Volume 75,Number 32
Dec. 28 - Jan 3, 2005

Wishes for 2006
As another year draws to a close and we move further onward into the new century, it gives pause to reflect on important issues that we’ve covered in the past year and to look ahead to how these and others that may emerge will play out in the year to come.

Talking Point
How’s the park doin’? Awful. It needs a renovation
By Ed Koch
I moved to Bedford St. in Greenwich Village in 1956. Ever since, I’ve lived around or near Washington Square Park, and for the last 16 years, I’ve been living in the first building on Fifth Ave. north of the park.

Scoopy's Notebook

Police Blotter

Letters to the editor

Sleigh’s in the shop
With the transit strike thankfully over, a Santa Claus bought a MetroCard at the Union Square subway station.

Sports/ Health

Life in the fast lane: Sunday bowling offers fun to spare
By Judith Stiles
Gone is the era of embroidered names emblazoned on polyester bowling shirts with coordinated satin jackets that match the league colors. In this day and age, if you want to bowl in a league in New York City, one of the hippest adult groups in town is the Sunday Bowling League at Chelsea Piers, where everyone is in it for the love of bowling and not all the trappings.

Girls wanted for basketball league

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

Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel

Shultide concert
On Sun. Dec. 25, which, in a rare occurrence, was both Christmas and the first night of Hanukkah, the historic Eldridge St. Synagogue held its 10th Annual Klez for Kids concert. The group Klezmerfest played for several dozen parents and their children. From right to left, Greg Wall, Jordan Hirsch (behind clarinet) and Zevi Zions.

Wheelchair user may sue; wants to go amphibious in the fountain
By Lincoln Anderson
With the key hearing only two weeks away that could make or break the embattled Washington Square Park renovation project, another clash has opened up in the ongoing conflict over the park’s centerpiece, its fountain.

Roaring trucks, blaring iPods; it’ll cost you in noise code
By Albert Amateau
The Bloomberg administration’s new noise code, the first revision in 30 years, won overwhelming approval from the City Council at its last official meeting of the year on Dec. 21 after last-minute changes that addressed some concerns of Councilmember Alan Gerson and other critics.

Eddie Brennan on waterfront, White Horse, Dylan Thomas
By Karen Kramer
Several decades ago — before there were chic restaurants and multimillion- dollar condos lining the waterfront along West St. — the far West Village was an ethnic neighborhood filled with Irish families, longshoremen who worked on the nearby piers and working-men’s bars that were reasonably priced and unpretentious.

Transit strike derailed local businesses’ big week
By Roslyn Kramer
On an unusually balmy winter Saturday, what would normally have been the very last hours of panicked Christmas gift buying were not happening. Couples strolled along Downtown streets, but lists of gift recipients did not seem to be dancing in their heads as they glanced at store windows and moved on.

Artists and designers on the edge are A NY Thing
By Tien-Shun Lee
At customers’ requests, store helpers hanging out on Saturday at the back of the new Lower East Side shop A NY Thing signed and drew on the backs of T-shirts.
“Aron is a very famous person in Tokyo,” Tesuya Shono, a young man from that city, said of the store’s owner, Aron Bondaroff. “Sometimes he appears in the street magazines in Tokyo, and his skate shop, Supreme, is a very famous shop in Tokyo.”

Matzo Files on verge of crumbling as artists clash
By Albert Amateau
The Matzo Files, an unusual gallery of work by local artists kept in file cabinets and shelves in an empty corner of the ground floor of Streit’s Matzoth Company on Rivington St., was closed in the middle of December after it became a no-man’s land in the Lower East Side culture wars.

Parks commissioner appreciates ‘vigorous debate’ on renovation
By Lincoln Anderson
As crunch time for the Washington Square renovation project nears, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, in a recent interview with The Villager, reiterated why the department feels the plan will vastly improve the park.

Feliz Navidad,’ the pope’s nose and cowboy cactus
By Patricia Fieldsteel
NYONS, France: When I read The Villager online in my home here in the foothills of the Alps, I groaned aloud, “Oh, no, not Western Beef!!” But there it was, plain as day, the store on W. 14th St. with its signature orange-and-blue awning and the smiling green cowboy cactus will shortly close to give way to a high-end office building. Just what everyone needs.

Ninth circle of hell
Text and photos by Ramin Talaie
Flying over the Gulf Coast as the plane made its final approach to Louis Armstrong International Airport the government-issued blue tarps were the first sign of the magnitude of Katrina’s disaster.

Time for city to stop spinning its wheels on biking
By Ian Dutton
With the Department of Transportation presenting a plan to add a bicycle lane to Eighth Ave. from 14th St. to Columbus Circle, Community Board 4 and D.O.T. can create a link in a network of cycle lanes stretching from Downtown to the northern tip of Manhattan. Still, New York City lags far behind other cities in its commitment to cycling traffic, and the appearance of a confrontational attitude from the Police Department hinders progress.

VILLAGER Arts & Entertainment

Satire of Bush is all bark, no bite
By Rachel Breitman
With the President’s poll numbers in a tailspin, the theater community in this liberal city would welcome some biting political satire that takes the current administration to task. Well, lefty thespians and audiences will have to wait, since “Fear Itself, Secrets of the White House” is pretty toothless. It neither invokes fear, nor shares secrets, and it strays so often into artistic hyperbole, the cartoonish characters that represent the Presidential family and advisors become limp caricatures.

A sleeper that kills
By Steven Snyder
Julian Noble is one of the more gleefully detestable characters of recent cinema – one made that much funnier because he knows it, and doesn’t much care. Not since Billy Bob Thornton took a crude and vulgar turn in “Bad Santa” has a character piqued our interest so immediately and jerked around our emotions so completely. As played by Pierce Brosnan in a memorably complex and fractured performance, one gets the notion that not even Noble understands just who it is he wants to be.

Desperately seeking a distributor
By Sara G. Levin
Seasoned filmmaker Susan Seidelman thinks “Meet the Parents” is funnier than “Meet the Fockers.” She also believes that the sequel earned $100 million more than its predecessor in box office sales because of Barbara Streisand and Dustin Hoffman’s eccentric, sex-driven subplot.

What the New Year will bring
Villager arts writers look back at 2005’s most interesting issues and trends —
and predict their future in 2006
Photo by Hanne Lise Thomsen
 This year, the New Year’s Eve Ball drop will signal the ascent of a different kind of eye candy: projections displayed on city surfaces that will catch the eyes of passersby in increasingly important ways.

Koch On Film
By Ed Koch
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (-)
I read two reviews before deciding to see this movie. The New York Times critic, Manohla Dargis, wrote “As a vision of the American West and the wide country around it, ‘The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada’ strikes both fresh and familiar chords, most of them pleasingly dissonant.”
Down to the Bone (+) When I left the theater after seeing this film, a man commented that he thought it was “very disappointing,” and a woman said it was “very gritty.” It is gritty, but it had a strong impact on me. It is more like a docudrama than a conventional movie, and it provides an opportunity for all of the actors to give highly-skilled performances.

Best Wishes and a Happy New Year


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