British Prime Minster Gordon Brown, who spent the past two days golf-carting around Camp David with President Bush, arrived in New York last night, where he met with President Clinton to talk about his anti-poverty plans and then gave a speech today at the United Nations on the same topic. (After which employees massed to photograph him while he spoke to reporters.) We’d mention the details of the plan, but the more relevant part is this: That’s why there were all those cops around the Waldorf yesterday and today. Just in case you’re curious. (We were.)
Earlier: President Bush and His Toy Car
in other news
President Bush and His Toy Car
The front page of yesterday’s Times offered a photo of President Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown merrily golf-carting around Camp David. We glanced at the shot, amused by the cowboy president’s attempt to do his squinty-eyed tough-guy look while piloting a conveyance most often used on the manicured fairways of Shinnecock or in the retirement communities of Boca. We were about to flip the page when we noticed something: A placard on the front of the vehicle labels it “Golf Cart One.” We chuckled to ourselves, and we thought that it’s sort of the perfect presidential vehicle for this particular commander-in- chief, for his underpowered golf cart of a presidency. Then we got worried; were we being unfair? Perhaps this isn’t Bush obnoxious frat-boy humor (“I’m the president, and it’s my golf cart, so it’s Golf Cart One. Heh heh heh.”) but rather a longstanding tradition. So we asked President Clinton’s spokesman. Did that administration, too, call the presidential scooter “Golf Cart One”? The e-mailed reply came late in the day: “Nope.” Good.
The Battle of (Little) Britain Rages On
We wonder if perhaps our across-the-street/pond conversation with the jolly good folks at the Campaign for Little Britain is coming to an end. We’ve received another missive from them this afternoon, and this time there’s no humor, no suggestions of a special relationship. We’re keeping a stiff upper lip, but we’re concerned:
Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 12:41:38 PM
Let’s address the real issue, regardless of any rational arguments and examples of precedent we might make you can’t get over your central objection — “it’s a marketing gimmick.”
This is a specious.
Little Britain: We Will Never Give In, Never Give In, Never Never NeverWe’ve received an offer of détente in our ongoing battle with the Campaign for Little Britain, to which we have heretofore entirely objected. Yesterday we suggested, dismissively, that if they succeed in getting Greenwich Avenue between West 12th and West 13th Streets — the British-ish shops Tea & Sympathy and A Salt and Battery are on the north side of that block — renamed “Little Britain,” we’ll campaign to have the southern side of that same block, from which we’re writing this, renamed “Little Place Where Some Jewish Writers Live.” Late in the day, we received a supportive reply. Here, a Balfour Declaration just for us:
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 2:41:42 PM
Terrific idea! We’ll vote for you if you vote for us.
We’ve put the kettle on…
Sigh. If only we could bring ourselves to vote for them.
Earlier: Daily Intel’s self-indulgent coverage of Little Britain.
Correction: The British Are Bemused! The British Are Bemused!If anthropomorphization is when human characteristics are applied to things not human, what’s the opposite? Because we got another letter today from the Campaign for Little Britain, which writes very much as though it’s one human being but signs its notes as though it’s an intangible entity. In any event, our new pen pal Campaign takes issue with both our response to his (her?) letter yesterday, and with our (punning) headline description of the Brits as angry. Here’s London calling, from a far-too-close place:
Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 1:11:08 PM
Subject: Angry? Me?
Not remotely angry. Bemused, perhaps.
The British Are Angry! The British Are Angry!Earlier this afternoon we noted our disgust with the PR-driven plan to rename a block of Greenwich Avenue as “Little Britain,” a ploy by the proprietors of two British-ish businesses on that block to get themselves onto the city’s official street map. We objected to many things, among them the attempt to liken this designation to Chinatown or Little Italy, which, we argued, organically developed because of the immigrant populations who clustered in the area, not because a tea shop got a few bucks from Richard Branson to hire a PR firm. The Campaign for Little Britain responded, refuting some of our claim and charmingly using the words “recognised” and “cheers”:
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 2:20:24 PM
Got to take issue with your article, it is in the tradition of already recognised neighborhoods, check out Little Brazil, Koreatown, or Little India — they were started by businesses, too.
in other news
Defy British Imperialism: A Belated Call for a New York Tea PartySo did you notice in yesterday’s City section that little article about the proposal to rename a stretch of Greenwich Avenue in the West Village as “Little Britain”? Yeah, we almost missed it, too — but it reminded us about this insipid idea, first announced a few months ago, about just much how we object to it, and that we ought to explain why. See, here’s the thing: It’s all a marketing gimmick. For a private business. The couple behind the plan own Tea & Sympathy and A Salt and Battery, respectively a tea shop and a fish-and-chippery, on that stretch of Greenwich. And they want the name of the street changed simply to boost their own business. (Hey, great idea: Let’s rename Madison Avenue between 49th and 50th “Magazine Avenue!”)
it just happened
Blair Departs, and Bush Throws Him a Bone
So Tony Blair is now, officially, no longer Britain’s prime minister, having tendered his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II earlier today. He’s off, presumably, to become the Quartet’s Mideast peace negotiator, while Gordon Brown has been approved by the Queen as his replacement. For President Bush’s take on his great ally’s departure, we refer you to low in the AP news item:
“Tony’s had a great run and history will judge him kindly,” Bush told Britain’s The Sun tabloid in remarks published Wednesday. “I’ve heard he’s been called Bush’s poodle. He’s bigger than that.”
