Intelligencer: April 18–25

It Happens This Week
• As the brawl-free Knicks season ends, WWE’s Raw & SmackDown! Supershow makes up for the lack of roughhousing at the Garden.
• Big week for religion: Papal conclave meets in Vatican. Passover begins.
• Don’t forget to recycle this magazine—Friday is Earth Day.
• Kidman-Penn thriller The Interpreter, shot on location at U.N. headquarters, opens Tribeca Film Festival.

Guggenheimin the Catskills
For sale: a private museum full of dead flies.
Just in time for summer, the Guggenheim is close to buying a vacation home upstate. In 2001, artist Richard Prince purchased a prefab ranch house in the Catskills that had been abandoned for a decade. He called it Second House and turned it into a private museum filled with his sculptures and paintings and preserved detritus. The house has been open to the public by appointment since September through Prince’s dealer, Barbara Gladstone. “It’s pretty definite, but I can’t comment,” Prince says of the sale. “Let’s just say it’s in contract.” The Guggenheim declined to comment. If the museum is indeed the new owner of the house and its contents, it must agree to certain conditions: “You can’t take one of the pieces out of the house and sell it. You can’t re-hang. Basically, you can’t really change it,” says the artist. On the upside, that means minimal maintenance (no mowing the lawn or moving the 1973 Dodge Barracuda). “The biggest problem is the dead flies—they’re everywhere,” says Prince. “I just hope they don’t freak out and say, ‘You never told us about the flies.’”
—Karen Rosenberg

Photo: John Krondes/Globe Photos

Trump and The GOP
Just want to help the U.N. No, really.
Jeff Sessions, an ultraconservative Methodist Republican senator from Alabama, has teamed up with multiply married casino owner Donald Trump to try to save the U.N. some money on remodeling its headquarters. According to Trump, the project’s estimated price tag of $1.2 billion means “somebody is either very stupid or very crooked.” Maybe Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s “son is working on it,” he cracks, referring to the one implicated in the Oil-for-Food scandal. In a show of goodwill, Trump offered to do the job for less than half that: “I met with Kofi. I told him I’d do a better job.” The U.N. hasn’t responded. Sessions banded with Trump because he says the U.N. should be funding health care and infrastructure, “not Taj Mahal suites in New York.” But doesn’t he know that’s exactly Trump’s specialty? Perhaps not. Sessions says he’s never been inside a Trump building, but that he “walked past the Trump World Tower recently.” Has he ever seen The Apprentice? Yes, says Sessions, but “not all the way through.”
—Will Doig

Return to Silicone City?
Plastic surgeons brace for possible implant mania.
New York’s plastic surgeons expect business to perk up if the FDA heeds its advisory committee’s recommendation to lift the ban on silicone breast implants made by a company called Mentor. “I think there will be a rush of people who have saline implants and want to change,’’ says Lawrence Reed, a Park Avenue surgeon who’s studied silicone’s safety. Since 1992, silicone implants have been essentially banned, although some women have managed to get them by participating in research studies. “People with silicone tend to be happier,” says Reed. “Saline could deflate.’’ But the already-siliconed women might want to replace their old implants— made by a company named Inamed, whose breasts are still illegal—with Mentor’s. “Switching would be ridiculous,” says David Hidalgo, former chief of plastic surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. “There is essentially no difference.” And it would cost between $6,000 and $10,000. His advice to the anxious and pneumatic: Calm down. The FDA probably won’t go along with the committee’s recommendation anyway.
—Beth Landman

Plaza Saved!
Condo-mania strikes more hotels.
The embattled owners of the Plaza Hotel rolled back their condo plans last week, but more condo-ized hotels are on the way. The Sutton on East 56th Street, bought by Alchemy Properties last month for $52.25 million, will shutter in June so it can resurface later this year as a condo building. Alchemy president Kenneth Horn says a conversion has been in the cards for the Sutton since its renovation in the nineties, but the market fell and plans were put on hold. Meanwhile, twelve blocks south of the Sutton, the Millennium U.N. Plaza hotel is rumored to be turning 200 of its rooms into condos as well. Paul Underhill of Millennium confirms it’s been approached by developers. John Turchiano of the New York Hotel and Motel Trade Council union is still mad about the trend. “It’s a shame that so-called developers can’t go out and develop.”
—S. Jhoanna Robledo

Charity KidsInternship Auction
Philanthropists Take care of the next generation.
Some parents use connections to get their kids summer internships, but that’s not tax-deductible. At a recent City Harvest fund-raiser, Lot 1 at the silent auction was a semester-long internship at Deutsch Advertising, for which someone forked over $7,000. Then there was Lot 7, a summer internship with Jon Gordon, “currently co-president of production at Miramax.” Let’s hope that whoever paid the $7,500 also read the disclaimer: “This internship will be with Jon Gordon’s office whether he remains with Miramax or if he moves to a different company. If an internship at a company other than Miramax cannot be provided—through no fault of Mr. Gordon—a walk-on role in an upcoming film will be offered.”


Intelligencer: April 18–25