Volume 75, Number 13 | August 17 - 23, 2005

Scoopy’s notebook

Lopez and Mike: Local politicos were all talking about the item on the Politicker Web site last week that said Mayor Bloomberg had been on the verge of endorsing Margarita Lopez for Manhattan borough president when the New York Post story on Lopez’s contributions from Scientology members broke. The assumption among Villagers in the know was that former Mayor Ed Koch would also endorse Lopez if Bloomberg did. But Bloomberg’s campaign is saying the mayor won’t endorse in the B.P. race. As for Koch, he told The Villager he was more concerned about the taxpayers’ money Lopez still owes the Campaign Finance Board from undocumented expenses from her 2001 City Council reelection campaign than Scientology. “I am not a Scientologist. I am Jewish,” Koch said. “I may have some private thoughts on Scientology, but that would not affect who I endorse.” Koch said he will think about making his endorsement among the other borough president candidates. Lopez did not return calls for comment by press time.

Post’s traumatic disorder: Assemblymember Deborah Glick still hasn’t answered whether, as the New York Post reported, she warned Lopez not to take campaign contributions from Scientologists. So we asked her about it. “I think the New York Post story is a totally bogus story. I don’t respond point by point to everything that a propaganda machine does,” Glick said. “They’re not journalists — they are a propaganda machine and should not be dignified by repetition of their inaccurate, malicious gossip. And it’s not facts for the most part — they throw a kernel of truth into something and then distort, misrepresent and outright lie…. They’re liars.” Yes, but did Glick or did she not tell Lopez not to take money for Scientologists?

Field narrows: In the race for the Second City Council District, two candidates whose ballot petition signatures were challenged by the Coalition for a District Alternative, Mildred Martinez and Michael Lopez, have dropped out and won’t fight the challenges further in court. Lopez was only a handful of signatures short of the needed 900, and Martinez had about 830, after the challenges. So, Rosie Mendez is now left as the only Hispanic candidate in the primary race.... Last week, Mendez was endorsed by Congressmember Jerrold Nadler. “Rosie’s knowledge of and involvement in the community has very deep roots. She has proven herself to be a tremendous advocate for the many neighborhood issues she has worked on,” Nadler said.... And another candidate, Darren Bloch — who we remember told us that he and his girlfriend have a dog — has received the endorsement of Animal Friendly NYC, a pet PAC.

Movin’ on up: Michael Haberman will be leaving as New York University director of government and community relations at the end of this month to become a vice president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the agency devoted to post-9/11 rebuilding projects Downtown. And to think, he started out as a reporter with The Villager way back when.

CBGB v. B.R.C.: Last week, Judge Joan Kenney ruled Bowery Residents’ Committee can’t evict CBGB based on the club’s not having paid a rent increase it didn’t know about. Despite the victory, the club still faces not having its lease renewed at the end of this month. As to why B.R.C. wants him out so badly, Hilly Kristal, the legendary punk club’s owner, said he suspects the homeless services provider might want to sell the building to a developer to make millions since the Bowery area is so hot right now. “Maybe they’re going to flip the building and go somewhere else,” he said. B.R.C. director Muzzy Rosenblatt didn’t respond to questions on that. Kristal said Anthony Amato, now in his 80s, is also thinking of selling his nearby Amato Opera Company building. “I think he has it on the market,” Kristal said.

Secret society: Sharon Woolums, point person on the lawsuit by the Emergency Coalition to Save Washington Square Park, or ECO, against the park’s renovation plan, told us she can’t reveal the identities of the other members of the ad-hoc group, which meets twice a week. “We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves that way,” Woolums told The Villager. “We are there because we love the park. No one’s on an ego trip. We want the park to stay the way it is now — creative, spontaneous, like an adventure playground, almost.” The group is mainly women and sometimes gets a bit fractious. “Men have come and gone,” Woolums said.

Stern words: What’s former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern’s take on the “Battle for Washington Square”? “In past cases, where there have been feuds like this, I’d say take back the $16 million,” Stern said. “We had the same problems with [Bill] Bowser at Abingdon Square. We know in the Village anything you do has a built-in opposition. To many people, what exists — the existing physical layout — is sacred, no matter how ugly it is. These people would oppose the rising of the sun. The more colorful side is always the intifada,” Stern mused, “the people who throw the rocks.”

Getting wacker, yo: First we reported about neighbors’ fears of a triple-story hip-hop club run by a major rap star at the site of the Pink Elephant nightclub on Eighth Ave. at 13th St. But the next week, our source — a concerned neighbor — said he subsequently met the operator of the new place and that he was “Brooks Brothers” and “Wall St.,” as in, not phat in the least. Jon Posner, who identified himself first as the property’s managing agent, then landlord, also e-mailed us to aver the rumors were “100% false — all lies,” though he didn’t subsequently return our numerous phone calls. Now, we hear from yet another source who claims to have overheard at a recent New York Nightlife Association affair that the place really is going to be a dope club (as in cool hip-hop, not pot puffing) and that the seemingly friendly operator is “a front.” Posner told us the manager is a great guy, Sean Westley, who we recently tracked down and who e-mailed us, saying: “YOU need to clear the record about T. Madison….” But again, we couldn’t get him to call us back to talk about it in detail. The new club, by applicant T. Madison LLC, was supposed to be on the Community Board 2 Business Committee July meeting agenda, but they backed out for the second month in a row, because Pink Elephant hasn’t vacated, according to John Diaz, the committee’s chairperson. Since Tim McDarrah from Us Weekly called us to check out the rap star rumor, maybe we’ll leave it to him to figure this one out.

Holy coffee war: After Keith Crandell’s memorial service at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery last Saturday, we asked Reverend Billy in the church courtyard afterward if he had any thoughts on the new Starbucks at Delancey and Allen Sts. “Howard Schultz, this is the reverend….” Billy said, addressing his message to the mega-java chain’s C.E.O. Just then, it started to rain. “We will rain on your parade.” Billy noted he doesn’t have a problem with people getting their ice coffee fixes at Dunkin’ Donuts or Baskin Robbins, because, as opposed to Starbucks, these tend to be franchises owned by striving immigrants.

Holland Tunnel Hotel: Tobi Bergman reports that neighbors were surprised to learn about a plan to build a 17-story hotel at 52-56 Watts St., between Sixth Ave. and Varick St., a major Holland Tunnel approach street. The developer is John Lam, who made his name in the Chinatown garment industry and has built a few hotels. However, this may not be the best location. Bergman notes that the bus lane for the tunnel goes right by the curb at the planned hotel’s front door. “No one can even get a taxi in there between 3 and 7 every evening,” he noted.

Curfew clash: We bumped into David Poster of the Christopher St. Patrol at the McBurney YMCA the other day. He says his group and others are undertaking a massive letter-writing campaign — they’ve sent 2,000 so far — to get the Christopher St. Pier closed at 11 p.m. every night. Poster said there are a lot of gays and lesbian residents of the Village who think the pier scene is just too much and is causing street crowding, shouting, etc. The letters are being sent to the mayor, police commissioner, Councilmember Chris Quinn and Connie Fishman, Hudson River Park Trust president. Poster knows change won’t be easy. He’s not counting on support from the area’s elected officials and he knows FIERCE! will be against it. He said he’s spoken to Fishman about moving up the park’s 1 a.m. curfew for the pier but has been told that “the gay community wants it.” Most parks, like Washington and Tompkins squares, have midnight curfews.

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