They're on the one road . . . and in New York City, at least for the next week, that means West 53rd Street, as U2 stopped traffic on Tuesday afternoon to take part in a ceremony that temporarily renamed the block in honor of Bono and the boys. U2 has certainly been around the block in their storied career, now into its fourth decade. And the megaband can still show the pups a thing or two about how to promote a new offering, in this case, U2’s first studio album in nearly five years, titled "No Line on the Horizon." Before they arrived in NYC for the current publicity blitz U2 took London by storm, commandeering the BBC and playing a live set on top of the network’s building last Friday morning. Now they’ve pulled off a first by becoming the first band ever to play David Letterman’s late night chat show for a full week – their gig there ends on Friday. To mark that event, West 53rd, where the Letterman studio is located, was renamed U2 Way, courtesy of Mayor Mike Bloomberg. “The Beatles had Penny Lane, Elvis had Lonely Street and now we have the street between 10th Avenue and funky, funky Broadway,” said Bono. “New York is a place that people come to (and) feel at home. And we truly do feel at home here in New York.” Bloomberg basked in the glory of being associated for an afternoon with the biggest band in the world – and, c’mon, that’s what they still very much are, Coldplay and the rest of the pretenders be damned! “It’s a beautiful day, to quote a famous Irish rock band,” Bloomberg said. “Everyone in this city, including me, considers these four Dubliners honorary New Yorkers.” Speaking of Coldplay, Bono took a playful – at least we think it was – jab at frontman Chris Martin during one of his BBC interviews last week, calling him a word that begins with “w” and rhymes with banker. The BBC host was none too pleased and apologized for the remark, but Martin himself isn’t the least bit bothered. “I always thought he felt that way,’’ Martin joked during a stop in Australia with his band. “I think it’s great that we’re arch enemies. That’s a joke too.’’ And in an interview with The Irish Times last week, Bono took offense to those who have criticized the band for sheltering some of their earnings in a tax haven in the Netherlands. “We pay millions and millions of dollars in tax,” says Bono in his first public comments about the matter, which first became an issue a couple of years back. “The thing that stung us was the accusation of hypocrisy for my work as an activist. “I can understand how people outside the country wouldn’t understand how Ireland got to its prosperity, but everybody in Ireland knows that there are some very clever people in the government and in the Revenue who created a financial architecture that prospered the entire nation – it was a way of attracting people to this country who wouldn’t normally do business here. And the financial services brought billions of dollars every year directly to the Exchequer. “What’s actually hypocritical is the idea that then you couldn’t use a financial services center in Holland. The real question people need to ask about Ireland’s tax policy is, ‘Was the nation a net gain benefactor?’ and of course it was – hugely so. So there was no hypocrisy for me – we’re just part of a system that has benefited the nation greatly and that’s a system that will be closed down in time. Ireland will have to find other ways of being competitive and attractive.”

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