‘Hot Dog-gate’ grilling on hold: Due to Wednesday’s Slushapocalypse and the slippery condition of the sidewalks, the scheduled Feb. 5 Community Board 2 Parks/ and Waterfront Committee meeting was canceled. This was the meeting at which the Washington Square Park Conservancy members had been scheduled to attend and give an update on what they’ve been doing. (Though, thanks to muckraking — we know she likes that word — blogger Cathryn Swan, at this point, is there anything they’ve been doing that we don’t know?) At any rate, we hear that the Parks Committee is hoping to reschedule the meeting for later this month. Check the C.B. 2 Web site for updates.
Heavyweight champ Vladimir Klitschko — the huge guy in the rear — held aloft the Ukrainian flag and rallied with local “Ukes” on Second Ave. in the East Village on Monday. Photo by Tequila Minsky
Fighting for Ukraine: In one of the hubs of the Ukrainian community in New York, the East Village, Ukrainian world heavyweight boxing champion Vladimir Klitschko, a.k.a. Volodymyr Klychoko, spoke at the Ukrainian National Home Hall on Second Ave. Monday before more than 200 fellow “Ukes” and activists. He called for an end to the violence in Ukraine and denounced the rampant corruption there. Admittedly, some attendees, like Brooklyn resident Stan Terentyev, came just to see the champ. “He and his brother Vitali, who is also a boxer, made a tremendous career,” he said. “They’re a very good example of the Ukrainian people. It’s an inspiration.” But most in the hall came to hear Klitschko express solidarity with the Ukraine street protests aimed at the Eastern European country’s current government. Massive demonstrations were triggered in November, when, after months of preparation, President Viktor Yanukovych failed to sign the European Union Association Agreement. Subsequently, in mid-January, the regime passed laws against public protest, and arrested, beat, kidnapped, tortured and murdered protesters, journalists and medics. Seven activists / journalists were killed. Nearly 100 people are missing. In mid-December, Vitali Klitschko, the elder of the boxing brothers, vacated his WBC heavyweight title to run for president of Ukraine in 2015. On a tight schedule on Monday, Vladimir Klitschko was quickly introduced to the crowd. He slammed the level of corruption in his homeland, which has brought the demonstrators into the streets. “It shows how much desire we have in minus 25 degrees Celsius (minus 13 Fahrenheit),” he said of the uprising. “It’s freezing, they’re getting sick and killed. [The protesters] have thousands of illegal weapons, but not one shot has been fired. They’re fighting for their rights and democracy in our country. We have to do what we can to stop the violence and killing.” Klitschko noted that other celebrities, such as Quincy Jones and Arnold Schwarzenegger, have publicly supported the protesters. Also among those at the packed Ukrainian National Home Hall was Natalie Stelmakh, who had just arrived in the U.S. from Ukraine five days earlier. Her anticorruption work had become too dangerous and she is now seeking political asylum in the U.S. Also attending was local resident Roma Shuhan, who has been living on E. Sixth St. since she came to New York from Ukraine as a young girl in 1952. “I’m here to support the opposition in Kiev,” she said. Her last trip to visit Ukraine was in 1996. “Corruption now is worse than ever,” she declared. “You have to pay someone to get a job, your kid in school, to get good grades. The whole system is corrupt and the salaries and pensions are so small. It’s worse than under Brezhnev.” The champ fielded a few questions, and then everyone in the hall emptied out onto Second Ave. in the swirling snow for a photo-op with him holding Ukraine’s blue-and-yellow flag.
– Tequila Minsky
Key korner: An old familiar spot in the East Village, 7A Cafe, is changing hands. The 24-hour restaurant, on the corner of E. Seventh St. and Avenue A, served its last meal on Jan. 27. The windows are covered in paper, and the neighborhood must await what’s to come. A 30-day notice of the “corporate change” has been given to Community Board 3, and the new team does not have to present the board with its plans for approval. Moshe Hatsav is listed on the questionnaire section as the departing partner, and Paul Salmon will join the group as the “full-time manager overseeing all day-to-day operations.” Salmon, who has been involved in hospitality for more than 20 years, is behind Miss Lily’s, a Jamaican bar and restaurant on West Houston St., and Joe’s Pub on Lafayette St. A name has not been decided yet, but the application states, “As a nod to the venerable history of this establishment, the new owners plan to incorporate some variation of the current trade name 7A into the new trade name… .” Susan Stetzer, C.B. 3 district manager, explained that the method of operation for the restaurant remains the same, including occasional music and DJ’s. She hopes they stay family-friendly. “We have never had a complaint about 7A, but I have noticed there’s been an issue with crowds a bunch of times,” Stetzer said. “They’ve agreed to a stipulation to have someone manage the outside crowds, if necessary.” Salmon was elusive regarding the details and concept for what’s listed as the New 7A Café LLC. “I love the space there,” he said. “I’m very excited about it, and the new opportunity over there. We want to honor the tradition of the cafe concept at 7A.” They hope to open as soon as possible, and are currently in the “development stage.” Salmon lives in the Village, and understands fitting in with the neighborhood. “We want to work with the community and make it a successful place down there,” he said, “not only for people who visit, but from the community perspective as well.”
– Heather Dubin