Who’s Been Naughty & Nice in 2010

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Each year we take a look back to see who messed up and who made us happy. Here’s our eclectic mix of both.

NAUGHTY


The Geese Killers (Fowl Fiends)

It’s one thing to blame the geese that were minced in Captain “Sully” Sullenberger’s giant jet engine propeller for causing Flight 1549 to crash land into the Hudson River. It’s quite another to begin a covert, statewide mission to exterminate two thirds of New York’s Canada goose population. This summer “wildlife biologists” gathered 400 geese from Prospect Park Lake and gassed them to death with carbon dioxide, in what appears to be the first round of Canada geese killings. But the story gets better, because it was one particular goose, a crossbow victim, that stole headlines: While this honker had avoided the first round of euthanasia, an anonymous archer managed to launch an arrow through its neck without killing it. Park rangers failed on multiple attempts to capture the impaled bird, leading us to wonder how wildlife biologists managed to collect 400 geese for mass execution but park rangers couldn’t catch one to save its life. We suspect subterfuge or dastardly PR stratagem—or both. The good news is, if Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds becomes reality, Canada geese will have a hard time pecking our eyes out.

The Kardashians (The Fame Whores)

The
only thing worse than their E! reality TV show is the Kardashian
sisters’ East Coast takeover. In the last few months, the Ryan Seacrest
protégés hauled their growing media niche of big-assed stupidity from
L.A. to Soho. The sisters endlessly enforce mom Kris Jenner’s advice of
promoting the Kardashian brand until they die—or at least until their
boobs sag. They are solely responsible for excessively long lines around
the city, particularly on Spring Street, where they opened clothing
store Dash, dubbed an “overpriced theme park” by fashion critics. After
tainting the fashion world, the trio insulted literary enthusiasts when
they caused winding lines around the Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue
for a book signing. Yes, they “wrote” a book. For some reason, Lauren
Conrad’s didn’t get under our skin as much, possibly because The Hills star
didn’t follow up her publishing feat by unveiling a prepaid credit card
with her face on it. The Kardashians will further embarrass us with
their upcoming show, Kim and Kourtney Take New York. Unfortunately we’re pretty sure the shameless behavior will continue through the new year.

Darleen Scherer & Carol McLaughlin (The Bitchy Witches)

Park
Slope was rocked by controversy this past spring when the entire staff
of beloved joe joint Gorrilla Coffee quit en masse. The reason
Brooklynites couldn’t find a quality cuppa was because the now-former
employees accused co-owner Carol McLaughlin of allegedly fostering a
“perpetually malicious, hostile and demeaning work environment,” as
stated in a letter to the New York Times and The Brooklyn Paper. Too proud to admit any wrongdoing (or too dastardly to just say sorry), McLaughlin turned around and sued the Times for
printing the “defamatory” letter and causing her emotional trauma. Her
plot worked, as the Gorilla Coffee scandal invaded every corner of the
blogosphere and made it into most papers. The Times has since
filed a motion to dismiss the case, claiming the defendant cannot “use
civil litigation to silence newspapers that publish opinions they
disagree with.” It’s been a tough year for lots of folks, but some
people can make it worse—not matter what sort of caffeinated drugs
they’re slinging.

David Epstein (The Naughty Professor)

Of
course David Epstein, the Columbia University political science
professor accused of allegedly bedding his biological daughter for%u2028
three years, is innocent until proven guilty. We’re just baffled why,
with practically unlimited access to a sea of hot, young%u2028 college gals,
the 46-year-old dad was allegedly schtupping his 24-year-old daughter
from 2006 to 2009. Incest is plenty wicked. Then there’s all that
father-on-daughter sexting. Even worse, Epstein’s lawyer, Matthew
Galluzzo, publically compared his client’s outrageous behavior with hot,
sexy homosexuality. Thanks a lot, asshole: You
just set the gay rights movement back about 50 years. It’s a slippery
slope to both your houses, but Santa’s sleigh knows no bounds. Better
watch what’s coming down your chimneys, you naughty boys! Expect a hefty
lump of coal and firm kick in the pants from that burly bear-hunk in
the fabulous red outfit. We all know the only real beard is Mrs. Claus.

