Category Archives: Celebrity Sightings

“Twilight” Star Robert Pattinson Films in NYC; Gets Attacked by Fans, Hit by Taxi

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It has been a grueling week for “Twilight” star Robert Pattinson, who is in NYC to shoot his latest film, “Remember Me.”  Not only did he have to wake up early in the morning to be on set at NYU’s Silver Center and Washington Square Park, but he was met by throngs of screaming fans – including two sporting “Twighlight” tote bags who were audacious enough to run past the barricades, flail themselves at Pattinson, and snap some “Myspace-style” photos.  Let’s just say the guards (not to mention Pattinson) were not exactly pleased.

To top it all off the actor was grazed by a taxi in front of the Strand Bookstore while attempting to escape from fans.  One of his bodyguards is reported to have shouted, “See what you did?  You almost killed him!”  Seems to me that the more obsessive Robert Pattinson (dare I call him RoPat?) fans become, the less likely it is that they will have someone to obsess about in the future.

It’s Official: Washington Square Park Renovation Phase I Has Re-Opened (Stay Tuned for Phase II)

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Though the fences had been quietly dismantled last Tuesday to allow a growing trickle of visitors, Thursday May 28 marked the official ribbon-cutting celebration of the now-completed Washington Square Park renovation – Phase I, that is.

A red carpet was rolled out to welcome prominent public figures and everyday parkgoers alike; speakers included Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

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City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe

A tent was raised near the fountain to house a small group of chairs and a dais for the aforementioned speakers, who asserted that “a Nobel peace prize could have been awarded” for the extraordinary negotiation efforts that occurred throughout the planning and construction process.  Several of the speakers also remarked that even the most vocal opponents of the renovation seemed to be impressed.

After the speeches, the officials gathered in front of the fountain (which had been turned off) to stand behind the official ribbon, scissors ready.  The moment the ribbon was cut, streams of water shot out of the waterjets.

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Additional festivities included a commemorative button-making station, live jazz music, and free food from local eateries like Crumbs Bake Shop, Le Pain Quotidien, and Mario Batali’s Otto (whose “Gelotto” cart will become a fixture in the park this summer).

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Phase I of the renovation added new benches, winding walkways and grand promenades, and 20% more greenspace to the park, and controversially moved the iconic fountain 20 feet to align it with the equally iconic arch.

Though parkgoers are glad to have access to the fountain and central area again, the entire park will not be open for long: Phase II of the renovation, which will be concentrated in the northeast, southeast, and southwest quadrants of the park, is scheduled to begin in the near future.

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Not-so-average Joes: NBA Players and Fashionistas Take over the West 4th Basketball Courts for JOE Joseph Abboud & JCPenney

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There were still basketball players at the famous West 4th Street courts on Monday, May 18 – except this time, they were wearing suits and in the NBA.

To celebrate the launch of their Fall 2009 collaboration, JCPenney (who plans to open at the Manhattan Mall this year) and suitmaker JOE Joseph Abboud obtained permission to close the courts to the public – a decidedly controversial move – to hold a cocktail party.  Attendees included a rather unusual mix of athletes and fashionistas: basketball legends Allan Houston and Cal Ramsey, rising star NBA draft pick Blake Griffin, Bobby Simmons of the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks head coach Herb Williams and several team members, stylist Michael Angelo, and Jones Apparel retail executives.

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And you couldn’t miss the collection of male models donning various JOE Joseph Abboud ensembles, stationed around the court literally to stand there and look pretty.

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Though interesting sheets of aluminum were placed around the fence to create a sense of “privacy,” a few sections were left uncovered, drawing a crowd of curious pedestrians.  Many had stopped when they realized they weren’t hearing the usual shouts of excitement that accompany the lively games at the court.  Several of the onlookers had probably planned to play in or watch one of those games that night; something tells me that if it were not for the presence of professional basketball stars at the event, they would have been quite disappointed.  Once the not-so-average-JOEs cleared out, though, it was back to normal – and I doubt you’ll be seeing suits at that court anytime soon.

