Volume 74, Number 42 |
February 23 - March 01
, 2005


Inside
Editorial
Of punk and soul: Downtown is losing its special character
The news that CBGB, the birthplace of American punk rock music, is facing a rent hike to the astronomical sum of $40,000 a month is staggering. Yet, it’s symbolic of what’s happening all over Downtown: The culture, commerce and people that have made the area what it is are being priced out of the neighborhood.

Talking Point
Trading space for place at Astor Pl./Cooper Sq.
By Shirley Secunda
For countless years, local advocates have been scraping together bits of open space and greenery toward the modest goal of 2.5 acres of open space per 1,000 residents that City Planning calls ideal. For just as long, they’ve been bemoaning the dangers of crossing perilously wide, helter-skelter streets and beseeching the Department of Transportation for solutions.

Notebook
Doing some serious thinking on this Thinking Day
By Wilson
According to a late 1960s edition of the Girl Scouts of America handbook, Feb. 22 was Thinking Day, when members “join their thoughts and send them ’round the world as a powerful prayer that all men shall be friends.” Perplexing details about this telepathic, midwinter event go on to say the members “link thoughts around the earth that all people shall be friends.” It’s a “time to make new friends as well as to remember old friends.”

A night in New Orleans with Hunter Thompson
By Andrei Codrescu
I remember fondly a night in the late ’90s when I hung out with him at Lucky’s on St. Charles Ave. in New Orleans. Hunter wore an impeccable suit and drank whiskey all night, explicating complex mysteries in a gravelly unitone of which I understood little but loved it all. Stories of Hunter’s legendary drinking mixed in my head with Ken Kesey’s legendary drinking and followed naturally into the lore of other bohemian drinking legends like Richard Brautigan and Charles Bukowski. And before that, you could go to Hemingway and you didn’t have to stop there, but that’s a good place to stop.

The time the Gonzo journalist read at Barnes & Noble
By Suzanne Zionts
I wouldn’t recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they’ve always worked for me.

Scoopy's Notebook

Letters to the editor

News In brief
Escape from New York

Remembering the 80s

Police blotter

Scene

Obituary
Helena Curtis, 81, wrote ‘elegant’ science textbooks
Helena Curtis, a noted science writer and college biology textbook author, died on Feb. 11 at the age of 81. She was a resident of Sag Harbor and Greenwich Village.

Joseph Ross, 84, was Manhattan’s Parks commissioner
By Ed Gold
Joseph J. Ross, 84, who worked his way up to Manhattan borough commissioner of Parks and who survived the Normandy landing in World War II, died on Feb.7 of complications from cancer, according to Rita Lee, his companion of 30 years, who was the first district manager for Community Board 2.

Fitness
Belly dancing, shimmying your way into shape
By Judith Stiles
“It is hard to believe and I know it sounds funny, but really, belly dancing saved my life!” says Sandra Catena, the belly dance instructor at the Sol Goldman 14th Street Y.
"Serving West and East Village, Chelsea, SoHo, NoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown and the Lower East Side"

Wash. Sq. plan hearing is no walk in the park
By Lincoln Anderson
Adding a wrought-iron fence was slammed as an attack on free speech, the idea of centering the park’s fountain was ridiculed as pointless, suspicion that New York University is somehow behind it all was widespread and discrimination against Scrabble was even alleged at last week’s public hearing on the renovation plan for Washington Sq. Park.

‘Wall’ brawl in Soho pits advertising against art
By Ronda Kaysen
Talk about being up against the wall.
The north wall of 599 Broadway at Houston St. has found itself stuck in the middle of a legal dispute between the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, which has declared the aluminum bars previously affixed to it a landmark, and the building’s owners, who see the actual wall as a fitting site to tack on lucrative commercial billboards.

Villager photo by Q. Sakamaki
A fan flashed a sign outside CBGB last weekend, but signs could indicate a tough time ahead for the groundbreaking club.

This ain’t no foolin’ around; rent puts punk mecca at risk
By Justin Rocket Silverman
When Hilly Kristal first opened CBGB in 1972, the Bowery was still well deserving of its reputation as the most infamously rough-and-tumble neighborhood in Lower Manhattan. As Kristal himself once described it in a piece he wrote:

Inside the Villager

Same sex, different city, a New York judge’s ruling
By Sarah Schmalbach
It was a bittersweet premiere earlier this month at the Chelsea Clearview theater for the second season of “The L Word,” Showtime’s provocative lesbian drama. Sweet because it happened just days after New York Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohen ruled that gay marriages should be allowed in New York City. Bitter because the day after the ruling, Mayor Bloomberg, in what critics call an election-year effort to win back conservatives, appealed the ruling and has put it in indefinite bureaucratic limbo.

