Top 10 New York Stories of 2008:
Eliot Spitzer resigns as governor in March with his wife, Silda, by his side. (Getty)
Its safe to say 2008 was rather on the unpredictable side. We saw massive economic meltdowns, bizarre political scandals and history made as Sen. Barack Obama was elected to the White House.
While no list could cover the entire landscape of a rather monumental year, here are the top 10 New York stories of 2008:
DOUBLE DOSE OF FARE HIKES
Although fares and tolls already went up in March, the MTA proposed a whole new set of hikes as it copes with a $1.2 billion budget deficit. Along with service cuts, the MTA said in worst-case scenarios, single-ride fares could rise to $3 while monthly MetroCards could top out at $105.
Also coming into play is the possibility of tolling on the East River bridges. If implemented, the tolls could keep the hike down.
In the most shocking scandal of the year, the states political golden boy was literally found with his pants down when it was discovered he was a client of high-priced escort service.
Just a year into his administration, New Yorks governor was discovered to be spending thousands of dollars on prostitutes, particularly the now-famous Ashley Dupre. Spitzer, or Client No. 9 as he was described in court papers, resigned on March 17 but didnt face charges. This lead to the installation of the states first black governor, David Paterson.
Michael Strahan, left, and Eli Manning celebrate the Giants' first Super Bowl victory since 1991. (AP)
GIANTS WIN SUPERBOWL
New York got its first victory parade since 2000 as the Giants recorded one of the most-unlikely Super Bowl victories.
After winning three road playoff games, the Giants were a double-digit underdog against the unbeaten New England Patriots. Eli Manning, the games MVP, connected with Plaxico Burress on a 13-yard touchdown to give the Giants a stunning 17-14 upset. It was the Giants first title since 1991.
DEATH OF HEATH LEDGER
The city was stunned by the Jan. 22 death of 28-year-old actor Heath Ledger in a SoHo loft, where mourners immediately mounted a massive makeshift memorial. While an accidental overdose was blamed and Ledgers friend Mary-Kate Olsen was embroiled in the controversy, she eventually did not have to testify about Ledgers prescription drug use.
Ledger, who had just finished work as the Joker in The Dark Knight, had recently separated from his wife, the actress Michelle Williams.
GOODBYE TO SHEA AND YANKEE STADIUMS
A crowd of 54,610 bid farewell to Yankee Stadium on Sept. 21, with a 7-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Derek Jeter addressed the crowd from the pitchers mound after the game in an emotional goodbye to the most storied venue in sports. The Yanks were eliminated from postseason contention the next day, leaving them out of the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
Meanwhile, the Mets final game at Shea was a sad one. The Amazins were knocked out of postseason contention in their final game at Shea, a heartbreaking 4-2 defeat to the Florida Marlins on Sept. 28.
POPE VISITS NYC
Though he lacks the celebrity wattage of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI still dazzled the city during his three-day visit to New York City. His tour in April included stop at Yankee Stadium, the United Nations and a synagogue, a first for a pope visiting the United States. The themes he sounded include reconciliation in the aftermath of the clerical sex-abuse scandal.
Struggling to close a $15.4 billion deficit, Gov. Paterson unveiled a startling tax-and-slash budget package that touches upon virtually every part of life. The governor also proposed deep cuts to funding to New York City, which is itself cutting jobs, reducing services and hiking taxes as it struggles to cope with the Wall Street collapse.
HARLEM CELEBRATES OBAMA
In a historic display of jubilation to match the election of Barack Obama as the nations first black president, residents of Harlem, the symbolic seat of the citys African-American community, cheered the news in spontaneous, joyful street celebrations. Indeed, horns honk and people shout from windows in neighborhoods all around the city as the Democrat-heavy New Yorkers exult.
This was the culmination of the presidential elections that started with New Yorkers Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as their respective parties front-runners.
DEADLY CRANE COLLAPSE
On a quiet Saturday afternoon in March, a towering crane collapsed in the Turtle Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, killing seven people and sparking outrage over lax oversight of the citys development boom.
It turned out the construction site did not meet zoning code. Reforms followed, but additional construction deaths kept worries high.
TERM LIMITS EXTENDED
Although in the past he was vehemently against extending term limits for New York City elected officials, Mayor Michael Bloomberg flip-flopped this year when he decided to run for a third term.
Saying the city needs him because of the economic crisis, the mayor lobbied for support in the City Council to change the law, which they did on Oct. 23 by a 29-22 vote.