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NO CONFIDENCE IN SEXTON?
New York University Arts and Science faculty members will meet on Thurs., Dec. 13, to decide whether or not to conduct a vote of no confidence in N.Y.U. President John Sexton, according to a department-wide e-mail that was forwarded to this newspaper by an anonymous source. The meeting, which will take place at 2 p.m. in the Kimmel Center, on Washington Square South, will include a vote by all eligible Arts and Science faculty members to determine if a no-confidence vote will in fact be held. If the initial vote were to pass, the Arts and Science faculty would then hold a vote of no confidence that would be conducted electronically — and anonymously — between Mon., Dec. 17, and midnight Fri., Dec. 21, according to the department e-mail. Arts and Science is the largest academic community at N.Y.U., comprising the College of Arts and Science, the Graduate School of Arts and Science and the Liberal Studies program. It is one of the 12 schools whose representatives comprise the N.Y.U. Faculty Senators Council. Clearly, the vote is pegged to the university’s 2031 development plan, which would impact faculty living on the university’s South Village superblocks. A few years ago, New School faculty members gave a vote of no confidence to the school’s former president, Bob Kerrey, but that was tied to his serial removals of provosts, among other things.
Back in the 1980s, nothing famously came between a young Brooke Shields and her Calvin Klein jeans. But, from the sound of it, some new foliage is now threatening to rudely intrude between the actress and her backyard sunlight at her West Village home. Someone last week sent us an anonymous e-mail, telling us to take a look north from a certain building service entrance on Christopher St., in order to see how new neighbors have planted, as the source called it, “a forest of 30-foot-high bamboo plants overshadowing Brook’s [sic] beautifully manicured garden. These invasive weeds will eventually take over and destroy most of the shared gardens and yards” on Shields’s block, the concerned source said, adding, “It’s amazing this widely condemned, non-native weed is allowed to be planted in the historic West Village gardens!” We’re not Page Six, so we we’re not exactly sure Shields even lives at the newly bamboo-bordered bungalow, but, as we looked north through the alley, we definitely did espy a stand of the controversial tall green stalks. Maybe she could call in ex-hubby Andre Agassi to knock them down by hitting tennis balls at them?
NOT EASY BEING GREEN:
Mark Green came very close to becoming mayor in 2001 — some observers thought he could have won had 9/11 not sent Rudy Giuliani’s popularity soaring, helping Giuliani’s pick, Mike Bloomberg. But clearly, Green’s stock has fallen dramatically. Julie Menin, former chairperson of Community Board 1, made her long-expected campaign announcement for borough president last week, touting the endorsements of more than 200 community leaders in a campaign release. Green was one of a few hundred supporters listed — but his name was buried at the bottom, and did not even make the first cut when 17 of the other 64 East Side leaders were featured more prominently. … Also endorsing Menin was former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields.
EYES FOR SQUAD SEAT:
Some may still be digesting President Obama’s win, but politicos tend to think a few elections in advance. So we weren’t too surprised that Democratic District Leader Paul Newell told us last week that he will absolutely run for state Senate in 2014 if state Senator Daniel Squadron wins next year’s public advocate race. Newell would be well positioned to win such a special election, since as district leader, he has selected some of the state committee members who would be responsible for naming the Democratic nominee. Squadron has not yet made his “official” announcement for the citywide race, but all systems appear to be go, and the still-young senator can run without risking his seat. Squadron dropped the “exploring” a campaign language in his group’s latest release announcing a fundraising, dim sum dining date with his family and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on Jan. 6. Newell, who challenged Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver four years ago, said he also frequently gets asked to take on a less powerful titan, Councilmember Margaret Chin. He and Sean Sweeney, a power in Downtown Independent Democrats, both said they think Chin is somewhat vulnerable next year, but both agreed it would be an uphill battle and were far from certain there would be a strong challenge. “A lot of people are dissatisfied, particularly north of Canal St.,” Sweeney told us. The D.I.D. politico, who is also director of the Soho Alliance, has differed with Chin on the merits of a Soho business improvement district, adding that others are miffed with Chin’s positions over issues like approving N.Y.U.’s superblocks megadevelopment plans and failure to preserve 135 Bowery. But Newell said he won’t run for Council because his interest lies in the state Legislature, where he could have a greater say in housing and transportation. He said his co-district leader, Jenifer Rajkumar, also gets a lot of pleadings to run for City Council, but he and Sweeney did not sound confident she would jump in the race. Alas, we did not hear back from Rajkumar, but Chin told us she’s hearing that Rajkumar will run. “I think there’s a lot of talk going around,” the councilmember said, adding she’s confident in her record and isn’t worried about a challenge. Money never hurts and Chin planned to kick off her fundraising campaign this week in the South Street Seaport, with other events planned this month in Chinatown and the Financial District.
As if Peter Silvestri didn’t have enough of a challenge keeping his Whole Earth Bakery afloat on St. Mark’s Place near Avenue A, along came Sandy. The vegan mecca was hit hard, and Silvestri had to give away or throw out tons of food. Meanwhile, his rent recently was raised from $3,000 a month to $5,000, and his landlord moved to evict after Silvestri missed a couple of months’ payment. Plus, St. Mark’s has morphed from a shopping street into Bourbon St., so patrons are mainly coming there to pound pints, not ingest vegan pastries and other healthy delights, in Silvestri’s view. But, never fear, Lucky Ant is coming to his rescue. The crowdfunding initiative has targeted the beleaguered bakery for help, and Silvestri has about a week left to reach the $10,000 mark that Lucky Ant has set. He needs $9,000 more — so help him out and buy some of his tofu temptations and hemp cookies. They won’t get you high, but you’ll feel a natural high from helping a neighborhood institution that has been on St. Mark’s since 1991.
The Capital recently reported that Barry Diller — chairperson of IAC and husband of Diane von Furstenberg — is considering donating $35 million toward a renovation of Pier 54, in Hudson River Park at W. 13th St., if the Hudson River Park Trust can secure matching funds from the city and state. In connection with Diller’s pledge, a design competition is reportedly in the works for the currently blacktopped event pier. We asked SKDKnickerbocker, which does p.r. for the park, for confirmation, but they’re not releasing much info. Spokesperson Stefan Friedman responded, “Pier 54 is one of the Hudson River Park’s last undeveloped public piers and has enormous potential to be another open-space gem for New Yorkers to enjoy. While we have reached out to members in the design community to discuss ideas, we are still in the extremely early stages of this effort. The very moment we have funding for the pier, we will reach out to our partners in the community, and, together, we will determine how best to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.” Another SKD’er described plans for Pier 54 at this stage as “wildly embryonic.”
Indie director M.M. Serra, whom The Villager recently profiled along with Taylor Mead, has organized a holiday mixer for the Film-Makers’ Cooperative and Millennium Film Workshop at Anthology Film Archive on Sat., Dec. 15, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The benefit — $15 at the door — will feature a screening curated by Donna Cameron and Coleen Fitzgibbon of new films in F.M.C.’s collection, plus pizza donated by Two Boots.