• GOP consultant Roger Stone resigned his job with the state Republican Party over that call to Pa Spitzer, but he still maintains — busted alibi and all — that Democratic operatives may have just broken into his house and made the call from his phone while using some kind of high-tech device to impersonate his voice. Ya-huh. [NYT]
Big Pussy Wants to Send a Little Pussy to SchoolSimply airing TV commercials featuring an insidiously catchy jingle is apparently no longer an adequate way to sell cat food, and so the Meow Mix people yesterday opened the “Meow Mix Acatemy” (Get it? A-cat-emy? Hilarious) in the Daryl Roth Theater on Union Square. For the next week, New Yorkers will be invited to “learn to think like a cat” by taking seminars with titles like “Feline Freud,” “Understanding Your Cat’s Meow,” and “What Is My Cat Doing and Why.” For the opening-night festivities last night, a fifteen-piece marching band from St. John’s University played that dastardly tune, accompanied by cheerleaders chanting “LETS GO COOL CATS!”
show and talk
There She Is, Your Overdressed Pet
The imprecisely named Pet Fashion Week was held in New York over the weekend — perhaps two days to a human is like seven days to a dog? — and New York’s Elizabeth Cline was there for the big pet fashion show Saturday night. What was the scene like backstage? About what you’d expect. Take a look; it’ll make your Monday.
Backstage: Pet Fashion Week [NYM]
the morning line
Ground Zero Claims Two More
• Two firefighters died Saturday in a blaze in the abandoned Deutsche Bank building adjacent to ground zero. The pair “walked into a horror show,” as Spitzer put it, when they met a maze of protective polyurethane sheets that may have made the fire harder to fight. [amNY]
the morning line
• Sure, the Feds promised Bloomberg $354 million for his traffic-reduction plan (if he can get the city and state to pass it), but that dough’s mainly to put up new bus depots. Of the roughly $200 mil needed to charge drivers entering Manhattan, Uncle Sam’s promised only $10 million. [NYT]
the morning line
• The Feds are insistent on their Monday deadline for approval of Bloomberg’s congestion-pricing plan, the mayor says, and Shelly Silver’s Assembly doesn’t even have plans to reconvene to discuss it. Poor Mike. [NYT]
Sometimes, like when it’s 90-plus degrees at the Columbus Circle fountain, it’s good to be a pooch.
in the magazine
On Martina, Sheep, Ferrets, and Fruit FliesWe can’t claim to be one of those savants who has read every article published in every issue of New York since Clay Felker midwifed the thing into existence back in 1968. Even so, we have a hard time believing we could ever find a more favorite sentence in those back issues than this one, from this week’s “The Science of Gaydar”:
Late last year, Martina Navratilova joined activists to speak out against an experiment that sought to intentionally turn sheep gay (it failed, but another experiment successfully turned ferrets into homosexuals, and the sexual orientations of fruit flies have been switched in laboratories).
If you need us, we’ll be working on our gay-ferret jokes.
The Science of Gaydar [NYM]
Prince Lorenzo Borghese Can Make Your Wet Dog Smell Like ChocolateThe “Paws for Style” pet fashion show last night was an Animal Fair–sponsored benefit for the Humane Society of New York. But it also, inadvertently, turned into a great showcase for Bachelor alum Prince Lorenzo Borghese’s line of bath and body products for pets, Royal Treatment. “I bathed him in white-chocolate puppy shampoo,” Borghese told us proudly of his mutt, James Bond, as the pair arrived to model together. The red carpet was outdoors, in the rain, without a tent, and celebs, their pets, and the party reporters who love them were getting thoroughly soaked. But James — sopping-wet James — smelled lovely. Cheyenne Jackson, before the rain forced him inside, confided that he and his pooch, Zora, are surprisingly close. “When I come home from the gym,” the actor said, “I always give her a little bit of my protein shake out of my mouth.” Richard Belzer loves his dog, too, but not quite that much. “I kiss his stomach every night before he goes to bed,” the sunglassed actor admitted. But he draws the line at sharing food. —Bennett Marcus
Tim Gunn Goes to the Dogs
The fourth season of Project Runway starts taping next month, and Tim Gunn warmed up last night with Project Ruffway, a dog fashion show he hosted in a Chelsea gallery space. A benefit for Stray From the Heart, which rescues stray dogs around the globe, the show featured designer fashions for dogs and their walkers. A dog fashion show, it turns out, is a lot like a people fashion show. Looks were shown in the categories of eveningwear, weekend, resort, and “ruff and tumble” (“whatever that means,” Gunn unhelpfully explained), and many models, all adoptable or recently adopted, came from South America. Clothes were by top designers like Nicole Miller and Juicy Couture; Champagne was the drink of choice, though many well-heeled attendees sipped “Hair of the Dog” cocktails made with blood-orange juice, Champagne, and vodka; and the theme was taken seriously: hors d’oeuvre included little bone-shaped sandwiches of roast beef and grilled cheese and French fries in tiny bone-patterned paper cones.
