"Serving West and East Village, Chelsea, SoHo, NoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown and the Lower East Side" SINCE 1933
Volume 74, Number 30 | December 01 - 07, 2004

Inside
Editorial
Astor Pl./Cooper Sq. traffic improvements offer some good ideas
The proposed Department of Transportation plan to revamp the Astor Pl./Cooper Sq. area has two very desirable features: an increase in pedestrian space and an improvement in pedestrian safety
In fact, the basics of the proposal are really not that new. A similar scheme was offered in the mid-1990s, but the community at that time did not seem particularly interested.

Editorial Cartoon

Talking Point
N.Y.U.’s life sciences building: A new town-gown era?
By Martin Tessler
The announcement by New York University that it is going to pursue the adaptive reuse of three older existing buildings on Waverly Pl. for its new life sciences building is a ray of hope. I say this as someone who has spent 12 years on Community Board 2 and witnessed N.Y.U.’s less-than-friendly additions to the neighborhood scale, namely the Kimmel Building and the new Law School addition, not to mention the new privately built dorm on our eastern periphery in C.B. 3’s area. What hopefully sets the life sciences building apart from its predecessors is that this is not a done deal as were Kimmel and the Law School addition at the time they were presented to the public.

Giving the gift of disinformation
By Andrei Codrescu
This year Americans will spend 98 percent of their cash reserves and 73 percent of their credit on gifts that will involve learning new things. Even the most apparently traditional gifts such as earrings and boots will have new clasps and pulls that require learning. From there, the difficulties multiply, beginning with wrappers created by puzzle whizzes, to total bafflement as to what the object might be and complete ignorance as to its functioning. Everything on the market, from shavers to electronics contains new design and a time-consuming commitment of attention.

Scoopy's notebook

Letters to the editor

Scene


Obituary
Barbara Morrison, 56, reflexologist
Barbara Morrison, a Village resident for 17 years and a partner in Angel Feet, a reflexology studio in the West Village for the past 10 years, died Nov. 17 in St. Vincent’s Hospital at the age of 56,

Sports
Gay softball: A (nonexclusive) league of their own
By Judith Stiles
“Did you know that the Gay Softball World Series is the largest annual sporting event in North America?” boasts Lon Berger, commissioner of the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Association. He adds “this World Series includes teams representing leagues from 27 cities, 150 teams that qualify for the World Series and over 10,000 softball players across North America.” By all estimates this translates into 16,000 jobs for people supporting these leagues from cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, Providence, Portland, Montreal, Vancouver, B.C., Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa and more.

NEWS
Traffic jam over Pier 57, as consultants’ studies clash
By Albert Amateau
In the wake of a recent recommendation by a community working group about the redevelopment of Pier 57, the two rivals for the project have commissioned competing traffic studies in the hope of influencing a decision expected soon by the Hudson River Park Trust.

It’s a wrap: Board 2 O.K.’s Diane’s dome, or is it a prism?
By Ronda Kaysen
The designer who brought women the wrap dress a generation ago is putting her mark on the Meatpacking District’s architecture. Designer Diane von Furstenberg recently received a nod of approval for her renovation plans for the former Gachot & Gachot meatpacking building on W. 14th St.

Villager photo by Elisabeth Robert

Holiday look at Union Sq.
At the Union Sq. Holiday Market, Catherine Hung checked out jewelry at the Silver Star booth. The Holiday Market has set up booths at the square’s south end, pushing some of the fringe groups that regularly gather there to the square’s fringes.


City proposes closing Astor Pl. and narrowing 4th Ave. for pedestrians
By Lincoln Anderson
Advocates of a proposal to reduce the street width on Fourth Ave. and possibly close part of Astor Pl. think it could improve pedestrian safety by reclaiming underused roadbed and shortening street-crossing times. But critics feel the changes could just cause more car traffic and would primarily benefit the area’s new development.

INSIDE THE VILLAGER
PATH plan for new Village entrance is still on track
By Lisa Carucci
Confusion, frustration and anger are being elicited by the Port Authority’s pending plan to build a second entrance to the Ninth St. PATH station in the state and federally recognized Stonewall Historic District in Greenwich Village.

