Volume 77 / Number 35 Jan. 30 - Feb. 05, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Scoopy's Notebook

Not rootin’ for Rudy:
The last time we spoke to Ed Koch he was literally praying for Hillary Clinton to win in New Hampshire — and she did. “Now, I’m praying for South Carolina. It worked before, it can work again,” Hizzoner told us last Thursday. But realistically, Koch expected Barack Obama to win S.C. (which, of course, he did), where the Democratic base is 50 percent African-American. “It’s normal,” Koch said. “Every group takes pride in someone they can identify with, someone who looks like them and talks like them and is from the same ethnic group. Nationally, polls show she’s going to win,” Koch said of Clinton. As for whether he still thinks Mayor Mike Bloomberg will jump into the race as an independent, a mystified Koch said, “I’ve given up guessing. I used to think it was 90 percent yes, and then I stopped, because he didn’t look like he was going to do it. Now he seems interested again. He doesn’t want to be a spoiler. I am supporting Hillary in the Democratic primary,” Koch stated. “I expect to support her in the general election. But if Bloomberg comes in, I will make a decision as to who is better for the country. I haven’t made my decision yet.” As for his nemesis, Rudy Giuliani, Koch said he’s “dead, dead, dead.” Koch said last week’s New York Times article describing Giuliani’s vindictiveness as mayor was the real killer. “That Times article, it was incredible. It was the stake in the heart,” Koch pronounced, adding he’s “elated” that Giuliani is “dead, dead, dead.” “He has no respect for the opinions of others; it’s not a good assemblymember, let alone president,” Koch observed.

With or without you:
Well, it turns out we may have jumped the gun a while ago by saying Bono had bought the penthouse triplex at Julian Schnabel’s Palazzo Chupi — Schnabel’s new, pink, Moorish-style manse on W. 11th St. The Irish crooner reportedly will not be a Chuper trooper. We do hear that “a lot of big stars” have looked at the triplex, notably Madonna. The Material Girl is said to have been very interested, and for all we know may be consulting Kabbalah on whether to take the palazzo plunge. “The Bronfmans,” we are told, looked at the apartment early on, but it was too small by their standards. Scoopy stands by our previous reporting that Richard Gere bought two full floors of Chupi. But the American Gigolo apparently hasn’t gyrated in just yet. Schnabel himself, riding him on his new movie, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” is said to have moved in about two months ago.

Scoopy literary connection:
Alphie McCourt reports that Scoopy’s recent mention of his travails in finding a publisher for his memoirs — he resorted to making a “book on tape” with a Dolly Parton associate after not finding any takers — generated so much interest that, get this, he now has a publisher! According to McCourt, novelist Dermot McEvoy directed our Scoopy item to the online Publishers Lunch, the industry’s “daily must read.” “As a result,” said McCourt,” I received a small flurry of e-mails from a couple of agents, publishers, audio people and even one enthusiastic fan. In the end, it all came down to one publisher. I signed an agreement with a young publishing house, Cambridge House Press at Sterling and Ross, a week ago yesterday. The editing will begin in a week. Release date is set for late November.” McCourt — the youngest brother of Pulitzer Prize-winner Frank — sounded amazed at the whirlwind of events. As he put it, “What hath God and Scoopy wrought?”

Give him a break:
Saying he could really use a rest, David McWater announced at last week’s Community Board 3 meeting that, if possible, he’d like not to have to run for a fifth term as chairperson of the East Village/Lower East Side community board. “I basically said that I am now the senior Manhattan community board chairperson after Jordi Reyes-Montblanc left Board 10, and that made me think,” McWater told us last week. “And I came to the Lower East Side to go to college, and I have now been community board chairperson longer than I was in college! I haven’t decided if I am going to run or not. I would like the board to have a choice when I step down — so I encouraged any board member who would run to let me know. If there were two or more candidates, I probably would step down. I’m just tired.” McWater said he’d like to see two candidates, because he doesn’t want it to look like he was handpicking his successor. One of McWater’s biggest accomplishments was leading the board’s push to get the city to downzone the East Village and Lower East Side to prevent the proliferation of high-rise towers. McWater said, if he does step down, he hopes to keep chairing the board’s 197a Zoning Task Force — the board’s forum for discussions about the rezoning and the development of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. C.B. 3’s norm before McWater was for board chairpersons to serve just two years; but McWater, who has served four, felt he wanted to see the rezoning through until it was well on its way at City Planning. “I think the zoning is coming along pretty well,” he said last week. But McWater is also devoted to his L.E.S. Gauchos youth baseball organization, which he has built into a veritable national power, plus he got married a few years ago. By announcing early that he’s considering not running for re-election, McWater gives interested board members a chance to get their campaigns in gear. Above all, he said, he doesn’t want to leave a “vacuum” at the board. So who might be game? Barden Prisant ran against McWater three years ago. Then there’s the board’s second vice chairperson, Dominic Pisciotta. … If no one comes forward, it sounds like McWater would be back for another term. C’mon, someone help this guy get his life back! … In other C.B. 3 news, we hear longtime board member Estelle Rubin of Grand St. has not applied for reappointment, while William Ramos and Myra Cappas also are not reapplying. (Word is that Ramos’s promotion at his job somehow may represent a conflict of interest, while Cappas is moving out of the district.)

