People of the Year — 5. Brooke Astor

itw_people31.jpgShe was known as New York’s “First Lady of Philanthropy,� a Gilded Age holdover who donated her inherited millions to every worthy organization she could find: museums, libraries, churches, landmarks, and so on. On August 13, at the age of 105, she died at her weekend estate in Briarcliff Manor. Sadly, though, in her final year of life, Astor made headlines not for charity work, but because of accusations that her son, Anthony Marshall, was neglecting her care and leeching her fortune. The matter was settled out of court, but the story—and the image of the abused centenarian, sleeping on a chilly, urine-soaked couch—still stuck.

Prediction for 2008: Astor once said, “I feel I’ve become a public monument.� And to us she is, in more ways than one.

Adapted from “People of the Year,� InTown Westchester, December 2007

(Photo: Serge JF Levy/AP)

People of the Year — 7. Leona Helmsley & Her Dog

leonahelmsley.jpgAfter the billionaire hotelier died in August and was laid to rest alongside her husband, Harry, in a $1.4-million mausoleum in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone thought the “Queen of Mean� could cause no more trouble. Everyone was wrong. In Helmsley’s will, in addition to leaving two of her grandchildren zilch, she gave $12 million to her dog, a beloved Maltese named—you guessed it—Trouble. She also requested that the pooch be buried beside her when his time comes.

Prediction for 2008: In September, a state official declared that it’s unlawful for animals to be buried in cemeteries for humans. Sorry, Leona. Commence rolling over.

Adapted from “People of the Year,� InTown Westchester, December 2007

(AP Photo/Jennifer Graylock)

Alex Nackman’s music brings much-needed calm to ‘Real World’ finale

The song “Proximity,” by Sleepy Hollow product Alex Nackman, played in the background during last week’s season finale of MTV’s “The Real World: Denver.” Dig it.

nackman.jpgIn the episode, when “Real World” cast member Davis tries to win back ex-boyfriend P.J., “Proximity” starts playing. If you want to cut right to that scene, fast-forward to the moment when there are exactly six minutes remaining in the “Hard Times” clip. It’s a nice chunk of Nackman’s music and lyrics, too — about 50 seconds, which is a marathon by MTV bed standards.

Full disclosure: Nackman is the elder son of Barbara Nackman, a reporter for The Journal News. That said, I’ve been a fan of “Proximity” and other A-Nack tracks for a while now, so it’s nice to see the guy get some Viacom props.

After the break, find out what Alex had to say about being a part of one of the first series to define reality TV as we know it.

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Oh, one more thing! See MySpace star Alex Nackman perform in NYC Saturday night!

Hold up there, Suburbarazzi! Clearly, if you’re checking this blog after 5 p.m. on a Friday, you’re both a devoted fan of cool things and in need of getting out of the house/office more. (So am I on both fronts!) But before you and I head out for the weekend, I want to plug a Feb. 17 Manhattan performance by Sleepy Hollow product Alex Nackman, who was a featured MySpace musician this week! Check out the lower-right of this screen capture for proof!

(Disclaimer: No matter how much you dislike “Soul Patrol,” Suburbarazzi does not endorse the prospect of shooting Taylor Hicks and/or his lookalikes.)

In the interest of full disclouse, Alex is the elder son of Barbara Nackman, a reporter for The Journal News and one of the coolest people in the Mount Kisco bureau. (She’s in a 16-way tie for first place.) But I can vouch for the quality of his tunes, with an emphasis on quality.

Reminiscent of the best facets of David Gray, John Mayer and Ryan Cabrera, he writes really catchy, clever and intelligent pop, rock and acoustic songs. If you dabble in the world of iTunes as much as I do, I’d suggest downloading “Proximity” and “Stay Where You Are” immediately.

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