Worst Prez-Candidate Profile You’ll Read All Year — We Hope!New York’s cynical presidential contenders might be floundering, but hey, have you heard that Dennis Kucinich has a hot wife? The Washington Post thinks you haven’t. Witness “The Love Song of Dennis J. Kucinich,” an annoyingly “voicey” feature on the candidate’s martial bliss. (“No Wonder the Candidate Saw a UFO. He’s Been Up There on Cloud Nine.”) The narrative’s the same as it’s always been: He’s a troll, she looks like Natasha McElhone with a tongue stud, and the marriage works because they’re both New Age weirdos. The Post even opens with that old chestnut about how Kucinich has “already won,” which might have been authored by the candidate himself, but still, as we’ve mentioned before, makes us feel weird when the papers run with it: There’s something awfully locker-room about it, this notion of a filly as a consolation prize. Or, rather, something out of Mad Men. “He is short, at 5-7,” we’re informed for the thousandth time in that retro-swinish cadence, “And she is — wow, she just keeps on going.”
For Viacom Freelancers, Neither Happiness Nor Health for ChristmasMEDIA
• Viacom screws over its army of freelancers by rolling back benefit programs drastically. Merry Christmas! [MixedMedia/Portfolio]
• The Washington Post is sending veteran reporter and inveterate partier Keith Richburg to town to take over the paper’s New York bureau. He’s well known for throwing parties with, get this, as many as 30 people! Will Manhattan will be able to handle it? [NYO]
• No holiday party at Time Inc. or the New York Times. Suckas! [Radar]
in other news
‘Chinese Defense’ Unravels, Jennifer Wang and Ruben Chen Sentenced for Insider TradingFormer Morgan Stanley financial analyst Jennifer Wang and her husband, former ING analyst Ruben (Ruopian) Chen, were sentenced yesterday for insider trading. Using an account in the name of Wang’s mother, Zhiling Feng, who lives in Beijing, the couple made over $600,000 trading in three companies advised by Morgan Stanley’s real-estate subsidiary before they were busted, then pleaded not guilty. Rather awesomely, their lawyer attributed their crime to “cultural differences.” “In People’s Republic of China insider trading is only rarely, and not until very recently, prosecuted as an offense,” she told judge Colleen McMahon, who was having none of it. “I know what it is to be a professional exposed every day in countless ways to inside information,” McMahon said. “You can’t possibly not know that you are not allowed to do it.” Wang wasn’t too Chinese to understand the verdict; according to Reuters, she “wept silently” as the judge handed down an eighteen-month sentence to her and her husband, which they will serve one after the other so that at least one of them can be with their son, who was born this summer.
Ex Morgan Stanley Analyst and Husband Get 18 Months [Reuters/Portfolio]
Ditmas Park Manse Finds a Fixer to Up ItDitmas Park: Remember that beautiful, dilapidated mansion on the market for $1.75 mil that New York featured a while back? It just sold for $1.55 mil. Happy fix-up, somebody. [Ditmas Park Blog]
East Village: Gentrification haters have two fun protests tonight — one of the imminent Cooper Square Hotel, another of a local shoot for SATC ripoff Lipstick Jungle. [Vanishing New York]
Greenpoint: Chuck, fuck, but definitely not marry. That’s how Miss Heather feels about the daily papers that rip stories off from her posts (like last week’s one about sneakers hanging from phone lines) without crediting her blog. Girl, you gotta change that scatological blog title … yeah, even for the gutter mouth Post! [Newyorkshitty]
Hudson Yards Development: Guaranteed GreenYou may have seen a bunch of renderings of potential designs for the land above the Hudson Yards in this morning’s papers. But as one of the teams’ lead architects pointed out to us, “The challenge is, your eye immediately goes to the buildings, but it’s unlikely any of the buildings are going to look like this. That’s the challenge to the MTA, to boil down fundamental issues for the public.” So instead, we’re giving you one of the images that probably will find its way into reality if its team is selected — one for the long, narrow green space looking eastward from the Durst/Vornado proposal. That might just be the glass arc over the proposed Moynihan Station that you see in the distance. But meanwhile, what is Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling doing in the foreground on the right? —Alec Appelbaum
Related: The Next ‘West’ Thing [NYP]
Five Companies Bid to Remake Six Blocks of Hudson Yards Area [NYDN]
in other news
A Beard for Every BoroughOver on Men’s Vogue’s Website, socialite/designer/whatever Amanda Brooks is agitating hard for the return of the “uptown beard.” Even after perusing the pictures, we personally can’t tell exactly what separates an uptown beard from the others — probably because we come from slightly different stock than Amanda and such subtleties are lost on us — but we’re guessing she means something like the fuzz George Clooney has been sporting lately. And we quite like the idea of regional beard styles. For instance, there could also be the downtown beard, dark and spirited, like Simon Hammerstein’s. Or the Williamsbeard, which would be pomaded with Miller Genuine Draft and sprinkled with panko bread crumbs (the East Williamsbeard would have side curls.) The Jerseybeard would be a soul patch. Other beard suggestions? Tell us in the comments!
