Tom Cruise Roasts Matt LauerThis afternoon at the Friars Club, Tom Cruise buried the hatchet by laying into Matt Lauer — and Matt responded by dropping a few F-bombs. Did we mention that it’s really weird to hear Matt curse?
in other news
Adrienne Shelly’s Killer Sentenced to 25 Years in PrisonDiego Pillco, the construction worker who killed actress-director Adrienne Shelly in November 2006, pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier today. He confessed to strangling her while attempting to rob her (he later set up the crime scene to make it look like it was a suicide). Pillco will serve 25 years in prison. Adrienne is survived by her husband, Andrew, and their young daughter, Sophie. Not long after her death, Shelly’s award-winning film Waitress debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Her next screenplay, Serious Moonlight, is soon to be produced.
Related: Shelly Lives [NYM]
McCarren Park Pool to Be Commandeered by Children, Not Just Overgrown OnesSince the McCarren Park Pool was co-opted as an indie-rock venue, water sports there have been limited to hipsters spilling Brooklyn Lager and diving into that filthy Slip ‘N Slide. The most up-to-date plans to turn the site back into a place for actual swimming were presented, along with the image above and a tentative blueprint you’ll find after the jump, last night at Brooklyn’s Community Board 1 meeting: By summer 2011, the pool will reopen with a capacity of 1,400; come that winter, people will be able to ice-skate there, too. And in perhaps the greatest insult to the band-loving libertines who ruled the space last summer, there will also be a 5,800-square-foot gym installed. —Alec Appelbaum
Socialites Pinch Pennies (and Bums!) in the Face of Global RecessionIt’s not just common folk tightening the belt in anticipation of the Great Recession of 2008. Socialites, those airy creatures who are thin and rich and go to parties for a living, are also starting to (gasp!) budget. At a party to benefit the East Side Settlement show last night at Mallet Antiques, Melissa Berkelhammer vowed to take the subway more often. “I’m also buying less frivolous things,” she said. “I’m not paying $300 for a haircut.” Berkelhammer’s neighbor, Tana Dye, had a more extreme money-saving strategy: Don’t leave the house. “I live in midtown, so I have to stay in my apartment. I walk out my door, and I’m in Bergdorf or Barneys.”
Take a Walk Down Tin Pan Alley, Er, 28th StreetEast Village: Right across from its iconic 1859 building, Cooper Union wants to build a corrugated, spiky new thing by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. Um…yeah, we’ll skip the stupid, vaguely racist sushi joke. [NYO]
Flatiron: The next time you walk down nondescript 28th between Broadway and Sixth, sing out “Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey?” or “In the Good Old Summertime” to commemorate that the block was once the famed Tin Pan Alley. There’s no plaque or anything that denotes as much. And that’s a sad song. [Lost NYC]
Gowanus: Take a look at the residential-retail complex the Toll Brothers would like to build along the canal. Nothing like mixed-use magic alongside the miasma! [Gowanus Lounge]
Which Celebrities Will Be Bidding Tonight at the Sotheby’s (Auction)RED?With pieces donated by Banksy, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, and many more art heavyweights, the Sotheby’s (AUCTION)Red at the auction house tonight is gearing up to be a collector’s scrum. Christy Turlington, Dennis Hopper, and Mario Batali are all slated to attend, as is Michael Stipe, who already knows what he wants to buy. “I’ll tell you, the Ed Ruscha is so beautiful” he gushed to New York’s Fiona Byrne at Tuesday’s Edun party at the Desmond Tutu Center in Chelsea “I think it’s a 2007, but it’s brought what he does full circle, which is part of the reason I am drawn to it. I am tempted to bid; I may well.” Elsewhere at the party, Josh Hartnett told us he’s watching the pennies after a recent large purchase. “I have to find out if I have any money left,” he said, not ruling out the prospect of picking something up from the auction, which will go to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. “I just bought a new place and totally redid it and put in new furniture, but I have to get something for the walls!” Last night at a Gagosian Gallery preview, celebrities like Jon Bon Jovi, Anna Wintour, Donna Karan, Tory Burch, Russell Simmons, and Ivanka Trump were more hushed about what they wanted. But we think we can guess which painting caught Rupert Murdoch’s fancy. He spent the entire night standing in front of Damien Hirst’s Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way. It’s expected to fetch between $5 and $7 million tonight. Which, for Rupert, is probably a small price to pay for a piece of contemporary art that embodies your life philosophy.
