Readers sound off on Bill de Blasio, Times Square and Amazon

An upstate mayor blasts Big Bill Oswego: I know Bill de Blasio. I like Bill de Blasio. I hope he does well in his term of office as mayor of our greatest city. But so far, Bill de Blasio as mayor is no Ed Koch. He’s not even Dave Dinkins. What de Blasio needs is a basic tutoring in how to act mayoral. He hasn’t quite made the transition from public advocate to being mayor, and as a result, his proverbial slip is showing. He could start by reading Koch’s book, “Mayor.” I did, and it helped me formulate a way of approaching things when I was Mayor of a small upstate city (Oswego). You have to learn to be, first and foremost, a good gardener. You must be on a constant lookout for weeds, and uproot them before they are firmly entrenched. Being a good mayor doesn’t mean you are the ideologue in chief. It means that your primary focus needs to be on quality-of-life issues that matter to your constituents. Pothole-patching is important. Tree planting and curb cuts matter. In Staten Island, they want a mayor to show up when a firefighter is imperiled. Gyms in Park Slope can wait. Koch’s famous saying was, as he greeted constituents, “How am I doin’?” I dare say de Blasio would be loath to utter that phrase to strangers on the street these days. “Good government is good politics,” de Blasio recently said. I believe that too. I also believe, as Tip O’Neill famously said, “All politics is local.” In order to have good government, you need good hands-on management, and 24/7-type vigilance. Trips to Rome and Iowa can wait. Canarsie and Coney Island beckon first. John Sullivan, Mayor of Oswego (1988-91), co-chair of N.Y. Democratic Party (1995-98) Cruelty, thy name is Donald Manhattan: After reading the editorial on Donald Trump’s immigration reform plan (“This is Trumpistan,” Aug. 18), I got chills of anxiety and dread. Force American-born Continue Reading

Stylish parents of Bethenny Frankel’s boyfriend were target of online haters after couple was featured in New York magazine’s Look Book section

Bethenny Frankel's new financier boytoy Michael Cerussi III continues to fall under media scrutiny — as it was discovered by [email protected] he was accused of rape while a student and frat boy at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., back in 2000. He was expelled following the victim’s claims, then sued the school and the alleged victim. The suit was ultimately settled and Cerussi reportedly was reinstated at the school, though he never actually returned. It appears Cerussi’s late father, Michael II, and his mother, Kathryn, have also been the target of online haters who made fun of their opulent style when they were featured in New York mag’s popular Look Book section in 2004. Cerussi was proud to be compared to the slimy Gordon Gekko, portrayed by Michael Douglas, in the film "Wall Street." A photo of the duo, featuring Kathryn clad in an obnoxious floor-length mink coat and Michael II behind her in a long trench coat and shades, didn’t sit well with many readers. “My fur coat is mink, from Saks,” Kathryn had told the weekly, explaining how she deals with animal rights activists. “In the early ’80s, I worked for Glamour magazine. I was walking to a lunch date on Park Avenue and there were people with buckets of red paint. I had on the first mink I’d ever owned! I hid in the Athletic Club until a nice man came down, put my fur in his bag and walked me to Madison.” Michael II goes on to say that he was more concerned about how he looked than all the guys in his office, where he was a corporate lawyer. “The New York Times once, after I’d won a big trial, described my appearance as a throwback to Gordon Gekko,” he bragged. “My clients got a big kick out of it. The reporter was from the New York Times, you know? He hadn’t bought a new suit since he got out of college. Michael Douglas did dress very cool in that movie.” Media site Gawker soon Continue Reading

The wild and woolly 16th annual New York International  Fringe Festival runs Aug. 10-26

Sweet 16s mark a serious coming-of-age, but it’s still okay to get goofy. The New York International Fringe Festival, the everything-goes summer theater sampler, takes that to heart Aug. 10-26. Consider titles of upcoming shows — “Mother Eve’s Garden of Sensual Sisterhood,” “Dumber Faster,” “2 Households, 2 A--holes.” Cheeky stuff, and there’s more of it. “The spirit of this festival hasn’t changed,” says artistic director Elena K. Holy. “We’re still scrappy, resourceful, downtown and fun.” Sprawling too. Since its downtown beginning in 1997, it’s been the summer’s biggest theater festival. Over 16 days, there are 180-plus shows in 20 venues. On tap are plays, musicals, stand-up comedy, dance, puppetry, performance art and virtually anything else you can shake a stick at. Literally — “Cobu” is a drumming show. The lineup is more global than ever, and includes productions of “Hanafuda Denki,” a riff on Brecht from Japan, “Dogs,” about an all-male Arab-Israeli “Romeo and Juliet,” and “City of Shadows” from Australia. As with any festival, gems are few and far between. But at $15 a pop, at least the tickets are cheap. And there’s always the slim shot that lurking in this summer is the next “Urinetown,” which went from Fringe in 1999 to Broadway two years later. Meet three New Yorkers from the current Fringe crop, who, like everyone, would love to mimic that success. They already stand out. JUNIOR ACHIEVER Max Friedlich, author of “SleepOver” at the Cherry Lane Theatre To write “SleepOver,” Max Friedlich had to work around high school final exams. At 17, Friedlich is the youngest person with a full-scale show at Fringe. “I want to be treated as a normal playwright,” Friedlich says, adding that some Continue Reading

