Bintel Blog

Would Bloomberg Play Second Fiddle?

By Aram David

Writing in the New York Daily News, Josh Greenman makes the case for why Michael Bloomberg would be the perfect running mate for Barack Obama.

While Greenman, a member of the paper’s editorial board, admits that a black-Jewish ticket could elicit a negative reaction from more narrow-minded precincts, he argues that the positives of such a pairing would far outweigh the negatives, with Bloomberg providing credibility on economic issues, “crossover appeal” and a results-oriented resume that would complement Obama’s strengths.

As to the question of whether New York’s CEO-mayor would consent to being a No. 2, Greenman offers the following: “As one New York political heavyweight commented recently: No one wants to be the vice president … until they’re asked to be vice president.”


Using 'Counterinsurgency' Tactics, Hasidic Principal Restores Order to Troubled South Bronx School

By Daniel Treiman

The heroic educator who swoops in and rescues students at a troubled inner-city school is a favorite Hollywood trope: Think Jim Belushi in “The Principal,” Michelle Pfeiffer in “Dangerous Minds,” Edward James Olmos in “Stand and Deliver,” Morgan Freeman in “Lean on Me,” etc.

This Friday’s New York Times featured a real-life story that is, as a colleague of mine pointed out, stranger than fiction.

Four years ago, Junior High School 22 in the South Bronx was an utter mess. There was anarchy in the hallways. In some classes, few students bothered to show up. The school was classified as one of New York City’s dozen most dangerous. It had gone through six principals in two years.

Then along came Shimon Waronker, a member of the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic sect. Despite concerns that a Hasidic principal would be a mismatch for a largely black and Hispanic school, Waronker has quickly proven his doubters wrong.

Waronker, it turns out, brought an unusual background to the job — and not only because he is a Hasidic Jew. Waronker is also a native Spanish-speaker (which impressed Hispanic students) and had served as an officer in the U.S. Army. He drew heavily upon his military background in restoring order to the troubled school.

The Times reports:

Read more


Neurotics of the World Unite!: Larry David To Star in Woody Allen’s Next Film

By Daniel Treiman

Entertainment Weekly reports:

Larry David, the mind behind Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, is set to be the lead in Woody Allen’s next, as-yet-untitled feature, which is scheduled to shoot in New York City in the spring. Plot details are being kept under wraps, but David will act alongside Evan Rachel Wood.

E.W. notes that the film will be a sort of homecoming for Allen, who shot his previous three movies in England and an upcoming one in Spain. But will Woody and Larry find that the New York that nurtured their neuroses no longer exists?

UPDATE: Evan Rachel Wood is also one of us.


Woody Allen’s New York, RIP

By Daniel Treiman

For the past half-decade, New York City has been consumed by a frenzy of greed. A whirlwind of out-of-context development, anarchic “architecture” and a virus-like proliferation of chain stores that has ravaged the cityscape. Property owners, not satisfied with rents and property values that have already soared into the stratosphere, instead are all too often determined to squeeze every last dollar out of their land that they legally (and in some cases illegally) can — aesthetics be damned. Historic and under-protected neighborhoods from the Lower East Side to the Upper West Side to low-rise Brooklyn have been devastated, historic buildings ripped down and replaced by “luxury condo” towers, which are, as often as not, either thoroughly banal or outright hideous to look at. The city government, for its part, has largely failed to leverage the manifold opportunities provided by New York’s newfound prosperity to protect the idea of the city beautiful. The result is that walking the streets of New York has become more than a little heartbreaking, a sense of loss accompanying every vista.

So it’s not surprising that a quintessential New Yorker like Woody Allen would be a little sad nowadays; the city he lovingly immortalized in his films is being despoiled. In an interview with the Daily News, Woody Allen succinctly sums up the trouble with the new New York:

There are certain areas that have not been encroached upon too much — Carnegie Hill, the West Village, Tudor City, places that are still lovely to look at. But once they put up those big new buildings, it looks the same as Houston.

I’ve been in fights and gone to City Hall and Landmark Commission and neighborhood planning [events]. There are always lovely things being torn down and huge, profitable things put up. I’m not against development, but I am against it when it’s not a plus for the city, and the plus can’t always be equated with financial profit.



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