Readers sound off on Transportation Alternatives, Ben Carson and Yemen

Anarchy on two and four wheels Manhattan: An inappropriate op-ed written by Transportation Alternatives head bike lobbyist, Paul Steely White, was published the day after a maniac motorist went on a killing spree. (“Reckless driving, deadlier than terror,” May 19). How shameless to compare this sinister goal to kill people to other tragic incidents in the city that were accidents. Please tell us, Mr. White, who were the “many reporters, elected officials and first responders” you claim referred to this madness as an “accident”? And on what planet do you reside that your delusional idea of restricting truck and car traffic in our city will not negatively impact our economy and make our city even more unaffordable? Please stick to getting your lawless bike members in line. Phoebe Bardot Rego Park: To Paul Steely White: the madness in Times Square was the deliberate act of of a maniac on drugs whose intent was to kill as many pedestrians as possible on the sidewalks of Times Square and also wanted police to shoot him. Nice try to use this single act of a maniac causing mayhem to support Transportation Alternatives’ mission: “To reclaim streets from the automobile.” By suggesting the mayor and the Department of Transportation restrict car and truck traffic in Midtown, the Financial District, Flushing and other areas of the city where 95% of our goods and services are delivered by vehicles is pure insanity. Unless, of course, our bread and butter can be delivered by the unlicensed, uninsured bicyclists who have a pass to ride above the law on our city streets. Jeffrey Milligan Bad street advice Manhattan: A suicidal man plowed through pedestrians killing one and maiming 22 others in Times Square, and the director of the Transportation Alternatives bike lobby uses the incident as a poor excuse for his anti-vehicle agenda. That we should fix the streets by preventing trucks and vehicles from making their Continue Reading

‘The evidence of guilt is significant’: Former cop held without bail in fatal shooting at Florida movie theater

The retired Florida cop who allegedly shot and killed a young dad who was texting during a movie "had every right to defend himself" after the man hurled a bag of popcorn at him, his lawyer said in court.  But authorities said Tuesday there was no physical contact between Curtis Reeves and his victim Chad Oulson before he allegedly shot Oulson in the movie theater. Reeves, 71, made his first appearance in court Tuesday to face second-degree murder charges for allegedly killing Oulson, 43, during an argument over texting at a Tampa-area theater Monday.  Friends of Oulson told the Associated Press that the father was texting his daughter's daycare. A neighbor of Reeves, Joe D’Andrea, said, "He must have just snapped." Judge Lynn Tepper ordered Reeves held without bond and rejected the defense's claims that the murder charges were too severe. "The evidence of guilt is significant," Tepper said.   And it may not be the first time Reeves confronted a fellow movie patron over texting as investigators are looking into another incident that may have involved the suspect less than three weeks ago. At the same movie theater on Dec. 28 a woman told the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office she was texting during a movie and a man she believed was Reeves told her to put her phone away, Stacey Sumner, an assistant prosecutor with the Assistant State’s Attorney Sixth Judicial Circuit told The News. He then got the manager and the woman complied, Sumner said. But after the movie on her way to the bathroom she said she saw the man she believed to be Reeves glare at her, Sumner said. The sheriff’s office did not return a request for comment about the incident. Sumner declined to discuss any other part of the case. READ THE POLICE REPORT BELOW The onetime SWAT team chief appeared at the hearing via a live video feed. He was shirtless and wearing a black padded vest. His manner Continue Reading

What’s next for Calvin Klein’s ex Nick Gruber after his drug bust: Rehab or reality TV?

Nick Gruber ’s career plans are suffering from a case of arrested development. A source close to the former boy toy of fashion designer Calvin Klein tells us Gruber was planning to move to California to pursue a future “in the entertainment industry” on Wednesday. That was until the 22-year-old former erotic model — who reportedly once appeared in a group-sex scene in the gay porn film “Next Door Buddies” — was busted early Tuesday morning for hiding cocaine in his underwear and pummeling a pal at his West Village penthouse. The shaken stunner was released from jail after bail bondsman to the stars Ira Judelson posted a $10,000 bond, and now our source says Gruber is destined for rehab. Gruber hails from Santa Rosa, Calif., and, we hear, still has family there, but another source close to the blond stud says he was headed West to pursue a better-clothed career in reality TV. According to the source, Gruber has been telling friends for months that he’s “working on a reality television show,” although it’s unclear whether there was any truth to his claims. On April 12, Gruber posted on his private Facebook page: “I have an audition for Big Brother at 12 noon. I hope i make the part.” Gruber has not left any subsequent posts indicating whether he got the gig, but a source familiar with the situation said that Gruber did show up “unsolicited at an open casting call” for the reality series on April 14, but did not receive a callback. Perhaps that’s why New Jersey college student Calvin Swint — allegedly on the receiving end of Gruber’s fist — confirmed Gruber’s reality-TV aspirations but seemed skeptical of them. Nick’s “got plans,” Swint said on Tuesday as he nursed a bruised eye. Then, in a mocking tone, he added: “You know, I have dreams, too. I want to be the mayor of New Jersey when I grow Continue Reading

