Volume 76, Number 45 | April 4 - 10, 2007

Scoopy’s notebook

BEHIND THE GLASS CURTAIN: Local publicist Andrea Schwan recently sent us a bunch of flirty e-mails about 100 11th Ave., the upcoming Chelsea condo tower from French “starchitect” Jean Nouvel. She promised images and exclusive interviews about the building’s undulating “curtain wall” and other architectural details designed to make it “the most important building of the late-aughts,” as Curbed called it. But when we called her to suggest a photo in last week’s issue of The Villager, Schwan got cold feet and confessed that they didn’t want The Villager to scoop The New York Times. She said the Times was scheduled to run an artistic piece of architectural criticism. We were also a bit put off when Schwan dismissed Knox Martin’s eight-story “Venus” mural — which will be obscured by the new 19th St. edifice — as “absolutely not an important work of art.” Yet, she noted, many of the apartments, which will sell for $1.5 million to $8 million, will “have a private view” of the otherwise-hidden image.

(Opposing) train in vain: New Jersey Transit officials must have been relieved when the Tues., March 28, meeting at F.I.T. put to bed their months of public hearings on the draft environmental impact statement for the Trans-Hudson Tunnel. Also known as ARC (for “Access to the Region’s Core”), the project would double the number of train tracks crossing the Hudson River. State Senator Tom Duane and Council Speaker Christine Quinn gave statements of support. The hearing also featured many local transportation wonks, like Christine Berthet of Community Board 5 and the Clinton-Hell’s Kitchen Pedestrian Safety Coalition, or CHEKPEDS, who expressed dismay at the project’s 80-month construction period. George Haikalis, from the Institute for Rational Urban Mobility, also weighed in, decrying the state’s plan for a deep-cavern station under Macy’s. Haikalis called last week’s unveiling “a stark pronouncement of the collapse of regional planning in New York City.” Consensus in the room, though, seemed to be that this train has definitively left the station.

From cafe to kids: Alt.cafe, the mellow hangout with free wireless on Avenue A between St. Mark’s Pl. and Ninth St., recently closed. We hear it will be replaced by Hopscotch, a pricey young-children’s boutique.

Corrections: A photo caption in last week’s issue mistakenly stated that Mayor Bloomberg had proclaimed March 24, 2007, to be Life Cafe Day. In fact, Life Cafe Day was officially declared in November of last year — but the proclamation was presented at the cafe’s 25th anniversary celebration on March 24. Frank Camino, co-chairperson of the E. 10th St. Block Association, made the presentation at the anniversary fete…. Lillian Tozzi called to say that she felt last week’s article on the San Gennaro Festival permit flap mistakenly gave the impression that she opposes the festival. While she has concerns about other events that clog Little Italy’s streets — especially the Garlic Run — she said she doesn’t want to quash San Gennaro. Also, she said, she would never ever use the word “Mafia” in referring to the festival’s past operation.

Building momentum: The Landmarks Preservation Commission will be holding its hearing on designating 486 and 488 Greenwich St. next Tuesday at 3 p.m. at the L.P.C. in the Municipal Building at 1 Centre St. These are two more of the 13 federal houses the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and New York Landmarks Conservancy have proposed for landmark designation. Five of those 13 houses have already been designated (127, 129 and 131 MacDougal St., 4 St. Mark’s Pl. and 67 Greenwich St.) and three were heard in late January but have not yet been voted upon (94, 94 and 96 Greenwich St.)…. Also, the following Tuesday, April 17, at 10:30 a.m., the Board of Standards and Appeals will hold a hearing on neighbors’ challenge to the Department of Buildings’ allowing the transfer of air rights from the Cooper Station post office for New York University’s new 26-story E. 12th St. dorm. The air-rights transfer allows the new dorm — which will house freshmen — to be 65 percent larger than the site’s current zoning allows. The hearing will be at the B.S.A., 40 Rector St., sixth-floor hearing room.

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