Volume 74, Number 40 |
February 9 - 15, 2005

A stadium referendum is required
Cablevision’s recent offer to buy the Hudson Yards development rights for $600 million was immediately dismissed by Mayor Bloomberg as “a stunt.” However, on the face of it, that Cablevision is offering hundreds of millions more than the Jets for the property should not be brushed off as a stunt — certainly not in the minds of New York City straphangers concerned about fare hikes.

Scoopy's notebook

Letters to the editor

Talking Point
Balancing interests in Washington Sq.’s renovation
By Michael Haberman
and Aubrey Lees
Winston Churchill once said, “This is not the end, nor is it the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.” As the co-chairpersons of Community Board 2’s task force that has been focusing on the renovation of Washington Sq. Park for the past two years, we can’t think of a more appropriate description of where we now stand.

Survey: Fix bathrooms, pathways

Why did a conflict ruling take years to have effect?
By Marilyn Dorato
and Kathryn Donaldson
During the last months of the Giuliani administration, and soon after Aubrey Lees — who currently chairs the Community Board 2 Parks Committee — was elected chairperson of Community Board 2, the Greenwich Village Block Associations discussed Lees’ appointments for chairpersons of two of the board’s important subcommittees: the Business Committee and the Sidewalks Committee. Bob Rinaolo, owner of The Garage restaurant and Senor Swanky, became chairperson of the Business Committee, which oversees liquor license applications and makes recommendations concerning them to the State Liquor Authority. It seems inappropriate for a liquor-license holder to chair a committee that oversees applications by people who may be competition. If this were not a conflict of interest, what is?

Penny Post
Big Easy spring
By Andrei Codrescu
We’ve had our frigid weather, cold enough to freeze the glitter on a fairy, and now it’s spring. People are sprouting buds and the ends of their fingers are turning into pruning shears. It’s an amazing transformation, dependent on subtropic know-how. I contemplate the dead banana tree in the backyard, the chief victim of our winter, and I am getting psychologically prepared to lop it off. Sawing through banana trunks doesn’t require a chain saw, but the juice gets on you. Dragging the suppurating limbs to the curb is another job.

In Pictures

We’ll drink to that

Fire and drums for Nicole

Ukrainian Museum is sanctified

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

Turning Japanese:
The changing face of St. Mark’s Pl. looks Asian
By Amanda Kludt
Over the last century, St. Mark’s Pl. has gone from dangerous to hip to avant-garde to punk back to dangerous again. It has seen residents the likes of James Fenimore Cooper, W.H. Auden, Abbie Hoffman and Leon Trotsky and performers and artists such as Lou Reed, Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono. Now, the famed street and main thoroughfare into the East Village has cleaned up its act and grown into a new spot for a burgeoning Little Tokyo.

Inside the Villager

Mayor goes both ways on same-sex wed ruling
Joined by four of the five same-sex couples they are representing, as well as children of several of the couples, Lambda Legal held a triumphant press conference Friday afternoon, Feb. 4, to announce that a Manhattan State Supreme Court judge had ruled that the New York Domestic Relations Law unconstitutionally barred gay and lesbian couples from marrying and that the city clerk in New York must begin issuing marriage licenses to such applicants.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s saffron dream made real
Four-year-old Cyril liked to climb on rocks. “Every day of his childhood since he was 4,” says his mother, “I would go on the subway with this little boy from Canal Street to Central Park, where he would climb on the rocks. The big rocks. “Not today,” she appends with a giggle. “Today he’s 44, and a poet, and a writer, and if you say that Cyril Christo and his wife Marie Wilkinson have just had a 2-foot-tall book called ‘Lost Africa’ published by Assouline, they will be very happy.”

Neighbors at a town hall take shots at ‘bad bars’
By Albert Amateau
More than 100 Village residents packed a town hall forum on bars and nightlife last week to plead with state and city officials for help in controlling the noise, traffic and antisocial behavior from “bad-neighbor bars” in districts like Gansevoort Market, Noho and the central Village.

Dog owners growl, mounds moms erupt at park forum
By Lincoln Anderson
The dog owners were howling in anger, with one of them almost getting ejected from the room. The mounds parents were literally climbing the walls in outrage — before the long-simmering issue of the three climbing hills suddenly blew up in a frenzy of screamed accusations and the whole thing was called off.

Washington Square
Park Plan

• The Fence
• The Fountain
• The Plan
• The Plaza

Police Blotter

Street artists fear Gerson will paint them into a corner
By Hemmy So
Street artists on W. Broadway are feeling shock, anger and worry after Councilmember Alan Gerson’s recent bombshell announcement to them about proposed regulations that, they say, would either restrict their numbers or relocate them outside the area to a pier or vacant lot.

Board 5 Parks Committee approves pavilion restaurant
By Albert Amateau
Opponents of the plan to redesign the north end of Union Sq. Park fired another few shots last week against their favorite target — the proposal for a year-round restaurant in the pavilion — but the Parks Committee of Community Board 5 voted to recommend the entire plan for approval to the full board meeting this week.

Better than e-Bay, Freecycling is fun, and it’s free
By Jefferson Siegel
It’s several weeks after the holidays and you’re still stepping over piles of unwanted, unopened gifts. You’re wondering, who thought you’d look good in a Hawaiian shirt in the middle of winter? And why would someone give you a VCR when you don’t even have a TV?

New secondary schools to be academically rigorous
Five new schools are slated to open in Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side and Chelsea this September as part of a plan to create 52 small secondary schools in the city, according to the Department of Education.

Gastil is Manhattan Planning director

For author, penning tell-all memoirs is perfect addiction
By Divya Watal
Most people have no particular career inclination when they are 3 years old.
But for 41-year-old author Susan Shapiro, who claims, “I was walking around my house reciting poems at 3,” there has always been one, and only one, raison d’être: writing.

Mulberry tenants: City reneging on promise
By Hemmy So
More than four years after former Mayor Rudy Guiliani promised Little Italy residents the chance to purchase their apartments at below-market rates in exchange for giving Da Nico restaurant the right to use their backyard as a dining patio, residents continue to fight for fulfillment of that promise.

Get on your butt and exercise! The chair workout
By Judith Stiles
An aerobics program that touts the promise that you can “sit and be fit” seems like an oxymoron. Most people sign up for an aerobics class because they have been sitting around too much and are out of shape, so how can there be an aerobics class that entails more sitting?

Villager Arts & Lifestyles

Feting black theater pioneers
Woodie King, Jr., grew up in Detroit. Douglas Turner Ward grew up in New Orleans. Separately, yet together––one inspired by the remarkable son of an impoverished dirt farmer in the Bahamas, the other by a brilliant young woman from Chicago who was to die two lifetimes too soon––Woodie King and Doug Ward changed the face of black theater in America. No, they gave a face, a self, a raison d’être, to black theater in New York City and America.

Meaninglessness revisited
The New Group’s artistic director Scott Elliott has earned the rep to stock his productions with A-list actors, and the roster for his new revival of David Rabe’s “Hurlyburly” is packing in the subscription crowd. Women in furs elbow snoring husbands. Why are they snoring? They can’t help themselves, despite an expertly acted production of a play that’s too knowing for its own good.

They went there
Satire, as everyone knows, is tricky business. When it scores, there are few things more wickedly funny, and when it doesn’t, well, it’s as flat as can be. Happily when scores are the subject––along with scripts, actors, voracious corporations and the entire Broadway scene––there is no better hand at turning out pithy, hilarious and truly satisfying satire than Gerard Alessandrini.

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