Archive for August, 2007

The New Medici

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Two new books are now in the works about the controversial trade in antiquities and the role museums play in it, but anyone interested in the subject should indulge right now in the paperback of Peter Watson and Cecelia Todeschini’s The Medici Conspiracy — a true-crime book that reads like a case-file thriller. Here’s a recent review.

Goldberger Standard

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I love the fact that Paul Goldberger’s review of 740 P… oops… 15 Central Park West in the new New Yorker name-checks 740 Park twice and its architect Rosario Candela six times. A commenter on curbed.com, referring to Goldberger’s dismissal of last year’s trend in luxury apartment construction — “glass is the new white brick” — calls it the best line in the piece. I agree. And must admit I’m relieved that a critic of Goldberger’s stature agrees with just about every particular of my appraisal of the place .

Brooke Astor, RIP

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Brooke Astor died this afternoon at age 105. Expect well-deserved reverential obituaries tomorrow and shortly thereafter, more acute, albeit posthumous, embarassment due to the unseemly (and uncharacteristically publicized) family squabble over what remains of Vincent Astor’s fortune.

Yo Mike, An Idle Thought

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I have to give Adam Sandler credit. He doesn’t claim to be pro-environment. But the politicians of New York do, so I wish they were walking on Central Park South tonight, where Sandler is making a future Oscar winner called “You Don’t Mess With Zoltan.” Fifteen or twenty huge trucks are there, idling in the insane burning heat — their drivers sleeping in their air-conditioned cabs. I actually got one of them to turn his engine off. I asked another if he thought he was doing the world any good. “I’m feeding my kids,” he said.

Blogrolling

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Fishbowl New York and its new editor Ron Mwangaguhunga, aka The Corsair, interviewed me by e-mail late last week for its 5 Questions feature and the result is here. Ron’s name, by the way, looks hard to say, but he swears it’s “pretty phonetic, really.”

Schadenschwarzmanfreude (Eastern Division)

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“O senior officials of the Chinese government, please do not be fooled by sweet-talking wolves dressed in human skin,” a blogger writes of the Chinese government’s early investment in Blackstone Group, per today’s New York Times business section. Look at it this way, Steve Schwarzman, it beats being called “ostentatious, churlish, megalo maniacal, tone-deaf — and a hypocritical dissembler to boot” in your banking buddy Wasserstein’s weekly!

Italy Gets Getty Booty

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The Italian government has concluded an agreement for the return of 40 antiquities from the Getty museum in Los Angeles, the latest coup in its crusade to recover what it deems Italy’s cultural patrimony. The Metropolitan Museum made a similar deal last year. The blog Looting History analyzes the news here, and wonders aloud about more unreturned objects, including a Roman wall painting fragment in the collection of Metropolitan trustee Shelby White.

Co-op Power… Gold Coast News

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Another report from New York’s new Gold Coast. The New York Sun says a penthouse at the Beresford is on the market for the soaring sum of $28 million.