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Volume 74, Number 25 | Octuber 20 - 26 , 2004


The Villager endorses John Kerry for president
The compelling reasons why George W. Bush should not remain in the White House four more years are extensive. For starters, we are not as safe as we ought to be, our respect throughout the world has been diminished and we have paid dearly in lives and dollars for a war that didn’t involve our most dangerous enemy. While the president rushed to give tax breaks we couldn’t afford to the nation’s wealthiest, he allowed health care costs to skyrocket, jobs to plummet and an historic budget surplus to be converted into an historic deficit.

Editorial Cartoon

Talking Point
The townsfolk rebel against omnipotent N.Y.U., again
By Ed Gold
Sometimes New York University resembles a sovereign state.
Its capital is Greenwich Village. Its “White House” is Bobst Library. Its “West Wing” the 12th floor of Bobst.
It has a loyal population of about 70,000 — students and teachers — but conspicuous pockets of resistance.
It sees itself as benign, with many important contributions to the public good in medicine, law, business, to name a few.

Manhattan must share load in city’s recycling plan
By Bruce Brown, Elizabeth Yeampierre and Ray Kairys
Although we are not regular readers of The Villager, we intently read the article and editorial regarding the city’s proposal to create a recycling center on the Gansevoort Peninsula that appeared in the Sept. 15 issue of your paper [“City wants Gansevoort for barging recyclables” (news article), “A proposal to dump on Hudson Park” (editorial)]. We are members of a citywide coalition of neighborhood groups, the Organization of Waterfront Neighborhoods (OWN), which has been pushing for the city to adopt an environmentally just, marine-based system for handling and minimizing its waste.

What comes after satire
By Andrei Codrescu
The most insane predictions are coming true at an alarming rate. The implantable chip is here ready to deliver all your data to anybody with a scanner. Every phone call is taped. Every computer has enough spy-ware in it to keep a thousand marketers and blackmailers in business. There is no place to hold a private conversation because they’ll lick the sound right off your car windows. All these “advances” in technology are exclusively for our benefit, the citizens of the freest country in the world.

I feel your pain: Learning to live with a Red Sox fan
By Ronda Kaysen
By the time my boyfriend told my mother, over brunch in a Downtown cafe, that missing the afternoon’s Red Sox game was akin to missing the birth of his first child, I already had a good hunch of what future lay ahead for me. Chances are it involves a TV in the delivery room.

Coping with the war, from big picture to small moment
By Wickham Boyle
This is a story about the war in Iraq from giant panoramic philosophy to tiny personal moment. It is told from the perspective of my Southern California autumn.

Scoopy's notebook

Letters to the editor

News In Brief
For a fallen firefighter

Gouverneur fundraiser

N.Y.U. gets $21 million endowment

150 free flu shots

Union Sq., from past to present

6th and 10th Cop of the Year awards

Police Blotter


Elias ‘Louie’ Vassilakes, 55, of Joe Jr.’s
Funeral services were held Monday for Elias Vassilakes at St. Irene’s Church in Astoria. “Louie,” as he was known to everyone, was a very popular waiter and big personality at Joe Jr.’s, the 12th St. and Sixth Ave. eatery, for 25 years. He was 55 years old and died last Thursday of a heart attack.

Joseph Weiser, former Stuyvesant Town assemblyman
Joseph J. Weiser, former assemblymember for the district that includes Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, died on Sept. 17 after a long illness in his Hollywood, Fla., home at the age of 92.

Helen Gee, 85, proprietor of famed Limelight cafe
By Jerry Tallmer
Once upon a long time ago, when I was trying to become a writer in Greenwich Village and doing almost anything to keep from sitting down and writing, I was delegated to go uptown to pick up a daybed from someone and bring it back down to an apartment near Sheridan Sq.

