Volume 74, Number 48 | April 06 - 12 , 2005

Scoopy's Notebook

No snidely whiplash: Although it contained some notable barbs, Former Mayor Ed Koch tells us he thought the article about him in last Sunday’s New York Times City Section was, in fact, “terrific.” The article describes how the writer feels his mind being taken over and his opinions increasingly shaped by Koch’s e-mail correspondence on political issues and his film reviews, which run in The Villager. In the end, when the writer changes e-mail addresses, he decides to get off Koch’s e-mail list. “I would say it was 75 percent favorable and 25 percent snide,” Koch said of the article. “Rarely, if someone writes something 50 percent favorable does it make the Times,” Koch said, noting that an article’s snide quotient must usually surpass 50 percent — “especially the section marked ‘City’ or ‘Style,’ ” he added — for the Gray Lady to even consider it. “I’m very lucky I came out so good,” Koch concluded. Meanwhile, New York Press took a poke at Koch last week, too, naming him # 18 on its list of “50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers” and adding a dig at the end about his film-reviewing chops. Koch shrugged it off, saying he never reads New York Press anyway. “I’m proud to be a part of your operation,” Hizzoner told The Villager.

And then there were two: Ending the mystery over whether he planned to run for chairperson of Greenwich Village’s Community Board 2 in June, Bob Rinaolo on Tuesday told The Villager he has decided against it. That leaves Don MacPherson and Brad Hoylman as the two remaining candidates. MacPherson last week declared his candidacy publicly, while Hoylman continues to say he’s close to tossing his hat in the ring. (C.B. 2 members, though, tell us Hoylman has tossed said hat into said ring — and that, furthermore, members have been actively meeting with both MacPherson and Hoylman.); Meanwhile, Jim Smith, the board’s chairperson, has appointed Rinaolo chairperson of the board’s Institutions Committee, succeeding Martin Tessler, who decided not to reapply to the board. Rinaolo, of course, was forced to resign as chairperson of the board’s Business Committee in December after a protracted effort to fight a ruling by the Conflicts of Interest Board telling him he had to step down. “I am not running for board chairperson for personal reasons,” Rinaolo told us. “I have some other things going on. I want to be able to take more time off.” As for his appointment to head the Institutions Committee, Rinaolo said:  “I’m happy to have it.  It’s a committee that does not meet all the time, unlike the Sidewalks or Business Committees. It only meets when there is an institutional issue to be dealt with.” When asked if he would be as tough as Tessler on New York University and Cooper Union, which have both incited residents’ wrath in recent years with their construction projects, Rinaolo said: “I don’t see why I wouldn’t be as tough as Marty. N.Y.U. is the 800-lb. gorilla, and they tend to throw their weight around. They have the lawyers and specialists. I’m not always crazy about their attitude. But N.Y.U. has a mechanism in place for dealing with the community — the department of government and community relations — St. Vincent’s, for example, does not.” Smith said he’s sad to lose Tessler’s abilities but touted Rinaolo’s appointment: “Regrettably Marty Tessler has decided not to accept another term as member of the board. He’s fair, determined, clear-minded. And a good guy. He’ll be missed in the deliberations at full board meetings…. The commitment, savvy and balance Bob Rinaolo brought to the chairpersonship of the Business Committee he will now bring to the chairpersonship of Institutions.” Yet, some board members and community members wondered if Rinaolo will, indeed, be as vigilant on the local institutions, particularly, N.Y.U., as his predecessor. Specifically, they note the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce connection between Michael Haberman, director of N.Y.U.’s department of government and community relations, and Rinaolo. Rinaolo is the chamber’s former chairperson and is a current board of directors member; Haberman is the chamber’s current chairperson. On his relationship with Haberman, Rinaolo said: “I did not choose Haberman to be head of the G.V.C.CC; I only thought of successful businesspeople. When I stepped down, Shep Ellenberg was chosen [to lead the chamber] for three years, then Haberman came on. I know Michael like I know a lot of people in the community,” Rinaolo continued. “I’m friendly with him and a lot of other people. It’s the nature of the work.… I never had dinner with him, never socialized with him — outside of business functions — was never to his house.” For his part, Haberman said he hopes to have a “productive relationship” with Rinaolo in their Institutions Committee dealings: “This is a small community and New York University has connections with many community leaders, including members of the community board. Our goal as a university is to have as cordial and productive a relationship as possible with our community. That said, yes, Bob and I serve on a board [of the chamber] together.” However, Haberman, a former star reporter at The Villager, contended, “I have a far closer personal relationship with my former colleagues at The Villager than I do with Bob. Does that mean The Villager will no longer be covering N.Y.U. because they can’t possibly be impartial and fair journalists? I can’t guess how Bob is going to interact with N.Y.U. in his new role as the committee chairperson,” Haberman said. “All I can say is that we hope we will be able to develop a productive working relationship that will benefit the entire community.” Asked if he thought Rinaolo would be impartial and objective in dealing with Haberman and N.Y.U. issues, Smith responded simply, “Of course.” However, Sean Sweeney of C.B. 2, vehemently disagreed with Rinaolo’s appointment: “After all this controversy, why [Smith] would put someone like that on [as Institutions Committee chairperson] — is just thumbing your nose at the community,” he fumed. Tessler said he resigned of his own accord. “Thirteen years — time for new blood — I think I did my stint. Time for somebody else,” he said. As for his policing of N.Y.U. and Cooper Union, Tessler said, “I call the shots as I see ’em. If N.Y.U. and Cooper Union are acting up, I’m going to say something. It’ not that I have a vendetta against them.”
Not-so Green Day: Tenants paying zillions of dollars for “Gold Coast” condos may not necessarily want green windows. The windows, and balcony guards also, in the new Richard Meier-designed tower at 165 Charles St. look less green — and more smoky bluish gray — than the glass and balconies in the two existing Meier towers. The third building still has some green-glass accents, though. A real estate broker standing outside one of the towers last week confirmed that the view through the windows in the two older Meier towers is indeed a bit green tinted.

Photo finish: Q. Sakamaki recently won second place in the Days Japan International Photojournalism Award competition for his photos of the Liberian civil war, which ran in The Villager. Sakamaki won 300,000 yen — a bit under $3,000 — a Canon digital camera and an Agfa vest.

Frankly speaking: Frank’s Steakhouse, the Molinari family business in the Gansevoort Market district since 1912, moved last week from 85 10th Ave. at 15th St. to 410 W. 16th St. just west of Ninth Ave., the former location of Freight, another Molinari family restaurant. “We sold our lease back to the landlord,” said Gloria Molinari, referring to the 10th Ave. location by way of explaining the reason for the move to the smaller venue a block east.

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