PATH to Ruin
The Port Authority used to set records in good ways. The George Washington Bridge was a marvel of engineering in its day, the world’s longest bridge when it was built, and still the busiest. The Port Authority Bus Terminal, opened in 1950, is to this day the largest on earth by passenger volume.
But today, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey doesn’t brag about the records it sets. One World Trade Center, born the Freedom Tower and taken over by the Port in 2006, will be the most expensive office building in the world. The “Vehicle Security Center,” an underground tour bus garage and road network serving the World Trade Center complex, may very well be the most expensive parking garage in history.
And then there’s the PATH station to New Jersey, the most troubled project at one of the world’s most troubled construction sites. At $3.74 billion, plus another $200 million in contingencies, the “Transportation Hub” at the World Trade Center—not even the busiest station in the Financial District—will be far and away the most expensive train station built in modern history.
The Mayflower Madam opened the door to her New York apartment. Inside, it was clearly more Mayflower than madam. Old family heirlooms include an inlaid mahogany secretary, two 18th-century family portraits of children and a Dresden clock.
The former debutante Sydney Biddle Barrows, a scion of Philadelphia’s aristocratic Biddle family, has called this rent-controlled, $1,800-a-month, three-room Upper West Side apartment home since before her 1984 arrest for running a pricey prostitution service. Her guest had come early, so she was still wearing shorts and her glasses. “You always expect that extra 20 minutes to get yourself together,” she said pleasantly.
“I guess I’m not as cynical as you are,” Neil Barofsky, former watchdog for the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program and presently the busiest cynic caught up in the government’s entanglement with the banking business, told The Observer.
In a time when everyone seems to be cheating—and most everyone getting away with it—we’d put it to Mr. Barofsky that there doesn’t seem to be much percentage in honest behavior. If Wall Street executives, tween idols and journalistic heavyweights are shirking the rules to get ahead, doesn’t it make sense for the commoners to do the same?
Al Gore’s upstart progressive cable news network Current TV has fired marquee anchor Keith Olbermann, The New York Times reports. Starting Friday, his 8 p.m. Countdown slot will be filled by former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, with a new show called Viewpoint.
According to the Times, Current management “unanimously” agreed that Mr. Olbermann had failed to honor the terms of his five-year, $50 million contract, giving them the right to give him the boot. After declining to speak to the Times, Mr. Olbermann slammed network executives Mr. Gore and Joel Hyatt on Twitter, saying they had fired him unethically and he would seek legal recourse.
Of all the pieces to be yielded by Andrew Breitbart’s death, this one is handily the strangest: A report from Daily Mail columnist Toby Harnden that the controversial conservative pundit was working on a CNN show with Anthony Weiner, the New York congressman ousted by a sexting scandal last year.
Former New York Governor, Attorney General, and CNN host Eliot Spitzer—who The Observer had a nice chat with last week over the recent rage directed at Wall Street’s ratings agencies—is this week being sued for libel over a year-old column for Slate.
Q & A
In this week’s issue of The Observer, we took a look at the ratings rage caused by the recent Standard and Poor’s downgrade on long-term American debt. For the piece, we gave former New York Attorney General, Governor of the State of New York, and CNN host Eliot Spitzer a ring: as someone who dealt with the implications of ratings agencies from the standpoint of a prosecutor, a legislative executive, and as a television host, we figured a talk with Mr. Spitzer may yield at the least, some sharper talking points, and at best, some deep insight into the seemingly existential issue of how they operate. We got both.
things people say
The Post recently asked Eliot Spitzer if he were planning a run for office, and he replied in part: “‘Those who know don’t say, and those who say don’t know.’ So I wouldn’t rely on anything anybody has told you.” Perhaps the reason the line is in single quotes is because it’s taken Read More
It was Wednesday morning at 9:47 a.m. in the White House Press Briefing Room. The president of the United States of America, Barack Obama, took the podium. Major television networks had interrupted coverage to broadcast the president’s address. “Now, let me just comment, first of all, on the fact that I can’t get the networks Read More
Federal Budget: George Pataki creates new group to push 2012 candidates on debt issues. [Devlin Barrett]
Economy: Bernanke will face the media next week. [Jon Hilsenrath]
2012: Americans Elect party to hold Internent nominating convention next summer. [Greg Lucas]
2012: Editors refer to “Westcheter’s own Donald Read More