Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer showed that he was ready for citywide office just a few weeks ago, when he announced his support for Mayor Bloomberg’s rezoning plan for Midtown East. With a Democratic primary looming, it would have been easier for Mr. Stringer to pander to the ideologues and critics; instead, he stood up for visionary change. That’s good.
Mr. Stringer is a capable public servant whose low-key persona and wonkish proclivities make him well-suited for the job of overseeing the city’s books. But there’s another, more-urgent reason to support Mr. Stringer’s candidacy. His opponent is Eliot Spitzer.
There have been three public advocates in the short history of the office: Mark Green, Betsy Gotbaum and Bill de Blasio. All three used the office’s powers to scratch out a presence in city government, enabling two of them, Mr. Green and Mr. de Blasio, to become serious contenders for the city’s top job. Mr. Green didn’t quite get there; Mr. de Blasio still might.
So the public advocate is an important position, even if it has few responsibilities and a paltry budget of slightly more than $2 million per year. We think State Senator Daniel Squadron is the best-qualified Democrat seeking nomination for the office.
Last night at the The Royalton Hotel in Midtown West, Carla Bruni regaled listeners with music from her new album, Little French Songs (released in April on Verve), as part of the New York Observer’s salon series, curated by Absolut ELYX.
A star-studded crew came out to see the former First Lady of France as she strummed out tunes from her fourth studio CD, featuring French, English and Italian lyrics and a follow-up to Comme si de rien n’était, recorded in 2008.
The Eight-Day Week
Toast author/pop and rock music authority Rob Sheffield’s book Turn Around Bright Eyes—The Rituals of Love and Karaoke with what else: drinks and karaoke. The New York Observer’s Very Short List and It Books are having a party hosted by the author, with lots of chances to sing (try Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Read More
The artist appeared on our block two weeks ago. A lean man with inky fingers covered in silver rings, he wore a cap, a small button fastened to the bottom of his shirt—“I love porn”—and a menthol-flavored Marlboro tucked behind one ear. He would arrive around 9 a.m., arrange his scroll of paper, his pot of ink and his various clips on the sidewalk between The Observer offices and the adjacent Japanese barbecue joint, remaining there, painting intently, until 6 or 7 p.m. As he painted, he scrunched himself into contorted positions and seemed not to take breaks or register the passersby, who invariably stared.
We were curious about the new arrival on our block. Though of course West 44th between Eighth and Ninth Avenues hardly belongs to us alone. We share it with a lumber yard, a theatrical supply company, the Intercontinental Hotel, several parking lots and a convenience store whose clientele appear to buy nothing but lottery tickets. And, as we recently learned, we also share it with the dingy walk-up where Cuban novelist and poet Reinaldo Arenas spent the last years of his life and committed suicide in 1990 at age 47, impoverished and suffering from AIDS.
Last night marked the inauguration of The New York Observer’s First Annual Young Philanthropy Event. On the chic PH-D rooftop lounge of the Dream Hotel, amidst panoramic views of the city and overlooking the twinkling lights of the Empire State building, some of the leading lights in philanthropy came together to celebrate giving back.
The Read More
Anthony Weiner is signaling that his exile is over, his penance performed. He seems on the verge of entering the Democratic Party’s crowded field of mayoral candidates, a development that would shake up an already unsettled race. If he does, he will bring with him not only the memories of his famous humiliation, but a campaign treasury of more than $4 million. That would make him well-endowed, indeed, but we already knew that.
Observing The Observer
On Thursday morning, esteemed writer Michael Pollan—author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, among other bestsellers—took a break from exploring the edible and the environment to stop by The Observer newsroom.
Besides sharing his latest biological findings (“You’re only ten percent human. The rest of you is microbes”), Mr. Pollan spoke mainly about finding one’s niche as a journalist.
- The intimidatingly assiduous Peggy Siegal greets people at the door; thanks us for coming to celebrate party with The New York Observer. “We are The New York Observer!” We cry. She doesn’t even pause. “Well, it’s great to see you anyway.”
-Terry McDonell: I’ve always loved the Observer, I have great respect for Peter Kaplan. The coverage of everything I was interested in New York in the past 25 years was reflected in The Observer at the highest level.
- Ray Kelly recalls the last time he was at the Four Seasons. “[We] feel like you never leave,” we tell the Police Commissioner. His reply: “A lot of people feel that way.”
Last night The New York Observer celebrated its 25th anniversary surrounded by some of the biggest influencers of the city.