SWEENEY’S ANTI-BIKE-SHARE JIHAD: The New York Times, catching up to the bike-share backlash story, bit on a quote we reported in our article in last week’s issue on the Community Board 2 “bike-share outrage” forum. The Times, in its article this Wednesday, referred to a community member who slammed Citi Bike at the forum as making “an inelegant analogy between the Taliban and the Bloomberg administration.” That unnamed individual was Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance. “Yeah, that particularly annoyed me that I (and the Villager) was not given credit for the ‘inelegant’ remark,” Sweeney told us. “I had been to the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan back in the ’70s before the Russian invasion, so my comment was based on personal knowledge of the events.” And now Sweeney has witnessed the removal of a small public art space in tiny Petrosino Square for a dreaded bike-share station. “Both Mullah Omar and Sadik-Khan are extremists who force their will on others,” the Soho activist fumed. “The chief difference is that Mullah Omar wears a robe and Mullah Sadik-Khan wears spandex.”
ROUNDUP REVULSION: An East Village reader alerted us that he had received an alarmed report from a friend who walks his dog in East River Park that the Parks Department is spraying the park with Monsanto’s Roundup weed-killer. This will be putting pooches in grave danger, the dog owner fears. However, a Parks Department spokesperson tells us there’s no reason to get wound up about Roundup, and that the powerful plant killer is completely harmless. “Roundup has been used in parks for decades and is approved by OSHA and the city’s Health Department,” Phil Abramson said. “It is a post-emergent spray that combats weeds, and at East River Park, since Hurricane Sandy, mugwort has sprung up. The spray is inert, meaning that it targets weeds but does not affect soil, wildlife or people’s pets.” … Yeah, but it’s also made by Monsanto, which, as we learned from the movie “Food, Inc.” is strong-arming small farmers out of business left and right unless they agree to buy the multinational company’s grain seed, which doesn’t regerminate and needs to be purchased anew — from Monsanto — each year.
A YARN ABOUT A CAFE: Talk about getting wound up, Deb’s Cafe, on Varick St. between Houston and King Sts., was recently “yarn bombed,” which is a good thing. Deb Barral-Miller, owner of Deb’s Catering, invited a group of women known as CYB (Community Yarn Bomb) to decorate the tables and seats in the place’s sidewalk cafe. A reception was held on May 7 to coincide with the birthday of the late Sam Gold, Barrall-Miller’s father, who formerly owned the beloved Sam’s Sandwich Shop at the same spot.
CAPSIS SUES SIXTH, KELLY: We were recently sent court papers from attorney Arthur Schwartz, confirming that he is representing George Capsis, publisher of WestView, a monthly publication, in a lawsuit against Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and two Sixth Precinct police officers. The suit alleges police “exerted excessive force in the arrest of plaintiff Capsis.” The case involves a May 2012 incident in which the octogenarian West Villager was biking in the Bleecker St. bike lane and was cut off by a police van, and then pinned against the van by the officers. Capsis then slapped the face of one of the officers, who promptly socked Capsis in the eye in return, breaking his glasses and causing facial bruising. The offending officer also threw Capsis to the ground, the suit says, adding that the WestView publisher was taken to the Sixth Precinct and then the hospital, where he was treated — while still in handcuffs. The suit seeks no less than $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages for Capsis, plus a jury trial.
Photo by Scoopy
IN TUNE WITH CATSIMATIDIS: We were exiting Grand Central Station the other night and recognized the familiar bagpipe strains of Duncan Robertson, above, who we met a few years ago at a tree-planting party on the East Side. Our chat turned to politics and Robertson told us he recently attended an event on the Upper East Side for mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis. “He’s a real humanitarian,” he said of the Gristedes C.E.O. “Catsimatidis says, ‘I don’t vote for the party, I vote for the man,’ and that’s the way I am, too… That’s a good plug, right?” Robertson said with a smile. Although Catsimatidis is running as a Republican “fusion candidate,” the bagpiper said he didn’t fancy a former G.O.P. mayor, Rudy Giuliani, whom he called “a stiff.” And he’s not a Bloomberg fan, either. Robertson’s other issue — or one he is dealing with personally — is that someone who is trying to stop his “research” is bombarding him with microwaves through the walls of his Cherokee Place apartment on E. 78th St., and recently even tried to blast him with a “laser sound gun.” Robertson survived the searing shot to the solar plexus, but the attacks are taking a toll.
HATS OFF TO LIZ CHRISTY GARDEN! The Liz Christy Garden, on East Houston St. at the Bowery, is celebrating its 40th anniversary on Sat., May 18, with a blowout party from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Rain date is Sun., May 19.) Join them for free hot dogs and refreshments, and of course, their famous Hat Party. Artist Annie Shaver-Crandell of Noho will man a hat-decorating table. Her late husband, Keith Crandell wrote powerfully in The Villager about the need to save the garden and not bifurcate it with a path during the AvalonBay construction project. The garden is looking even better than ever, having incorporated the adjacent Rock and Roll Garden.
MUSEUM NIGHT AT C.B. 2: Terri Cude of Community Board 2 is really excited about her Arts and Institutions Committee’s upcoming Wed., May 22, meeting, at the Little Red School House, at Sixth Ave. and Bleecker St., at 6:30p.m., at which local museums, both extant and future, will give reports on who they are and what they do. There will be a full lineup, with the likes of the Whitney, the Drawing Center, the Children’s Museum of the Arts, the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesban Art, the Merchant’s House, the Yippie Museum and more.
THE CASE OF ‘THE MYSTERIOUS BLOB’: It’s a favorite of legendary L.E.S. activist Frances Goldin, but Something Sweet, at 11th St. and First Ave., has been going through a serious sour spell. The store was closed for five months in 2011, and then has been closed again since July 2012 after one of the owners had two strokes. A lot of the issues are connected with the landlord either making or not making repairs to the space, which caused tremendous disruption, we hear. The store owners are currently looking for a partner or someone to bring in to help the business, plus a lawyer to help them sort everything out. Although neighboring Veniero’s is more famous, Something Sweet definitely has its charms, and its fans, like Goldin. A favorite was “The Mysterious Blob,” a concoction with red velvet, a little cream cheese and a vanilla bean inside, for just $1.50. Others were the truffle button and the chocolate banana. And then there’s always Lilly, the window mannequin with a missing hand, the store’s mascot.