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Would have had Ray’s vote: Before he recently decided to call off a run for Democratic state committee in what would have been a June primary race, Dodge Landesman was making the rounds, as he put it, “in the process of racking up endorsements.” And his first was Ray of Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A. Asked if Ray a.k.a. Asghar Ghahraman had really given him his political endorsement, Landesman said, “Yes, he did indeed. I know him decently well. I’m somewhat of a night owl, so I often walk down to Ray’s to get an egg cream or a slushie. I usually show up around 2 or 3, so it’s always when he’s on duty. He actually encouraged me to run for office initially — after I filled him in on my past, running for City Council and whatnot — so the endorsement was almost automatic. I was planning on taking pictures with and putting quotes next to the important community leaders who agreed to endorse me. The first one I was prepping to announce was Ray. Obviously, his endorsement is moot at this juncture but I’ll make sure to save it for a rainy day!”
N.Y.U. downsizes plan: Saying it has heard the community loud and clear, N.Y.U. has agreed to slash its plan in half! No — not the entire, dreaded N.Y.U. 2031 Plan, but its proposal to commercially rezone the bottom of Washington Square Village. The idea has met with opposition from Community Board 2 and W.S.V. residents, including Professor Mark Crispin Miller, a leader of the faculty resistance to N.Y.U.’s mega-plan. Alicia Hurley, the university’s vice president for government relations and community outreach, explained that N.Y.U. originally wanted to commercially rezone the complex’s bottom two floors, but scaled this back to just the ground floor after feeling the community pushback. She said the idea is that, “If in ‘X’ number of years, for instance, the Citibank or that retail shop on that retail strip on LaGuardia Place — do you move something like that in there?” It’s all about keeping options open, at this point, she said. Basically, she said, the university wants to make W.S.V.’s bottom “more transparent and open.” According to Hurley, the first two floors have a similar facade treatment, which is why N.Y.U. was at first focusing on recladding both of them. “The idea is not to go in and turn the entire bottom floors of Washington Square Village into retail,” Hurley explained. “The idea is to make them more transparent. Whether you put in things for the faculty and students — like sitting areas, lounge areas… or doctors’ offices… . We’re not looking to make it into MacDougal St. or Eighth St. with rows of storefronts. But there certainly could be tea shops, coffee shops.” It all still has to be figured out, she said. As for the uses currently on the development’s ground floor, including C.B. 2’s board office, doctors’ offices and a nursery school — which are permitted there under community-facility zoning — they would all be allowed to stay if the rezoning is approved, she assured.
Fit to print: Community Board 2’s Tobi Bergman tells us that, when he was a kid growing up, his father proudly used to do the typesetting for publishing icon Barney Rosset. Rosset, who died a month ago, lived and worked in the Village and Soho. Bergman’s dad had a small Linotype shop in Chelsea. “My father did all Rosset’s typesetting until sometime in the mid-’60s — Beckett, Lawrence, Miller, Evergreen Review,” the local activist recalled. “In the ’50s it was fun because it all had to be secret. I remember having lunch with my father and Rosset at Peter McManus on 19th St., I think I was about 11. I can’t remember the topic, of course, but I remember being very proud to be part of a big secret. Maybe it was about ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover.’ I remember my father always talked about how difficult it was to typeset Beckett and how exacting he was. But I never met Beckett.”
Embattled BID: The hearing for the proposed Broadway Soho Business Improvement District keeps being postponed, indefinitely, it seems. On Wednesday, we asked Kelly Magee, City Councilmember Margaret Chin’s spokesperson, when it’s going to be held. “We do not have a date for the hearing,” she said. “As soon as we do, I will make sure everyone knows about it.” Oh, they’ll know, all right!
Streaming killed the video star: Lynn Pacifico is sad to report that her favorite local video shop, World of Video, on Greenwich Ave. near Perry St., has lost its lease. They have to be out by the end of next month and can’t find an affordable alternative space. “This is the last video shop in the neighborhood,” Pacifico lamented. “I am very upset as I always enjoyed the atmosphere when I went to get a movie as they are all knowledgeable and passionate about movies. The only option now is streaming, which is so much less fun, personal and interesting than going to World of Video. … It’s another loss for the Village,” she said sadly. “The neighborhood is losing its soul. It is no longer a ‘village.’ It’s becoming the Upper East Side.” By Pacifico’s reckoning the only other “nearby” video store is Allan’s Alley, at 22nd St. and Ninth Ave.
Super loss: The Lower East Side’s Michael Gottlieb writes to tell us that Franklin Fernandez, the longtime manager of Fine Fare Supermarket, on Grand St. near Jackson St., is leaving for a new position on Long Island. “Franklin provided customers with good service, warmth, friendliness and a great sense of humor,” Gottlieb said. “People would come into the store just to have a conversation with Franklin. We’ll miss him!”
Grand St. construction zone: Biking on Grand St. through Little Italy and Chinatown has been hellish the past year or so, and it’s not because of some nefarious plot to make the street a shambles to discourage cyclists. Most of the road surface is constantly covered with metal plates and clumps of asphalt. After seeing Con Ed workers toiling in even-larger-than-usual trenches and holes in the street beneath floodlights the other weekend, we finally decided to call the utility to find out what’s up. Sara Banda, a Con Ed spokesperson, explained, “Our presence there is related to the city’s water tunnel project. We have steam, gas and electric equipment in the area that requires interference work ahead of the tunnel project. We have been on site since March 2011, but are in the final stages of our work. The city will then come in after we finish.” Oh man — “the city will then come in” — how much longer will that take? That’s our question for next week. “Interference work,” by the way, according to Banda, means “relocating certain infrastructures, including but not limited to electrical conduits, steam pipes, gas pipes and/or vaults.” It also means “interfering” with bicycling and, we’re sure, local businesses, traffic and pedestrians’ ability just to cross the street. … On other bike-related news, the Manhattan Bridge’s bike lane has been switched from the bridge’s south side back to the north side now that repair work on that side has finished. Too bad, though, the view’s not as nice.
Corrections: An article in last week’s issue on the new Minskoff office building project at 51 Astor Place (site of the former Cooper Union Engineering Building), incorrectly stated that The Cooper Union’s new building at 41 Cooper Square opened in 2006. That was when ground was broken. The building actually opened in 2009. … Also, an article on the Cabrini nursing home’s decision to close by this summer should have stated that if Cabrini doesn’t receive a $7 million grant from the state Department of Health for the shutdown, but is able to sell its nursing home beds, Cabrini would still have to pay $4.5 million for the shutdown. Patricia Krasnausky, C.E.O. and president at Cabrini Eldercare, wrote to us, saying, “We would appreciate this being corrected so it is not assumed that our closing costs are $11 million.” … This isn’t really a correction, but an article in last week’s issue on Pete Gleason’s efforts to represent Anna Gristina, the “Hockey Mom Madam,” failed to mention that the reporter tried to contact the Tribeca attorney for comment several times but was unsuccessful. Usually Gleason’s voicemail was full, but the reporter once was able to leave a message, and a request for comment was also e-mailed to Gleason. He didn’t respond — though he did subsequently relate his whole life story to one of the dailies for a full-page profile!