Bad news: Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz — the jovial Kings County booster whose accomplishments include installing a "Leaving Brooklyn, Oy Vey!" sign at the Williamsburg Bridge — suffered what we're told was a heart attack over the weekend or this morning. (His office is saying only that a stent was installed.
Today is as good a time as any to update you on the current state of gay marriage in our theoretically homo-lovin' city. Indeed, it's a particularly good time, because this afternoon the New York State Court of Appeals — the highest court in the state — is hearing oral arguments on whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry. Here's where it gets fun: Among the lawyers arguing against gay marriage are those employed by New York City, where last year a trial-court judge ruled the state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, a decision the city's lawyers, at the direction of Mayor Mike Bloomberg, have been fighting in appeals since.
• Leave no stone unblogged, Times launches one on New York politics, called Empire Zone. Catchy, eh? And it's even got video. [NYT]
• Philly group imminently set to buy Inquirer and Daily News from McClatchy. Unless they don't. [NYT]
• Who will public-edit the public editor? Tom Scocca, of course. [Media Mob/NYO]
• Newspapers acknowledge need to adapt to changing media landscape, express wonderment at newgfangled "horseless carriages." [AJR]
• CBS Public Eye stakes out controversial stance opposing what's-on-your-iPod-stories. See, Memogate never would have happened if only this important site had existed sooner. [CBSNews.com]
The Sun reports this morning that schools chief Joel Klein is trying to hold a meeting with the city's principals on Saturday morning, and that the principals are balking. (You know, because God forbid public employees be asked to work a few minutes more than called for under their union contracts.) To lure them out, Klein has offered a pair of Broadway tickets — and for good shows, too, like Sweeney Todd or Doubt or Dirty Rotten, not for standard giveaway dreck like Les Miz or, worse, Ring of Fire — if they attend. Naturally, the principals' union is incensed by this, and individual principals report being unswayed. For example Sandra Bridges, principal at "the highly regarded P.S. 234 in TriBeCa," who will instead by "be heading out to the country for the weekend":
Huzzah, huzzah! There is a deal to develop the World Trade Center site! Larry Silverstein, George Pataki, Jon Corzine, the Port Authority, and Mike Bloomberg have finally ironed out a plan to enable the rebuilding of the 16-acre plot. This is really showing the terrorists, diving right into rebuilding what they destroyed — only four and a half years after they destroyed it.
• Hearst mags get move-in dates for new tower, where the cafeteria will serve sushi five days a week. [NYP]
• Four Time Inc. mags will move their TOCs to the first page, sponsored by Philips Electronics. Finally, the cure magazines have been searching for. [WSJ]
• Housekeeping no longer so good for EIC Ellen Levine? [WWD]
• High-end book pubisher Rizzoli looks to enter U.S. magazine market with a title that's "Time Out meets Star magazine with N mero kind of fashion," whatever the hell that might mean. [FWD]
• Critics should stop worrying so much about the Times and focus more on the sins of local TV news, says Brian Montopoli. Coming soon from Public Eye: Is your weatherman really jolly?! [Public Eye/CBS]
• More Times blogs: Now covering state politics. (Oh, shit. Were we not supposed to be talking about the-paper-that-cannot-be-named anymore? Sorry.) [The Politicker/NYO]
• Elizabeth Spiers popularized the word "snarky" when she worked for Gawker. It's a testament to our precocity, then, to have been miraculously using it even before blogs existed. [Downtown Express]
We've long held a theory that New Yorkers, while superficially gruff, are actually some of the nicest people in the world. (Californians are forever asking how you're doing — no, really, how are you? — without ever actually caring; New Yorkers don't bother with that bullshit but do pay attention to what you say and will, at the drop of a confused look, eagerly give you directions anywhere.) So we were actually somewhat pleased to see a story on the frontpage of yesterday's Times with the hed, "New York Leads Politeness Trend? Get Outta Here!" We thought it was going to provide empirical proof of our we're-actually-nice theory, but it turned out we were mistaken. The point of the article wasn't so much that New Yorkers actually are nice; the point is that the city is attempting to regulate New Yorkers into niceness, with everything from a ban at spitter on ballplayers (why bother going out to the stadium, then?) to a $50 fine for putting your feet on a subway seat. And to these measures we can only say: Fuck that shit, you fucking assholes.
The state portion of sales tax on clothes and shoes disappeared Saturday, at least on clothes or shoes that cost less than $110. Coming a year after the city removed its portion of the tax, clothes are shoes are now entirely sales tax-free in New York City. Yippee! To celebrate, we thought we'd go out and buy ourselves what we've really been needing: a fancy new cell phone. Until we realized there'd still be tax on that, because it's not clothes or shoes. Then we thought maybe we'd get something else we could really use: a good pair of jeans. Until we realized good jeans wouldn't be cheap enough to go untaxed, either. How to celebrate, then? Finally it hit us. We needed new socks. Celebratory, sales tax-free socks. Woo-hoo.
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer caused a minor controversy with a recent (and unfavorable) comparison between upstate New York's economy and that of Appalachia. Governor George Pataki (yes, he's still there) took offense, claiming that "Appalachia doesn't have Empire Zones," which are New York State economic development programs. As it turns out, Appalachia does have Empire Zones since fourteen New York counties actually are part of Appalachia. Admit it, New Yorkers: You pretty much assumed upstate was like a scene from Deliverance all along, didn't you? Thank God we have The Times to confirm all our regional stereotypes.