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

Volume 76, Number 52
May 23 - 29, 2007

Union Square BID has been a boon
Just two decades ago, Union Square was in awful shape. Drug dealers and criminals roamed the park at night, making it unsafe to walk through. Storefronts on the square were still vacant, a symbol of the city’s economic woes.

Finding peace in Keith’s final journey to Valhalla
By Annie Shaver-Crandell 
On the train to Valhalla, N.Y., last Friday, I kept thinking of the lines in Tom Lehrer’s song “Alma”: “The body that reached her embalmer/ Was one that had known how to live.”

Letters to the editor

Police Blotter


Scoopy's Notebook

Ira Blutreich


John Darr, 88, minister, teacher and peace activist
By Albert Amateau
John Darr, a Village-born minister and teacher active for more than 50 years in peace, civil rights and social justice groups, died Sun., May 13, in Cabrini Hospice at the age of 88.

Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel

Allie Haahr, 1, went straight for the computers in the new Mulberry St. Library children’s reading room.

A new chapter starts for Soho as branch library finally opens
By Jefferson Siegel
Until this week, Soho residents thirsting for knowledge had to schlep to the Public Library’s Ottendorfer branch on Second Ave. or up to the Jefferson Market Branch library at W. 10th St. 

Archdiocese didn’t help Mary Help of Christians in the end
By Jefferson Siegel
The final Mass at Mary Help of Christians Church on E. 12th St. at Avenue A was celebrated before a standing-room only crowd on Sunday. Hundreds listened to the bilingual service and heard farewells from church officials.

Little Red school will grow a little bit more
Little Red School House Elisabeth Erwin High School has acquired a 4,000-square-foot townhouse at 42 Charlton St., next to the existing high school, for $4.1 million, according to Danielle Culmone, of Quinn & Co., the broker assisting the transaction.

Woman jumps to death after leaving hospital
By Albert Amateau
Just hours after she walked out of St. Vincent’s Hospital, where police had brought her after rescuing her from a suicide attempt in her Village apartment, Leslie Berkman Johnston jumped to her death on Wednesday morning May 16.

Arts and Entertainment
‘Coram Boy’ comes bearing gifts, but arrives too early
By Scott Harrah
Over the past year, nearly all the great dramas on Broadway — “The History Boys,” “Frost/Nixon” and “Journey’s End” — have been British imports.

Warren Haynes: Guitar legend of the East Village
By David Callicott
When Warren Haynes was a nine-year-old boy in Asheville, North Carolina, his older brothers brought home the Allman Brothers Band debut album.

Koch on film
“Jindabyne” (+) I enjoyed this film which received near-universal positive reviews. Set in the town of Jindabyne, Australia, the movie begins with the murder of an Aborigine woman. Claire (Laura Linney), her husband, Stewart (Gabriel Byrne), and their young son Tom live in the town.

Lincoln’s Memorial
By Michael Ehrhardt
The challenge presented for a reviewer of Martin Duberman’s authoritative “The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein” remains a mere bagatelle compared to what must have been a genuinely daunting exercise for the biographer of such a protean subject.

Stranger than fiction
By Steven Snyder
For one adamant corner of the movie world, German director Werner Herzog is nothing short of a hero — a man famous both for making movies about obsessed personalities and for exhibiting the same obsession in the way he approaches his craft.


Love of soccer kick-started his higher education
By Judith Stiles
When Ohionameh Aregbeyen played soccer in Ibadan, Nigeria, he and his brother Aigboje used a pair of sneakers for goals — or two piles of grass if there were no sneakers.

A less political New School commencement

Listen to The Villager on Internet Radio:
In this week’s Villager “Community Report” on Tribecaradio.net, Jai Nanda, executive director of Urban Dove, talks about “The People’s Pier” redevelopment proposal for Pier 40. “The People’s Pier” is one of two competing proposals for the 14-acre W. Houston St. pier. The pier is a designated “commercial node” in Hudson River Park and is expected to generate millions of dollars for the park in annual operating revenue. The Villager’s next “Community Report,” in about three weeks, will feature a representative of The Related Companies, which is pitching a rival plan to make the pier an entertainment complex.
Police spied on many local groups during convention
By Alyssa Giachino
With the public release of more than 600 pages of surveillance notes by the New York Police Department last week, organizations that protested at the 2004 Republican National Convention confirmed their suspicions that dozens of nonviolent groups were being monitored.

Height’s O.K., but seminary opponents say glass is vanity
By Albert Amateau
Chelsea residents who came to look at the General Theological Seminary’s revised plans for its new buildings on May 17 were predictably grateful that the proposed residential project and library on Ninth Ave. has been reduced to the 75-foot height allowed in the Chelsea Historic District.

Well-balanced bikers

Home, sweet home
On May 14, the East Village’s Ninth Precinct returned to its rebuilt stationhouse on E. Fifth St.

Dancing in the streets

Cooper Union digs in for new building
On May 9, George Campbell Jr., president of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art .

N.Y.U. picks team to devise long-range growth plan
New York University last week chose a planning team to help draw up the university’s strategic plan intended to provide guidance for N.Y.U.’s academic needs and physical development over the next 25 years.

A Salute to Union Square
A special Villager supplement
Program helps immigrant farmers hatch their dreams
By Alyssa Giachino
Nestled in a gray egg carton, half a dozen pale green eggs, each of which naturally displays a different hue on the scale from yellow to blue, are the demure centerpiece of a small booth at the Union Square Greenmarket.

New 14th St. building colors New School’s future
By Lincoln Anderson
Needing better facilities and with its student population steadily growing, The New School is planning a new, bigger building at 14th St. and Fifth Ave.

Falk is focused on completing north-end renovation
Falk is focused on completing north-end renovationIn a May 3 interview with the editorial staff of The Villager, Falk said the plans for the reconstruction, sponsored by the BID in cooperation with the city Department of Parks and Recreation, would go to the Art Commission on June 13, with final approval expected in July.

Historic place for protest

Students give to and get back from the neighborhood
By Alyssa Giachino
While ninth graders from Washington Irving High School donned gardeners’ gloves and wielded hand spades last week to plant a native garden in Union Square Park, a class of the school’s seniors deliberated over the wisdom of using college loan money for textbooks versus a new pair of Nikes.

Parks pans labyrinths but artist fights to save one
By Kristin Edwards
When writer Mary McHugh’s daughter died of diabetes, she found solace in walking one of the labyrinths in the plaza at the north end of Union Square. These labyrinths have become her quiet place in the city — a place, however, that might not be around much longer.

Rag trade runs in the blood at Rothman’s Union Sq.
By Bonnie Rosenstock
When I arrived for my appointment to interview Ken Giddon, president and co-owner of Rothman’s Union Square, I had to wait a half hour.

Latin flavor at Luna Park
Luna Park, the Union Square Park outdoor restaurant, officially opened for the summer season.

New tastes range from falafel to Thai; Bar offers comfort with mac ’n’ cheese.

Music’s in the air in the square

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A ROCK ‘N’ ROLL ODYSSEY “Escape From Bellevue” is a live music-driven multi-media production featuring Knockout Drops’ front man Christopher John Campion as he chronicles the band’s travails in the music business as well as his own experiences under the influence. Opens Thurs., May 31 for an open run. Thurs. & Fri. at 8pm; Sat. at 8 & 11pm. THE VILLAGE THEATRE, 158 Bleecker St., bet Sullivan & Thompson Sts. 212-307-7171. www.ticketmaster.com. www.KnockoutDrops.com. $35-$40.

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