Report: Manhattanites Buy Expensive Apartments, Hate PetsCiti Habitats just released its latest Black & White Report (named so because, well, we don’t know) about Manhattan’s residential real-estate market, and — newsflash! — it seems apartments are expensive. That’s not news, of course, but there are some great nuggets in the report that get at The Way We Live Now. One revealing statistic: Only 7 percent of Manhattan renters have pets, compared to a national average of about 40 percent for dogs and 30 percent for cats. Another: The average renter is 30, which at first we found unsurprising until we thought of all those hanging on in sprawling rent-stabilized places uptown.
the morning line
Congestion Pricing, Coming Soon to a Midtown Near You!
• The mayor will use Earth Day to unveil a barrage of housing, transit, and environmental proposals. In the spotlight today: a charge for drivers to enter midtown, a cabbies’ dream and car commuters’ nightmare. [NYT]
• Governor Spitzer is requesting FEMA aid, including disaster unemployment relief, for twelve counties hit hard by the weekend’s nor’easter. New York City is in line for some federal funds as well. [WSTM]
• Albany, meantime, is proposing the so-called Paw and Claw Tax (on pet food, natch), with the money going toward shelters. The tax would apply to “dogs, cats, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits and birds.” Your ferret is now a bargain. [NYS]
• Tom Cruise, whom the Post now dubs “the diminutive Scientologist,” hit Chelsea (an easy joke there) to raise funds for his questionable sauna-and-vitamins program for 9/11 emergency workers. Reporters were banned. [NYP]
• And it took two fumbling attempts for the NYPD scuba team to tow the departed Sludgie the Whale from Gowanus to his final resting place in Jersey City. Deadpanned one detective by way of equivocation, “This was my first whale.” [WNBC]
in other news
Going to the DogsDog people, rejoice: The city’s off-leash rules are finally being codified into ironclad law. Come May 1, most New York City parks will officially roll out the welcome mat for your unleashed beast from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m., the so-called “courtesy hours.” (“Get-mauled-in-the-dark hours” doesn’t have quite the same ring.) As tends to be the case with even the slightest adjustments to our city ordinances, this one is a result of a protracted and vicious court battle. Last year, a Queens civic group sued the city to stop the off-leash practice altogether; after the judge and the Board of Health came out on the dog-lover side, the city put the law on the books instead. With new liberties come new restrictions, though: Be ready to show the mutt’s proof of license and rabies-vaccination papers at any time. Or get a cat.
Off-Leash Laws Get Final Bark of Approval [amNY]
Holy Kensington, Batman!Bedford-Stuyvesant: Who’d have thunk: Cute boîtes like Le Toukouleur are popping up in old do-or-die Bed-Stuy. [Bed-Stuy Blog]
Corona: The Willets Point corridor, a.k.a. that patch of car-related shops called the Iron Triangle, won’t be redeveloped without a fight from area biz owners. [Queens Courier via Queens Crap]
Greenwich Village: So just how much did NYU pay off the residents of 250 Mercer to rip up their street in order to expand a co-generation plant? [The Villager]
Harlem: While area pet owners await Animal General’s arrival in the neighborhood, they can bring their furry friends to Petland Sunday for a quick and cheap vet check. [Harlem Fur]
Kensington: The hood isn’t merely getting popular; it’s also really holy in a multisectarian way. [The Brooklyn Paper]
Lower East Side: Yet another scrappy art gallery loses its home to make way for — surprise! — a condo conversion and is instead moving to — surprise — Bushwick. [Downtown Express]
Williamsburg: Sure, the Karl Fischer condos are taking their own sweet time to rise. But look at all those balconies! [Curbed]
• The Post stokes Giuliani’s presidential fire by reporting that the ex-mayor leads Hillary 48 to 43 percent nationwide and ties her in “blue states” (including New York). Don’t ever stop printing those, lest he change his mind! [NYP]
• Four gay couples have already not-quite-married in New Jersey, which on Monday became the third state in our fair country to offer civil unions. (Why just now and not Monday? There’s a 72-hour waiting period.) In Asbury Park, the mayor officiated. [WNBC]
• Here’s a nice little companion item to yesterday’s report that Manhattan workers take home twice the national average in wages: They also, according to a strangely balanced-sounding statistic, pay 47 percent more in taxes. [MetroNY]
• Having solved every problem that has ever plagued the State of New York, the Assembly turns its attention to the inadequate enforcement of the “pooper scooper” law within the city. Apparently, a $50 to $100 fine is not enough of a deterrent to the cash-rich Manhattanites (see previous item). Would a $250 one help? [amNY]
• Dr. Denton Sayer Cox, a onetime prominent physician who treated Andy Warhol, is hospitalized himself after a stranger beat and burned him with an unknown chemical in his Upper East Side triplex. Police allege, and the News relishes, a gay pickup gone awry. [NYDN]
Hamptons Jury Upholds Volunteer’s Right to Kvetch
It’s official: You can kvetch all you want about any organization for which you’re a volunteer — your local hospital, Greenpeace, the Democrats — and it’s thanks to Pat Lynch. The former NBC reporter sued the Southampton Animal Shelter in 2005, saying it had violated her right to free speech when it fired her from her volunteer duties the year before. A jury sided with her this week, awarding her $251,000. Lynch had been walking the center’s dogs and, troubled by conditions there — including how the animals were euthanized — she wrote letters to The Southampton Press expressing her concern, and filed a lawsuit against the shelter. Administrators let her go soon after. “It’s a huge decision,” her lawyer, Steve Morelli, told New York. “Volunteers don’t have to be afraid to speak their mind as long as it’s a matter of public concern and they’re not disruptive.” Good. But if Lynch didn’t agree with the shelter’s policies, why didn’t she just walk away? “I love animals and I wanted to bring about positive change,” she says. “When you volunteer, you don’t leave your First Amendment rights at the front door.”
