Volume 79, Number 6 | July 15 - 21, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Scoopy's Notebook

S.V.A. gets stonewalled? Community Board 2’s Street Activities and Film Permits Committee is really sticking it to the Stonewall Veterans’ Association. The committee has now put off, for three months in a row, voting on the association’s application for a permit for its annual street fair in September on Greenwich Ave. between Sixth and Seventh Aves. Evan Lederman, the committee’s chairperson, said, under his leadership, they’ve been cracking down on phony street fairs, and want to see proof that S.V.A. is indeed a legitimate 501c3 nonprofit charitable organization. “A lot of these street fairs tend to be run by shell organizations, and one or two people pocket the money and split it with the promoter,” Lederman noted. “We view this as a public inconvenience — you’re shutting down public streets to profit. It’s basically fraud. … Stonewall [Veterans’ Association] has not answered our standard questions.” The street fairs generally pull in about $8,000 to $10,000, which the organizers split with the promoters. Lederman added they’re not accusing S.V.A. of anything, but just want all their questions answered: Does the group have members that live in the community? Does it hold regular meetings? Does it provide services to the community? How is the money from the street fair allocated? Carol Yankay, a veteran C.B. 2 member, said of Williamson Henderson, S.V.A.’s president, “Every year he shows some papers, but they never go far enough to show that he’s a charity. We’ve told him many times, but he doesn’t do it. He doesn’t present the best case, he’s confused.” Yankay said she understood Karen Burstein was S.V.A.’s lawyer and that the former judge planned to write a letter clarifying things. Yankay said Henderson must provide the letter “immediately,” since C.B. 2’s procedure is to give 60 days notice of its recommendation, after which the city might or might not follow the board’s advisory position. “I don’t think anyone thinks he pockets the money,” Yankay assured. On Tuesday, Yankay called us with an update, saying that Joe Flahaven, a public member of the committee, had pulled S.V.A.’s federal ID number off the Internet. “We’re fine with Stonewall Veterans — they’ve been approved,” Yankay declared. However, we checked with Lederman, and he said just having an ID number for a 501c3 nonprofit isn’t enough in his opinion, and that all “the boxes haven’t been checked” in his book to grant approval. The committee members will vote by e-mail before next week’s C.B. 2 full board meeting. Lederman noted that his vote doesn’t carry any more weight than anyone else’s, but that the committee often votes unanimously on issues. As for Henderson, he told us we must have gotten some “misinformation,” adding, “Why don’t you do a story about how W.L.H. [Henderson] has founded more gay organizations than anyone in history?”


Newswomen go nuts: A recent annual meeting to announce election results for officers of the venerable Newswomen’s Club of New York became so rancorous that outgoing president Jeanne King, a 77-year-old author and former crime reporter for Reuters, said her legs buckled under her in the elevator at the National Arts Club in Gramercy Park after she was called a “bald-faced liar” during an expletive-laced rant by Latrice Davis, former chairperson of the club’s nominations committee. “When people shout at me like that, I just shut down,” said King, a 1994 winner of one of the club’s prestigious Front Page Awards. E.M.S. had to be called to get King out of the elevator, confirmed the new president for 2009, Toni Reinhold (on Reuters’ New York desk), who had campaigned on a promise to bring the 87-year-old club “into the 21st century.” (Eleanor Roosevelt was once a member.) Out of 66 ballots counted, Reinhold and her slate of candidates defeated Claire Regan, associate managing editor of the Staten Island Advance, and her “official slate” by a margin of five votes. King, who had backed Regan’s slate, said later she might ask the new board to “bring sanctions” against Davis, whom she claimed had slandered her. Davis apologized to the June 30 meeting for her “unladylike” behavior and then to King for her “colorful language” in an e-mail. But Davis also told club member Mary Reinholz that she stood by her claim that King had “lied” when she stated in a June 28 e-mail to members that Davis had “canceled” the general meeting. Brooklyn lawyer  Stephen Somerstein, who attended the meeting, said he helped draft King’s e-mail and should have used the word “undermine” rather than “canceled.” He noted Davis had sent out an e-mail to club members, telling them the election process had become tainted and would advise a candidate receiving a ballot to “shred it” or “burn it.” “Some members expressed concern that the meeting and the election had been called off,” he said. Reached at Reuters, Reinhold said, “We’ve had contentious elections before but never this contentious. And I’m sorry because we tried to take the high road.”


Everybody loves Ramon: Scoopy’s item two weeks ago on a small army of local D.I.Y.’ers fixing up Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A to wipe out 59 of 60 violations apparently overstated the involvement of See Skwat. Although Ramon “Ray” Alvarez told us it was See Skwat folks who did the work, we subsequently got a message from a resident of the former Avenue C squat, saying it was just two See Skwatters and one former resident, as well as “many other people there, like Eden, Hilda and Michael S.” Said Brett in his message: “Me being one of the people from ‘C,’ we don’t want to take so much credit. There were many other people who helped and that played at the benefit we threw for him.” The benefit, at See Skwat, saw punk rock bands raise $350 for the egg-cream maestro, according to Ray. 


Some good Afghan news: Nusraty Afghan Imports recently opened in a new location, at 113 W. 10th St., between Sixth and Greenwich Aves., right next to Patchin Place. Abdul Nusraty was at his previous storefront at Bleecker and 10th Sts. for 30 years, during which he became a neighborhood fixture, but was forced out due to high rent.


Time to blow this town: It sounds like former L.E.S. Slacktivist leader John Penley has had it with Erie, Pa., and is ready to return to the East Village. Penley text-messaged us over the weekend: “redneck kkkrackers with guns want my blood in erie. f--k that.” He said on Friday at 9 p.m., he’ll be holding a “Gringo Loco-style memorial” for Barnacle Bill at Seventh and A.
 

Billy’s Brutal Britain trip: After a frightening fibrillation incident earlier this month, Reverend Billy is recuperating and already back doing what he does best, performing his blend of political and activist street theater, and continuing his campaign for Green Party candidate for mayor. “I’ve enjoyed the healing process. Every day I get better,” the reverend a.k.a. Bill Talen told us last week. Billy said that fighting “evil” entities on a tour of England a month and a half ago may have been what landed him in the St. Vincent’s E.R. earlier this month. The Westfield Mall in Shepherd’s Bush, London, he said, was particularly rough. “The security people there were like rugby players,” he recalled. And when he tried to exorcise a cash register at a Starbucks in the East End, a police helicopter was hovering overhead. In Grantham, Billy and his chorus “exorcised the birthplace of Margaret Thatcher by doing the ‘Thriller’ dance in a big ‘V’ aimed at Maggie’s [house].” Billy also took shots at Tesco, which he branded the U.K.’s “demon monoculture.” He’s currently gearing up for his big July 27 “Electalujah!” show at the High Line Ballroom, with folk legend Joan Baez as the headliner.
 

Sun finally sets on sun boxes: After The Villager’s article two months ago about a number of the New York Sun’s news boxes still being left around local streets (despite the fact that the newspaper has been defunct since last September) the boxes soon disappeared. Who actually removed them, we don’t know.
 

There oughta be a law! Frances Goldin tells us that attorney Daniel Millstone still refuses to return her paperwork and materials that she gave him in September to do her will. Millstone — whose malfeasance Scoopy exposed last month — never did her will, and refuses even to take her phone calls. “I’ve not heard a word from the creep,” Goldin, the lavender-wearing literary agent and housing activist said. “But at least people know to steer clear of him!” Goldin, 85, is recovering from a heart attack, and Millstone’s mishegoss sure isn’t helping matters.

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