West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 6 | July 11 - 17, 2007

Scoopy's Notebook

koch’s korner:
Former Mayor Ed Koch has some words of advice for Governor Eliot Spitzer: Stop picking on Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno. “I think Eliot Spitzer is losing the battle,” Koch told us. “You can’t talk to a 78-year-old man with those words — and most people, including me, think he used those words. I think he’s a good governor, but he’s human, he’s not a celestial being. I think there’s still lots of time for Spitzer to get out of this mess,” Koch added. “It’s not too late to change.”… Meanwhile Koch and Former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, who frequently talk to each other, said they both recently learned that candidates for vice president must be U.S. citizens. Stern had recently said otherwise in one of his NYCivic.org biweekly columns in which he suggested a hypothetical Mike Bloomberg/Arnold Schwarzenegger ticket. But Stern said he subsequently was informed by a professor that the last line of the 12th Amendment indicates a vice president must also be native born. Ahnold or not, Koch expressed confidence Bloomberg will run. “I have no doubt that he’ll run for president,” Hizzoner said. “He certainly will do better than Perot. Perot was a jerk. I believe he’s the underdog, but he could win. Anyone with his record of achievement and $800 million to make it known could win.” As for Mike’s running mate, Koch suggested — Ralph Nader, “because he’s got the issues down pat and he’s been around the track,” he said. “Oh that’s ridiculous,” retorted Stern, noting that Nader was once his vice president — back in ’56 when Stern was president of the Harvard Law Record and Nader was its vice president. “I published his first article, ‘American Indians: A People Without a Future,’” Stern recalled.

Gettin’ Googly:
John Penley’s new Bloomberg for President Web site is already reaping dividends. “I got Google ads up there,” he said. “I get a check from them every month.” Speaking of possible V.P.s, a “Who would you want for vice president?” poll is also drawing Web surfers’ interest. “We have everybody from Colin Powell to Howard Stern up there…Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Ron Kuby,” Penley said. “Actually, Al Sharpton, Bill Gates and Ron Kuby are now tied. I don’t have a computer, so I check with Paul Garrin. I think it was about eight or 10 votes for each one — but we have a lot of candidates, so that tends to spread the voting out.” Well, at least it sounds more exciting than the presidential race.

Shows at Demo:
We hear that an hour after the recent “unofficial opening” of the renovated Father Demo Square — the one that no Parks Department officials attended — George Vellonakis, the landscape architect who designed the park’s renovation, stopped by with his parents and relatives, plus a little dachshund in tow. But he didn’t actually enter, staying outside the park’s new, low fence. Vellonakis’s parents, who are getting on in years, had never seen any of his park renovations before, so Vellonakis was eager to show them his latest work, a source told us. Sharon Woolums, who has been a thorn — and a lawsuit plaintiff — in Vellonakis’s side on his Washington Square renovation plan, said the parks designer then stopped into nearby Joe’s Pizza for a slice, and she wound up in line behind him. Woolums congratulated him and he thanked her. (By the way, the correct names of the three other “gateway parks” of the Village near Demo Square are Churchill Square, Minetta Triangle Garden and Golden Swan Garden.)

Gotta re-present:
From what we’re hearing, the Parks Department’s re-presentation of the Washington Square renovation plans may be next week — but no date had been set as of press time. When we checked in with Councilmember Alan Gerson, he said he and Council Speaker Christine Quinn were firming up the date for the event, which will be held in the City Council chamber at City Hall.