Meet David Einhorn: The cutthroat, charitable and possible New York Mets savior

In a vault somewhere on the island of Manhattan, the prospective partner of the New York Mets has a secret stash of gold. He is not saying where - hedge-fund heavyweights may be even better at keeping secrets than they are at turning profits - but his hunch is that gold is a good investment, so he has made his buys and piled up the bars, a glistening, gilded stack that he hopes will keep appreciating in blessed anonymity. David Einhorn, founder of a firm called Greenlight Capital, doesn't win big with every investment he makes, but in the high-risk, huge-reward realm he operates in, he has done it often enough to become a very wealthy whiz kid in the $2 trillion hedge-fund world - and now a potentially big player in New York sports, a place that seems entirely fitting for a guy who has spent most of his 42 years wowing people with his precociousness. A government major at Cornell, Einhorn interned as a junior at the SEC's Office of Economic Analysis, and wrote a thesis on the cyclical regulation of the airline industry. It won the highest academic honor in his department.LONG & SHORT OF IT FAVORS WILPONS STAYING IN CONTROL Fifteen years ago, Einhorn and then-partner Jeffrey Keswin founded Greenlight with just $900,000 in seed money - $500,000 from Einhorn's parents. Today the firm manages close to $8 billion. Five years ago, Einhorn jumped in on the World Series of Poker and wound up finishing 18th - and winning $660,000, which he donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Clearly, this is a man whose mind moves quickly, and whose nerves are sturdier than Gibraltar. "He's an outside-the-box thinker," says Whitney Tilson, who runs the T2 Partners hedge fund, as well as the annual Value Investing Congress, a conference where Einhorn is a regular speaker. "His portfolio doesn't look remotely like anybody else's. He does extraordinarily detailed work." David Einhorn lives in the Westchester town of Rye with his wife and three children, takes the train to Continue Reading

Cam Newton wins Heisman Trophy over Andrew Luck, LaMichael James, Kellen Moore in New York

Cam Newton made his first visit to Times Square this weekend. It didn't take long before his name was up in lights on Broadway. Auburn's controversial star quarterback won the Heisman Trophy in a landslide vote Saturday night. He was just too good to resist, so good, in fact, he turned three other deserving finalists - Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Oregon running back LaMichael James and Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore - into witnesses of his coronation at the Best Buy Theatre in Times Square. Newton was listed first on 729 ballots - 93% - and had 2,263 points, finishing far ahead of Luck, who finished with 78 first-place votes and 1,079 points. After his name was announced, Newton went over and hugged his mother Jackie, his two brothers and Auburn coach Gene Chizik. He thanked both of his parents. "My parents do a lot of things behind the scenes that go unnoticed," he said, committing a Freudian slip. The Tigers' immensely talented, 6-6, 250-pound junior won by a huge margin despite an NCAA investigation that determined his father Cecil had solicited money through a third party from Mississippi State in a failed pay-for-play scheme when Newton was being recruited out of junior college last year. Even though the NCAA ruled neither Newton nor Auburn had any knowledge of his father's dealings, that clouded the issue and brought back painful memories of USC's Reggie Bush returning his 2005 Heisman Trophy last summer after the NCAA determined he was ineligible that season because his parents had received free rent on a house and a car from two L.A. sports agents seeking to sign their son. Once burned, twice wary. Some 105 Heisman voters omitted Newton from their ballots completely, making the argument that he failed to meet the standards of the Heisman Trophy's mission statement - a pursuit of excellence with integrity - and pointing to past character flaws that occurred during the two years Newton spent at Florida. While in Gainesville, Newton was Continue Reading

Boys & Girls, Lincoln, Jefferson and South Shore dominate Brooklyn, New York’s basketball hotspot

