West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 26 | November 28 - December 04 2007

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Scoopy's Notebook

Godfather got eye work: Peter Gotti, brother of late Gambino crime family boss John Gotti and uncle of John Jr., was admitted to the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary Monday morning for an eye procedure, according to our source, who volunteers there. “He was surrounded by federal officers with heavy-duty machine guns,” the source said. “He was handcuffed. They shut down power in some of the elevators to prevent escape. They kept us all in the elevators. He was head down, bowed, grayed. I can’t believe the head of the mafia looked like a senior citizen. They took him into the eye clinic. I was scared s—tless.” Prior to John Gotti’s death, Peter Gotti was thought to have been elevated to Gambino family boss. In 2003, Peter Gotti, along with other Gambino members, was convicted for his role in attempting to extort money from martial-arts movie actor Steven Seagal. Gotti, 68, is still imprisoned at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. His projected release date is May 5, 2032. Due to federal health privacy laws, the infirmary couldn’t confirm if the mobster had been a medical patient.

Park points: Last week, Scoopy reported some incorrect figures about the Washington Square Park renovation Phase I project, which seems poised to start imminently, if the city has its way. Rather than the Phase I work having been bid out for $12 million to $15 million, it is a bit less than that. Warner Johnston, a Parks Department spokesperson, informs us that the winning bid was $11.2 million for the first phase and was won by AAH Construction Corporation of Astoria, Queens. “We do not have an estimated cost for the other two phases as they have not gone out to bid,” Johnston told us. “We do not have a slated date for construction to commence at this time. The contract was just awarded and registration is currently underway at the Comptroller’s Office.”… Jonathan Greenberg, a plaintiff in one of the two environmental lawsuits against the project, admitted his reports to us on the cost were a little exaggerated. “You could say I’m sorry about that,” Greenberg said. “Pat [McKee] in the dog run told me — she has a Parks source — and Gil [Horowitz] told me it was more than $12 million,” Greenberg claimed in his defense. Also, the justice’s name on the Washington Square environmental case is not Joan Manon, as we incorrectly stated, but Joan Madden. The most important point, however, is that Greenberg said he believes Madden now will likely rule on the case as soon as this Wed., Nov. 28. Parks recently said in a Nov. 15 letter to Madden announcing the awarding of the contract that work could start as early as Nov. 28 But Greenberg says there were two legal conference calls earlier this week and that the city is now saying it won’t start work until this Thurs., Nov. 29. “There’s pressure from the city to get the court decision done,” Greenberg noted. “But I think we’re going to win the suit.”

Soho district may grow: A move is afoot to expand the Soho Cast-Iron Historic District to include important parts left out of the original designation in 1973, namely the west side of West Broadway and parts of Howard and Crosby Sts. in southeast Soho. Expected to attend the Soho Alliance’s Nov. 27 meeting when the issue was on the agenda was Margot Gayle, 99, the single person most responsible for Soho’s original landmarking.

i wanna go to Iowa: Howard Hemsley, coordinator of Barack Obama’s campaign in the East Village, will be heading out to Iowa at the end of December for the Jan. 3 caucus. He promises to document the scene for us with his diary and notes. “For me, personally, I want to be in the ballroom when victory is announced,” Hemsley said. “Chances are I’ll be in Podunk somewhere phoning in the results of our caucus and will announce Obama sweeps Podunk.”

Font of protest: Margie Rubin, of Disabled in Action and of Westbeth, bristled at last week’s talking point that said the Washington Square Park fountain once rebuilt wouldn’t need to be handicapped accessible. Rubin contends that if fountain isn’t A.D.A. compatible, then no one at all can go into it. Rubin’s beef is not new. In a January 2005 article in The Villager on her demand that she be allowed to “go amphibious” in the rebuilt fountain with her wheelchair, Parks spokesperson Johnston told us: “When we move the fountain, we’re going to be rebuilding it. And we are going to explore the use of temporary ramps when the fountain is off. It is used as a performance space when it’s not turned on — which is 60 percent of the time.” That may be the case now, but will the fountain in the renovated park really be open to performers almost two-thirds of the time? Time will tell.

Core confusion: Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, reports that a couple of people have contacted him to say they were concerned after reading the recent Scoopy item “Working the Core” about N.Y.U.’s expansion plans in the Village. Berman said the individuals understood the item to mean that he was suggesting the university should look at Union Square and the East Village as places to put more facilities, when what he intended to say was that Union Square and the East Village should be included as part of the “core area” N.Y.U. needs to look outside of for siting future facilities. If two people called him there are probably more who didn’t call who were also perplexed, he noted. “G.V.S.H.P.’s record on fighting N.Y.U. overdevelopment in the East Village and around Union Square speaks for itself,” Berman told us. “But given the way that the piece is written, I can see how several people have read it that way. Would you be willing to print a ‘clarification’ in the next issue?” We reread the item and it seems perfectly clear to us, but, well, let this serve as a clarification.

Oops: In last week’s issue, the credit for the photo of Detective Mike Singer’s retirement gala was wrong. The photo was taken by Jefferson Siegel.

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