Uptown Beards [Men’s Vogue]
in other news
Dolly Lenz Can’t Imagine Why Anyone Would Dislike HerWhen it first came out that a prominent real-estate agent had been murdered several weeks ago, Robert Kolker writes in New York this week, before that person was revealed to be Linda Stein, some in the real-estate community guessed the deceased might be super-broker Dolly Lenz, a fact Lenz backed up herself, telling the writer she got twenty calls from people that night, including her own son, asking if she was okay. That’s weird, we thought. Wouldn’t her own son know if she was dead or not? Oh maybe not. “I would say I speak to my son 10 minutes a week,” Lenz says in an Observer profile coming out later this week, tidbits of which are on their Website now. “I would say I spend an hour [a week] with my daughter.” Even with her superb parenting skills, sterling reputation (“I’ve known Dolly for over twenty years, and systematically, whatever friendship she has, it dissolves,” former Elliman president Paul Purcell told New York in 2005), and — as the Observer nicely puts it — “outsize” personality, Dolly can’t imagine anything bad happening to her. “Never,” she tells the paper. “I feel like I treat everybody 100 percent fairly, and I think at the end of the day that’s all they really expect.” But maybe she shouldn’t be so sure. When Stein died, “we were hoping it was Dolly,” one broker told New York with a giggle. Um, yikes.
The $748,319,000 Woman [NYO]
Related: Death of a Broker [NYM]
The Daddyhunt DilettanteOnce a week, Daily Intel takes a peek at what your friends and neighbors are doing behind doors left slightly ajar. Today, the Daddyhunt Dilettante: 24, male, writer and graduate student, East Village, gay and unattached.
DAY ONE 9 a.m.: I see my straight Israeli neighbor in the hallway. He’s cranky and a tad rude, which makes me want him even more. 3:30 p.m.: My boss IMs me and wants me to come to her office. I have an erection, so I bring a legal pad with me. She immediately tells me she just wants to chat and I don’t need a pad. Little does she know 6 p.m.: I meet a friend who’s visiting the city for dinner. He’s with a bunch of guys. What a disappointment: None of them are hot; one is beyond annoying. 10 p.m.: We go out for drinks after dinner. One of the guys’ boyfriends meets us there. I flirt with him. 11:45 p.m.: I go home and masturbate to a shirtless Marlon Brando.
in other news
Michael Jackson Has Been Living Right Underneath Our Prosthetic Noses!Michael Jackson has been spotted around town in New York periodically in recent months, but until today, we didn’t know where he was living. Turns out he’d been holed up with a private family in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, where he’d been “trying to be normal,” according to FoxNews.com columnist Roger Friedman. That’s less than an hour from here! Technically, that put Jackson miles and miles closer to our bustling city than he is to “normalcy.” Jackson has reportedly returned to L.A., but good for him for trying to introduce his family to the quiet life in the Jersey suburbs? Good for him. For a short time, his kids could finally have a normal life, going to the movies, attending public school, making regular friends. After all, if your new little friend has millions of dollars to spend at the Short Hills mall, who cares if he has to do it wearing a mask?
Jacko Lived with New Jersey Family for Three Months [Fox 411]
Earlier: Why the Fug Isn’t Anybody Paying Attention to Michael Jackson?
Catherine Z-J Gets the ‘No Way’ From Rob MarshallCatherine Zeta-Jones won’t star in the movie adaptation of Broadway musical Nine because the director wouldn’t beef up her role. Eight staffers have left CBS’ The Early Show because they can’t stand working with hotheaded senior exec producer Shelley Ross. Paris Hilton thinks the guys in New York are “so much better” than the ones in L.A. Since divorcing his wife, George Soros has been hanging out with young girls in their twenties at his home in Southampton. Sportscaster Ahmad Rashad and ex-socialite (and ex-wife of Jets owner Woody Johnson) Sale Johnson may be getting married today. Anna Wintour controlled the seating arrangements at the $50,000-a-table 7th on Sale event at the Lexington Armory. (Speaking of Anna, Tim Burton says that Johnny Depp based the haircut of Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on hers.)
in other news
Cindy Adams Pirro-uettes Over Pals’ Marriage WoesHey everybody! Have a nice weekend? Get some rest? Watch a football game? Good for you. Unfortunately, not all of us had such a great time. Jeanine and Al Pirro let slip that they are getting a divorce. You remember Al and Jeanine — he was the guy who sabotaged his wife’s political ambitions by earning a tax-evasion conviction and fathering a love child, and she was the one who was caught on tape asking Bernie Kerik to bug her husband’s yacht to catch him philandering? Hm. Maybe it wasn’t so much that the pair had a bad weekend — more like they’ve had a bad decade or so. Former Westchester D.A. Jeanine failed in her runs for U.S. senator, lieutenant governor, and state attorney general, and real-estate broker Al spent over a year in the clink, starting in 2000. It looks like their divorce has already been hashed out so at least this part might run smoothly, though All-Purpose Divorce Spokesman Raoul Felder claims “it’s mutually assured destruction” (Felder, of course, represents neither party). It’s times like these, when tabloid superstars hit rock bottom, that we turn to the one name we can trust: Cindy Adams. What does Lady C, who was pals with both parties, have to say about the Pirros’ great love?