Elisabetta Canalis gets cozy with NBA player Dwyane Wade after splitting with George Clooney

If Elisabetta Canalis and George Clooney's breakup is really "a very difficult and very personal matter," as a statement released by the couple read yesterday, then the Italian actress needs to practice frowning. As speculation swirled Tuesday that the relationship was on the rocks, a source tells us the incandescent Canalis "didn't appear too heartbroken" as she bonded with Miami Heat fashion plate Dwyane Wade in the front row of the DSquared2 fashion show that afternoon. Our source says the two were "quite chatty" and Canalis was "extra flirty," though the status of her relationship with Clooney did not enter the conversation. "They spoke a lot about their love of fashion," says the insider, who adds that despite a "great connection" between the two, it's "doubtful" anything romantic would come of the relationship, because Wade is dating actress Gabrielle Union. An unhappy ending? Justin Bieber had the Caroline's Comedy Club crowd doing double takes when he walked out in the middle of a podcast that Adam Carolla was recording with fellow funnyman Jim Norton last night. One source got the impression that Bieber, 17, may have bailed because Carolla and Norton were discussing happy endings--and not the kind you find in a sappy movie--but the pint-size pop star's spokeswoman says he was late for a dinner. After audience members informed the unwitting Carolla that the Biebster had left the building, another source tells us the comic said: "Did he leave any French fries? We could probably auction those off on eBay." 'Twilight' star goes girl-crazy at Nylon party Kellan Lutz must think blondes really do have more fun. A source tells us the "Twilight" actor was "flirting like there was no tomorrow" with Grace Welch, the younger, tow-headed sister of Florence & the Machine front woman Florence Welch, at the Nylon magazine party at Mr. H on Tuesday night. Flame-haired Flo had hosted a dinner for the publication earlier that night in the penthouse of the Continue Reading

Paris Hilton and Brittny Gastineau throw ‘dueling’ Malibu parties, channel high school drama

Brittny Gastineau and Paris Hilton squared off with dueling parties in Malibu on Saturday. Gastineau was feting her Gastineau Glamour jewelry collection for HSN with a guest list that included "Entourage's" Jerry Ferrara and "Millionaire Matchmaker" Patti Stanger. Paris, on the other hand, just wanted to steal some of Gastineau's thunder, says a source familiar with the soirees, which were just a few houses apart. "Brittny had this thing all set up and then Paris just decided to throw a barbecue" to "show her up," says the insider. "It sounds like high school drama." Oil heir Brandon Davis played the role of instigator, leaving Paris' party to crash Brittny's. It didn't take long before he got tossed and hightailed it back. DSK does good biz for bail bondsman The international furor over Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been good business for Ira Judelson, bail bondsman to the stars. We hear that Hollywood and now the publishing industry are itching to get a piece of Judelson's life story ever since he posted DSK's massive $5 million bond in May. Back in January, we reported that Judelson — whose clients have also included new Jet Plaxico Burress, rapper Ja Rule and Manhattan madam Kristin Davis — had partnered with "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" vet Carol Mendelsohn's production company and Paramount to develop a series based on him. Now, an insider tells us Mendelsohn is close to finding a showrunner for the series, and that publishers have also shown interest in a book that could tie in to the TV show. David Fisher and Daniel Paisner are said to be in the running for the assignment. Stevie finds laughter in tears  Stevie Wonder added a moment of comic relief to boxing promoter Butch Lewis' funeral at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Del., on Monday. The crooner wanted to play his harmonica for "The Lord's Prayer," so he asked the star-studded audience — which included Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington and boxing Continue Reading

Kathy Griffin and Joan Rivers double-up when approaching Al Pacino at Broadway events

