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.
Coney Island 2008: The ‘Summer of Hope’Wrap up your week wetly, with a dead raccoon on the Upper East Side, a tiny woman on Coney, David Byrne way downtown, and some big breasts in the meatpacking district. All in today’s boroughs report!
A Cappella, Applebee’s Change the Face of AstoriaAstoria: This blogger doesn’t know which new arrival to the neighborhood is worse: the Broadway chorus-boy gays or the Applebee’s. [Manhattan Offender]
Bay Ridge: They’re gonna move the ugly-ass Gowanus Expressway onto a sleek cable suspension roadway and fill in the old area with emerald parkland! Well, wouldn’t it be pretty to think so. [NYDN
Cobble Hill: A developer wants to build townhouses on the empty land surrounding the pretty old Lamm Building on Amity Street, but locals object because the new houses wouldn’t face the street and leave room for backyards like all the other houses. Tense. [Brownstoner]
Flatbush Is Even Noisier Than Your HoodEast Village: Do a piercing salon, tattoo parlor, and bong shop qualify as the “community facilities” a developer said he’d rent to in return for being allowed to build bigger than code here on St. Marks? Discuss. [Neither More Nor Less]
Elmhurst: A skater boy rescued a newborn baby, umbilical cord intact, from a freezing Dumpster. Troubled young moms, New York law says it’s okay to abandon babies … as long as you leave them somewhere safe and warm where they can be found! [Newsday]
Flatbush: Locals here called in more noise complaints in the second half of 2007 than in any other Brooklyn hood. So does that make Flatbush the borough’s noisiest hood or just full of its noisiest kvetchers? [Ditmas Park Blog via NYDN]
Padma Leaves a Bad Taste in Fiamma’s MouthManhattan Moms, an East Coast equivalent of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Orange County, will premiere early next year. A lot of the city’s foremost graffiti artists congregated for a book party at Auto in the meatpacking district. Billy Joel is in talks with the Mets to perform a bunch of gigs at Shea Stadium. George Steinbrenner will have a high school named after him in Tampa. Padma Lakshmi was rude to the staff at Soho eatery Fiamma, but Martha Stewart overtipped and was nice. CNN gave out an award to someone for forcing “one of the world’s largest oil corporations to pay more than $6 billion to clean up toxic waste in the Amazon rain forest,” but didn’t name Chevron as the company because they are an advertiser.
in other news
Raising the Standard
The High Line, as the headline read on Adam Sternbergh’s May cover story for New York, brings good things to life. One such good thing: André Balazs’s High Line–straddling Standard Hotel, which, according to the photo that showed up on Curbed today, seems well along its way to fruition. As it happens, a Daily Intel spy tells us it’s magnificently behind schedule and overbudget. But, then, it’s in the meatpacking district; of course it’s too expensive.
High Line Construction Chronicles: Standard Anything But [Curbed]
Related: The High Line: It Brings Good Things to Life [NYM]
the morning line
• It’s down to the wire — the deadline for the legislature to approve Bloomberg’s congestion-pricing plan is today — and the still-unbowed mayor is pulling out all stops: Yesterday, he campaigned for it in three churches, fer chrissakes. [NYT]
In Which a Party Reporter Is Embarrassed By Her Footwear
We really ought to read press releases more carefully. Last night was the grand opening of Iris, a new store in the meatpacking district, and the release announced a “FALL 2008 PREVIEW OF: CHLOÉ, MARC JACOBS, JOHN GALLIANO, PAUL SMITH, VERONIQUE BRANQUINHO, AND VICTOR & ROLF.” We expected a runway show and celebrities. Exciting! So we trekked to Washington Street and Little West 12th. We were sweaty and clad in Havaiana flip-flops and a breezy polka-dot number from Ross Dress for Less (and — we’ll have you know — you wouldn’t believe the compliments we get). What we hadn’t read closely enough to discover is that Iris is a luxury shoe boutique. And when we arrived, well, if our feet had feelings, they would have been humiliated. The store is petite. And was packed. With intensely fashionable people. We stepped inside, did a quick lap among all those high-heeled sandals and perfectly pedicured toes, and walked right out. It was the fastest we’ve ever gone through a party. And then we rushed off to find friends in sneakers. Shoes in the store were cute, though. —Jada Yuan
