Appease’ Squeeze on W. [NYP]