Volume 78 / Number 12, August 20 - 26, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Stringer say nay:
Borough President Scott Stringer has come out against the Department of Sanitation’s three-district megagarage at Spring and West Sts. The B.P. says, at most, the planned facility could house the garbage trucks from two Sanitation districts — Districts 1 and 2 — but that D.O.S. should find somewhere else to put District 5’s trucks. Stringer thinks he may even have located a spot: on W. 26th St. in Chelsea at an existing D.O.S. maintenance facility. There are Bronx garbage trucks that get washed there and the Beep is asking why they can’t be sent back to that borough, opening up space for Manhattan District 5’s trucks. In addition, Assemblymember Deborah Glick recently wrote Mayor Bloomberg, blasting the fact that the megagarage plan includes some 70 parking spots for employee cars. Encouraging all that employee car parking is drastically at odds with the mayor’s green vision for the city, Glick charged, adding that, in emergencies, the Sanitation workers could park across the street on Pier 40.
Christodora siege ends:
In what should come as good news to high-profile Christodora House anti-gentrification whipping boy...er...resident Michael Rosen, John Penley tells us the L.E.S. Slacktivists have decided to give him some slack and call off their protests outside the besieged building at E. Ninth St. and Avenue B. Instead, Penley said, they’ll now focus their efforts against the Economakises and their plans to mass-evict the tenants at 47 E. Third St. to create a private “McMansion.” Penley also warned that the Ninth Precinct better stop giving him and Jerry The Peddler the runaround on their permit application for their planned Sept. 5 Protest Palooza outside the precinct, which they hope will feature local crust-core faves Leftover Crack. Penley said if they haven’t heard anything six days before the date, they’ll go to federal court over the permit. He has a lawyer ready to take the case.
We got caught in complete Pandamonium in Williamsburg Saturday night as we were on our way to Reel Life to rent a flick. It seems 300 panda-masked partiers had started their night by taking over the L train at Union Square and riding it to Bedford Ave. Although pandas’ diet is 99 percent bamboo, these ones appeared to subsist largely on beer: Awaiting them at the top of the subway stairs were metal tubs of Miller beer cans on ice. Many took several in their paws. The beery bears — plus scores of onlookers — flooded the avenue, quickly bringing dozens of cops to the scene, with a police helicopter with a searchlight beaming down overhead to boot. Refusing to budge, the panda people taunted the cops for a half-hour. In the end, several of the endangered species-evoking revelers and suds guzzlers were cuffed after a couple of cans were tossed the officers’ way. Of course, John Penley, though not an organizer himself, rode the panda train to Billyburg. The slacktivist called it an improved version of Reclaim the Streets, which used to plop down a boom box in random intersections for guerilla dance parties. This time, Penley said, the crafty pandas had multiple boom boxes all tuned to one transmitter that was beaming out their techno music, so police would have had to locate the source to control the Pandamonium.
Talking about bike racks:
Speaking of Bedford Ave., on N. Sixth St. you can see one of the nine new bike racks — this one a red guitar called “The Hipster” — that former Talking Head David Byrne designed for the Department of Transportation. On LaGuardia Place, a Byrne bike rack called, naturally, “The Villager” takes the shape of a doggie. The signature racks will be removed in 11 months.
In last week’s article on the East Village/Lower East Side rezoning, former Community Board 3 chairperson Dave McWater was misquoted saying that Chinatown’s traditional “core” was in Community Board 1. We checked our notes and, in fact, what McWater said was that none of Chinatown’s traditional core was in the rezoning area and that City Planning did not allow the rezoning to extend west of Third Ave. The same article incorrectly stated that City Planning would hold its vote on the rezoning on Aug. 18. Rachaele Raynoff, a Planning spokesperson, said the vote hasn’t been scheduled, but that it could conceivably happen on Sept. 10 or Sept. 24 at Planning public meetings, while the last possible vote date would be Oct. 7.
An accidentally misattributed quote in our Mixed Use column a few weeks ago about the New York City Housing Authority’s untapped development rights has ticked off East Village tenant activist Anna Sawaryn. Sawaryn had sent us an e-mail from Hell’s Kitchen activist John Fisher in which Fisher criticized B.P. Stringer’s report on NYCHA’s air rights that we credited to her. The e-mail Sawaryn sent to The Villager was in fact a forwarded message from Fisher, although no name or perceptible e-mail address appeared anywhere in the note, leading us to believe it had come directly from Sawaryn. The only thing that might have tipped us off was the message’s focus on Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, but otherwise it looked to be straight from Sawaryn’s keypad. The e-mail did feature some harsh language for Stringer — calling his report on NYCHA’s abundance of development opportunities “a perfect scam” — so we understand her frustration and apologize for the error.