in other news
Stephon Has an Alibi, and It’s a Good OneOkay, remember yesterday when everyone made such a big deal out of Stephon Marbury’s fleeing the Knicks in Phoenix and returning to New York all of a sudden? Nobody knew quite what was going on, not even Isiah Thomas, who had gotten in a nasty fight with Marbury on the team plane when he told the point guard he wouldn’t be starting in the night’s game. This spurred a lot of anti-Marbury sentiment, with columnists and pundits and us grumpily speculating as to what he might have been up to. Today, the Times figured at least part of it out. If you haven’t read about his activities during his two-day break, pick the most likely-sounding scenario from the below list:
A) He was plotting revenge on Thomas and spending his time figuring out how, as he put it, to “fuck him first.”
B) He was having sex with an intern in a truck.
C) He was at a Coney Island housing project grieving with the family of a deceased basketball coach who had mentored hundreds of talented players in the tough neighborhood, including Marbury (who once gave the coach a white Cadillac with vanity plates).
Ding Ding Ding! The Times says it’s C. Who’s the jerk now?
A Mentor of Street Ball Dies, and a Missing Knick Appears [NYT]
Earlier: Marbury Stephs on All Our Dreams
Sheryl Crow Finally Has Something to Say About Ashley and Lance
Sheryl Crow thinks it’s “pathetic” that Lance Armstrong is dating Ashley Olsen. Paris Hilton has been frequenting New York hot spots very late at night (or, rather, early in the morning). Donald Trump Jr. is suing the board members of his West Side condo for kicking him off. Jon Corzine’s ex, 48-year-old Carla Katz, is dating a 32-year-old American soldier and former model. Torch, a new club slated to open tonight, is scrambling to get Tiki Barber and 800 other invitees not to show up because the plumbing isn’t ready. A guy on the subway once told Matthew Broderick that he looked and sounded exactly like Matthew Broderick.
Christopher Hitchens’s Waxed Sack: Open for VisitorsChristopher Hitchens may not have expected to snag a National Book Award last night (his atheist screed God Is Not Great lost to Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA in the nonfiction category), but he was in high spirits nonetheless when we caught up with him near his second-row table at the ceremony. He offered to pour red wine into our glass as well as that of a high-ranking female Kirkus editor. We both declined, as we already had other drinks in there. Apparently, his self-improvement efforts for a Vanity Fair article hadn’t gone so far as quitting drinking, though he did report he hasn’t smoked a cigarette in six weeks. “I’m almost 60, and I should have quit years earlier,” he said, before lecturing us about the fact that, “for fuck’s sake,” the little buggers are evil. When we told him we felt mildly uncomfortable in his presence the day after reading about his thorough waxing for that article (in a procedure he referred to as “sack, back, and crack”), he turned to the Kirkus editor and said, “Want to feel?” She didn’t see how she could turn down the opportunity. The Hitch unzipped his fly, we stood guard, and she reached in. We can’t personally vouch for what happened in there (and we’re ashamed to say we demurred when he offered us a grope), but the editor speculates that he’s been doing some post-article maintenance down there. “As smooth as summer cherries,” she said. Looks like the Hitch truly is a changed man. —Boris Kachka
For more National Book Awards coverage, including pictures and quotes from Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, Jonathan Franzen and more, read Party Lines.
Earlier: At Last, Christopher Hitchens Describes His Infamous Waxing
in other news
Marc Jacobs: Backlash to the BacklashEver since designer Marc Jacobs came back from rehab all tanned and buff, some reporters think that he has been “acting out” (clearly said reporters took a one-semester class in child psychology freshman year). There was his infamous Fashion Week show this fall, which was delayed for two hours, followed by infamous verbal fisticuffs with the International Herald Tribune’s Suzy Menkes, followed by the hot nudie pictures in Out and Arena Hommes Plus and the blue — sorry “navy” — hair. A concerned Eric Wilson of the Times sat down with him to find out what it was all about:
“In the most basic way I can say it,” he said, relighting a cigarette, “coming from a psychological place, what I love more than anything is attention. That is about as honest of a statement that I could possibly make. I want a reaction, because I want the attention.”
It’s not that we didn’t already know that. It’s just that, well, for him to just come out and say it makes this whole year of drama just … lovable.
