Volume 79, Number 9 | August 5 - 11, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Scoopy's Notebook

Strictly BID’ness: It seems the Meat Market just wasn’t big enough for two improvement districts. That’s apparently the reason why a Meat Market Business Improvement District never got off the ground. Meanwhile, a new High Line Improvement District is being proposed to extend all the way down to Horatio St., taking in the Meat Market. Asking property owners to pay two annual assessments was getting to be a bit much. But one result is that the traffic-calming structures and pedestrian spaces in Gansevoort Plaza and along Ninth Ave. south of 14th St. don’t have any maintenance funding stream, with no BID yet in place; so, the tree planters are collecting everything from empty Patron tequila bottles to batteries, old cigarette packs and plastic water bottles and cups, while the slab seating structures have been tagged with graffiti, and no one seems to be cleaning it all up. On the other hand, the plaza area north of 14th St. on Ninth Ave. is kept immaculately, with movable seats and chairs, the main difference being that it’s maintained with funds from a group called the Chelsea Improvement Project, which includes Chelsea Market and other local businesses. 

Frankly speaking: By chance we happened to tune into Malachy McCourt’s radio show on WBAI on Saturday morning, when his guests were brother Alphie — who has written for The Villager — and Mike,  from San Francisco. The talk, of course, was all about the death of “the brother Frank.” Malachy noted that a move is afoot — “afoot, afoot, afoot!” chimed in Mike — to rename one of the schools in the reorganized Brandeis High School on the Upper West Side after Frank. That would be unusual, Malachy said, since no New York City public schools are named after an actual teacher, which Frank was, at Stuyvesant High School and before that on Staten Island, before he shot to fame with the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Angela’s Ashes.” A bigger challenge, though, will be the brothers’ desire to rename the school they all attended in Limerick, Ireland, after their oldest sibling. There are still many in Limerick who will never forgive McCourt for what he wrote about them — plus there always were a bunch of jealous sorts in positions of power there, Malachy said.

Villager file photo

In October 2003, West Village neighbors and members of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation demonstrated outside Annie Leibovitz’s three buildings, charging her with “demolition by neglect.” Leibovitz did eventually make the necessary repairs.

Fading picture? Superstar photographer Annie Leibovitz is in deep financial distress, and is being sued for repayment of a $24 million loan, according to an article in The New York Times. The picture is so bleak that she may lose her three Village townhouses on Greenwich St. Leibovitz originally had only purchased two of the buildings for $4.15 million, but ended up buying the third for $1.87 million after the owner sued because she had damaged a party wall during renovations. 

Dodge parks it: Dodge Landesman recently dropped out of the Democratic primary race against incumbent Rosie Mendez in the Second City Council District, meaning that, well, Mendez no longer has a primary race.

The ‘chickenhawk’ has landed: After one of the Tompkins Square Park red-tailed hawks surprisingly dropped in last month at nearby Birdie’s restaurant and landed on a local blogger’s chicken lunch, the bird was caught by a cook and, according to news reports, sent to the A.S.P.C.A. But Pharaoh Masters, the restaurant’s co-owner, said the daily newspapers didn’t get it quite right. The bird, which had a broken wing, was first taken by his ex-partner, Pnina Peled, to the Bird Rescue Foundation at 87th St. and Columbus Ave., and from there was transferred to a raptor preserve in New Jersey. Yeah, but there’s no barbecued chicken out there. ... 

The latest ‘Gossip’: The hottest show on TV, or so we take it from the local gossip pages, “Gossip Girl” — about prep school kids who are never seen in school — was filming Monday on the western edge of Soho around MacDougal and Prince Sts. Hillary Duff was said to be a special guest star. The filming was centering around Hundred Acres restaurant on MacDougal St. when we walked by. It seemed there were more production assistants than we’ve ever seen at one of these affairs. One of them warned us, “Don’t watch the show — they say it lowers your I.Q. by 5 points.”

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