Volume 78 - Number 46 / April 22 -28, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Scoopy's Notebook

Soho Journal looks whipped: We hear from Ed Gold, a contributor to Soho Journal, that the magazine now won’t be publishing a print issue this month, but will continue online. Last month, Don MacPherson, the magazine’s founder and owner, was arrested and charged in a $50 million Hamptons mortgage scam that allegedly involved clients from a dominatrix business he operated posing as phony mortgage applicants. At that time, Gold said he had heard the Soho Journal still would be putting out a new print version this month; he said he had even sent in his column. But apparently the magazine’s black sidewalk boxes will remain empty.

Changing of the guard at chamber: In what some are calling “a shake-up” at the Greenwich Village – Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, but others are downplaying as simply “a new focus,” Dirk McCall has left as the business group’s executive director and is being replaced by David Lehman. Lehman, who was formerly with New York University’s office of government and community affairs for a spell, will take over May 1. McCall’s last day was April 13. While the chamber couldn’t have asked for a better frontman than the personable McCall, some chamber sources say the organization, well, needed better organization. In his defense, McCall’s fans say he was “overwhelmed” with too much work after Sean Oakley, the chamber’s project manager, left in November. McCall confirmed that was basically the case, and said the chamber “didn’t have the budget” to fill Oakley’s position. “I was doing two people’s jobs,” McCall told us. Oakley took care of the chamber’s Web site, mailings and day-to-day operations, while McCall’s specialties were fundraising, recruiting and the “political stuff”; he worked with merchants and the Department of Transportation on the Eighth Ave. bike lane, and with wine and liquor stores to combat supermarkets getting the right to sell spirits, and lobbied to get more chamber members appointed to community boards. McCall said he couldn’t talk more right now, but that “the full story” will soon come out — after the chamber’s upcoming board meeting.

The campaign spirit: Reverend Billy officially opened up his campaign office last Saturday evening, in Soho in a former dress shop on Lafayette St. between Spring and Prince Sts., right across from the fire station house. We got there toward the end of the festivities. Everybody had had a great time dancing and working up a sweat; indeed, Billy’s mayoral campaign office sports a small mirrored disco ball hanging from the ceiling. Members of Time’s Up! also rolled in on their bicycles to join the bash after their inaugural James Brown Ride in Saturday’s beautiful weather. ... Speaking of rolling, Billy’s campaign continues to do that, especially in the East Village, where he prays he’ll pick up mucho votes. Eden Brower, who blogs as “Slum Goddess,” recently threw her support behind the performance-artist preacher turned politico. Billy was going around the neighborhood with a film crew earlier this month, bumped into Brower in Whole Foods, and asked her to do a stand-up behind a small podium he’d brought along. A former resident of See Skwat for 10 years, Brower is also the singer for the East River String Band — which is a really great band, playing 1920s and ’30 rural blues, check ’em out!

That’s how the cookie crumbles: Perhaps wrapping up one of the wildest and weirdest pastry stories in recent memory — actually, make that ever — Community Board 2 last month passed a “Resolution on the Offensive Actions of Lafayette French Pastry.” We herewith reprint the resolution in its entirety:

“WHEREAS, Lafayette French Pastry, located at 26 Greenwich Avenue, sold a product line in January which the owner called “Drunken Negro Face Cookies”; and  

WHEREAS, these repugnantly named cookies were sold for nearly five days before they attracted media attention, the chair of Community Board 2 called for a boycott of the store, and the owner agreed to halt their sale; and

WHEREAS, this outrage occurred during the week when our country was celebrating the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the historic occasion of Barack Obama’s inauguration as the first African-American president of the United States; and

WHEREAS, at Senator Duane’s request, the New York State Division of Human Rights offered to conduct a training for a Lafayette Bakery’s owner and employees on their obligations under the State’s Human Rights Law.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT Community Board No. 2, condemns in the strongest possible terms the offensive actions by individuals or businesses, such as Lafayette French Pastry’s sale of the “Drunken Negro Face Cookies,” that denigrate or demean others in our community;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT this incident underscores how much more work is needed to eliminate racism in our midst, as Senator Duane and Speaker Quinn pointed out in a letter to the editor of The Villager; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT although it is the Community Board’s understanding that the owner has taken a training on the State’s Human Rights Law and publicly apologized, various press accounts have cast doubt on his sincerity and whether he understands the nature of his transgression; therefore, we urge him to continue to avail himself and his staff of these trainings and to take other steps as necessary to ensure that neither he nor his employees ever engage in such an offensive act again. 

March 11, 2009

Passed unanimously”

After we informed him of the resolution, Ted Kefalinos, the shop’s owner and creator of the kooky cookies, continued to defend his actions as innocent and the cookie as merely “a design” gone bad. “I was not trying to create anything offensive — and it was only twisted around by the media,” he said. Kefalinos admitted his business “could be a little better,” and said he’s concerned  that negative stories about the cookie incident will remain posted on the Internet forever. He’s still steamed about the initial “Shame on You” segment by Arnold Diaz on Fox 5 News that he said portrayed him unfairly. “Maybe they should pass a resolution on the media,” he groused. “I’m trying to get people to flag the video as ‘racist, so it disappears. Then, there’s no links. But the problem is people are taking Diaz’s video and putting it into their own video — but eventually that will die down, too, because people will get bored with it,” Keflalinos said. And, if need be, he might move. “If I’m not loved here, I can go other places,” he said, “Florida, Europe, Seattle, Georgetown.”

Police problem: Jim Power, the “Mosaic Man,” just can’t seem to catch a break. He was touching up one of his mosaic-encrusted light poles on Second Ave. at Eighth St. Monday afternoon, when a young police officer from the Ninth Precinct decided he would hassle him. Power was simply using a Brillo pad to take stickers off the pole and clean up the grooves between the glass beads, pieces of broken dishes and tiles. “He told me, ‘Pack up, get out of here,’” Power fumed. “He told me he was being polite...with his blonde partner he was trying to impress. ... Arrogant cop.” Power has declared “war” on the precinct, though he still hopes to complete the mural in the new station house that he was commissioned to do two years ago. He’s got another problem, however. Power says his Bushwick building is filled with drug dealers who are partying loudly till 4 a.m., and that he plans to “issue a statement” about it. 

Ah...reopening is bliss: George Bliss’s bike shop, the Hub Station, has reopened at its old Morton St. location. Bliss had been kicked out to make way for a tenant who reportedly was going to pay $15,000 per month, but the tenant couldn’t get a guarantor, so Bliss was allowed to come back in. He has a lease through October, and hopes to be able to negotiate then to stay longer.

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