Loving and Hating Marc Jacobs [NYT]
Related: Daily Intel’s Marc Jacobs Obsession
The Surreal Marc Has Designs on TV [NYM]
video look book
Flavio Romeo, Father, Stylist Extraordinaire
Actor Flavio Romeo has two daughters, which means he knows the right hairdo and hot-pink accessories are crucial, especially when you’re taking a trip to F.A.O Schwarz! In this Video Look Book, Flavio explains the look he created for the girls at “The Daddy Salon.”
Video Look Book: Archives
in other news
Spitzer’s Mind Reading ‘Reading Spitzer’s Mind’Hey, look, a novelty column in the Daily News, written as if the columnist were inside my head. Michael Goodwin’s the author. Don’t like the look on him. He’s probably 80 by now. These things always come with a photo of the author from 30 years ago. I’ve seen Mort Zuckerman in real life. Please.
I see what he’s going for there. “Reporters write vicious lies about me, then parrot them to the gullible public and ask what they think. The polls just say what the reporters want them to say.” Well, yeah. Except I wouldn’t have phrased it like this. I actually know things about polling methodology and rating bias and the 95 percent confidence level and the like. I went to Princeton and Harvard. This banner ad — can I make it stop moving?
in other news
Al Gore Sets His Sights on NYC, a Milk ShakeAl Gore’s Generation Investment Management, the London-based securities firm he runs with former Goldman vet David Blood, is moving its American headquarters up from Washington D.C. to the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park. “It’s just a decision that we’ve taken lately that the very best place for us to be positioned for our clients and our business is New York City,” Peter Knight, the company’s president of American operations, tells the Observer. The building is sustainable — it expects to receive certification from the US Green Building Council when it opens in May — making it a natural for the firm, which combines securities analysis with research into issues like climate change. But we have to admit we’re a little worried about one thing: Is it going to be good for Gore to be so close to the tempting yet calorific delights of the ‘Wichcraft creamery?
Al Gore Moving Into Douglas Durst’s One Bryant Park [NYO]
in other news
Ellen Pompeo Weds at City Hall, Cheers Up Knicks FansGrey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo got married, shotgunNew York style! The smoky actress secretly tied the knot with her longtime beau Chris Ivery in City Hall on Friday. Despite the fact that both of their hometowns are in the Boston area, the pair opted for a simple ceremony witnessed by Mayor Bloomberg himself. “They are over the moon,” Pompeo’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Allen, told the Boston Globe. Last month Pompeo told People that she hadn’t started planning, despite the fact that she’d been engaged to Ivery for over a year, so this may have been a spur-of-the-moment thing. While they were here, the newlyweds snagged courtside seats at Sunday’s Knicks game. How cute! At least there was one functional relationship down there that fans could root for.
‘Grey’s’ Pompeo quietly ties knot in Big Apple [Boston Globe]
‘Gossip Girl’ Plotline: Real-Life Crossover?Great news! Last night we went to the opening of Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular (and it was, as you can probably tell from the name, splendid). There were a bunch of exciting celebrity appearances, including Cynthia Nixon with her girlfriend and children, and Chris Meloni, who arrived late and actually had to slide his glorious bubble butt past us to reach where his kids were sitting. But the most Christmas-miraculous sighting of all was of Taylor Momsen and Connor Paolo, who you might know better as Jenny Humphrey and Eric van der Woodsen from Gossip Girl! They were sitting in the front row, right up next to all the action. Now, we don’t know if it was a date, but the two seemed very close and sat leaning on one another and whispering for the whole show. And the best part? They were chaperoned by Taylor’s mom. (She even brought Taylor’s younger sister along for the ride.) The actors are, after all, only 14 and 17. If they were real teenagers, instead of famous ones, they’d totally have to go to the mall as the only way to get away from their parents, and be forced to make out at Cinnabon. Oh, to be young
Earlier: ‘Gossip Girl’ Star Connor Paolo Has Lunch at 10:30 A.M. All our Gossip Girl recaps and dish!
in other news
Judith Regan: Still Got It!By now everyone in the world knows that Judith Regan, the ex-publisher who almost brought you O.J.’s If I Did It, is suing her former bosses at HarperCollins; it’s all a part of her professed desire to make her life “smaller, not bigger.” (Also part of the spotlight-reducing plan: recording a cover of “My Way,” writing about it in Harper’s Bazaar, and sending an mp3 of it to Gawker.) But it turns out the lawsuit might have implications beyond the publishing beehive. At issue is Regan’s much-documented affair with Bernie Kerik, infamously conducted atop the Shroud of Turin in an apartment near ground zero reserved for first responders.
in other news
Bonnie Fuller: She’s Just Like Us! Except, You Know, NotBonnie Fuller, Star magazine editor, author of The Joys of Much Too Much: Go for the Big Life — The Great Career, The Perfect Guy, and Everything Else You’ve Ever Wanted, and mother of four, offers a disturbing glimpse into her brain today on the Huffington Post. Turns out it really is just a dusty swirl of celebrities, body issues and ego! Bonnie has been moved by the plight of Britney Spears, she says, but not quite in the way that you might think. She finds Britney’s poor parenting skills kind of comforting. Quoth the Fuller:
It’s not that I and women like me don’t care about the plight of little Sean Preston and Jayden James. We do. Obsessively so. And we’re relieved that the unlikely dad of the year, K-Fed, has primary custody. Nevertheless, every time that our girl Brit cluelessly tries to whitestrip her toddler’s teeth instead of brushing them or runs a red light with the court-appointed monitor and her two sons all strapped in her car, working moms across the continent can set back our own personal guilt-meters about our mothering skills.