They are the Kangaroos, Railsplitters, Orange Wave and Vikings. The nicknames - each of which correlates to their performance on the hardwood - suggest bounce, blue collar, movement and ruthlessness. Collectively, Boys & Girls, Lincoln, Jefferson and South Shore high schools are top-shelf boys programs in the ultra-competitive PSAL Brooklyn 'AA' division. Once the league schedule tips off next week, these powerhouse programs will have weekly, head-to-head interaction until the borough playoffs in February. The pace is dizzying, a microcosm of both the borough and league. That's life in Brooklyn, the city's power borough for basketball, where 2.6 million inhabitants are crammed into roughly 71 square miles. "If Brooklyn were a city, it would be the fourth largest in the country," said recruiting analyst Tom Konchalski. "It is known as the borough of players; and demographically, it should be." In the last 25 years, a Brooklyn school has won the highest public school classification title ('A' or 'AA') 16 times, including nine of the last 10. The Bedford Academy Panthers, coached by Robert Phelps, won the second largest classification ('A') city title in 2010, finishing 25-5. Phelps, who grew up in the Van Dyke Projects in Brownsville and played at Nazareth HS and Providence College, says a prototypical Brooklyn player is marked by toughness. "There's a survivalist mentality in Brooklyn. You needed one to walk the tough streets and then you brought that mentality to the court," he said. "A Brooklyn player is usually arrogant, cocky and tenacious, but that's why we stand out. There's a great talent base in New York but give me players from Brooklyn any time; I'll take my chances with them." When Boys & Girls captured last year's 'AA' championship - the school's eighth overall - Brooklyn's PSAL dominance was stretched to five straight years (Lincoln won four straight from 2006 to 2009). This year, Brooklyn 'AA' oozes talent. Together with these Continue Reading

Tourists, locals recall terrifying evacuation after car bomb nearly goes off in Times Square

What started as a beautiful evening in New York City turned into a nightmare for thousands of panicked people. "It's terrifying," said Christian Borgo, 32, of the upper West Side, who was shopping at the Swatch store across the street from the SUV when cops told people to move away fast. "They said there might be a bomb and everyone had to go," he said. "There was smoke coming from the car. They were clearing out everyone. People were afraid. I'm still shaking." "When I saw this happening I immediately thought, 'terrorism,'" said Marie Saint Claire, 52, vacationing from Switzerland. "It makes me scared to know how close I was to being blown up. This is life in New York now?" Sharon Marques-Feinstein was on her way to see "Billy Elliot" when she was forced to clear out of Times Square. "Whoever it was obviously wanted to kill people and inflict a lot of damage," she said. "If there was a timer, they knew what they were doing. This was a message, you know? I'm very afraid. You have to be vigilant now." "It's like something out of one of those end of the world films," said Scott Dennis, 39, of midtown who was in a taxi heading home when police stopped the car and told them to turn around. "Gasoline? Gunpowder? If that had blown here on a Saturday night, it would have been horrifying." Brooklyn resident Celine Rapp was relaxing in the pedestrian plaza near the SUV when police cleared the area. "I saw a bomb squad robot roll up to the SUV as well as guys in bomb squad gear investigating the trunk area," she said. "I am scared, but I'm thankful it didn't go off. There would have been more mass panic." "I could have been past the SUV before the fire and thought nothing of it," said James Marion of London, who was admiring the bright lights of Times Square. "I could have been there at the wrong moment, so naturally it's rattling," he said. "When I saw them going at it with the bomb-checking machine, I thought, 'My God, I was close to disaster.'" Continue Reading

Stay in New York and be a tourist in your hometown this summer: hotels, dining, music, sports & more

With spending cash in shorter supply than Gov. Paterson supporters, many New Yorkers will vacation close to home as the weather heats up. And there’s no better time than now to be a tourist in your own town. The city’s taking full advantage of the staycation mentality — there are great deals on local attractions from hotels to nightlife and museums. (For more info, visit HOTELS THE W NEW YORK in midtown (541 Lexington Ave.) was recently renovated, and to celebrate they’re offering great deals Thursday to Sunday on rooms from May though July. Special rates with a free upgrade to a “Wonderful Room” range from $179-$199 a night., 1-877-822-0000. Steeped in historic significance, THE ALGONQUIN HOTEL (59 W. 44th St.) is a convenient and beloved New York City landmark. The hotel is now offering 20% off its best available room rates for Sunday stays. Plus, when you buy one drink at either of the two bars at the hotel, you get the second drink for half price., (212) 840-6800. THE AFFINIA GARDENS (215 E. 64th St.), a posh upper East Side hotel, normally charges $359 a night for a spacious junior suite, but if you book a room by May 8 for a stay anytime between May 24 and July 11, rates fall to $199 a night., (212) 355-1230. Treat yourself to first-class comfort in a setting high above the hustle and bustle of midtown. Starting in May, the luxurious PARK CENTRAL NEW YORK HOTEL (870 Seventh Ave.) is offering summer special rates ranging from $159 to $179 a night., (212) 247-8000. Escape the midtown madness by heading south to the SOHOTEL (341 Broome St., at the Bowery), the oldest hotel in New York City. Deluxe rooms are $189 a night, but if you’re planning to stay a while, the Sohotel throws in a great deal: Stay three nights from May 3 to July 30 and get half off one night. Stay four nights during the same Continue Reading