When comedians Kathy Griffin and Joan Rivers got together at the Carlyle Hotel recently, they learned Al Pacino was also in the house and decided to introduce themselves. They ventured over to Pacino's table, our source says, and "The Merchant of Venice" actor, without any trace of irony in his voice, told Rivers, "I loved your doc - it is a piece of work." To which Griffin replied, "Ummm, that's the title!" Hoo-ah, ladies!- One of our favorite Yankee fans doesn't know whether to laugh or cry at the pitch he received recently from the Hamilton Collection, an Illinois-based collectible company. The firm is marketing the Major League Baseball-approved New York Yankees Motorcycle Collection, a series of miniature choppers that are an untimely celebration of the "winningest franchise" in MLB history - in a year when Bronx Bombers failed to repeat as champs. "Show your pinstripe pride for the 2009 World Series Champions," urge the promotional materials, which presumably were prepared before this fall. The first cycle is called "The Home Run Racer." Perhaps the last one off the production line should be called "Wait Till Last Year."- As long as Anthony Mackie's around, Kerry Washington doesn't need an agent or casting director. At the premiere of their film "Night Catches Us," at the AMC Loews theater on E. 19th St. Thursday, Mackie told us that when another actress dropped out of the movie, "I called Kerry right away and asked her to take the part." The actors first played opposite each other in Spike Lee's "She Hate Me" in 2004. "Kerry makes me feel comfortable," said Mackie. "She doesn't tweet from the set" or "invite her friends to work" or do movies "for the craft services," he said. (We think he was joking there.) He finished with a big flourish, calling Washington "my artistic muse."- Bail Bondsman-to-the-Stars Ira Judelson is everywhere! In Monday's column, we wrote about a Brooklyn bail bond agency that posted an excerpt of Jay-Z's "Decoded" as part of Continue Reading

For the record: Whitney Houston and Ray J are back on, have date night together in ATL

Reunited couple alert! Whitney Houston, 47, and singer/reality star Ray J, 29, are back together again. The two dined together at Capital Grille in Atlanta on Thursday. A source close to the lovebirds told us that though this was their first date in a long time, Ray J postponed his promotional tour for a few days and spent the night with Houston at the Ritz Carlton. (Houston's rep did not respond by deadline.)- Jay-Z meant it when he said he'd be hood forever — even when he's collaborating with giant corporations. Microsoft has spent about a million dollars on an elaborate advertising campaign for his new book, "Decoded," out this week from Spiegel & Grau: They've posted pages from the book in places around the world mentioned in the rapper's lyrics. Fans can use the Bing search engine to track them down — on the lining of a leather jacket at Gucci's Fifth Avenue store, for example. But not all of the locations are quite so luxe. There's also Irving Newman & Jack Robbins, a bondsman at Smith St. and Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn, where one tipster spotted an excerpt posted in the window beneath a neon pink "BAIL BONDS" sign.- Jean "Johnny" Pigozzi knows so many people he can't remember them all. On Friday, the Renaissance man celebrated the official opening of his LimoLand menswear store in the Meatpacking District with a party that started in the boutique then moved across Washington St. to Hector's Café. When skateboarder Tony Hawk showed up, we asked Pigozzi how he knew him. "Who is he?" he replied. But when we informed him of the so-called Vert King's credentials, Pigozzi remembered that he did know Hawk via a friend. Plenty of said pals showed up to fete Pigozzi and ogle a bellydancer he hired to work her pelvic pizzaz while wearing a lit candelabra on her head. Among those in attendance were hotelier Andre Balazs and advertising magnate Sir Martin Sorrell.- Gerard Butler was toasted and roasted for his birthday. The actor celebrated his Continue Reading

Is Gerard Butler off the market? Sources say Global Poverty Project date is just a friend

Recent New York party staple Gerard Butler had the ladies worried when he turned up with a busty brunette at the Global Poverty Project's fund-raiser at the Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday night. But no need to fret, girls. A source says it was just makeup artist Jeannia Robinette, a longtime friend of Butler's who has been linked to him in the past. While the pair stayed by each other's side all night, Robinette didn't stop Butler from flirting with other girls.- Some cool New Yorkers opened their wallets to help Katie Ford's Free the Slaves organization on Wednesday. The benefit was held at ex-hubby Andre Balazs' Top of the Standard nightclub, and the handsome hotelier also served as a co-host of the charity soiree with R.E.M's Michael Stipe and model Helena Christensen (who arrived at 9:45 p.m. after tucking her kids into bed). Balazs contributed to the fund's coffers, too, spending $5,000 on a Steven Klein photograph of a women's leg protruding from the doorway of one of the Standard's rooms.Fashion designer Nicole Miller took home a series of cooking classes from the French Culinary Institute for $2,000. Other supporters of Ford's cause included Liev Schreiber and Selma Blair, who said at the door that "Andre invited me" and spent a good chunk of the night laughing one-on-one with Balazs.- That's one expensive lap dance. The Champagne will flow at VIP men's club on W. 20th St. tonight when owner Sam Zherka celebrates his unprecedented $8 million jury award in federal court against disgraced Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone. Three years ago, Zherka published in his Westchester Guardian newspaper an unflattering story about the politico buying lap dances at VIP from a dancer named Sassy. In retaliation, Amicone confiscated and destroyed all 56 of the news racks that held copies of the controversial weekly.Zherka responded by filing and winning a lawsuit in federal court for gross infringement of his First Amendment rights. The club hopes that Sassy will show up to Continue Reading