Cardinal’s wrecking ball:
The Catholic Archdiocese is reportedly getting ready to demolish Our Lady of Vilnius Church hard by the Holland Tunnel entrance at Broome and Varick Sts. Joseph Pantuliano, a former congregant and a member of the Knights of Columbus who used to meet at the church, said a neighbor of the church recently received a letter announcing that the demolition was imminent. “I heard it will be in five to six weeks,” Pantuliano told us. The archdiocese did not return a call for comment.

Pataki Park perplexer:
So whatever happened to Governor Eliot Spitzer’s novel idea to rename Hudson River Park as George Pataki Park? It never did make it into the governor’s State of the State speech a few weeks back. When we asked Jennifer Givner, a Spitzer spokesperson, why the notion was scrapped, she said she couldn’t comment on it, and, in fact, couldn’t even confirm if it was originally in the speech, as The New York Sun had reported. But could Spitzer dust off the renaming idea at a later date? Again, Givner said she couldn’t really comment on that, either. However, one Hudson River Park advocate said he’s sure that was Pataki Park’s one and only shot.

Cheers Chelsea Piers:
Speaking about Hudson River Park, after we broke the news to her last week about Steve Witkoff pulling out of the Pier 57 redevelopment deal, Julie Nadel, a member of the Hudson River Park Trust’s board of directors, said Chelsea Piers would never have flamed out like that. “Whether you like Chelsea Piers or not,” Nadel said, “if Chelsea Piers had been designated, I think there’d be something done by now.”

Displaced dealers:
Anne Marie-Sumner called last week to report that a drug dealer, whom she described as “a heavyset black man,” was stationed outside her house at 12 Washington Square North, apparently plying his trade at that very moment. Sumner said she’s seen him there for the last few weeks. She notified police, who said they knew who the man was and had already arrested him just a few days before. Sumner called 311 to make a report. “Nobody’s done anything about it,” she complained to us. She said she thought the drug dealer was displaced from his usual spot during the park reconstruction project, which recently broke ground. Sumner and the Washington Square Association, of which she is president, were among the strongest backers of the renovation. The project will take at least two years — so Sumner and other local residents might be seeing a lot of the dealer and his sidekicks.

Forsaken park?
Pat McKee, manager of the Washington Square dog run, tells us that someone recently attached a crucifix with a bloody Jesus Christ to the park fence by the entrance to the chess tables. Whoa.

Missing in (Web) action:
We got this e-mail message on Friday from Pete Missing: “NEW WEBSITE PETERMISSING.COM WONDERING IF IT COULD BE LISTED SOMEWHERE IN YOUR PAPER THANKS LIVING IN BERLIN.” The inscrutable Missing was the artist behind the “party’s over” upside-down martini glass that was ubiquitous in the East Village in the 1980s, which he claims was New York City’s original graffiti symbol. We asked for details on what Missing is up to in Germany but no further communication was forthcoming.

Family coverage:
Thanks to the fact that they live just a block away from the Trump Soho condo-hotel site, the Pincus family wound up contributing heavily to the coverage of the construction disaster there that left one worker dead on Jan. 14. Rachel, a student at Lab School in Chelsea, was home when the collapse occurred and her photos, taken from the family’s Sixth Ave. apartment windows, were used by Gothamist in that New York City blog’s early coverage. Dad Harry was interviewed by local TV news stations Channels 2 and 4, as well as by the Associated Press.

Exciting find:
Lucy Cecere called the other day to say that her husband, Leonard, had made an exciting discovery in the basement of their mailbox store, Something Special, a favorite of Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker — namely, an old issue of The Villager from Dec. 19, 1968. The front page headlines: “Koch on rent: Close session to aid victims” and “Nathan’s to transplant Coney Island in Village.” “I remember that,” Cecere said of the Nathan’s, which was at Eighth St. and Sixth Ave. where Gray’s Papaya is today. Lucy inquired if we wanted the fragile, yellowed issue, but we told her we have bound volumes going back to The Villager’s first issue in 1933; plus, The Villager is on microfilm at Jefferson Market Library and N.Y.U.’s Bobst Library up through the 1980s. “Anything with The Villager, I get excited,” Lucy said, “because The Villager belongs to us.”

Through the pinhole:
Looking for something to do before Sunday’s Super Bowl? Check out the reception for Anna Sawaryn’s new show, “Coney Island Through the Invisible Lens,” color pinhole images of Coney Island and the East Village. “I hear Rosie [Mendez] has one in her office: ‘Farewell, Mr. Hewitt,’ ” Sawaryn said, referring to a photo of The Cooper Union’s Hewitt Building, which was demolished and is now being rebuilt as a modern, green building. “We got it at an auction fundraiser for St. Brigid’s Church. Lisa Kaplan, Kate from my office and I were there and we all loved it actually. They hung it up in our office the next day,” said Councilmember Mendez. The reception is Sun., Feb. 3, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., at The 4th Street Photo Gallery, 67 E. Fourth St.

W.I.H.S. kid:
Congratulations to Union Square Partnership Education Program participant Tamar Brown on being named a Posse Scholarship recipient, granting her full tuition for four years at Brandeis University. Tamar was chosen out of a pool of more than 3,000 nominated applicants, and this is the second consecutive year that a U.S.P. Education Program student has won the coveted award. Tamar has displayed exceptional leadership skills during her time at Washington Irving High School as an “after-school ambassador,” president of the Key Club, Debate Team member, Youth Peace Network founding member and Woman’s Day intern.

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