Rev. Calvin Butts in Damage-Control Mode Over Voice Article; Invokes Don Corleone

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Reverend Calvin Butts, the politically influential Harlem pastor, is in damage-control mode following the Voice's article last week about the Abyssinian Development Corp., addressing the contents of the piece in a closed-door meeting with church elders, known as deacons, and in Sunday's sermon.

See also: The (Very) Earthly Pursuits of Rev. Calvin O. Butts III

The article raised questions about the financial situation at ADC, which was founded by Butts, the longtime leader of Abyssinian Church, in 1989, and about a series of high-end vacations billed to the organization by senior staff. The article also disclosed the contents of a lawsuit alleging that ADC swindled an elderly man out of a parcel of land worth close to $1 million. The article caused a buzz both in Harlem and elsewhere.

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Mark Madoff Death Ruled Suicide; No Presidential Run for Mike Bloomberg; Walmart Really Wants to Be a New Yorker

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Mark Madoff
• The death of Bernie Madoff's son Mark was officially ruled a suicide on Sunday. He had been found hanging "from a dog collar attached to a pipe" in the ceiling of his Soho apartment on Saturday morning (on the 2-year anniversary of his father's arrest) by his father in law as his 2-year-old son slept nearby. Lawyers say that the suicide will not stop legal proceedings against Mark or his family. [NY1, ABC]

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Madonna Cuts Ribbon on New Gym Chain Using Very Large Scissors and Rock Hard Arms

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via the Telegraph/Reuters
Congrats to Madonna, who today utilized the force of her Pilates-and-yoga-brutalized sinewy tendons to cut a formidable ribbon with some very large scissors, thus symbolizing the opening of her new Hard Candy Fitness chain in Mexico City, a place you can now work out while gazing upon a giant mural of Madonna's face.

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CVS to Pay $77.6 Million for Accidentally Helping People Make Meth

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Poor CVS. Not only does everyone in New York pretty much prefer Duane Reade (not that there's really a choice), now the drugstore-er is being slapped with (a/k/a, has agreed to pay) $77.6 million in fines and returned profits because they allegedly improperly controlled a substance used to make meth -- namely, pseudoephedrine, which you likely have lying around the house in your sinus medication, or perhaps in your meth lab.

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Netflix Effectively Kills Blockbuster, But Our Hearts Will Go On

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via 423Smith
Blockbuster has finally succumbed to something we all know was a long time coming (who among us has entered a video store -- and, no, not that kind -- in the last year? Please raise your hand.) As a side effect to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that was announced today, a number of retail spaces will likely open up in New York City, reports Crains, which mentions that there are 26 Blockbusters currently in the five boroughs. For rent reasons, the stores in Manhattan are expected to be the first to go...but Google maps seems to indicate that a number of them have already up and went.

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Back Rent Kills East Village Mom-and-Pop Shop Village Fabrics

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via EV Grieve
First it was Grimaldi's Pizzeria in Brooklyn -- nearly three months and $60,000 behind in back rent and city taxes, the famed pie-slingers were facing eviction, despite the lines out the door. But while Grimaldi's owners were able to pay for their slack, the same can't be said for Village Fabrics, a well-known mom-and-pop fabric store on First Avenue and East 11th Street that's falling into the same fate with inevitable closure at the end of the month.

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Mayor Bloomberg Visits Forever 21, Makes a Fashion Funny

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via DNAinfo
Mike Bloomberg ventured into the new, frighteningly massive Forever 21 in Times Square (you can't miss it; it's 90,000 square feet of fashion now occupying the space of the former Virgin Megastore) this afternoon, and, while surrounded by amazingly cheap, surprisingly decent knockoff wearables, said a funny!

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Protestors Tell Wal-Mart to "FUHGEDDABOUD" Coming to NYC

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Protesters of all kinds gathered at City Hall today against the prospect of Wal-Mart parking its corporate, labor-discriminating ass in the city. A Wal-Mart in New York City? "Fuhgeddaboudit!" they proclaimed.

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Design Firm Suggests Fitting New York's Stalled Building Sites with...Icebergs

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Woods Bagot New York
Remember when we had to get used to seeing those damn cows all over the place in New York City? And then, today, we got the pianos, and some lost rubber ducky signs? Now design firm Woods Bagot wants to put recyclable iceberg structures in the place of all the "frozen" building projects around the city. Okay, we're gonna say it: This is...odd.

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Paying $2,500 a Month to Live Next to the Lincoln Tunnel Is Really Quite Adventurous!

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via NY Daily News
People having fun in "the Linc"!
Remember when they started calling "Hell's Kitchen" "Clinton" or, generically, "Midtown West"? You know, to better represent its pastoral delights? Now, an area near the Lincoln Tunnel that was previously known only as a place you avoided at all costs unless you were conventioning or going to Jersey -- a/k/a, the smelly, heavily trafficked, oft-desolate area west of Ninth Avenue from 33rd to 42nd streets -- has its own perky new nickname and brand upgrade campaign.

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