Intelligencer: May 23-30

It Happens This Week
• Memorial Day: Summer rentals start
• Fleet Week!
• Street Fair: Times Square overrun with foot traffic
• Bomb the System, movie about NYC graffiti artists
• DanceAfrica at BAM

Photo: Dennis Van Tine/LFI

Supersize MeSays Coldplay.
Chris Martin, back in NYC with Gwynnie and li’l Apple, has a record to sell.
Just being married to Gwyneth Paltrow isn’t enough to move CDs. “You have to swallow your pride and become a brand rather than a band,” said her husband, Chris Martin, in town last week to stoke excitement for his band Coldplay’s new album, X&Y. That meant radio interviews, Saturday Night Live, and an America Online–produced gig at the Beacon Theater that will be broadcast over the Internet June 7. (In the audience were Tiki Barber, Seth Green, Lyor Cohen, and, of course, Paltrow.) Not that Coldplay was unfamiliar with this process. “Yellow,” the hit single off their first album, became a sort of on-air promo anthem for ABC. Any plans for more of that? “We study the most popular products and we try to sing about it as much as possible. That’s why the next album is called McDonald’s: Over 4 Billion Served.” Reminded of the chain’s recent offer to pay rappers to name-check burgers in their songs, Martin composes one on the spot: “ ‘I’ve tried heroin, and I’ve tried crack, but nothing gets me high like a big Big Mac.’ You think it’ll work? I just earned $50.”

‘Newsweek’ apologizes(In English Only)
Arabic edition misses out.
Newsweek’s report that American interrogators at Guantánamo Bay allegedly flushed a Koran down the toilet was linked to deadly riots in the Muslim world, which is why the magazine apologized for the story in last Monday’s issue. Except not in the edition of the magazine actually printed in Arabic. Newsweek’s New York editors don’t control the content of the foreign editions, which are published by companies abroad that license the name. So Mark Whitaker’s editor’s note expressing “regret” and “sympathies to victims of the violence” was only in the U.S. version. Editor’s notes don’t normally run in foreign editions, and no special effort was made to include this one, despite the controversy. The Kuwait-based company that publishes Arabic Newsweek, which has a circulation of about 30,000, “can choose to edit the magazine as they like,” says the weekly’s spokesman, Ken Weine. (Arabic Newsweek did print the Evan Thomas article explaining “How did Newsweek get its facts wrong?”) As for the subsequent retraction, which appeared on Newsweek’s American Website last Monday, it was not posted simultaneously on the Arabic Newsweek Website.
—Kate Pickert

Drill SergeantTo the Stars
Opens wellness center near the bus terminal.
Pat Manocchia, owner of La Palestra, his famously exclusive “total-body fitness” center—it has only 175 members, including, reportedly, Liam Neeson, Diane Sawyer, and Howard Stern—in the former ballroom at the Hotel des Artistes on West 67th Street, has finally decided to open a gym for the rest of us. Well, almost: It’s in the Orion, a new luxury condo next door to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. This version of La Palestra, which will take up 8,200 square feet on the 28th floor and have floor-to-ceiling glass walls, will only serve health-conscious types who live in the building. Manocchia, who once dated Julia Roberts, says it’ll be all business. “If Jim in 26A hasn’t been to the gym in a while, we can call him up and say, ‘Hey Jim, what’s going on?’”
—S. Jhoanna Robledo

Hippie ChurchDesecrated
By real-estate market.
In recognition of its historic hippie openness, the soon-to-be-renovated Washington Square Park will remain ungated. But another countercultural shrine down the street, Washington Square United Methodist Church, has shut its big red doors to the public. Last winter, the 1860 church, with its plaque that honors those who refused to fight in Vietnam, was put on the market (along with its rectory next door) for $13 million. It had become too expensive to keep up. Now it’s been sold to developers-architects Jon Kully and Mick Walsdorf, who are most likely turning it into condos. While they plan “to deal cleverly with the building’s history,” it’s hard to picture where the sorts of groups that have congregated there in the past—the Black Panthers, Dykes Against Racism Everywhere, left-wing mime troupes—will fit in on the prospectus.
—Tony Robins

No FunAt the ‘Sun.’
Salary injustice claims business editor.
One of the most well-guarded secrets at any office is how much everybody makes. Another is e-mail passwords. Take a lesson from what happened at the New York Sun. On May 10, a blunt draft of a memo from the paper’s deputy managing editor, Robert Messenger, was somehow sent out to everybody on his staff. This the paper blamed on a “hacker,” though insiders at the Sun pointed out that e-mail passwords all follow the same structure and are easy enough to figure out. The memo itself was full of suggestions of how to “return the paper to a niche strategy,” which involved firing some people, whose salaries were listed. Business editor Ken Magill (the sixth business editor in the Sun’s three years of existence) resigned early last week, citing the memo as “the last straw,” according to people close to him. The memo specifically listed the salaries of several editors Messenger was considering axing to save some cash, and once Magill saw which of his colleagues were making more than him, and how much more, he decided enough was enough. A Sun spokesperson says, “It’s unfortunate that peoples’ personal financial information was released.”


Intelligencer: May 23-30