Really, Bonnie? You and “women like you” feel this way? Okay then, mothers of America, please raise your hand if you see celebrity mothers as “guilt-evaporators”; if it has ever once occurred to you to “pat yourself on the back” for not being as bad a mom as Britney Spears. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Oops! Brit Did It Again! (Made Moms Feel Awesome, That Is) [HuffPo]
We’ll Make It, I Swear … to the Governor’s Mansion?Jon Bon Jovi lives in Soho but is keeping a house in Jersey because he may run for governor there one day. Alec Baldwin is worried that Hillary Clinton won’t vote “no” on a $10 billion farm bill that subsidizes farmers who provide fattening foods to schools. Kelly Ripa claims she treats her butt like her breasts by buying really tight jeans and pushing her cheeks together. Cindy Adams claims that Time Warner may be looking to sell People magazine and In Style to Hachette. A stylist for Frederic Fekkai had to wear rubber gloves before shampooing a tweaked-out, sweaty Brandon Davis. High-end TV network Plum TV laid off a bunch of people and may be closing. Makeup maven Olivia Chantecaille has a new banker boyfriend. Liz Hurley and Hugh Grant are still buddies and attended a dinner party at the Upper East Side townhouse of Valentino.
early and often
Spitzer Grumpily Drops License PlanEliot Spitzer said last night, in his cranky-principled fashion, that today he will announce his intention to drop all plans to grant licenses to illegal immigrants. In an interview with the Times, the governor cited the massive opposition to the plan, which has snowballed since he first announced the idea in September and which has lately been affecting not only his favorability ratings, but also Hillary Clinton’s, after the senator was asked about it in a debate and was, well, not un-positive, saying that although the plan made “a lot of sense” she did not specifically support it. Spitzer said that it was not these things that stopped him from proceeding, but that he expected the plan would ultimately be blocked by clerks or the DMV. “I am not willing to fight to the bitter end on something that will not ultimately be implemented,” he told the Times
In the interview, the governor sounded disappointed but resigned. He acknowledged that he would be criticized for changing course on the issue for the second time in three weeks. (“You think so?” he said facetiously when a reporter suggested as much.)
Aw. That’s our Spitz, always gracious with the defeat.
Spitzer Dropping His Driver’s License Plan [NYT]
the sports section
Marbury Stephs on All Our DreamsA day after Stephon Marbury fled Phoenix after a major blowout with Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, and two days after the Daily News came out with a report that the point guard’s future with the team is in doubt, everybody is still clutching for information. ESPN.com has started a “Marbury Watch,” which is of course what any Website should do on such an occasion, and the Times called the whole thing “a startling sign of how badly his once-promising career has eroded.” The News asked, “When does Thomas officially get put on notice? Why should Thomas, after all he’s done to build nothing more than a mediocre team for years to come, be allowed to make what would be another radical, franchise-changing move?” And the Post, of course, put Marbury’s face on a milk carton and called him a “Basket Case.” But nearly everybody, including us, is obsessed with what Marbury shrieked to his team after hearing he wouldn’t start anymore: “Isiah has to start me,” he reportedly ranted. “I’ve got so much [stuff] on Isiah and he knows it. He thinks he can [get] me. But I’ll [get] him first. You have no idea what I know.” First of all, it’s awesome how they translate Marbury’s swears for us, as though we wouldn’t understand what he meant if they said “s—, f—, f—.” And second, OH YES.
Stephon Marbury threatens to dish info about Isiah Thomas [NYDN]
Traveling Marbury [NYP]
Unhappy Marbury Leaves Knicks Trip [ESPN]
Marbury Leaves Knicks In Dispute [NYT]
in other news
André Balazs: Selling Hotels Is Standard ProcedureEver since yesterday’s little Gawker item about André Balazs selling three of his signature hotel properties (it turned out that it came from a Crain’s story), we’ve been wondering what’s up. Is our favorite hotelier and celebrity dater hard up for cash? Are delays and extra costs on his High Line–spanning Standard Hotel becoming a burden? Apparently not, according to Balazs himself. The Observer got him on the phone to talk about the transfers. “Quite frankly, we’re a little surprised about Crain’s much ado about nothing,” Balazs said. “It was financing. You know, we recently refinanced a bunch of the other properties and restructured them to take advantage of the capital markets. And these are all now stabilized properties that it’s just an opportune time to refinance them, meaning that they’ve been open long enough, and they’re steady and mature hotels.” So everything’s okay? “It’s a routine recapitalizing and restructuring [of] the underlying debt or equity. We do it all the time. We control the management and control the properties.” Hm. We liked it better when all we had to think about was whether we liked his pretty lobbies.
