Volume 78 - Number 47 / April 29 - May 5 , 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Scoopy's Notebook

Soprano’s whack at Trump: The Department of Sanitation’s Spring St. megagarage project isn’t the only monumental edifice complex riling neighborhood celebs. At the “Hudson Rise Picnic” event a few weeks ago, James Gandolfini also took a whack — though in words only — at Donald Trump and his 40-plus-story Trump Soho condo-hotel at Spring and Varick Sts. “It’s insanity,” “Tony Soprano” told us regarding the Sanitation garage project, adding, “They’ve already let Trump build his big piece of crap down there, and now they want to destroy it [with the megagarage].” By “it,” Gandolfini, a Tribeca resident, said he meant, “Tribeca, mainly, for me — but also Soho.”


Villager on the big screen: If you happen to be catching the quirky rockumentary “Anvil” or any of the other cool flicks now showing at the Angelika theater on Houston St., before the previews start, keep an eye out for The Villager’s snazzy new on-screen promo ad. Admittedly, it flashes up there pretty quickly — much more so than the prolonged ads for “The Wrestler” on Blu-Ray or YogaSlink — but, well, we still think it’s a beaut. In case the ad whisks by a little too fast for you to appreciate its subtleties, the one essential thing you need to know is that by “registering” online at www.thevillager.com, you — yes, you!!! — become eligible to win a trip in June to the Provincetown Film Festival. You don’t even have to go to the Angelika to register, but “Anvil” rocks.


Occupy over here, no over there! After Take Back N.Y.U. took over the Kimmel Center earlier this year, the last group of 18 occupiers who stuck it out until the end agreed to what’s called a “consensual resolution” with the administration, under which their suspensions were lifted and they weren’t expelled. We would kind of assume that one of the conditions they agreed to was not to occupy anymore N.Y.U. buildings. But what if they occupy a New School building instead, as happened recently when some of the same Take Back N.Y.U.’ers participated in the six-hour, second occupation of 65 Fifth Ave.? Farah Khimji, 20, an N.Y.U. student who did just that, said, “The wording of the consensual resolution is intentionally ambiguous; it says, ‘If they continue to do further actions that we don’t like, they can face further discipline.’” The resolution didn’t specify anything about N.Y.U. versus The New School, she noted. Khimji doesn’t expect any further discipline for occupying a New School facility. “I don’t think they’ll do anything,” she said, “because if they did — it would be so absurd.” John Beckman, N.Y.U.’s spokesperson, said, “Federal law prohibits the university from publicly discussing individual student disciplinary matters. Speaking generally, I can say that N.Y.U. takes allegations of student misconduct seriously no matter where this behavior occurs. Under university policy, students may be subject to N.Y.U.’s disciplinary procedures for misconduct occurring off-campus.” ... Not likely though, it sounds like. ... In related news, after the most recent, arrest-shortened occupation of 65 Fifth Ave., the New School Free Press reported that a security guard said to have been injured in the chaos was never admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospital for treatment, despite The New School administration’s contention that he had been. In response, Jane Crotty, a university spokesperson, told us the man’s knee was “totally blown up” and was indeed X-rayed at St. Vincent’s emergency room, which apparently may not technically qualify as having been “admitted” to the hospital. Umm, O.K. “They’re not going to give out who goes to the emergency room,” Crotty said.


