The Talking Transition tent was being struck in Duarte Square this week — and the black crates that had spelled out “TALK” were stacked and wrapped up and ready to go — after the temporary two-week interactive program came to a close. The initiative is making the results of its survey public and will also present the data to new Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo by Scoopy
Hoylman lays down the law: Outgoing Police Commissioner Ray Kelly surprised some when, last week, he wholeheartedly endorsed the raucous SantaCon. Earlier in the week, a police lieutenant in Hell’s Kitchen had declared the annually ever-larger, Santa-themed pub crawl / open-air vomitorium and urinal a disgrace, saying local bar owners should shun it. But, as reported by the Daily News, Kelly retorted, “This is an event that we support. It’s what makes New York New York. There have been some rowdy actions by a small handful of people in the past. I think that’s why the officers in Midtown North were trying to…alert the tavern owners.” Taking a far harder line on SantaCon, state Senator Brad Hoylman in October reached out to the St. Nick-themed booze fest, urging them to clean up their act and create a plan for how they’ll do that, to be shared with local police precincts and community boards. “I’m disappointed in Commissioner Kelly’s comments brushing off the negative impact of SantaCon, which seem way out of touch with New Yorkers and his own police force,” Hoylman told us. “Marauding droves of drunken people isn’t what makes New York special, and I hope the commissioner really doesn’t believe his police force should facilitate this brand of lawlessness. Instead, we need to hold SantaCon responsible by requiring them to make public and follow defined routes, ensure respectful participants, and implement a comprehensive safety plan. SantaCon needs to sober up and clean up its act or be canceled.” Meanwhile, the political outcry over SantaCon is, well, snowballing. On Tuesday, seven other local pols joined Hoylman’s call for the alcohol-fueled midwinter bacchanal to adopt “good-neighbor principles.” They included state Senators Liz Krueger and Daniel Squadron, Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried, Deborah Glick and Brian Kavanagh and City Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Margaret Chin. “‘A group of drunks in Santa suits walk into a bar’ might sound like the start of a joke, but there’s nothing funny about SantaCon,” said Gottfried, who represents Hell’s Kitchen / Clinton. “If the organizers and participating bars can’t protect the public, the police and the State Liquor Authority need to act.”
Pizza pie goodbye: The Roio’s Pizza (formerly Famous Ray’s) at 11th St. and Sixth Ave. was set to close this Wednesday, according to our intrepid Central Village correspondent Elissa Stein. They’ll be making ’za until they run out of ingredients, she told us. “Apparently, the family owned the building before, so they never paid rent,” Stein reported. “The building was finally sold and they can’t afford to pay what the new people are asking. … Honestly, they’re not all that busy anymore. I remember when they were open until 3 a.m. on Saturdays. Now it’s empty much of the time.” Stein plans to give the whole recap of the Ray’s multigenerational saga — which is the real Famous Ray’s? etc. — for us in next week’s issue. Last we checked with her, she was heading to the place to get a slice of white pizza. We can’t believe this is really the end, though, and are certain that a new Original Famous For-Real Authentic Ray’s will open there soon. … Meanwhile, Stein also informs us that Chipotle will be opening at the “haunted and doomed retail corner” at Sixth Ave. and 13th St. Yeah right…we’ll see how long that one lasts. … As for another original Ray, Ray of Avenue A fame told us he recently received an order at 2 a.m. for 900 beignets. “You better have the money!!!” he warned the caller, then hustled back to the fryer to start churning out the irresistible dollops of dough. The guy showed up — with the cash — and relieved Ray of the freshly cooked golden beignets. Now that must have been a hot party!
Filling Gruber’s big shoes: The election is still a good ways off, but one candidate for Community Board 2 chairperson is already throwing his hat into the ring. Following the community board’s unofficial rule of two one-year terms in a row for board chairpersons, David Gruber will be stepping down next year. Typically, his last month as chairperson would be June. Meanwhile, Richard Stewart must be feeling his oats after winning 13 percent of the vote against Corey Johnson in the general election — without even trying! — because last week Stewart announced to us he’s now planning to run for the top spot at C.B. 2. “I was surprised that I got 13 percent of the votes when I clearly stated, ‘Vote for Corey Johnson,’ ” the newly minted Republican district leader admitted to us. “I said I wasn’t running and couldn’t run in the district. … You tell me, what’s going on?” Stewart asked us. Of course, Scoopy readers will recall that Stewart actually lives outside of Council District 3 and that his name was on the ballot merely as a “placeholder.” We still don’t — and may never — fully comprehend what that was all about, but clearly Stewart was encouraged by his showing while not even actively campaigning or spending a single dime on the “race.” In fact, he’s still trying to explain to the Board of Elections that he wasn’t actually a candidate, as he told us, “in case I do decide to run for office someday, since I don’t want this on my record.” Anyway, he definitely is now a candidate for C.B. 2 chairperson, that much at least is clear. Stewart told us that, in that vein, by the end of January, he’ll step down as co-chairperson of the board’s State Liquor Authority Committee, a position he held the last 10 years, and that Bob Ely will take over that job. Asked what his campaign platform is, Stewart responded, “I think that I just want to continue the good work that the community board has been doing, and strengthen relationships with a lot of the new incumbents — like Corey and Gale Brewer.” Stewart said there are a couple of other potential candidates whose names are also out there, but he didn’t let on who. We guessed Tobi Bergman, chairperson of the board’s important Land Use Committee, was one — and it sounds like we might be right. “The rumor is that I’m running,” Bergman, a veteran youth sports activist, told us when we asked him about it. “I’ve been on the board a long time. It’s something I’d like to do. I’m not saying I’m running, but it’s something I’m interested in.” However, he hedged, “I think it’s early — it’s not the president of the United States, after all. I’d like to do it at some point. I’m not going to say I’m throwing my hat in the ring.” We hear that Bo Riccobono, who, as the board’s current first vice chairperson, is well-positioned for a run at chairperson, might well also be in the mix.
The Schwartz-Schulkin shift: Arthur Schwartz, after having won back the Village district leadership by beating Jonathan Geballe in the September primary election, has given up his state committeeman post, and members of the Democratic County Committee have picked Alan Schulkin to fill the office. Schulkin is known for his union work with PEF, the Public Employees Federation. We bumped into Schulkin at the Talking Transition tent in Hudson Square last week when Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio was coming by to talk about his own transition, and Schulkin told us it was, in fact, new “Boss” Corey Johnson who basically told Schwartz to give up the state committee post. We told that to Schwartz and he just laughed it off. “There’s only one person that can force me to do anything — my wife!” he declared. Meanwhile, Schwartz did admit that he and Johnson recently had a sit-down to clear the air. In the Democratic primary race, Johnson had endorsed Geballe for re-election as district leader, after which Schwartz promptly endorsed Yetta Kurland for Council against Johnson. But they’ve since talked it all out and Schwartz said he has “buried the hatchet” with Johnson. It seems we always come back to weapons of some sort in District 3. Oh, well!