Volume 75, Number 27 | November 23 - 29, 2005

Scoopy’s notebook

Avenue a Freeze out: Philip Van Aver tells us he’s been getting some icy reactions in the East Village after he was quoted in a recent Village exposé on Councilmember Margarita Lopez’s 2001 campaign finance woes. The article reported Van Aver saying he received a $300 check three months after the election — even though he was a volunteer, not a registered campaign worker. “People aren’t speaking to me on the street,” he said. Van Aver said Valerio Orselli of the Cooper Square Housing Association, who lives across the street from him and usually says hello, just glared at him silently the other day when they passed on the sidewalk. Katherine Wolpe, a former district leader, bumped into Van Aver on Avenue A and told him, “Everybody’s talking about it.” We hear another Lopez supporter — who reportedly didn’t work, much less volunteer, on her 2001 campaign — got a $300 check from her campaign so late he assumed it was a “Christmas gift.” A Nov. 16 Campaign Finance Board hearing on Lopez’s ’01 campaign finances was postponed. Meanwhile, rumors continue to swirl that Lopez might be named head of the city’s Human Resources Administration or even a deputy mayor in the second Bloomberg administration.

Koch backs A Democrat: Former Mayor and Bush booster Ed Koch tells us he’ll be supporting a Democrat, Hillary Clinton, for president in 2008. However, he said, if John McCain and Condoleezza Rice run on a G.O.P. ticket they’d be a “dream team” and “unbeatable.” He said Hillary would be good on security and has moved to the center in recent years. “She’s said publicly on three occasions that she wouldn’t have won [election to the Senate] if I hadn’t been supportive of her,” Koch boasted.

Cohen, Fitz ’n’ Saddam: East Village radical attorney Stanley Cohen tells us he’s confident special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will bring more indictments if any more are to be had in the Plamegate affair. The two first met when they bumped into each other a few years ago after Cohen had been speaking at a marijuana legalization rally on Pier 54 on W. 13th St. He stopped by the Chelsea Brewery afterwards to catch the last game of the Mets-Yankees World Series and Fitzgerald was there watching with his brother, and the three Mets fans commiserated as the Amazin’s went down to defeat. Defense attorney Cohen and Fitzgerald, formerly a joint terrorism task force prosecutor, have sparred in court in the past “always on alleged terrorism cases,” Cohen noted. “He’s a guy that’s above politics,” Cohen said. “There’s not a political force in this country that’ll make him do something that he doesn’t feel is appropriate and necessary. He really doesn’t have much of a life besides being a federal prosecutor and a Met fan.” In addition, Cohen reports, he recently turned down the mother of all clients, Saddam Hussein — twice. “I didn’t have the time, wasn’t particularly interested in it,” Cohen said. “He also is not someone I’m particularly fond of politically.” While Cohen said he respects Hussein’s support for the “Palestinian resistance,” he didn’t care for Hussein the “U.S. puppet and Baathist.” Hussein’s lawyers made overtures to Cohen while he was in Yemen about seven weeks ago, but Cohen declined the case.

Party in the park! The Ninth Police Precinct has been forgetting to lock Tompkins Square Park at its midnight curfew lately. For a few nights, the park was left open till 2 or 3 a.m. Then on Friday, it was left open all night long. But the homeless think it’s a trap and that they’re being set up to get busted, so they’ve been leaving the park at the curfew.

Freed faces phone-thrower: What is it about Judge Kathryn Freed that she seems to get all the celebrity arraignments in Criminal Court? Last Friday, Freed took the guilty plea of Aussie actor Russell Crowe on charges of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, in his phone assault on a desk attendant at The Mercer hotel in Soho. “He was perfectly well behaved. He was a bit shook up going through a [media] gauntlet to get into the court,” Freed said. “I essentially took his plea and did the sentencing.” Freed said Crowe did not ask to use her phone, and that he couldn’t anyway because “it’s illegal.” Freed has also arraigned rapper Fitty Cent and G-Unit and Preppie Murderer Robert Chambers, among others. On her way into court on Friday, she bumped into actor Christian Slater being hustled out the back exit. “Apparently, he never patted that woman on the butt,” Freed said, noting that charges against Slater in an alleged Upper East Side incident were dropped.

