West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 15 | September 12 - 18, 2007

Scoopy's Notebook

It’s not over, Trump! The New York Post’s report on Monday, “Trump Triumphs,” about the Department of Buildings rejecting the Soho Alliance’s request that D.O.B. revoke the building permit for Donald Trump’s 42-story Soho condo-hotel, didn’t phase the Soho Alliance. Sean Sweeney, the alliance’s director, said they had gotten the rejection letter from Mona Sehgal, D.O.B. general counsel, “weeks ago.” “We’re not at all surprised. What do you expect from these people?” Sweeney said. “But this is not a setback. This is a step forward to the next higher level — namely the Board of Standards and Appeals. And if B.S.A. finds against us, we’ll go to court.” Scoffing at the Post’s headline, Stuart Klein, the alliance’s attorney, said, “‘Trump triumphs,’ I wonder what press agent put that in.”

No to plant immigration: Sweeney also tells us that on Tues., Sept. 18, starting at 10 a.m., the Soho Alliance is going to clean up the Time Landscape at Houston St. and LaGuardia Pl. The Department of Transportation owns the strip and the Parks Department is supposed to clean it up once a year, but it’s in terrible shape, Sweeney said. The plot is an art project intended to re-create the natural foliage that existed on Manhattan Island in pre-Colonial times. But Sweeney said it’s become a joke, with the plot now full of weeds and foreign plant species. “I saw morning glories in there; they’re native to Mexico,” he said. Wilhelmenia from the Union Square Greenmarket will help them identify the foreign plants. “I think the artist should come down from cuckoo land and see what a failure his so-called work of art is,” Sweeney said. “We all supported it when it came out in the 1980s — and then he abandoned it for 20 years.”

What’s cooking? David Bouley is reportedly stirring up an idea to start his own culinary school on Varick St. at the spot where Home Depot was planning a store. The news has taste buds watering in Hudson Square. The superstar chef had looked for a space for the school in Tribeca for a long time without success.

Don’t be late for Taste: The Taste of the Village ad in last week’s Villager had the right date — but wrong day of the week — for the event. The food fest will happen on Tues., Sept. 18, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., in Washington Square Park.

CBGB scene: Shell Sheddy took the photo of Hilly Kristal — which in turn was photographed by Clayton Patterson — on the cover of last week’s Villager. Sheddy shot the photo on April 16, 2006. For more of her work, people can view Sheddy’s photo show “CBGB’s Forever: Remembering Hilly at CB’s” — 61 images — now up at Life Cafe at 10th St. and Avenue B and running through the end of the month. … We hear that just a day or two after the memorial for Kristal went up in front of CBGB, all the flowers and candles were taken away, and the gate, still bearing notes from when CBGB closed last October, was painted over and “Wet Paint” signs posted. You run a legendary music club for 30-plus years and that’s the kind of treatment you get? … Ironically, the day after Kristal died, Ashton Kutcher was filming his new movie “What Happens in Vegas” on the Bowery across the street from CB’s. The scene — also filmed by dozens of paparazzi — involved him running up the street, pointing goofily up at a window and then running into the Mannahatta bar. Of course, it remains to be seen if a new CBGB will happen in Vegas. … The Noho Neighborhood Association, by the way, is fuming over the Kutcher film shoot, saying it destroyed tree branches and left oil slicks and lots of garbage.

Fishy poetry:
Abe Vigoda — “Fish” from “Barney Miller” — was the special guest at Greenwich House Senior Center’s first Poetry Fest last Wednesday at the Greenwich House Music School. “He did make remarks that he was very impressed with the poetry group. He gave us accolades,” said Sarah Zenis, the group’s leader. Thirty-five poets read their work. Roy Levitt, Greenwich House’s director, said the Poetry Fest was such a success that it will be an annual event.

Antiquing antagonists: In 1982, People magazine erroneously reported Vigoda’s death. Last week, The Villager made a similarly egregious error when an article on Billy Leroy and his antiques and props store reported that Rob Fennick was dead. Fennick, who formerly owned the antiques tent on E. Houston St. between Elizabeth St. and the Bowery, is very much around and kicking, and his stage-four cancer is in remission. “I’m alive and doing well. I’m just blown away,” he said of the article’s assertion that he had kicked the antique bucket. In fact, Fennick says he’s still bitter about how Leroy, a former employee of his, convinced landlord Tony Goldman to give him the lease after Fennick had spent time receiving expensive cancer treatments and owed Goldman six months back rent, $18,000. “I was forced out,” charged Fennick, who now runs an antiques business out of his Central Park S. home. His clients include Ralph Lauren and Bergdorf Goodman and he does “a lot of window displays.” Needless to say, the article raised alarms. “My weekend was destroyed — so many voicemails and e-mails,” Fennick said. The Villager regrets the error. “It is an unfortunate mistake that the article said he had died,” Leroy said. Reporter Gerry Visco said Leroy had told her Fennick had been gravely ill, and that she wrongly assumed Fennick had died. As far as Fennick’s accusations that Leroy stole the E. Houston St. business away from him, Leroy said, “That’s totally, totally false.”

I wanna be sedated:
Saturday night’s Punk Panel at Crash Mansion during the HOWL! Festival was a real treat. There was a former Sex Pistol and Buzzcock, as well as C.J. Ramone. However, we couldn’t help but notice some slight one-upmanship between Danny Fields, the panel’s moderator, and Marguerite Van Cook, the festival’s director. When Van Cook said that she hoped today’s young female musicians don’t have to struggle as much as she did, Fields shot back that struggle had made her what she is today. “What was up with that? Who was that guy?” asked James Romberger, Van Cook’s husband, afterward. Told that Fields was the Ramones former manager, Romberger blurted out, “I hate the Ramones!” Little did he know that Denise, Mrs. C.J. Ramone, was standing right next to him. “I’m C.J.’s wife!” she said bemusedly. … Also raising some eyebrows at this year’s scaled-down HOWL! was the denouement of the “Low Life” show in Tompkins Square Park — when an actor playing a prostitute in the old McGurk’s Suicide Parlor took it all off, ending the show with full frontal nudity.

Square deal:
Word has it that the judge will rule on the environmental lawsuits against the Washington Square Park renovation soon. “Probably by the end of the month we should get a decision,” Joel Kupferman, of New York Environmental Law and Justice Project, tells us.

Corrections:
The Noho development site that New York University was rumored to be interested in but denied it was, is at Great Jones and Lafayette Sts., not Jones St., as we incorrectly reported last week. … Last week’s article on CBGB mistakenly mentioned the composer John Cage, when the musician that was associated with CBGB was John Cale of the Velvet Underground.


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