Photos by Scoopy LIFE IN THE FAST LANE: We were glad to see some signage on the Second Ave. bike lane, above left, the other week when this residential conversion project by Icon’s Ben Shaoul had a cement mixer come in, blocking the lane. Of course, it would have been nice if the “Caution” placard had actually been upright, but over all, it was encouraging. Last summer when we were biking by this site one day, a Bobcat was blocking the lane as it hauled out some debris to a dumpster. Another cyclist who was riding by and chose to swerve up onto the sidewalk said something to one of the hard hats, who menacingly yelled back at him, “Keep riding, a—hole!” This prompted us — after we had swerved out into onrushing traffic — to shout back, “Get out of the bike lane!!!” The hard hat was in the wrong because no signage had been posted notifying cyclists that the lane was being blocked. We later went back and checked the Department of Buildings permit posted on the construction fence, which explicitly states that such signage must be posted at various distances from the site, so that cyclists, as they are approaching, are forewarned that they’ll have to make an evasive maneuver. Anyway, we subsequently spoke to Manny, the foreman on the project, above right, and he assured us that he would be doing his best to accommodate everyone safely, and that he was aware of the obligation to notify cyclists when the lane was being blocked. Generally, it’s been working all right. But having to swerve into traffic still really sucks.
OUR SAVIOR, JESUS CATS??? The East Village’s Progress Republican Club is collecting signatures to get John Catsimatidis on the Liberal line in the mayoral general election. On Sat., Aug. 3, starting at 10 a.m., club members and anyone else who wishes to help will meet at the Key Food supermarket, at Avenue A and E. Fourth St, and then spend the day collecting signatures for what the club is calling “a second line” for Catsimatidis. Of course, the billionaire Gristedes owner, who is positioning himself as a “fusion candidate,” will still have to beat out rival Joe Lhota in the September primary for the first, as in Republican, ballot line. But if Catsimatidis has the Liberal Party’s backing, that could give him momentum, helping him garner the G.O.P. line, or at least that’s the thinking. Hyman Silverglad, a P.R.C. member, who over the years has run for just about every elected office on the Lower East Side and been repeatedly trounced — “I’m a stickler for punishment,” he admitted — said they see Catsimatidis as something special. “We do feel he is a messianic figure,” he told us, “and you can underline messianic. We feel John Catsimatidis is a champion of the middle class and that he will revivify the lost manufacturing base of this city.” Silverglad noted that Catsimatidis — who goes by the nickname “Cats” — does have an East Village connection: His struggling immigrant dad worked as a busboy at the old Luchow’s on E. 14th St. Silverglad, though, conceded that the odds against a Republican winning in this area are enormous. Whereas the city is about 6-to-1 Democrat to Republican, he noted, “in the East Village, Lower East Side, Chinatown, we are outnumbered, I would say, 15 to 1.” However, they believe their supermarket mogul messiah — whose initials coincidentally do happen to be J.C. — just may be able to work a miracle. “We understand he’s not the most articulate person or as photogenic as some,” Silverglad said. “But we believe he will be our savior — underline that, savior.”
A GARDEN PLAY — CAN YOU DIG IT? By now, you might have read about it. Then again…not wanting to get sucked into this never-ending maelstrom amid the mulch, you might have just started flipping past the articles. But now you have a chance to see this fracas amid the foliage — this clash amid the compost — all dramatically brought to life. We’re talking about the Dias y Flores garden donnybrook that will be premiering as a new play, “Clubhouse on East 13th,” at the Boog Festival, Sun., Aug. 4, 6 p.m. at Sidewalk Cafe, 94 Avenue A (free). It’s penned by Jeff Wright, a twice-terminated former member of the E. 13th St. garden, and the cast features a bevy of poets and artists. Plot summary: “Macbeth meets Lulu Little in a showdown based on tensions between the avant-garde and the forces of gentrification in a community garden.” We hear if this one-night-only show is a success, it could inspire a “treatment” for a new reality series, “The Real Gardeners of the East Village.” Also, action figures may soon be in the works. Meanwhile, the play will be done again in October at La Mama. Seriously, we hope this new artistic work will, well, help work things out.
ON THE MEND: Theatre 80 impresario Lorcan Otway recently posted an encouraging status update on his Facebook page about his wife, Genie. She’s still just beginning her recovery from their harrowing run-in with three toughs who tried to shake them down for $100 to return one of the theater employee’s cell phones. “7½ hours of surgery, Genie is O.K.,” Otway wrote. “They were able to save her shoulder. They thought they might have to replace it, as it was in so many pieces. They really did a good job…and the pins in her ankle went well… . Thanks to all.” Good luck, Genie, in your recuperation.