Volume 76, Number 35 | January 24 - 30, 2007

Scoopy’s Notebook

Hanging with Hillary: In her first public appearance after announcing her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton showed up Sunday at the Ryan/Chelsea-Clinton Community Health Center, not named after her daughter, by the way. Flanking Clinton at the podium as she fielded reporters’ questions were two of her local supporters, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. We practically had to drag it out of him — well, actually, it wasn’t that hard — but on Monday Councilmember Alan Gerson told us he’s backing Clinton, too. “The answer is yes. The Villager is hearing this first,” Gerson said.

Connor for comptroller: State Senator Martin Connor submitted papers on Monday seeking to fill the state comptroller’s position, recently left vacant after Alan Hevesi resigned over “Chauffergate.” Connor, the State Senate’s senior Democrat, resigned as assistant counsel to the state comptroller when he was first elected to the Senate in 1978. For eight years he was Senate Minority Leader — and for more years than that has been an election lawyer highly skilled at knocking candidates off the ballot. “I love being a member of the New York State Senate and the only other job for which I would leave the Senate is to serve the people of New York as their comptroller,” Connor said, adding, “I’m the only person applying for this position who has actually worked in the Comptroller’s Office.” Connor says he aims to make the Comptroller’s Office “the responsible, fiscal watchdog the people of New York expect and deserve.” Asked his take on Connor’s bid, Gerson said, “Marty Connor is a contender for state comptroller. I think he would be a great comptroller.” Would he run for Connor’s seat if it opened? “It’s certainly too early to consider or rule anything out,” Gerson said, adding he’s keeping his focus on his Council district’s progress for right now.

Life of Brian: Brian Kavanagh will be sworn in as the new assemblymember for the East Side’s 74th District in a ceremony at The Cooper Union’s Great Hall on Sun., Feb. 4, at 1 p.m. The event is open to the public. We’re told Kavanagh is still searching for an emcee, possibly leaning toward tapping a local artist.

Hard fight in Big Easy: As of Monday, the last we’d heard was that Lower East Side radical comic artist and former squatter Seth Tobocman and other activists were barricaded in a New Orleans public housing complex in defiance of a demand that they vacate. The city, which wants to level the housing in the aftermath of Katrina, was going to court to get an order to force them out.

Reverend’s blessing: Reverend Joyce Hartwell, head of the former All-Craft Foundation on St. Mark’s Pl., still reads The Villager online, maybe up in Albany, which is where she was headed five or six years ago after All-Craft fell apart due to financial problems. She particularly liked last week’s article, “Tales from the crypt,” about the history of the early 19th-century congregation at Spring St. where interracial marriages were reportedly performed and where Donald Trump is now trying to build a 42-story condo-hotel in the face of stiff community opposition. “Well-done story and choice for feature…one of your better efforts,” e-mailed Hartwell, who herself was in two interracial marriages or serious relationships, as we recall her having told us…. Speaking of the unearthed human remains at the Trump site, Andrew Berman, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation executive director, claims there’s a very good chance the old abolitionist church was an Underground Railroad station, which would give the site special federal protections. The report by the archaeologist who investigated the site for Trump, however, didn’t mention the Underground Railroad. Somehow, though, Berman’s not surprised.

Better with BID: According to Diane Condon, vice president of the East 11th St. Block Association, the association has received several calls and comments from neighbors and businesses on “the immediate improvements” in sanitation and graffiti removal on University Pl. following the Village Alliance business improvement district’s extension. The Village Alliance began providing some services — including sending out their sanitation workers and graffiti patrol — to the expanded area on Jan. 2. “What a difference!” Condon said. “Instead of overflowing trash bins on every corner and litter up and down neighborhood streets, we now have tidy white BID bags lining the trash receptacles, and the bags are tied up and new ones put in at intervals during the day. Kudos to the Village Alliance BID and its executive director, Honi Klein.”

Board beat: Before you know it, June will roll around, meaning it will be time for community board elections. At Board 2, covering Greenwich Village, Noho, Soho and Hudson Square, Brad Hoylman says he’s definitely running for chairperson. We haven’t heard any other names, except perhaps Phil Mouquinho; but a source says it’s unlikely Mouquinho would challenge Hoylman. Meanwhile, political foes Arthur Schwartz and Sean Sweeney, while not running, are furiously e-mailing — each other — after Schwartz e-mailed board members urging they consider all potential candidates, which Sweeney — in an e-mail to Borough President Scott Stringer — derided as “spam.”… As for Board 3, covering the East Village and Lower East Side, things are much, much calmer. David McWater, now in his third year as chairperson, says he could well run for re-election for another year. “I haven’t decided,” he said. “I wanted to stay chairperson until we were done with the rezoning. I’ll probably make an announcement in April.” On a personal note, McWater said he’s been trying to sell off Opaline, his bar/club on Avenue A, for the past year but that the recent State Liquor Authority moratorium on new liquor licenses may be scaring off buyers. However, Opaline is grandfathered, having had a liquor license for 25 years, predating the 500-foot rule, he said. Whoever buys it must make it a real restaurant, McWater said, noting he agreed on this with the building’s landlord.

Billboard beat: The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is crying foul over two jumbo billboards that are slated to go up in the Meatpacking District by the Gansevoort Hotel. One would be 20 feet by 60 feet, or 1,200 square feet, according to G.V.S.H.P.’s Andrew Berman, who believes the billboards are illegal due to their proximity to Seravalli Playground and an arterial highway, the West Side Highway. Billboards are turning the Meat Market into a “new mini-Times Square,” Berman warned.

Fashionistas take pier: Project New York, a major fashion wholesale trade show, has temporarily commandeered indoor pier-shed space on the northwest corner and west side of Pier 40, the 14-acre W. Houston St. pier. The fashion show brought a steady stream of cars. However, on Monday, two Park Enforcement Patrol officers were posted on the bike path near the pier’s entrance, making sure no cars turned onto the bikeway, on which Eric Ng, 22, was killed just a block away at Clarkson St. by a drunk driver from Chelsea Piers in December.

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