Volume 76, Number 14 | August 23 - 29, 2006

Scoopy’s Notebook

Resolution confusion:
Should Community Board 2 revisit its vote on the Washington Square Park renovation? Arthur Schwartz, the board’s Parks Committee chairperson, absolutely thinks so. But the board’s Executive Committee last week voted unanimously — Schwartz was absent from the meeting — against the idea. Maria Passannante Derr, C.B. 2 chairperson, said she feels it makes sense to wait until after the Appellate Division rules in November on State Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman’s July ruling that the Parks Department must re-present its renovation plans for the fountain plaza and fountain to C.B. 2, the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Art Commission. “It’s fine for them to discuss it as much as they want,” Derr said of Schwartz and the Parks Committee. “But before we issue resolutions, we have to have some direction from the court.” Derr noted the Appellate Division could uphold the State Supreme Court decision, overturn it or partially overturn it. “I happen to disagree strongly,” said Schwartz. “The court didn’t give any direction to Community Board 2. The court said, ‘You can’t go forward with this until you go back to Community Board 2.’…. The likelihood of a decision [at the Appellate Division] before next summer is small; they usually take six months or more to write a decision. Board 2 might draft a resolution saying we want the Parks Department to come forward and drop its appeal — or a resolution saying we agree with the court’s decision and we feel we were snookered [by Parks].” Derr and Schwartz do agree, however, that a major C.B. 2 public hearing on the city’s proposal for a marine waste transfer station at Gansevoort Peninsula is slated for Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Gay and Lesbian Center at 208 W. 13th St., which will preempt, to a certain extent, discussion of Washington Square. But Schwartz said the matter could be taken up by his committee in October. “Not could — will be taken up in October,” he stressed. “It’s unprecedented that the Executive Committee would tell a committee in advance that they can’t consider a resolution. I’m sure there will be discussion of the Executive Committee decision at the September full board meeting,” he asserted. “With the new board members, it’s unlikely that the prior resolution [supporting the Parks renovation plan] would stand.”

More Pier 40 probing:
After initially having to take a pass because of his recent heart surgery, Schwartz went into the Department of Investigation last week to answer questions about the failed Pier 40 redevelopment process three years ago. But he stressed he wasn’t subpoenaed (as Scoopy incorrectly reported last week), just asked to come in voluntarily. Questioning focused on the C&K/Durst and Oceanarium Pier 40 proposals, he said. Schwartz said the investigators didn’t ask any questions about the role of the Hudson River Park Trust or its board of directors. We called Peter Chermayeff, architect of the Oceanarium plan, to see if he had any idea what this is all about, and he said it was the first he’d heard about any investigation and that he hadn’t even thought of Pier 40 in years. He’s currently busy building humongous oceanariums in Alexandria, Egypt, Singapore and Korea, but none include soccer fields. “No, I would say that sports facility was really unique to Pier 40,” he said. Still sore about it, he blamed the Pier 40 Oceanarium’s tanking on “so much politics — rather than urbanism.”

Digesting gastro agreement:
There’s no question the legally binding agreement between E.U. and the E. Fourth St. Block Association was historic. It’s the first time neighbors and a liquor-licensed premises — in this case, Bob Giraldi’s gastropub — ever signed such a legal contract stipulating an establishment’s operating conditions. The question is, is it enforceable? Warren Pesetsky, E.U.’s attorney, isn’t sure. “They can bring legal action,” Pesetsky said. “They’re saying it’s enforceable. I don’ t know. Whether it’s enforceable, we don’t intend violating it. Having said that, how it’s enforced seems like a moot point. My client intends to abide by all the conditions in it, or he wouldn’t have signed it. Bob Giraldi is an honorable man, and he intends to follow it.” If Giraldi violates the agreed-to closing times or other conditions, the neighbors can sue in State Supreme Court. Also, the State Liquor Authority can reconsider Giraldi’s beer and wine license on the grounds that he made “false representations,” Pesetsky added.

Great debates:
The candidates for the East Side’s 74th Assembly District will debate on Sun. Aug. 27 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Stuyvesant Cove Park, by the East River at 23rd St., on the stage of Solar 1 (the building in the park). The candidates will also debate on Wed. Aug. 30 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s TV studios at 537 W. 59th St.

Zito to go:
Anthony Zito opened his Zito Studio gallery at 122 Ludlow St. shortly after 9/11, when no one was looking to open new businesses Downtown. Now he’s being forced out because his rent is being tripled, and if he’s got to go, he’s going out with a bang. Zito’s throwing a “Full-on Antigentrification Freak-out” at the gallery on Thurs. Aug. 31 at 8 p.m., featuring music and performances by local favorites, including Reverends Billy and Jen and more, and an auction of Zito’s artwork by a “top-secret international artist.”…. We hear Sazerac restaurant on Hudson St., where John Belushi and fellow “SNL” cast members hung in the ’70s, has been sold and that the new owner may be thinking of changing the character of the place…. Also, we’re told Village Crown, a kosher Moroccan restaurant on Third Ave. and 12th St., recently closed.

The black dog:
Village dog activist Lynn Pacifico tipped us off that the West Village Veterinary Hospital on Washington St. is sheltering a young black lab mix recently found roaming Perry St. by one of the hospital’s clients. The pooch — 9 months old, neutered, healthy, sweet natured and well socialized with people and other dogs — didn’t have a collar or microchip, so they’ve been unable to reunite him with his owners. For more information, contact Renee at the hospital at 212-633-7400.

Turnaround on biker:
Barbara Ross of Time’s Up says the rumors of a youngster on a bike recently being killed in an auto accident in the Bronx turned out to be unfounded. “We had someone go out to that corner and discovered it was a pedestrian that was injured when a bunch of kids were riding down the street,” Ross e-mailed.

Corrections:
The obituary on George P. Penty in last week’s issue incorrectly stated that Penty commissioned earlier work by Mario Puzo, author of “The Godfather.” Penty and Puzo were editors together at Magazine Management, but Penty didn’t commission earlier work by Puzo.

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