Clarification: In a Sept. 21, 2005, Villager article titled “A heated debate over photographing New York’s bravest,” we reported that the General Counsel for the Uniformed Firefighter’s Association, Michael Block, said that the association does not have an “official photographer.” We would like to clarify that following Sept. 11, 2001, the U.F.A. Manhattan trustee from that period, Rudy Sanfilippo, did name Gary Marlon Suson the official photographer at Ground Zero for the Uniformed Firefighter’s Association.
Wine to drugs: Walgreens will be taking over the Astor Wines and Liquors space at Astor Pl. and Fourth Ave. Because the building is landmarked, the vertical sign above the door is grandfathered and must stay, though Walgreens can change the sign to its own name. Doris Diether, chairperson of the Community Board 2 Landmarks Committee, is shocked that the Landmarks Preservation Commission is not having a hearing on the proposed changes to the building, including scraping off the exterior paint and adding a new entrance on Fourth Ave.

lost one: A reader called in and left the following message: “Please take me off your mailing list. When I saw the huge picture of Cindy Sheehan there I wanted to puke. I have two sons in Iraq and I don’t appreciate your paper anymore.” He was referring to the photo on last week’s Op-Ed page from the Veterans Day Parade in which Sheehan was marching and flashing a peace sign.

Term limits: A forum on whether term limits should be preserved or modified will be held Mon., Nov. 28, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the L.G.B.T. Community Services Center, 208 W. 13th St. Panelists include: Councilmember Gale Brewer, sponsor of legislation to extend term limits; Councilmember Bill Perkins, a critic of term limits; Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union; Harry Kresky, counsel to the New York State Independence Party; and Deborah Goldberg of the Brennan Center for Justice, who will moderate. The event is sponsored by nine local Democratic political clubs.

Check out library meeting: The Greenwich Village Block Associations is sponsoring a forum in conjunction with Councilmember Christine Quinn concerning the proposed interior renovations and state of the exterior of the Jefferson Market Library on Nov. 29 at Our Lady of Pompei Church, at Carmine and Bleecker Sts., starting at 7 p.m. (enter on Bleecker St.). Check the G.V.B.A. Web site at www.gvba.org for updates on the forum.

Beatrice diaspora: While it’s expected that the new building owner, Bob Rinaolo, will get someone to run a new restaurant in the old Beatrice Inn space on W. 12th St., it’s said former Beatrice devotees are anxiously searching for new places to eat and will “likely disperse all over the West Village.”

De Luca’s delight: Amenties-starved Hudson Square residents and workers will appreciate Georgione 508, the latest offering from Giorgio De Luca of Dean & De Luca fame. Set to open in a few weeks, the new place, on Greenwich St. between Canal and Spring Sts., De Luca said, will be a sit-down restaurant in the day, also offering for sale packaged cheese, eggs and European butter, and at night will become a bar. It joins the new Tomato Store nearby on Canal St. where people can buy foie gras and Sotheby’s real estate in the same visit. What is it about Hudson Square that all the shops have multiple personalities? By the way, we hear Robert DeNiro was at the Tomato Store the other night for a birthday bash for one of the place’s partners.

Cube-back back story: Last week, Scoopy said New York magazine’s Intelligencer had jumped the gun on reporting the “Alamo” sculpture’s return to Astor Pl. A certain Villager photographer who had read the recent Intelligencer column called us, excitedly saying the cube would be re-installed on Nov. 14, and eager to photograph the event. The photographer e-mailed us the link to the column and we quickly read — or rather misread — it, not registering that the Nov. 14 date only referred to when the cube was to be loaded onto a truck and driven to the East Village, not when it was to be re-installed. The Intelligencer accurately reported that the cube would be back by sometime before the end of the month. Scoopy’s apologies for that rather catty item.

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