Meatpacking Asserts Its Relevance This WeekendThough sofas and desklamps don’t have their own catwalks in Bryant Park, our city is currently awash in product-design festivals. If you can’t follow the clean lines at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair currently at Javits, you may enjoy the more accessible Meatpacking District Design Week, which begins this weekend. Clothier Jussara Lee offers an installation about climate impact, and shops like An Earnest Cut and Sew (bicycles), Auto (wedding rings) and Bodum (coffee) feature elegant takes on the everyday. The gathering emphasizes the “collision” of product design with art and fashion; New York’s Janet Ozzard will be on Saturday’s panel exploring that notion. (The magazine sponsors this and two other discussions.) Don’t get cowed: Promoter Abe Gurko promises that “the whole experience is designed for non-snobs.” So go see Karim Rashid’s Day-Glo chairs (left), tour the market building that will eventually house the Whitney, and weave in and out of cocktail parties every night. You can collide all you like. Alec Appelbaum
in the magazine
Inside Norwood, New York’s Forthcoming New Faux London Club
Another London-style for-profit club is coming to the lower West Side, and, as Geoffrey Gray reports in this week’s New York, the new entry will be Norwood, located in an 1845 townhouse on West 14th Street. According to the prospectus, there will be a “buzzing and spacious Grand Hotel-like bar” on the parlor floor, a private dining area and reception space on the garden floor, dining rooms on the second floor, “a less formal salon with lounging areas of decadent grandeur” on the third floor, and up on the fourth floor a “penthouse” space for meetings, screenings, and special events. What will it all look like? As yet unknown. But the brochure provides photos of what the townhouse looked like as the previous owner had furnished it. Above, the front entrance and main stairs. More pix after the jump.
Rich Little, Not So Funny! Who Knew?Karl Rove got into a fight with Sheryl Crow and Laurie David at the White House Correspondents Association dinner Saturday night. Also at the dinner: Eliot Spitzer got Sanjaya Malakar’s autograph, and host Richard Little bombed. And Antonin Scalia chatted up blogger Ana Marie Cox at Christopher Hitchens’s after-party. James Carville owns several guns. Chevy Chase was mentally and physically abused as a child, according to an upcoming biography. Keith McNally is still at his street campaign against the giant Hotel Gansevoort billboard. Cynthia Nixon is still holding out hope for a Sex and the City movie. The widow of Dr. Robert Atkins is trying to remove trustees of his estate because they sued her for back pay.
in other news
Meatpacking Makes History
The meatpacking district has joined the state and national registries of historic places, proudly taking its place alongside lesser Manhattan peers like Trinity Church and the Dakota. That’s right, the whole club-infested, beer-drenched, hair-gel-slicked shebang — not just the formerly cute cobblestone square at Gansevoort and Ninth but all the way from Hudson Street to Washington and from Horatio Street to West 15th — is now historic. In state officials’ defense, the district was nominated for the designation in 2001, when it was slightly less repulsive. And historic status is good news inasmuch as it means the neighborhood’s safe from more new megaconstruction. It also means tax breaks for the area building owners (Soho House has got to be hurting for one) and state-funded renovation-rehabilitation grants. We’d like some money to rehab the Hotel Gansevoort into something resembling presentability.
Meatpacking District Is Now Historic [NYP]
From Far Away, Even the Meatpacking Looks Cute
Flicking through Flickr, we happened across this very cool shot looking south at the corner of Ninth Avenue and 14th Street. We don’t really understand what was done to make the buildings and trucks all look like miniatures, but we do like the nice metaphor of the meatpacking district being nothing more than a collection of overcute playthings. Nice work, random Flickr photog.
