January 4, 1999
Here are some predictions about what New Yorkers might expect in 1999.
January. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani begins construction of a six-foot-tall concrete wall around City Hall. He calls the wall a "precaution" stemming from a secret NYPD intelligence report revealing that the mysterious and elusive Asian drug lord known as the Kung Sa may be coming to New York. The mayor adds that the arrival of the Kung Sa - "or as we in government say, the Khon Sa" - should not alarm the public. "As a former federal drug agent, Police Commissioner Howard Safir hunted the Kung Sa. He is familiar with his modus operandi."
February. Work is completed on the six-foot-tall concrete wall. Work is also completed on a nine-foot-tall concrete wall outside the six-foot-high wall. The mayor's communications director, Cristyne Lategano, explains that the nine-foot-high wall will prevent the Kung Sa from penetrating the six-foot-high wall. She dismisses as "rumor and speculation" a CIA report saying the Kung Sa died 10 years ago.
March. The mayor announces that homicides for January and February are the lowest in the city since 1956. "That was the year Don Larsen pitched a perfect game for the Yankees in the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers," the mayor says.
April. Former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, now in the Joe Blow security business on Long Island, publishes a magazine article entitled "How I Solved New York City's Crime Problem." Describing himself as "a long-time Brooklyn Dodger fan," Bratton says the homicide figures for January and February were actually lower than in any year since 1955 - not 1956. "The reason the mayor refused to cite 1955," Bratton says, "is that 1955 was the year the Dodgers beat the Yankees in the World Series." Asked about the Kung Sa - or Khon Sa, as they say in government - Bratton adds, "Safir couldn't find him then and couldn't find him now."
May. City lawyers begin researching whether the mayor can serve as both U.S. senator and as mayor. Lategano points out the lawyers are researching this as private citizens on their lunch breaks. She dismisses Bratton's article as "unadulterated self-aggrandizing" and describes his remarks about the 1955 Dodgers as "the ravings of a desperate mayoral candidate and former airport cop from Boston."
June. Comptroller Alan Hevesi, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, City Council Speaker Peter Vallone and Public Advocate Mark Green announce they will run for mayor if Giuliani decides he cannot serve as both mayor and U.S. senator.
Former Deputy Police Commissioner Jack Maple is spotted in Elaine's restauarant with Linda Tripp and her agent, Lucianne Goldberg. They are overheard discussing Maple's putative magazine article entitled "How I Solved New York City's Crime Problem."
July. City lawyers conclude the mayor can serve as both mayor and U.S. senator. Hevesi, Ferrer, Vallone and Green drop out of the mayoral race.
August. Commissioner Safir announces that homicides for the first six months of the year are lower than in any year since 1923, the year Yankee Stadium opened. He abruptly ends the news conference when a reporter asks about a rumor that the Kung Sa has come to New York to undergo prostate surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital.
September. Lategano is spotted in Elaine's with Lucianne Goldberg, discussing a putative magazine article entitled "My So-called Life with Mayor Rudy G.: How We Solved New York City's Crime Problem." Goldberg tells the Village Voice she searched out Lategano because of a Daily News story by Rush and Molloy, saying that she'd run out of The Prime Burger on East 51st Street in tears after the mayor cursed and shouted at her over breakfast. "Cristyne told me the mayor became overwrought when he discovered she'd ordered English muffins instead of rye toast without consulting him."
October. The mayor sues the Voice for libel, calling the article "the most vicious piece of journalism I've ever read." Safir orders the police to confiscate all copies from newsstands.
November. The mayor constructs a 12-foot-tall concrete wall around City Hall outside the nine- and the six-foot walls. He says national security considerations prevent him from divulging his reason. Goldberg tells the Voice: "National security, hell. It's because Cristyne wants out. That English muffin incident really upset her. She has feelings, you know."
December. Lategano's magazine article appears. The mayor issues a news blackout and closes all bridges and tunnels leading from Manhattan. On New Year's Eve, an elderly gentleman who looks much like the Kung Sa is spotted boarding an overseas flight at Kennedy Airport. In French-accented English, he is heard to say, "Thank you, New York. Surgery successful. Regards to my good friend, Howard."
© 1999 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.