Volume 76, Number 15 | August 30 -September 5, 2006

Scoopy’s Notebook

Arty bucks: Some Community Board 2 members have been in a huff after finding out that former Arty Strickler’s longtime partner, David Spegal, will receive $27,000 in board funds that the late Greenwich Village board district manager had coming to him. Following Strickler’s sudden death in March, an initial memo from C.B. 2 Chairperson Maria Passannante Derr referring to the money owed Strickler as “overtime” caused a stir. District managers don’t get overtime, board muckrakers were quick to point out. However, Eric Pugatch, Borough President Scott Stringer’s communications director, said it’s all kosher and that the money is “annual leave.” Some city employees get up to four weeks vacation annually and if they don’t take it all, they can receive it later as cash, Pugatch explained. Derr, who served as Strickler’s executor for no charge — “It was for a friend,” she noted — admitted she erred in first calling it “overtime.” Yet, some skeptical board members subsequently demanded to know when Strickler had gotten a $6,000 salary increase without their knowledge. Derr, however, said this was a “cost-of-living increase” approved by the mayor for all the city’s district managers and that board approval wasn’t required.


Happy 80th! Friends of longtime C.B. 2 member and Villager contributor Ed Gold threw him a surprise 80th birthday party the other week at Gene’s restaurant. “Diane [Lebedeff] and I were expecting a quiet dinner with Arthur Stoliar and one of his many women friends,” Gold reports. “I had no idea he was inviting others.” The others included the LoCiceros — John and Jo — Miriam Bockman, former City Councilmember Carol Greitzer and her husband, Josh Vogel, Murray Gelman, Barbara Schneider — her husband, Ron, former president of Community School Board 2, was ill and couldn’t make it — and Supreme Court Justice Stanley Sklar and his wife, Margot. Gold’s girlfriend Lebedeff, whom Gold refers to as “The Judge,” is a Civil Court judge, as well. To top things off, Gold received a call from Borough President Stringer. “He said he was impressed with the freshmen class on the board and urged me to help them in any way,” Gold reported. “He said several of them had leadership skills and would probably be future board leaders. And he said he expected to bring some additional new blood to the board next year, which would make the board still more effective in the community.”


Sweet home Chicago: The University of Chicago’s new president is Robert Zimmer, who grew up on W. 12th St. right by Abingdon Square Park. Zimmer, 58, was appointed the university’s president in March and started July 1. His career path saw him start out as a mathematics professor at Chicago for 20 years, become chairperson of the Math Department, then move into the administrative side as the school’s assistant provost, before spending the last four years as Brown’s provost. Chicago wanted him back, though. In earlier years, he went to P.S. 41, P.S. 3, Stuyvesant High School and Brandeis University, and got his Ph.D. in math from Harvard. His mother, Harriet Zimmer, still lives on W. 12th St. and is active in the Village Temple. Asked if she ever knew he would turn out to head a prestigious university someday, she said, “Oh no — he was always interested in math.” His late father, Dr. Max Zimmer, for many years had a family practice on W. 12th St. Art Stoliar of Jane St., a family friend, was bowled over by the news. “There’s a lot of people who would rather be president of Chicago than Harvard,” noted Stoliar. “When you compare Nobel laureates….”

No free lunch: Pastor Diane Dunne of Hope for the Future Ministries is not doing her feeding program on Ninth St. at Avenue C this summer because it’s said she’s not feeling well, neighbors report. As opposed to the pastor, those neighbors who disliked the program, charging it blocked the sidewalk and that some of its participants were hostile, are feeling good about it.

Chris for Christopher: Council Speaker Chris Quinn recently allocated $5,000 to the Christopher St. Partnership, a group trying to start a business improvement district in the Christopher St. area. They plan to use the funds to buy 32 high-quality garbage cans and for plantings to spruce up Christopher Park. A block party is also planned with three top entertainers, but they still have to be confirmed. The ambitious group also hopes to have a permanent kiosk in Christopher Park and is trying to get the Chelsea Light Opera to sing in the park on weekends.

Under one tent:B Scoopy sources spotted “Mean Girls” scribe Tina Fey with her former “Weekend Update” co-anchor Jimmy Fallon at “Absinthe” at the Spiegeltent in the South St. Seaport. The two kept a low profile and sat at separate tables. Character actor Jeffrey Jones — the obsessed principal from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” — turned up at the same show, also in need of a little Absinthe, it seems.

Piano man’s a fan: A Village source tells us she recently saw Billy Joel buying The Villager late one night at the newsstand at Bleecker St. between W. 10th and Christopher Sts. Joel was by himself and wanted to get into Westville, but it was closed. In fact, our observant source claims to have spotted a lot of Village celebs toting The Villager lately. “I saw Matthew Broderick with a copy a couple of months ago,” she said, “and various supermodels and their little doggies…and Heidi Klum sitting on a bench reading The Villager. Seal, her husband, was sitting next to her with their kid.”

Return of the Dragon: The Snack Dragon taco shack has returned, now next to Mama’s take-out on E. Third St. The Villager profiled the shack’s disappearance a few months ago.

Corrections: The Villager’s recent report on The Door’s new outreach program for gay youth in Hudson River Park incorrectly identified the Educational Alliance as The Door’s affiliate, when, in fact, it’s University Settlement…. Last week’s article on the 25th State Senate District race incorrectly stated that The New York Times called Ken Diamondstone “the go-to man for politicians who want to get pesky challengers off the ballot.” Actually, this was the Times’s description of Martin Connor, his opponent.

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