white men with money
The Internet Wishes Steve Schwarzman a ‘Happy’ BirthdayStephen Schwarzman’s 60th-birthday party at the Park Avenue Armory last year, replete with its lobsters and baked Alaska, Patti LaBelle and Rod Stewart, has, fairly or unfairly, become a symbol of the wealth and self-indulgence of the private-equity set and made the Blackstone CEO “the designated villain of an era on Wall Street,” as James Stewart put it recently in The New Yorker. Exactly one year later, with the country in the midst of a credit crunch on the verge of a recession, people across the Internet are heralding Schwarzman’s birthday as a turning point and offering the multi-billionaire some very special birthday wishes — with a side of Schadenfreude. Reuters gloatingly notes that “Blackstone’s stock hasn’t topped its opening day price, politicians have proposed restrictions on the industry’s tax status, and a credit crunch has made financing deals difficult” in an article headlined “Happy Birthday, Mr. Schwarzman.” Portfolio made a musical, interactive card that readers can use to send him messages. “Still down with EOP? :)” says one signed “Sam.”
it just happened
‘Times’ to Eliminate 100 Newsroom PositionsDoesn’t New York Times executive editor Bill Keller know it’s cruel to break up with people on Valentine’s Day? Apparently not: Portfolio’s Jeff Bercovici just reported, and the Times just confirmed, that he just announced that the company plans to eliminate 100 newsroom positions, or about 7 percent of the newsroom, this year. “The cuts will be achieved primarily through attrition and buyouts,” the Times says, “but layoffs are a real possibility.” Guess we’re not the only ones who will be crying ourselves to sleep tonight.
Newsroom Cuts at the New York Times [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
New York Times Plans to Cut 100 Newsroom Jobs [NYT]
Uno’s Final Moments Before His Huge Westminster WinJust before Uno the beagle chomped down on his historic Westminster victory on Tuesday, New York had a reporter backstage at Madison Square Garden watching his tense last few minutes.
While stylists primp a nearby Sealyham terrier and its owner before Westminster’s Best in Show contest, Uno sleeps. It’s barely an hour until he makes history as the first beagle to take top honors, but you wouldn’t know it by the way he’s splayed out in his crate. Nor are his owners worried. Whether they spend 45 minutes brushing and combing his hair or not, Uno’s coat will look the same. “It’s a low-maintenance breed,” says co-owner Jon Woodring. Still, Uno stands at attention as handler Aaron Wilkerson snips and cuts the dog’s hindquarters and runs clippers over the beagle’s sensitive bits.
‘Us Weekly’: Keeping ‘OK!’ HonestMEDIA
• NBC golden boy Ben Silverman sells his production company, Reveille, to
Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, Elizabeth. [LAT]
• CNN producer Chez Pazienza is forced to pack his bags after blogging for the Huffington Post. [TVNewser/Mediabistro]
• Us Weekly reports that OK! magazine “sensationalized” Grey’s Anatomy star Eric Dane’s battle with cancer in a cover story. (Actually, he only had some malignant cells on his lip frozen off in a doctor’s office.) “This isn’t the first time OK! has been wrong,” they note. But is Us really crusading against yellow journalism? Or are they just annoyed they didn’t get the scoop? [Us Weekly]
Something We All Hate in Common: Terrible DoormenSo, recently, we had a bad experience at a club. It was one of perhaps one million bad experiences we’ve had at clubs, and it got us thinking about the universality of such events. We were waiting to get into Suzie Wong for a party for which we were on the list. We even knew the people throwing it. But for some reason, the doorman wouldn’t let us in. Cell phones didn’t work inside the club, so we couldn’t reach our friends. We patiently explained the situation to the doorman, who responded with disdain and rudeness. (We’re apparently not the only people to have trouble at this club.) We decided to sit and wait politely, which is humiliating but almost always works eventually. But as time went by, and we kept getting the “We’re at capacity” excuse, even though the doorman was letting other (much more trashy, might we add) guests in ahead of us, we started getting mad. This guy may be an idiot, we thought, but surely he recognizes the face we are making. You know, the “I’m going to be patient, but you have NO idea who you are messing with” face?
early and often
Should Superdelegates Follow the ‘Will of the People’? Or, Uh, Not?
