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

Volume 76, Number 38
February 14 - 20, 2007


Editorial/Op-Ed
Keep focus on reform and the key projects
Some fights in politics are good to have and can lead to a better solution, and some expose all that is wrong with the system. There’s one of each kind shaping up in Albany.

Talking Point
Anna Nicole Smith: Media creature
By Andrei Codrescu
The Anna Nicole Smith business hit me hard. I didn’t expect it. I was saddened, troubled, I nearly cried. I got mad at the letters from viewers on CNN. People said things like, Why give such coverage to the death of a nobody? Great scientists, thinkers and writers pass with nary a mention. Why give the airwaves over to a bimbo?

The governor can’t steamroll separation of powers
By Deborah J. Glick
The Bush administration’s view of the unitary Executive highlights the importance of the separation-of-powers doctrine. Due partly to the Republican Congress’s failure to properly fulfill its role as a check and balance to the all-powerful chief executive, the administration was successful in pushing through a number of highly misguided actions.

Letters to the editor

Police Blotter

Scene

Scoopy's Notebook

Ira Blutreich


Obituary
Diane Burns, Native American Lower East Side poet
By Sarah Ferguson
Slowly people drifted into the parish room at St. Mark’s Church on Jan. 27 to celebrate the life of Native American poet and longtime Lower East Side resident Diane Burns.

Rita Feldman, Chelsea community leader, dies at 74
By Albert Amateau
Rita Feldman, a lifelong Chelsea resident whose devoted service to her neighborhood made her beloved by an entire community, died Feb. 1 in New York University Medical Center at 74.

Elizabeth Sculthorp Force, 104, education pioneer and gardener
By Albert Amateau
Elizabeth Sculthorp Force, a pioneer in family-life education and a Village resident active in the Jefferson Market Garden, died Jan. 24 in her Horatio St. home at the age of 104.

Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel

Leonard Cecere, owner of Something Special, with a mock People magazine cover given to him by a fan.

Low-key mailbox and key store earns celebs’ stamp of approval
By Julie Shapiro
If Sarah Jessica Parker gets a package in the mail, Leonard Cecere knows about it. He regularly sees stars like Parker, Matthew Broderick and Famke Janssen — and he’s gotten to know them, too.


Neighbors hope hotel signs won’t be staying long
By Jefferson Siegel
Airfare to New York: Hundreds of dollars. A room at the Hotel Gansevoort: Hundreds of dollars. View out of hotel window: Worthless.

Sushi Samba ends rooftop fishy business and is fined
By Albert Amateau
The five-year battle over the Sushi Samba rooftop tent in the Greenwich Village Historic District ended two weeks ago when the owners signed an agreement with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to build a new legal rooftop addition and to pay the city a $500,000 fine.

Political shirts fit photographer to a T in new book
By Kristin Edwards
For many, the T-shirt is more than an article of clothing — it is a traveling billboard. People express their thoughts and ideas on subjects ranging from sports to religion through the messages on their T-shirts.


Arts and Entertainment
The Fixer
By Pamela Ryckman
Susan Shapiro nestles into her regular booth at Cozy’s Soup & Burger, the diner near her Greenwich Village apartment where she orders a chef salad they call “Sue’s salad” from her favorite waiter, an old-timer named George. She seems to know everyone in this place and every third person strolling past the window. “I am very well-known within a 15-block radius,” she says.

‘Spanish Play’ doesn’t translate well to stage
By Scott Harrah
For a play with such a stellar cast — four-time Tony winner Zoe Caldwell, Broadway veterans Dennis O’Hare, Larry Pine, and Linda Emond — “A Spanish Play” is a major letdown. Playwright Yazmina Reza, best known for her hits “Life x 3” and “Art,” has written a confusing pastiche of existential psychobabble, dark humor, multimedia imagery, and nonsensical dialogue that never quite takes off.

