Volume 78 / Number 6 - July 9 - 15, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Scoopy's Notebook

The Union Square Partnership and Parks Department will surely be relieved to hear that Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Choir won’t be raising heck anymore this summer about the Union Square north-end renovation project, most notably over its plan for a private, seasonal restaurant in the park’s pavilion. During a public reading of the Constitution on July 4, Billy a.k.a. Bill Talen said he and his wife, Savitri D, were heading to Virginia for some R & R and to work on a book about activism that they have been putting off for a while. He said that, barring some important development, they have no appearances planned until the summer is over. For one last blast of Billy, though, see Page 27 in this week’s issue as he exorcises restaurateur “Danny Meyer” and does some tree worship that would make Druids proud.

On the Elite O Team:
East Village politico Howard Hemsley was behind Barack Obama’s candidacy from the very start. Now as it nears crunch time, he’s still plugging away on the campaign as part of a new crack unit of Obama organizers. “As promised, I’ve been named a delegate at large,” Hemsley e-mailed us. “Am in Philly as an Obama Organizing Fellow for six-week program — 3,600 volunteers assigned to battleground states. There are approximately 400 of us in Pennsylvania doing grassroots organizing and voter registration.”

Stringing his rivals along:
First we heard that Borough President Scott Stringer had decided he definitely wasn’t going to run for public advocate because Queens City Councilmember Eric Gioia was too far ahead of him in fundraising. But now word is that Stringer is, in fact, planning a campaign for advocate, a citywide office and possibly even a stepping stone to being mayor, though no advocate has done so yet. Why all the back and forth by the B.P. then? A source tells us Stringer was doing it on purpose because “there is evidence that he wanted to keep the coast clear.”

He’s got the power:
Showing that you don’t have to actually be a developer to rank with the big boys, Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, was recently honored at the Four Seasons as one of The New York Observer’s “100 Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate.” Looking for some last-minute support, Berman invited us to attend with an urgent message sent from his BlackBerry: “Since I am going to be surrounded by 99 other people, most of whom are developers who hate me, it would be nice to see a friendly face!” We couldn’t make it, unfortunately, but Berman gave us the report afterwards. “I don’t believe the Donald ever showed,” he said. “I think they named me No. 88; not sure what Trump was. Hopefully, next time there will be at least one other community advocate on the list. Actually people were quite gracious; Bill Rudin even came up to congratulate me but pointed out that he ranked a little higher on the list than I did. He did at least concede that if it was the city’s ‘100 Most Powerful Preservationists,’ I would likely outrank him.” Berman said the Observer selected him for “fighting effectively” against development.

That’s all folks:
Collective: Unconscious, the former Lower East Side experimental theater that relocated to Tribeca three years ago after its Ludlow St. space was demolished for a new apartment building, will close its doors, this time for good, at the end of this month. It’s not because the theater is being evicted, but due to a pernicious plumbing problem that has destabilized part of its lobby and backstage storage area, causing the Underground Zero Festival to seek new venues. We’ll always fondly remember Gecko and her electrifying Tesla-mania shows at the Ludlow Collective:Unconscious.

In last week’s article on the East Village Community Coalition’s initiative to use zoning to control the growth of chain stores in the neighborhood, the title of Virginie-Alvine Perrette’s documentary project on small stores’ battle to survive was incorrect. The film’s name is not “Twilight Before Dawn” but “Twilight Becomes Night.”

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