Whether you think superdelegates are as useless as a third nipple or a great way to get the party elite more involved in the nomination process, you have to at least admit they’ve made for very interesting political discussion. And despite a certain candidate’s momentum, said superdelegates are going to have to help decide this thing. Obama says the superdelegates should follow the “will of the people” (a phrase that will be used seven times in this post) by supporting whoever has more pledged delegates; Clinton maintains that the superdelegates should do whatever they think is best. Both positions, of course, reflect where each camp expects to stand after the last primary votes are tallied on June 7, in Puerto Rico. But like a lot of things in this race, the debate over superdelegates isn’t quite so simple. Plus, a bonus round: Should the regular Florida and Michigan delegates be seated?
in other news
New Questions Arise About Linda Stein MurderThe day real-estate agent Linda Stein was bludgeoned to death in her apartment, her assistant, Natavia Lowery, was seen leaving Stein’s building at 1:15 p.m. Prosecutors have led us to believe that Stein was killed around 12:45 that day, beaten with a yoga bar by her enraged assistant, who had been stealing money from her employer and who had a troubled past. But apparently a medical examiner’s report, given to the AP by the defense, states that Stein’s daughter, Samantha Wells, claims she spoke with her mother at 2 p.m. that day — a full 45 minutes after surveillance video has Lowery leaving the building. This raises a lot of questions, not least this one: Why is this news buried in a brief in the bottom right-hand corner of page 29 in the Post, underneath a long story and huge picture of cute Nicaraguan kids in donated Patriots jerseys?
A Time Warp in Stein Slay [NYP]
Related: New York’s coverage of Linda Stein.
early and often
Hillary Campaign Starts to StingThe Wall Street Journal today gets to the bottom of an issue everybody is wondering about this week: What the hell is going on inside the Clinton campaign? As Obama pulls into a double-digit lead in a national poll, but the New York senator remains in a strong delegate position, everyone assumes things must be tense. Especially since there was a shake-up in the leadership of the campaign team last week. And, it turns out, everyone is right!
Clinton campaign operatives say it happened as top Clinton advisers gathered in Arlington, Va., campaign headquarters to preview a TV commercial. “Your ad doesn’t work,” strategist Mark Penn yelled at ad-maker Mandy Grunwald. “The execution is all wrong,” he said, according to the operatives.
“Oh, it’s always the ad, never the message,” Ms. Grunwald fired back, say the operatives. The clash got so heated that political director Guy Cecil left the room, saying, “I’m out of here.”
That was awesome. We don’t know Mark Penn personally, but it’s pretty clear he’s a guy who needs a good slap in the balls every now and then. When we heard the Clinton campaign was in “fighting mode,” we had no idea that’s what they meant!
Clinton Team Seeks to Calm Turmoil [WSJ]
For ‘Lipstick Jungle’ Star, Life Imitates ArtLipstick Jungle actress Lindsay Price met LSV Advisors’ David Tisch at the Cynthia Rowley show last week, and they’ve been dating since. Scarlett Johansson refused to talk to an Us Weekly reporter because of the plastic-surgery cover they did of her. Bruce Willis hung out with Victoria’s Secret model Emma Heming at Marquee for Lauren Kucerak’s birthday party, where he tipped $100 a drink. Justin Timberlake was spotted shopping at Tiffany & Co. Natalie Portman showed up 45 minutes late to a vegan-shoe launch she was doing in Soho and only answered questions for five minutes.