Alastair Macauley (The Black Swan)

OK,
it’s not like we don’t walk around all day bitching about the barely
perceptible flaws of people who are prettier than us. We’d also be
totally crazy not to support any journalist’s right to speak his mind,
especially when that journalist has a great accent. But while we applaud
Alastair Macauley for expressing an opinion, we still think he’s a
Grade-A Grinch. The Times dance critic caused an uproar last month with his comment in a review of The Nutcracker that New York City Ballet dancer Jennifer Ringer, a new mom and recovering anorexic, “looked
as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many.” If you’re going to
criticize a dancer’s body, at least let your readers know why it
matters. Even the writers of the cheesy chick flick Center Stage handled this topic with more wit when Susan May Pratt’s character dropped the delightfully nasty line: “Her pas de deux partner’s going to need a crane to lift her.” Alastair, either step up your game, or leave the cattiness to the ballerinas.

Albert Trummer (The Burn Out)

The
Apotheke bar co-owner was known for his liquorfueled pyrotechnics,
often pouring booze on the bar and then setting it aflame. After
performing his stunt on an episode of The Real Housewives of New York City, the
fire marshal went undercover to arrest the Austrian mixologist. That
was in June. Then Trummer did it again. Co-owner Heather Tierney
followed up by suing Trummer for being a firestarter (although some
reports claim she allegedly wanted him to do the stunt in the beginning
to attract danger-seeking customers). Remember that old Morrissey maxim:
There’s a special place in hell for me and my friends.

Julie Taymor (The Villainess)

If Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark featured
animals instead of performers, the show would have been shut down ages
ago. As it is, actress Natalie Mendoza had to take a leave of absence to
recover from a concussion and stuntman Christopher Tierney is, as of
this writing, under observation in serious condition after falling
somewhere between 8 to 30 feet in the musical’s final moments. So at
what point does common sense trump artistic integrity (and the bottom
line)? A lot has been written in defense of director-writer Julie Taymor
and how many people her mammoth show has employed, but those checks are
coming at a huge loss for some employees. How are you supposed to
endorse a paycheck when both your wrists are broken?

NICE


Tracy Westmoreland (The Wild Man)

It
takes a great man to make Midtown safe for us. Thanks to the office
drones crowding the bars for their Happy Hour Silver Bullets and the
tourists packing the sidewalks, it’s rare that we’ll travel too far into
the double-digit streets. But thanks to Tracy Westmoreland, the man
who ran Siberia—the bar that started off in a subway station and
eventually grew to gross and grimy infamy about which Westmoreland is
now compiling a book—life above 14th Street is once again wild. Though
he doesn’t own the place, Westmoreland is billed as “Minister of
Propaganda” at The Sanctuary (314 W. 39th St., betw. 8th & 9th
Aves., no phone), a bar that seems to channel the spirit of Siberia and
Westmoreland’s last project, Prospect Heights uber-dive The Manhattans.
Sure, the place is still clean, the bartenders are friendly and so is
the entertainment—like punk and rockabilly DJs every Thursday night.
Some might consider this setup respectable, but thanks to Westmoreland’s
gift for attracting eccentrics and the bar’s already-established
reputation as a haven from the horrors of Midtown, we have a feeling it
might be his most popular venture yet. As the man himself said when
asked what was special about the place, “It’s just a party, we don’t
really need a gimmick.”

The Tiger Mountain Boys (The Bookers With Hearts of Gold)

Last
June, Jack ‘Skippy” McFadden, the much-loved talent booker recognized
for both his friendliness and his glorious vision for our city’s indie
music scene, lost his job with The Bell House and Union Hall. Luckily
he soon moved on to booking gigs at The Rock Shop and Littlefield, but
that just wasn’t enough do-good-ing for the guy who’s been called the
“single nicest person in the entire business.” In November, it was
reported that Skippy and fellow booking veteran Chris White teamed up to
form the super-human talent buying duo Tiger Mountain Presents. In
addition to continuing work at The Rock
Shop and Littlefield, Tiger Mountain has also become the primary
booking force behind Santos Party House, giving the duo control over
some of the most popular and exciting venues in town, and ensuring that
New York will remain loud for the foreseeable future.

