Volume 75, Number 33 | January 4 - 10, 2006

Scoopy’s notebook

Ticked-off attorney:
Incensed by last week’s item in Scoopy’s Notebook in which a Parks Department spokesperson was quoted saying adamantly that there was no way they would ever show us the revised Washington Square renovation plans before the Jan. 9 Art Commission hearing, environmental attorney Joel Kupferman called a contact at the New York City Law Department to inquire what needs to be done to see the plans. “The whole thing is a sham process,” Kupferman said. “We put in a FOIL request and they told us the best we can do is 60 days. It’s privatization of public space,” Kupferman fumed of the process for Washington Square, which continues to draw fire, adding that he plans to have a forum about this subject in a few weeks.

Landscape art:
Anthony Walmsley tells us that George Vellonakis’s recent presentation of the Washington Square renovation plan at the New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects certainly didn’t win his support. Walmsley, who did the master plan for Prospect Park’s renovation, said his main problem with the plan is the moving and raising of the fountain. “There’s no reason to change it, except capriciousness,” he said. “It’s one of the most successful urban parks. You treat it with care. You don’t sweep in with a whole new idea. You have to be pretty humble as a landscape architect.”

Vegan war:
Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, and Rick Panson, a former Greenwich Village nightclub owner, exploded at each other in a shouting match at the monthly Community Board 2 meeting two weeks ago. Sweeney is angry that Panson never told the board that Ron Pasquale, who is a member of the board like both of them, owns the building at 76 Wooster St. where Panson plans a vegan or vegetarian restaurant and that he would be a partner. Sweeney worries the place may wind up turning into a nightclub. However, Panson, who formerly owned two Greenwich Village nightclubs, The Duplex and Halo, says he’s turned over a new leaf and is now a “pure-foodist” and has become a microbiologist who can analyze a person’s health by a few drops of blood. “I’m very much into the raw, live, vegan food movement,” Panson said. “I’ve retreated from that whole rat race of being a club owner. I’m 51 years old. I’m really into eating good food and going home by 11 p.m.” The restaurant may even be alkalarian, meaning its foods will be pH balanced with diner’s stomach acids. Panson said concern over the location lingers because the singer Grace Jones had a disco there a while back that was “out of control.” Meanwhile, health-conscious vegans are considerate and most don’t smoke, so they won’t go out on the sidewalk making noise, he said. Panson said he and Pasquale have applied for a beer-and-wine license, not a liquor license, though he said he’d like to be able to eventually offer sake martinis. As for Pasquale’s ownership of the building, Maria Passannante Derr, C.B. 2 chairperson, said “everyone knew that” from another liquor license application that was turned down at the same location a few years ago.

Eva article gets buried:
According to Abby Wilson, former press secretary for Councilmember Eva Moskowitz, they weren’t too happy a recent article about Moskowitz’s upcoming job working with New York City charter schools that they pitched to The New York Times wound up on the back page of the weekend Metro section — by the obituaries, no less. In the article, Moskowitz, who was just term-limited out of the Council, also said she plans to run for mayor in the future. Wilson has plans too. She headed to remote eastern South Africa last week to educate school children about H.I.V./AIDS and live in a mud hut for about a year. Asked about whether Madelyn Wils, former Community Board 1 chairperson, had indeed supported Moskowitz for borough president as some suspect, Wilson, fielding one of her last press questions before departing, said, “We don’t recall her openly supporting [Moskowitz].”

Meet ya in Slovenia:
Eugene Secunda, longtime Greenwich Village resident and an adjunct professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School in the department of culture and communication, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in the spring 2006 semester. His wife, Shirley Secunda, is a Community Board 2 member.

Hire education:
Eric Lugo, who was chief of staff to former City Councilmember Margarita Lopez for the past two years, has landed a new job as Baruch College’s director of government and community relations.

Graffiti woes:
John Penley reports that the East Village graffiti problem continues to worsen. The Church of the Most Holy Redeemer’s rectory entrance on E. Third St. was bombed by graffitists over the weekend. “It’s just getting more and more,” Penley said. “I forget what it says, ‘185 Cru,’ or something like that.”

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