in other news
Raoul Felder Invokes Native-American StatuteHere’s a nice Valentine’s Day story: Sharon Bush, ex-sister-in-law of Dubya and mother of Lauren, has hired the celebrity divorce attorney and author of Schmucks! Our Favorite Fakes, Frauds, Lowlifes, Liars, the Armed and Dangerous, and Good Guys Gone Bad to defend her against her ex-fiancé Gerald Tsai, who is suing to get back a $400,000, 11.07-karat diamond ring he gave her as a Christmas present two years ago. Classy, right? Both the situation and the idea of a J-Lo–style exchange by oldies. Classier still was Felder’s statement to the Post this morning. “He doesn’t get it,” he said. “He knows what Valentine’s day is all about. He’s a Native American giver.” Well! Apparently Felder, whose statement in his book that he “never cared much for men who wear bedsheets as clothing. Like the Ku Klux Klan. And the Saudis” caused Eliot Spitzer to ask him to step down from his position as chairman of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct late last year, has learned a thing or two about political correctness. At least he didn’t say “Indian giver.”
in other news
Gossip Columns Write the Sweetest ValentinesValentine’s Day is a very special holiday for certain people in New York. No, not cabdrivers with the late shift, you nasty readers. Gossip columnists! See, the way all other journalists can just phone it in over Christmas and New Year’s with needless roundups and lists, these guys can devote half or all of their columns this week to silly celebrity fluff about love. If you’re Rush and Molloy, for the last few weeks you’ve been having your stringers ask every starlet they see about their February 14 plans. If you’re Cindy Adams, you just call up Baird Jones, that mysterious nightlife crawler, and have him go through his massive database of celebrity tidbits and cull out the funniest ones having to do with love (and then you throw his name in there once or twice so he can get his requisite fee from Webster Hall). Anyway, most of these items are predictable and trite, but some are actually kind of funny. Below, we’ve gathered for you the best (okay, most salvageable) Valentine’s Day moments from the New York gossip columns! Today, as your boyfriend gives you a dozen red roses from the deli next to his apartment and takes you to the Olive Garden for an “ironic” romantic date, just think: It could be worse. You could be famous.
• Teri Hatcher knows that her daughter, Emerson Rose, was conceived on Valentine’s Day! Because she and her first husband Jon Tenney “had sex once that year.” Dude, can’t your daughter read by now?
• Bar Refaeli says, “I don’t need a big bouquet of flowers.” She told “Rush & Molloy”, “Maybe just one flower that you picked out on the street. Just write a card — no gifts, no dinner. I like simple things.” Damn, you’re Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriend. What a waste!
in other news
North Shore Medical Center Prepares for the Rapture Birth of J.Lo’s TwinsWhile you have been hiding out in your home and office this week, rousting yourself only to scurry through the terrible weather to get from one place to the other as quickly as possible, other people in the New York–metropolitan area have been doing something important. They’ve been on their toes, ready for action, preparing for the absolute worst. Yes, the staff of the North Shore Medical Center on Long Island have been preparing for the most dramatic of events that could ever take place within the starched walls of their esteemed hospital: They’re getting ready for Jennifer Lopez to go into labor. Not only will the birthing of these glorious (seemingly enormous), long-prophesied twins change the course of human history, but it also comes with a great risk. The threat of kidnapping! So hospital employees have been practicing “pink drills,” according to TMZ.com, in order to be able to lock down the medical center at a moment’s notice in case there is a threat to the magical mystery twins. Of course, this is a little bit silly on their part. What they should be doing is practicing drills for what to do when Balthasar, Gaspar, and Melchior show up.
J.Lo Hospital on Alert to Thwart Babynapping [TMZ.com]
Cover Awards With Mark PasetskyRemember Mark Pasetsky? The reportedly feng shui–loving, foundation-wearing, and alleged inspiration for Courteney Cox’s Dirt editor “resigned” from Bauer Publishing’s Life & Style last fall and went back to his job in marketing, but, apparently, he’s not feeling entirely fulfilled. Folio today tells us that the confirmed cowboy-hat lover has started a blog that is fascinating and gross and wonderful all at once, like a silkworm. It’s called Cover Awards, and on it Pasetsky weighs in on the covers of various weekly magazines, noting what he would have done different (“What do they mean when they say “Clinton vs. Obama. How to Win”?”) and giving kudos: “The Heath Ledger story, “Did Drug Doctors Kill Him?” is SUPER STRONG. It’s an obvious question, but one that hasn’t been answered.” Right, and we’re sure the Globe will get right to the bottom of it! Click, don’t scroll, your browser to this hot new site immediately.
