Volume 74, Number 54 | May 18 - 24 , 2005

Scoopy's Notebook

Schwartz bows out: Averting a potentially divisive endorsement vote at Village Independent Democrats last Thursday night, Arthur Schwartz told the club he’s not running for reelection, clearing the way for Brad Hoylman to run for the seat. “What I said is that I could not in good faith run, given the fact that my wife is due to give birth in August,” Schwartz recounted. “All the work involved in a campaign is in August and September. Even though [my wife] Kelly said, ‘Go and do it,’ it seemed unfathomable to me to have a baby and then the next day be out campaigning on the street and going to fundraisers.” Schwartz said stepping aside for Hoylman, who he considers a friend and even invited to his wedding, “made it more difficult — but also made it easier,” because he feels Hoylman is qualified for the position. Schwartz said, he’ll continue to remain active in politics and on Community Board 2. Regardless of who wins the C.B. 2 chairperson election in June, he hopes to be appointed chairperson of C.B. 2’s Parks Committee. He also aspires to be put on the board of directors of the Hudson River Park Trust in 2006, when there will be a new borough president, who gets to appoint three community members to the board. Schwartz noted C.B. 2 previously picked him to be on the Trust’s board, but Borough President C. Virginia Fields rejected him, he feels, because he backed Assemblymember Deborah Glick against her in the 1997 B.P. race. In the end, Fields picked Julie Nadel from C.B. 1 to fill the slot, and Board 2 has never had a representative on the Trust’s board. As district leader, Schwartz rates his top accomplishments as helping get the Greenwich Village section of the Hudson River Park and the sports fields on Pier 40 built; getting several progressive and gay and lesbian judges on the bench; and keeping Costco off of W. 14th St. and getting the McBurney YMCA in that space, instead. Ray Cline, president of Village Reform Democratic Club, said both Hoylman and Schwartz had been seeking the club’s endorsement, and that V.R.D.C. won’t run a candidate against Hoylman. Cline said at the club’s endorsement vote this Thursday, incumbent Keen Berger — and possibly Lois Rakoff — will seek the club’s support for female district leader.

Next law chief? We bumped into Catherine Abate at V.I.D.’s recent annual dinner. Asked if she was planning on running for anything, the former Downtown state senator said, “Not this time,” then quickly added, “Next time.” Asked if we should take that to mean a run for Manhattan district attorney, she nodded and smiled. Nadel, who is co-campaign manager for D.A. Robert Morgenthau’s reelection effort, said Abate is being very supportive of Morgy’s run and that Abate would make an excellent D.A. in four years.

Yoops: Joep de Koning, whose proposal for a Tolerance Park on 50 acres of the 172-acre Governors Island was the subject of an article in The Villager’s May 4 issue, corrected some misstated facts. The first resident of the island in 1624 was Jan Rodrigues (with an “S” not “Z”) from Santo Domingo (not from the Dutch West Indies) and the first serious explorer of the harbor was Adrian Block (not Adrian Vanderdonck, who came later).

Another ‘gates’: The Open Washington Sq. Park Coalition is planning a performance art protest, entitled “The Gates of Washington Sq. Park,” on June 2 by the Washington Sq. Park Arch, from noon to 12:30 p.m. The performance is “to protest the imminent death, by redesign, of the open spirit of Washington Sq. Park,” and will include a “rolling fence funeral march.” The “gates” will be 2-yard-long panels of semitransparent black fabric stapled to 4-foot-long posts, to emulate the height of the unwanted new fence. Fifty participants will dress in black to symbolize mourning, and will hold the panels aloft as they walk across the north end of the Washington Sq., in the words of the protesters, “to demonstrate how the fence will shut the park off from our community and destroy its open spirit.”

Film flap: Last week’s Villager article on C.B. 3 accepting contributions from film production companies ruffled some feathers on community boards, both east and west. Board 3’s David McWater called to protest a comment by Rebecca Moore of L.O.C.O. on there have been more than 140 film shoots on the L.E.S. in the year McWater has been chairperson. Again, he emphasized, the board doesn’t give out permits for film shoots or even have any advisory role. And, he added, he doesn’t even know if 140 shoots is a little or a lot, noting, “It’s a big city.” At Board 2, Art Strickler, the district manager, was livid that the article stated that revenue from a street fair the board uses to fundraise goes to pay some of his salary. Strickler and Jim Smith, the board’s chairperson, aver Strickler’s salary is paid for entirely with funds the city allocates to the board. However, a community board watchdog privately told us it might have been better for us to say the street fair “indirectly” pays for some of Strickler’s salary, since otherwise more of the funds the board gets from the city would have to be used on the board’s day-to-day operations other than salaries. We asked Smith if he could clarify that for us, but he seemed to get irritated, saying in an e-mail reply, “Expect no help from me.”

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