Volume 74, Number 47 | March 30 - April 05, 2005

Scoopy's Notebook

Rebel yell: East Village activist John Penley was recently incensed to see a Zippo lighter with a Confederate flag logo on its cover in the Union Sq. Virgin megastore. Penley noted that the Zippo display case is near the cashiers, many of whom are young persons of color. Yet, he said, they didn’t seem too aware of the symbol’s history. But Penley found it personally offensive. “I grew up in the South,” he said. “To me, it’s as bad as having ‘KKK’ on there. There’s been a bitter campaign in Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina to take Confederate flags down on state capitols.” Penley said the store’s floor supervisors and manager gave him the brush-off when he demanded the rebel lighter’s removal. Penley assumes this collection of lighters is in every Virgin megastore around the country — “I’m sure it’s a package deal,” he figured — and said that if the controversial Confederate fire-maker isn’t removed, he’ll lead a protest outside the store and then take the protest national. He said he’ll also personally boycott the store — and tell his friends to as well. Anthony Colno, the store’s manager, did not return several calls for comment.

Chamber doings: Bob Zuckerman, former executive director of the New York Night Life Association, took over as executive director of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce on March 28. Due to personal reasons, June Lee, the Chamber’s former executive director, is relocating to California. In other Chamber news, Rocio Sanz of Tio Pepe restaurant and Community Board 2 will be honored as the Chamber’s Member of the Year at the Chamber’s annual dinner dance on April 20; the Greenwich Village Little League will receive the Chamber’s Humanitarian Award. All the night’s proceeds will go to the G.V.L.L.

Political union: Democratic District Leader Arthur Schwartz and his partner, Kelly Craig, got married on Feb. 22 at Tavern on the Green. The wedding was performed by Rabbi Chava Koster of the Village Temple. The couple has one daughter, Jordyn Skye, who is 18 months old. Arthur has two children from his first marriage, Jacob, 17, and Rebecca, 14.... Speaking of Schwartz, the Village Independent Democrats executive committee recently voted to let him back into the club. Next month, V.I.D. will vote on whether to endorse Schwartz for reelection along with Keen Berger. Schwartz added of the 66th Assembly District Part A’s other Democratic club, “I still intend to pursue a friendly relationship with Village Reform Democratic Club.”

Now he remembers: A few months ago when The Villager called a prominent member of the Central Village Block Association to inquire about how Bob Rinaolo, Board 2’s former Business Committee chairperson, had enervated local residents with his back-and-forth moves on a possible application for a rooftop cafe above his Garage restaurant, the C.V.B.A. member seemed not to want to talk. “I don’t have a good memory for those sort of things,” he claimed at the time. A few months later, after Rinaolo has stepped down as Business Committee chairperson because of a conflict-of-interest finding, it seems things have changed. This week, the same C.V.B.A.’er explained why he had said what he said before: “We have to work with people,” he noted.

Artfully dodges: Councilmember Alan Gerson still isn’t spilling the beans on his new proposals for street vendor rules in his Lower Manhattan District 1, but he said he plans to issue his recommendations sometime next month. Gerson said that last week he met with Larry White and the W. Broadway artists group and that, “it was a very good meeting, a very good exchange.” Next week, Gerson plans to meet with the Manhattan South police lieutenant who heads the city’s Street Peddlers Task Force to discuss enforcement issues involving the proposed rule changes. The Villager asked Gerson if it’s true, as some W. Broadway street artists say, that he plans to banish them to some remote pier, to which he said, “No, no, no, nothing like that.” But he refused to elaborate on his plans.

babs booboo: A photo of Barbra Streisand’s 1962 New York City cabaret ID license in last week’s Villager in an article on W. Ninth St. by LindaAnn Loschiavo failed to credit the Web site it was pulled from, Barbra-Archives.com, and the photographer, Allison J. Waldman. Waldman told us how she got the photos of the ID, which had been kept by Ernie Sgroi, owner of the former Bon Soir nightclub, where Streisand performed. “I went to the Sgroi apartment in the Village in the early 1980s to shoot that license — front and back,” Waldman said. “Ernest kept it like a prized possession and his daughter, Barbara, wouldn’t let me take it out of the apartment to photograph it. Your writer seemed to know part of that story — but I don’t know how.”

R.I.P. Bruce: Penley has one more for Scoopy: He recalled how Judge Bruce Wright, who died last week in Harlem, during one winter in the late 1980s, signed a restraining order so that the Tompkins Sq. homeless could keep their fire barrels burning in the subfreezing temperatures. Police and Parks workers had been dousing the barrels, but Penley and radical attorney Stanley Cohen went up at 2 a.m. and got Wright out of bed to sign the restraining order to stop the fire barrels from being put out. They then returned to the park and showed police the order and the homeless stayed a bit warmer, at least, that night. Wright was hated by police who nicknamed him “Turn ’Em Loose Bruce.”

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