Volume 75, Number 09
July 20 - 26
2005


Editorial
Don’t sacrifice St. Brigid’s to bottom line
The Catholic Archdiocese is seeking demolition permits for St. Brigid’s Church on Avenue B.
Last Sunday’s rally by the church’s former parishioners is just one of the many that have been held since the archdiocese announced plans last year to dissolve the parish, which did occur last Sept. 15, when the last Mass at St. Brigid’s was celebrated. Congregants have twice marched up to St. Patrick’s Cathedral seeking an audience with Cardinal Egan, to no avail.

Talking Point
Sounding off: Former clubber just wants some quiet
By David Wallis
A menu posted outside Metropole, a new bistro and bar on W. Fourth St., advertises “Neighborhood Specialties,” including the “two-handed” hamburger, penne pomodoro and grilled chicken paillard with mustard sauce. But since opening a few months ago, the restaurant has also been serving neighbors a steady diet of late-night noise.

Notebook
Urban animals: Doves, cats and one tragic turtle
By Wilson
Like Manhattan, Singapore is a prosperous island filled with skyscrapers and teeming with humans, but rarely do you ever see anyone walking a dog. I don’t recall seeing many disabled people there either. Granted, this Southeast Asian metropolis has a big zoo, tropical birds and numerous — psychologically damaged by the locals — monkeys; and each Sunday, men take prized songbirds to a special park where the singers compete with each other, a form of “American Idol” from the dinosaur ages.


Scoopy's Notebook

Police Blotter

Letters to the editor

Scene

Hot town, kayaking in the city: the perfect escape
By Judith Stiles
Sweating through the summer in New York City is no fun, especially if your vacation time is used up and you don’t have much to look forward to except dinner in an air-conditioned restaurant. Of course, for relief, you can always try jogging along the river in a traffic jam of fellow New Yorkers on bikes and rollerblades, as you look longingly into the cool water, hoping for a refreshing breeze to blow your way.

L.E.S. Gauchos ride out a tough week
The 14-and-under Lower East Side Gauchos team had a tough week, winning two and losing two heartbreakers.

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

Exclusive
Lawsuit to be filed against Washington Sq. renovation
By Lincoln Anderson
Opponents of the renovation plans for Washington Square Park are planning to file a lawsuit this Friday or Monday to stop the hotly debated project from moving forward.
The Villager first learned of the lawsuit on Thursday, when Arthur Schwartz, chairperson of Community Board 2's Parks and Waterfront Committee, leaked the fact that he had been receiving phone calls from lawyers who were putting together the case.

Friedlander and Lopez pass torch to Mendez
By Lincoln Anderson
Calling it the “passing of the torch” to the next leader who they hope will carry on the progressive political tradition on the Lower East Side, an impressive turnout of local elected officials gathered on the City Hall steps last Friday to endorse Rosie Mendez for City Council.

Villager photo by Q. Sakamaki

Children and a mother sang songs on the steps of St. Brigid’s at Sunday’s rally to save the 1840s church.

Judge’s order stays wrecking ball at historic Ave. B Catholic church
By Albert Amateau
The former parishioners of St. Brigid’s Church went to State Supreme Court last week to stop the Catholic Archdiocese of New York from demolishing their church building on the east side of Tompkins Square Park.


Inside
For Village locksmith, no safe is mission impossible
By Cathy Jedruczek
“Tick, tick…click”— and the door finally opens. Philip Mortillaro says there’s nothing that makes him feel better than the sound of wheels in a safe’s lock lining up. “When you hear that and you get it opened, it’s like perfect,” said Mortillaro of his expert safecracking skills. “I don’t know what it is, but it feels like Christmas morning.” And it’s not because he finds treasures inside — most safes he’s called on to open are empty — it’s the satisfaction in getting to the “click.”

These blocks were made for walkin’, a writer says
By Ellen Keohane
Most New Yorkers walk the streets of Manhattan with a brisk stride, expertly dodging other pedestrians and cars with one thing on their minds: their destination.

Plan for tower near Tredwell doesn’t go over well
By Albert Amateau
The developers who control the landmarked but dilapidated Tredwell Skidmore House on E. Fourth St. near Cooper Square, asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission on July 12 for permission to build an 18-story residential tower on the adjoining vacant lot.

Lower, lower and, yes, lower, builders told by committee
By Albert Amateau
The Community Board 2 Zoning Committee spent over four hours last week on an agenda that included the hotly debated issue of the City Planning Department’s proposal for 14 blocks in the West Village. Also on the agenda was a contentious variance to allow denser development on a wedge-shaped property at Greenwich and Canal Sts.

The dark story behind ‘Wonka;’ child labor and the cocoa industry
By Jefferson Siegel
On Fri., July 15, the remake of “Willie Wonka” opened in theaters around town. “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory” was the perfect opportunity for East Village activist Ilene Richman to call attention to the plight of child labor.

F.I.T. withdraws street-closing plan
By Albert Amateau
Fashion Institute of Technology has deferred its plan to reconfigure W. 27th St. between Seventh and Eighth Aves. into a campus commons.

CD is FAB way to fundraise for Fourth Arts Block
By Lauren Dzura
The Lower East Side’s recent transformation has brought tremendous change, from a plunge in the crime rate to towering new development projects, like the Avalon Chrystie Place building currently being completed on E. Houston St. But this process may also leave the area looking like a stranger to longtime residents. Amid this sea of change, the Fourth Arts Block is working to preserve the strip of nonprofit community and cultural organizations on E. Fourth St.’s theater row with its release of the benefit CD “East of Broadway: A Benefit for Fourth Arts Block.”


NATION
Borderline personalities
Villager photos by Q. Sakamaki
East Village photographer Q. Sakamaki was on the Texas/Arizona border with Mexico recently to document the illegal immigration situation and protests and counterprotests about it.


Arts and Entertainment

Pioneer in rock photography to show in Soho
BY Aileen Torres
Barrie Wentzell, a photographer for the seminal UK publication Melody Maker from 1965-1975, had an uncanny knack for taking pictures of musical artists who would go on to become legends. To note, his 1965 photograph of Diana Ross made the cover of the weekly music newspaper and caught the attention of the then-assistant editor, who recruited Wentzell to become a staff photographer; a stint that lasted through a decade-long “party,” as Wentzell calls it, of revolutionary music, love and creation.

The “Siren” singer
BY Aileen Torres
Laura Wolfe, a native of the Lower East Side, has always been performing. She grew up in a very musically-oriented, politically progressive household, with a mother who is a professional classical pianist and a father who was a member of the Weathermen, a revolutionary group of communists active from the late ‘60s to the early ‘80s, and former history professor at NYU.

Koch On Film
By Ed Koch
“Rize” (+) This documentary on dance, like “Mad Hot Ballroom” which I recently reviewed, is a real joy. The featured dance styles, “krumping” and “clowning,” were invented by Tommy the Clown (Tom Johnson). “The Beautiful Country” (-)
Vietnam dominated the conscience of most Americans for nearly 20 years and extraordinary, true stories of the bravery of veterans like John McCain resulted from that war. But this is not a war story in which hoards of people are trying to leave by helicopter as the North Vietnamese capture Saigon and turn it into Ho Chi Min City.

Outrageous new Off-Broadway spoof
BY Scott Harrah
When the classic Hollywood thriller “Fatal Attraction” appeared in theaters back in 1987, some critics praised it as a cautionary tale about casual sex and marital infidelity. Nearly two decades later, the film’s celebration of traditional family values seems incredibly dated and downright hokey—something ripe and ready for a 21st century parody.

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