Volume 75, Number 32 | Dec. 28 - Jan 3, 2005

Scoopy’s notebook

‘It must be done’: We bumped into Amanda Burden, City Planning Commission chairperson, a couple of weeks ago at City Hall and asked how the rezoning of the East Village and Lower East Side is looking. Without a pause, she said, “It needs to be done. The East Village and Lower East Side are totally unique neighborhoods and we need to protect them.” Burden said Planning will be issuing its rezoning proposal sometime in “early winter” — meaning sometime after last Wednesday, the solstice, i.e., the official start of winter — for Community Board 3 and others to review. However, she added, “The key date is certification,” as in when the rezoning becomes approved.

Hold the Bono: Although Time magazine’s Persons of the Year — Bono, Bill and Melinda Gates and other good samaritans — shared this year’s honors, there’s no hedging at the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. The chamber’s Man of the Year Award, to be awared in April, will be received solo by Michael Haberman. The former chamber head and former director of New York University government and community relations, Haberman is now at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. “Michael really revitalized the chamber,” said Bob Zuckerman, G.V.C.C.C. executive director.

Crabby lane: We were glad the city lined bike lanes with orange cones during the transit strike under its contingency plan. Yet, not surprisingly, even the cones didn’t stop a pair of drivers in battleship-sized S.U.V.’s from parking in the bike lane along the Fifth Ave. shopping strip around 17th and 16th Sts. As we maneuvered around the trespassers on our bike we turned and pointed the cones out while shouting “Get the *&$%# out of the bike lane!” But, of course, the S.U.V. drivers couldn’t have cared less and didn’t budge.

Critical parents: On the subject of bikes, Bill Di Paola, director of Time’s Up!, tells us last week’s New York Times article about alternative-sticker-wearing undercover spies infiltrating the monthly Critical Mass bicycle rides with the assistance of police officers has people worried. “My parents are starting to freak out,” he said. “They don’t want me to give any interviews.”

L.G.B.T. arrivederci: Well, Christopher St. residents angry at the cavorting of gay youth through the neighborhood after the Hudson River Park curfew will have to find another target for their wrath. Melissa Sklarz, chairperson of the Community Board 2 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Committee, is moving to Woodside, where she has found the rent is much cheaper than on W. 14th St.

‘Map’ flap: Our persistent requests to the Parks Department to let us have a look at the purportedly revised Washington Square Park renovation designs failed to have the desired effect. Warner Johnston, a Parks Department spokesperson, said the plans will be unveiled at the Jan. 9 Art Commission hearing and that The Villager won’t get any preview. “Not even if you were the New York Times you couldn’t get those,” Johnston stated with finality. Hey, Warner, didn’t you see the New York magazine article on us that said the Times is the greatest paper in the world — next to The Villager? Apparently not…

Koch’ll take it: Speaking, again, of that New York magazine article that praised The Villager to the moon and stars, we asked Ed Koch, who writes a weekly film column for us, how he liked the article’s describing him as emblematic of our supposed “energetic crankitude.” “They mentioned my name, right?” he said. “Isn’t that all that counts?”

More pizza sauce: The New York magazine article — O.K., this is the last time we mention it (hey, we’re milking it for all it’s worth) — also referred to David Gruber’s plaint about what he feels is the oversized Abitino’s Pizzeria sign at Carmine St. and Sixth Ave. Gruber tells us it’s not necessarily that the sign is 6 inches too high as the Department of Buildings states, but that the total square footage of the signage exceeds regulations. This is starting to sound too much like a math word problem at this point, so we think we’ll let Gruber and Buildings work it out.

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