See, that’s real friendship. Bush thinks of Blair — excuse us: Tony — as something much bigger than a poodle. A golden retriever, perhaps. Maybe even his St. Bernard.
Gordon Brown to Take Over From Blair in Britain [AP via NYT]
show and talk
The Queen Comes to America: A Fashion Report
A visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II may be a state occasion, but it’s not exactly a fashion event. After all, she’s been wearing boxy suits, major hats, and skirts of that curious Hasid-chick length for as long as anyone can remember. How’d she do on her just-winding-up American tour? Here’s a blow by blow.
it just happened
No War With Iran (for Now)!
We’d sort of convinced ourselves that the British sailors and marines captured by Iran were going to become the Archduke Ferdinands of the Middle East–centered World War III Bush and Cheney have brought us to the precipice of. But there’s the good news today that Iran is releasing them, and we’re pleased to see the conflagration is staved off for at least another day. “We’re not looking for confrontation over this,” Tony Blair said in a radio interview yesterday. Funny what happens when you choose not to look for confrontations.
Iran to Release 15 Britons Held Since March 23 [NYT]
Brits Beat Us to 9/11 Memorial
Believe it or not, you’ll actually be able to visit a 9/11 memorial in lower Manhattan this summer. But, naturally, it’s not ours, of course (don’t be silly). The British Memorial Garden at Hanover Square is nearly finished; it’s just awaiting a planting ceremony — complete with 65 singing Welsh children — scheduled for March 1 (a mere 22 months after construction began). Tonight, the “Anglo-American community” will gather at Cipriani 42nd Street to toast the near-completion. So how’d it get done so quickly? Garden president Camilla Hellman diplomatically praises the U.S. Embassy in London and the city’s Parks Department, which helped find the sloping site. We credit stiff upper lips. “We never tried to list all the victims’ names,” says Hellman. Instead, a fence line and finials represent the 67 British 9/11 victims, stone from the Isles reflects heritage, and the garden explores the entirety of Atlantic-alliance history. “I thought about families going to ground zero as a harrowing experience, and wanted them to come to Hanover Square and understand New York a bit better,” says Hellman. One way to understand New York: Visitors to the Garden will be able to look uphill at that recently opened beacon of freedom towering over it, William Beaver House. —Alec Appelbaum
New York Critics May Not Love Gordon Ramsay, But British Gays DoLondon superchef Gordon Ramsay opened his New York outpost in November, and critics have not been kind, faulting its food, its service, and its design. But Pink News, a British gay news service, may have identified a larger problem. Ramsay has apparently been ranked one of Britain’s Top 50 gay icons, which would mean his West 54th Street location puts Gordon Ramsay at the London about 35 blocks north of its ideal location. It’s part of Grub Street’s continuing coverage of the (avowedly heterosexual) Mr. Ramsay.
Gordon Ramsay, Gay Icon [Grub Street]
in other news
Managing Traffic for Efficiency and Hilarity
We noted several weeks ago the city’s ambitious new plan to dedicate whole lanes of traffic to ultrafast buses with their own curbside turnstiles. And how would these buses battle unauthorized motorists slipping in and out of the lanes? By snapping pictures of them and ratting them out to the city. Nice. But not nearly as effective as a high-tech — yet awesomely brutal — solution implemented in Great Britain. Marvel at cars getting mauled by weight-sensing, automated retractable bollards.
Bollard Porn [StreetsBlog]
Earlier: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a … Bus!
in other news
In London, Marty Needs a Stiff Upper Lip
When we last saw our intrepid hero, indefatigable Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz, he was sailing off — okay, fine, flying — to the United Kingdom to sweet-talk British travel agencies into sending more tourists to Brooklyn. The task, he now reports from across the pond, is proving harder than expected: According to Marty, nobody in the dear old Blighty knows Brooklyn exists.
Some choice crumpet crumbles from today’s Daily News:
The travel agents had vaguely heard of the bridge and knew about Brooklyn Beckham — the son of British soccer icon David Beckham and Victoria (Posh Spice) Beckham. That was it …
Markowitz talked to model Martha Hussey, 25, who said that on a recent trip “I went to Katz’s Deli. Is that in Brooklyn?”
Blimey! U.K. goes blank on Brooklyn [NYDN]
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London (Margin) Calling
Gentlemen of Wall Street, dust off the sky-is-falling metaphors from the late eighties, when the Japanese were seemingly set on buying your company, your family home, and even your family. There’s a different gang of foreigners set to take over the finance biz, and this time the new nemesis is, in fact, our oldest one: Britain. With explosive growth in Russia, Asia, and the Middle East, local moguls are apparently taking their money to a market closer at hand: London’s. The Times reports today that the City is already surpassing our city in IPOs, raising $33.2 billion this year versus Wall Street’s $26.5 billion.