Volume 75, Number 15 | Aug. 31 - Sep 06, 2005

Scoopy’s notebook




Open the park (process): Arthur Schwartz, chairperson of the Parks and Waterfront Committee of Community Board 2, reports that at the committee’s Sept. 15 meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center at Clarkson St. and Seventh Ave. S., third floor, the committee will discuss the question: “Should C.B. 2 reconsider the resolution about the renovation project for Washington Square Park?” “I’m going to throw it out to the committee,” Schwartz said. “I’ve got to talk to the board chairperson [Maria Derr]. There is a way to reopen past resolutions. It just seems to me that enough developments have happened over the summer that it’s worth discussing. I want to look at the Washington Square Park Council’s user survey, whatever changes Parks has made, what the Art Commission is doing.” In addition, Schwartz said he’s heard from another lawyer that the park may be slightly larger than 10 acres, so the renovation project would need an environmental review under CEQRA, the City Environmental Review Act. “I want the committee to talk about all this,” Schwartz said. “I don’t want anybody to say that the opportunity for full discussion wasn’t had.”…. In other news, Schwartz and his wife Kelly have another daughter: Devin Shay Koven Craig-Schwartz, 5 lbs., 12 oz., who was born Aug. 9, and is doing well…. In addition, the C.B. 2 Institutions Committee will be considering the plan to devote the basement of the Jefferson Market Library to a new teen lounge at its meeting on Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m., at the C.B. 2 board office conference room, 3 Washington Square Village, on Bleecker St. near LaGuardia Pl.

Lost Tribes: According to Steve Cannon of Tribes Gallery on E. Third St., Bill Clinton’s people called him up and said he wanted to play sax at the Charlie Parker birthday celebration and art show Cannon organized at Tribes on Monday evening; so it was set for Clinton to play the sax with the Hungry March Band. Cannon even reportedly postponed the closing party to Monday in order to accommodate Clinton, who couldn’t come on Sunday. So all the reporters were eagerly awaiting the former president at the gallery on Monday — “I just saw a black S.U.V. up the road!” — but he never showed. It turns out that, according to the Daily News, Clinton was on vacation in Hawaii on Kaui.

Jazzed over arrest: Art D’Lugoff, former owner of the legendary Village Gate club on Bleecker St., is still steaming about how his daughter, Sharon Blythe, was arrested at the July Critical Mass bike ride. Readers may recall the front-page Villager photo of Blythe, five-months pregnant, in handcuffs. “She observed the law and she stopped at lights and all,” said D’Lugofff. “I think it’s a rotten deal. She’s a fighter and she knows her rights. The policeman pushed her around and all — it was terrible. He saw she had a belly. What was it all about?” Blythe’s daughter Charlotte, 17, is a competitive bike racer, D’Lugoff added.

Dogfight: It looks like it’s going to be a dogfight over the dog-owners’ vote in the District 2 Council race. Hot on the heels of Darren Bloch’s winning the endorsement of a pet PAC, we’ve just learned that Michael Beys’s wife, Cheyne, runs a dog Web site, www.urbanhound.com. Beys says, if elected, he will fight for dog-friendly salt to be used on city streets in the winter.

Epstein bar syndrome: Last week, Scoopy incorrectly reported that Community Board 3 had voted to recommend approval for a sidewalk cafe for Epstein’s bar on Orchard St. In fact, C.B. 3 voted to recommend denial for both Epstein’s liquor license application — since it’s in the board’s moratorium area — as well as the sidewalk cafe. But somehow in the flurry of e-mails between Rebecca Moore of the Ludlow-Orchard Community Organization and David McWater, chairperson of C.B. 3, the e-mail McWater sent to Moore showing that the board denied both applications wasn’t forwarded to The Villager. Our apologies to Board 3 for the error. As it turns out, Moore is correct in saying Epstein’s got its sidewalk cafe permit. Dirk McCall, chief of staff of Councilmember Alan Gerson, says that it’s incumbent on either C.B. 3 or block associations, like LOCO, to notify Gerson when it’s important to “call up” a specific application. No one, including Moore, did this, he said. “The community board opposed it, but they didn’t call us up. It was a very mild resolution. I’m not going to call it up unilaterally just because the community board opposed it,” McCall said. “Calling three months after it’s already gone through the Council — it’s too late…. You have to have all your ducks in a row. Alan usually calls up six or seven [sidewalk cafe applications] per year,” McCall continued. “If you call up everyone you get a reputation for being anti-business. You have to pick and choose your battles.” McCall said they’re fighting La Pala’s sidewalk cafe application on Houston St., stopped Agozar at Bleecker St. on the Bowery; and are also still fighting Manahatta on the Bowery. McCall said Tony Avella, head of the Council’s Land-Use Subcommittee, has said he feels some sidewalk cafes are in the interests of the community. He also noted that Gerson’s Council District 1 has the most sidewalk cafes of anywhere in the city. McCall added that every time they oppose a sidewalk cafe, they get barraged with phone calls and pressure from the Bloomberg administration’s Department of Small Business Services telling them they’re doing the wrong thing and should reconsider.

