Volume 74, Number 41 |
February 16 - 22, 2005

Washington Sq. plan offers much; fine-tuning is required
Following a Community Board 2 Parks Committee meeting on the design for Washington Sq. Park’s refurbishment — and a subsequent meeting devoted to plans for the park’s dog runs — much more information has become available about the Parks Department’s plan for Washington Sq. than a month ago, when this page called for more public input into this much-anticipated project.

Scoopy's Notebook

Letters to the editor

Editorial Cartoon

Police blotter

A playwright even more complex than his characters
“Elia Kazan: A Life” was the direct, no-nonsense title of Kazan’s 1988 autobiography. “Timebends: A Life” was the more poetic title of Arthur Miller’s no less fascinating 1987 autobiography. One doesn’t think of Arthur Miller, the man, as the more poetic of the two, but this past weekend, on the heels of the death at 89 of one of our arguably greatest playwrights, I reread “Death of a Salesman” for the umpteenth time, digging for the poetry within the so-called realism, and of course I (once again) found it.

Talking Point
A mountain of kids’ health lies in a few ‘molehills’
By Eliza Nichols
Why is the debate over what is commonly referred to as “the mounds area” so important to any discussion of Washington Sq. Park’s present and future? Over the last 20 years the percentage of children aged 6 to 11 who were overweight more than doubled, while the percent among teenagers tripled. We are experiencing a crisis of physical inactivity and obesity.

A lament for Emey, the grouchy-but-great bike mechanic
By Michele Herman
A couple of weeks ago I found myself in dire need of metal trouser clips, a biking accessory that most of the normal bike stores have stopped carrying. So I braced myself to call Emey, the man who runs the idiosyncratic — some would say shady — used-bike shop that’s had several East Side locations but settled most recently on E. 17th St. off Third Ave.

Encounters with Philip Johnson, profligate architect
By George Capsis
In the early ’50s, when I entertained the idea that I would like to be an architect, a Park Ave. girlfriend invited me for the weekend to her family’s posh home in New Canaan and then coyly entertaining my architectural posturing suggested we visit the nearby, much-publicized homes of architects Marcel Breuer and Philip Johnson.

In Pictures
Gates mania

So long L.E.S.

Book lovers’ bonanza

Soccer star blazed a trail for girls’ teams in city

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

Performance artist Julie Atlas Muz shot demonstrators with love arrows at Sunday’s Valentine’s rally to save the old P.S. 64 (Villager photo by Clayton Patterson)

All you need is love, love, love and a great community facility
By Lincoln Anderson
Asking Mayor Bloomberg to show some love for the East Village for Valentine’s Day, Councilmember Margarita Lopez and community residents rallied by the former P.S. 64 last Sunday afternoon, calling on the mayor to save the building and return it to the neighborhood as its most recent former use, a community and arts center.

Inside the Villager

Westbeth hold-out slows push to designate historic district
By Albert Amateau
Preservation advocates trying for the past year to marshal support to convince the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate a new historic district to save 14 blocks in the Far West Village where some houses date from the mid-1800s, have come up against resistance from an unexpected quarter.

Complacency and ‘crystal’ add to crisis of H.I.V. strain
By Ronda Kaysen
By Valentine’s Day, Mike, a bartender at the Chelsea bar Rawhide who declined to give his last name, had heard nothing about last week’s news of the diagnosis of a New York City gay man with a new rapidly progressive and highly drug resistant strain of H.I.V. “The gay community isn’t paying any attention,” he said, mixing a drink for a customer. “People are totally oblivious.”

Board 5 gives qualified approval to Union Sq. plan
By Albert Amateau
Community Board 5 last week overwhelmingly approved the redesign of the north side of Union Sq. Park, but urged the Parks Department to consider proposals from cultural institutions, community groups and others, in addition to restaurateurs, for the permanent year-round concession in a restored pavilion.

Cooper backs off building modifications
By Albert Amateau
Cooper Union last week told East Village neighbors and the Community Board 3 Housing and Zoning Committee that the school has dropped its proposal to modify the transparency of the new academic building and promised to follow building guidelines developed with the community two years ago.

Crime drops in most precincts, but rises in Village
By Albert Amateau
The sharp decline in crime citywide over the past 11 years is continuing at a slower pace, according to New York Police Department reports comparing 2004 with the previous year. But there were spikes in grand larceny and robberies in precincts that cover the Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, Soho and Chelsea.

Vote early and vote Ferrer: V.I.D. endorses for mayor
By Lincoln Anderson
The first New York City Democratic club to endorse a candidate for mayor in this year’s race, Village Independent Democrats Thursday night threw its support behind Fernando Ferrer.

After Kerry campaign, district leader thinks locally
By Ed Gold
Bloody but unbowed, Democratic District Leader Keen Berger returned from Ohio to her home turf, caught her breath, examined the Village scene and took positions on housing, sex shops, Union Sq., the Gansevoort Peninsula, West Side development and educational philosophy, among other items of interest to her and the community.

Lynne Stewart still combative after terror verdict
By Mary Reinholz
Two days after an anonymous jury convicted her in federal court of aiding terrorism by conveying messages from her imprisoned terrorist client Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman to an Islamic network in Egypt, Downtown activist lawyer Lynne Stewart took the cold evening air in Manhattan with her husband Ralph Poynter. The couple stopped at Revolution Books on W. 19 St. to listen to an author discuss an uprising in Nepal.