Former Giants star Lawrence Taylor busted in rape of 16-year-old Bronx girl as lawyer cries ‘setup’

Former Giants great Lawrence Taylor was sacked Thursday by a reputation-wrecking charge of raping a 16-year-old Bronx girl who was dragged to his Rockland County hotel room by a man police described as a "bad ass" pimp. The linebacker's lawyer and his wife insisted Taylor was the victim of a setup. "As with every celebrity, Mr. Taylor is a target," defense attorney Arthur Aidala said. "Lawrence Taylor did not rape anybody, am I clear?" he said. "We're going to fight it as hard as he fought when he was a linebacker for the New York Giants." But Town of Ramapo Police Chief Peter Brower said the teenager identified Taylor as the man who paid her $300 for the sex - and a source said he told arresting officers "he had no idea the girl was underage." Brower said "ignorance is not an excuse to an individual's age." A condom was found in his hotel room, reported. NYPD deputy commissioner Paul Browne said Taylor used a middleman to arrange the "date" and ex-con Rasheed Davis used some muscle to deliver the teenager to his bed. "She was coerced to go there," Browne said. "She did not want to go." Dressed in a black shirt, dark jeans, and shiny handcuffs, a nervous-looking Taylor rocked back and forth in his chair before he was arraigned on charges of third-degree rape and patronizing a prostitute - charges that could send him up the river for a maximum four years if he's convicted. Taylor uttered only a few words in court as Aidala argued that the former NFL star, who lives in Pembroke Pines, Fla., posed no flight risk. Aidala also said it made no sense for Taylor to sign an order to keep away from the teenage victim because "he doesn't know who she is." The judge disagreed, set the bail at $75,000 - and dismissed Taylor from the courtroom. It was a stunning public humiliation for the 51-year-old Hall of Famer, who has struggled to stay out of trouble since he hung up his cleats in 1993, after 13 years of gridiron glory with the Giants. Continue Reading

Former New York Giants great Lawrence Taylor faces four years in prison if convicted of rape

There were only a handful of media members still hanging around when Lawrence Taylor was brought back into the courtroom Thursday for a procedural matter Judge Arnold P. Edelson had overlooked during his arraignment. The shackles were off this time, but Taylor stood with his hands behind his back as the judge explained the repercussions should he violate the court's order to stay away from his accuser. Taylor nodded, and as he turned toward the gallery to leave, he raised his hand and waved goodbye. Prosecutors in Ramapo, N.Y., want that farewell to last for as many as four years, charging Taylor Thursday with a felony count of third-degree rape and a misdemeanor charge of soliciting a prostitute - charges Taylor, through bloodshot eyes and his lawyer, denied. As he left the Ramapo police station after posting $75,000 bond, one of the most accomplished football players ever was bombarded by photographers and asked by one reporter if he had indeed had had sex with a 16-year-old runaway. Taylor meekly muttered, "No." It was as small as the all-time greatest Giant has ever looked. "In the 20 years I've known him," said his agent, Mark Lepselter, "I've never seen him more distraught." The trouble is, Taylor's past includes enough miserable moments to provide a frame of reference. From his suspension for a positive cocaine test in August of 1988, to his DUI arrest the following March, to being busted in 1996 and '98 for trying to buy crack cocaine from undercover officers, to house arrest in 2000 for filing a false tax return, right down to his November 2009 arrest for leaving the scene of an accident (a case that is still pending, and one that convinced Judge Edelson to set bail so high Thursday), the two-time Super Bowl champion is no stranger to life's depths. "To know Lawrence is to love him," former Super Bowl teammate George Martin told the Daily News Thursday. "He's a great guy. Unfortunately, trouble seems to follow him." Many of the men who teamed Continue Reading