Being Filthy Rich Means Never Having to Say You’re SorryFINANCE
• Fortune searches Davos for financiers to express contrition over the current credit crisis but comes up empty. The closest anyone has come, the magazine notes, is the chairman and chief executive of Moody’s Corp, who said, “We and others have to retool our processes In hindsight, it’s clear to us that there were fundamental failures in key assumptions supporting our analytical models.” Quoth Fortune: “That’s probably a little too mealy-mouthed and much too late to console people who bought the mortgage-backed commercial paper to which Moody’s and its rival Standard & Poor’s gave a top-notch AAA rating — only to discover it was actually junk.” Snap! [Fortune]
• Just how big a fraud did Jérôme Kerviel, the rogue French trader, pull off? Before the bank caught him, he had taken out positions worth 50 billion euros. But some argue that he was responsible for only 1.5 billion euros in losses, and the bank’s board lost the other 3.4 billion euros unwinding his positions way too fast. Meanwhile, top executive Jean-Pierre Mustier told the Times: “I was speaking to a competitor, this competitor called me and said, ‘You are living what is a banker’s worst nightmare.’” Imagine how dramatic that must have sounded in French. [FT, NYT]
• Bonuses now in the bank, Goldman rewarded bankers for a record-setting year with a special surprise: layoffs! [Deal Journal/WSJ]
Al Gore: Cashing In on His Big YearFINANCE
• Al Gore, venture capitalist? The Nobel laureate and Apple board member is taking a hands-on role at Kleiner Perkins, the leading Silicon Valley venture firm. His goal: Save the world. And annoy GE’s Jeff Immelt as much as possible. [Fortune]
• Harvard picked Robert S. Kaplan, a former Goldman Sachs vice-chairman, as the new steward for the $35 billion endowment. Something tells us his kids won’t have any trouble getting in. [Reuters via NYT]
• A few management consultants with nothing better to do gave the Times its newest buzzword: CEO version 3.0. With the departures of Stan O’Neal, Chuck Prince, and Richard Parsons, it’s now time for leaders “who can assemble a team that functions as smoothly as a jazz sextet.” Because, as James Cayne showed, the old CEOs were way too bebop. [NYT]
white men with money
The Beef of the Century: Jim Cramer Disses Chuck PrinceThe war of words between 50 Cent and Kanye West is yesterday’s news — but it is ON between Jim Cramer and Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince, whom Cramer thinks should be fired, like, now. Under Prince’s reign, “Citigroup has been at the cutting edge of everything that is bad,” Cramer told Farnoosh Torabi of The Street today.
in other news
‘Village Voice’ Calculates City Migration in Terms of HipstersVillage Voice blogger Michael Clancy takes a look at comptroller Bill Thompson’s analysis of city migration today, and decides that since twice as many people leave the city annually as arrive, the city must specifically be getting fewer hipsters. We have to question this logic, as it seems like there are more and more of them every day, and fewer and fewer people who wear jeans of an appropriate tightness. In fact, just recently, we couldn’t happen to notice that when the dive destination Spitzer’s Corner opened on Ludlow and Rivington, the vast space was immediately filled with hipsters, the way a hole dug by a child on the beach too near the ocean inexorably fills with water. And there was no dent in the population of hipsters everywhere else on the Lower East Side! Anyway, we digress. Thompson’s study also explains that it’s lower income families that are fleeing the city, especially those with young kids — and young unmarried college grads are replacing them. Interesting, right? Also, did you hear the MisShapes aren’t drawing people to the city any more? Now that’s news!
City Getting Less Hipsters [VV]
in other news
A Man Named HsuOh, crap. The Wall Street Journal today reveals a sad new twist in the story of Norman Hsu. It appears that the Hillary Clinton fund-raiser/alleged Ponzi-schemer may have tried to commit suicide on the Chicago-bound Amtrak train where he was arrested. Before getting on the train in California, Hsu FedExed a letter to a number of people in which, the Journal reports, he “very explicitly said he intended to commit suicide.”
‘Post’ Suspiciously Favorable of AstoriaAstoria: Which major Astoria developer paid the Post for this long-form blow job extolling the virtues of the vibrant hood? [NYP via Queens Crap]
Bushwick: Anyone who shells out $668,000 for a unit in the hood’s first Scarano building will enjoy funky radiators, the rumble of the nearby M train and exactly zero amenities. [BushwickBK]
Greenpoint: The soon-to-open Gutter, the first bowling alley in Brooklyn in 50 years, looks right out of 1975. Cool! [Gothamist]
Park Slope: We don’t know what’s weirder: That this mom lets her son take a leak on the subway in this bright red potty or that she schleps all the way from the Upper West Side to hit the food co-op here. [Gowanus Lounge]
Roosevelt Island: Should locals be elated to finally have their very own Duane Reade or miffed that Jenny Holzer picked that other Roosevelt Island (in the Potomac) to do her latest installation? [Roosevelt Islander]
Upper West Side: With Spanish-designed newsstands now joining their bus-shelter cousins, the relentless Eurosleekification of the city proceeds apace. [Curbed]
Taming the Leopard Print
Ambling through midtown, Amina Akhtar found this week’s Video Look Book subject, Simone Lazer. Her hairstyle is three years old, but the color changes every few weeks. “You color-coordinate it depending on what you’re wearing,” she says. Her animal prints are practical, not wild: “Zebra and leopard pretty much go with everything.”
