Volume 76, Number 36 | January 31 - February 6, 2007
Pizza politics: It took more than a year, but David Gruber, president of the Carmine St. Block Association, has succeeded in his efforts to get the new Abitinos pizzeria at Carmine and Bleecker Sts. to take down its unsightly, oversized, bright-red, illuminated sign. Not only that, but the pizzeria has installed a more appropriate facade outside and a tasteful wooden bar inside. Theyre in one of the oldest buildings in the Village, Gruber stressed. That building was built in 1820. Plus, he said, The sign was illegal. As if the pizzeria hadnt submitted to enough of Grubers demands, he has even persuaded them to start making thin-crust pizza. Everyones watching carbs and I like that kind of pizza better, he explained.
Plan of action: Trying to resolve the standoff over the old P.S. 64 building on E. Ninth St., a new coalition has formed with the goal of hiring an organization with urban-planning expertise to conduct a feasibility and cost study on what it would take to buy the old school back from developer Gregg Singer, renovate it and fill it with appropriate uses. The new group, Development Advisory Group 64, has already interviewed several interested private organizations, as well as planners from Pratt Institute. Councilmember Rosie Mendez said it was her idea to form the new group. I think we as a community need to start thinking of possible uses [for the old P.S. 64] and what programs should be there, she said. But we dont own the building. Mendez said a goal of D.A.G. 64 is to determine an accurate sale price for the turn-of-the-century school at E. Ninth St. off of Avenue B, which most recently was the CHARAS/El Bohio cultural and community center. Mendez said she feels the sale prices Singer has quoted are not accurate. Fundraising will also need to be done to finance the study. D.A.G. 64 is a small coalition, Mendez said. Matt Viggiano from State Senator Martin Connors office said Michael Rosen of East Village Community Coalition is a leading member, but it seems that Rosen is keeping a low profile on this one. Mendez said the Armando Perez Community Cultural Center group composed of some members, like Susan Howard and Marianne Perez, who parted ways with E.V.C.C. during the fight to landmark the building also is represented on the new coalition.
Parade permit flap: Last Friday, the New York Police Department issued its latest proposed guidelines for parade permits, raising the number of bicyclists riding together who need a permit to 50, from its earlier proposal of 30. Council Speaker Christine Quinn is said to feel this number is a good compromise. The Times reported Quinn has embraced the new rules and is vowing to monitor them to ensure we strike the proper balance between protection of civil liberties with the need for public order. But some of her Council colleagues disagree. I think in New York City thats an unrealistic number and it still infringes on our First Amendment rights, said Councilmember Mendez. Im not quite sure what the [right] number is. Id like to have more discussions with advocates and colleagues. Mendez has been meeting on the issue with a group of likeminded councilmembers, including Alan Gerson, Gale Brewer and Letitia James, the latter who represents Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The guidelines are primarily seen as a way to force the anarchic monthly Critical Mass bike ride to obtain a permit. Mendez will lead a press conference on the new guidelines on Wed., Jan. 31, at 12:15 p.m. at 1 Police Plaza near the Brooklyn Bridge.
Psycho R.I.P.: Last Thursday several days before attention focused on the Hells Angels after a critically injured woman was found on the sidewalk near their E. Third St. clubhouse we received a call from Pittsburgh that Wayne Miller known by his Angels nicknames Psycho (on the East Coast) and Wacko (on the West Coast) died last Wednesday. Eric Koperek, a friend and architect in Pittsburgh who had employed Miller as a contractor, said Miller, who was in his mid-50s, had once been the head of the Angels E. Third St. clubhouse but had retired about eight years ago to Pittsburgh because of various health problems. The cause of death was unknown pending an autopsy, but Koperek said Miller had gone into the hospital the day before to have part of his foot amputated. He told me that if he died to contact the boys at the clubhouse, Koperek said. Koperek couldnt find a phone number for the clubhouse, but found some of The Villagers articles on the Hells Angels online, so he let us know. Wayne was a very ornery character even in his best moods, he said. He was like the Tasmanian Devil or Yosemite Sam. Hed come up and hit you on the side of the head with a motorcycle helmet and that was if you were his friend. They didnt call him Psycho for nothing. He said Miller was orphaned and raised by the Pittsburgh mob. The funeral was held Friday and Millers ashes were scattered on a hilltop on a Pennsylvania farm, he said. Despite a call to the F.B.I., we were unable to confirm by press time that Miller was indeed once head of the Hells Angels E. Third St. clubhouse. But Koperek said the Angels are like that and dont like to every divulge who is or isnt in the organization.
