Christine Quinn Tells Tale of Grandmother's Escape from Titanic 100 Years Ago (Yes, It Actually Happened)

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Sam Levin
Christine Quinn, with her father standing behind her, tells story of her grandmother's escape from the Titanic.
In the race to be the next mayor of New York City, there's one thing that definitely makes City Council Speaker Christine Quinn unique: Her grandmother survived the Titanic.

Though she's been making the rounds telling the story this month, for many years, it was a secret.

Quinn, who is expected to run for mayor in 2013, today held an official ceremony commemorating the Titanic Centennial at Titanic Park at the South Street Seaport, which has a new exhibit called "Titanic at 100: Myth and Memory."

"Clearly, the Titanic is a bit of a fascination for people," she said. "I think in part people are interested so significantly in the story of the Titanic, because it's such a human story. There was a ship that was supposed to be the greatest thing ever, unsinkable, the most wonderful luxury liner ever, and it went down...Within that, there's all the different struggles of human sacrifice, people giving their lives for others."

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Newt Gingrich's Gay Half-Sister Will Vote for Barack Obama

Last night, Candace Gingrich-Jones, the gay half-sister of Newt Gingrich, appeared on the Rachel Maddow show to talk about politics, gay rights, and Gingrich himself, whom she's (not surprisingly) clashed with over the years, though they've always been "mutually respectful," she says. "The catch is that when we leave the dinner table or leave the Christmas gathering, you know he and Callista still have way more rights than my wife and Rebecca and I do."More »

Bed Bugs Enjoy Sexing Their Brothers and Sisters

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Bed bugs. They live in your mattress. They infest your books. They crawl all over you and suck your blood in the middle of the night, they terrorize you and ruin your life, they make you constantly itchy, or constantly afraid of feeling itchy. Some among us won't even put their bags on the floors of bars anymore, in fear of catching them. Could they get worse? Oh, yes. Bed bugs are so strong, so impervious to human assault, so ruinous to our lives in part, say researchers, because they are able to inbreed. And they do it well. Probably they even like it! Reports Time: "All it takes to infest an entire apartment building, for example, is one single mated female that hatches her offspring; after that, the brothers and sisters can mate with each other and keep the population booming."

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Your Modern-Day Thanksgiving Guide to Getting Through the Holiday With Only Slightly Less Dignity Than You Started With

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This is not your grandmother's "How to Survive Thanksgiving" guide. It's not even your spinster aunt's. This is far more about you and the troubles a modern-day busy and productive person with a job and responsibilities and a life, for the love of God -- even if that life is just DVRing TV shows you can't even remember anymore and then being too busy to watch them -- will face when the whole family gathers to celebrate one of the most festive-yet-deeply-fraught events of the season.

Let's start with the good: Chances are, you have some days off this week. Maybe you're taking an extra day, perhaps to travel so that you don't have to contend with all the insane people traveling on Wednesday. Perhaps you are not so lucky. You still, we hope and pray, have Thursday through Sunday off. That's four whole days! And, if not, and you have to work, you don't really need this guide anyway because you have been excused from dealing with your family.

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Ruth Madoff Dumps Bernie

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Ruth Madoff has finally left Bernie Madoff, her husband of 52 years who will be behind bars for the rest of his life. According to the Post, it's a last-ditch attempt to re-forge a connection with estranged son Andrew, who shunned her completely after the suicide of his brother Mark in December of last year. Andrew's family even turned her away when she flew to Greenwich to attend Mark's memorial service at Andrew's home. More »

Exploring the New York Times' Unconventional Family Infographic

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The New York Times has a pretty well-done interactive infographic this weekend, attached to a story about an unconventional Brooklyn family. Our country's demographics skew increasingly toward the non-traditional; the days of 2.4 kids and a dog are no longer. The infographic shows you how many other households in the U.S. are like yours. I toyed with it so we can visualize some uncommon arrangements.

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Mike Moran, Firefighter Who Told Osama Bin Laden to Kiss His Ass, Responds to News

Back in October of 2001, Mike Moran, a firefighter whose brother, John Moran, was killed in the World Trade Center attacks, announced to the world at a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden that Osama bin Laden could kiss his "royal Irish ass." NBC NY followed up with him after Sunday's news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. He had received a text message.More »

Who Is Most Likely To Embarrass Kate Middleton On Her Wedding Day?

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via Kate Middleton For The Win
Kate Middleton, lest we even begin to forget, is a commoner. Naturally, she has some embarrassing family members, as the British tabloids have been sure to uncover thoroughly. For example, there's Katrina Darling, a burlesque dancer and second cousin of Kate. Then there are her siblings, Pippa and James, who have a reputation for partying. And finally there's uncle Gary Goldsmith, who for years has been shaming the Middletons by basically being the Dude, except British and into coke and strippers (he was married to a former lap dancer). Goldsmith has a villa in Ibiza called Maison de Bang Bang, and his first words ever to Prince William were "Oi, you fucker!"

He sounds awesome.

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Staten Island Man Steals Vacuum Cleaner From His Own Mother

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In what may be the poignant nonviolent crime story of the day, a 21-year-old Staten Island man named Christopher Scongamilglio broke into his mom's house -- twice -- and stole "a television, computer, two gaming systems and a vacuum cleaner, prosecutors allege." His mom had apparently kicked him out previously. After initially taking the electronics, he returned nine days later for a second gaming system and the vacuum cleaner.

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