Simone Lazer [Video Look Book]
Red Carpet Canceled (Gasp!) at Fabolous CD PartyThe release party last night for Fabolous’s new album, From Nothin’ To Somethin’, wasn’t a complete bust; Fab seemed to be having a good time, eventually, posted atop a corner couch at Runway with a bottle of Level vodka and mugging for pics with the megaproducer Swizz Beats, his buddy. But outside, things went less well. It started early when one invited guest — Teyana, the My Super Sweet Sixteen subject turned Pharrell protégé — walked face-first into the bar’s strict I.D. policy. Even borderline real celebrities like Cassie, the pop singer of “Me & U” fame, weren’t immune: She couldn’t get in, either. Even worse, the I.D. checks left an ever-swelling crowd waiting to get in; people yelled, charges of incompetence were leveled, and club management shut down the red carpet before Fabolous even showed. That meant there were none of the usual red-carpet interviews for reporters, which is why we can’t tell you anything definite about anyone in attendance and are forced instead to invent completely unfounded gossip about the guest of honor. Let’s say that Fab, too, has become a fan of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and has recently taken up, um, horticulture. “It helps me think,” he might have said, if we had spoken to him, and if it were true. —Amos Barshad
in other news
New Near Bloomie’s: Botox While You Wait!There are bits of news every now and then that make us fall in love with the Upper East Side all over again, and this is one of them. From today’s New York Sun:
A new walk-in “Botox store” near Bloomingdale’s offers patients the promise of youthful-looking faces in the amount of time it takes to grab a sandwich.
It takes ten minutes, apparently, and doesn’t require an appointment. We’d smile at this news, but for some reason, our facial muscles seem not to be moving.
‘Botox Store’ Hopes To Eliminate Lines — and Waiting [NYS]
Chasing Developers Out of WilliamsburgGreenpoint: Shooting Rescue Me here deprives residents of their one day of worry-free parking. 
Harlem: Lost Chihuahua Bugzy is back on the streets, but not before undergoing a mandatory manhood removal. [Harlem Fur]
High Bridge: Even as the city restores Saturday hours to many libraries, a Bronx branch will close for two years. [Highbridge Horizon via West Bronx Blog]
Kensington: Why did no one listen back in 2002 when apartments here cost half as much and didn’t need a gut reno? [Kensington]
Red Hook: Porthole Cruise Magazine selects Red Hook as the country’s best new homeport, whatever that means, exactly. [NYP]
Williamsburg: Concerned residents kill a proposal for a 24-story tower between Bedford and Berry. [OnNYTurf]
Treat Mom to an Apartment Near Stuyvesant SquareSunday is Mother’s Day, which means restaurants teeming with brunching families and, yes, fewer open houses. But if a new home is on your gift list, what better way to spend the day than being on the hunt? (Anyway, who needs another brooch or shudder lotion set?) These apartments are all within walking distance of historic Stuyvesant Square Park on 15th Street near Rutherford Place, a patch of green that’s fenced, like Gramercy Park due north, only you don’t need that infernally hard-to-get key to gain entry. The area, named after Peter Stuyvesant, has stellar schools (private and public) and an easygoing flair that recalls the Village pre-fancification. Lately, though, it has seen its profile rise alongside that of nearby Union Square and the East Village. Still, Stuyvesant Square retains a glimmer of its underappreciated and, consequently, still neighborhood-y vibe. Some would say the real estate’s still affordable, too, though it’s far from cheap. But then again, maybe you should decide for yourself. After the jump, a list of open houses scheduled for Sunday, mothers be darned. S. Jhoanna Robledo
Vulture Goes Tony Vulture, our culturally inclined sister-blog, may be young, but it’s got strong opinions. Today, it enters the fraught field of award prognostication: the editors have made their inaugural Tony picks (in the musical categories) ahead of the actual nominations, which will be announced May 15. The editors’ spider-sense is dictating a Grey Gardens-Spring Awakening showdown for Best Musical, and a wholly surprise-free Best Revival category; click over to see who else, in their educated opinion, will make the cut.