Cover Awards Website [Cover Awards]
Ex-Life & Style Editor Launches Web Site [Folio]
Related: The Devil Wears Cowboy Hats
white men with money
Yahoo! Rupert Cooks Up Another Diabolical PlanIn last week’s earnings call, Rupert Murdoch was asked about the talks he’d had with Yahoo about combining it with MySpace, a News Corp. property. “I think that day has passed,” he said, “but you never know.” Indeed! Today, Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal is reporting that its parent company, along with a private-equity group, is in talks to combine MySpace and other News Corp. properties with Yahoo. This new round of discussions, the Journal tells us, are aimed at “helping Yahoo fend off Microsoft Corp’s unsolicited” $44.6 billion offer to buy the company. Under the deal being discussed, News Corp. would get a 20 percent stake in Yahoo, but, more importantly, “they’d be the largest single stockholder and effectively in control of the combined Yahoo/FIM entity and their nearly 150 billion monthly page views (which would be second only to Google),” according to TechCrunch. Which basically means, we think, that Murdoch would own at least a 65 percent stake in, like, our brains.
News Corp. Enters Yahoo Fray [WSJ]
A Real Housewife of New York City Speaks!Now, just because we’ve been all excited about the return of Gossip Girl doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about another important television occurrence next month: the debut of The Real Housewives of New York City. When we ran into one of the stars of the show, Bethenny Frankel, at Gotham’s Black & White Ball, she was all too eager to talk to us about it. Frankel, you’ll recall, was on Martha Stewart’s version of The Apprentice. “We were supposed to do six episodes, and they extended it to seven, maybe eight,” the pretty health-food chef told us. Seven episodes! They’re really betting the farm on this one, people. “Most of [the other stars] are just women who are letting their lives be a fishbowl,” Frankel explains. “But I have a brand, and I wanted to be careful about that.” So before she went on the show, Frankel talked to her agents. “All my agents said, ‘Reality-TV shows are a train wreck, and they want you to come off a train wreck,’” she explained, adding that she didn’t listen. Frankel is confident that she can come off in the ways that she wants to. “I’m the Sex and the City character. I have a career. I have a life, but I want to have kids,” she says. “I’m the Carrie Bradshaw meets Martha Stewart. I cook and speak French, but I dress fashionably when I need to and run the circuit.” Oh, yes, Bethenny, you’ll come off exactly the way that you are trying to. We can’t wait.
Related: The Ladies of ‘The Real Housewives of New York City’: A Social Examination
in other news
Botox: What Does Not Kill You Makes You PrettierOn Friday afternoon, the FDA issued a health warning about Botox. Seems the cosmetic wonder drug can cause muscles to droop or spasm and also difficulty breathing — and even death. Alarming reports followed: “Anti-Wrinkle Drugs Linked to Deaths”! We wondered if the hysteria was raising any eyebrows among the city’s smooth-faced — metaphorically, we mean, since when botulinum is injected into the face, it often paralyzes the muscles one uses to lift one’s eyebrows. Apparently, not so much. “Absolutely no one” has expressed any concern to him, says Park Avenue dermatologist Dr. Neil Sadick, who says he has a “very high-profile clientele — Wall Street, Hollywood.” Do they not care because they would die to be pretty? Or because once you get past the headlines, you see that only a “handful” of cases are from non-cosmetic patients. FDA scientist Russell Katz tells us that most of the serious side effects and all of the deaths the FDA is investigating so far involve children who have gotten large doses for cerebral-palsy treatments. “There are some — very few — reports of these effects with cosmetic use,” Katz said. Still, Katz adds, “I think people should be aware that there’s a potential for something like this to happen.” Sadick, on the other hand, says that people who want to try Botox should worry more about avoiding out-of-the-country and on-the-cheap sessions that are becoming more popular. His practice charges $500 to $600 a pop, if you want to try it. We hear flawless is always in fashion. —Drew Armstrong