Spam war: Sean Sweeney of Community Board 2 is still fuming that he is being spammed by fellow board member Arthur Schwartz, who he says is sending him gibberish. I have Hotmail, explained Schwartz. For some reason, the settings on my e-mail on that particular one got received by him as some sort of gibberish it happened to a few other members too. Im trying to work with the Hotmail people so that doesnt happen. For the record, Schwartzs Jan. 25 e-mail was a response to an e-mail from Shirley Smith in which she had urged, Lets get the politics out of the community boards. F.Y.I. Sean: In his response Schwartz said the boards are a great proving ground for political candidates and also asked if any board members want to take a tour of Pier 40 to better inform themselves for their impending vote on the piers two latest redevelopment proposals. Schwartz is currently refraining from sending out any more e-mails to board members until he fixes his e-mail problem.
Moving on up: Brad Sussman, president of Village Reform Democratic Club, has landed a plum new job, snagging an intergovernmental position in the office of Attorney General Andrew Cuomo which is why he couldnt make an interesting panel discussion on the arts that V.R.D.C. hosted at the National Arts Club last Thursday. About 70 people attended the event, emceed by Citizen Reno. The panel included Councilmember Alan Gerson; sculptor James Kroak; Tom Healy, president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Marguerite Van Cook of the Federation of East Village Artists; and Adam Walden, president of Gen Art. In the Light, a hot band led by Rona Allen, practically stole the show; theyll also be playing at Assemblymember Brian Kavanaghs installation on Sun., Feb. 4, at 1 p.m. at The Cooper Unions Great Hall, at 7 E. Seventh St.
Fun without football: Were a women-owned and -operated bar and we dont have TVs or chicken wings, said Amy McCloskey, owner of Madame X, at 94 W. Houston St. She was recalling the bars former dilemma that used to see its business totally dead on Super Bowl Sunday to the point that the bar just started closing for the day. The answer, McCloskey has found, is the Anti-Super Bowl Party, featuring all kinds of pampering things for women. This will be the third annual installment of the party at the nine-year-old bar and they have grown in popularity each year. No men will be allowed from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., during which there will be massages, spray tans, makeovers, oils for hand massages, a psychic foretelling romance likelihood for the next year, striptease classes and half-naked shot boys pouring shots of Imperia Vodka. All for just $20 (online at madamex.com), or $25 at the door.
Mistress move: Wanda Hanlon, owner of O Mistress Mine, tells us that the stylish vintage clothing store, forced out by high rent in the West Village earlier this month, will reopen next month at a new East Village location at 320 E. 11th St.
Back from the big house: Were told L.E.S. Jewels, leader of the Tompkins Square gutter pirates, is back on Avenue A after serving a few months in jail in Philadelphia, allegedly for inciting a riot at a punk rock concert. Jewels, who said it was the police that started things, said it was the absolute worst jail hed ever been in. Hes now clean and sober, though, thanks to his new girlfriend who is taking art classes at the School of Visual Arts. Shes straightened him up and hes promising to stay out of trouble. You can do it Jewels good luck!
Stable move: Connie Fishman, Hudson River Park Trust president, reported at last weeks Trust board meeting that she was happy to say the police horses at Pier 63 in Chelsea will be leaving in three weeks. She said after the horses leave, Trust contactors will remove the buildings asbestos before demolishing the pier stable to build the rest of the parks Chelsea section. Sounds like good news all around, except for the horses that have been sucking down asbestos.
Tallmer onstage: The Coffeehouse Chronicles are/is an ongoing series at La MaMa these past couple of years at which writers, actors, directors and others who were on the scene and involved in the sprouting of Off-Broadway and the birth of Off-Off-Broadway talk about that scene and their place in it, and have a give-and-take with the audience and a few compatriots of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The Villagers Jerry Tallmer has been on a couple of those panels, and now Sat., Feb. 17, at 3 p.m. the victim is Tallmer himself. If all goes well, coming along for the ride will be actress Marian Seldes, playwright/cartoonist/author Jules Feiffer and Edwin C. Fancher, founding publisher of The Village Voice.