ACTION AT LAST AT OLD P.S. 64? East Village journo Sarah Ferguson called Monday to tell us she had just walked by the former CHARAS/El Bohio (the old P.S. 64), at 605 E. Ninth St. near Avenue B and seen a woman posting up a copy of an application to the Landmarks Preservation Commission to modify the historic building’s exterior — including for fixing up the building’s 10th St. terrace, adding an entry ramp on Ninth St., new first-floor windows on 10th St., new railings, etc. We called developer Gregg Singer and asked him what’s up — is he finally going to put a dorm in the place, which has been a vacant eyesore for more than a decade? But he wasn’t divulging any details. “I’m not discussing that project with you,” he said. “There’s nothing to talk about.” But people are saying something’s obviously going on with the property, we told him. “They’ve got to find out on their own,” he replied. “I’m not the source to find out.” Sounds like Singer must have been muzzled by his business partners. Meanwhile, plans for the building submitted to L.P.C. for the “certificate of appropriateness” were, in fact, recently posted on Community Board 3’s Web site — and they include, not only exterior renderings, but also renderings of what’s in store for the place’s inside. The blueprints show the building chopped up into small rooms, with individual bathroom and kitchen facilities, just like in a dorm. Singer or his partners were planning to make a presentation before the C.B. 3 Landmarks Subcommittee on Wednesday night as we were going to press.
PAPER POWER! As you can read on Page 9 of this week’s issue, preservationist Andrew Berman is far from satisfied with the partial win by his Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and community allies in getting the city to pledge to consider landmarking half of the remaining proposed South Village Historic District. Nevertheless, Berman credited our editorial back in January for being a major assist in achieving what they did. “So many people came together and were such a huge help in pushing for getting a commitment on South Village landmarking,” Berman said. “But without a doubt The Villager editorial, ‘Landmark, Then Rezone,’ was an enormous boost for the effort. It helped make the argument clear and undeniable that the Hudson Square rezoning would accelerate the destruction of the South Village, and should not move ahead without the landmarking.” Also highlighting the cause, G.V.S.H.P., with a coalition of local community groups, sprung for two full-page ads with us. Said Berman, “I think the full-page ads in The Villager also helped show how broad and deep the support was for this campaign. It definitely helps to have the local paper on your side!”
GET BETTER SOON! Legendary zoning maven of Community Board 2, Doris Diether, fell on Wed., April 24, and broke her hip. She had surgery at Beth Israel the next day, and is doing O.K., according to Keen Berger, her fellow C.B. 2 member. Apparently Diether was walking through her building’s first-floor hallway when a neighbor opened her front door, causing Diether, 84, to swerve, lose her footing and go down. The grounded Diether gave the neighbor the number for the Board 2 office and District Manager Bob Gormley came right down to help take Diether to the hospital. Berger said Diether has been flooded with get-well cards and candy and her favorite, chocolate ice cream. Reverend Donna Schaper of Judson Church, where Diether goes, though she isn’t technically a member, is also giving updates. It sounds like Diether will be at B.I. for a bit longer. She might have to rehab locally somewhere, such as at VillageCare, on W. Houston St., but we didn’t have more information at press time.
KICK IT! The photo by Ali Smith on The Villager’s front page this week is of Alyson Palmer of the legendary band BETTY, with her daughter, who is shown holding a cool big rock. Palmer is one of several Lower East Side women featured in Smith’s new book, “Momma Love; How the Mother Half Lives.” For 12 years, the local lens woman has been lovingly working on the project, which features 40 women’s portraits and their stories about the highs and lows of the motherhood experience. The book is finally finished and has already gotten a rave review from Gloria Steinem, who said, “Ali Smith has given us a gift with ‘Momma Love:’ a fresh, eye-opening manifestation of motherhood’s contemporary realities.” Unfortunately, Smith had a nightmare experience six months ago with a publisher who, she said, suddenly closed up shop and stole the financial investment Smith had made toward the book’s production. “It left me stranded and hating life for a month,” she told us. “That had been my savings and a huge investment for me to make, but I believe in the project wholeheartedly.” So now Smith is self-publishing. To that end, she’s doing a Kickstarter fundraising campaign that runs until next Wed., April 10. (Go online to Kickstarter to contribute.) She lives on E. 23rd St. but, as she told us, “My life is lived on the Lower East Side — and has been for the last 30 years. I was in bands for years, and one, Speedball Baby, was a big deal on the L.E.S. music scene. CBGB’s was my stomping grounds, as was Ludlow St., when there was a Ludlow St. I bartended at Sophie’s and Mona’s. I was at the Tompkins Square riots, and now I take my son to preschool at Little Missionary Day School down the block from there — very strange.” As for the Kickstarter campaign, she said, “There has been a tremendous amount of support, but I have a long way to go to reach the goal that will fund the printing — which will be done with an eco-friendly green printer in the U.S.” Other Downtowners in the tome include Michele Quan, who founded Me and Ro jewelry and whose photo graces the book’s cover; Deb Parker, founder of Beauty Bar and Barmacy, who Smith called the “L.E.S. Queen;” and Erika “Giggles the Clown” Kirkland, who has raised her daughter while working as a clown for 20 years on the Lower East Side.