Annie get your (original) bricks, preservationists say
The latest development in the two-and-a-half-year effort to get celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz to repair her damaged 1830s landmarked townhouses on Greenwich St. has seen her workers allegedly install bricks that were not original to the building’s exterior.

Co-op helps designers keep it real, and affordable
By Tien-Shun Lee
Like new roommates, the eclectic clothing at WEAR fashion co-op shares space neatly. On one end of the rack are gowns laced with bicycle inner tubing; in the middle is a case of silver jewelry trimmed with bright enamel; on the far end are vintage silk pieces brushed with gossamer fabric paint.

Jane Jacobs versus Robert Moses with a Corbu twist
By Jerry Tallmer
Wherever Joseph Papp is, he must be chortling over an Off-Broadway show at the Ohio Theater on Wooster St. with the marathon title “Boozy: The Life, Death, and Subsequent Vilification of Le Corbusier and, More Importantly, Robert Moses.”

A battle over an orchard, but Chekhov’s not involved
By Albert Amateau
A Lower East Side block association and a neighborhood health center are fighting over a stretch of Orchard Alley, the community garden between Avenues C and D, but Community Board 3 is trying to make peace between them.

A bridge too bumpy: Bike path is called hazardous
By Amanda Kludt
Last week at Community Board 3’s Transportation Committee meeting, the Department of Transportation agreed to consider alternatives to the metal bumps spanning expansion joints on the bike path on the Williamsburg Bridge, should the board pass a resolution recommending it. The 1 1/4-in.-high bumps, of which there are 26, pose a severe hazard to bridge users, according to a survey recently released by Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit advocacy group. Seventy cyclists and several wheelchair-users attended the meeting in order to voice their concerns. The suggested alternative was to place elongated metal plates over the bumps.

Putting the clamps on ‘The Gates’
Although “The Gates” have been a huge hit, photographers and artists are up in arms over a sweeping rule its creators, Jeanne-Claude and Christo, have been claiming they have a right to enforce to keep people from selling any images of it.

Boris Lurie: Uneasy visions, uncomfortable truths
David H. Katz
Boris Lurie is an East Village artist, writer, poet and Holocaust survivor who, for more than 60 years, has expressed uncomfortable truths about the nature of art, history and society through his painting, collage and sculpture, truths that often placed him in opposition to the critics and curators of his day, but, in retrospect, now make for a powerful body of aesthetic work, rich in content, contradiction and controversy, and well ahead of its time.


Arts in the Villager

‘That others should know’
By Jerry Tallmer
They survived, the people in this workroom.
“I don’t want to have anything to do with the dead, the dead are dead, right?” says Leon, the boss of the workroom, here in this atelier in post-Holocaust Paris, “and ours are a thousand times more dead than any others because there’s nothing left of them.”

Three generations of love
By Frank Angelino
Marco Martelli is seemingly everywhere at his new Marco New York restaurant in the Village. An accomplished Executive Chef (at his own Ristorante Cellini in Florence, Italy, Il Vagabondo in Manhattan and Marco Fire Island, ) he aims to pass along his family’s three generations of Florentine restaurant experience.

Playing Shylock’s Jewish apologist
By Jerry Tallmer
The soups of the day, said the waiter, were chicken rice, potato leek and matzoh ball. Gareth Armstrong opted for the matzoh ball, I kid you not.
“Sounds appropriate for a Welshman playing a Jew,” he said.

Koch On Film
“Nobody Knows” (-) This film was well reviewed by other critics. The Daily News critic, Jami Bernard, wrote: “Excellent, troubling social commentary from Japan, based on a true story, about four abandoned children who prove resilient but not superhuman.” I found this 2 1/2 hour movie to be monotonous, and I warn you against it.
“Head-On” (-) New York Post reviewer, Debra Birnbaum, gave this film 3 1/2 stars stating, “Already the winner of a slew of international awards, ‘Head-On’ is a heartbreaking Turkish-German drama about a self-destructive couple’s unlikely path to love.” The movie has some novel aspects but not enough for me to recommend it.

‘Question Mark Guy’ visits lower Manhattan
By Angela Benfield
Sporting a literally questionable suit, Matthew Lesko gave a recent lecture at Borders to stressed-out mothers on “Free Stuff for Busy Moms.” You probably don’t know him by name, but you may have seen one of his late-night infomercials where he yells about “free money from the government” while waiving a handfull of hundred dollar bills. For the past twenty-five years, he’s been selling books in varying forms about it.


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