Volume 75, Number 7
July 6 - 12, 2005


Scoopy’s notebook

Editorial
Don’t vary from rezoning, deny variances
Two years ago, the City Planning Commission passed a major rezoning for Hudson Square, changing the zoning in the neighborhood’s southern portion from manufacturing to residential and commercial for new projects and downzoning all the area save for one small corner.

Letters to the editor

Ira Blutreich

Scene

On Monday morning, July 4, Code Pink held a rally in front of Macy’s protesting conditions at Guantanamo and the Bush administration’s war.

Talking point
West Village plan isn’t perfect, but it’s in the zone
By Andrew Berman
In his June 22 talking point in The Villager, “Modest proposals: Rezoning alone won’t be enough,” Stu Waldman correctly identifies that the city’s current proposals for downzoning and landmarking the Far West Village do not go far enough, and leave some gaping holes that must be filled. But I think he misses the mark when he says that “downzoning would do little for the character of the Far West Village,” and that we are “in the exact same situation as before” the city presented its draft plans. This seems to imply that we have gained nothing from the city’s somewhat unprecedented joint landmarking and rezoning proposal for the Far West Village, and that there is nothing to gain by asking for anything other than immediate historic district designation for the entire Far West Village — a highly unlikely outcome.

Police Blotter

Obituary

Sing-Si Schwartz, 40, fine-arts photographer/teacher
By Albert Amateau
Sing-Si Schwartz, a fine-arts photographer and photography teacher, died unexpectedly in his sleep in his apartment in the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South on July 3 at the age of 40.

"Serving West and East Village, Chelsea, SoHo, NoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown and the Lower East Side"

Photo by Jefferson Siegel

Celebrating the Fourth, by George
The group Greene Dragon celebrated Independence Day on the steps of Federal Hall on Wall St., where George Washington took his first oath of office. They unfurled a 20-foot-long “Bill of Rights Against Corporate Tyranny,” sang songs and reenacted Washington’s crossing the Delaware. Above, they saluted Washington’s statue. Afterwards, they retired to the Founding Father’s favorite watering hole, Fraunces Tavern, before going to “colonial” Williamsburg for a July Fourth party.

Shots are traded, but not counted, in East Village political bar brawl
By Lincoln Anderson
Capone and Ness move over. Make room for McWater, Bortnick, Caballero, Kavanagh, Brightharp, Mendez, Doc Holliday and the whole cast of characters.

Fields rebuts Stringer, who rebuts back in board flap
By Lincoln Anderson
It seems Scott Stringer’s report on the community boards may have hit a nerve with Borough President C. Virginia Fields.
Last Tuesday, Fields fired off a letter to Stringer taking issue with his report’s findings. She also issued a press release headlined: “Fields Sets Record Straight on Stringer Board Report.”

You got your F.A.R. already, a sculptor’s neighbors say
By Albert Amateau
Two years after Hudson Square was rezoned from manufacturing to residential/commercial and bigger buildings were allowed in part of the neighborhood, the sculptor Arman has applied for variances that would allow an even bigger project on his wedge-shaped lot at the corner of Canal and Greenwich Sts., which he has used as an outdoor studio for more than two decades.

N.Y.U. preparing for grad students walkout in fall
By Johanna Petersson
After the New York University administration announced a preliminary decision on June 15 not to recognize the school’s graduate teaching assistants union, it seems both sides are willing to take the fight to the fall semester.

Dance activists file lawsuit to reform cabaret laws
By Johanna Petersson
Like a conga line that got lost, the dance liberation movement took a hiatus for a year or two, but, like Tony Manero at 2001 Odyssey, they just couldn’t stay away.

Gay youth complain of police harassment in Village
By Albert Amateau
FIERCE!, the organization that advocates for the gay and transgender youth who frequent the Village waterfront, faced police officers from the Sixth Precinct at a raucous meeting sponsored by the Community Board 2 L.G.B.T. Committee.

Soap seller drained by worries of vendor cleanup
By Cathy Jedruczek
Who’s to say soap can’t be art? That’s what a Union Square vendor is trying to suds — or rather — suss out.
“Who are they to determine what art is and what is not?” said Maria Dantoni. “What I do is far more creative than what passes as art according to the [Parks Department] rules.”

Bicycling activists don’t take a summer vacation
By Jefferson Siegel
As summer sets in, vacationers are driving out of the city in droves. Many cars sport bike racks for those weekend cyclists who enjoy pedaling down a deserted country lane. For those in the city who commute to work and those who work on two wheels, the past two weeks have been anything but relaxed.

Men argue then crash through Avenue C shop window
By Sarah Ferguson
Just a block away from last Thursday’s fatal Campos Plaza shooting, an apparently mentally deranged man got into a heated argument with an older man at 1:45 p.m. on Friday and pushed him through the plate glass window of the Still Photos shop at 185 Avenue C.

Bill gives subsidized tenants right to buy
By Albert Amateau
The City Council on June 23 overwhelmingly passed a bill to give tenants the right of first refusal when their landlords leave rent-subsidy programs and put their buildings up for sale. The Tenant Empowerment Act, a revision of one first introduced by City Councilmember Alan Jay Gerson in February 2004, would allow tenants, or an affordable-housing developer they select, 120 days to match any market-rate offer to landlords who buy out of Section 8 or Mitchell-Lama programs.

Festival is a journey through jazz and spaces on the Lower East Side
By Al Orensanz
The tenth edition of the Vision Arts Festival, an event combining jazz, poetry, dance, painting, sculpture, photography and “some other hybrids” and other newly engineered sound and word art formats, took place at the Angel Orensanz Foundation recently. Some 300 artists, mostly from New York, but also from many other states and a few other countries, participated in the festival. Some music critics rank the festival on par with the Newport and the JVC jazz festivals.


ARTS
Illegal comic book inspires play
By JERRY TALLMER
The score today, children, is United States Supreme Court 2, First Amendment 0. When the Supremes take no action, that is an action. Just ask Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, whose pleas for relief from a wacko prosecution and jail-brandishing special prosecutor were last week turned down, blank-faced, without comment, by the High Nine.

Koch On Film
“Mr. & Mrs. Smith” (-) The movie has been universally panned, but HS wanted to see it and I acceded. I was properly punished. It is ludicrous.
These two spectacular looking people, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, lent their reputations to a film leaving their talents elsewhere. Undoubtedly, they left the soundstage with huge payments, perhaps even enhanced by their public relations efforts following the filming of the movie.
“Yes” (+) This is a gossamer film and unique in that the dialogue is delivered totally in verse - iambic pentameter. It has neither a sing-song quality often present when actors haven’t mastered the delivery, nor is it the anarchistic, difficult to understand English of Shakespeare.

Village area resident releases new album
By Mike Easterling
Johnny Brandon sits in his apartment on the corner of Third Avenue and 17th Street, a place he has called home for nearly fifty years. One of the first tenants in the building, he moved there because of an impending rent raise in his previous Greenwich Village apartment. He would have had to pay $170 a month, a price he couldn’t imagine.

An evolving life from Jamaica to New York
By Tequila Minsky
Staceyann Chin, original cast member from Tony winning Def Poetry Jam, has her own one woman show, Border/Clash: A Litany of Desires at The Culture Project, 45 Bleecker St. in Manhattan which opened June 16, 2005.


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