Volume 75, Number 29 | December 7 - 13, 2005

Scoopy’s notebook

Mystery of the square: Another month and another meeting of the Art Commission that the Washington Square renovation plan is not on the commission’s agenda. On Monday, Doris Diether, chairperson of Community Board 2’s Landmarks Committee, informed us she had just pulled the Art Commission’s Dec. 12 meeting agenda hot off her fax and that the much-debated project was nowhere to be seen on it.

Wils’s private affair: Following last week’s Scoopy’s revelation that influential Lower Manhattan figure Madelyn Wils may be at risk of losing her seat on the Hudson River Park Trust’s board of directors because she didn’t support incoming Borough President Scott Stringer in the election, Wils is now denying she backed Stringer’s rival Eva Moskowitz. Wils told Scoopy she never publicly supported anyone for borough president, and that someone is spreading “unfounded rumors” about her to try to knock her off the Trust. Wils said she kept her support private because she felt it was appropriate as chairperson of Community Board 1 and because she wanted “to be able to work with whoever was elected.” However, Wils’s tenure on the community board ended in April. Even though she’s no longer on the board, Wils refused to tell us whom she supported for B.P., noting that voting is “private.” A cursory review of Campaign Finance Board records showed that Wils did not make contributions to either Moskowitz or Stringer. However, noting that she read all of Stringer’s “white paper” reports that he put out during the election, she said if he’s good to his word of being a “reformer,” Stringer shouldn’t let whom a person supported affect his appointments. Stringer said he hasn’t made a decision on his three appointments to the Trust, but — there goes that phrase again — wants people he can work with. “All my appointments are going to be based on merit and what’s best for the community,” he said. “I’m not concerned about who she [Wils] or anyone else supported.” Wils strongly urged us to speak to Connie Fishman, the Trust’s president, “about the borough president.” Said Fishman: “As far as Madelyn, she’s been a great board member. But I don’t know Scott, and I don’t know what he’s looking for.”

Koch sings his own praises: Yes, Ed Koch really meant it when, in this week’s review in Koch on Film, he boasts he is a better singer than Joaquin Phoenix, who did all his own singing in the new Johnny Cash film “Walk the Line.” “My singing is at its best in the shower and definitely better than Joaquin Phoenix’s in the film,” said Koch. “My guitar playing, however, was never up to my singing.”

Lopez lives: We bumped into Councilmember Margarita Lopez by chance down at City Hall on Tuesday when we were hoping to impose upon Mayor Bloomberg for a few minutes for an interview on local issues. It turned out Bloomberg couldn’t make it that day because the funeral for slain Police Officer Dillon Stewart lasted three-and-a-half hours. But as Lopez passed us we asked her a few questions on the fly. Asked how she’s doing and where’ll she’ll be come January when term limits force her out of the Council, she beamed, “I am happy to be alive!” Completely unprompted, she then stressed that there was “no quid pro quo” between her and the mayor, referring to speculation that her having endorsed his re-election might lead to her getting one of the few remaining open commissioner slots in his second administration. “Even with my mother, when I was born, there was no quid pro quo,” she said firmly.

Power at a loss: Although The Villager’s Second Annual Progress Report mostly got glowing reviews, Jim “Mosaic Man” Power called us last week fuming that Joseph Pupello, the new executive director of the Federation of East Village Artists, had been allowed to write an article for it. Power, who has a problem with FEVA, came close to saying for the second time in two months that he would picket our office, but then seemed to back off. Also, he’s upset he hasn’t gotten any credit for being the first person to notice that the recently renovated “Alamo” cube sculpture at Astor Pl. needed repair and was dangerously unstable. “The cube’s back — but I will not be forgotten,” Power said. “The foundation was capable of chopping people’s toes off. It was bouncing.”

Left Ashlee speechless: Peter Missing enjoyed a recent Page Six item in the Post about how he scared singer Ashlee Simpson out of Ann Hanavan’s Lost Shoe boutique on Ludlow St. Missing came in and started doing a drawing, and kept looking up at Simpson, apparently making her think he was drawing her, when in fact he may have only been trying to interest her in buying his work. In any case, Simpson fled — speechless, like her lip-synching debacle on “Saturday Night Live” — and Hanavan, who ironically has a Missing original on her wall, was left ruing the fact that she lost a big spender. “Peter loves it,” gallery owner Clayton Patterson said of the Page Six item. “He said it makes him look like the radical revolutionary, the antigentrification war — chasing the yuppies out of the neighborhood. He was really proud.”

Open house at Tompkins Sq.: Tompkins Square Park is still being left open past the midnight curfew, our sources report. Yet, we’re told this doesn’t represent a change in policy by the police, but that some units, including the park unit, are being shifted around and that this is causing the park to be left open sometimes. 
Weekend update: Just in case you didn’t know, “SNL” funnyman Jimmy Fallon is a partner in Mo Pitkin’s House of Satisfaction, Phil Hartman’s new restaurant/performance venue on Avenue A. Fallon and Hartman are buds.

Luv bug: He’ll remind you that he pioneered the Meat Market nightlife scene with Gaslight bar. Now Matt DeMatt is opening his latest hotspot, Luv 24/7, a lounge at 247 Eldridge St. between Stanton and Houston Sts.
Yoga’s ovah: The building next door to Earth Matters food market on Ludlow St. was recently sold and the new owners are reportedly planning a seven-story building. As a result, the Earth Matters “yoga room,” where a lot of play rehearsals and various classes were held, has been closed, as well as half of the Earth Matters enclosed garden.
Whittling down: Ian Dutton, a public member of Community Board 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, tells us that he got a call from Karen Flores, community liaison for the Department of Design and Construction on the Houston St. reconstruction project, who told him that “after a lot of pressure from neighborhood people and a walk-through that I had with her, she got her higher-ups to listen to our concerns about the tree boxes that block the pedestrian traffic on the Houston St. sidewalks.” Dutton reports the contractor on the project has agreed to either make the boxes of wooden 2-x-4’s smaller where possible or, where not possible due to the size of the tree, the box will be removed until there is active construction near the affected tree.

Distinguished couple: The Friends of LaGuardia Gardens recently honored David Gruber, president of the Carmine Street Block Association, and Barbara Devaney of the Friends of LaGuardia Gardens as their man and woman of the year. This honor comes complete with the bestowing of the LaGuardia Gardens Medal.

Ye curiosity: Members of the Greenwich Village Block Associations are anxiously trying to find out what the plans are for Ye Waverly Inn. A lease is rumored to have been signed last week, but G.V.B.A. hasn’t heard anything else. “It’s been a problem under the last two owners and we’re keeping our fingers crossed,” said Marilyn Dorato, G.V.B.A. secretary. “Since the Beatrice Inn changed hands, people are looking for a neighborhood hangout — and some of us miss the chicken pot pie.”

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