Volume 75, Number 16 | September 07 - 13, 2005

Scoopy’s notebook

We won, nyah, nyah! People are clamoring to know what else former Councilmember Antonio Pagan may have said to us recently about his tenure and the current state of the East Village. Well, here goes: Speaking about the battles of Tompkins Square Park and his group’s fights against the squatters and anarchists, Pagan said, “We were and are the community and they were the interlopers. Now you see the fruits of the change — in our bars, restaurants and parks. Desperation created [our] movement. Very few people remember what we were living in — it was almost incredible: tent city, aggressive panhandling. That’s not right and it wasn’t right and that’s why we won.”

Seamless transition: Alicia Hurley will become New York University’s acting director of government and community relations on Aug. 26, when Michael Haberman moves on to his new position at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. In an e-mail, Lynne Brown, N.Y.U. senior vice president, said the move is to insure that there is “ongoing coverage and coordination of N.Y.U.’s state, city and community portfolio.” Hurley will be working closely with the government and community relations staff: Marcia Maxwell, David Lehmann, Bob Cohen and Maria Skouras “to ensure a seamless transition.” Hurley is also N.Y.U.’s director of the Office of Federal Policy.

The wait: Speaking of N.Y.U., there was much audible grousing on Fifth Ave. the other weekend during Moving in Day. A couple of parents we spoke to complained about waiting in their cars forever in a line on 11th St. to drive up to the students’ residence to unload, then standing in the long line on the sidewalk outside, followed by waiting in lines for the elevators. “Why does everyone have to move in on the same day?” griped an irritated dad. Not to mention — their cars were blocking the bike lane!

Crisis averted: Rumors had been swirling that someone OD’d and possibly died at the HOWL! Festival. According to Jonathan Greene, assistant to festival director Phil Hartman, what happened is there were two isolated incidents on Sun., Aug. 21, that oddly occurred simultaneously at about noon. Greene, program director for the festival, said he witnessed both. According to him, a woman sitting in the first row of chairs at the south stage fainted because she was going through detox, while at the same time someone almost fatally OD’d on Avenue A. “Both incidents were handled very well by our security, local E.M.T.’s and our on-site nurse,” said Greene. “So crisis averted and no deaths on site, thank God.”

Bweets me: On the subject of heroin overdoses, Dana Beal of 9 Bleecker St., Yippie international headquarters, tells us that, in another uncanny occurrence, four members of underground Ibogaine treatment teams were recently mugged virtually at the same time at various locations. Beal and the treaters, who only divulge their first names, believe a single dose of Ibogaine, which comes from the eboga plant in Cameroon and Gabon, can permanently block addiction to not only opiates, but alcohol — even to sex addiction. They’ve been secretly treating heroin addicts in New York City hotel rooms. Under the drug’s influence, people meet a bwiti (pronounced “bweetee”), a spirit guide that reveals insight into their lives. They claim 20 percent of individuals are cured for life, 60 percent need another treatment and 20 percent run out for a fix. Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs went to the Amazon in search of a natural cure, yage, for junkies, Beal said, “But they were one continent and one molecule off!” However, Petros Levounis, director of the Addiction Institute of New York, told us that while Ibogaine does indeed stop rats that have been bred to be alcoholics from drinking, high doses of it also eat away at the test rats’ cerebellums. So, he wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, unless they don’t mind sacrificing coordination and stability. As for the eerily coincidental Ibogaine treatment team muggings, Beal said he had gone out to the store to buy a beer when he was robbed and pistol-whipped once on the forehead. On second thought, he said, nah, it was probably just a mugging.

Umm, not exactly: Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, tells us Doris Diether, chairperson of the Community Board 2 Landmarks Committee, is wrong to say if the entire Far West Village isn’t landmarked, air rights can be transferred outside the district to build tall towers on its edges. “The rezoning plan will put strict limits on use of those air rights — that’s why it’s so important,” Berman said. “It makes the combined landmark/downzoning plan, while imperfect, nevertheless a huge step forward.”

No disrespect: Artist James Romberger dropped us a line just to point out that his son Crosby Romberger, not Charlie Ahearn — as stated in a photo caption in last week’s issue — was the main producer of the recent Hip-Hop HOWL! event at St. Mark’s Church. Ahearn, iconic filmmaker of “Wild Style,” was a consultant to the event and also brought along P-Star, the 9-year-old hip-hop phenom. Also, despite the Squatter Festival posters calling him D.J. Crosby, he is not a D.J., but a “young, creative promoter,” his dad said. Crosby runs a TV show, “Hip-Hop Night Cap,” at SUNY Purchase.

Attack ad misses mark: Another point of clarification on the recent LESPAC ad in The Villager that blasted the so-called “Lopez/Mendez” tower,” i.e., the Gwathmey Siegel/Related Companies undulating glass building on Astor Pl.: This tower was built as of right and was not part of The Cooper Union’s general large-scale redevelopment plan.

Fighting words: We hear Leslie Cagan of United for Peace and Justice is considering suing conservative radio shock jock Rush Limbaugh after he called her a Communist Party member on the air while lambasting people who are supporting Cindy Sheehan’s antiwar vigil.

Meat beef: David Hirschorn of Premier Veal called to complain that no one from his company was quoted in The Villager’s Meat Market special section in July, even though they hope to stay in their current space, above which Dia plans to build a museum linking to the future High Line park. “We downsized,” Hirschorn admitted. “But I don’t want to be ruled out or buried — we’re still a viable business.”

Art criticism: We bumped into artist and self-described “former radical” Peter Missing recently and he told us that he liked The Villager’s recent profile of him. However, he had two quibbles. First, he said it’s not right to say he’s on the “fringe” in the East Village, since he’s just visiting from Europe. And, he added, he’s not a “dark prophet.” “I’m a prophet of light,” he said.

Correction: The LREI teacher on the cover of last week’s Back to School issue was Patricia Conroy, not Suzanne Cohen; the two teach the same class.

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