Volume 76, Number 13 | August 16 - 22, 2006

Scoopy’s Notebook

Pier 40 probe:
The Department of Investigation is combing through the Hudson River Park Trust’s failed Pier 40 redevelopment process from three years ago, exactly why, no one seems to know. So far, Arthur Schwartz, who was the Community Board 2 Waterfront Committee chairperson during part of that process, has been subpoenaed, but because of his recent quadruple-bypass heart surgery, hasn’t gone in to talk to D.O.T. yet. Tobi Bergman, who was on the board’s Waterfront Committee back then too, wasn’t subpoenaed, but was asked to come in to meet with D.O.I. Bergman didn’t want to tell us what he spoke about, but did confirm he visited D.O.I. Meanwhile, Community Board 2 was subpoenaed for all its minutes and correspondence from the Pier 40 meetings three years ago. “It took us hours to collect all that stuff,” said C.B. 2 Chairperson Maria Passannante Derr, who personally gathered the reams of paper with Florence Arenas, the board’s community coordinator. Larry Goldberg, a muckraking C.B. 2 member who has recently focused on exposing the board’s finances, said he didn’t trigger the investigation. Sources say neither Schwartz nor Bergman is the “target” of the probe. “Usually the investigators talk to everyone around the target,” noted one individual, requesting confidentiality, who some have, in fact, identified as the target. Sherlock Scoopy doesn’t feel there is enough to go on here yet, however, and won’t print any alleged target’s name until there is more evidence about what this investigation is about. For the record, C.B. 4 reports its records about the Pier 57 redevelopment process were not subpoenaed.

E.U. détente:
It took long enough, but European Union got its beer and wine license approved by the State Liquor Authority last week. Susan Stetzer, Community Board 3 district manager, reports that E. Fourth St. Block Association members and E.U.’s owner, Bob Giraldi, recently signed a legally binding agreement, in return for which the block association agreed to drop its opposition. Under the agreement, the gastropub near Avenue B has promised to close at midnight on weeknights and 1 a.m. on weekends; not to apply for an upgrade to a full liquor license without the block association’s approval; not to serve from inside the establishment to the street; and to close exterior windows and doors at 10 p.m. weeknights and 11 p.m. weekends. The agreement was brokered by the neighbors’ retained attorney, Barry Mallin, and E.U.’s attorney, Warren Pesetsky, a former counsel to the S.L.A. Stetzer said, under the agreement, E.U. might conceivably be allowed a few “one-time exceptions” to stay open later, such as New Year’s Eve. “The community did very well,” Stetzer said. “I don’t know if this has ever been done before with this kind of legally binding agreement. But I think it’s good for the community because it will preserve the quality of life.” In an e-mail, Giraldi and his wife and partner, Patti Greaney, said they plan to open E.U. again in September…. In other big nightlife news on Avenue B, the S.L.A. has stripped Le Souk of its liquor license because of ongoing problems and complaints, Stetzer reports. The D.M. said Le Souk has been the East Village’s biggest trouble nightspot, plagued by “underage drinking, rowdiness, many, many complaints about how they operated.” The same owners still have a new place, Carnivale, across the street on Avenue B. But Stetzer said Carnivale has also been the subject of complaints about it being “crowded and loud.” So, stay tuned….

Stays in place:
It looked like the end of the road last month for The Place, the quaint 45-seat restaurant at 310 W. Fourth St., when discussions for a lease renewal between restaurateur Alexander Achilleos and his landlord hit a brick wall. But after presenting his case at a court hearing on Aug. 7, and a much-delayed discussion with his landlord, Edith Rappy, and building manager, Milton Taub, of Taub Management, The Place was able to obtain a nine-year lease. “Sometimes, you have to go on a long journey to get a result,” Achilleos said. “It’s good that it’s over and we can put it behind us, and I can get some sleep again…and hold my head up.” Achilleos opened The Place nine years ago with the understanding his lease would expire May 2006. In April of last year, however, Achilleos and Rappy struck a verbal agreement to extend his lease, contingent on his making renovations to clear the building of emergency exit violations. Just before completion of these renovations, which cost Achilleos $68,000, Taube told Achilleos she no longer wanted to renew his lease, without explaining why. Achilleos, along with his staff, friends and loyal patrons, conducted a campaign to save The Place, collecting more than 10,000 signatures and letters, including support from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and State Senator Tom Duane. Achilleos says he’s not holding any grudges. “I’m looking forward to the future,” he said. “We’re encouraging people to come and dine with us and celebrate this small miracle. It just shows that if you do believe in something, and you work honestly, ultimately, there is a potential reward,” he said, with a sigh of relief.

We need Quinn!
With the critical vote set for the next day, Richard Barrett of Tribeca Community Asociation and Canal West, called us on Tuesday to point out that Christine Quinn has been nowhere to be seen on the Jack Parker rezoning in Tribeca. “I guess we’re wondering — where is Chris Quinn? She’s not taken a position,” Barrett said. “The Hudson Square rezoning was defeated — she was there, taking the northern section out,” Barrett noted of Quinn’s past zoning heroics before she became speaker. Meanwhile, he said, “A private developer has bifurcated the four-block waterfront out of North Tribeca without a comprehensive plan.”

No more coalition:
Rich Degen, a founder of the No Police State Coalition, says the radical group is defunct. They were known for their Union Square speak-outs using an electric bullhorn without a sound permit — which resulted in frequent arrests and many bullhorns being confiscated — and their banner with the slogan “The Bush Regime Engineered 9/11,” which infuriated former Mayor Ed Koch for one, who derided them as “kooks.” Degen said Geoffrey Blank, a co-founder, got on an ego trip, after which it all fell apart. “I just don’t have the money for any more batteries and megaphones,” Degen said.

Corrections: Last week’s article on the new outreach initiative by The Door to gay youth in Hudson River Park incorrectly stated that the park’s curfew is 2 a.m. The curfew is 1 a.m, though the outreach will apparently continue until 2 a.m…. Gregg Singer, owner of the old P.S. 64 on E. Ninth St., called to say that last week’s article on the stop-work order barring him from chopping historic details off the building incorrectly stated the order was sent to a wrong address on W. 86th St., when, in fact, it was sent to a wrong address on W. 80th St.

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