Coaches skated way through hockey’s changes
By Judith Stiles
As a child, Alana Blahoski dutifully attended both her brothers’ ice hockey practices as a spectator, because her dad was the coach and because in the early ’80s, in St. Paul, Minn., girls only took up figure skating. However, young Alana had a natural curiosity about the game and she decided firmly that the only thing she wanted was a pair of those black hockey skates that her brothers got to wear

Bresci Thompson, painter, Chelsea icon, dies at 96
By Albert Amateau
Bresci Thompson, a lifelong Chelsea resident and member of the Hudson Guild since he was 4 years old, died on Oct. 2 at home in the Penn South co-op at the age of 96.
A painter who learned his art at the Guild where he served for many years as a member of the board of trustees, he was a protégé of John Lovejoy Elliott, founder of the Hudson Guild.

New outcry on community-facility towers on side streets
By Lincoln Anderson
It’s known as the community-use facility zoning bonus — but the community, both east and west, is in an uprising over it. Two particular projects drawing residents’ wrath are an eight-story building under construction at 159 Bleecker St., on the former site of the Circle in the Square theater, and a new 13-story building underway at 81 E. Third St., next to the Hell’s Angels clubhouse.

A personal trainer, Jae Gruenke, in Tompkins Sq. Park, above, runs the East Village office of Democracy in the Park.<more>

Villager photo by Jennifer Bodrow

Can you hear me now? Reaching swing voters by using free minutes
By Ronda Kaysen
“Everyone loves being in the park and helping get rid of Bush. What more could you ask for on a Sunday?” said John Raskin, the 23-year-old wunderkind founder of Democracy in the Park, a political action group that contacts swing voters using free weekend cell phone minutes.

Downtowners call for more say over L.M.D.C. money
By Josh Rogers
Chanting “no allocation without representation,” Councilmember Alan Gerson led a protest march to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation offices last Wednesday to deliver a report calling on the agency to talk to the community more before deciding how to spend the $860 million or so it has left to help Downtown recover from 9/11.

Publication zones in on land use
By Albert Amateau
CityLand, a new publication from the Center for New York City Law at New York Law School, will cover the monthly activities of the five New York City agencies that have jurisdiction on land use.

Fear waterfront plans will bring wrong kind of green
By Lincoln Anderson
City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden presented the city’s vision for a revamped Lower East Side riverfront at a meeting of Community Board 3’s Waterfront Task Force last week, and the reaction was one of general wariness on the part of residents, who said they fear improvements could lead to gentrification.

Cocktails and screaming at screens at a debate party in the East Village
By Sascha Brodsky
If, as most polls and pundits contend, New York City is solidly behind John Kerry for president, ground zero for those against President Bush might well be the East Village. This liberal breeding ground has long had a history of radical politics from the post-Civil War draft rioters to activist playwright Lillian Hellman.

Here comes the sun power: 6th St. garden goes off grid
By Melanie Wallis
An environmentally friendly East Village garden has just completed building a solar-powered waterfall and hopes to extend the garden’s sun-powered capabilities to lighting, pond oxygenating and more.

P.S. 3 students determine the Hudson is healthy
By Divya Watal
Trying to emulate “real” scientists, 75 children from Greenwich Village’s P.S. 3 embarked on an adventurous field trip to the Hudson River last Wednesday. Students from kindergarten to grade five, accompanied by teachers and parent volunteers, conducted air and water tests, working assiduously from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Community brainstorms for reuse of CHARAS building
By Albert Amateau
Neighbors had plenty of suggestions about what to do with the old P.S. 64 building on E. Ninth St., former home of the CHARAS/El Bohio arts and community center, at a forum conducted last week by City Councilmember Margarita Lopez.

Woman in Jane St. assault leaps to death
By Lincoln Anderson
Barbara Zellman, 62, who in April viciously attacked her 61 Jane St. neighbor Miriam Sarzin, 67, with a hammer and Skyy vodka bottle, took her life on Thurs., Oct. 14. According to Ellen Borakove, a spokesperson for the Medical Examiner’s Office, Zellman “jumped from a height” at 160 West End Ave., near W. 70th St. in Lincoln Towers on the Upper West Side, dying of “multiple, blunt-impact injuries.”

