Saturday, March 24, 2007

Essay 1893

From The New York Times…


After 5 Days of Mopping and Scrubbing, What Else Would a Model Wear?


First there was a cry, then a murmur, and finally a swoon. Naomi Campbell, the millionaire fashion model, emerged yesterday from a grimy Department of Sanitation garage in a floor-length evening gown, marking the end of her court-ordered community service.

She waved with her right hand, pulled up the shimmering silver gown with her left, smiled for the cameras and then ducked into her Rolls-Royce limousine, a silver Phantom costing at least $340,000. She did not say a word.

The garage’s long driveway made for an effective catwalk. “Is that her?” cried a photographer, squinting at a distant, undulating figure. In unison, other photographers on stepladders swung telephoto lenses into position and began to murmur as she walked closer and into focus.

When the whites of Ms. Campbell’s eyes were in view, what could only be described as a collective swoon emerged from the dozens of reporters and paparazzi. A reporter with a British accent said out loud, “Smashing!” A photographer, not British, screamed: “Oh, what a shot! I love this!”

While paint peeled from an overpass directly overhead on South Street in Lower Manhattan, reporters quickly compared notes after Ms. Campbell left. Who designed the dress? What shade of silver was it? Was that a belt or a cummerbund? No one knew. It fell to Albert Durrell, deputy chief of the Sanitation Department, dressed in a drab-green military-style uniform, to answer reporters’ questions about Ms. Campbell’s public penance.

In January, Ms. Campbell, 36, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and admitted that she had thrown a cellphone at her maid, Ana Scolavino, striking her on the head. Ms. Campbell was ordered to pay Ms. Scolavino’s medical expenses, $363, attend a two-day anger management seminar and perform five days of community service.

As in the previous four days, Mr. Durrell told reporters, Ms. Campbell wore a dust mask, gloves and a vest, the usual garb provided by the department to those performing court-ordered sentences. She also wore her own stretch pants and work boots.

Ms. Campbell “completed her service successfully,” Mr. Durrell said. “From what I understand, she was pleasant the entire time.”

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., she swept, mopped and wiped at the garage, which has garbage and recycling facilities. She received no preferential treatment, Mr. Durrell said. Ms. Campbell ate pizza from Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn, like the others in her work crew.

Yes, Mr. Durrell acknowledged, Ms. Campbell did clean toilets. No, he said, she did not have to be taught how to use a mop or broom.

Ms. Campbell “was on her hands and knees at some point cleaning the walls and floors on the second floor,” he said.

But unlike Boy George, the singer who performed a similar sentence of community service last August, Ms. Campbell completed her sentence indoors. Mr. Durrell said it was a condition of her sentence. Why? “You’ll have to ask the judge,” Mr. Durrell said.

Mr. Durrell did report trouble inside. Someone took a digital photograph of Ms. Campbell as she scrubbed, presumably for sale to the press, but officials noticed and demanded the deletion of the image. The person was not punished, Mr. Durrell said.

Asked what he thought of Ms. Campbell’s attire at the end of her stay, Mr. Durrell replied, with a shrug, “You know, it was a gown.”


Anonymous said...

The Phantom has an stainless steel umbrella located inside it's doors, so you won’t get your gown wet.

I knew that useless fact would come in handy one day. Sigh, the things you learn when doing car catalogs.

Hajpaj said...

The Phantom also seets 5--4 plus the ego of the owner.