Tony Predictions: Song-and-Dance Division [Vulture]
Park Slope Send Arab School to Boerum HillBoerum Hill: The proposed Arabic language and culture school so infuriated Park Slopers that the city decided to put it in Boerum Hill. [The Brooklyn Paper]
Brooklyn Heights: Last chance to buy tickets for the Brooklyn Heights House Tour tomorrow. [Brownstoner]
Chelsea: Someone’s looking for information on what a building on the north side of Seventh Avenue between 23 and 24th Streets looked like in the sixties and seventies. [Blog Chelsea]
Park Slope: The Brooklyn Blogfest was last night, giving bloggers an opportunity to see daylight, and each other. [Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn]
Williamsburg: After months of wondering, the new rendering of 184 Kent Street causes a significant “whoa.” [Curbed]
J-Vanka: More Than Friends?
Stop the presses! Here’s the most exciting press release we’ve seen in months, and our excitement has nothing to do with the Michael Shvo development being flacked:
Request For Coverage *INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE*
ICONIC DESIGNER PHILIPPE STARCK AND REAL-ESTATE MARKETING WUNDERKIND MICHAEL SHVO INVITE YOU TO AN EXCLUSIVE PARTY
TO CELEBRATE THE OPENING OF “GRAMERCY STARCK”
WHO: Philippe Starck, Michael Shvo, Jessica Stam (Cover of Vogue this Month-Dating DJ AM), Fabiola Beracasa, Lydia Hearst, Celerie Kimble, Rachel Roy, Jared Kushner (New York Observer “IT” Publisher-Dating Ivanka Trump), Susie Castillo (MTV VJ), Sam Talbot (Top Chef) Greg K, Love Leigh, Geo (The Misshapes), Leven Rambin (All My Children) and a host of other New York VIPs will attend the exclusive event.
The Kush is officially listed as “dating Ivanka Trump”? (The bold was ours, for the record.) Is this final, real confirmation? Has J-Vanka has gone public — in someone else’s press release? We called Stephen Rubenstein — Kushner’s mouthpiece — to check. “They’re still just friends,” he assured us. We’ll take his word for it. But maybe they’re, you know, special friends?
Earlier: Daily Intel’s coverage of J-Vanka.
As Bloomberg Appoints New Transportation Chief, It’s Full Speed Ahead on Congestion PricingMayor Bloomberg announced this afternoon that environmentalists’ preferred candidate, Janette Sadik-Khan, will be the new commissioner of the Transportation Department. Sadik-Kahn’s appointment had been rumored since last week, and her selection puts muscle behind the transit element of Bloomberg’s PlaNYC green goals, like instituting congestion pricing in Manhattan. Indeed, the city has submitted a “conditional application” for federal funds to help pay for the congestion-pricing experiment in advance of a Monday deadline, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said at the same press conference, though the state must also join the application and hasn’t yet done so. Bloomberg was working the angles. “The geography of New York lends itself to something like this,” he said. “It will make deliveries quicker for trucking companies, and it’s a godsend for them … This will clean up our air and improve our economy, and the fact that money is available for technology that has been refined in other cities is a lucky thing, so I’m terribly optimistic.” If only the road to Washington didn’t go through Albany, we’d be optimistic too. —Alec Appelbaum
When Demolished Buildings AttackDumbo: Neighborhood maps distributed by Two Trees Management show 77 retail outlets, up from a paltry 23 in 2002. [Brooklyn Eagle via Dumbo NYC]
Long Island City: The New York Blood Center’s got swank new digs here, but at least one local would prefer a real hospital. [Queens Chronicle]
Park Slope: The Department of Transportation is considering a new traffic safety plan for 9th Street, but residents and cyclists are clashing over it. [Streetsblog]
Prospect Heights: After the Atlantic Yards demolition caused debris to rain down on Pacific Street, local politicians want construction to halt. [The Brooklyn Paper]
Tribeca: Miffed residents want to know why plans for a massive sanitation garage were moved from the West Thirties to their area, within a stone’s throw of new luxury housing. [The Villager]
West Village: Folks are massing against megadeveloper Related’s bid to turn sleepy Pier 40 into an entertainment complex they jeeringly call “Vegas on the Hudson.” [NYS]
Tribeca: Go for the Movies, Stay for the LoftsLet the cinéastes take over the Tribeca Film Festival. It means less crowded open houses for you this weekend. Not that there won’t be enough competition: Tribeca, after all, is one of Manhattan’s best-loved and most expensive neighborhoods. The quiet remove, great restaurants, stellar public schools, surprisingly family-friendly vibe, and charming local shops are all good reasons to move here. But what attracts buyers most is the housing stock row upon row of warehouses refashioned into condos and co-ops filled with high-ceilinged lofts. (There’s new construction, too.) No wonder Tribeca’s the neighborhood of choice for the glitterati (James Gandolfini, Meryl Streep, and, of course, its biggest booster, Robert De Niro, call it home). There’s plenty of room for plebes, too, though the good life doesn’t come cheap. After the jump, a list of properties to view this weekend. S. Jhoanna Robledo