Volume 78 / Number 13, August 27 - September 2, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since
1933

Scoopy's Notebook

Koch’s corner:
Former Mayor Ed Koch says he isn’t sure yet who he’s going to support for president. “I’m not going to make an endorsement until after both conventions,” he told us on Monday. Asked if he’s leaning either way, he said, “I’m not giving a percentage,” adding he’ll base his choice on “who would best protect and defend America — and that includes the economy.” Koch said Joe Biden’s selection as Barack Obama’s running mate brings both “positives and negatives.” “He’s brilliant, he knows what he’s doing…I consider him a friend,” Hizzoner said. “The negative is it ain’t change.” Well, Hillary Clinton as Obama’s V.P. pick wouldn’t have exactly represented change, either, right? “But Hillary brought 18 million voters,” Koch pointed out. “Biden brings 2,000.” As for Hillary’s demanding a roll-call vote at the Democratic National Convention, Koch called the idea “ridiculous.” “And I’m a Hillary supporter,” he said. “It only prolongs the animosity. I think she’s doing what her supporters want. But it’s insulting.” Koch isn’t in Denver, but is watching the convention from the comfy confines of his bed, he said.

Totally devoted:
Chris Kui, executive director of Asian Americans for Equality, announced this week that Margaret Chin has decided to resign as AAFE’s deputy executive director effective Sept. 1 “to devote her full energy to her run for City Council in 2009.” Chin is a candidate to succeed Alan Gerson in Lower Manhattan’s District 1, where Gerson will be term-limited out of office at the end of 2009.

Dan’s their man:
State Senate candidate Dan Squadron’s strategy of reaching out to individual buildings with sit-down meetings with tenants at which he hears them out about their concerns seems to be fast paying dividends. At least that’s the case judging by a glowing report we got last week from an E. Third St. building where Squadron recently stopped by. “It’s a brilliant idea,” said one tenant, requesting anonymity. “There are mostly older people in the building, and they all brought their folding chairs and sat there and talked with him. They loved him. He’s got great energy — it’s a breath of fresh air.” The tenant requested anonymity, claiming he’s received “death threats” from his landlord. He said the building has been plagued by disruptive construction work, in which tenants are bought out and the landlord then adds washing machines and driers in the vacated apartments, causing the walls of remaining tenants’ apartments to be ripped open — by illegal-immigrant workers — so that new water pipes can be put in.

Who wants it?
Speaking of Squadron, State Senator Martin Connor, the man he hopes to unseat, hasn’t been running much of a campaign to speak of on the ground, we’re hearing. Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver isn’t taking any chances versus the two primary candidates he’s facing, Luke Henry and Paul Newell. Ira Blutreich, our cartoonist, who lives on the Lower East Side, tells us Grand St. is swarming with young volunteers for the speaker. Said Blutreich, “These kids, 18 or 19 years old, are banging on doors, asking, ‘Can I have your pledge to vote for Silver?’ ”

No pool party:
Perennial questions about the Christodora House’s swimming pool recently flared up again after Lower East Side activist Susan Howard turned up a listing on real estate broker Douglas Elliman’s Web site stating that a pool was, in fact, among the luxury building’s amenities. So we called Andrew Milkowski, the real estate agent whose name was listed on the realtor’s Christodora Web page, who, upon closer inspection, admitted there is no pool. “It was a mistype. It was totally my fault,” Milkowski told us. He said he “double-checked” Douglas Elliman’s building information Web site and found that — what do you know? — there is no working pool in Christodora House. “It’s funny, because they all have health clubs. This one does not,” he mused. “I corrected the listing and my apology,” he told us a couple of weeks ago. But, ever since, we’ve been unable to find either Christodora House or 143 Avenue B listed on the company’s Web site. Wanting to get to the bottom of this mystery once and for all, this week we found ourselves gazing into an empty, gray, 50-foot-long pool in Christodora House’s basement. It was 8 feet deep at one end and sloped up from the center to a shallow depth at the other end. From the looks of it, it hadn’t been used for 50 years. (Note to Susan Howard: There was no lifeguard on duty, not even a skeleton of one covered in cobwebs.) The person who gave us access did so on condition that we not identify him, adding that we couldn’t take a photo of the pool, since Christodora’s board would have to give permission for that first. We also toured an adjacent gym with decrepit, old basketball backboards without rims and a high, cement-slab ceiling barely hanging onto rusted rebar and looking like it was about to come crashing down any second. The gym and pool spaces are zoned for community-facility use, meaning they could be offices for doctors or nonprofit groups. But, according to our tour guide, the building isn’t under any obligation or deadline to rent these spaces. In fact, Christodora tried to convert the gym to residential use a few years ago, but the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals rejected the condo tower’s hardship application. The East Village Community Coalition’s office in the building’s corner ground-floor space does qualify as a community-facility use, our tour guide assured. As for the future of the pool, Christodora residents’ health concerns over venting chlorine fumes means it will probably never again see swimmers, our guide predicted.

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