Mimi Sterne-Wolfe heats up St. Marks
By Michael Clive
How was your weekend? If it wasn’t as good as mine, that may be because you didn’t attend Downtown Music Productions’ [DMP] “Feedback” concert at St. Marks in the Bowery church on Sunday.

Oscar dreaming
By Jerry Tallmer
Henry Krieger, a nice white middle-class boy who grew up first in White Plains, then in Ossining, New York, started cutting classes to go to the Apollo Theater on Harlem’s 125th Street when he was still in high school. As a matter of fact, young Krieger wasn’t too fond of high school or college either — one year at American University, one semester at Columbia University, then vamoose. 

Sidewalk artist Julian Beever chalked this three-dimensional painting for Aveeno at Union Square Park last month. Known throughout Europe as the “Pavement Picasso,” this is Beever’s first pavement painting in New York.

Listen to The Villager on Internet Radio:


Associate editor Lincoln Anderson and reporter Albert Amateau host guests Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation, and David McWater, chairperson of Community Board 3, on The Villager's pilot radio show on Tribecaradio.net. Zoning, preservation and future political aspirations (?) top the list of discussion topics on this 44-minute premiere.

PREVIEW PODCAST BY TRIBECA RADIO


NEWS

City pulls shell game switcheroo with garages
By Albert Amateau
West Siders from Tribeca to Hell’s Kitchen are frantically seeking ways to ensure the future of a 5-mile park being built along the Hudson River and at the same time safeguard their neighborhoods threatened by Department of Sanitation proposals for a jumbo garage and marine-transfer stations.

Vegans are sickened as favorite shop at risk
By Gerard Flynn
When Peter Silvestri moved into the new space for his Whole Earth Bakery and Kitchen on March 29, 1991, he probably couldn’t have asked for a more memorable opening to his vegan-food store, on St. Mark’s Pl. near Avenue A.

Rockefeller Foundation announces new awards honoring Jane Jacobs
By Albert Amateau
The Rockefeller Foundation last week announced the creation of two annual Jane Jacobs Medals, with prizes totaling $200,000, to honor the late Greenwich Village activist who changed the way people thought about the relationship between living communities and the urban environment.

Coffee conflict boils over

V.I.D., the club that toppled Tammany, turns 50
By Ed Gold
It’s hard to believe that Village Independent Democrats, which made history by turning out of office the powerful Tammany leader Carmine DeSapio in the ’60s, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Mazel tov! Klezmer band wins Grammy for world music
By Julie Shapiro
It takes a lot to get Frank London excited. The Klezmatics member and East Village resident recently played at Carnegie Hall and didn’t even get nervous. So, London didn’t expect to have sweaty palms when the Klezmatics album “Wonder Wheel” was up for a Grammy last Sunday night.


Life during reconstruction
By Leonard Quart
“Grbavica” is the emotionally heartrending feature film debut of 32-year-old Bosnian screenwriter and director Jasmila Zbanic that won the Golden Bear at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival, and was Bosnia & Herzegovina’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 79th Academy Awards.

Koch on film
By Ed Koch
“Puccini For Beginners” (-) There are some good actors in this film, like Elizabeth Reaser and Justin Kirk, but the dialogue is ridiculous and at best frothy. 
“Mafioso” (+) This 1962 film is somewhat interesting, but crime films have changed a lot since then and include a lot more blood, gore and violence. 


Sports

Elite snowboarders ride the rails at Union Square
By Brooke Edwards
The northeast corner of Union Square’s northern plaza was transformed last Thursday from barren concrete to a two-story, snow-covered platform, with a 40-foot rail with a Jeep Wrangler built into it.



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ONE-ACT PLAY FESTIVAL “Random Acts!” features one-act plays by the best of The New School for Drama’s up-and-coming actors, directors and playwrights. Feb. 15 – April 28; Thurs. – Sat. at 8pm and Sat. at 3pm. THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DRAMA, 151 Bank St., 3rd floor. Free. Reservations recommended. 212-279-4200. www.ticketcentral.com. www.drama.newschool.edu.

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