Volume 77 / Number 41 - March 12 - 18, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Another intern makes good: Obama fever has really hit the Village and surrounding hoods, so it might not come as such a surprise that the key figure behind Barack Obama got his start as an intern at none other than The Villager back in the early 1970s. Reed Ide, who was The Villagers editor in those days, called last week to inform us that David Axelrod, Obamas chief political advisor and director, was the newspapers star intern in 1973-74. We were on University Pl. in the old Albert Hotel, Ide said. It was me, Jim Bledsoe and David that were putting the paper together in what were really difficult times. The Villager was just like eight pages, dreadful, full of typos. Nobody gave a st. David was an intern from N.Y.U. He was a rather sardonic, cynical kid. He was very irreverent which I loved. He had this scraggly, long, curly black hair. Ide said, back then, Axelrods beat was covering the doings of the Salvation Army and senior citizen groups, and that he always complained, asking why he couldnt get more exciting assignments. Back then what could you send him to? Ide asked. The community board was the biggest thing going. Ide recalled that a mischievous Axelrod used to think it was funny to hide whenever Community Board 2 zoning maven Doris Diether would drop by the office to give her weekly community reports, as she still does to this day. Ide gave us Axelrods e-mail address, but he didnt respond to our e-mail by press time. Well, perhaps hes a tad busy right now. But Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, does state that Axelrod got his first taste of journalism as an intern at The Villager, the community newspaper of Greenwich Village. Wikipedia also notes that Axelrods mom wrote for PM, the 1940s left-wing New York City newspaper. Ide has also promised to contribute something to The Villagers upcoming 75th anniversary issue at the end of next month about those wacky early-70s days at the paper like the time he managed to lock himself inside the abandoned Jefferson Market Library one night.
Memorial for slain heroes: The Bleecker Area Merchants and Residents Association is organizing a memorial candlelight march on Fri., March 14, to mark the anniversary of the deaths of Sixth Precinct Auxiliary Police Officers Nicholas Pekearo and Yevgeniy Eugene Marshalik and restaurant worker Alfredo Romero Morales. The event will start at 9 p.m. at Houston and MacDougal Sts. outside the former DeMarcos restaurant, where Morales was slain by crazed gunman David Garvin. Only a few words will be said at the start, stating the reason for the march. They will then proceed up MacDougal St., then turn east on Bleecker St., then up Sullivan St. to the spot where unarmed auxiliaries Marshalik and Pekearo were gunned down by Garvin after they tailed him from a distance. Police fatally shot Garvin outside the Village Tannery leather boutique on Bleecker St. Officers from the Sixth Precinct, as well as auxiliary officers from all over and members of the Guardian Angels and Christopher St. Patrol, will also attend. Depending on how many people turn up, the march will either be on the sidewalk or in the street. At the marchs end at Sullivan St., there will be some short remembrances, but Judith Callet, BAMRAs resident chairperson, stressed that the memorial is really intended to be silent and respectful. Its supposed to be a quiet, neighborhood thing, she said. In addition, the Sixth Precinct Community Council is still lobbying to co-name the corner of Sullivan and Bleecker Sts. after Pekearo and Marshalik, though the proposal has been stuck in the City Council for a while now. We heard theres a moratorium on street co-namings, Callet said, adding that whenever she sees Councilmember Christine Quinn or one of her aides, she inquires about the status of the co-naming. Maureen Remacle, the community councils president, has been working on this issue for 10 months!
Real Baird party on tap: We enjoyed Baird Joness memorial party at The Plumm on W. 14th St. on Friday night. An artsy crowd of all ages was getting down, as Hoop, Joness performance-artist pal, stalked the place in a centurions helmet. Everyone received a copy of Joness proudest achievement, his book Mark Kostabi and the East Village Scene: 1983-1987. Unfortunately, they also received a copy of Joness Sexual Humor book. But in an ironic twist, Joness two other best friends besides Hoop James Tully and Ken Emerson werent allowed in the place. Emerson found Joness body in his E. Eighth St. apartment, and eulogized Jones at his memorial on Saturday at St. John the Divine. The two showed up at The Plumm together about 9 p.m. and were turned away. Doug Dechert, the guy throwing the party, thats where the problem was, said Tully. He had known Baird in prep school, but Baird wouldnt even tell him where he lived. He was not close in Bairds life like the last eight years. This guy Doug Dechert apparently seized on Bairds death as a way to make money, or I dont know what, Tully said. Dechert definitely hoodwinked us, because he told us we were invited. But Tully said the rejection was no big deal for the party-hopping pair, barely a speed bump on their evening out on the town. We go to parties all the time, he boasted. We went to the Bblessing party after that on Orchard St. its this hipster clothing store. More to the point, theyll be hosting what theyre dubbing their friends official finale at the East Village club where he was the artistic curator. We regard The Plumm party as fake and spurious, Tully stated. Were throwing the actual memorial at Webster Hall, March 20. We have the full backing of Webster Hall. Details will be on the Web site jamestully.com or bairdjones.net. To give you an idea of the kind of officiality we have, Ken Emerson runs bairdjones.net. So take that, Dechert! (Um, officiality?) Dechert tells a different story, saying that after Joness death, Tully heard Dechert was working on an article on Jones for Radar, and that Tully sent him an off-the-wall e-mail, seeking publicity for himself. Dechert forwarded the e-mail to us in which Tully tells of a fistfight he had with Jones at Soho House after demanding that Jones seek substance-abuse counseling, after which Jones was left wallowing on the floor amid spilled cocktails. Tully is a no-account, wannabe artist, Dechert said, and he was trying to promote his nonexistent art career on the back of Joness death. As for why he didnt let Tully into the party, Dechert said, It didnt make sense to let a guy in whose only agenda is to promote himself. In fact, Tully did promote himself to us a bit, noting hes writing and directing The Daniel Rakowitz Story, starring cult actor Crispin Glover, about the notorious butcher of Tompkins Square who admitted to chopping up his girlfriend, Monica Beerle, in 1989 and serving her as soup to the East Village homeless. The movie is for real, he said, noting, We have contracts.