Andre Balazs Explains Hotel Moves: ‘We Do It All the Time’ [NYO]
Hotelier selling assets in refinancing move [Crain’s NY]
early and often
It’s Final: Clinton Is UnelectableSometime last week, the narrative of Clinton’s candidacy changed from the inevitability of her nomination to, as today’s Daily News lede helpfully summarizes, “Where did Hillary Clinton’s mojo go?” We dare propose it went right up the widening gyre of the news cycle: At this point, the media continue an enthusiastic pileup — while lamenting that pileup’s largely imaginary toll. (“Clinton remains way ahead in national polls,” the News admits in the story’s tenth graph, “Though some have shown a slip.”) Not to worry: The next, equally specious, chapter will probably be about how the victimized Hillary is racking up sympathy votes. With any luck, we can go through five or six more of these twists before Iowa, basing each one on a 3 percent shift in a poll with a 4 percent error margin. In the meantime, the latest outrages.
Gloria Steinem Remembers Norman MailerIt wasn’t lost on the activists at the National Women’s Conference at Hunter College that literary lion Norman Mailer, whose writing became a target of feminist wrath during the seventies, died in New York on the same day that their event began. The weekend-long program, which drew members of some 50 women’s and girls’ organizations, was planned by the late congresswoman Bella Abzug’s daughter Liz to mark the 30th anniversary of the first such gathering in Houston. And while the elder Abzug once told Mailer, “We think your views on women are full of s—,” she supported him in his losing 1969 campaign for mayor of New York, as did Gloria Steinem, who spoke Sunday morning to a cheering crowd of about 600 women from 21 states who had attended workshops with titles like “Smashing the Glass Ceiling.”
it just happened
Kanye West’s Mom Dies During Cosmetic Procedure
Kanye West’s number-one fan, his mom Donda West, died this weekend in Los Angeles from complications related to a cosmetic procedure, CNN has just reported. Donda, 58, was the author of Raising Kanye: Life Lessons From the Mother of a Hip-Hop Superstar, which was released earlier this year. She once compared her son to Jesus, and the worship was apparently mutual. “Hey Mama, I wanna scream so loud for you, cuz I’m so proud of you,” he sang on 2005’s Late Registration. West’s publicist won’t say what type of cosmetic surgery she was having, but we’re putting all of our liposuction plans on permanent hold.
Kanye West’s Mother Dies After Cosmetic Procedure [CNN]
Kanye West’s Mother On Parenting [Baltimore Sun]
Subway Train Commutes Into Manhattan, Takes Surface Route
Late last night, at the corner of 178th and Broadway near the George Washington Bridge, a truck transported a shiny new subway car into the city. Where was it coming from, and where was it going? Is there an initiative to clean all subway cars so that they shine, in the parlance of Miss Hannigan, like the top of the Chrysler Building? And most important, is that why our C train is diverted this weekend? We may never know, because obviously, the people at the MTA never answer their phones. But nonetheless: What a magic moment.
Bob Saget Does Not Have a Problem With Lance ArmstrongOutside of Carolines last night, where he was hosting a benefit for scleroderma research, Bob Saget weighed in on the rumors that his former TV daughter, Ashley Olsen, has been dating Lance Armstrong, father of three. How does Saget feel about the huge age and respectability gap between the two? “I like Lance, Lance Armstrong is an amazing guy. Amazing guy!” he said. That’s it? We were hoping for something like, “I hate Lance Armstrong. I should be with Ashley.” What gives, Saget? “I apologize,” he said. He tried again: “You know Tevye and Golde, they were together 25 years! We’re in a society, I don’t think — you can’t really go by people, you know?” Wha? “I’m not giving you want you want,” he said, defeated. “I feel bad about that.”
That’s okay, Bob, how about you tell us a disgusting story about Ashley, Mary-Kate, and a donkey erection instead?
Spitzer to Split Up Control of New York’s Three Racing TracksAs one of the many controversy-spurning agenda items Eliot Spitzer has to deal with, we hear some progress being made in the ongoing discussions with Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno over Bruno’s pet issue: the future of the New York horse-racing industry. One source involved in the private talks tells us that the tentative plan is to split up control of each of New York’s three horse-racing tracks: Saratoga, Belmont, and Aqueduct. The New York Racing Association (which faces an expiration date at the end of this year) will get to keep control of the track in Saratoga, and thus stay alive. This would help the Spitzer administration avoid a potentially lengthy lawsuit.
