Volume 76, Number 18 | September 20 - 26, 2006

Scoopy’s Notebook

Gossip upon gossip: Well, for those who were wondering what the real reason was why Richard Johnson’s name was mysteriously briefly missing from the Page Six masthead, we finally have the definitive answer — and surprisingly it has nothing to do with Paris Hilton. “I was working on the Page Six Magazine which comes out Thursday,” Johnson e-mailed us last week right before the Post’s new gossip magazine insert hit the stands. Hey, maybe Scoopy should go glossy too. We can see it now….

Votes are cheap, or can be: Antiwar candidate Jonathan Tasini didn’t win the primary election against Hillary Clinton, but he was definitely the most cost effective. According to Tasini, of the 118,000 people who participated in the Senate primary, he spent $1.50 for every vote he got, while Clinton spent $42 for each one she received.

On the troll: Sean Sweeney, Soho Alliance director, is scolding Scoopy for doubting that there was a prostitution problem on west Canal St. in the 1990s when the Alliance was fighting the construction of the Soho Grand hotel, which they feared would become a hooker magnet. “I assure you that we had complaints back in 1995 of prostitutes trolling Canal St. between Sixth Ave. and Varick St. — I believe that they were trannies. There was actually a brothel located just behind the hotel for several years after it opened, on the northeast corner of Thompson and Canal Sts. It was on the second floor of a two-story building that I believe is now a karaoke bar or restaurant.” Plus, Sweeney added, Times Square was being cleaned up, so there were very real fears of a southward sex-worker migration. However, he said, “Apparently, many hookers went to the Meat Market instead or went online.”

New job: Steve Kaufman, former chief of staff of former Assemblymember Steve Sanders, is now at United Way of New York City as senior director of public relations and community affairs.

Take it to the bank: David Gruber, one of the owners of the apartment building under construction at W. Fourth St. and Sixth Ave., denied rumors that a hot new retail store will be opening in the building’s ground floor. One source had told us word is that Eighth St. landlords are waiting until they see what this new store is before they rent out their many, many vacant storefronts. Well, they should stop waiting: It will be home to an HSBC bank branch, which is moving there from Eighth St. and Fifth Ave., said Gruber. “We’re never going to have a porno shop in that store!” he assured, welcome words to the many neighbors and nearby merchants who abhor Sixth Ave.’s Times Square-like scene of tattoo parlors and adult shops. Gruber said the new building itself will go over well, too. “The front of it undulates every 28 feet,” he said. “It’s going to fit in as soon as it opens.”

Heathers Roshomon: The owner of Heathers bar, at 13th St. and Avenue A, apparently thinks Dolores Schaefer is Susan Stetzer, or at least the bartender does. After neighbors fighting Opus NY, a new music and performance venue planned on 13th St., finished meeting in a nearby community garden, they still had some righteous antibar indignation left over. So, at the urging of two residents who live above Heathers and say they’ve been suffering from the noise, they decided to march over to complain. The residents say they were respectful when they entered the bar, with their leader, Schaefer, calmly advising the bartender that the noise must be kept down and the windows kept shut. But Heathers’ owner, who wasn’t there at the time, subsequently fired off letters to local elected officials, decrying Stetzer — district manager of Community Board 3 — for having purportedly led the posse, likening it to an “angry mob.” Responded Stetzer of the case of mistaken antibar watchdog identity, “It reflects that when somebody wants to blame the community board for something, they don’t check the allegations. I think people should be a little more careful.”

Cyber festival: As everyone knows by now, the HOWL! Festival of East Village Arts has been called off for this summer, as The Villager first reported a month ago. But that doesn’t mean the artists aren’t busy creating. In fact, they are creating a ton of e-mail diatribes — which, for the moment, are being directed at Harvey Epstein, former chairperson of C.B. 3. and current Federation of East Village Artists board of directors member. “Walk Tall Harvey!” each e-mail to Epstein is addressed, a sarcastic reference to “Walking Tall,” the 1973 movie about a wrestler-turned-sheriff who cleans up a lawless town. “What is Harvey Epstein doing about cleaning up any of this mud?” demanded Clayton Patterson of Outlaw Gallery.

A possum ’n’ a Podolsky: Ronald Podolsky has filed a notice of appeal with the Appellate Division in his lawsuit charging that the Parks Department did not respond in time to his requests to view the Washington Square Park renovation plans before the Art Commission voted to approve them earlier this year…. Meanwhile, Sharon Woolums, point person on Podolsky’s suit, reports she was recently “enjoying a lively music jam in the park,” when a possum made an appearance. “At first we thought it was one of the larger rats,” Woolums said. “But the white face and long beak with the squared-off nose” marked it as something else. “A much smaller rat, running and jumping in the air, chased him away into the playground,” said Woolums, who noted she checked on the Internet when she got home and that it definitely was a possum. Ah, nature.

Tale of the tape: The chain-link fence around the public plaza by the new Gwathmey Siegel tower at Astor Pl. finally came down last week. But when we checked again on Monday, the plaza was still cordoned off with yellow tape. It’s getting there…we guess.

Rescue patrol: Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation tells us that in August the society asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider designating 84 W. Third St., the West Village Fire Patrol building, as a landmark in order to save it. The L.P.C. told them the building is under consideration, Berman reports. The patrol is fighting to preserve itself from being phased out.

Extell me about it: Bob Perl of Tower Brokerage says that, contrary to what was stated in the recent Villager article about Extell’s purchase of 17 East Village tenements, he did not help broker the sale. “I had nothing to do with their purchase of these buildings,” Perl said in an e-mail. “I was contacted several months after they owned the buildings. My work so far has been to get vacant apartments renovated and rented.” Because of the article’s stating he brokered the sale, Perl said, “I am being and will continue to be harassed for an action that was falsely reported. I’m a lefty. I don’t like being associated with the Carlyle Group,” he said. Perl added the buildings are not development sites unless the area gets rezoned. “You won’t see any development there for at least 10 years,” he said.

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