"Serving West and East Village, Chelsea, SoHo, NoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown and the Lower East Side" SINCE 1933
Volume 74, Number 34 | December 29 - January 04, 2004

Inside
Editorial
The year that was
It’s hard to believe, but another year has flown by.
News stories that held Downtowners’ attention in 2004 typically included such issues as development, quality of life, parks and controlling institutional expansion.
Development stories included the ongoing battle to save the Far West Village from becoming a wall of luxury, glass-walled high-rises. Preservation-minded residents are saying it’s “the 11th hour” for the Far West Village and calling on the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the endangered 14-block area a historic district. Legendary activist Jane Jacobs’ return to the Village earlier this year seemed perfectly timed to reenergize the neighborhood to not give up the fight.

Editorial Cartoon

Talking Point
Save Social Security with the flat tax, not Wall St.
By Ted Rall
Think back to the 2000 election campaign. Was anyone talking about Iraq? No way. Yet by fall 2002 we’d gotten so riled up — although nothing had changed — that millions thought Saddam was an imminent threat that had to be taken out. You have to hand it to George W. Bush: he can conjure a crisis from a vacuum.

We need to make the system work for the working poor
By Gur Tsabar
It used to be that if you worked hard and played by the rules, you could earn a decent living. As a society, we used to make sure of that. But now, we’re leaving a generation of working families behind. Today, parents are working longer hours than ever before, while poverty strikes their families, and especially their children, harder than ever before.

Notebook
Things to do in 2005
By Andrei Codrescu
Learn how to use a shortwave radio. I got a Mini 300PE Grundig AM/FM shortwave radio for Christmas. I can now pick up Radio Bucharest from my cave and fulfill my longstanding fantasy of discovering other human beings in my predicament. In my 2005 edition to “Passport to World Band Radio,” for instance, I see a wickedly-smiling elder in his tropical backyard in Barbados, eavesdropping on something taking place in a corporate boardroom in Stockholm. That could be me. The thing is, the Internet notwithstanding, the pleasures of shortwave, like the delights of orchid-growing, are only possible the old-fashioned way.

Scoopy's notebook

Letters to the editor

Scene


Picture Story
Puppets and pranksters

Obituary
Gino Lombardi, made Village home after immigrating from San Marino
Gino Lombardi, a resident of the Village since he came to New York with his parents in 1925, died in a Whitestone, Queens, nursing home on Dec. 10 at the age of 95.

Kids

Soccer coaching director passes along his passion
By Judith Stiles
When his grades in school were not up to snuff, his mother did the unthinkable and forbade him to play soccer on his team for an entire year, and as Gustavo Palomino remembers it, “That felt like my legs had been cut off!” However he adds, wincing, “At age 9 it was a good lesson in life, and I always did well in school after that.”

NEWS
Barred bar committee chairperson now seeks C.B. 2 chair
By Lincoln Anderson
As a result of an advisory opinion by the city’s Conflict of Interests Board, Bob Rinaolo last week stepped down as chairperson of Community Board 2’s Business Committee. The committee reviews liquor license applications and renewals for bars, nightclubs and restaurants, giving its nonbinding recommendations to the State Liquor Authority.

Border war pits garden vs. developer
By Hemmy So
In the continuing effort to revitalize the Lower East Side, AvalonBay Communities plans to begin construction in the near future of a new residential building on the north side of E. Houston St. near the Bowery. However, the feared impact of the forthcoming demolition of the existing Church of All Nations building on the adjacent Liz Christy Bowery Houston Community Garden, a community garden established in 1973, has the gardeners up in arms and they are demanding that AvalonBay modify their plans.

Villager photo by Jefferson Siegel

Savoring bakery’s last days
Nathan Prusack, owner of Jon Vie pastry shop on Sixth Ave., accepted a farewell sign from loyal customer Eliza Callahan, 9, last week. The iconic Village bakery will go out of business at the end of the month because of a rent increase.

Seward Park housing plan is quietly pulled
By Ronda Kaysen
The city’s Economic Development Corporation and the Housing Preservation Department have abandoned plans to build 400,000 sq. ft. of affordable housing and 400,000 sq. ft. of commercial space in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area due to a lack of community consensus and support.


Inside the Villager
Orange victory tastes sweet for local Ukrainians
By Justin Rocket Silverman
Despite the freezing temperatures that descended on the city last weekend, hundreds of East Village residents could be seen walking with a spring in their step, as if the orange scarves they wore made them immune to the cold.

