Volume 78 / Number 9 - July 30 - August 5, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Scoopy’s Notebook

Anti-congestion comeback: Mayor Mike Bloomberg has not given up on congestion pricing, a source tells us. Ed Skyler, one of the mayor’s top deputies, said during a private meeting with the Civic Center Residents Coalition that the mayor would pursue traffic pricing again within 18 months, a meeting participant tells us. The group, which sued the city over the closing of Park Row, was skeptical of the mayor’s first congestion pricing plan and was none too happy to hear it might be coming back. They want to see the city take a harder line on placards before returning to congestion pricing, but it looks like Bloomberg won’t take no for an answer. The plan did have majority support in the city and Lower Manhattan, according to polls, but congestion pricing floundered in the State Assembly and Senate earlier this year.

Together again: Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro are reuniting for a cause, and it isn’t a sequel to “Analyze This” and “Analyze That.” Last week, Crystal joined De Niro as a member of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum’s board of directors. As a comedian, Crystal may not seem an obvious choice for the board, but he has done extensive charity work and participated in the “Concert for New York” a month after 9/11. Crystal, a native New Yorker, will have his work cut out for him, as the board continues to fundraise and pushes for the memorial to open on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

No debate: It looks like Luke Henry could be debating himself this summer. Henry, who is challenging Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver for his District 64 seat, wants to grill the speaker on his record in three debates between now and the Sept. 9 primary. “Over his lengthy tenure, Silver has presided over the erosion of affordable housing in his district, blocked efforts to address the public health crisis created by traffic congestion, and failed to secure essential reform in order to combat legislative dysfunction in Albany,” Henry said in a statement. “I challenge him to defend his record in open debate.”

Freed out, Wils in? Former Councilmember Kathryn Freed is not likely to run for her old seat next year, but Madelyn Wils, former Community Board 1 chairperson, has begun to eye the race, one source close to Freed tells us. “She’s not running,” the source said of Freed. “At this point I’d be stunned. I think she toyed with it and liked people coming up to her asking her to run.” Our source tells us that Freed, now a Civil Court judge, was thinking seriously about a run, but has pretty much decided there’s not a feasible way to give up her judicial salary during a campaign and pay off two mortgages. Wils, who is now part of Mayor Bloomberg’s economic development team, may be looking to the Council, not because Freed is cooling to a run, but because Julie Menin, C.B. 1’s current chairperson, has taken a few political hits lately, says Freed’s friend. “The weaker Menin looks, the more [Wils is] saying ‘I could beat her,’” our source says. Others who have spoken to Wils though are skeptical she’s going to make a run. Wils is running from us at least. She isn’t commenting about it.

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