Scoopy’s, Week of Jan. 23, 2014

Super pier party: Pier 40, at W. Houston St. in the Hudson River Park, is set to be the scene of what is being hyped as THE — yes, THE —party of Super Bowl weekend. The DirecTV “Super Saturday Night” event, on Sat., Feb. 1, to be held, we hear, under a big tent on the massive pier — apparently to be called “The DirecTV Super Fan Stadium” — will be headlined by Jay-Z and Katy Perry. The invitation-only extravaganza will be hosted by Mark Cuban’s AXS TV and Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Though the Saturday night event is a private event (tickets are not available for purchase), the public is invited to attend the DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl at Pier 40 earlier in the day. We quote from the press release: “Each year the Beach Bowl attracts thousands of spectators [emphasis our own] to see Hollywood’s biggest stars compete against former NFL greats in a wild flag football game where anything can happen.” Celebrities and athletes scheduled to take part in the game include model and TV host Chrissy Teigen, Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder of “The Vampire Diaries,” Jaime Alexander of “Thor: The Dark World” — a slew of other TV actors whose names we don’t know because we don’t watch enough TV — comedians Tom Arnold, Tracy Morgan and Artie Lange, celebrity chef Guy Fieri, NFL Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Deion Sanders and Warren Moon, and former pros LaDainian Tomlinson, Tony Gonzalez and Amani Toomer. We asked around for more information, but all we got was the press release sent to us. Probably people are a little scared that there might be a last-minute surprise “blitz” or “prevent defense” by local NIMBY’s for whom the “Celebrity Beach Bowl” and “Super Saturday Night” raise bad memories of The Related Companies’ dreaded “Vegas on the Hudson” proposal for Pier 40 a few years back. We did hear of the Pier 40 party about a month ago at C.B. 2’s full board meeting; the mention was brief, and it was noted that the Hudson River Park Trust will get $1 million for it.

Gerson vs. Chin — again? So far, it doesn’t sound like Councilmember Margaret Chin is exactly embracing Judge Donna Mills’s recent ruling in favor of the community lawsuit against New York University’s 2031 development plan, in which Mills said the city broke the law by allowing the university to use several public parkland strips for its project. Chin’s two statements to us, so far, seem to be carefully crafted so as not to criticize N.Y.U.’s overall project, while agreeing in a very general way that the park strips, or at least three out of four of them, should be protected — but not necessarily right now! On the other hand, new Councilmember Corey Johnson, in a statement to The Villager, hailed the judge’s decision, and further said it now casts the entire N.Y.U. 2031 plan into doubt. And new Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer told us the judge’s decision “has the potential to change the project significantly,” and that she’ll be monitoring developments closely. Meanwhile, Chin’s predecessor in the First District Council seat, Alan Gerson, who lives on N.Y.U.’s southern South Village superblock, in 505 LaGuardia Place — the block where N.Y.U. still hopes to construct two new buildings — didn’t hesitate to give his opinion when asked. “I would say they should all be parks,” Gerson said of the open-space strips. “This is the legally correct decision, and it’s an environmentally important decision, and it has an impact beyond these two superblocks. The judge is saying: If it looks like a park, smells like a park, is used like a park, feels like a park — it should be subject to the specific requirement that you need state approval to take it away from being a park.”

Bike brouhaha part II? Community Board 2 will be holding its hotly anticipated bike summit next Mon., Jan. 27, at Grace Church School, 86 Fourth Ave., at E. 11th St., Tuttle Hall. The meeting is described on C.B. 2’s Web site as “a public forum to hear concerns from the C.B. 2 community regarding bicycle safety, traffic rules and related enforcement issues.” It’s hard to believe that this meeting could ever top the one at C.B. 2 last year in terms of sheer outrage after the new Citi Bike docking stations were first installed — but, hey, who knows? One thing we did want to know: Has David Gruber, chairperson of C.B. 2, every ridden a Citi Bike? We know he feels the bike station on Carmine St. near his house is an inappropriate spot, but still… . “Yes, I have, it was fine,” he told us. “I was a little nervous. It was late at night. I was on the bike path and the cars were a little close to the bike path. It was raining and I was wearing a very expensive suit.” Now, that’s dedication — maybe not exactly the best time to ride a Citi Bike — but, still…dedication. In case, Gruber or anyone else wanted to push the Citi Envelope even further, the bike-share system was still up and running during the latest snowstorm earlier this week. We did actually see one person sort of walking-riding-walking a Citi Bike along West St., but there weren’t too many riders out there.

Tallmer mending…writing: Legendary scribe Jerry Tallmer is still rehabbing at the DeWitt facility on the Upper East Side after breaking his hip back in October. Super theater P.R. man Jonathan Slaff has been visiting him and helping him out. Most notably, he recently brought Tallmer his laptop, which immediately lifted his spirits, Slaff told us. However, he fears Tallmer may have suffered a mini-stroke a few weeks ago. Yet, when we spoke to Jerry on the phone recently he sounded better. J.T., who recently turned 93, is also working on his memoir and has sent us part of it. It’s heavy on his interviews and reviews in the theater world of the past half-century or so, and also includes some writings about his early days as a young journalist. Check out his column about Billy Rose in this week’s issue on Page 10. A beautiful reminiscence as only Tallmer can write ’em. We’ll be running more of his pieces in weeks to come, including memories of his early days at the Village Voice. Meanwhile, his wife, Frances, is worried that Tallmer’s insurance coverage is running out and that he’ll be booted out of DeWitt. She’d like to take him back home, but recently badly hurt her toe and doesn’t feel she can take care of him well enough, let alone herself.

R.I.P., Akkas Ali: At last week’s Community Board 3 Transportation Committee meeting, Chad Marlow reported the sad news that Akkas Ali, the East Village florist who was critically injured by a drag racer who was driving high, recently died. “When you’re in that kind of condition, the treatment has to be pretty invasive,” Marlow said. “I heard it might have been from his trache tube.” Marlow had led a crowfunding effort that raised thousands of dollars for the stricken man’s family. Meanwhile, at East Village Farm grocery on Second Ave., where Ali worked for years, store manager Manan Shah was angry that Ali’s killer was out on the streets. “I read in the Daily News that he’s out on bail,” he told us, taking a break from stocking a shelf. “And that after this he did one more drunk driving and threatened some guy. I mean, why will they not suspend his license? How come they will still rent cars to him? … How many more Alis need to die?” Shah said he visited Ali, who was in his 60s, when he was in a rehab facility in New Jersey, but his co-worker couldn’t speak or move, though “had recognition” through his eyes and understood what people were saying.

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2 Responses to Scoopy’s, Week of Jan. 23, 2014

  1. I can confirm that CB2 Chairperson Gruber did, in fact, ride a Citi Bike – just as he describes in this post. I was there – a witness to history! He was nervous; I was nervous, too!

  2. Patrick Shields

    One million dollars! Wow. Just like that. The World Cup this summer would also be an incredible revenue opportunity for Pier 40. A four sided Jumbotron plan, picnic-like, on the fields, for the USA matches alone would pack the place. If the Park Trust does not capitalize on the Cup this summer, it will literally be throwing away money. Another half million in entry sales would be a breeze over thirty days.

    Sports partnership and revenue has always been the best commercial answer for Pier 40. It should have been done in a way which developed the park and secured the 50% public and green space required by law, and kept a pro arena and the park genuinely separated so that the fields don't have to be shut down in order to generate revenue.

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