Under Cover

Bush Tenement

First Lady Laura Bush will be slumming it this week — literally.

On Friday, Bush will visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, which replicates the conditions of Downtown’s packed tenements during different periods of immigration. Bush gave the museum two national awards this year: the Preserve America Presidential Award in May and the Medal for Museum and Library Service this month.

The Tenement Museum was one of 10 museums around the country to receive the Museum and Library Service Medal for outstanding community outreach. The Tenement Museum received $10,000 as part of the award.

Bush crony

Ambassador Craig Roberts Stapleton is the latest addition to the board of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Stapleton is a longtime pal of President George W. Bush who co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team with him from 1989 to 1998. After Stapleton pulled in fundraising for Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign, Bush appointed Stapleton as the ambassador to France, a position he still holds. He was previously ambassador to the Czech Republic for three years.

Stapleton’s wife, Dorothy Walker Stapleton, is also a cousin of the president.

In the business world, the husband has served as president of Marsh and McLennan Real Estate Advisors of New York since 1982. The insurance firm lost 295 members in the World Trade Center on 9/11, the most of any company besides Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost 658.

Memorial foundation president Joe Daniels said in a statement that he hoped Stapleton’s international connections would bring in global support for the foundation.

Holding McCourt

Writer Alphie McCourt, whose essays over the years have appeared in Downtown Express, will be speaking about his first book, “A Long Stone’s Throw” on Tues., Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. with Rachel Trusheim, his executive editor, at McNally Jackson independent bookstore, 52 Prince St.

McCourt is the youngest of the Brothers McCourt, a group which includes Pulitzer-winner Frank McCourt, a former Stuyvesant High School teacher.

Incidentally, Alphie credits Community Media L.L.C. for lighting the spark to his recent writing success. An article about McCourt and his unpublished writings by Elizabeth O’Brien in The Villager several years ago subsequently led to his column appearing periodically in both The Villager and the Express — which McCourt says got publishers interested.

Price slash

In a concession to the falling economy, or perhaps a flawed business model, the Sports Museum of America lowered its sky-high ticket prices last week from $27 to $16 for adults.

“We recognize the challenges facing consumers today and want to make it easier for visitors to continue to enjoy the exhibits and interactive experiences we offer at the attraction,” founder Philip Schwalb said in a statement.

Senior and student tickets went down to $13 from $24, while children between 6 and 15 will now pay $9, down from $20. Children under 6 are free. The new prices went into effect on Oct. 13.

When the museum opened at 26 Broadway last spring, Schwalb said he was confident visitors would be willing to pay the entrance fee, which is among the highest in the city. He soon started distributing $5-off coupons, which brought the adult ticket price down to the equivalent of two movies, but that apparently didn’t do the trick.

The museum is also cutting back its hours of operation from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

Musical meeting

It’s hard to find a better audience for a song than the people who inspired it in the first place.

The TriBattery Pops got just that audience when the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center listened to the Pops song “AAA LMCCC” during the agency’s staff meeting Monday.

“AAA LMCCC” is a single off of the Pops album “Under Construction.” Conductor Tom Goodkind imagines that the instrumental number would make the perfect soundtrack to a TV commercial advertising everyone’s favorite construction coordination agency.

The single is up for a Grammy nomination, as is the instrumental album. Because nominations are listed in alphabetical order, “AAA LMCCC” is at the top of the list, “probably the closest we’ll ever get to being #1,” Goodkind joked in an e-mail.

Local musicians should note that Goodkind is looking for musicians to join the band. He insists it’s an easy commitment and musicians can take phone calls during shows. E-mail him at TomGoodkin@aol.com for more information.