What’s happening in New York City this weekend

CONCERTS AVENTURA. Madison Square Garden, Seventh Ave. & 33rd, (212-307-7171). Tomorrow at 8; $79.50-$114.50. CLUTCH. Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey St. (212-533-2111). With The Hidden Hand, Fiend Without a Face, Beatallica. Tonight at 7; sold out. HOT 97'S ON THE REGGAE TIP. Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 W. 34th St. (212-777-1224). With Elephant Man, Mavado, Buju Banton. Tonight at 6. MACHEL MONTANO & MR. VEGAS. Roseland Ballroom, 239 W. 52nd St. (212-307-7171). Tomorrow at 10; $42. YOUTH EXPLOSION 2007. Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale, L.I. (516-794-9300). Tomorrow at 6; $27.50. ROCK & POP ACE OF CLUBS. 9 Great Jones St. (212-677-6963). Tonight at 7:30, Ben; $18. B.B. KING BLUES CLUB. 237 W. 42nd St. (212-997-4144). Tonight at 8, Chicago Blues Reunion, $25; at 10:30, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk; $17. Tomorrow at 8, Almost a Queen; $12. Sun. at 8, Oasis vs. Blur, The Streamers; $15. THE BITTER END. 147 Bleecker St. (212-673-7030). Tonight, Chris Ayer, Bound by Substance, Colt Thompson Project, Guava Lava; free. Tomorrow, Nick Piro, Kickin' Daisies, Fat City Reprise; free. Tonight & tomorrow, Days of Wild; free. HIGHLINE BALLROOM. 431 W. 16th St. (212-414-5994). Tonight at 8, Ledisi; $28. Tomorrow at 8 p.m., New York Burlesque Festival; $25-$50. Sun. at 8 p.m., Beatallica, Tragedy, Queen Diamond and Guyz Nite; $5.98. JOE'S PUB. 425 Lafayette St. (212-539-8770). Tonight, N'Harmonics; $12. At 9:30, ROFL! v1.2 with Cintra Wilson and Ethan Lipton; $15. Tomorrow at 7:30, Stephane Wrembel; $15. At 9:30, LEVY; $12. At 11:30, Meowskers with All Night Chemists; $12. LIVING ROOM. 154 Ludlow St. (212-533-3376). Tonight at 7, Northern, Walter The Orange Ocean, Bess Rogers, Alan Semerdijan, Gregory and The Hawk, Adrien Reju; free. Tomorrow at 10, Spencer Day, Aldo Perez; free. LUNA LOUNGE. 361 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn (718-384-7112). Tonight at 7:30, The Sweet Ones, Money Paper Hearts, The Orion Experience, NYCSmoke, Continue Reading

Junior’s famous New York cheesecakes will now be made in New Jersey

FUHGEDDABOUDIT! Junior’s world-famous cheesecakes will now be made in New Jersey. The iconic restaurant revealed Tuesday that it will soon move its main bakery from Maspeth, Queens, to Burlington, N.J. — a relocation that will help Junior’s expand its mail-order business. The company’s third-generation owner, Alan Rosen, said quality would not be affected. “It’s not like bagels that are made using New York water,” he told the Daily News. “The quality of our cakes won’t change one ounce, as it hasn’t in 65 years.” The New Jersey bakery has more freezer space and much cheaper rent, according to Crain’s New York Business, which first reported the move. Junior’s, which has outposts in Times Square, Grand Central Terminal and at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, has maintained a restaurant at DeKalb Ave. and Flatbush Ave. Extension since first opening in 1950. It will also still maintain a small baking operation above that location.  In 2014, Rosen contemplated selling off the two-story flagship location to developers, but he changed his mind despite a $45 million offer. The world-famous diner boasts a clientele that has included President Obama and Jay Z and occupies a corner that is central to the real estate boom in downtown Brooklyn. The plot’s air rights promised a potential 103,000 square feet of buildable space, and developers were willing to pay a record $450 per square foot. But the Rosens decided to stay. The Maspeth facility, which employs about 60 people, bakes for Junior’s wholesale and mail-order businesses, as well as its brick-and-mortar stores. The company sells more than 1 million cheesecakes each year, according to Rosen. Customers outside the Brooklyn location had mixed feelings about the move. “It’s a big mistake,” said Anthony Brett, 41, of Brooklyn, a heating and air Continue Reading