West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 18 | October 3 - 9, 2007
Letter, please! The Soho Alliance is charging that the Department of Buildings is giving them the runaround in their effort to get the building permit pulled for the Trump Soho Hotel Condominium on Varick St. Although D.O.B. on Aug. 14 rejected the Alliances request, they still arent providing the official letter the Alliance needs in order to ask the Board of Standards and Appeals to pull the permit. If they get D.O.B.s letter and the B.S.A. then also refuses their request, the Alliance will go to court. But they need the letter first! By delaying, D.O.B. is helping Donald Trump, the Alliance suspects. Stu Klein, the Alliances attorney, wrote Christopher Santulli, D.O.B. borough commissioner, on Sept. 20, requesting the letter. Klein was away this week, but Gregory Chillino, an associate, said they are now actually threatening legal action just to get the letter! If we dont get a response by next Monday, Ill review it with Mr. Klein and see what action to take, Chillino told us. It smells bad, doesnt it?
Spectacular bid? Jonathan Greenberg reports that the attorney on his lawsuit against the Washington Square Park renovation has informed him that the bids for the project have come in to the Parks Department. No winner has been picked yet, but Parks plans to select one in a few weeks, with work beginning at the earliest at the end of this month; a seven-day notice must be given before work starts, Greenberg said. Thats assuming that we dont win the lawsuit which we expect to do, Greenberg said.
Join the club: Now that the Pier 40 Partnership has become the hot waterfront group for Village financial heavy hitters, Arthur Schwartz, chairperson of Community Board 2s Waterfront Committee, said hes thinking of joining, too. But does Schwartz really have that kind of cash? I own a townhouse, he told us. I bought it when the market was down.
Meanwhile, Chelsea waterfront activist Bob Trentlyon is complaining that Pier 40 is monopolizing discussion about Hudson River Park, to the detriment of projects in his own nabe.
Koch canned: New York Press, under the new ownership of publisher Tom Allon, has dumped former Mayor Ed Koch as a columnist. They told me that they changed direction whatever that means, Hizzoner said.
Berman obsession: Following his landslide victory in the 75th Assembly District judicial delegates race, Andrew Berman was a no-show last Monday at the convention at which judicial delegates vote on whom they want to be on the ballot for Supreme Court judge in November. That was the sole purpose of why those people were elected, hissed a source, hiding behind anonymity. In the end, out of a field of seven Manhattan candidates, Paul Feinman from Chelsea Reform Democratic Club was elected, after Lucy Billings withdrew at the last moment, avoiding a floor vote at which Bermans vote might have mattered. Berman laughed off the criticism. There was actually no vote, he said. I was at the M.T.A. hearing on Mulry Square, as you know from the article in last weeks Villager but I was on call. Second, when you run as a judicial delegate, you dont know when the judicial convention is going to be. And the M.T.A. hearing that night was a crucial opportunity to push the M.T.A. on their plan, which I was there to do. I was ready to hop in a cab and go up to the vote if needed but the need never arose. The expectation was there would be no vote at the convention, he added. Berman guessed it was just someone trying to stir things up. I dont like to cast aspersions if I dont know who was involved, he said, but its someone trying to make an issue out of something thats not an issue.
Green Margarita: Mayor Bloomberg recently appointed Councilmember Margarita Lopez as environmental coordinator at the New York City Housing Authority. In her new role, Lopez already a commissioner of the authority will develop a comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction plan for NYCHA, which is the nations second-largest landlord with 343 developments housing 408,000 residents. The Army is the U.S.s largest landlord. I am honored that Mayor Bloomberg has chosen me to head this important initiative, said Lopez. NYCHAs size and location throughout the city make it an important resource in achieving the goals set by the mayor. NYCHA is going to be an integral part of PlaNYC and the global effort to help ensure a healthy and environmentally sound future for everyone.
The wild ones: Lopez will also be one of the grand marshals, along with Congressmember Nydia Velazquez and Councilmember Rosie Mendez, at the East Village Community Coalitions Kids Art Bike Ride on Sat., Oct. 13, in Tompkins Square Park. A couple hundred children, at least, are expected, Michael Rosen of E.V.C.C. tells us, adding that the junior cyclists have been working on their bikes all year.
No mo Mos: Mo Pitkins, the Avenue A performance venue and restaurant co-owned by Phil Hartman, founder of the HOWL! Festival, will be closing on Sat., Oct. 20, followed by a free closing-night party/performance on Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. An e-mail message from the club said: It has been a great two years and were proud of the talent weve launched and the performers weve nurtured. Building our bi-level performance space was an enormous undertaking, done with a lot of love, but it created a debt load that the club just could not sustain. Our apologies go to the performers whose upcoming gigs will now be cancelled.
Special thanks to all those who sent such glowing testimonials and moving condolences over the last couple of days. We hope that the buildings next owner will continue to nurture local talent, and that the Downtown performance scene will continually find new venues and new opportunities to reinvent itself.
Justice at Jena: Hunter Johansson, Borough President Scott Stringers C.B. 2 liaison and not actress Scarletts brother, he insists, despite Scoopys disbelief was dressed all in black at the C.B. 2 meeting two weeks ago. It wasnt a fashion statement, he said, but a political one, in support of the Jena 6.
Restaurant to go: Lucas Mann, former Greenwich Village Little League pitching ace turned ace reporter, who interned with us this summer, e-mailed us from Vassar college that his brother, Peter Waldman, was in Mamma Buddha on Hudson St. at 11th St. when suddenly the waitresses ran out, gave him his food to go and started pulling pictures off the wall, packing them up and saying the Chinese restaurant was closed forever. Other longtime Hudson St. standbys to recently bite the dust include Hunan Pan and Sazerac House.