Chelsea, Now With Lap Pools!Chelsea: New promo pics for the too-fabulous Yves (so French!) condo tell a smoldering story of love, lust, and on-site lap pools. [Curbed]
Clinton Hill: Don’t click here unless you’re ready to see the dead, mutilated squirrel left in front of the home of this blogger. Revenge from a developer who got a snarky write-up? [Brownstoner]
Downtown Brooklyn: The massive new real estate planned for the area may not be so massive overall…think 1.6 mil square feet of office space versus the 4.5 mil projected a few years ago. [NYO]
Brian Williams Likes Thin-Crust Pizza, Ambien, and Claire DanesName: Brian WilliamsJob: Anchor and managing editor, NBC Nightly News; sometime blogger. Brian will host on Saturday Night Live this weekend — which just got especially exciting because of the writers strike!
Neighborhood: Upper East Side
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
Sacco Pizza (819 Ninth Avenue, between 54th and 55th) is most consistently my favorite place in a hurry. Low-rent but the best thin-crust pizza in the city.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
Compile, write, and edit the day’s news, while hopefully influencing young people on our staff.
early and often
Is Mukasey Giuliani’s New Kerik? Kinda!Like many in the media, we had a brief crush on Michael Mukasey, Bush’s pick to replace the selectively amnesiac Alberto Gonzales as attorney general. The man was a born-and-bred New Yorker, after all, and a respected judge to boot. Chuck Schumer all but endorsed him. We blushingly called him “like, a decent guy.” Hell, we thought he’d give his pal Giuliani an unfair advantage in the race! “Can this really be?” we wrote. “Has the man never worn a dress? Are there no nipple clamps in his bedside table?”
in other news
Katie Holmes Will Kick Your Ass in the Marathon This WeekendHide your antidepressants and your carbs! The New York Marathon is this weekend, and according to OK, none other than Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes jumped on a plane last night so that Katie could live out her life’s dream, which apparently consists of running in the cold, amid a big mob of sweaty, ropy-limbed people, while strangers yell at her from the sidelines. Hm. Actually, that’s probably not so different from her everyday life. Katie’s family is flying in from Ohio to “watch” her run through the five boroughs, we’re told. Frankly, we would have told them to stay home, you can probably see it better on TV and in magazines next week, and speaking of that, does the world really need more pictures of Tom trying to bond with Katie’s Catholic parents, flashing his giant white teeth and leaping at their legs like a little Jack Russell while they scowl and think about how he’s going to hell? Honestly. Those give us total secondhand embarrassment.
TomKat Hits NYC for Marathon [OK]
Someone Is Already Stealing Christmas?Astoria: Someone has stepped up and claimed a family tie to that recently sold “mystery mansion” on 47th Street. Yeah, the one with all the sculptures. [OuterB]
Brooklyn Heights: Jeez, you’d think that after all it took to schlep that floating pool to Brooklyn Bridge Park they could leave it there at least a few weeks longer than this weekend. But no. And the pool goes to the Bronx next summer. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
Chelsea: Residents in and near the London Terrace apartment block are dwelling on the bright side of long-term scaffolding: They can walk their dogs in the rain without their umbrella … ella … ella. [You Want a Piece of Me?]
Greenpoint: In the city’s Great Bedbug Scare of 2007, it’s come to this: free sidewalk sofas claiming they’re critter-free. Wow, free and uninfested. [Newyorkshitty]
Maspeth: Who hired some guy this past weekend to cut down what serves as the area’s beloved Christmas tree? And, as the mystery cutter said, is a replacement tree really en route? [Queens Crap]
Park Slope: You can almost forgive Slopesters for being so smugly bougie-boho when you see how they rally behind someone like Andy, the local fruit-truck guy who’s temporarily away after having a stroke. Get better, Andy! [OTBKB]
Williamsburg: An e-mail leaked out of a city-council member’s office complains of oil unearthed at a development site across the street from — you guessed it — the famous contaminated Roebling Oil Field! [Gowanus Lounge]
Richard Branson Forgives Colbert, Considers Janet Jackson as BallastRichard Branson was late to his own party at the Box for Virgin America Airlines’ inaugural flight from LAX to JFK. He blamed, no joke, flight delays. Daily Intel caught up with him and asked about the now-famous incident when he angrily splashed Stephen Colbert with a glass of water during a taping of the Colbert Report. Turns out all is forgiven. He and Virgin America CEO Fred Reid also have plans for hotels in space and fond memories of the time Branson threatened to throw Janet Jackson off a hot-air balloon. It’s all after the jump.
new york fugging city
Fug Girls Trend Report: Prison Is So Hot Right Now
With Paris fresh out of the big house, Nicole heading to the joint, and Lindsay likely facing some slammer time, it’s beginning to look like prison is the new black. Forget worrying about what this says about the youth of America and its corresponding societal decay. What we want to know is what the bandwagon will look like when it leaves the station as this passion for incarceration becomes the next hot social and fashion fad. Step aside, cool hunters. After the jump, read the top-secret trend forecast companies pay top ducats for.
