West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 20 | October 17 - 23, 2007

Scoopy’s Notebook

Harassed at ‘gay precinct’: Recent news articles reported that a gay cop who is suing the Police Department for harassment was transferred from a Queens precinct to the Sixth Precinct so that he “could be with his people.” Yet, one article stated, the officer still was subjected to homophobic remarks by fellow officers after arriving at the Greenwich Village precinct. Ironically, as Kevin Fitzgerald, the Sixth’s former commanding officer, told us a few years ago, “Half of my command is gay.” “It’s true,” a rookie officer at the precinct recently told us with a shrug when we asked him about Fitzgerald’s comment. He said he’d heard about the harassment charges, but that it happened before he arrived at the precinct.

Slow growing: The Academy of St. Joseph has already expanded by 50 percent since school started — by adding one student. And, by the looks of things at an open house Tuesday, the $25,000-a-head Washington Pl. school may grow by leaps and bounds next year. Reporter Melissa Korn tells us seven whole parents attended the information session. While they were impressed by the one working classroom, a kindergartener’s dreamland of bright colors, some were surprised by the state of the rest of the school. There was brand-new paint that still smelled, a thin coat of dust from recent work rubbing off on their clothes, even open air vents and wires hanging from the ceiling. Wonder what they would’ve thought if they saw the school at the beginning of the year — when the kids were in a basement! 

No occupancy for residents: The owner of 1 Bank St. is turned the building into a long-term stay hotel, much to residents’ deep dismay. Although there are still some rent-regulated tenants, most of the units are market rate, and already market-rate tenants are being notified that their leases will not be renewed. “Only moguls like Harvey Weinstein can afford to live in this neighborhood now,” one resident complained, bemoaning the loss of a Village way of life, not to mention her apartment.

hotel war: The carpenters’ union has expanded their protest over the hotel at 200 Allen St. to the 60 Thompson St. hotel. Both the Lower East Side hotel project and the existing one in Soho are owned by the Pomeranc group. The union members claim Pomeranc is using and exploiting undocumented workers at 200 Allen St., paying them as little as $15 an hour, when the prevailing union wage is $40 an hour, plus not providing health benefits or insurance, either. Community Board 3 recently passed a resolution supporting the union’s efforts at 200 Allen St., but didn’t totally slam Pomeranc, leaving an opening for ongoing negotiation.

Power play: After reading Lorcan Otway’s recent article about the plight of Jim “Mosaic Man” Power, Steve Herrick, executive director of the Cooper Square Committee, contacted us asking for Power’s phone number. “The Cooper Square Committee and our development partner, Community Access, are finishing up a 54-unit building at 29 E. Second St. and should have a [temporary certificate of occupancy] by December,” Herrick said. “We will begin marketing the low-income studio apartments very soon, and I’d like to send Mr. Power an application. The income eligibility requirements are a minimum of $9,300 up to $24,800 annually, so I’d like to see if he qualifies. If he has no source of income, we have an entitlements specialist who can help him apply for income support (i.e., S.S.D.I., food stamps, Medicaid) for which he’s eligible.” We gave him Power’s cell number. … Also, regarding Power’s sale of his Web site, eastvillage.com, as reported by Scoopy last week, Bob Weiss, the buyer, contacted us to set the record straight. “Jim incorrectly stated that the domain name was sold to ‘a real estate company located on Grand and Essex Sts.’ That is not the case,” Weiss said. “He simply sold it to me. Grand and Essex is just the location of the lawyer’s office that escrowed the cash during the transaction. I have traded stocks for 16 years,” Weiss continued. “I am also a real estate broker. I do investment banking deals as well. I own hundreds of domain names; meatpackingdistrict.com is the first one I chose to develop into a site. I have many more I will develop in time. I just can’t do them right now; eastvillage.com will most likely be next.”

