Volume 75, Number 49 | April 26 - May 2 2006

Scoopy's Notebook

Supreme speaker: Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy will speak at New York University’s commencement on May 11 at 10:30 a.m. in Washington Square Park. It was Kennedy who wrote the majority opinion for Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned a previous Supreme Court ruling outlawing homosexual sodomy in private conduct. He will speak on behalf of four other honorary degree recipients: dancer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov; Xerox chairperson and C.E.O. Anne Mulcahy; writer and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet; and philanthropist Wilma Stein Tisch, head of the Tisch Foundation, which has donated $2.5 million to restore (and rename as Tisch) the park’s fountain as part of the park’s planned renovation.

Rockin’ Robin: Sharon Woolums, of ECO — the group fighting in court to keep the Washington Square fountain from being moved — said she got a chance to chat with Robin Williams recently when he was filming in the park for a new movie. “He said he liked my sun hat,” she said. “I told him what was going to happen to the park, and he said, ‘What? Some of my best friends got their start here!’ I got his e-mail,” Woolums said. “We’re going to send him stuff.”

Serving up column: Feeling they’re misunderstood by their East Village neighbors, Bob Giraldi, the owner of E.U. — the gastropub, though currently without a pub thanks to community opposition, on E. Fourth St. near Avenue B — plans to submit a talking point to The Villager arguing why they’re a good addition to the block and that opponents are overreacting. E.U. is asking that residents keep their minds open and read the piece.

Infrastructure info: Congressmember Jerrold Nadler last week assured us a major transportation project he has championed for years, the Cross-Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel, isn’t dead, but that it will have to wait until a Democratic governor is elected. He said it’s the same regarding the chances of changing the Verrazano Bridge one-way toll. He noted the case for reversing the toll is stronger now, since EZPass could eliminate Verrazano toll plaza backups in Staten Island, a reason for originally switching the toll’s direction.

Puts his foot down (on nonskid surface): At last week’s Community Board 2 meeting, City Councilmember Alan Gerson said he wants the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to fund two projects coming up this year in Board 2: the renovation and expansion of Petrosino Park at Kenmare and Lafayette Sts. and the installation of historic streetlights in Soho. “They have, to date, totally overlooked the part of Board 2 that is south of Houston St. We suffered from 9/11 — and legally that area is in the catchment area [of the L.M.D.C.],” Gerson said. He said he plans to write Stephen Pryor, the L.M.D.C.’s president, about it…. Gerson also reiterated he’s sticking by his position that the Washington Square Park fountain must remain accessible after the park’s renovation. “There must be no change in the current policy of [allowing] wading into the fountain, ability to sit on the side of the fountain,” Gerson said last week. He said he expects “this to be put in writing shortly” by the Parks Department…. Finally, in what he called another component of his livability campaign, Gerson announced he’s initiating a pilot program to provide free bathtub grab bars and nonskid materials to seniors living in Council District 1 (Lower Manhattan, Soho, Noho, lower Greenwich Village, Lower East Side). The installation is being done through The Caring Community. The grab bar hotline is 212-788-7717.

Won’t titillate Oscar: Soho/Hudson Square activist Don MacPherson recently had the wrap party at Byte for his new underground indie film, “Gothkill.” MacPherson is executive producer of the flick, by James Connelly, which will show this summer. “It’s sexy and will probably develop a cult following. It will not win an Academy Award,” MacPherson predicted.

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