Volume 74, Number 3 | June 8- 14 , 2005

Scoopy's Notebook

Guests of honor: Amanda Burden, chairperson of City Planning, will be at Community Board 2’s Zoning Committee meeting on Thurs., June 9, to personally present the Far West Village downzoning plan. Not only that, but Robert Tierney, chairperson of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, will also attend to present L.P.C.’s Far West Village landmarking plan, the details of which have not been leaked, so far. Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said it was great news both Burden and Tierney would be attending, since it shows the city’s serious intent. Berman said G.V.S.H.P. is “lobbying furiously” regarding the downzoning plan, especially concerning two major development sites, the Superior Ink and Whitehall Mini-Storage sites, and also on the landmarking plan to insure that everything that should be included is in it. A City Planning spokesperson said the meeting was definitely marked on Burden’s calendar, so it certainly looks like she’ll be attending. A Landmarks spokesperson confirmed Tierney would be at the meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m., at New York University’s Silver Building, 32 Waverly Pl., room 703.

What’s the rush? Speaking of the Superior Ink site, where Related Companies is seeking a variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals to construct a 23-story residential tower on the currently manufacturing-zoned site, some are puzzled why Councilmember Christine Quinn hasn’t weighed in yet on the issue. Two months ago, before Community Board 2 voted at its full board meeting to recommend denial of the variance, aides to State Senator Tom Duane and Assemblymember Deborah Glick, speaking on their bosses’ behalf, blasted the variance to the cheers of the antis. Quinn’s board liaison, however, didn’t make any statement. Then at last month’s Save the Far West Village march, people were saying Quinn’s representative, unlike the other reps, didn’t show up. But Quinn tells us it’s the rare case when she gives her opinion before the community board committee and full board vote on an issue. In addition, she said, since City Planning is rezoning the area it changes things. “I wanted to get a clear idea of where that site was going in terms of Planning,” Quinn told us. “There is a significant amount of downzoning — what Planning is proposing now wouldn’t allow a currently as-of-right hotel or what Related is proposing at B.S.A.” Speaking last week, Quinn said she would have more conversations with community members and G.V.S.H.P. and arrive at a decision. As for the march, Quinn said her staff member got the time wrong and arrived late.

D.I.D. did it: Downtown Independent Democrats held their endorsement votes and the results were: to withhold endorsement for mayor until a later date; Norman Siegel for public advocate; William Thompson for comptroller; Scott Stringer for Manhattan borough president; Robert Morgenthau for Manhattan district attorney; Rosie Mendez, Alan Gerson and Christine Quinn for City Council; Eve Markewich for Surrogate Court judge; Ira Globerman and Tanya Kennedy for Civil Court; and Adam Silvera, Linda Belfer, David Reck and Jean Grillo for district leader.

Whoa! Community Board 3 chairperson David McWater and his wife Laura’s, honeymoon in St. Lucia had a few bumps, mainly when he was thrown from a horse, breaking three of his ribs and causing some deep tissue bruising around his right kidney. “No permanent damage at all,” a relieved McWater gamely reported. “Just a lot of pain, and it has slowed me up some.”

Roof rumor? It appears some members of the Central Village Block Association are fearing Bob Rinaolo of Community Board 2 may try to revive his application for a rooftop cafe atop his Garage restaurant on Seventh Ave. S. at Sheridan Sq. Apparently someone recently noticed a silver chain-link fence on the roof’s north edge, where the Garage abuts an apartment building, and took this as a sign something is afoot. However, Rinaolo said it’s all untrue. “I don’t know who’s telling you these things,” he said, “but that fence on the roof has been there since 1999, and it’s not new, so there’s nothing new going on up there. And I have no intention of reviving my application [for a rooftop cafe] — so, put an end to that rumor.” However, a neighbor reports she’s pretty sure the fence is a recent development. “I never saw it before. It looks new. There were workers on his roof and daytime construction noise before I looked up from Seventh Ave. S. and noticed that there was a fence,” she said. Whatever the case, a lot of work would be needed to put a cafe on the Garage’s roof, since most of it is currently blanketed with a network of large ducts and vents.

Park Ave. scene’s tapped out: David Rabin, president of the New York Nightlife Association, recently sold the Union bar on Park Ave. S. He said his lease was almost up, plus the once-hot strip between Union Sq. and Gramercy is no longer hopping, so it was the right time to bail. “All the action’s in the Meat Market, Lower East Side and Far West Chelsea now,” he said.
 
Buy-elujah! When not railing against Starbucks and multinational corporations, Reverend Billy, a.k.a. Bill Talen, of the Church of Stop Shopping is known for preaching against the evils of consumerism. But now local activists are saying Billy’s a blasphemer for having recently issued a new CD/DVD, which, of course, is a follow-up to the book he put out previously. “ ‘Stop shopping’ — yeah right,” one activist snickered derisively to us the other day. “I couldn’t believe I saw an ad for it in the Village Voice.” But Billy told us it’s all just part of spreading the good gospel word to as wide an audience as possible. Plus, he confided, “When I came here, Clayton Patterson told me I couldn’t just stay in the East Village — otherwise, I’d die.”

Rebel retreat: We bumped into East Village activist John Penley at Union Sq. recently, where he was waiting to be chauffeured Upstate to dog sit for radical attorney Stanley Cohen. Penley told us the Confederate flag Zippo lighter that had fired his wrath has been removed from the Virgin Megastore on Union Sq. S. It’s safe to assume he has called off his threatened mass protest and boycott of the store.

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