downtownexpress.com
Volume 19 | Issue 32 | December 22 - 28, 2006

Under Cover

Stein plays up Borat scene
Linda Stein, the feminist artist who was shown storming off the set in the “Borat” movie, is putting her newfound infamy to work in promoting her sculpture. In the Downtown Express, Stein wrote an essay chiding Sacha Baron Cohen, the British actor who plays the crude Kazakh journalist, for exploiting his interviewees for comic and commercial gain.

Apparently, Stein has decided to return the favor. Stein’s latest press release, advertising the final week of her Warrior Women show, declares: “Warrior Women Generate Worldwide Acclaim from Appearance in Film ‘Borat.’” The release goes on to describe how the sculptures were “squarely in view” during the film scene and that even after Stein huffed off, they remained in the shot “as an enduring symbol of protection against unsuspecting danger.”

As grammatical inversions go, “unsuspecting danger” isn’t quite as funny as Borat’s “I support your war of terror,” but UnderCover applauds the effort. Though the Warrior Women have ended their New York run, fans of sculpture and satire alike can catch the show in Boca Raton, Fla. in January and in Portland, Ore. later this spring.


Fine print at Federal Hall
Turns out New Yorkers have always been wary of the fine print. While most states simply listed the numbers of the amendments they approved when ratifying the Bill of Rights, New York took the time to write out the text of every amendment — a bold decision given the scarcity and high cost of parchment in those days.

According to a tour guide from the National Park Service, who was on hand during the ratification document’s Dec. 14 to 17 stint at Federal Hall, the legislators “wanted to know exactly what they were signing on to.”

New York passed 11 of the 12 proposed amendments, including the 10 that we currently call the Bill of Rights. The other New York-approved amendment, which never made it into the constitution, would have limited Congressional districts to a maximum of 50,000 constituents. Supporters of the measure reasoned that a Congressman could never be truly responsive to his district if he had to represent more than 50,000 people. Had the amendment passed, New York City alone would have approximately 160 representatives today!

Pencil him gone
Michael Haberman may not have been a pencil pusher as the Lower Manhattan Development Corpor­ation’s vice president of community development, but he is leaving the agency to become the new president of PENCIL, the non-profit that organizes Principal for a Day and develops public-private partnerships with schools.

Haberman, who reported for Downtown Express long before there was an UnderCover, starts his new job in January, when it looks like the L.M.D.C. will outlive its own predictions of its demise. The agency announced a few months ago that it would disband in January, but it looks like officials will let Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer hammer the final nail. Spitzer had harsh words for the corporation and its former chairperson, John Whitehead, as a gubernatorial candidate.


To park or to eat?
To park or to eat — that is the question faced by visitors to Downtown’s Millenium Hilton and Embassy Suites hotels. A current promotion offered by the Hilton Family’s upscale brands gives guests the option of free breakfast or free parking during their stay, but not both.

At the Embassy Suites, which already offers a complimentary hot buffet breakfast to its guests, this essentially means trading in your omelet for a $55 per night parking spot. For resident New Yorkers who currently give up arms, legs and unborn children (or at least the equivalent of rent on a small studio) to keep their cars in the city, the dilemma is a familiar one. Welcome to Downtown, holiday tourists.

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