Critical Mass gets ‘ride of way;’ injunction denied
By Lincoln Anderson
It looks like it may be a happy new year — or at least New Year’s Eve ride — for Critical Mass. On Dec. 23, U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III denied a request by the New York City Police Department for a federal injunction to stop the monthly Critical Mass rides in Manhattan unless they get a permit.

In West Chelsea, height caps and air-rights shifts
By Albert Amateau
The Department of City Planning last week began the formal land-use review of the West Chelsea redevelopment plan that would preserve the art gallery district, encourage new residential and commercial projects and facilitate the conversion of the High Line into a 1.6-mile elevated park.

A gymnastics judging controversy of another sort
By Lincoln Anderson
After the rent vaulted out of reach at its previous space on Cooper Sq., Sutton Gymnastics, after a three-year search, found in Chelsea what it hoped would be its long-term home for the future. However, after only a year operating at the new location, Sutton Gymnastics was forced to cease business there a few months ago as a result of a judge’s order. A neighboring recording studio had charged that Sutton was making it impossible to function, that as a result of the tots’ tumbling, a session with the Boss had been blown.

New School extends Kerrey’s contract six more years
By Lincoln Anderson
New School University’s board of trustees has extended the term of Bob Kerrey as the school’s president until June 2011, it was announced last week. His contract had been set to expire in June 2006.

Arafat money rolls a gutter ball at Bowlmor Lanes
By Hemmy So
Despite conducting major damage control after the recent revelation that late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat invested money in New York-based Strike Holdings, owner of Bowlmor Lanes in Greenwich Village, the popular bowling alley has not seen a decline in business.

Lawsuits filed on stadium’s environmental impacts
By Albert Amateau
Two lawsuits, one by Cablevision and West Side residents and the other by mass transit advocacy organizations, are challenging the city environmental impact statement regarding the proposed 75,000-seat New York Sports and Convention Center stadium.

Threat to Far West Village hits home with demolition
By Albert Amateau
A few days after Mayor Mike Bloomberg told Village preservation advocates on the steps of City Hall that he “fundamentally agrees” with their efforts to gain landmark protection for Far West Village historic buildings, a wrecking crew was demolishing a three-story 1832 house on Charles St.

Calcutta brothel kids are Noho camera program’s focus
By Claire Hamilton
On Jan. 1, the nonprofit “Kids With Cameras” will occupy its first, formal offices in a loft at Lafayette and Bleecker Sts. The space will provide a base for an organization devoted since 2002 to the welfare of children living in a Calcutta brothel.

E. Third St. ‘half-dorm’ granted still more time to produce lease
By Lincoln Anderson
The so-called “half-dorm” on E. Third St. that Community Board 3 and neighbors have slammed the Department of Buildings for allowing to be built without a signed lease for an institutional tenant in place has again been granted additional time to come up with some answers.


World
Human trafficking in Libya
The situation of “human trafficking” in Libya is the subject of a photo essay by Q. Sakamaki, who visited the Northern African country in July. As the East Village photojournalist explains it, people from sub-Saharan Africa seeking a better life journey across the Sahara desert for many days to cross the border into Libya illegally. There they find work, often of the dirty or dangerous type that Libyans don’t want to do. Frequently, they purposely don’t bring passports, which makes it harder for them to be deported, since the authorities then cannot easily determine where they came from.


ARTS

A mending fence: Pieces of art for world peace
By Aileen Torres
The row of tiles adorning a section of the fence around Mercer Park — on Mercer St. between Bleecker and W. Third Sts. — blends in well with the black metal onto which it is bolted. The vibrant array of colors likely catches the attention of passerby, and there is something distinctly New York about the display. One tile depicts the entrance to a subway station. Another depicts a woman running to catch a train.


koch on film
By Ed Koch
“Million Dollar Baby” (-)
I always enjoy films that Clint Eastwood directs or stars in, and I have been a fan of his since he played the role of Ramrod in the television series “Rawhide.” Other critics gave this film favorable reviews, so I was expecting to enjoy it as well. Sorry to say, I did not.
“The Sea Inside” (+) This film will cause you to weep and also provide you with enormous pleasure.

Pacino of ‘pain and flame’ masterful in ‘Merchant’
By Jerry Tallmer
Dustin Hoffman, on Broadway, did this (if memory serves) coldly, rationally, argumentatively. Boris Tumarin, Off-Off-Broadway several decades earlier, did it with icy intellectual disdain, hauteur, as if threading his way for survival through a mob of boorish, bullying, profligate, uneducated, murderous yahoos.


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