Volume 79, Number 02 | June 17 - 23, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Scoopy's Notebook

Gerson rashomon: Councilmember Alan Gerson not only lost Downtown Independent Democrats’ endorsement two weeks ago but he also had his cell phone thrown against the wall by club member Gil Horowitz after breaking up an argument Horowitz was having with Gerson’s mother, Sophie, 84. We’ve tried to get to the bottom of this to see what prompted Horowitz’s anger — was it an overreaction to the councilmember’s justifiable defense of his mother or was it physically aggressive behavior on Gerson’s part? After speaking to everyone involved, though, we feel like we’re in a remake of Kurosawa’s “Rashomon.” Horowitz, 72, says Gerson grabbed and held him while shoving him 20 feet. Then when Horowitz complained to Alan, the councilmember offered the cell phone in case Horowitz wanted to call the police. Horowitz was so angered that he threw the phone across the large hall in St. Anthony’s Church on Sullivan St. There were few witnesses to the hullabaloo at the back of the room since most attention was directed toward the speakers up front. Allan Horland, a physician and Gerson friend who was keeping his eye on Sophie at the request of her son, agreed Gerson did grab Horowitz and move him away, but said Gerson reacted appropriately since Horowitz “was waving his finger, if not his fist” in the face of an elderly woman who couldn’t easily get up and walk away. Sophie, who lives with Alan, has had two major surgeries in recent years. Gerson said he would stand by Horland’s account, though he denies ever grabbing Horowitz. At various times as we were trying to get to the bottom of this, Gerson said he “may have ruffled” Horowitz as he stepped in, that he “gently ushered” him away from his mother and that he did what anyone would do to someone “threatening” his or her ailing mother. Horowitz, a psychologist who is Pete Gleason’s campaign “behavioral scientist,” says Gerson just snapped. Horowitz said he never shook his finger at Sophie, although he does regret some of the harsh things he told her about her son. Two witnesses with strong loyalties to Gleason, who beat Gerson for D.I.D.’s endorsement, said they saw Gerson take more aggressive action — one said the councilmember grabbed and shoved Horowitz about 7 feet, the other said it was more like a pushing — but neither would speak for attribution. Another witness who is a Gleason supporter, Adam Silvera, said he was right there and although each person invaded the other’s personal space, he did not notice much, if any, contact. But Silvera also does not recall the phone throw, which every other witness remembers clearly. Go figure.

Pedicab rashomon: At the end of the Hudson River Park Trust’s board of directors meeting last month there was a lengthy discussion of pedicabs after Marc Ameruso, former chairperson of the Hudson River Park Advisory Council, mentioned that family members of Arthur Schwartz, the advisory council’s current chairperson, recently had been “hit by a pedicab” on the park’s bike path. Schwartz’s 5-year-old daughter, in fact, broke her elbow in the collision. Pedicabs are only allowed on the bike path if they’re not carrying passengers, and can’t pick up fares on the route, it was pointed out, since they aren’t allowed to conduct business on the path. Pedicabs have been under renewed scrutiny lately, following a June 10 incident when a pedicab went careening recklessly down the Brooklyn-side ramp on the Williamsburg Bridge, then collided with a car, injuring the pedicab’s driver and two of his passengers. However, Schwartz, who came to the Trust’s meeting at the last minute and missed the discussion, later told us, “No, I have a pedicab — and I think they’re great.” He said his wife and daughter were in the custom-built tricycle (i.e., the “pedicab”) and that they were struck by a bicyclist on the path near Chambers St. in such a way and at such an angle that it flipped them over. Also contributing to the accident, he said, was the presence of pedestrians on the path at the spot where the bike and trike collided, which had caused the cyclists to take evasive maneuvers. Schwartz said his family’s trike — which he thinks is really cool — was built by George Bliss, who, as Villager readers may recall, also built the “No Impact S.U.V.” tricycle for another Villager, Colin Beavan, a.k.a. No Impact Man. As for the bike path, Schwartz said he plans at some point to bring together the government agencies involved with the path, basically the state Department of Transportation and the Trust, to see if some ideas like speed bumps and better signage can be implemented to increase safety.

Hudson fireworks: Speaking of Hudson River Park, that’s where the prime viewing area for this year’s Fourth of July fireworks display will be — since the event is moving from the East River to the Hudson River in honor of the quadricentennial of Henry Hudson’s sailing into the river that bears his name. Specifically, the main viewing strip will be 24th to 50th Sts., where six barges packed with colorful explosives will be floating offshore. However, the entire West Side Highway from 125th St. to just below Chelsea Piers will be closed off to accept the thronging masses. The Intrepid pier and the Intrepid itself will be the center of Macy’s show with a staging area for music and performances. As for Hudson River Park, the sections that will be open for the crowds, at least according to preliminary information, will be Clinton Cove in the W. 50s, Pier 54 at W. 13th St. and all or part of Pier 84 at W. 44th St. The park’s bikeway will be closed to cyclists and pedestrians and will be used as an emergency access path.

Rider needs help: David McWater, owner of Doc Holliday’s bar on Avenue A at Ninth St., alerted us to an upcoming fundraiser for the bar’s former bouncer, Eamon Cronin, who is the drummer and singer in The Doors cover band Riders on the Storm. Cronin was on tour with his band in Vigo, Spain, when he fell off a 15-foot stage and suffered a near-death head injury. “He is still in I.C.U. in Spain, without medical insurance, and the club is saying they have no insurance,” said Joanna Leban, manager and head bartender at “Doc’s.” “Although an investigation has begun to hold the club responsible, he has to pay for some of the large medical bills (or they will transfer him to a public, inferior-care hospital) and he’s suffering financial hardship due to the injury.” To help one of their own, Doc Holliday’s will hold a raffle and silent auction Thurs., June 18, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Many local businesses are donating items, such as dinner for two, tattoo time, bar tabs, shoes, clothing, “baskets of booze,” chiropractor services, massages, several East Village bar crawls paid for by the bar (and hosted by two gorgeous Doc’s bartenders per crawl), personal-training sessions, personal chef cooking lessons and more. One hundred percent of door proceeds ($20 suggested donation) and all raffle and auction proceeds, plus all bartender tips and 50 percent of bar sales will all go for Cronin’s assistance.

‘Mosaic’ moves in: Jim Power, the “Mosaic Man,” has found a home, temporarily at least, with an East Village artist who has taken him in. When we called him last week — to let him know that a Brooklyn woman had contacted us wanting him to do a mosaic in her backyard — Power was busy working on a mosaic piece for a local bar, and sounded like things were looking up.

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