West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 15 | August 15 - 25, 2007

Scoopy's Notebook

Fountain figures, please: In a joint letter they wrote last week to Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmember Alan Gerson threw down the gauntlet over the Washington Square Park renovation design, at least pertaining to the fountain. They told Benepe he must show figures proving that moving the park’s fountain a few feet to the east isn’t any more than “negligibly” more expensive than repairing the fountain in place. If Parks doesn’t produce the proof, the councilmembers say they will oppose moving the fountain altogether — meaning the perfect, Versailles-like symmetry of the George Vellonakis-designed renovation plan will be thrown all out of whack. In an interview on Tuesday, Gerson said Benepe, at a previous Caity Council budget hearing on that the project, “testified under oath that the cost differential is negligible, and I have no reason to disbelieve it.” Under the Gerson-Quinn agreement of October 2006, Parks committed either to show that the costs are comparable or keep the fountain in its current place, Gerson noted. Jonathan Greenberg of the Open Washington Square Park Coalition hailed Gerson and Quinn’s letter to Benepe for putting some bite into their agreement, finally. “It’s baby teeth,” he said optimistically.

Size matters: Villager columnist and N.Y.U. journalism professor Dan Meltzer suggests a new slogan for The New York Times’ new shrunken pages: “All the News That Fits.”

Bashes back at Bill: Conservative blowhard Bill O’Reilly better stop picking on our sports reporter’s famous actor daughter. In his Friday New York Post column, O’Reilly blasted Matt Damon and Julia Stiles and their new movie, “The Bourne Ultimatum,” calling them and the flick “anti-American.” O’Reilly wrote that Damon “does work for the far-left MoveOn organization and is on record requesting the Bush daughters serve in Iraq. … Stiles is also down with the far left,” O’Reilly wrote. “On a cable program she explained why she missed a MoveOn event by saying: ‘I was afraid that Bill O’Reilly would come with a shotgun at my front door and shoot me for being unpatriotic.’” Julia’s mom, Judith Stiles — our intrepid sports reporter — unloaded on O’Reilly, saying, “I guess Bill O’Reilly didn’t really see the movie, because it just isn’t anti-American. His statement is uninformed, ridiculous and incendiary. Writing that is a deflection from the debacle in the Middle East that George Bush and the oil mongers have created.” (Judith has been out of commission for a while because she’s recovering from a stomach ailment, but she says she should be back on the Downtown sports beat soon.)

No sir, not related: Just so we can drop the name of another actor (or two?) in Scoopy’s Notebook, Hunter Johansson, Borough President Scott Stringer’s liaison to Community Board 2, tells us he is definitely not, repeat not, related to Scarlett Johansson, whose new flick is “The Nanny Diaries.” A Web search, however, reveals that Scarlett “has a twin brother, Hunter, also an actor,” and that Scarlett was born on Nov. 22, 1984, with Hunter born three minutes after her. He did grow up in Greenwich Village and attended P.S. 41 — just like Scarlett did. Hmm. … Hunter, though, told us that he thought Scarlett is “older” than him (by three minutes, maybe?), and that he just recently graduated from the University of Vermont and is, well, just a regular guy. We’re not the only one to wonder, however. “It’s the first thing I asked him,” Florence Arenas, a C.B. 2 staffer, told us. Oh well, we’ll just continue to listen at C.B. 2 meetings as Hunter — who is not the Hunter who is Scarlett’s brother — gives his reports from the borough president.

Terrorized by anti-terror drill: An Upper West Sider was munching a sandwich on Sixth Ave. near Broome St. recently when, to her alarm, the area was suddenly flooded with dozens of police cars, their colored lights flashing. As she wondered what was going on, Reno, the performance artist, happened to be passing by and said the scene freaked her out, too. Reno told her the swarm of cop cars, in fact, has been regularly coalescing in that neck of Soho for a few years now, to everyone’s chagrin. About a week later, as the squad cars were again out in force at Sixth and Broome, an officer explained to us that it’s a counterterrorism action that happens twice a day, seven days a week in different parts of the city. Where they go is “random” but the police also have their “favorite places,” he confided. Mainly, the police convoy to landmarks and places terrorists might strike, he said. It helps to have a location big enough to accommodate 40 to 100 vehicles. The spacious stretch of Sixth Ave. and Broome St., near the Holland Tunnel, is a popular spot, he admitted. As for why the police cars drive in a line, it’s just the most convenient way to go through traffic, he said. Whatever. We’re guessing Reno is still ticked off about it.

Raising the bar for bars: Mayor Bloomberg recently signed legislation to increase the number of billiard tables that require an establishment to seek a billiard room license from the Department of Consumer Affairs. Currently, the law requires establishments with two or more billiard or pocket billiard tables to obtain a billiard room license from D.C.A. “This puts an unnecessary burden on small businesses, including bars and lounges, that have two or more billiard tables but whose main function is not to serve as a billiard room,” Bloomberg said. In good news for Minnesota Fats wannabes, the new law raises the threshold for requiring a billiard room license to three tables. So practice your trick shots, and look for more bars to have not one, but two, pool tables from now on.


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