Tower contradiction: We just felt that, in fairness, we should point out that Roberto Caballero, who is part of the LESPAC team that ran the ad last week attacking Margarita Lopez for supporting the Cooper Union development plan, which includes the mirrored-glass Gwathmey Siegel tower at Astor Pl., supports Gregg Singer’s proposed 19-story dorm on E. Ninth St. — which Lopez and Rosie Mendez — who LESPAC also accuses of supporting the Cooper Union plan — both oppose.

Endorsements: Two candidates knocked off the ballot in the District 2 Council race are endorsing other candidates still in the running. Michael Lopez has endorsed Gur Tsabar and Mildred Martinez plans to endorse Michael Beys on Thursday. Also, the 504 Democrats, a political club whose members are disabled, has endorsed Mendez, even though their president, Marvin Wasserman, had written a letter to The Villager a few weeks ago chastising Coalition for a District Alternative, CoDA, Mendez’s organization, for knocking Michael Lopez off the ballot.

Big shoes to fill: Michael Haberman will remain chairperson of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce until the end of this year. The chamber’s board will be holding an election at their September meeting for a new chairperson, who will take over on Jan. 1. Haberman recently became a vice president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

We quit! Michael Rosen, Roland Legiardi-Laura and Clayton Patterson have resigned from the Armando Perez Community Cultural Center Structure Committee, the group working to create a plan for reuse of the old P.S. 64 on E. Ninth St. — presuming someone can wrest the building away from developer Gregg Singer. “Accusations abound of the intention of the E.V.C.C. and others to take over the old PS 64,” Rosen wrote in his resignation letter, “sad, untrue and well-thought-out accusations intended to achieve splitting in our community.” Somehow, we have a feeling Susan Howard had something to do with this.

Landmark moment: Doris Diether, head of C.B. 2’s Landmarks Committee, and Andrew Berman, head of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, apparently aren’t seeing eye to eye on the landmarking process for the Far West Village. Berman reportedly wanted Diether to approve the city’s landmarking proposal without the committee having heard a proper presentation by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. “I refused to have it on the floor,” Diether said. “He was very upset about it. He was pushing us on that and the whole committee said No. We haven’t heard it — and the whole committee agreed with me.” Diether said Robert Tierney, commissioner of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, will come to the Landmarks Committee’s mid-September meeting to present the plan. Asked if the committee is expected to vote on the plan then, Diether said: “We’ll certainly discuss it — and we might come up with different proposals than he has. I know the Federation [to Preserve the Greenwich Village Waterfront] is working on a proposal for that area,” she added. Diether doesn’t fancy the piecemeal landmarking approach to the Far West Village. “I think the whole West Village should be landmarked — to the river,” she said, “just like they did with the Greenwich Village Historic District [in 1969]. Originally, they came in with 18 little pieces for Greenwich Village and I said No — and we got the Greenwich Village Historic District.” The problem with a patchwork of landmarked areas, Diether said, is that developers will buy the air rights from the landmarked areas to build tall towers outside the historic district zones. “The same as they at the Ear Inn,” she said, referring to the new Philip Johnson-designed tower rising on Spring St. next to the landmarked bar. Berman said he merely urged Diether: “No matter whether you’re asking for some whole huge district, or what — don’t miss the opportunity to specifically mention or push for the most immediately endangered buildings. Because realistically we’re probably not going to get a huge, huge, huge district. But certainly there’s at least a chance that we could get them to expand it to include a few buildings — the most endangered buildings are the ones we’d want to push for. That was pretty much the conversation. I think we ended it pretty much in agreement.” He denied he tried to get the committee to support the landmarking proposal without hearing a full presentation first. Berman subsequently called Diether, after which Diether dutifully called us to give the update: “That Andrew and I are all friendly and so forth — we just don’t agree on everything,” she said. “He swears that he was not trying to pressure me into anything.”

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