Volume 76, Number 51 | May 16 -22, 2007

Scoopy’s notebook

Tall tales: David Kramer, a principal of The Hudson Companies, is tired of everyone calling the 26-story dorm they’re building on E. 12th St. for New York University the “East Village’s tallest building.” In fact, the Gwathmey Siegel glass “squiggle tower” built by The Related Companies on Astor Pl., though only 21 stories, is taller, Kramer said, since it has higher ceilings. Lynne Brown, N.Y.U. senior vice president, said the same thing during our recent interview with N.Y.U. president John Sexton. But Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, scoffed at their claims. “It sounds like the Hudson/N.Y.U. spin machine is desperately flailing — again,” he said. “Anything to shift attention away from their 250-foot-tall monstrosity. I don’t know the height of the Astor Pl. tower. But the Astor Pl. tower is west of Fourth Ave. and the Bowery. It’s not in the East Village. I think Fourth Ave. and the Bowery are the universally recognized western boundary of the East Village — west of that is Community Board 2.”

It’s a sin: Mary Help of Christians Church at E. 12th St. and Avenue A will celebrate its final Mass this Sunday at 11 a.m. After 109 years, the East Village Salesian parish, which catered to immigrants, has been slated for closing by the Catholic Archdiocese. Rumors are flying around that N.Y.U. has bought the site for a huge sum. “We’ve had no formal conversations about it. And we don’t anticipate any conversations going on in the future,” said John Beckman, the university’s spokesperson. Joseph Zwilling, the archdiocese’s spokesperson, also said the rumors are unfounded — that the church hasn’t been sold to N.Y.U., or anyone at all, for that matter. “I don’t know who the heck is floating this story,” he said. “It’s ridiculous.” Zwilling said Mary Help of Christians will function from now on as a mission church with Masses, in English and Spanish, offered by priests from Immaculate Conception Church on E. 14th St. Meanwhile, the battle to save St. Brigid’s Church on Avenue B continues. At an East Village fundraiser last Saturday for the Committee to Save St. Brigid’s lawsuit against the archdiocese, actor Matt Dillon auctioned two of his photos.

Landmark moment: On Tuesday, the City Council approved landmark designation for the Keller Hotel at Barrow and West Sts., as well as for two smaller buildings 159 Charles St. and 354 W. 11th St.

What Lola wants, Lola gets: As we were strolling down Watts St. last Wednesday afternoon, we saw Tom and Gayle Patrick-Odeen at the door of the plywood construction fence outside Lola, their Soho restaurant that was tied up in the courts by the Soho Alliance seemingly forever. Mr. Patrick-Odeen didn’t have much to say, apparently just relieved that the convoluted process is over and that, on the directive of the Appellate Division, the State Liquor Authority issued them their liquor license on April 12. “We won. We’re opening in two or three weeks,” he said. “Sean Sweeney lost. It was a frivolous lawsuit.” However, Sweeney, the alliance’s director, warned that their attorney, Barry Mallin, will be filing an Article 78 lawsuit against the S.L.A. to overturn the granting of the liquor license.

Toxic dog log: Dogs and logs don’t mix, at least not in Chelsea, it seems. Dog owners in Chelsea Waterside Park howled that a balance beam-like log suspended between boulders was endangering their pets’ health. Daredevil doggies were falling off it and spraining their paws. And the wood was coated with a toxic plastic compound: When the dogs gnawed on it, it was making them sick — or “crazy,” causing them to frantically run around in circles. After meeting with the dog run users, Noreen Doyle, the Hudson River Park Trust’s vice president, removed the log, not personally, of course.

Bowery BAN: Concerned about the rapid transformation of the Bowery from Skid Row into Glitz Alley, a new coalition is forming to try to put a stop to it. The group is tentatively being called Bowery Association of Neighbors, or BAN. “We need to vote on it formally,” said one member regarding the name. “But that’s what we’re calling ourselves unofficially.”

Water ball: Maybe Little League home runs will be splashing in the Hudson River after all. In a follow-up to our article last week on the Pier 40 redevelopment brouhaha, Joanna Rose, The Related Companies spokesperson, told us Related feels it would be legal to have Little League baseball and youth soccer on barges if Pier 40 was being redeveloped. Rose said what isn’t allowed is adding new permanent structures in the park for nonwater-dependent uses. Barges are allowed if they are only temporary, she said. Rose said they have this all on the word of their counsel. The barges would be moved periodically so as not to harm the marine environment below as a result of blocking sunlight. Chris Martin, Hudson River Park Trust spokesperson, said, as part of the restrictions on the redevelopment process, they can’t comment on the barge idea.

Boys in the bubble: Cartel, the rock band soon to take up residence in the bubble on Pier 54 at W. 13th St., won’t be leaving it at all for 20 days. Martin, the Hudson River Park Trust’s spokesperson, said at least they will have bathroom inside. “That’s all accounted for,” he said. “That doesn’t take up much space. They’re locked in the bubble. All their food is in there.” For their sake, we hope they also have a shower. Cartel will be in the bubble from May 24 to June 12, when they will burst out for the Trust’s first RiverRocks concert. Also on the RiverRocks lineup are punk legend Joan Jett and the Blackhearts on June 28, the Grammy-winning Blind Boys of Alabama on July 19 and Latin funksters Yerba Buena on Aug. 9.

Error Villager: Louise Sheingold, a former Greenwich Village Little League mom, e-mailed us to point out that our article last week on the Pier 40 plans incorrectly stated that Tobi Bergman was G.V.L.L.’s founder. In fact, Bergman did not found G.V.L.L., which started in 1984. He was league president for four years in the early 1990s. For the record, Bergman didn’t tell us he was the league’s founder; it was our error.... Susan Goren called to scold Scoopy that when she said N.Y.U. has hired a new architect to do its “science building,” she WAS NOT referring to the Morton Williams development site on LaGuardia Pl., but to N.Y.U.’s science genome complex on Waverly Pl. And she made a point of adding, “I don’t get anything from my father,” referring to any alleged N.Y.U. insider tips from Arnold Goren, N.Y.U.’s former vice chancellor.

Reader Services


Email our editor

The Villager is published by Community Media LLC. 145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 229-1890 | Fax: (212) 229-2790 | Advertising: 646-452-2465 | © 2007 Community Media, LLC

Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before any of the contents of this newspaper, in whole or in part, can be reproduced or redistributed.