West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 23 | November. 07 -,13 2007
Oh, Danny boy: Rumors that Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff is leaving the Bloomberg administration at the end of the year continue to heat up. Tobi Bergman of Pier Park and Playground reports that at a meeting he recently attended on city matters, someone in a position to know announced that Doctoroff was stepping down as of Jan. 1, 2008. Given that Doctoroff is the common denominator in numerous development plans affecting Downtown Relateds project to turn Pier 40 into a mega-tourist destination, the gargantuan Sanitation garage at Spring and Washington Sts., the marine waste transfer station on Gansevoort Peninsula, blocking a full investigation of use of Pier 76 or Block 675 near the Hudson Yards as an alternative Sanitation site to the Gansevoort and Spring St. locations perhaps his departure, if it in fact happens, will free others to think more creatively about how to work with the community and elected officials to solve these issues.
Friends like these: Al Butzel will be leaving as president and C.E.O. of Friends of Hudson River Park at the end of the year. Butzel had rubbed some waterfront advocates the wrong way, losing some friends outside and perhaps inside of Friends, a nonprofit group that lobbies for the riverside park. This might have led to his departure, which is being described officially as a resignation, according to a source. Developer Doug Durst and Ross Graham, co-chairpersons of Friends, met with Butzel on Oct. 5 and discussed demoting Butzel to senior counsel, according to an e-mail circulated among Friends and their friends. Butzel said no. He may not be leaving on unfriendly terms, though, as there is talk of him joining Friends board and doing some consulting work.
Confirmed: The Hudson River Park Trust wasnt able to get a comment together in time for the deadline for our article a few weeks ago on the Trusts giving the Pier 40 Partnership a chance to come up with an alternative plan for Pier 40. Chris Martin, the Trusts spokesperson, subsequently confirmed that Diana Taylor, chairperson of the Trusts board of directors, gave the group a Dec. 15 deadline for an alternative plan so the Trusts board would have enough time to review it before their January meeting. The Trust also wants assurances that the Partnership can indeed privately raise the $30 million it claims it can for the piers repairs. In an e-mail, Martin wrote, The Trust needs to be assured that such contributions would be pledged in a manner that is real and gives confidence to the board that the pier repairs would be undertaken in a timely fashion if the Trust were to pursue [the Partnerships] alternate development scenario.
Also, the John D. McKean fireboat at Gansevoort Peninsula in Hudson River Park will be relocating to Pier 40 for at least a year while its finger pier at Gansevoort is being rebuilt. Martin said a facility being constructed at Pier 40 will be ready by early 2008 to accommodate the fireboat.
Too sexy? Is Soho Journal cleaning up its act? The local Magazine of Arts & Politics is raising its profile from being plopped down inside local businesses, recently rolling out new street boxes around the hood. However, we didnt notice the usual centerfold spread of Publisher Don MacPhersons nude photographs of sexy female models. MacPherson said the new boxes have nothing to do with it, and that the nudes shall return. No, not at all, no connection whatsoever, he said. The magazine was displayed all over Lower Manhattan before.
Believe it: After our report back in September that Richard Gere and Bono had bought places in Julian Schnabels new Palazzo Chupi on W. 11th St., the Wall Street Journal, a few weeks later, confirmed that Gere has indeed bought into Big Pink, as we like to call it.
Watching the detective: The Sixth Precinct and Village community leaders are planning a Retirement Gala on Tues., Nov. 13, at Tribeca Rooftop, 2 Desbrosses St., to honor Detective Mike Singer, who retired in April after 25 years of service as a police officer, almost all in the Sixth Precinct. Singer, who met his wife in the Sixth Precinct when she also was a police officer, was for many years the community affairs officer of the precinct that encompasses the Village. The honorary gala committee includes City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, State Senator Tom Duane, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, apparel designer Donna Karan, Lynne Brown, New York University senior vice president, and James Hart, chairperson of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. Tickets for the dinner event that begins at 6:30 p.m. are $100 per person. For more information phone Detective Tim Duffy at 212-741-4826 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New attitude: At the end of last month, members of Community Board 2 and the Greenwich Village Block Associations met to talk over the issues and just generally get to know each other. It represents a new period of hopefully working closely with the block associations, said Brad Hoylman, C.B. 2s chairperson. The community board in the past had strained relations with the block associations, not for any specific reason, but for lack of communication. This was an opportunity to exchange ideas, learn about issues that are important to each other and just mix informally. People discussed everything from St. Vincents to Washington Square Park to specific traffic concerns, and parks generally speaking. The community board wants to reach out to other neighborhood groups, too. G.V.B.A. seemed like a good place to start. In the same vein, in the first time in several years, next months C.B. 2 full board meeting will be held in Chinatown, at P.S. 130 at 143 Baxter St.
Liu-ey Liu-ey: We hear John Liu, the Queens councilmember who heads the City Councils Transportation Committee, will be a citywide candidate for either comptroller or public advocate in 2009. If elected, he would be the first Asian-American to hold citywide office in New York City. Liu is an attractive candidate on several fronts, one being his support for the mayors congestion-pricing plan, despite the fact that Liu is from an outer borough.
