No trusting Trump: The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation does not, repeat, does not, support local elected officials’ effort to negotiate a restrictive declaration for the Trump condo-hotel planned at Spring and Varick Sts. Instead, G.V.S.H.P. wants to keep fighting the project, feeling it won’t be a real transient hotel, but a Trojan horse residential condo building. “I think the restrictive declaration may be unenforceable, doesn’t go nearly far enough and may be used by the city to try to shield them from a legal challenge,” the society’s director, Andrew Berman, told us. Sean Sweeney of the Soho Alliance also doubts a voluntary restriction limiting length of stays at the condo-hotel to 29- or 30-day stints would be enforceable. “It’s like communism: It looks good on paper, but in reality it doesn’t work well,” Sweeney said. “If the Sultan of Brunei or Madonna is staying there, they’re going to mess with them? They’ll just reverse the names, say it was an accident.” Jennifer Givner, a Department of Buildings spokesperson, said, as of Monday, a building permit had not been issued for the project. Regarding Berman’s emergency e-mail blast last week in which he said the permit would definitely be approved, she scoffed, “Where’s he getting his information?” Berman said he has it on the word of local elected officials.
Tree’s on the way: The traditional 45-foot-tall Christmas tree arrives in Washington Square from Canada on Monday morning Nov. 27. “It’s been growing for 50 years on a farm in Quebec just over the border from Canaan, Vt.,” said Susan DeVito, of the Washington Square Association. DeVito spoke on the phone last week to Yves Marquis, a resident of the Vermont town (population 500) and owner of the family tree farm, who plans to cut the tree Saturday night so it can go on the truck the next morning. “Someone named Ivan is going to drive down and stop in Greenwich, Conn., Sunday night to sleep for a couple of hours before driving into the city before dawn on Monday,” DeVito said. Parks Department employees will be at the Washington Square Arch around 7 a.m. and erect the tree. The lights will go on at 6 p.m. Dec. 5 for the carol singing led by Keith Borden, with the Rob Susman Brass Quartet, sponsored by the Washington Square Music Festival and the Washington Square Association. Borden and the Susman Brass will lead carol singing under the arch again at 5 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Beep’s town hall: Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer will hold a Greenwich Village town hall meeting “to discuss important issues facing the community” on Nov. 28, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at St. Vincent’s Hospital, 170 W. 12th St., at Sixth Ave., Cronin Auditorium, 10th floor. Co-sponsors include Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, State Senator Tom Duane, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Community Board 2.
What’s a parade? A hearing on the Police Department’s proposed new rules defining “parades” that require permits will be held at 1 Police Plaza, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mon., Nov. 27. “Of course it’s the Monday after Thanksgiving when people will be out of town,” commented Judy Ross, a volunteer organizer with Time’s Up!, an environmental group that supports the monthly Friday evening Critical Mass bicycle ride that begins at Union Square. The proposed rules would require a permit for any parade, procession or race by 10 or more vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles “or herded animals” that travel together more than two blocks without complying with all traffic regulations. A permit would also be required for any group of 30 or more traveling together for more than two blocks whether complying with traffic rules or not. Time’s Up! and Assemble For Rights, a coalition of assembly-rights organizations, believe the City Council should define what parades require permits, not the police. “It’s an issue of separation of powers,” said Ross. “Police are there to make sure we comply with the law, not make the law,” she said. Moreover, traveling in groups is safest for cyclists, Ross said. “Drivers say they can’t see you when you’re by yourself on a bike, and the proposed rules discourage the safest way to ride,” she said. A recent Time’s Up! study found that it cost the city $1.3 million to police the once-a-month Critical Mass rally, Ross said.
Gottlieb surprise: At the Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing last week on the Keller Hotel, much to the surprise of local preservationists, the Gottlieb family sent their grandson who looked to be about 8 years old to testify on their behalf in SUPPORT of designation of the Keller Hotel at Barrow and West Sts. “I think this may be the first time in history that the Gottliebs the great “accidental preservationists” of Greenwich Village have ever done such a thing,” marveled G.V.S.H.P.’s Berman. “Additionally, they had there a very reputable architect and a preservation consultant who have just been hired to help complete the job of the on-again, off-again renovation of the building, which is a very good sign,” Berman added. “We had been getting worried that the project would just stay in limbo forever while the building rotted.”
Stop the violence! In the aftermath of the break-in on Nov. 11 at the old P.S. 64 after Brad Will’s memorial procession, developer Gregg Singer is begging the mayor and local elected officials for help. A press release by Lonnie Soury, Singer’s new public-relations spokesperson, says the old school was “attacked by a small group of activists,” and calls on “Mayor Bloomberg and local elected officials to step in and mediate the impasse over the future of the development before there is further violence. Most members of the East Village community want the abandoned property developed rather than have it remain a target for extremists,” the press release states. A call to the Mayor’s Press Office was referred to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. “We can’t comment at this time because of pending litigation,” said Lisi de Bourbon, L.P.C. spokesperson, referring to Singer’s several lawsuits lodged against the city in his quixotic bid to build a mega-dorm on the site of the landmarked old school. Speaking of ending the violence, Singer only just recently stopped hacking off the building’s historic details.
High Line forum: Friends of the High Line will hold a public forum at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in Chelsea Market’s ground-floor community space, 75 Ninth Ave., to discuss the north end of the proposed elevated park from 30th St. to 34th St. Although the south segment of the railroad viaduct from Gansevoort St. to 30th St. is owned by the city and is being transformed into a park, the north end between 30th and 34th Sts. is in doubt because it is still owned by CSX, the railroad that acquired the derelict line from Conrail.