Let’s Go to the Swap
The new trend in clothes-shopping among the city’s more environmentally conscious sorts are clothing swaps, like last Sunday’s Swap-o-rama-rama (that’s not a typo) inside NYU’s Eisner & Lubin Auditorium. (There’s a smaller swap this Sunday afternoon, from 3 to 5 p.m., at 49 Warren Street in Manhattan.) It’s a simple idea: Walk in with a bag full of clothes, pay $10, and walk out with as much as you can carry. This is not vintage shopping in the fashion-y, “curated,” sense; rather, swappers peruse tables piled high with disused crap, hoping for the occasional gem. Polyester and pleats considered too weird to be vintage move on to a new life phase: Sewing machines lined the NYU room, and participants were invited to transform unwearable pieces into dolls, bras into handbags, and sweaters into mittens. We spoke to a few shoppers about their finds.
in other news
‘WSJ’ Teaches Kids New SlangThe Wall Street Journal reaches perhaps unprecedented levels of taxonomic analysis today with a page-one item about the emergence of “bucket” as a business term. Seems that, in the exec vernacular, “bucket” is now being used to describe company units, revenue sources, markets — in short, anything that can be grouped, categorized, or partitioned. It’s used as a verb (“to bucket” a guy is to assign him a place), as an adjective (“the investor is looking for something buckety,” as in big and solid), and pretty much as a substitute for any other word in the language. “Silo” is gone. “Block” is so nineties. It’s all about the bucket. Buckety bucket bucket!
The clincher, however, is one of those famed WSJ dot drawings that accompanies the text. For what we suspect is the first time in the newspaper’s history, it depicts — we’ll let the caption speak for itself.
Business Types Get a New Kick Out of the ‘Bucket’ [WSJ]
in other news
Real Estate Is Booming! Run for the Hills!
So is New York’s real-estate market currently hot or cold or lukewarm or tepid or what? The answer, of course, is that it’s all of these things depending on who looks at it and where and how he looks from. The latest report, in yesterday’s Times, concludes that the market is indeed hot — but only here. Anecdotal evidence includes tales of buyers storming open houses “in all price ranges.” One theory chalks up the increased hustle to December’s obscene Wall Street bonuses. Another posits that people have simply stopped worrying about the impending real-estate crash precisely because of the glut of self-contradictory information (in the last quarter, four major firms couldn’t even agree on which way the prices were trending). If the latter theory is correct, though, this means the upbeat Times item swings the pendulum too far into the positive territory; as a public service, then, we feel compelled to neutralize its impact. Sell. Sell now! NYC is overbuilding! Everyone who bought into every half-built luxury condo tower will attempt to flip at the same time! Run!
Scared again? Good. We did our part to keep the market healthy.
Housing Market Heats Up Again in New York City [NYT]
in other news
Manhattan Real-Estate Values Are Falling! Unless They’re Not!The beauty of the modern real-estate trend piece — hell, the beauty of the modern trend piece — is its utter speciousness. No matter what tendency its headline trumpets, somewhere in the trend piece there’ll be a quote from an equally respectable source contradicting it entirely. To wit: “Home Prices Fall Just a Bit; Brokers See ‘Soft Landing’,” in today’s Times. The story leads with two studies showing that as 2006 drew to a close, sale prices for Manhattan apartments fell. By how much? Corcoran says one and a half percent, Prudential Douglas Elliman says five. But while you’re puzzling over that discrepancy, move along to the fifth paragraph, which introduces a third study, which says the average Manhattan apartment price has actually increased by five percent. (The wrinkle: Co-op prices are falling, but luxury-condo sales are making up for them.) After this, the story sheepishly devotes its last stretch to various caveats that illuminate why we shouldn’t trust any of the above-quoted studies anyway: new construction, unreported recent sales, the changing ratio of large to small apartments.
You know what they say: Lies, damned lies, and, well, just tell us when we’ll only be able to afford Jersey. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Home Prices Fall Just a Bit; Brokers See ‘Soft Landing’ [NYT]
in other news
Fun With Local Papers’ Headlines: ‘One of These Things Is Not Like the Others’ Edition
Old-lefty defense attorney Lynne Stewart was sentenced yesterday to 28 months in prison for smuggling messages out of prison for her convicted terrorist client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. The government had requested a 30-year sentence. Here are five local papers’ headlines on today’s story:
“Stewart Gets 28 Months on Terror Charge”
“Terror Lawyer Off Light”
“Lawyer, Facing 30 Years, Gets 28 Months, to Dismay of U.S.”
“Civil Rights Lawyer Gets 28 Months in Prison”
“Wrist Slap for Smirk Jerk Terror Attorney”
So, can you guess which one is the Post’s?
Earlier: Lynne Stewart Sentence Begins; Chaos Ensues