Howard Stern Is Quietly Gay-LovingMEDIA
• Howard Stern, good for the gays? A longtime lesbian listener calls Stern “one of the most pro-gay media personalities in the country.” [Gay.com]
• Murdoch finally gets his giant puffy hands on the Journal today at 10 a.m. The only question is just how much of the Bancroft family will try to show their noble intentions, however laughably inept, by registering a protest vote against the deal. [WSJ]
• A great new/old debate: Should Democrats go on Fox News? [Mixed Media/Portfolio, NYO]
the week in beef
‘WSJ’ Reporter Gets Bitten by Michael WolffSo, last week, Wall Street Journal media reporter Sarah Ellison scored a deal to write a book for Houghton Mifflin about the News Corp. acquisition of The Wall Street Journal. Michael Wolff, who has been working on such a book, scheduled to come out next fall, is not amused. “The problem with someone from The Wall Street Journal writing a book is that they are inevitably conflicted,” he told the Post today. When we e-mailed him this morning, he was a little more snarly. “Doesn’t Sara Ellison work for the guy and for the company she’s proposing to write a book about?” said Wolff, whose own book, a big-picture title about Rupert Murdoch and his career, is based on extensive interviews with Murdoch. Unlike Ellison, he said, who is taking a year off to write the book, but not actually leaving the Journal, his reporting won’t be compromised by worrying about his next paycheck. “How exactly [will she] do that?” he said. Ellison did not respond to requests for comment, though presumably she’d say something like, “The same way I’ve been covering the Dow Jones takeover for the Journal since July.” There is one other thing that is potentially awkward: Ellison’s editor at Houghton Mifflin told the Observer some months ago that the book would have “new reporting,” which seems odd, in the same way that it was kind of odd when Washington Post editor Bob Woodward kept the fact that he had known all about Valerie Plame quiet until State of Denial came out. Anyway, let’s face it: These are not the most important questions. The most important question is this: Which one of these books is going to give us a reconstructed Rupert–Wendi sex scene? Yeah. Fight over that one.
Dueling Journal-ists [NYP]
in other news
Another Downtown Party Meets the Big Glow Stick in the SkyThe legendary Motherfucker party is over. (Have you ever noticed that every promoted party is “legendary” these days? It’s like how every model is “super.”) We’re not quite sure how Observer Prepmaster General David Foxley got on their list, but he’s reprinted the farewell e-mail from founder Michael T. “For the last year or so, relations between the 4 partners has been strained and finally it reached it’s inevitable breaking point,” the club kid wrote. “We did not anticipate our exit to be so abrupt but alas, life throws curve balls at all of us when least expected.” This is truly a sad moment for the city’s remaining downtown kids who like to get dressed up and dance before major holidays. Also, more importantly, for Thomas Onorato, the St. Peter of gritty clubland. Now that Motherfucker and MisShapes are over, how will he give us our fix of rejection and revenge fantasies?
Lewd Underground Party Bids a Final Farewell [NYO]
Getting ‘Lucky’ at Pop BurgerThe week of office holiday parties continues on, and we are fully into magazine territory. Last night saw fêtes for Allure at Socialista, Portfolio at Runway, and both Lucky and (maybe) Star at Pop Burger Midtown. We stopped by the last two, so you didn’t have to. Though, really, shouldn’t you be investing in your co-workers this holiday season? A little face time at the company bash might just make those quietly awkward office urinal moments a little more cheery for the rest of next year!
Lucky Magazine. We weren’t sure what to expect when we went to midtown to crash the Lucky holiday party. For one, it was on the second floor at Pop Burger (yeah, that’s right, it’s a three-story club) and we weren’t sure we’d get in. And for another, we weren’t sure that sending a six-foot-three man to blend in with a bunch of tiny fashionistas was the best plan.
