Volume 78 / Number 11, August 13 - 19, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Scoopy’s notebook

String(er) theory: It sure sounds like Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is setting his sights on the citywide office of public advocate. During an interview last week with Community Media newsgroup editors, Stringer, when asked about his political ambitions, said, “I love what I’m doing now. I think, by every measure, we have done a great job in this office. … There’s a lot more to do, but there are people who’ve suggested we need to strengthen other offices…and [that] we could build up the public advocate’s office the way we’ve built up the borough president’s office. It would be disrespectful not to be interested. But,” added Stringer, who can run for another term as B.P., “I’m not going to conduct myself like a term-limited councilmember running around with my head cut off. We’re going to have to wait till November and see what the lay of the land is.” He’s already raised $1.5 million, however, toward a possible public advocate run. Stringer said one conceivable reason he might want to stick around is that, due to term limits, he would be the city’s only current borough president left when a planned City Charter revision rolls around, so he could be a watchdog for the office, making sure it isn’t weakened. He had nothing bad to say about the current advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, whom many consider to be too low-profile and hardly a proper foil to the mayor. “When Betsy hits, she hits big,” Stringer maintained. “A lot of what we’re doing, she’s paved the way.” The Beep is particularly proud of how Community Board 2 has turned around under his oversight: “That board went from the most dysfunctional board — [anonymous attack] letters — to the most functional in the city. Brad Hoylman has done a great job,” he said of C.B. 2’s chairperson, “but I’ve given him a great supporting cast.” Asked why he recently didn’t reappoint Phil Mouquinho, who at one point was thinking of running for C.B. 2 chairperson, Stringer said the new crop of qualified applicants was just too impressive, adding, “These appointments aren’t for life.” But he admitted, occasionally, even he might goof one up. Speaking of board appointments, the borough prez strongly indicated he’ll be making some changes with his three representatives on the Hudson River Park Trust’s board of directors. “We have to look at that,” Stringer said. “Some of them have been on there a long while.” Specifically, he said, former State Senator Franz Leichter and Downtown politico and waterfront activist Julie Nadel have each been on the Trust’s board since the state-city authority’s creation 10 years ago. Stringer said he’ll have to “sit down with Franz” and discuss who to appoint to those two slots. Said Nadel uncharacteristically tersely: “He should do what he thinks is right.” It sounds like Larry Goldberg, Stringer’s third appointment on the park’s board, may be safe.

I quit! Don MacPherson, who made a strong run for C.B. 2 chairperson a few years ago, recently abruptly resigned from the Greenwich Village board. MacPherson declined to get into specifics, but he did say: “I’m disturbed by what I’m seeing as a trend Downtown of people trying to buy themselves into office.” MacPherson was indeed tightlipped, but from what we sussed out during our conversation, it appears he’s not happy about C.B. 1 Chairperson Julie Menin, an expected City Council candidate to succeed Alan Gerson, allegedly being so chummy with B.P. Stringer, as well as the recent failed coup at the Downtown Independent Democrats club, in which Menin was part of the losing putsch. “I’m not happy about how that whole attempt to take over D.I.D. happened, with the support of David Reck, who is a district leader,” MacPherson said. Asked who he does like in the First District race, MacPherson said Margaret Chin, praising her support for affordable housing. “She’s an activist,” he said. “She supports people.”

Feel better, Herman: Former Democratic District Leader Herman Gerson, 95, father of Councilmember Alan, is currently in the Rusk Institute. We’re told he’s in good spirits and receives daily physical therapy. Calls, cards and visits are welcome, but call before visiting to make sure he is available. He shares a room and is in a wheelchair, but Rusk has an attractive garden area and other public areas for visits. His mailing address is: Rusk Institute, Room 453A, 400 E. 34th St., NY, NY 10016. His phone is 212-263-1595. Visiting hours are noon to 8 p.m. During the blackout of 2003, Gerson, then 90, walked up 20 flights of stairs to his apartment at 505 LaGuardia Pl. “He’s always been in great shape. He was a runner,” Keith Crandell told The Villager back then, recounting the story.

Farewell, Nikos: Nikos magazine store, a hole in the wall at the corner of 11th St. and Sixth Ave., closed last Wednesday after 31 years. Owner Nikos, there on the final day, when queried what he’ll do next, told Scoopy tipster Roz Kramer, “I don’t know” and shrugged. He said they weren’t making enough money and couldn’t pay the rent. Kramer also noted that, unlike some other local magazine stores, he didn’t have air conditioning. Kramer recalled that Nikos would often hold his “political study group” in the store, conversing with a group of two or three men as they waited in line to make their purchases. Nikos offered eclectic reading material, ranging from The Journal of Democracy, the Waterstone Review and the Sewanee Review to Valium, Gargoyle 51 and Polysexuality. Nikos (he declined to give his last name) later told us he transferred the lease and that the store will continue to sell magazines. Asked if he lives in the neighborhood, he said, “No — I’ve been living in this store my whole life.”