Hey, Social Security — pay Ray! It seems everybody’s getting stimulus funds nowadays, but Ray Alvarez of Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A still can’t even get his Social Security — though he’s 76 years old! Since Scoopy detailed Ray’s plight not long ago, things haven’t improved. In a new development, though, Alvarez said he’s now got two lawyers helping him. They’re trying to track down a copy of his long-lost Turkish Navy ID that he used to get his green card when Reagan granted amnesty to illegal immigrants back in the 1980s. “It takes 10 to 22 months to get those papers — I may die before I get them,” Ray explained fatalistically as he mixed up a cherry slush for a customer last Saturday night. “And my lawyer’s 80 years old — he said, ‘So what?’” The lawyers will take 25 percent of whatever he gets, he said. Complicating matters, Ray’s green card puts his age at 76, while his driver’s license says he’s 62. On top of that, his given Turkish name is Asghar Ghahraman. “My birth certificate says I’m 100 — I mean 80,” Ray said with a smile, though we think that was a joke. One thing is certain, Ray has paid taxes for 44 years, but gotten $0 in Social Security. If anyone needs some stimulus funds, it’s Ray. He said last Saturday, with its beautiful weather, was the first day he made any money in a long time. Scoopy is going to have to get involved here, because 10 to 22 months is way too long for Ray to wait.


Movin’ on up: Detective Tim Duffy, formerly one of the two community affairs officers at Greenwich Village’s Sixth Precinct, has been promoted to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s citywide liaison to the gay and lesbian community. Duffy is now assigned to Police Headquarters down at 1 Police Plaza, but can also often be found back at the Sixth, since it’s a precinct with many gay and lesbian residents, visitors and issues of concern. Police Officer Andy Stimus, the precinct’s crime prevention officer and a 10-year veteran of the Sixth, is taking over Duffy’s community-affairs spot.


Sound of silence? A MacDougal St. resident tells us something fishy appears to be going on with the Department of Environmental Protection and sound-level readings for noisy bars. In response to the resident’s complaints, a D.E.P. inspector visited the resident’s apartment on three different occasions to check decibel readings inside the apartment. Each time, per protocol, the appointment was set up several days in advance. However, each night the D.E.P. inspector visited, the bar in question was uncharacteristically very quiet. In short, the resident suspects the tavern is being tipped off, most likely by D.E.P. Making matters worse, the resident said the Sixth Precinct’s own sound gun has been missing for two months, in the shop for repairs. P.O. Stimus said the accusations against D.E.P. would fall under an internal agency investigation. As for the absent sound gun, he said, “I’ve been told it was out for repairs — and I believe it’s back, or will be back this week. I will spread that word to the cabaret unit — that people know it’s not being used,” Stimus added.


Erie coincidence: “Did someone from The Villager just call me?” It was John Penley, phoning from Erie, Pa. Actually, we hadn’t, but we were wondering what Penley was up to. The former L.E.S. Slacktivist leader will be celebrating — and D.J.’ing at — his 58th birthday party on Sat., May 2. Friends are making the seven-and-a-half-hour drive from New York City and will stay at a cool 1950s-style retro motel, $25 a night, and hit a water park on Saturday. “I’m relatively happy, I’m extremely poor...and I’m on food stamps,” Penley informed us. “But I’m happy.” He’s rooming with Kenny Toglia, a former East Village squatter who owns The Dog bar. “I live in a poor, racially mixed neighborhood,” Penley said. “Kenny’s bar is one of the few that blacks and whites both patronize — gay people, too.” As for Aron Kay, the “Yippie Pie Man,” with whom Penley was considering moving to Newark at one point, Penley said, Kay’s left the Yippie Cafe on Bleecker, no doubt much to Dana Beal’s relief. “He’s with some fregans in Brooklyn,” Penley said.


Ever-lovin’ Evelyn: It’s official, according to an April 17 letter from Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe to City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, the new playground being built in Union Square Park will be renamed “Evelyn’s Playground” in honor of the late Evelyn Strouse.


Heavenly reading: Best-selling author and chick-lit superstar Susan Jane Gilman wrapped up her tour for her new book at McNally Jackson bookstore on Prince St. in Soho last Thursday. “Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven” irreverently chronicles Gilman’s travels in Communist China when it was opening up to Westerners; based on her ribald reading, “Undress Me” sounds even more hilarious than her best-selling “Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress.” Afterward, Gilman and her pals from her Stuyvesant High School days — including N.Y.U. journalism adjunct professor Jessica Seigel a.k.a. N.P.R.’s “Countess of Culture” — partied the night away at Nolita House on East Houston St.

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