Volume 76, Number 37 | February 7 -13, 2007

Scoopy’s Notebook

Big trip: Council Speaker Christine Quinn is leading a group of 11 councilmembers on a trip to Israel this week. The City Council Office of Communications sent a media advisory on Tuesday discussing a rocket attack that occurred at Nir-am Kibbutz, close to where Quinn was meeting with Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal. The trip, sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council, is part of a tradition going back more than 50 years of New York politicians visiting the “three I’s” — Israel, Ireland and Italy — to honor the historic background of city residents. Quinn’s visit has increased speculation she’ll run for mayor.

Cup of club coffee: When Brad Sussman took over as president of Village Reform Democratic Club two months ago, some were raving he’d transform the club in no time by attracting enthusiastic new young members. After Sussman was recently tapped to be Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s advance man, however, overhauling V.R.D.C. will be up to someone else, since under the reform club’s bylaws, anyone employed by an elected official can’t be president. We hear Noah Yago, a former hedge fund manager, is the leading candidate to lead the club. His brother Gideon is an MTV newscaster.

Break it like Beckham: Villager sports writer Judith Stiles really lives and breathes soccer. But the breathing got tougher last week, at least for a while, after she broke her nose going for a head ball in a Mexican Women’s Futsal Tournament. “Although I scored, my opponent clocked my nose badly,” Stiles e-mailed us over the weekend. “Mucho pain and mucho pain killers — right now it hurts to move my head.” Though her daughter, actress Julia, might sometimes employ stunt doubles, Judith is 100 percent hardcore. Incredibly, just two days later, she was back playing soccer with her team — though, she said, “just for 10 minutes, since my head felt like one big toothache.”

Market forces: After nine years of the former Essex Street Market building at 130-140 Essex St. sitting in limbo, there’s hope at last that something may happen. In December, the city’s Economic Development Corporation won a protracted legal battle to evict Henry Rainge-Megill from the property for nonpayment of rent, and he promptly vacated. In a business plan back in 1998, Rainge-Megill had proposed to renovate the old market building into a banquet hall for bar mitzvahs, sweet-16 parties and such. In a July 2004 article in The Villager — five years after he’d hoped to be open for business — he maintained the project was “90 percent finished.” But the grand plans never materialized; all that happened was a short-lived barbecue stand manned by Rainge-Megill himself, followed by an aborted 1,000-person New Year’s Eve rave on Dec. 31, 2001, that the Fire Department shut down for code violations — this despite the fact that Rainge-Megill had promised Community Board 3 in ’98 that if he got the building he wouldn’t allow it to become a dance club. Word on the street is that the city now may be eyeing the site for a hotel. But Janel Patterson, E.D.C.’s spokesperson, said, “We’ve just got back control, so we are evaluating options.” Nine years ago, wanting to help the community, the city simply gave the property to Rainge-Megill, a Lower East Sider, without competitive bidding. Asked if E.D.C. will issue a more formal request for proposals this time, Patterson only said, “We aren’t putting out any more ideas about it yet.” The 13,000-square-foot space is in one of the four, one-story Essex Street Market buildings constructed in 1938 by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia to house pushcart vendors so they would stop cluttering up the streets. Two years ago, the new Federation of East Village Artists group floated a scheme to develop the property into an arts-and-theater complex, to be financed by new a residential tower — but the stalemate with Rainge-Megill made it all speculative. Our phone numbers for Rainge-Megill are no good anymore and he’s not listed. Although he didn’t do so well transforming the Essex Street Market, Rainge-Megill did star in the 2002 movie “A Cuban Legend: The Story of Salvador Gonzalez,” about a muralist who transformed an alley into a world-renowned outdoor art and performance space. Phil Hartman, FEVA’s founder and former executive director, said Rainge-Megill used to make a dynamite barbecue sandwich.


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