Ninth Precinct palooza: John Penley tells us that the Sept. 5 protest he’s planning at the Ninth Precinct will, assuming he gets a sound permit, feature Leftover Crack, whose antipolice songs are sure to be a big hit with local cops. There will also be speakers, including comic/activist Randy Credico, no doubt still steaming from his recent bust for trying to stop police from collaring someone for smoking a joint on Gay St.; anti-police state preacher Father Frank Morales and former WBAI radio reporter Paul DiRienzo. Penley and the L.E.S. Slacktivists plan a two-hour protest palooza to start at 8 p.m. “We’ll be happy to hold the first community protest at the newly reopened Ninth Precinct,” Penley said. The contentious confab will focus on “police brutality and developers” and will finish with a march to 47 E. Third St. — where the Economakis landlords are attempting to mass-evict their tenants. Meanwhile, Penley reports that the precinct is not saying anything about whether it will issue them a sound permit. Jerry The Peddler went over to the stationhouse on Tuesday to apply for one, but couldn’t find anyone to help him. J.T.P. was also told, according to Penley, that the precinct has decided not to issue a $1,500 ticket to Bill Cashman, Leftover Crack’s manager, for the band’s allegedly topping the 70-decibel limit at the recent Tompkins Square Park riots 20th anniversary concert. Cashman told The Villager that officers told him after the show to expect the summons in the mail, but they’ve since backed off. But the Slacktivists and the Leftover Cracktivists aren’t stopping there. Cashman has purchased a sound gun at Radio Shack for $60 and plans to monitor concerts in the park from now through the end of the summer to make sure police aren’t using a “double standard” in their enforcement of sound levels. Cashman, along with Jerry the Peddler, was monitoring a Christian rock band in the park on Tuesday. Just during their sound check they were hitting 75 to 80 decibels, he said. “I’m not trying to blow anybody’s party, but…” Cashman said, calling for evenhanded enforcement, or at least not a targeting of Leftover Crack. He said he’ll definitely have his sound gun fully charged for the Charlie Parker Festival, which he said is usually really loud. “No one knows how to do these sound readings correctly except us, apparently,” huffed Penley.

Don’t do it! Jim Power, “The Mosaic Man” of tile-covered lampposts fame, says it would be a huge mistake for the Department of Transportation to close Astor Place between Lafayette St. and Fourth Ave. He also told us he “beat back the Russians” — something about some noisy construction work above his apartment in Williamsburg — and had all his possessions “auctioned.” But he looked like he was hanging in there, with help from his mosaic cane and his canine Jesse Jane the other week at the Tompkins Square Park anniversary riots concert.

Corrections: Our article on C.B. 2’s Open Space Project report in last week’s issue incorrectly stated — as did the C.B. 2 report — that the Mercer St. and LaGuardia Place “strips” on the New York University superblocks are owned by New York University. These strips are, in fact, not owned by N.Y.U., but by the city, and are administered under a somewhat mysterious arrangement between the Parks Department and Department of Transportation. … A photo in the July 23 issue of police arresting Clayton Patterson on Ludlow St. after he tried too persistently in their view to get shots of a fire was taken by his wife, Elsa Rensaa, not Jefferson Siegel. … The article in our July 23 issue about On Location Tours scratching “Carrie’s stoop” on Perry St. off its “Sex and the City” route erred in stating that the tour company gave Friends of Bleecker Playground money to help finance the playground’s renovation. Lara Mullarkey of the Friends of Bleecker Playground confirmed that the tour group did about a month and a half ago make a $500 donation to the playground, but said that amount is not nearly enough for a renovation, much less even to pay for help in cleaning up all the Magnolia cupcake liners the tour leaves scattered on the ground in the seating area around the playground. “We have a bathroom renovation coming up, but that is thanks to [Council Speaker] Christine Quinn, who gave $440,000, and we received a private donation for $15,000 for the garden,” Mullarkey said. “Local merchants gave $10,000 for the children’s Halloween festival.” Four or five years ago, “S.A.T.C.” did replace the sand in the kids’ sandbox, which, Mullarkey conceded was a nice gesture. However, the tour company’s president, Georgette Blau, e-mailed us to say that the company has given tens of thousands of dollars to the Perry St. community: “On Location Tours donated $30,000 over the years, which went to pay for several lampposts, the paving of the street and a seasonal planter,” Blau wrote. “As far as the Bleecker St. park/playground, we did not renovate it, but we did give a donation. … Our large donations are one of the items that were always naturally ‘forgotten’ by the Perry St. Block Association when they complained about people walking on their public sidewalk.”

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