Community thanks Sixth’s Fitzgerald for a job well done
By Lincoln Anderson
After three years at the helm of Greenwich Village’s Sixth Police Precinct, Deputy Inspector Kevin Fitzgerald retired from the force last month at the ripe age of 41. He’s now armed with a Blackberry for his new job as assistant director of security for the Rudin Corporation, which owns 38 buildings in New York City.

Gay youth want Hudson Park’s 1 a.m. curfew lifted
By Albert Amateau
It rained on the FIERCE! parade last Saturday, but that didn’t stop about 100 queer and transgender youth and their allies from marching and chanting with banners flying from Christopher Park to Weehawken St. just off the Village waterfront.

Board 2 is firing up idea for 9/11 tile memorial park
By Rachel Evans
From far away it is a blur of red, white and blue images. Up close, it is a fence decorated with a menagerie of ceramic tiles with painted messages from across the United States.

Village dogs need another place to, well, just be dogs
By Divya Watal
Village dog owners have been demanding a new, larger dog run for many years now, but something has changed in recent months — there has been an influx of new residents in the area and consequently new dogs, and there just isn’t enough space for them to hang out, complain irate dog owners.

Poetry in motion: Spring St. archives to relocate to B.P.C.
By Ronda Kaysen
The Poets House, the largest poetry center and archive of its kind in the United States, is about to get a whole lot bigger. Poets House will soon relocate from its Spring St. digs to a loftier location in Battery Park City.

Shaping a political point of view
By Leonard Quart
An old friend, who grew up in Texas, recently e-mailed me a letter asking me how my passion for politics evolved. It was a question that moved me to invoke some old memories.

McCarthy era lessons more relevant than ever
By Jerry Tallmer
THE CHAIRMAN: [J. Parnell Thomas, R-N.J.]: Any real American would be proud to answer the question, “Are you, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?” — any REAL American!

Ibsen’s Eternal, Flawed Pre-Feminist
Sometimes even the bleakest drama can be a joyful experience. That’s certainly the case with the production of “Hedda Gabler” now at New York Theatre Workshop. The production is graphic and emotionally raw, but so courageous and consistent in its design, direction and acting choices that it makes Ibsen’s classic play seem like a contemporary indictment of our heartless, self-obsessed culture.

Mother/daughter team up with a book to embolden women
By Wickham Boyle
First there was the real thing. Then there was Vagina Monologues and now, thank heavens there is “Vaginas: An Owners Manuel.” This new book published last week by Avalon and written in a clear, concise and funny fashion by Dr. Carol Livoti and her writer-daughter Elizabeth Topp is a great companion to anyone who either possesses the real thing or has an interest in it.

An Abortionist’s Tale
By David Noh
Mike Leigh comes up with his finest film yet in this story set in post-Word War II London. Vera (Imelda Staunton) is a housemaid with a loving blue-collar husband (Philip Davis), and two grown children, mousily shy Ethel (Alex Kelly) and breezily confident Sid (Daniel Mays), a tailor.

Koch on Film
“Friday Night Lights” (+)
Not close to a really good flick; nevertheless, it is interesting and entertaining.
Based on a true story and book by H.G. Bissinger, the film is about the Permian High School football team in Odessa, Texas. This little town had little going for it, and for many of its residents, seeing the Panthers win the state championship was an obsession.
Hero (-) This is an exquisite picture. Probably no other film that I have seen rivals its use of color. The sets are of the Forbidden City, which I have walked through, bordered by Tiananmen Square. The story is a myth going back to the time when China was divided into seven kingdoms, one of which was the kingdom of Qin. The Qin king (Chen Dao Ming) sought to unite the warring states into one mighty land. As a result, he was the constant target of efforts to assassinate him.

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