"Serving West and East Village, Chelsea, SoHo, NoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown and the Lower East Side" SINCE 1933
Volume 74, Number 33 | December 22 - 28, 2004

Inside
Editorial
Buildings must do thorough vetting of 9th St. dorm
We’re glad to see the Department of Buildings is going by the book in its review of plans for the proposed student dormitory at the site of the old P.S. 64 at E. Ninth St. and Avenue B.

N.Y.U. should up ante for square’s renovation
From reports at last week’s Washington Sq. Coalition meeting, it sounds like the renovation of Washington Sq. Park is moving forward and that a successful project is in the offing. Yet, of concern to those that want this project done right and the park then properly maintained, the price tag has gone up — from $10 million to $12 million a few years ago to now $16 million to reconstruct the park and $4 for a maintenance endowment. Thus, finding the rest of the money becomes an issue.

Editorial Cartoon

Talking Point
Bummed on Bowery: Project spotlights flawed process
By Kevin Shea
Your Nov. 24 article, “Self-certification is blamed for bulked-up buildings,” raises an important question: Does the Department of Building’s professional certification program allow for effective enforcement of New York City building laws? The permit history for 4 E. Third St. outlined in your article strongly suggests not. We all ought to wonder if that one building is a particularly egregious exception to the rule, or whether it is a manifestation of a much more serious and consequential problem.

Darkness rising: A color-coded tale of good vs. evil
By Michele Herman
When you live in a household full of boys, you become a frequent visitor to the land of good vs. evil. All too often our bedtime stories feature a roller-coaster rhythm in which times of peace and plenty lead inexorably to the threat of villainy. This threat leads just as inexorably to bloody battles whose progress I (being a girl raised on stories about little women and little princesses) never can follow. This is the way it works: the good mice of Redwall Abbey are sitting down to their harvest feast; Lemony Snicket’s Beaudelaire siblings are frolicking on the beach; Harry, Ron and Hermione are goofing off in the Gryffindor common room. Meanwhile, you can smell the rat/Count Olaf/Voldemort from a mile away, with his bevy of craven sidekicks and his sicko plans to rule the world. To borrow a title from another one of these series, The Darkness Is Rising.

Notebook
Investments in 2005, Y.F.
By Andrei Codrescu
I am declaring 2005 the Year of Fantasy. In the Y.F. the dollar will become convertible into Imaginary Dollars (I.D.s). It’s been clear for some time that imagination is the real currency in a world that loses 600 Imagination Units (I.U.s) per person every year, because of Imagination-Sucking-Time-Consuming-Media-Generated-Distractions (I.S.T.C.M.G.D.s). In this kind of world, anybody with a good performing imagination can be rich.

Scoopy's notebook

Letters to the editor

Scene


Picture Story

Reeeeleee big shoooow!
Students in the Beacon after-school program at East Side Community School on E. 12th St. put on a holiday talent show last Friday night.


Kids
P.S. 3 program has youngsters keying into dance
By Judith Stiles
SLITHER, VIBRATE, SQUASH are words you might associate with critters in nature, perhaps swatting bugs in the summertime. They are not words normally associated with ballet, and they certainly don’t make you think of children dancing on stage in the “Nutcracker Suite.” However, they are key dance words used in movement classes for children, to trigger poetic images that translate into nontraditional dances performed at P.S. 3 in Greenwich Village.

NEWS
Kostabi gets dissed at door, as ’80s art wars reignite
By Ronda Kaysen
Artist Mark Kostabi, who first made his mark in the East Village in the heady 1980s, was less disappointed about being excluded from “East Village USA,” the New Museum of Contemporary Art’s retrospective about the era, than he was about being shut out from the show’s Dec. 9 opening.

Buildings nixes E. 9th St. I-can’t-believe-it’s-a-dorm dorm
By Lincoln Anderson
Dealing a blow to Gregg Singer’s plan to build a 222-room, 19-story dormitory on the site of the old P.S. 64/former CHARAS/El Bohio community and cultural center on E. Ninth St., the Department of Buildings last week disapproved the plans the developer submitted for the project.

Villager photo by Elisabeth Robert

Andrew Berman of G.V.S.H.P., left, and State Senator Tom Duane presented Mayor Bloomberg with a giant Seasons Greetings card on Monday, asking the city to landmark the Far West Village.

Mayor says he ‘fundamentally agrees’ with landmarking effort
By Albert Amateau
About 60 hardy West Village preservation advocates brought their 5-ft.-by-4-ft. Seasons Greetings card to the steps of City Hall on a very cold and windy Monday afternoon Dec. 20 to ask Mayor Bloomberg for immediate help to preserve the historic neighborhood.


Inside the Villager
Suspicions that theater’s next role will be a dorm
By Hemmy So
Neighbors of the Variety Arts Theater fear it will be sold and developed into a New York University dormitory. However, the building that housed Variety Arts Theater on Third Ave. from 1991 until two months ago is still on the market. The building owner, 110-112 Third Avenue Realty Corporation, put the building up for sale after the theater closed its doors in October.

Writer says media misses target in Iraq war coverage
By Terry J. Allen
Media coverage of the Iraq war is “one of the most serious institutional failures since Vietnam,” said Michael Massing at the third monthly Downtown Salon. A writer for the New York Review of Books, Massing led some 30 people at the Cornelia Street Cafe in a wide-ranging discussion of “The American Press and Iraq.” The Dec. 13 event was hosted by the New Shul, a progressive Jewish congregation.