Josh Westfal, Corey Eastwood, Aaron Elliott & Troy Swain (Paper Heavyweights)

Remember
that warm, sunny walk along Waverly Place, just above Washington
Square Park, where all those long tables on the sidewalk featured some
of the most obscure titles from Jim Thompson to Roberto Bolaño? Thanks
to co-owners Josh Westfal, Corey Eastwood, Aaron Elliott—who peddled
(and still peddle) books from a van on Bedford Avenue—and Troy Swain, a
bookstore employee for years, you can get the same experience in a
charming, cramped, perfect space in Williamsburg. Book Thug Nation (100
N. 3rd St., betw. Berry St. & Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, no phone), their
small, community-driven bookstore, is brimming with one of the best
selections of literary fiction that New York has to offer, including
collections of philosophy, political science, film and… martial arts
manuals. The store stocks a collection of perfect books for the smart,
curious reader, and according to Swain, “the majority come off the
street.” (The shop also keeps milk crates filled with reasonably priced
vinyl in a nook behind a palm tree.) Thanks to its selection, its
attitude and its little-guy-beneath-those-scary-highrises perch on North
3rd Street, we can’t help but love Book Thug Nation.

Jose Gomez & Carlos Flores (Subway Saviors)

A
good Samaritan of the subway tracks, Carlos Flores struck us with his
train of thought. When 36-year-old Flores saw a fellow straphanger fall
on the tracks at East 103rd Street one November morning, he thought,
“If he gets hit, I can’t get to work. It’s Sunday. I can’t miss out.
It’s a time-and-a-half day.” Our
nonchalant Harlem hero didn’t hesitate before jumping down to the
bowels of the station while the 6 train approached, and rescuing the man
who fell. With
Christmas approaching, Flores was determined to arrive on time for his
$19-an-hour shift at a Noho grocery store as he hopped on the very same
train minutes later. Now that’s a Jose Gomez. reliable work ethic!

Though
we’d like to honor all of the brave souls who dive onto the subway
tracks each year to save friends and strangers alike, we wanted to give a
special nod to 29-year-old Jose Gomez. While out on his first date
with Beatriz Briceno, the 19-year-old dove onto the tracks near 36th
Ave. in Astoria to retrieve her $200 jacket and the contents of its
pockets (soooo not worth it, Beatriz). Gomez was so into his date that
he leapt right down after her to help out. The northbound N train
struck both, but Gomez was killed. Hopefully we won’t have such tragic
subway stories next year.

Jeff Koons (Bad-Boy Made Good)

The
king of contemporary kitsch has performed a great service for the
young and perverted. For those who missed the Venice Biennale in 1990
(or didn’t know who Jeff Koons was at the time), the provocative Made in Heaven series
is back for a second round at Luxembourg & Dayan on the Upper East
Side through Jan. 21 (Read what Colby Keller had to say about it here). What makes this showing so important to us is
not that we get to see a large canvas of Koons penetrating (and
ejaculating on) his then-porn star wife Ilona Staller, aka La
Cicciolina, or that he kept Made in Heaven hidden for two decades
after its initial showing, but rather because it marks a pivotal
moment for the artist himself. The timing was impeccable since it came
along the same year he also curated a hotly debated show of
contemporary art from Greek billionaire Dakis Joannou’s collection. He
also opened his Upper East Side home, filled with lots of classic art,
to a journalist to prove that he’s actually kinda conventional. The
fact that the art-world bad boy and one of the most famous living
artists has turned his reputation around seems like a pretty
phenomenal, and perky, achievement.

Assami Semde (The Munchie Maverick)

Not
much is valued in New York quite like a delivery guy willing to ride a
flimsy bike with pie-bearing handles through bad weather, speed
against the traffic, risk his life and fight off pesky pizza thieves.
We didn’t know about the pie snatchers either, until Assami Semde,
local hero to any sufferer of latenight munchies, raised our awareness.
Semde, a 19-year-old employee of Famous Famiglia pizza and recent
immigrant to the United States, was delivering pizza when two men
harassed him on the 27th floor of a Harlem building. The gluttonous
gunman pointed a pistol at Semde when he refused to give them pies
(they were really hungry). After a security guard broke up the brawl,
Semde completed the delivery, delivering both pizzas still hot, before
heading to the precinct. His commendable sense of urgency and
prioritization earn Semde a spot as a nice, if crazy, kinda guy.

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