Hillary Tries to Have It Both Ways With RupertMEDIA
• Today’s negotiations between the Hollywood writers and producers, who some say have already struck a deal, reportedly will be held in an “undisclosed location.” We always knew Cheney would come to the rescue! [HR]
• German Vanity Fair is being sued for an interview with an infamous neo-Nazi who denied the Holocaust. [Jerusalem Post via HuffPo]
• Rift in the house of Murdoch? Rupe complains that his son James can’t dumb down the news to his father’s tough standards. Meanwhile, a savvy voter in Iowa pressed Clinton on her Murdoch connections, and the senator, no surprise, tried to have it both ways. [FT via Mixed Media/Portfolio, The Caucus/NYT]
white men with money
Bank of America’s Friends: One Is Silver and the Other’s GoldEmbattled CEOs like Citigroup’s Chuck Prince, whose departure has been rumored and longed for since he announced profits were down by 60 percent last month, and Merrill Lynch’s Stan O’Neal, who the other day announced they’d be taking $8.4 billion — that bears repeating: $8.4 billion — in write-downs, ought to take a cue from Bank of America’s Kenneth Lewis, who after reporting a 32 percent drop in third-quarter results decided to do like a smart despot and start executing his cronies before the people start marching him to the gallows. Last night, Lewis announced a restructuring of the bank, which includes the “early retirement” of B of A head of investment banking R. Eugene Taylor, above, a trader for some 38 years and a longtime tennis buddy of the CEO’s. He’ll be replaced by Brian Moynihan, a bright young thing who will move from Boston to New York to take over the division. But Moynihan has never run a capital markets unit before now, and honestly, with the Red Sox in the World Series, how popular will he be in New York?
BofA’s Wall Street Retreat [WSJ]
Related: The Hanger-on [NYM]
Topshop Signs a Lease in NYC?FASHION
• Breaking rumor alert: After months of hinting, Topshop has possibly, maybe signed a New York lease. Anglophiles and Kate Moss–ophiles, rejoice! [Fashionista]
• First he’s out as the designer of Dior Homme. Now, Hedi Slimane’s been replaced by none other than BFF Karl Lagerfeld as the photographer of the ad campaigns. Oh, cruel fashion world! [WWD]
• Giorgio Armani’s raking in the dough. The designer sold back a 5 percent stake in his company to Giorgio Armani SpA for about $110 million. [British Vogue]
Sam Mason’s Floor Won’t Weather Itself
Former wd-50 pastry chef Sam Mason may have run into some speed bumps on the road to opening his Tailor, on Broome Street, but he’s still chugging along, and he’s still chronicling said chugging for Grub Street. In the latest installment, Mason sees his restaurant taking shape — literally: They’re framing the kitchen and laying floors — and wonders how he’ll make those floors look as weathered as he wants them to be. Stiletto-heeled dancing, anyone?
Sam Mason Needs Fifteen Women in Stilettos to Complete Construction [Grub Street]
Greenpoint DIY Just Got EasierAstoria: Some days, it just smells like crap around here. [Astorians]
Clinton Hill: Forgot your Seder supplies? Catholic St. Joseph’s College is offering $1 Seders-in-a-box, with the necessary prayers and ritual items. Also good for Holy Thursday celebrations. Coming soon: kosher communion wafers. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Coney Island: No matter how nice the design, Thor’s proposed 40-story towers will look ridiculous on Coney Island. [Gowanus Lounge]
Dumbo: It’s up to you to decide what will happen to the Pearl Street Triangle. Or you can at least take a survey about it. [Dumbo Improvement District via Dumbo NYC]
Greenpoint: It’ll be easier than ever to make your own merch with the new Staples on Morgan and Meeker. [Racked]
Prospect Heights: There are naked men jogging or roller-skating through the hood, apparently. Very seventies. [Daily Heights]
Washington Heights: Drug agents bust an apartment cultivating 700 marijuana plants with stolen electricity. [WNBC via Gothamist]
show and talk
Will Dior Homme Designer Hedi Slimane Head Out on His Own?Hedi Slimane, the hollow-eyed waif designer for whom Karl Lagerfeld lost 90 pounds, is out at Dior Homme, according to WWD’s redoubtable Paris bureau chief, Miles Socha. Even though Slimane is an international superstar who single-handedly made a moribund label into the hottest thing on the planet his ultraskinny black suits changed the way men dress he’s reportedly getting tossed from the LVMH-owned company for diva-ish behavior and protracted contract negotiations. (His contract was left unsigned for nearly a year, as reported yesterday.)