Demolition permit is sought for former CHARAS/El Bohio
By Lincoln Anderson
The fight to preserve the old public school building off Avenue B most recently home to CHARAS/El Bohio continues. Yet, developer Gregg Singer is rapidly moving ahead with plans to demolish the former P.S. 64’s rear portion to construct a 19-story, 222-room university dormitory, while preserving the existing building’s historic Ninth St. facade.

Con Ed settles 11th St. electrocution for $7.2 million
By Hemmy So
Almost a year after East Village resident Jodie Lane’s electrocution on a metal plate on E. 11th St., Con Edison has settled with her family for more than $7.2 million. According to the settlement, Lane’s family will receive about $6.25 million for wrongful death and pain and suffering claims, and Con Edison will provide $1 million for a scholarship fund at Columbia University.

Wanted: Nonprofit groups for new community center
By Lincoln Anderson
When Mayor Bloomberg led the topping-off ceremony for Avalon Chrystie Place at E. Houston St. and the Bowery last month, the Whole Foods market planned for the new building seemed to get an inordinate amount of attention. However, while the Cooper Sq. urban renewal area’s community-led planning process did identify a new supermarket as a priority, even more important to many in the neighborhood will be the building’s new community center.

V.A. hospital must give notice before downsizing
By Albert Amateau
Veterans groups and elected officials who have been fighting for more than a year to prevent the possible closing of the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital on First Ave. at 23rd St. got some help from Congress on Nov. 17.

HUD gives Guild Houses tenants some reassurance
By Albert Amateau
More than 200 anxious tenants of the Grand St. Guild Houses, worried about losing the federal subsidy that keeps their rent affordable, turned up at a Nov. 18 meeting arranged by Congressmember Nydia Velazquez with a federal housing official.

Representatives bring home the bacon for Downtown
By Albert Amateau
Congressmembers Jerrold Nadler, Carol Maloney and Nydia Velazquez secured more than $20 million in federal funds for projects in their districts, which cover parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

From skelly to squats to SWAT: Radical father finds a home at St. Mark’s
By Lincoln Anderson
When police were trying to barge into St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery on Aug. 27 to arrest bicyclists from Critical Mass seeking refuge inside, one man stood in the entranceway blocking them. Father Frank Morales told the officers they couldn’t come in, that the church was a place of sanctuary. They respected his request — though that didn’t stop them from arresting scores of bike riders outside on Second Ave.


ARTS
The art of squatting

Organic, earthy 1980s flora, fauna
By Stephen Mueller
Strangely, there are currently a number of shows around town of ‘80s art.
One of the best is the Matthew Marks show of Terry Winters paintings and drawings from 1981 to 1986. These are some of the earliest paintings that Winters showed in New York. The palette is dark and evokes a primordial ooze, the womb of all life.

Night of recriminations
By David Kennerley
In the spellbinding Broadway revival of “’Night, Mother,” set designer Neil Patel has prominently placed a clock, set real-time, on the wall of the painfully ordinary living room.

FOOD
Appealing new French cafe with a homemade touch
By Frank Angelino
The owners of Couvron restaurant, in the emerging Hudson Square neighborhood (north of Tribeca, west of Soho), have high hopes. Born by the sound food pedigree of its owners — chef Anthony Demes and his wife, Maura Jarach, they have recently opened a 65-seat dining room opposite two nearly completed residential condominiums.

Family of filmmakers reinvigorated
By Aileen Torres
“Au Pair Chocolat” is an independent film, starring Domenica Cameron-Scorsese, the daughter of Martin Scorsese, about a young woman from Harlem who becomes a nanny for a wealthy African-American family in Martha’s Vineyard. It will run as part of the 12th African Diaspora Film Festival, playing November 26 to December 12 at Anthology Film Archives on 2nd Ave. It is a film that took several years to make, plagued with unavoidable delays. But, in the end, the project came together, affirming a family in the process.

koch on film
By Ed Koch
“Being Julia” (+)
I finally saw this film last Saturday night at The Quad Theater. The theater was about 90 percent full which isn’t bad for a movie that opened over a month ago. It was touted then by the critics as a tour de force for Annette Bening and they were right. She is terrific.
“The Big Red One” (+)
This is an interesting and historic film, but it is certainly not the blockbuster pronounced by some critics. It cannot hold a candle to the television mini series, “Band of Brothers,” which I think is the best film ever produced on World War II.


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