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Hillary Clinton: Congratulations, NYU Class of 2009

HillaryNYU Secretary of State Clinton delivers her speech at Yankee Stadium.  Photo courtesy of the NY Daily News

The New York University All-University Commencement for the class of 2009 was held in the brand new Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, May 13.  Over 25,000 people attended the event headlined by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who received an honorary degree (and a hug from President John Sexton!) and delivered the commencement address.  Recognizing that the class of 2009 is graduating during one of the worst economic climates since the Great Depression, Clinton emphasized the challenging yet promising times ahead.  The Secretary of State urged the class to participate in global affairs and to embrace the inevitability of change.   She explained that much is expected of these graduates, and in light of the location, remarked that now they “are up to bat.”  Watch her speech here.

Vitamin Water 10 Pops Up in Soho

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carmenelectravitaminwater Photo courtesy of Getty Images

To celebrate the debut of its new 10 calorie version, Vitamin Water opened a pop-up shop in the former Helio space, next to Urban Outfitters, at 628 Broadway in Soho (technically Noho, but we’ll give it to them).

On the night of Thursday, April 2 (the same day as the opening of Topshop down the street), the store held an opening party, setting up a red carpet and bleachers for invited guests right on the sidewalk.  And it was not without star power – actress Carmen Electra hosted the event.

The store itself offers complimentary bottles of Vitamin Water 10 (in four flavors, including Vitamin C-abundant lemonade and antioxidant berry), which guests can enjoy in a minimalist setting featuring seating areas, videogames on a Wii, and a photobooth in the front window (that’s visible to passing traffic on Broadway).  Another window facing the street features a live model, decked out in the colorful tee shirts, white short-shorts, and knee-high socks all the employees were wearing (since of course 2009 is actually just The ’80s, Part Two).

Unfortunately, the store is only temporary, meaning weary Soho shoppers can’t count on that refreshing free Vitamin Water for long.

The Magic is Back: “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” with Nicolas Cage Returns to Washington Square Park and NYU

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Conveniently for those NYU students who missed it over spring break, the cast and crew of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” returned to Washington Square Park today to film new scenes.  This time, however, the public was afforded an actual Nicolas Cage sighting (if you could recognize him in a long brown trench coat, long hair, and sorcerer’s cap).

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Actor Jay Baruchel could also be seen on set.  The scene itself featured several extras walking along pathways in the park, with Cage and Baruchel among them.  The cast and crew were lucky to be working on a beautiful 65-degree day, though unfortunately for everyone else (who wasn’t interested in star gazing), the filming closed off a large section on the east side of the park.

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Paul Dano from “Little Miss Sunshine” Restores Law & Order at NYU

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It’s been a little over one week since “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and already Washington Square Park is being taken over by another film crew.

The night of Monday, March 30, signs were posted on streetlamps indicating that the area around Washington Square West would be used to film for Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  In case you forgot which of the seemingly countless Law & Order spinoffs that is, it’s the one with Vincent D’Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe and now Jeff Goldblum.  Mazza First Hand Source was kind of hoping to see Mariska Hargitay, who has recovered from her Hamptons sledding accident-induced lung collapse (that sounds just as strange to us as it does to you) and returned to set last week looking fierce.  But alas, her TV jurisdiction extends no further than SVU.  Or maybe she’s off-duty.

By this morning, two enormous trailers were placed in front of Hayden Hall (including one that quite adorably listed the following stars’ names on the door: Lucy and Desi.  To which stars do these trailers actually belong?  D’Onofrio and Erbe, perhaps?).

By about 3:30, a crowd gathered near the chess tables on the west side of the park as cameras rolled.  Signs placed at the entrance to the park made the legal disclaimer that anyone who chose to remain in the park during filming could be photographed and filmed without pay.  (Another advantage to filming in New York: free and constant extras.)  Interestingly, a group of homeless men was provided chess pieces to actually engage in a game during the scene taking place directly behind them.

The scene itself featured Paul Dano (perhaps best known for his mostly silent role as Dwayne in “Little Miss Sunshine” ) in a business suit talking emphatically on a cellphone and walking hurriedly through the park.  Large technical equipment, including cameras, lighting, and a boom microphone, followed him for about three or four takes.

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Filming is scheduled to continue until about 8 P.M. tonight.  As for the final product, you can probably expect to find the Wasington Square Park scenes on an upcoming new episode – that is, if you can find it buried somewhere in the ubiquitous 24/7 Law & Order marathon that is television.

Here’s a place to start: the eigth season of Law & Order Criminal Intent is set to premiere on April 19, 2009 on the USA Network.

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