in other news
Good News: A Murder a Day!You can be forgiven for catching a whiff of Dinkins-era New York around the city lately: cops shooting civilians; psychos shooting cops; homelessness hitting record numbers, with more guaranteed to come as banks move in on the overmortgaged lower middle class. It may come as a surprise, then, that the most gruesome barometer of a big city’s health — the murder rate — keeps dropping. The NYPD is reporting a mere 84 homicides from the beginning of the year through last Sunday, which makes for exactly one murder a day. The same period in 2006 claimed 117 victims, or 28 percent more.
new york fugging city
Free Heather Mills’s Leg!
We’ve been gripped lately with a harrowing fascination that shames us to the core. Someone we love to hate has given us something we love to love, and the resulting struggle to reconcile the contradiction has left us feeling a little, well, dirty.
We’re referring, of course, to our dark obsession with Heather Mills’s fake leg.
Law-School Rankings LeakedLAW
• The U.S. News 2008 law-school rankings were somehow leaked. Yale’s still No. 1, but Harvard and Stanford swapped this year to be two and three, respectively. [Law School Discussion via Legal Blog Watch]
• If you’re looking for a good M&A lawyer, wait till they all come back from the Corporate Law Institute at Tulane. [DealBook/NYT via WSJ]
• Seyfarth Shaw finally ups associate pay to match other New York firms. As one partner said back in February, “We don’t follow all the other firms over the cliff like lemmings. We wait, think about it, discuss, and then jump off the cliff.” [Above the Law and Above the Law]
Rev. Al Crusades for Chris Rock’s MomAl Sharpton is demonstrating against Cracker Barrel on behalf of Chris Rock’s mom. Or maybe Sharpton is funding her lawsuit. Lydia Hearst had her hair colored. Ryan Phillippe really likes Flags of Our Fathers, which he’s in. Ice-T and his stripper wife appear mostly naked on his new album cover, prudish retailers object. Leo DiCaprio plans to turn a town ecofriendly for a reality show. Sheryl Crow is glad she didn’t have to have a mastectomy, she told a luncheon at the Waldorf. Megarestaurateur Stephen Starr wins Zagat honors, gets snubbed by local press, plans two more NYC spots. Assemblyman Mike Gianaris had a Vegas bachelor party. A lunch guest wanted to know if Tiger Woods had accepted Christ as his personal savior. Director Vadim Perelman got out of sex-harassment charges, holds “no grudge against the people of Connecticut.” Teen singer Teddy Geiger got a fake phone number from a DeGrassi: The Next Generation star. Eddie Murphy knocked up his girlfriend, a former Spice Girl. Some rich banker bought adman Martin Puris’s apartment without using a broker. Danielle Steel has a new perfume, which she’s doing just for the money, which she doesn’t need. Lance Armstrong and Matthew McConaughey are not gay, and George Bush won’t help Lance fight cancer.
new york fugging city
The Fug Girls Play Bookie, Make ‘Project Runway’ OddsWe’re not really betting women — well, except for all those days at the track, and those weekends in Vegas, and that football pool. Oh! And March Madness. Okay, so we are really betting women. With the finale of Project Runway mere hours away, here’s a highly unreliable, knee-jerk handicapping of the four designers left.
Our incredibly unscientific odds-making methods include weighing the snippets of finished outfits and works-in-progress that we saw in last week’s episode; combing through the photo galleries of Laura, Michael, Jeffrey, and Uli’s respective runway shows; and using our finely honed psychic abilities to read Michael Kors’s mind. (Oh, he’s not going to send us any dresses, but he does like your hair like that. So good job, you).
So what odds are we giving?