Fulani flap: In a move that has left some Community Board 2 members scratching their heads, if not aghast, Shirley Smith, chairperson of the board’s Youth Committee, has invited Dr. Lenora Fulani to speak at the committee’s meeting this Thursday evening. Fulani, dogged throughout her career by accusations of anti-Semitism, will speak on “The Corps and Kids Conversations,” according to the board’s calendar. We can’t be more specific on her presentation, and Smith didn’t help, declining to comment and abruptly hanging up when we called her on Monday for more information. When we called Councilmember Alan Gerson, who appointed Smith to the board, for his thoughts on the matter, he said it was the first he’d heard of it. “She did not consult with me,” Gerson said of Smith. “I’m certainly going to look into it. It’s not something I knew about or anticipated or would have recommended. I’m not quite sure what this is all about.” Gerson said, in the past, he’s declined to be interviewed by the Independence Party for endorsement because of “what Fulani represents.” “I will continue to oppose the Independence Party and the policies they and she espouse,” Gerson said. District Leader Arthur Schwartz, who is on C.B. 2, said anyone’s free to attend a public meeting but that he would be “deeply suspicious” of anything Fulani says. “I happen to think she’s a fraud, just an opportunist possibly an anti-Semite,” he said.
No-beer papaya: The iconic New York combo of franks with papaya juice will remain an unadulterated classic, at least at the Sixth Ave. location of Papaya Dog. The restaurant abruptly withdrew its application for a beer and wine license, which was slated to be heard at C.B. 2’s Business Committee Meeting on Tues., June 12. C.B. 2 District Manager Bob Gormley said the restaurant gave no reason for its withdrawal, though he thought it might be related to what he called the “storm cloud” of opposition from neighbors. “People on the block were primed to come out and contest it,” he said. Papaya Dog Manager Shablu Rahman told Scoopy he decided serving beer wouldn’t fit with the neighborhood. “Most people don’t like drunks,” he said.
East Village Dillon: At last week’s dual rallies to save the old P.S. 64 and St. Brigid’s Church, actor Matt Dillon, who is lending his star power to the efforts, said the East Village is his favorite neighborhood in the city but that he just can’t live there. “I’ve been hanging out here for 25 years, since my punk rock days,” he said. “I liked to think of myself as a Downtowner who lives Uptown.” But, he admitted, he’s lived on the Upper West Side so long now that he can’t really describe himself that way anymore. As for why he can’t live in Alphabet City, he said, “I just thought I’d get into too much trouble…being out carousing.”
Demo’s ready to go: Father Demo Square, at Bleecker St. and Sixth Ave., will have a gala ribbon cutting on Fri., June 22, at 11 a.m. “It’s going to be a big hoo-haa opening with [Council Speaker Chris] Quinn and all the electeds,” said David Gruber, president of Friends of Father Demo Square, one of the several hats he wears. Gruber said there are some last touch-ups being done, such as leveling the fountain, but it’s basically ready. “I think the park’s going to be a gem,” he said. Gruber said he believes the final price tag was more than $1.3 million. He said the project took a bit longer than usual because it was over subway tracks, thus needing signoffs from the Transit Authority, and also was expanded a bit into both Bleecker and Carmine Sts., needing approvals from the Department of Transportation.
Talking turkey: We’re informed it was not police officers, as we had reported, but Park Enforcement Patrol officers from the Parks Department who made the decision last week not to forcibly relocate Zelda, the Battery Park wild turkey, back to her home from Washington Market Park, where she was roosting as of last Tuesday afternoon. Zelda reportedly made it back on her own to Battery Park, however, where she was spotted this week.