A whole new HOWL!
Rebounding after taking a one-year hiatus in the face of financial woes and all-out listserv warfare, the HOWL! Festival of East Village Arts is set to return at the end of this summer with its fourth installment. In a new twist, however, this year’s festival — to take place over five days from Sept. 5-9 — is being directed by artist Marguerite Van Cook. Chairperson of the board of directors of the Federation of East Village Artists, HOWL!’s umbrella organization, Van Cook used to be among the critics who blasted FEVA and HOWL! for not adequately representing the interests of local artists. Van Cook’s position is unpaid, and, in fact, there is no real HOWL! staff this time around. She’s working out of what could only loosely be called an office in the basement of Bob Perl’s Tower Brokerage. “I believe that everybody in the community contributed so much to this festival,” Van Cook told us on Monday. “As a member of the board of FEVA, I felt it wasn’t right to break it up. I felt we could give it another shot — if we reined in our budget. It’ll be smaller and more authentic. Nobody’s getting paid. We’re all doing it out of love. We’re not going to have Wigstock — I’m not allowed to say yet what’s replacing it. We’re having Vision Fest — really local jazz musicians — and Art Around the Park. The opening night’s at the Bowery Poetry Club.” As for all the hoopla last year, Van Cook said, “If we hadn’t had people complaining, we’d have been in trouble, because this is the Lower East Side. If it had been too smooth, something would have been wrong. It won’t be perfect this year, but it will be resurrected.” That the festival is even happening hasn’t been publicly announced yet — other than here in Scoopy’s Notebook. Van Cook said the board will vote in a matter of days to conclude, hopefully, that they have enough funding and that the show will go on. Festival founder Phil Hartman expressed confidence in Van Cook. “I’m optimistic that we’re going to pull it off,” he said. “It’s going to be two and a half days in the park, a lot of participation by local venues, but a little scaled back this year — a little more realistic, a little less ambitious.” As for Joe Pupello, FEVA’s former executive director, “He’s busy at La MaMa [theater],” Hartman said succinctly. Chris Flash, who puts on punk concerts in the park, said he’s glad HOWL! is coming back and asks the “complainers” (do we need to name them here?) to cool it this year and just try to enjoy the festival.

Do the hustle:
Gawker Web site has found yet another color that may best describe Julian Schnabel’s new W. 11th St. high-rise Hollywood Hills mansion: “hustler pink.” We’re not exactly sure if that’s a certified color. But neighbors who unsuccessfully battled the project feel they were hustled, so it’s apropos.

Pier review:
The Pier 40 Working Group will issue a statement on the Hudson River Park Trust’s Pier 40 redevelopment process at a press conference as soon as next week. “It’s a pretty bold statement,” noted Arthur Schwartz, the working group’s co-chairperson, along with Tobi Bergman. The document’s details are embargoed until the press conference, but Schwartz has previously announced that the working group has come out against both proposals for the 14-acre W. Houston St. pier: the Pier 40 Performing Arts Center by The Related Companies, Tribeca Film Festival and Cirque du Soleil and The People’s Pier by CampGroup and Urban Dove. The working group includes members of Community Boards 1, 2 and 4 and local elected officials, Friends of Hudson River Park, Federation to Save the Greenwich Village Waterfront, West Village Houses and the Downtown and Village youth sports leagues.

Was fire symptomatic?
On Sunday morning, there was an electrical fire in the loading dock area of the St. Vincent’s triangle at Seventh Ave. S. and 12th St. Firefighters quickly put out the blaze. No one was injured. But some neighbors note that at the big June 13 meeting on St. Vincent’s rebuilding plans, hospital officials were asked to do something about the loading dock and its overloaded, leaking dumpster, yet the conditions have not improved. Some are suggesting calling 311 about it. Michael Fagan, St. Vincent’s spokesperson, said he mainly recalled people complaining about litter in the garden on the triangle, and that the hospital has since done one sweep to clean up the garden. “We’re always working hard to be the best neighbors we can be,” he said. “We always appreciate if somebody points out areas where we can improve.”

Liquor language:
Lower East Side bar watchdogs are nervous about a “change in resolution language” on Community Board 3’s moratorium zones for liquor licenses — areas the board has deemed oversaturated with bars and clubs and where the board automatically votes No on new liquor license applications. Rebecca Moore of LOCO (Ludlow Orchard Community Organization) said she was anxious because C.B. 3 didn’t notify her about the issue, when, she said, it’s well known that the area below Houston St. is deluged with watering holes. However, Susan Stetzer, C.B. 3 district manager, said they were required to change the language. To that effect, Josh Toas, the State Liquor Authority’s chief executive officer, recently met with Stetzer to go over the modifications. “I don’t expect this will change any votes [by the board on liquor licenses],” Stetzer said. “It would allow us to give more detailed information on our votes.” Either Stetzer or Alexandra Militano, the committee’s chairperson, will give a presentation on the new language at Monday night’s C.B. 3 S.L.A. Committee meeting, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the JASA/Green Residence, 200 E. Fifth St., between the Bowery and Second Ave. … Among new L.E.S. bars coming down the pike is a massive one called Downtown at Ludlow and Rivington, which, Moore reports disapprovingly, is stenciling the streets with teaser ads. David McWater, C.B. 3’s chairperson, said he’s heard a bar planned at Rivington and Essex Sts. will feature a mechanical bull in an apparent 1980s “Urban Cowboy” retro touch.


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