—S. Jhoanna Robledo
the morning line
Not Leavin’ on a Jet Plane
• Jet Blue, the generally beloved low-cost carrier, made a lot of people’s shit lists last night: It stranded hundreds of JFK passengers on the tarmac — on immobile planes — for up to ten hours. On Valentine’s Day. Let’s hope, at least, some romance bloomed in the forced close quarters. [amNY]
• The Daily News is issuing a Cesar Borja mea culpa. The paper that had lionized the late cop the most says it had no factual basis for calling him a “volunteer” (he wasn’t) or implying he had rushed to the WTC site on 9/11 (he didn’t). [NYDN]
• In a development the Post — and just about only the Post — finds “shocking,” it turns out Hillary Clinton had signed a $200K contract with a consulting firm headed by a prominent South Carolina politician days before said politician endorsed her. [NYP]
• That classic New York boogeyman — stray sidewalk electricity — is back. This time, the victim is a pet. Not even twenty minutes of mouth-to-mouth CPR could save the terrier named Boston Bob, apparently electrocuted when he stepped on a manhole cover. [NYDN]
• And speaking of classic boogeymen: Apparently, Son of Sam’s apartment in Yonkers is a bit of a tourist destination — with a Times profile that eerily smacks of a real-estate listing. (“Apartment 7E, a studio with sweeping views of the Hudson River …”) [NYT]
How Much Is That Cat in the Window?Brooklyn: Area man throws cat out window, gets arrested. Honestly, who throws a cat? [NYS]
Chelsea: After renting an unheated, bathroom-less space in an attempt ride to Larry Gagosian’s coattails across the street, artist Hubert Waldroup closes up shop without selling a painting. [Chelsea Now]
Greenpoint: Ladies and gentlemen, Greenpoint is gentrifying. (Is this news?) [amNY]
Lower East Side: There’s no eruv — a boundary within which certain things usually forbidden to orthodox Jews on Shabbat are allowed — on the Lower East Side. Should there be one? Maybe. [Downtown Express]
Midwood: One public high school produced three U.S. senators. Huh. [Brooklyn Record]
Park Slope: New kiddie boutique makes it that much easier to scar kids for life dressing them in psychedelic, cuddly, fluffy getups. [Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn]
Upper West Side: It’s not quite Stuy Town, but it’s still a big deal: The Apthorp has sold for $425 million. Strangely, the new owners plan to keep it rental. [NYT]
in other news
NYC Dog Lovers Hate Leashes, Love Acronyms
Reading up on the city’s current leash-law scuffle, we were bemused to learn that NYC Dog, the group fighting to keep off-leash time for New York’s pooches, pronounces its name not, as you might expect, “N-Y-C Dog” but rather “Nice Dog!” Intrigued, we turned to our friend Google and soon had our answer: Yes, dog-loving New Yorkers are the corniest acronymists ever. The evidence:
• BARC: Brooklyn Animal Rescue, a Williamsburg adoption agency
• FIDO: Fellowship for the Interests of Dogs and their Owners, “serving Brooklyn’s off-leash community”
• FLORAL: Friends & Lovers of Riverside Area Life, a group for dog owners who use the southern end of Riverside Park and the 72nd Street Dog Run
• DOGSI: Dogs’ Owners Group of Staten Island, self-explanatory
• And, finally, Stray From the Heart, a Manhattan adoption agency, which is not an acronym but is ridiculous nonetheless.
— Hope Reeves
The Leash of Their Worries at Hearing [NYDN]
Free-Range Pups [NYM]