Freak out: Sideshow museum calls it quits on Clinton
By Divya Watal
“Welcome to the Freakatorium — El Museo Loco! Admission’s $5 — half the price of a movie, memory of a lifetime!” The sword-swallowing, fire-eating Johnny Fox greets visitors to his museum at 57 Clinton St. on Manhattan’s Lower East Side with an élan that befits a man who has lived, breathed, dreamed sideshows for the last 30 years — ever since his cognitive senses came into being.

Entering the dragon, twice a month on public access
By Rania Richardson
Like a Roger Ebert for Asian cinema, David Lau is a movie connoisseur and TV host specializing in Chinese, Japanese and Korean film. His show, “HK Action,” is a mix of reviews, news and film clips, and is seen on Manhattan Neighborhood Network, public-access television carried on Time Warner Cable and RCN.

Putting the pieces back together,‘Mosaic Man’ finds a patron, room
Things are starting to look up for Jim Power, the East Village’s “Mosaic Man.” First, he won a City Lore People’s Hall of Fame Award last month for his “Mosaic Trail” of decorated street lampposts in the East Village.

Washington Sq. renovation could take almost 3 years
By Albert Amateau
An optimistic timetable for the long-awaited reconstruction of Washington Sq. Park estimates construction could begin in the middle of summer 2005 and completion of the three-phase park renovation could be achieved as early as the spring of 2008.

Ukrainians train, hopefully not in vain, as monitors
By Justin Rocket Silverman
Wanted: Men and women in good health to travel in politically turbulent nation of Ukraine for purpose of election monitoring. Participants will be responsible for their own airfare, as well as personal housing and food costs. Ground transportation deep into the anti-Western regions of Ukraine provided free of charge. Average temperatures are well below freezing. Some Ukrainian language ability is helpful, but not required.

Pompei priest transitions from Venezuela to Village
By Albert Amateau
Father John Massari, who became the new priest in charge of Our Lady of Pompei Church in October replacing Father Joseph Cogo, recalls the first time he came to the Village from Italy as a young priest.

Supreme Court denies appeal on masked protest
In January, the U.S. Court of Appeals reversed an order by the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York finding a New York State law barring wearing of masks at public gatherings unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals rejected the idea that masked gatherings are protected by the First Amendment and said that First Amendment rights must be “balanced against the state’s interests in safety.” On Dec. 7, the Supreme Court rejected the Ku Klux Klan’s appeal of the Court of Appeals’ ruling.

Dee-fense! Criticism of stadium plan ratchets up
By Albert Amateau
More than 1,000 people filled an auditorium at the Javits Convention Center last week to denounce and to cheer the proposed 75,000-seat New York Sports and Convention Center stadium.

Fire at W. 14th St. construction site causes evacuation of an N.Y.U. dorm
By Hemmy So
One hundred twenty-five firefighters from 30 companies responded to a two-alarm fire that severely damaged a vacant brick building on W. 14th St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves. on Monday afternoon.

Obituary
Robert Diario, 62, Penn South board member, was Harvey Milk supervisor
Robert Diario, a member of the board of the Penn South co-op in Chelsea, where he made his home, and a Department of Education administrator who was the first supervisor of the Harvey Milk School, died Dec. 9 at the age of 62.

Jack Newfield, 66, journalist, Villager, club critic
By Albert Amateau
Jack Newfield, a prize-winning journalist who made his reputation at the Village Voice and as the author of 10 books on subjects ranging from Senator Robert F. Kennedy to Mayor Edward I. Koch and boxing promoter Don King, died on Dec. 20 at the age of 66. He lived on Charlton St.


ARTS
A liberating spear of glass and steel
By Jerry Tallmer
Try wrapping your tongue around this one: Dokumentationszentrum Reichspsparteitagsgelande.
Leni Riefenstahl could explain it to you. She shot some pretty famous movies in the vicinity. Meanwhile, we are in the Mercer Hotel at the corner of Mercer and Prince Streets in SoHo, where a noisy, swinging scene is taking place downstairs in the Mercer Café.

A one-man home movie
By David Kennerley
“We had nothing,” Billy Crystal insists in “700 Sundays,” his solo Broadway show that traces his modest childhood in Eisenhower-era Long Beach, Long Island, where he grew up in a crowded tract house with paper-thin walls.
Yet during the course of the alternately hilarious and heartwarming evening, he proceeds to prove just the opposite.

Bringing back a Noel Coward piece
By Jerry Tallmer
Tony Walton was still in his teens — “a snotty teenager at the Slade School of Fine Art” — when in the summer of 1954 he saw a show he has never forgotten. In fact, he not only saw it over and over again, he dragged his classmates along to see it too.
The show, at the Globe Theatre, in London’s West End, was “After the Ball,” an operetta wrought by Noel Coward from Oscar Wilde’s stinging 1892 drama of good manners and bad delusions, “Lady Windermere’s Fan.”

When the word is the thing
By Gary M. Kramer
“A Talking Picture” features several European stars—Catherine Deneuve, Stephania Sandrelli, Irene Papas and John Malkovich (who although American, now lives in Europe)—cruising through the Mediterranean on a luxury ocean liner. This intriguing drama filmed in multiple locations and in almost as many languages is no “ship of fools.”

koch on film
By Ed Koch
“Closer” (+) This film contains a lot of dialogue and very little action. Most of the dialogue is sexual in nature and includes the most explicit language you will ever hear in a mainstream movie. The discourse is far more graphic than anything you may have heard on “Sex and the City.”
“A Very Long Engagement” (+)
This film, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is extremely powerful. It takes place during World War I, and its anti-war message covers some of the same ground as set forth in “Paths to Glory,” one of the best such movies ever made.


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