Photo by Jefferson Siegel
Petrosino partisan Georgette Fleischer handed D.O.T. big wheel Janette Sadik-Khan a protest letter at Monday’s bike-share launch.
PUSHING PETROSINO BIKE BOYCOTT: It’s now clear that (somehow, not surprisingly) the epicenter of the bike-share backlash is centered in Soho’s tiny Petrosino Square. After discovering the location of Monday’s press conference for the program’s launch, three activists — Georgette Fleischer, Lora Tenenbaum and Carl Rosenstein — rushed down to the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge to hold up signs protesting the location of a bike station near Petrosino’s northern tip, where, they say, public art has been displayed since 1984. “Janette Sadik-Khan looked over at me twice,” Fleischer said of the Department of Transportation commissioner. “Also, Wolfson certainly noticed me,” she said of Howard Wolfson, the deputy mayor. “He was certainly kind of glaring at me — or looking at me in a very intent fashion.” After the remarks were over and Sadik-Khan and Wolfson were getting ready to roll off on their Citi Bikes, Fleischer managed to hand the D.O.T. commish a letter of protest, which was captured in the exclusive Jefferson Siegel photo, right. “She didn’t deign to speak to me. She didn’t deign to look at me,” Fleischer said. Well…at least she did take the letter. But the Soho activists aren’t stopping there. They’ve been asking bike-share riders who pull into the Petrosino rack, to boycott it until it’s moved to another location out of the park and in the street. If the riders have extra minutes left on their half-hour limit, the Petrosino posse are asking them to pedal to another nearby bike dock. However, Fleischer notes, “I actually moved away from the word ‘boycott’ when we got some negative reaction.” Call it what you want, but they’re making sure their message gets out. Meanwhile, bike-share supporters are doing their best to, well, make sure the message doesn’t get out — by ripping down the messages. Basically, she, Tenenbaum, Rosenstein and Pete Davies are constantly sticking protest fliers on all of the bikes, or on the empty docks, and then bike-share backers are pulling them all off. This goes on over and over again, repeatedly, throughout the day. Davies and Rosenstein collect petition signatures, while she and Tenenbuam do the talking to try to redirect the bikers elsewhere. Fleischer noted she had a “very unpleasant encounter” with a man who identified himself as a Citi Bike member and accused her of being a “vandal,” then snapped her photo. “I asked him what right he had to remove our protest literature,” Fleischer said she countered. The peeved Petrosino protector said some Transportation Alternatives reps have even dared to show up at the site to try to sign people up for the program.
LIU-EEE, LIU-EEE, OH YEAH! The John Liu juggernaut just can’t be stopped, at least not in Downtown Manhattan’s political clubs. Wednesday night, despite a strong early lead by Bill de Blasio on the first ballot, Liu wound up winning the endorsement of Downtown Independent Democrats on the third ballot. In the first round of voting, de Blasio got 26 votes to Liu’s 19. Late entry Anthony Weiner, well, just didn’t seem “up to it,” snagging only 4 votes. Yet he did top Christine Quinn, who only got 3 votes, and Sal Albanese, who garnered 2, while Bill Thompson got zero, which was 3 less than “No Endorsement” received. In the runoff, de Blasio and Liu tied. But on the third ballot (second runoff) Liu pulled ahead for the win, 18 to 13. In the public advocate race, Dan Squadron appeared to have won with more than 40 votes to Tish James’s 7 or so, with the other two candidates way behind, though the final count was being tallied as we were going to press. Julie Menin got D.I.D.’s nod for borough president, with 42 votes. Gale Brewer garnered 9, Jessica Lappin 1, Robert Jackson none and “No Endorsement” 3. In the race for City Council District 1, Jenifer Rajkumar totally crushed incumbent Margaret Chin, 39 to 16. D.I.D. endorsed Rosie Mendez for re-election overwhelmingly in District 2. In the hotly contested District 3 race, the club went for Corey Johnson, giving him 32 votes to Yetta Kurland’s 21, with zero for Alexander Meadows. Continuing the Liu-lapalooza landslide, District Leader John Quinn reported that the Lower East Side Democratic Club also endorsed Liu for mayor, and that they were joined by “all the tenant associations” from local public housing developments. Quinn and the tenant associations held a press conference in the Smith Houses to make the announcement.
OPENS FLOODGATE OF COMPLAINTS: Tuesday evening, Community Board 3 voted to recommend denial of a liquor license for the planned new Soho House branch on the Lower East Side on Ludlow St. The vote, which is advisory only, was 25 against the license versus 10 for it, with 2 abstentions. Before the vote, new C.B. 3 member Ayo Harrington spoke out strongly, not so much against the swank, membership-only club’s application — but against the Educational Alliance’s “swamp,” as she called it, on Avenue D. Soho House’s lawyer had referred to the settlement house as their “community partner in need of space,” which set Harrington off. She noted that for about six years, she and her neighbors have been struggling with the negative impact from standing water on the Educational Alliance’s stalled construction project at 27 Avenue D, east of Orchard Alley garden, between Third and Fourth Sts. Harrington even whipped out her smartphone to show her fellow board members a new photo of the still-waterlogged lot that she recently snapped as the warm weather is returning. “Trees were growing out of the concrete walls, the smell was rank and it looked like a green, murky swamp!” Harrington told us of her ongoing struggles with the adjacent plot last year. “We had to close the garden due to the resulting, horrendous onslaught of mosquitoes. After years of trying to be understanding and promises leading to no permanent resolution, we just couldn’t take it anymore and called in the media last year — after which the Department of Health agreed that the mosquito problem originated from the standing water on Educational Alliance’s lot. Last week I took another picture of several inches of water and called them again! It was that picture I felt reduced to showing around last night. Ironically, the lot was once part of Orchard Alley. We gave it up years ago when Educational Alliance asked us for it. We did so because we supported their plan to use it to increase residential bed space for their drug rehab program, Pride Site 2, located on the south side of the lot.”