Volume 76, Number 43 | March 21 - 27, 2007

Scoopy’s Notebook

Musical Rashomon: One of the Washington Square Park musicians involved in last week’s alleged incident in which police officers are said to have told them to cease and desist from their jam session called us to clarify exactly what happened. A guitarist, he said he didn’t want us to print his name because he’s “kind of a private person.” He said the police officers were “cool” with them and that, actually, nothing bad happened. “The cops did not try to shut us down,” he stressed. “There were a small group of musicians. Basically, they were checking us out because they saw a small crowd. One of the cops had a regulation book in his hand and he was looking at it. But it was a small crowd, and we weren’t collecting money. Once they saw it was cool, they let us go. They let us play.” Some opponents of the Washington Square renovation, having heard a version of events that painted the police’s action as more severe, had told us last week that they were beside themselves over the incident, fearing that the Parks Department is now trying to “cleanse” the park of musicians. One even seethed that she was so angry that she couldn’t sleep after hearing about the alleged outrage. Well, according to the guitar man, things are groovy with the officers. “It wasn’t out of bounds at all,” he said. “In fact, I’m glad those guys are out there keeping things safe.”

Lithuanians lay it on line: Fifty congregants and supporters of Our Lady of Vilnius on Broome St. gathered across from St. Patrick’s on Fifth Ave. last week to protest the Catholic Archdiocese’s abrupt closing of the Lithuanian church. Joseph Pantuliano, a Vilnius lay trustee, said an archdiocese representative that he recognized — a particularly tall man — just watched them from the cathedral’s steps but didn’t deign to engage them. Pantuliano also was annoyed at archdiocese spokesperson Joseph Zwilling for claiming that Father Eugene Sawicki doesn’t speak Lithuanian, which he said is false. Pantuliano said Sawicki gave readings in English and Lithuanian.

In the campaign zone: In case you hadn’t heard, Tony Avella, the Queens councilmember, is running for mayor. He readily acknowledges he’s the “dark horse candidate,” and says he knows it will be tough raising funds to match the big boys and gals. Head of the Council’s Zoning Committee, he’s taken a special interest in the Trump Soho Condo Hotel. Calling it a zoning buster, he’s demanding the city turn down the building permit. Avella’s also working with the Municipal Art Society on rezoning guidelines that give the community — not the city — the final say.

Award winners: Q. Sakamaki keeps on racking up the awards for his gripping photo story “Sri Lanka: War Without End.” After winning a first-place award from World Press Photo, Sakamaki has now also won the Overseas Press Club’s Olivier Rebbot Award. Sakamaki’s Sri Lanka photos ran in The Villager last year. Another Villager photographer, Robert Kreizel, won an honorable mention from the New York Press Photographers Association in the “Face of New York” category for his photo of one of C.B.G.B.’s notoriously grungy and graffitied bathrooms, taken right before the legendary punk venue’s closing. Congrats!

Rent-regulated rock: The tenants of 47 E. Third St. are fighting against their landlords’ attempt to mass-evict them and convert their 15-unit tenement into a personal mansion, complete with a gym and nanny’s quarters. The legal battle has cost the tenants more than $150,000, and the outcome of the pending case will set a precedent throughout New York State. To assist the embattled tenants with their legal fees, the band Ninth Street Mission (Adam Chimera, Quinn Raymond, Namrata Tripathi and Karl Ward) will play a benefit on Sat., March 24, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at the Bowery Poetry Club, at 308 Bowery. There is a $15 suggested donation. Raymond actually grew up across the street from 47 E. Third, practically looking into its windows as a child, and decided that his band should help them out. Special guests will include Bowery Poetry Club regulars A Brief View of the Hudson and Nick Sidoti on violin.


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