Paris to Go Directly to Jail?Paris Hilton may go to jail for violating the terms of her probation after September’s drunk-driving arrest. Chris Rock’s marriage may or may not be on shaky ground. Jets owner Woody Johnson can invite his sister or his daughter to his birthday party, but not both. (They hate each other.) Jay-Z and Beyoncé are still together, despite the fact that he didn’t walk the red carpet with her at the Oscars. Meatpacking haunts R&R and Double Seven are being shuttered, but a rustic lounge called Retreat is opening. Justin Timberlake is opening a southern restaurant on the Upper East Side. (You can read more about it at Grub Street.) Fellow pregnant dumpees Bridget Moynahan and Mary Louise Parker had breakfast. Taki Theodoracopulos and Dominick Dunne have both made enemies on the party-writing circuit.
Tom Brady Does Not Love New York, or Bridget MoynahanTom Brady put his New York pad up for sale as soon as he found out ex-girlfriend Bridget Moynahan was pregnant. Speaking of officially pregnant: Naomi Watts. Speaking of maybe pregnant: Christina Aguilera. Hillary Clinton, or someone from her office, got mad at David Geffen for throwing a party last night for Barack Obama. Former As Four designer Kai Kuhne flipped out after his credit card was denied at Sway. A Chelsea nightclub doesn’t want handicapped customers upstairs.
Brit Bares It in Meatpacking BarBritney Spears changed out of her dress and into a bikini at One Little West 12th. Beyoncé is jealous of Jennifer Hudson. The New Republic is going bi-weekly but is not cutting any staff. Chelsea club BED was set to be closed for renovation, and the fatal brawl there earlier this month isn’t helping matters. Ian Schrager’s Chinese restaurant at the Gramercy Park Hotel is back on but will be helmed by a Japanese chef. Zac Posen kicked socialite Arden Wohl out of his Fashion Week after-party because she didn’t come to his show or wear his clothes to the after-party. Paris Hilton is jealous of fellow sex-tape star Kim Kardashian.
Theory Comes to the Meatpacking, Bearing Gifts
It’s always so hard to move to a new place: Will your neighbors like you? So it was good news for Theory CEO Andrew Rosen, who just opened a sprawling boutique at the center of the meatpacking district, when he discovered that local artist Ruth Ro was working a series of Photoshopped portraits of the area’s “icons” — he used them to decorate the opening-night party at his new store last night. (The portraits will hang there through mid-March.) Most of the subjects — a few old-school meatpackers, lots of apparently iconic public officials and developers — showed up for the party, some with their children or parents. Council Speaker Christine Quinn and her predecessor Gifford Miller (now a board member of Friends of the High Line) made the rounds, as did Landmarks Commissioner Robert Tierney. Rosen said he seized on the portraits because they showcased the district’s authentic neighborliness. “You get a warm vibe here,” he explained. Well, yes. It’s amazing how warm people are when you depict them as icons. —Alec Appelbaum
Gridlock Sam Certifies Meatpacking Traffic Jam; Civic Group Seeks a Way Out
The meatpacking district’s nighttime revelers don’t do much for area residents’ peace of mind. The two groups would seem to be natural enemies, but last night the new Greater Gansevoort Urban Improvement Project started seeking common ground to improve the neighborhood. The city plans to make Ninth Avenue one-way from 14th Street to 16th Street. So area stalwarts Jo Hamilton and Florent Morellet, the group’s founders, hosted a design workshop at Robert Fulton Homes to discuss what accompanying streetscape improvements everybody can endorse. Former transportation commissioner (and current transportation guru) Sam Schwartz presented a study confirming Gansevoort Plaza is overflowing: It seems 72 percent of all taxis and black cars there on an average night are double-parked. Block-association veterans then joined nightlife impresarios like Lotus owner David Rabin to suggest ways to make things better. By summer, Schwartz will parlay the ideas (submit yours to firstname.lastname@example.org) into realistic targets. Then Hamilton and Morellet will convene more workshops to harmonize residents, merchants, and bureaucracies. Seems impossible? Maybe not. During the workshop, Hamilton flagged down a DOT liaison to thank her agency’s “cobblestone task force” for upgrading the quaint corner of 13th and Washington. “We did?” the rep responded. Amazing the things you learn when people work together. —Alec Appelbaum