Volume 78 - Number 37 / February 18 - 24 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Scoopy's Notebook

Villager photos by Scoopy

Dana Beal is proud of the code-compliant sidewalk exit hatch from the Lenny Bruce Comedy Room at 9 Bleecker St.

Antonio the pagan? We were interested to notice that The Villager’s article last week on Antonio Pagan was picked up by Alltop, an Internet “headline aggregator” featuring “All the top Pagan news.” However, it turns out “pagan” refers to witches and warlocks, not the former East Village city councilmember.

Penny’s pitch: Looking to fill seats for her new piece in San Francisco, “Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!” Lower East Side performance artist Penny Arcade is asking her New York friends to let their Bay Area pals know about the show. They can also check out “An Englishman in New York,” the new movie on Quentin Crisp’s later years, in which Arcade — a former teenage Warhol superstar — is portrayed by Cynthia Nixon of “Sex and the City.” ... In other local performance-artist news, Peter Missing reports from Berlin that four new Missing Foundation shows are now up on Google Video.

Hack’s eye view: With the economy in the tank, it’s no surprise taxi drivers are reporting a lack of business, too. “The nightlife is dead,” cabbie Richard Hobbs complained to us last Friday morning. “It’s not a joke,” he said. “I drove around Alphabet City for 40 minutes, then 40 minutes in Midtown, from 4:20 to 6:30 this morning, not one fare — it’s a ghost town. It takes me eight hours to make what I used to make in five.” Hobbs, who has been driving a taxi in New York for 35 years, knows a thing or two about jobs and the economy beyond what his meter is telling him. His father-in-law was Ray Corbett, former head of the New York State AFL-CIO.

Housing hopes: Tenants at 47 E. Third St. are sensitive to being seen as having thrown in the towel after they recently took buyouts. Laura Zambrano, one of the holdout tenants who fought the mass-eviction efforts by landlords Alistair and Catherine Economakis, said they really had no option. Basically, after the tenants lost their lawsuit, the Economakises were set to move ahead with their eviction. The tenants feared if they fought on in Housing Court and lost, they’d have to pay the opposing side’s attorney fees. So, they all took $75,000 buyouts, and now have until Aug. 31 to vacate. “We did whatever we could do,” Zambrano said. “This became a full-time job for all of us for five years. I spent all my life savings. We’ve got landlords that have an unlimited supply of money. This isn’t the outcome everyone wanted.” The Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association is stepping in to provide either temporary or permanent housing for the eight remaining tenants. Some of their income levels are low enough that they can get permanent housing with Cooper Square, while those with incomes over the cap will be given housing for one year. Zambrano said some residents are declining the temporary housing, because “they don’t want to move twice.” At the same time, Aron Kay a.k.a. “The Yippie Pie Man” is demanding the same offer as the mass-eviction tenants. Kay is currently crashing at the Yippie Cafe, at 9 Bleecker St., where Dana Beal recently made a pitch for him. “This guy has the memory of an elephant,” Beal said of Kay. “He is the memory bank of the Yippie Museum. Valerio Orselli was a bus captain in 1968,” Beal recalled of when the M.H.A.’s executive director and the Yippies shared common cause at the Chicago Democratic National Convention. “Maybe they don’t like this brand of Yippie. ... Unfortunately, Aron Kay is stranded here. If anyone can help the living avatar of the Yippies — the guy who pied Schlafly and others who deserved it... .” For his part, Kay added that the Third St. tenants’ buyouts amount to “seed money” to help them relocate while he has nothing. But Orselli said the Third St. residents sought the help of the M.H.A. months ago, while Kay came to them “more recently.” Also, because of his girth and leg problems, the “Pie Man” isn’t really able to climb stairs. “We did tell him we have practically nothing on a lower floor” right now, Orselli noted. ... In other Yippie news, Beal said they are once again locked in a battle with their landlord over 9 Bleecker St. Beal said the landlord pulled this latest one while Beal was preoccupied with installing a special sidewalk escape hatch from the downstairs Lenny Bruce Comedy Room.

File under ‘Gleason’: Pete Gleason is pulling out all the stops in his effort to unseat incumbent City Councilmember Alan Gerson in Lower Manhattan’s First District. First, he’s mounting a tchotchke blitz, handing out thousands of personalized ballpoint pens for the men and nail files for the ladies. He even has customized “Elect Pete Gleason for City Council” pill dispensers for seniors. Then, predicting Gerson will duck his challenge to debate, he has a Plan B: Mommo-a-mommo. That’s right, Gleason is proposing that his mother, Maureen, debate Sophie Gerson, a onetime force to be reckoned with on the local school board. But Gleason said his mom will be more than able to hold her own, noting, “She raised three sons!” The council candidate put us on his cell phone with Maureen, who said she would first ask a few things about Gerson during a debate. “I want to know what kind of childhood he had — was he a happy child?” she said. “My Peter’s beautiful inside and out,” she gushed. “Don’t you think he’s a good-looking man?” How can you lose with a mom like that behind you? City Hall newspaper agrees with her, recently naming Gleason one of the “30 Most Beautiful People in New York City Politics.” Gerson did not respond to calls regarding the mommo-a-mommo debate proposal.

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