Park politics: Gil Horowitz, a strong local backer of the Washington Square Park renovation project, tells us hes heard construction will begin soon, though, as of today, no specific date has been set. Meanwhile, Susan Goren, an opponent of the renovation, tells us the antis have been doing a phone blitz of Deputy Mayor Patricia Harriss Office. You remember, the mayor made a big thing about open cubicles, rather than private offices so everyones aware of it, Goren said of the telephoning tactic. Six hundred people were given the slips and told to call between the 5th and 11th of this month. Each person is to call once were not trying to stack the deck, were trying to be honest, Goren stressed.
Dont call him No-show! Scoopy accurately reported last week that Josh Toas, the State Liquor Authoritys executive director, didnt make it to the Ninth Precinct Community Council meeting last month. About 80 people turned out at the meeting expecting to hear Toas and ask him questions about bar issues. However, it turns out theres more to the story. Deputy Inspector Dennis De Quatro, the Ninths commanding officer, said there was a misinterpretation of e-mails back and forth because of a cross-up of dates. It was a screw-up on my part in the interpretation of the e-mail and I got the wrong date from the e-mail, De Quatro said. He was definitely not a no-show, stressed Susan Stetzer, Community Board 3s district manager. He has never been a no-show when he promised to attend something. Both Josh Toas and the S.L.A. under him have been responsive to the community and Community Board 3. They have proven their credibility in the last two years. Bill Crowley, an S.L.A. spokesperson, said on Monday, We werent scheduled to do it. We had a couple of dates. We never had a firm date. Were actually doing it in December. So, long story short, Toas will be attending the Ninth Precinct Community Council meeting on Dec. 18, according to Crowley. Crowley sent us a list of 15 of Toass speaking engagements in New York City during the period he has been S.L.A. executive director (more than one year), going back to September 06, ranging from town hall meetings led by local politicians Councilmember Rosie Mendez, State Senator Tom Duane and Assemblymember Richard Gottfried to appearances just last month at Community Boards 2 and 4. We had an S.L.A. workshop that Josh conducted, confirmed Bob Gormley, C.B. 2 district manager. It lasted a couple of hours. Its actually on YouTube. [Listen to the podcast at http://youtube.com/watch?v=JxssU7fJ2KY.] He was very accessible. Added Crowley: Joshua has not declined to speak at an event unless he had a scheduling conflict. In fact, we actually reach out to many more offering to speak with them so that we can work together in licensing and compliance.
Houston, we dont have a problem: Gormley also reports that Department of Design and Construction officials have stated at several recent C.B. 2 meetings that the Houston St. reconstruction project is scheduled to finish by Thanksgiving, except for the one block between Varick St. and Sixth Ave. Gormley noted that every year there is a moratorium on street work from Thanksgiving through New Years Day; so, its not clear whether the crew will work through the holidays to finish the one block or complete it after New Years. But everything else between West St. and Broadway is supposed to be done by Thanksgiving, he said.
Frighteningly good business: On Oct. 31, Buona Pizza opened in the space until recently occupied by DeMarcos Pizzeria at W. Houston and MacDougal Sts. The co-owners, Bill Lombard and Anthony Bove, both grew up in and still live in the neighborhood. They also both used to work at Arturos down the block, Bove for 12 years as a chef and Lombard for six years as a pizza maker. On Halloween, both were furiously working at the pizzeria, which did so much business from the parade on nearby Sixth Ave. that they had to close by 10 p.m. We ran out of everything, Lombard said. As opposed to DeMarcos, Lombard said, they will be using higher-quality ingredients, all-fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Were going to donate some pizzas to the Village Nursing Home, added Bove. They used to be all the people from the neighborhood. In March, crazed gunman David Garvin shot down DeMarcos worker Alfredo Romero Morales in the restaurant then killed Auxiliary Police Officers Nicholas Pekearo and Eugene Marshalik, before being felled by police. DeMarcos restaurant closed after the murder, but the pizzeria hung on, until recently closing. With the stigmatized property next door, I guess they just kind of gave up on it, said Lombard.
Street justice: As the Halloween Parade was coalescing and lining up outside our office in Soho, we noticed that a Department of Transportation crew was fixing small potholes with asphalt. The city dont want no lawsuits, said one of the workers after hefting a heavy asphalt presser onto their truck. Call us the Elite Team, he said. He said theyd be fixing the streets all the way up Sixth Ave. to 23rd St. Meanwhile, Rita Lee, a staffer with Councilmember Alan Gerson, was making sure that more disruptive street work wasnt going to spoil the parade, the Villages biggest business night of the year. Lee said D.O.T. planned to start doing milling and resurfacing work on Bleecker, Prince and Spring Sts. on Halloween. Alerted by Paul Rizzo, owner of The Bitter End, who said the crews were already ripping up Bleecker St. between Mercer St. and LaGuardia Pl., Lee, a former district manager of C.B. 2, snapped into action and called D.O.T., found the right person and stopped the work. The resurfacing will happen at a later date. They went to another area, Lee said.
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