Suburbarazzi Week in Review on RNN: People of the Year Wrap-up


At last, we’re finally putting our completely overexposed “People of the Year” package to bed. In the clip, we count down the final five people on our list, and Stacy-Ann Gooden makes her pitch for Mary J. Blige (raised in Yonkers, first discovered doing karaoke at the White Plains Galleria).

While she didn’t make the cut for 2007, she’s already a strong 2008 candidate. In fact, aside from Nyack rapper Lucky Me, she’s the only other hip-hop star on our radar screen thus far.

People of the Year — 1. Hillary Clinton


Bet you didn’t see this coming! Since the Chappaqua resident announced her candidacy for President in January, Hillary was dissected like a fifth-grade biology project and analyzed from all angles—from her boisterous laugh, to her fashion sense, to her pacesetting fund-raising, to her poll numbers. Even her choice to wear a cleavage-enhancing V-neck sweater on the Senate floor made news, if only because it reminded us of her subtle, subverted sexuality.

Prediction for 2008: She’s a lock for the Democratic nomination, but the general election will be harder. Most everyone already has his own Rorschach impression of Hillary, but for the small handful of “no opinions� that remain (around six percent of the country), she needs to carefully sculpt her image if she’s going to trade in that big, white Chappaqua manse for her old one in DC.

Adapted from “People of the Year,� Rockland Magazine, December 2007

(Illustration by Ismael Roldon)

People of the Year — 2a. Denzel Washington


Last minute addition here. I can’t explain why the Mount Vernon native didn’t figure into our pre-countdown planning, given that he’s had easily the best year of his career — his Oscar-worthy performance as real-life heroin kingpin Frank Lucas in “American Gangster”; starring in, directing, producing, and filling just about every other production credit in “The Great Debaters” (which I haven’t seen yet, but, given its Golden Globe Best Picture nod, I’m figuring is pretty decent).

Sure, Denzel doesn’t live in Westchester any more, but when you factor in all the times he returned to the area (to film “Gangster,” to stump for mayor candidates in Mount Vernon) — well, the omission would be inexcusable.

Fortunately, I happened to read that today is the man’s 53rd birthday. What better time to right that wrong and celebrate This Year in Denzel?

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People of the Year — 2. Rosie O’Donnell

No need to roll your eyes. Aside from Britney, Paris, and Lindsay, few tabloid regulars exhausted the public’s patience quite like O’Donnell. From the never-ending feuds—with Trump, Ripa, O’Reilly—to the now-infamous split-screen showdown with View co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the South Nyack resident became a better fight-maker than Don King in 2007. Even after she quit the daytime gabfest (three weeks before her contract was up), Rosie continued churning up controversy in her wake, even going so far as to suggest in her new memoir, Celebrity Detox, that Barbara Walters should retire. But putting aside all the bilious rhetoric for a sec, one thing separates the former Queen of Nice from the aforementioned tabloid bimbos: O’Donnell’s public showdowns all stemmed from a passionate defense of her liberal views (on Bush, the Iraq war, gay rights, etc.)—and not from, say, a lack of panties or repeat DUIs. Her tirades might have been over the top, but her political courage does make her a role model of sorts. That said, if she ever takes your parking spot at the Palisades Center, don’t even think of starting a shouting match—she’s way out of your league.

Prediction for 2008: She may have lost The Price is Right hosting gig to Drew Carey, but we predict a return to network TV, as the co-host of the newest British import, Boiling Point.

Adapted from “People of the Year,� Rockland Magazine, December 2007

(Illustration by Ismael Roldon)

People of the Year — 3. Joe Torre


After the Yankees lost in the first round of the playoffs, new top dogs Hank and Hal Steinbrenner (sons of George) made the decision to offer Torre an “incentive-based salary package�—more wins, more bonuses. That’s a nice way of putting it. A 33 percent pay cut is another. Sure, Torre would have still been making a base of $2.5 mil, but as Journal News beat reporter (and author of the wildly popular LoHud Yankees Blog) Pete Abraham pointed out, “In the culture of the clubhouse, having a manager on a one-year contract who just took a cut would be emasculating.� In a press conference at the Hilton Rye Town, near his home in Harrison, Torre put it more bluntly: “I took [it] as an insult.� And so—after 12 seasons, 1,173 wins, and four World Series championships—Torre bolted.

Prediction for 2008: At press time, he had just agreed to manage the Dodgers. Say it ain’t so, Joe! We hope he’ll reconsider. After the Mets spectacular end-of-season collapse, we wouldn’t mind seeing him take over Willie Randolf’s job. What better way for us New Yorkers to keep the best mind in baseball all to ourselves?

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

(Nick Wass / AP Photo) 

People of the Year — 4. Donald Trump

itw_people3.jpgYeah, we hear you groaning. But forget about that whole trumped-up bitch fest with Rosie O’Donnell for a sec. That may have made tabloid headlines, but this year the Bedford homeowner (or rather, mansion-owner) also made plenty of legitimate news here in Westchester. In addition to opening the doors to Trump Plaza in New Rochelle, beginning work on Trump Parc in Stamford, and campaigning to get the U.S. Open played at one of his Trump National golf courses (either Briarcliff Manor or Bedminster, New Jersey), he also erected some hard-to-miss road signs announcing Donald J. Trump State Park on the Taconic. Donating 436 acres for a park in Northern Westchester: generous. Congratulating oneself by branding your name all over the county: not exactly, to use his word, “classy.� (What’s next? Trump-onic Parkway? Trumpchester?) Some other unclassy moves: The Apprentice got its worst ratings in six seasons; his eponymous, SkyMall-esque magazine sent its backers into financial meltdown; and The Daily News reported that, to boost anemic book sales, he paid people to buy his new self-help tome, Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life.