Pier 40 consultants say ‘big box’ not good for park
The Waterfront Committee of Community Board 2 heard a preliminary report this week on the marketing study commissioned by the Hudson River Park Trust on ways to develop Pier 40 as an economically viable and community-friendly part of the Hudson River Park.

Council candidate is experienced political organizer
By Lincoln Anderson
A fifth candidate recently entered the Democratic primary race in the East Side’s Second City Council District. Darren Bloch, 30, an attorney and member of Community Board 6 who lives in the East 20s on Third Ave., announced his candidacy three weeks ago.

Hotels are replacing hipsters on changing Lower East Side
By Amanda Kludt
For all those Lower East Siders who thought one luxury hotel wasn’t enough, it has been reported that this winter construction will begin on the newest high-end addition to the neighborhood — an 18-to-22-story “boutique” hotel that will consist of 70 hotel rooms, 25 condo-hotel units and nine luxury apartments selling from $750,000 to several million dollars each.

Ladies’ Mile landmark being converted into condos
By Jefferson Siegel
On the Ladies’ Mile portion of Sixth Ave., a landmarked building is undergoing a luxury conversion, giving new condo owners the opportunity to pump on their stairmasters while gazing out of oversized windows that once were eye-level with the elevated subway.

Iraq through the eyes of an embedded photographer
By Ramin Talaie
CAMP LIBERTY, BAGHDAD, Iraq — I started packing with the essentials first: Thuraya handheld sat-phone, R-BGAN satellite for sending data/images Level 3A with level four ceramic plates (front and back), bulletproof vest, Kevlar Army-issued helmet, Army-issued goggles, jungle boots, sleeping bag capable of sleeping outdoors, two Nikon D1x bodies, one 17-35-mm and one 80-200-mm lens, five flash cards capable of capturing, over 1,000 images in total, five D1 batteries, one Holga with Polaroid back, seven packs of 3,000 B&W Polaroid film, Sony Vaio laptop, SMC wireless cards, universal electricity converter, power-strip cord, USB, firewire, you-name-it wire, CD-R and CD-RWs to burn images to back up iPod for the fun of it, about $1,000 in cash, plus American Express and MasterCard.

Schmeling-Louis: When the whole world hung on a fight
My uncle, call him Harry Katz, had changed his name to Harry Cabot when he got married. I do not remember him well, but I remember him on the boardwalk at Atlantic City, alone somehow with me, 29 years ago, in 1936, when I was 16 and he was in the pink, a brisk-minded and sympathetic man.

Christopher St. merchants foresee more closures
By Aman Singh
Christopher Street Books, a bookstore that catered to the Downtown gay community, closed last month. Richard White closed his jewelry shop R.J. White Jewelry Store after a good 50 years in August last year. Li-Lac Chocolates closed down in the first week of January this year.

‘Thrown to the dog owners,’ designer defends run plans
By Lincoln Anderson
Dog owners tenaciously grilled the architect of Washington Sq. Park’s refurbishment plan at a special meeting last Wednesday about the intention to relocate the existing two dog runs to the park’s southern edge. Had George Vellonakis ever even been in a dog run, they demanded to know? Wasn’t he aware dogs like to run around trees and benches — not back and forth between them? Didn’t he comprehend that dogs run in circles, not straight lines?

Kerrey praises Iraqi elections in 92nd St. Y talk
By Marvin Greisman
Bob Kerrey, president of New School University, called the Iraqi election a major milestone in the move toward democracy in the Middle East. The former Nebraska senator and governor offered that viewpoint after speaking at the recent Dorothy Gardner Adler Lecture, sponsored by the Simon Wiesenthal Center at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Life at the 92nd Street Y.

Villager Arts & Lifestyles

Scripting gay gridiron fans
They are total football freaks. Texans. Pillars of society. Onetime high-school footballers themselves. “You settle this before the damn Longhorns kickoff,” snaps Cecil Ray Bonner, the best and most esteemed doctor in the whole dadgum town, at Harold D. Carney, his high-priced wheeling-and-dealing lawyer.

Koch On Film
I went to see Lost Embrace (-) because I had already seen most of the movies that recently opened and because The New York Times critic, A.O. Scott, gave it a pretty good review. Swimming Upstream (+) This Australian film is not a blockbuster, but it is good and well worth seeing.

The zen of parrot maintenance
Telegraph Hill is a steep ridge of land jutting up from San Francisco’s waterfront. On the evidence of Judy Irving’s documentary “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill,” however, it would seem to rise from the valley that time forgot.

Harry and Louise return
Dealing with an HMO or any medical insurance company––nothing can make even the most successful person with great coverage feel more powerless. Having to trust your fate to the whims of a bureaucracy whose main goal is deriving profits rather than delivering care can suck the humanity out of even the most well-adjusted and well-insured person. And, for all difficulties faced by the most privileged among us, nowhere in our allegedly classless society is the distinction between have and have-not more clearly delineated than in the administration of health insurance.

Renaissance woman takes on Beckett
Lea DeLaria isn’t used to being buried in dirt up to her breasts – worse yet, up to her chin – but then, who is? Winnie is. The Winnie of Samuel Beckett’s “Happy Days,” an achingly beautiful lonely masterpiece that recently opened at the Classic Stage Company on East 13th Street, is none other than that high-personality bombshell of many talents, Ms. Lea DeLaria.

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