ANARCHY IN THE L.E.S.! The Anarchist Book Fair and Anarchist Film Festival are coming to the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, 107 Suffolk St., this Saturday and Sunday, April 6-7. The film festival is organized by Priya Warcry and is in honor of late activist Brad Will, who was slain in 2006 by paramilitaries while documenting a popular uprising in Oaxaca, Mexico. Fresh from his homeless campout outside N.Y.U., John Penley will be speaking at the film festival. Penley was also planning to do another campout over the weekend — this time outside the nearby office of Ben Shaoul’s Magnum Management — to protest Taylor Mead’s living situation on Ludlow St. in a building Shaoul used to own. Penley planned to demand that Shaoul use some of the money he got from flipping a portfolio of his East Village buildings to Jared Kushner, to provide a ground-floor apartment for Mead, free for the rest of his life. But word recently got out that Mead’s niece is helping him hopefully work a buyout, so the campout is off. But Penley said they’ll still protest briefly outside Magnum Management. For one, he’s angry that Shaoul is residentially redeveloping the former Cabrini Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation facility on E. Fifth St., charging that it was the developer who “kicked out the seniors.”
ANARCHY IN THE WINERY: Speaking of anarchy, we saw Glen Matlock, formerly of the Sex Pistols, and Sylvain Sylvain, formerly of the New York Dolls, at an “acoustic punk” show at City Winery in Hudson Square Tuesday night. Frankly, while we know Matlock played all of Sid Vicious’s bass parts for him, and while it was great to be in a room with a legendary Pistol, he needs a bit more “anarchy” in his voice, which, well, lacks range. We spotted Jesse Malin from Bowery Electric there, checking out the famed rockers before he dashed off in a cab.
TO SLURPEE — OR NOT TO SLURPEE? The No 7-Eleven Players are excited to announce that Reverend Billy and his Choir will be joining them for a dramatic protest this Saturday in Tompkins Square Park at 1 p.m. Bob Holman of the Bowery Poetry Club called to tell us they’re planning some rockin’ anti-chain store skits.
MARLOW NOT BACKING DOWN: Following his savaging of the crusties and their lifestyle in his incendiary talking point in The Villager last week, we asked Chad Marlow if he wanted to comment for our article this week, in which the travelers talk back (even though they hadn’t actually read his piece yet). Marlow’s reply: “I am not going to respond to comments by people who didn’t bother to even read my op-ed, except to say I was not anticipating a positive or constructive response from the crusties. The only opinions that matter to me are those of East Village residents. While online debate about the op-ed has been vigorous, which is great, the overall response has been overwhelmingly positive. I feel comfortable saying, based on the feedback I received, that a vast majority of East Village residents either want my proposal adopted as is or with a few minor amendments. The ball is now out of my court.” Once his talking point was published, Marlow promptly e-mailed it to Councilmember Rosie Mendez, asking her if she would adopt all or part of his multipronged, crusty-control proposal. As was reported in The Villager, it was Mendez who, last year, first said something needed to be done about crusties sleeping and acting out on the sidewalks. The councilmember has recently been in Puerto Rico on a family matter. We called her Friday for her response to Marlow’s piece, but she hadn’t read it yet, though said she planned to do so. But we couldn’t reach her this week in a follow-up call. Her office said she had traveled to “the other side of the island,” so perhaps cell phone service may have been an issue.