Look out for Derr? The race for Christine Quinns District 3 City Council seat is suddenly heating up. At least it is judging by the furious letters crossfire in this weeks issue regarding Brad Hoylmans recent Villager talking point challenging the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (i.e. Andrew Berman) and others on their strategy for fighting St. Vincents Hospitals rebuilding plans. But there may be a third candidate. We hear that some who are not enamored of either Hoylman or Berman are begging Maria Passanante Derr to run. Derr, of course, was Hoylmans immediate predecessor as Community Board 2 chairperson and she also has a political pedigree, as the niece of late Village Assemblymember Bill Passnnante. Derr tends to be more supportive of the neighborhoods big institutions and is one of the boards few members who opposed C.B. 2s rescinding its resolution in support of the Washington Square renovation plan. For several months now, voters in the district have been urging me to run for Council, Derr said in an e-mail. With my experience and family history of community service, I am considering it.
Gerson mulling B.P. spot: Word has it Councilmember Alan Gerson is looking to run for Manhattan borough president. The Daily News thinks so, having recently reported it in an article discussing what the more than 30 councilmembers who will be term-limited at the end of next year might do with themselves after then. However, when we asked him last week, Gerson was somewhat noncommittal. Dont believe everything you read, he said. They had not spoken to me, so I suppose thats speculation on their part. Gerson said hed heard Borough President Scott Stringer is thinking of running for public advocate, a citywide office, and that only if Stringer did so would Gerson consider running for B.P. Sure, its something Id consider. Many people are urging me to constituents, Gerson said. Obviously, I would run on my record of the principles Ive espoused throughout my life. Of course, those include Gersons trademarked issue, livability.
DASA lawsuit? Praising our recent editorial calling for the state to pass the Dignity for All Students Act, Gerson told us that, as far as hes concerned, the city still isnt doing enough on what he calls DASA 1. The Department of Education hasnt adequately implemented DASA 1, Gerson said. The DASA 1 Coalition will meet to discuss next steps, including a possible lawsuit. They dont keep the full range of statistics theyre supposed to keep, he said of D.O.E. Gerson, who authored the city version of DASA, said hes now working on DASA 2, to protect young people from bullying and bias-motivated violence outside schools on the streets.
Yippie feud yikes! Yippie stalwart Dana Beal reports that one morning early last week someone broke the window at 9 Bleecker St. and stole the Yippie Cafes flat-screen monitor. They also swiped Beals informative ibogaine triptych, which explained the African roots alleged, miraculous, addiction-blocking properties. Some think the theft is part of a kooky feud involving A.J. Weberman, Bob Fass and Lynne Stewart. We knew Weberman was a Yippie, a Dylanologist, a garbologist and an ex-con. We were seriously wondering, however, about his allegations that purported John McCain hottie Vickie Iseman had Mossad connections though we printed them anyway. (O.K., so we admit, Scoopy is no McCain fan.) What we didnt know was that Weberman was a leader of the Jewish Defense Organization. Apparently, Weberman hates Stewart, the radical attorney convicted of abetting terrorism, and isnt too fond of legendary WBAI radio host Fass, either. The whole flap is said to have been sparked by Larry Davis and Stewart who defended the cop-shooting Davis in court in the 1980s having been scheduled to appear on Fasss show. But Davis was stabbed to death in prison on Feb. 20 right before the planned interview. Yes, you do need a scorecard to keep track of this one. Anyway, Beal is brushing it all off and guesses the robber was just a crackhead who used the ibogaine triptych to cover the flat screen while fleeing. Hes most upset about losing the ibogaine poster, though, which he said had a lot of good information.
Articles rich reward: Cheap Charlies owner Bill Johnson says Bonnie Rosenstocks Villager article on the plight of his store on E. 14th St. has had a huge impact. The response to your story has been overwhelming, Johnson told us on Monday. Copies of your paper are being sent all over the world. We have customers from Puerto Rico, the Dominican. When they come here, this is their first stop they bring back suitcases of books for their children. We had gotten a few calls from people saying they might have a place for us, Johnson said. Were looking for another spot, but its hard. He said hes trying for a space in a co-op four blocks south of his current store, but needs the co-op boards approval.