Heard and Seen in The Village

New challenge for Schwartz?
We hear that 21-year-old Dodge Landesman from the Gramercy area is strongly considering running against incumbent Arthur Schwartz of the West Village for Democratic state committeeman in the 66th Assembly District in 2012. The young Community Board 6 member, whose dad is Rocco Landesman, chairperson of the National Endowment for the Arts, briefly challenged Rosie Mendez in 2009 before throwing his support behind the East Village city councilmember. Landesman is a hardcore “Yetta-ite,” a close ally of City Council hopeful Yetta Kurland, the latter who notably had a falling out with Schwartz. A longtime member of Community Board 2, Schwartz has been a leading activist on Village parks issues and the waterfront, and has often litigated on important park and community issues. Getting out of the blocks early, Landesman had his first fundraiser Tuesday evening. In a pumped report on his Facebook page, Landesman wrote, “Great event last night with appearances from District Leaders Paul Newell, Jenifer Rajkumar, Jean Grillo, C.B. 6 Chairperson Mark Thompson, community leaders Sean Sweeney, Pete Gleason, Yetta Kurland, Sandy Hecker, Lynn Nunes, [Downtown Independent Democrats club president] Jeanne Wilcke and former Assemblyman Ed Sullivan, as well as many others! Thanks for making it a smashing success!” Of course, Schwartz is legendary for having decided to run, right after having had open-heart surgery, against longtime incumbent state commiteeman Larry Moss, and upsetting him back in 2006. Landesman, however, told us he’s still not definitely a candidate. “While I am moving in that direction, I have yet to actually officially announce, so technically, I am not running yet,” he said. “However, we had a strong showing last night financially, so it looks like we have the tools we need to move forward. If and when we announce, there will be a formal Web site and whatnot, but we are now in the exploratory phase of the campaign. Still, by no means is this a secret!” Sounds like this one could get interesting!

‘Hudson where?’ no more:
If some people are still saying they don’t know where Hudson Square is, well, then they just must not be…radio listeners. Now that WCBS, one of the nation’s largest radio stations, has moved to the just-north-of-Tribeca-and-west-of-Soho nabe, Hudson Square is really in the air, literally. “Live from the CBS Hudson Square Broadcast Center,” the station’s announcements periodically proclaim. And weather reports feature the tag line, “The temperature in Hudson Square is… .” Talk about great free marketing! Trinity Real Estate must be loving this.

Koch likes Quinn, Obama, warns about Newt:
Ed Koch is throwing his support behind Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the race for mayor in 2013. “I believe that she is center-left, which is what I am,” Koch told The New York Times on Tuesday. “Of all the candidates, Christine is the best able to follow in the steps of Mayor Bloomberg and myself.” In addition, in his online “Ed Koch Commentary” column on Monday, Hizzoner said he’s supporting Barack Obama for re-election. (Koch notably broke ranks with Democrats in ’04 to support George W. Bush over John Kerry, feeling Bush was better against terrorism and the stauncher defender of Israel.) But in his commentary, Koch warns Democrats not to take Newt Gingrich lightly, calling him “liberals’ nightmare.” He added that he foresees a Gingrich/Mitt Romney G.O.P. ticket. “Democrats who are supporters of President Obama and are hoping that he will face Newt Gingrich as the Republican candidate are mistaken in their belief that he will be easy to beat,” Koch writes. “Gingrich is appealing to the anger in this country toward all politicians, particularly those in Congress. The country is looking for a leader, unafraid to the tell the truth, and many think that Newt Gingrich is that person.”

Stringer changing course?
Speaking of the race to succeed Mayor Bloomberg, last month, we asked Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer if he’s going to run. “I’m seriously considering it,” the B.P. told us. “There’s no question about that. My wife and I have talked about the December gift that’s coming and how that’s going to affect the next few years. My intention is to seriously consider running for mayor. I have been going around the city talking to people, about the post-Bloomberg era, about helping people get back to work, middle-income people…thinking about our skyline. But that race is a long way away.” Well, that little gift, Maxwell, was born last Friday to Stringer and his wife, Elyse. Congrats! Meanwhile, as pundits are now deeming the mayor’s race a three-way affair between front-runners Quinn, Bill Thompson and Bill de Blasio, we hear that Stringer may be leaning toward running for, not mayor, but city comptroller now that incumbent John Liu is looking seriously wounded as the feds probe his campaign fundraising for illegalities. Some say the somewhat “wonkish” — only in the best way! — Stringer would be well-suited for comptroller.

Menin watch:
As for who’s eyeing the borough presidency, now that Stringer is facing term limits in ’13, Julie Menin’s name is definitely out there. We hear that a local politico recently asked the Community Board 1 chairperson if she was considering running for public advocate, a citywide office, but she quickly answered, “No! I’m running for borough president!” And Menin would reportedly never consider running against Councilmember Margaret Chin either, because her policy is not to challenge incumbents. We saw that in 2009, when Menin refused to run against Councilmember Alan Gerson, whom Chin ultimately wound up unseating. Meanwhile, Sean Sweeney, former D.I.D. president, and Menin have patched up things since their big falling out five years ago. Back then, before terms limits were extended — which allowed Gerson to try for re-election, unsuccessfully — Menin was still considering a Council run and was aggressively courting D.I.D.’s endorsement to the point of trying to bump out Sweeney as club president. Anyway, all seems to be forgotten. Sweeney and David Gruber are co-hosting an upcoming fundraiser for Menin’s 2013 campaign at Sweeney’s Soho loft. We asked Menin if she is, in fact, running for borough president, to which she responded: “I have formed a general 2013 city campaign committee as I announced at the full C.B. 1 meeting a few weeks ago. I have not declared yet for any specific office.”

On the avenue:
We stopped by Ray’s Candy Store, at Seventh St. and Avenue A, recently and Ray sadly told us things just haven’t been the same without late beloved photographer/blogger Bob Arihood manning his post and holding court on the sidewalk outside the place. We asked Ray if he finally had his operation for the angry, “pit bull”-like hernia he’s been dealing with, but he said his doctor told him he actually should get heart surgery first — to repair a leaky valve. Ray said, if he does have the procedure, it would be next month. “It’s scary,” he said of the idea, adding a bit dismissively with a flick of his towel, “I’ve had this heart for 78 years.” F.Y.I., calling all bodacious counter-top strippers: Ray turns 79 on Jan. 1! (His fans always throw him a party with a stripper, who Ray treats to an egg cream after the show.) … A couple of blocks away, L.E.S. Jewels was hunkered down on the sidewalk with a cardboard sign, spanging for change on a cold night. He said he’s still sober, after having gone on the wagon back in the summer, and recently landed a room at the Harlem YMCA through the program he’s working with, Common Ground. His next step, he hopes, is to get permanent, supportive housing at Common Ground’s new The Lee residence on East Houston St., where Jim Power, the East Village’s “Mosaic Man,” lives. Stay strong!

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