Millions for Meat Market building: Sinvin Realty, LLC, announced the sale of 414-418 W. 14th St., between Ninth and 10th Aves., for $70 million. The sale closed Fri., Sept. 21, with Sinvin representing both the buyer and seller in this record transaction for the area. According to Sinvin Principal Christopher Owles, “The combined structure is undergoing a comprehensive renovation. When completed, it will offer five levels with over 46,000 square feet of exceptional retail and office space, including a spectacular penthouse, plus a full selling basement. The purchasers were Sitt Asset Management and The Carlyle Group. The seller was the Icon Group.” Vitra, Theory, Bumble and Bumble and The Soho House were all also brought to Meat Market by Sinvin.

Jacobs assimilates Village: A rumor on racked.com, a New York City retail blog, says Marc Jacobs is looking at a space on W. Fourth and Bank Sts. for a fourth store. If there’s any credence to this rumor, let’s hope the box taping is done inside at this location so that neighbors don’t get the “Chinese water torture” treatment a la Perry St.

Ludlow grand canyon: People will start moving into The Ludlow — the new, 24-story, luxury rental building across from Katz’s Deli — on Nov. 1. Tien-Shun Lee, our sometime writer and, in this case, spy, said she checked out a showroom studio apartment there out of curiosity. The studio had a futon. “If you opened up the futon to make a double bed, there would not be much room to walk around in,” Lee noted. A studio will rent for $2,850 and a two-bedroom for $5,600 a month. There also will be a new 22-story building going up next to The Ludlow, and a new building on the site of the former Luna Lounge will be more than 20 floors tall, Lee added.

Don’t push around Chinatown: We hear at the Community Board 2 Chinatown Committee meeting two weeks ago, Chinatowners didn’t take kindly to the city’s plan to link Park Row improvements into a scheme to overhaul Chatham Square, from its statue placements to its traffic patterns. “Don’t talk to us about Park Row — we have a lawsuit! We’re opening it back up!” city representatives were told.

Art of the deal: Legendary owner of the former Village Gate, Art D’Lugoff tells us he’s working on helping some young impresarios start a new music club of their own in the Village. As for plans for a Greenwich Village Folk Museum that he was working on with Councilmember Alan Gerson and Odetta some years back, D’Lugoff said, “That’s gone. It was too difficult to do — to find the money.”

Oh mannahatta, he’s good: Zella Jones, of the Noho Neighborhood Association, tells us that Mannahatta bar on the Bowery may be moving out soon and that the operator who hopefully will take over the space has a great record of running community-friendly establishments in the ’hood. She didn’t want to spill the beans yet, since the deal isn’t sealed.

AvalonBay biker: Fred Harris, senior vice president of AvalonBay — developer of the new residential buildings flanking Houston St. at the Bowery that include the Whole Foods Market and new YMCA — rode on Sun., Oct. 14, in his fourth annual MS Bike Tour and, as usual for him, hoped to complete the full 100 miles. His wife, Ellen, was diagnosed with MS six years ago. Despite suffering from the degenerative disease, she kept working until just recently.

Cues up a book: Kyujiro “Q.” Sakamaki has a new book, “War DNA,” coming out next month, in both English and Japanese. “Like genes — human has the war conflict gene,” Sakamaki explained of its title. His first photography book, it features more than 100 of the East Village lens man’s photos from, as Q. explains it, “seven different, deadly conflicts or war zones — Iraq, Palestine, Kosovo, Liberia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka.” Short text accompanies each section. Some of Q.’s Liberia and Sri Lanka photos in the book appeared previously in The Villager. Published by Shogakukan, it sells for about 3,000 Yen or $50 to $60, and can be found at Kinokuniya bookstore in Rockefeller Center or through Amazon.com. Sakamaki is also working on a book about his New York photography from the late ’80s and early ’90s.

Help a park: People can pitch in at It’s My Park! Day by volunteering with the Union Square Partnership on Sat., Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet fellow volunteers at the George Washington statue before breaking into groups for mulching, planting of 5,000 spring bulbs and other beautification activities. No equipment or experience necessary, but dress appropriately for hands-on gardening fun. To volunteer in Union Square, RSVP to info@unionsquarenyc.org.

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