New York: On the Rocks

Out of the offices of the Rockefeller Bros, in mid-Manhattan one evening last week marched nine messengers. Minutes later, they delivered to the city's seven daily newspapers and to two national wire services a bare-boned, four-paragraph announcement. After 31 years of marriage, Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller, 53, and Mary Todhunter Clark Rockefeller, 54, had agreed to an "amicable" separation that will lead to a divorce.

The news caught New York almost completely by surprise; even the New York Times, which is ordinarily not much interested in such mundane matters as divorce, made...

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