Volume 78, Number 52 | June 3 - 9, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Scoopy's Notebook

Villager photo by Isaac Rosenthal

Sasha Acosta, left, and Milcar Cruz of Blue Ribbon Market with the sturgeon on toast that’s the favorite of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

Toast of the town: Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination for the Supreme Court by President Obama last week rocked sleepy Bedford St. “She lives right across the street at No. 3. Who knew?” marveled Livvie Mann, president of the Bedford-Downing Block Association. When paparazzi descended on the street last Wednesday, neighbors at first thought the photographers were there to cover Drew Barrymore, who also lives on the block. Mann said it turns out that a past boyfriend of Sotomayor’s once came to one of the block association’s early meetings about 11 years ago, shortly after the association’s founding. He had a map and “it had something to do with traffic,” Mann said, though she couldn’t recall further details. “I think he was from Connecticut,” she said. Sotomayor is well known at the Blue Ribbon Market on Bedford St. The sandwich station crew there, Efren Perez, Milcar Cruz and Sasha Acosta, chat with her when she comes in on weekend mornings to buy her usual: sturgeon on toast, a couple of bread sticks and a decaf coffee. “We actually didn’t know she was a judge until one or two months ago,” Perez said. “It came up in conversation.” Cruz said, “She talks in Spanish and she talks about the weather. She tells me, ‘Hey, como estas? I’m fine.’ ... I mean, she’s a normal woman. One day, I asked her what she did for a living and she told me she was a federal judge on the Court of Appeals Second Circuit.” Cruz said that often Sotomayor is accompanied by a friend, an older blonde woman. “I think they work together, because when they come here, they’re usually talking about work,” he noted. It was a whirlwind week at the sandwich station, Cruz said. “The first week, it was crazy,” he said, “like CNN, Daily News, New York Post. Actually, a lady from the Washington Post came in and asked me some questions. It was intense, because I’d never been in front of the camera before. They took pictures of me and Sasha making the toast and it was fun — but I was scared. ... I’m rooting for her,” Cruz said. “She’s Hispanic, I’m Latino, and I’m proud of her. I think she’s going to be great.” Meanwhile, Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said Sotomayor’s building, while generally speaking, is in the area of the proposed South Village Historic District, is actually not technically in the district because it’s too modern, having probably been built in the ’80s. Yet, he said, even if her building’s not in the district, he’s proud of her, even more so because, like Sotomayor, he grew up in the Bronx. ... And as if Sotomayor’s nomination wasn’t already causing enough hoopla, Obama and the first lady, of course, ate at Blue Hill restaurant on Washington Place early Saturday evening before taking in a Broadway show. How much federal political excitement can one neighborhood take? What’ll be next — Joe Biden playing guitar by the Washington Square fountain? 

So-Vil vote: As for the South Village Historic District, Berman said it now looks like the Landmarks Preservation Commission may be voting on June 23 on whether to calendar the district for a designation hearing. He said G.V.S.H.P. just hopes no irreplaceable historic buildings are demolished or savaged before then.

Stop the violence: As shock continues to mount over the images of bloody violence depicted on Bob Arihood’s Neither More Nor Less blog, East Villagers have banded together to identify the suspects in a series of attacks on Tompkins Square Park “crusties,” homeless people and others. A group called Alphabet City Neighbors have posted a blog, abcneighbors.blogspot.com, and are asking residents to report the suspects to the authorities. The site contains a poster that people can print out and paste around the neighborhood that announces: “Warning Thugs: We Are Watching!” Meanwhile, there’s still no update from the city’s medical examiner on the cause of death of Lesia Pupshaw, 26, who died at her E. Sixth St. home on the morning of May 9 after having been assaulted by a band of local youths the night before. Pupshaw was also reportedly a heroin user. On Tuesday, Ellen Borakove, an M.E. spokesperson, said there were no preliminary indications from tissue and toxicology tests, and even if there were, the M.E. would not release them publicly. But police are privy to things. Shortly after Pupshaw’s death, Deputy Inspector Dennis De Quatro, the Ninth Precinct’s commanding officer, told The Villager, “The medical examiner is indicating that the injuries that they believe [Pupshaw] sustained were not the cause of her death. The only thing we have at this point is that her death is not [attributable to violence].”

Back on the street again: Jim Power, the “Mosaic Man,” is homeless again, unfortunately. He thought he had a great deal on a place that was advertised as being in Park Slope — only to find out it was in a construction site way out in Canarsie. It was too far a commute from the East Village, so he had to give it up. He’s hard up right now, and is really getting impatient waiting for The New York Times to do its promised profile of his interior mosaic-tile work, which could give him a needed boost. He’s all ready for the Times photo shoot, wearing his T-shirt with a photo on it showing Obama gesturing by Power’s “N.A.A.C.P. light pole” by Cooper Union. It sort of looks like Obama is waving at someone in the distance, but Power assures that he is in fact pointing at and admiring Power’s pole artistry. For those who would like to help out a struggling street artist in need, and of course his loyal canine companion Jesse Jane, Power notes he has a Pay Pal account set up under “Jim Power.”

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