Volume 78 - Number 31 / December 31, 2008 - January 6, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Scoopy’s notebook

Double dose of N.Y.U.:
We haven’t done too much reporting on New York University lately, possibly not since the dramatic turn of evens on the Provincetown Playhouse and Apartments rebuilding project that was ultimately approved by Community Board 2. Now, suddenly comes a veritable onslaught of N.Y.U. news. First off, in case you haven’t heard, the university got socked in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, to the tune of $24 million. That hurts, because N.Y.U. is always griping about its endowment — about how it has a long, long way to go before it ever catches up with the likes of Columbia or Harvard, for example. But the Greenwich Village school isn’t taking the Madoffian malfeasance lying down. On Dec. 23, it filed suit against Ezra Merkin, a money manager who had invested those N.Y.U. millions, unbeknownst to the university, with Madoff. N.Y.U. spokesperson John Beckman said in a statement: “N.Y.U.’s suit seeks to recover damages, to prevent further loss of its funds, and to have an accounting done. … Managing a portion of a university’s endowment is a special trust: Universities are among the most enduring of human institutions, and their endowments must serve them both in the present and the future, supporting such crucial programs as scholarships for students and research programs. N.Y.U. is suing Mr. Merkin because he did not meet his obligation to the university to exercise reasonable judgment in investing N.Y.U.’s money with Madoff, to monitor the results of his investments with Madoff, and to perform appropriate due diligence. Indeed, when Merkin recently proposed investing the university’s money with Mr. Madoff — without telling us he had already done so — he was explicitly told this was not a proper investment vehicle for the university’s money.” … In other N.Y.U. news, The Real Deal reports that the university has been cleared to buy the N.Y.U. Catholic Center on Washington Square South at Thompson St. from the Catholic Archdiocese of New York for $25 million. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Martin Schoenfeld gave his approval for the sale of the 21,639-square-foot building on a 12,622-square-foot parcel on Dec. 24, according to court records published Monday, the real estate publication reported. The school had been trying to buy the property since the 1990s. N.Y.U. plans to use the site for “multifaith and academic purposes” but not student housing, according to Beckman. “There will continue to be a Catholic presence there,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying. The court must approve the sale of property owned by nonprofit organizations. … Also this month, N.Y.U. bought a 10-story building at 726 Broadway, between Waverly Place and Washington Place, for $210 million.

And the survey says…:
Kate Seely-Kirk, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s district office chief of staff, gave us the heads up on the latest on the highly anticipated creation of a South Village Historic District. “We are very excited to see the Landmarks Preservation Commission moving forward with the South Village Historic District,” Seely-Kirk reported. “Survey of [the buildings in] phase 1 is complete. The L.P.C. commission staff is finalizing their evaluation and they are now working on drafting the boundaries.”

Gets onboard petition drive:
Quinn Raymond, East Village native and rocking musician, reports that COBATA (Coalition of Block and Tenant Associations) has started a new Web site to save the M-8 Eighth St. cross-town bus from elimination by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Visitors to the Web site — http://www.savethem8.org/ — can sign a petition calling for saving the route, which the M.T.A. wants to cut to help close its humongous budget gap.

 

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