Volume 76, Number 29 | December 13 - 19, 2006

Scoopy’s Notebook

Them bones, them Trump bones: On Tuesday, the Department of Buildings declared a stop-work order at the site of the Trump Soho condo-hotel project at Spring and Varick Sts. after the discovery the previous day of human skeletal remains. Jennifer Givner, a D.O.B. spokesperson, said the remains have been removed by the medical examiner for closer inspection, and that D.O.B., the M.E. and Landmarks Preservation Commission are working with the developer on what the next step will be. L.P.C. has an archaeologist on staff, she noted. Speculation is the site once may have been a church or cemetery. Givner said it was a “unique case” and that she couldn’t speculate on how long the delay might last. Funny, a few weeks ago we asked some of the construction guys at the site if they had found anything, and one quipped, “Jimmy Hoffa.” Could it be? Andrew Berman, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation director, who has been battling the 45-story “condotel,” denied that the bones came from the society’s bones archive and that he had placed them at the site. Fifteen years ago, the discovery of an African burial ground Downtown at Duane and Elk Sts. permanently blocked construction of a federal building on the spot.

Catching up with Koch: Ed Koch was in the hospital on Monday but it wasn’t anything serious, just a routine hernia operation. He went into Columbia-Presbyterian early that morning, had the surgery and was asked to stay overnight as a precaution in case of bleeding, because he’s been on a blood thinner since a mild stroke in 1987. He was expected to be back at his office the following day. Speaking by phone from his hospital bed, Hizzoner sounded chipper. “It’s a minor operation,” he dismissed. “So how was my article received?” he eagerly asked of his talking point in The Villager last week. The reaction so far hasn’t been much either pro or con…well, zero, actually, though Koch’s columns often do spark furious rebukes from liberal readers. “F—k ’em. You’ve got all those left-wingers, they hate Israel, and they’re not going to respond unless it’s a column saying Israel has no right to exist,” Koch said. Asked about the political landscape, Koch predicted the 2008 Democratic presidential ticket will be Hillary Clinton for president and Barack Obama for vice president versus Republicans John McCain and running mate Rudy Giuliani. “Whichever one wins, we’ll be well off,” Koch assured, though adding he’s backing Hillary all the way. Yet he’s still a big President Bush booster. Koch claimed history will judge W. to be among the “second tier” of presidents, among the likes of Harry Truman, who, like Bush, was on the ropes his second term in his office. The “first tier” (which mercifully is apparently safe from W.) includes Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and F.D.R., he said. Yes, but Bush’s popularity is at an all-time low of 30 percent. “Who cares?” Koch said. “Superb leaders don’t care about popularity — they care about leading the public and keeping them safe and allowing historians to make the ultimate decision.”

Penalty kick: Leave it up to Judith Stiles, our ace sports reporter, to give us the real inside scoop on why Jürgen Klinsmann turned down the job of coaching the U.S. men’s soccer team. First, Klinsmann — who led the overachieving Germans to a surprising third-place finish in this year’s World Cup — wanted $2.5 million per year. Second, he wanted to bring his people from Germany with him as assistant coaches, etc., but was told no. Third, he’s a Nike man and the U.S. team is committed to Adidas. “There’s too much politics in U.S. soccer,” Stiles lamented. “They didn’t want to fire people” to make way for Klinsmann’s sidekicks.

Who’s afraid of Tribeca gyms? We thought we noticed famed playwright Edward Albee chilling on a stool outside the sauna at the McBurney Y on Sunday afternoon, and we were right. Asked if he’s been working on a new play, he said, as a matter of fact, he’ll be wrapping up his latest one this week. He’s not looking for any publicity yet, though. (But Scoopy just couldn’t resist.) Albee lives in Tribeca but said he likes to come up to the Y on W. 14th St. because the gyms down there just aren’t as good.

Them bones, them Trump bones: On Monday, the Real Deal real estate blog reported that “skeletal remains” had been unearthed that afternoon during excavation work for the Trump Soho condo-hotel project at Spring and Varick Sts. The Web site said police believe the remains “had been there for an extended period of time.” Funny, a few weeks ago we asked some of the construction guys at the site if they had found anything, and one of them quipped, “Jimmy Hoffa.” Could it be? The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was reportedly checking out the bones.

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