Prediction for 2008: Trump currently has four—count ’em, four!—TV shows in production: Fox’s Lady or a Tramp, MTV’s Pageant Place, a syndicated Judge Judy/Dr. Phil-type daytime show (with Trump mediating financial disputes), and The Apprentice: Celebrity Edition for NBC. Just try to top that, Rosie!

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

(Illustration by Ismael Roldon)

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)

People of the Year — 8. Martha Stewart

itw_people08.jpgDon’t call it a comeback. Judging by the indomitable growth of Stewart’s empire in the last year, her prison stint wasn’t so much a setback as it was a speed-bump. Of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s 15 licensed product deals, nine came in 2007 (including 2,000 home products at Macy’s, a crafts line at Michaels, wines made by E&J Gallo, and prepared foods at Costco). Add to that the continued successes of her daytime show and magazine, and she seemed unstoppable. That is, except in her present hometown of Katonah. After attempting to trademark the village’s name for a line of home products, she encountered an organized resistance from the chamber of commerce and the Katonah Village Improvement Society (KVIS). Among their tactics: a satirical Marthometer newsletter ( and two protest songs. Meanwhile, Martha showed up at a town meeting in February to plead her case bearing plenty of chocolate-chip cookies.

Prediction for 2008: Stewart won’t get off that easy. Villagers and KVIS have been trying to organize a Times Square Stewart roast (originally scheduled for early November), a pending lawsuit, and other shenanigans. Next time, Martha, try brownies.

UPDATE: As with some of the other “People of the Year” writeups, there were some breaking developments with Martha that took place after we already went to the printers. The roast did indeed take place, on November 28. But that was about a week after Martha and the KVIS came to a settlement about her usage of Katonah, and what products she can and can’t trademark the name under. To read more on the compromise, check out our post from November 16.

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

(Illustration by Ismael Roldon)

People of the Year — 9. The Bedford Dominatrix


The only thing more masochistic than the cost of living in Bedford Hills? The town’s 46-year-old dominatrix, Sandra L. Chemero, who was arrested in March on charges of prostitution and weapons possession. But she didn’t operate just any old run-of-the-mill bordello. Inside her idyllic clapboard farmhouse on Haines Road was an actual S&M dungeon. “Situated on four private acres, in a century-old stately manor, here life is devoted to female superiority, proper training, and etiquette for the betterment of men,� said the description on Chemero’s website for “The Sovereign Estate.� Also posted were pictures of her brandishing whips and leather chains, plus an exhaustive list of available erotic, sadistic services. The weirdest part of all (other than this all going down right near where George Soros and Ralph Lauren live): Chemero was renting the home from an ultra-Orthodox (and ultra-shocked) yeshiva.

Prediction for 2008: The dominatrix pled not guilty and, at press time, the trial date hasn’t been set. We’re just hoping that, like Heidi Fleiss, she has a list of former clients. That’s when things will get really interesting.

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

(Photo: Rory Glaeseman / The Journal News) 

People of the Year — 10. Hayden Panettiere

rm_people04.jpgOh, to be young, rich, and synonymous with the most memorable TV catch-phrase of the year. “Save the cheerleader, save the world� didn’t just turn Heroes into NBC’s only new hit show, it also made Panettiere—the indestructible, cut-off-a-toe-it-grows back cheerleader character—into a household name. She’s since appeared on the covers of Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, and Vanity Fair, all before turning 18. After recently moving from Palisades to L.A., she also became a spokesperson for Neutrogena and the “Got Milk?� campaign. Of course, with that kind of positive exposure also comes the other kind—daily videos on and nonstop blog buzz about her rumored boyfriends. Only problem: This fair-skined blonde isn’t your typical teen-star train wreck. She doesn’t drink, smoke, or have run-ins with the law. By all accounts, she’s as pure as the driven snow.

Prediction for 2008: Provided she doesn’t get caught up in any of the usual Hollywood trappings (like, say, that other kind of snow), Panettiere has a bright year ahead, with the continued success of Heroes and a role in the upcoming Julia Roberts film Fireflies in the Garden.

Adapted from “People of the Year,� Rockland Magazine, December 2007

(Illustration by Ismael Roldon)

People of the Year — 11. Peter Kelly


Kelly was already a legend in Rockland thanks to Xaviars, Freelance, and Restaurant X—all perennial Zagat darlings. But when he took down celebrity chef Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America, all of a sudden he became famous to a national audience. Then the May opening of X20 in Yonkers further cemented his rock-star status. As for those people just discovering our hometown hero: What took you so long?

Prediction for 2008: It would be tough to top 2007, but we do have two ideas: First, how about an X20 in Haverstraw? Second, after making mincemeat of Flay, it’s time to do battle with Mario Batali.

Ed. Note: Kelly was one of the only celebrities to score a “People of the Year” trifecta — making our lists for InTown Westchester, Rockland Magazine, and Suburbarazzi. Well done.

(Photo: Tom Nycz / The Journal News)