Volume 75, Number 50 | May 3 - 9 2006

Scoopy's Notebook

Jane Jacobs Park: A proposal has been made by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation to rename the Bleecker Playground and seating area for Jane Jacobs, the legendary Village preservationist and urban planner who died last week at the age of 89. G.V.S.H.P. is also proposing that the stretch of Hudson St. between Bank and 11th Sts. — where Jacobs lived — be co-named Jane Jacobs Way. In addition, a proposal to rename the triangular garden across from the park in front of Gristede’s for Arty Strickler, the late district manager of Community Board 2, who died in March, has been approved by the C.B. 2 Waterfront and Parks Committee. As for the Jacobs Park naming, Arthur Schwartz, the committee’s chairperson, said he wants to “kick the ideas around and not rush it and have appropriate public notice and public hearings.” But he’s thinking the whole Bleecker Playground/sitting area might be named for Jacobs, while within that, it might make sense to keep the actual playground’s name as Bleecker Playground, since he thinks this is what everyone will keep calling it anyway. In addition, the currently nameless path through the park might also be called Jane Jacobs Way, Schwartz said.

Diploma switch: Edy Selman, of the Washington Pl. Block Association and one of the members of the Emergency Coalition to Save Washington Square Park, said Villagers are outraged that Wilma Tisch is getting an honorary degree at New York University’s graduation, and want the university to give a posthumous one to Jane Jacobs instead. “We think that since Jane Jacobs died and she was the one that saved the park, she should be the one being honored — not Wilma Tisch,” Selman said. “N.Y.U. is celebrating Wilma Tisch with a diploma, for what? For the $2.5 million she’s giving to move the fountain? The community wants Jane Jacobs. Jane Jacobs did it for nothing, because she knew what the Village is about.”

Glick sticks Schwartz: Speaking of Schwartz again, we asked Assemblymember Deborah Glick what she made of his planned run with Lisa Canistracci — owner of Henrietta Hudson lesbian bar — against incumbents Larry Moss and Rachel Lavine for State Committee in September. “I know that Tom and Chris and I are united in our support for Larry and Rachel,” Glick said, referring to State Senator Tom Duane and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “I am somewhat hard-pressed to understand why Lisa, who is a nice enough person, but somewhat naïve politically, got talked into this. Arthur, in his never-ending quest to be relevant, will always be looking to run for something,” Glick said, adding, “He’s obviously working out some frustration.” She noted Allen Roskoff also surely must have a hand in this, since he recently formed the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, with himself as president and Canistracci as vice president. Schwartz shrugged off Glick’s comments, saying, “I’m not sure what she means about ‘being relevant.’ I returned to be Parks and Waterfront Committee chairperson last July. I’ve got back on community issues. And I think I’ve certainly played a relevant role in the city as a labor lawyer…. I’ll run on my record, and I hope it’s not going to be a negative campaign.” Schwartz said he has the support of Congressmember Anthony Weiner and Comptroller Bill Thompson, with more to come.

Assembly wannabes: Despite his indignation at Sylvia Friedman’s Assembly office being slightly outside her district’s borders, we hear Steve Kaufman has decided not to run in the September primary in the 74th Assembly District. Meanwhile, Brian Kavanagh tells us he is actively campaigning “throughout the district,” which is a bit larger than City Council District 2, which he ran for last year, losing to Rosie Mendez. There are two more candidates, both Asian-Americans, in the running at this point, Esther Yang, a parent living in Tudor City, and Bobby Lee, who lives on E. 19th St.

Sha Na-nonymous: After seeing a Daily News article on Robert Leonard, Sha Na Na’s former bass singer who is now a top forensic linguist, Sean Sweeney thought about using him to uncover the identity of the writer or writers of the recent anonymous letter attacking him and fellow Community Board 2 member Don MacPherson. Leonard — a Phi Betta Kappa Columbia graduate and former Fulbright fellow — would take the offending document and compare it with other documents written by C.B. 2 members — and maybe former staff members? — whom Sweeney and MacPherson consider prime suspects. But after Leonard told him his results are just short of 100 percent accurate, Sweeney decided against it. “It’s not DNA. It’s not fingerprinting,” he noted. Maybe why not try giving Bowser a call?…. Sweeney also says Richard Johnson of Page Six recently called him twice about the anonymous letter, but decided against doing anything with it. Sweeney thinks a nightlife P.R. person must be behind it all. The News’s Rush & Molloy already ran an item on the letter. “I ain’t Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt,” Sweeney said. “Why, all of a sudden, are celebrity gossip columnists that report on, among other things, nightlife and clubs so interested in reporting on an anonymous letter that seeks to defame me?”

BID and booze: In March of last year, Community Board 2’s Business Committee bizarrely voted to recommend denial of the Village Alliance business improvement district’s proposal to expand its district up Sixth Ave., despite the fact that there was only community support for and no community opposition to the plan. (An anonymous letter was involved in this one too.) Come a year later, at last month’s full Board 2 meeting, the bid expansion was approved unanimously, with nary a peep of objection. Have things already changed that much under Borough President Scott Stringer? Some think so…. When Stringer entered last month’s C.B. 2 meeting, the board members gave him a rousing round of applause. When the ovation ended, he asked, without missing a beat, “Can we do that again?”

Another Pink: The up-and-coming celeb Fefe Dobson (aka “the new Pink,” currently Justin Timberlake’s opening act) visited designer Apollo Braun’s store on Orchard St. last Sunday. She was tailed by her manager and a pack of Teen People magazine journalists who interviewed her there for an article hyping her as the “new big thing.” Mid-interview, Dobson’s manager rushed in with some sushi and beseeched the performer dramatically, “You must eat something!” The 21-year-old rocker bought a leather bag, two leather belts and a T-shirt with the slogan “Madonna is my mother!” prompting Braun to cuttingly quip, “Honey, she is old enough to be everyone’s mother!” (Yeeowch!) Before she left, Dobson signed her name on the wall, then stuck Teen People with the bill. Added Braun publicist Raquel Urriola, “We know she is not a big celebrity yet, but everyone in the music industry says with her CD release next month she is going to blow up!”

Correction: The record store Rocks in Your Head was on Prince St., not Spring St., as incorrectly reported in last week’s Villager. Guess we must have had rocks in our head.

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