New York Observer


Reeling and Dealing

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER

October 15, 2001

By Petra Bartosiewicz and James Verini, with Blair Golson

Earlier this month, City Comptroller Alan Hevesi tried to put a number on the economic fallout from the World Trade Center attack, releasing a report that estimated the loss at somewhere between $90 billion and $105 billion over the next two fiscal years. Of that, $45 billion was for the loss of the buildings and the future earnings of thousands of victims, and $45 billion to $60 billion for “ongoing costs.”
(more…)


Power Surge: Thousands Worked to Get the Financial District Ready for Comeback Monday

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER

September 24, 2001

By James Verini

The ringing of the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 17 not only announced the resumption of trading in the post-9/11 world — it also marked the successful completion of a massive attempt to restore the infrastructure of downtown Manhattan so business, if not life itself, could return to normal.
(more…)


Bull Market: Forrest and Kimberly Smith Think New Yorkers Will Be Kookaburra for Their Cheap Steaks

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER

August 20, 2001

By James Verini

Forrest Smith and Kimberly Farkas Smith have a grand scheme. They know that New Yorkers love steak. But they think the city is underserviced by the existing crop of snooty, expensive steakhouses. New Yorkers want beef, big heaping chunks of it, the Smiths believe, but they want it for cheap.
(more…)


You’ve Got Friends: Why Mark Green Can I.M. AOL

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER

July 23, 2001

By James Verini and Alexandra Wolfe

Mark Green, the Mayoral candidate, was in the lobby of 55 Broad Street on Monday, June 25, working up a frothy pitch about the Internet, technology, high-speed access.

“We have to expand broadband,” the Democratic candidate said at the campaign stop. “The next Mayor has to sit down with Verizon and AOL Time Warner and do a survey right away, and then make sure that all businesses and families in our city have broadband and I.S.P. connections.”
(more…)


For 2001 Interns, It’s Perks, Parties and Plenty of Envy

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER

July 30, 2001

By James Verini

As if anyone needed reminding, Wall Street stinks right now. Revenues are in the gutter; the Nasdaq, once your pot of retirement gold, has dwindled down to just a pot; with every swing of the ax, more and more of your floormates are spending their days pecking around on Hotjobs.com.
(more…)


Ron’s TV Bloc Bust: Lauder Heir Faces U.S. Probe, Huge Losses Over Eastern Europe Media Empire

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER

July 2, 2001

By James Verini

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, Ronald Lauder looked east and saw “business opportunity” scrolling across the TV screens of every nation in the Eastern bloc. Oh, to be there first and grab it all, as state-run media fell into the hands of the private sector and glasnost, the free exchange of ideas, flourished from one former Soviet republic and satellite to the next.

Now, at last, Eastern Europeans would be free to watch the Pocasicko, a news segment featuring the naked weather girl, who puts on or strips off clothing according to the day’s forecast.

This was Mr. Lauder’s chance: his moment to step out of the shadow of his successful family, to come back from the debacle that was the 1989 New York Mayoral race and establish his own identity.

(more…)


So How Much Is a Painting of a Couch?

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER

June 18, 2001

By James Verini

If you’ve ever wondered which French painter’s work is the equivalent of General Electric stock, Michael Moses, who teaches courses in something called “operations management” at the New York University’s Stern School of Business, can tell you. It’s Claude Monet, without a doubt. His Impressionist works are the best investments on the art market, says Professor Moses. Just ask the guy who paid $13.25 million at Sotheby’s in early May for Le Parlement, Soleil Couchant, a painting that sold for $9 million in 1989.

(more…)


Pushing ‘Privatization,’ Wall Street Tyrant Makes Takeover Bid for City Schools

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER
June 18, 2001

By James Verini

 

If the Guardian Angels celebrating their 22nd anniversary at Tavern on the Green wasn’t an incongruous enough sight, there were the four famous New Yorkers, from wildly disparate walks of public life, standing on the small stage in the restaurant’s back room at the event’s climax. None of them knew each other, but all four were wearing red nylon jackets and red berets.

(more…)


Apres Rudy — What Deluge?

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER
June 11, 2001
By Terry Golway with Observer staff

 

The city Rudy Giuliani inherited on Jan. 1, 1994, was said to be ungovernable, which is the kind of thing that people west of the Hudson have always said about New York. They said it when Edwin Forrest and his friends broke up a performance by William C. Macready in the Astor Place Opera House in 1849. They said it when Union troops were dispatched from Gettysburg to Manhattan to put down the draft riots in 1863.

(more…)


Analyst Makes Blockbuster Calls: Buy Fox, Hold Disney

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER

June 4, 2001

By James Verini

 

Two days before what threatened to be the biggest Memorial Day box-office weekend ever — bigger than the same four days in 1997 that included the $90 million opener for The Lost World: Jurassic Park — Christopher Dixon was sussing out the film studios’ offerings. There was Pearl Harbor: too violent, maybe, for the repeat viewings of that crucial audience, teenage girls; also, its high cost and appeal to the Japanese, the largest foreign market, are iffy. There was Shrek: “A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to Jeffrey Katzenberg,” Mr. Dixon said, “and I said to him, ‘Jeffrey, how do you think Shrek is going to open?’ And he said, ‘I don’t have a clue.'”

(more…)


Now It’s Revealed: City Saved by Elaine!

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER

May 28, 2001

By James Verini

There was a time when bankers hung out at Elaine’s as much as reporters, former police commissioners and Woody Allen. Or so one could conclude after listening to all the anecdotes about Felix Rohatyn that floated from the dais at the Pierre on the night of Thursday, May 17.

(more…)


Liar’s Poker Lives: Entrepreneur Conjures Bygone Era of Bluffs and High Stakes

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER

May 21, 2001

By James Verini

He whispered a few words. The traders in the vicinity eavesdropped. What Gutfreund said has become a legend … He said: “One hand, one million dollars, no tears.” Meriwether grabbed the meaning instantly. The King of Wall Street, as Business Week had dubbed Gutfreund, wanted to play a single hand of a game called Liar’s Poker for a million dollars.

— Michael Lewis, Liar’s Poker

(more…)