Volume 79, Number 14 | September 9 - 15, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

2Scoopy's Notebook

Senior scare? Secret Service agents paid a visit to The Caring Community’s Center on the Square last Wednesday morning, and they weren’t interested in participating in any of the place’s myriad of interesting activities for seniors. Rather, they came to check out a cyber threat. According to Rick Hill, who started attending the center in June, the two agents, both men, dressed in casual plainclothes, flashed their badges and ID at the front desk, then went in to speak with Laura Marceca, the center’s able director. “Their vibe was very friendly and professional,” Hill said. “They were here because they got a report that something had been sent from the center, threatening some high official. Apparently, they know what computer it was sent from and when it was sent. … I said, ‘Wow, Big Brother.’ ” The agents spoke with Marceca for 10 minutes, then left. The Secret Service must have a backlog of suspicious e-mails to check out: Hill heard that the one from the center was sent back in March. Marceca confirmed Hill’s report, saying, “Your inquiry about U.S. Secret Service agents visiting the center is true. They approached me last week to investigate an e-mail that was sent from one of the senior center computers to a government official. I really don’t know much more, because they really didn’t get into it with me.”

Bears fight for turf: It’s not wise to rile bears — especially the leather bears. The Standard Hotel and its owner, Andre Balazs, have evidently been taking a P.R. beating after Scoopy reported last week that the Mayor’s Office told organizers of the West Village Leather and Bear Street Fair they can’t use W. 13th St. between Washington and West Sts. because the new hotel objects. Following our report, Robert Valin, executive director of Leather Weekend, told us the hotel’s managing director, Ian Nicholson, reached out to him, and that a sit-down was set for this week. The hotel people now claim they had no idea the leather fest was being booted off the block — though Valin the previous week had told us the Mayor’s Office clearly said the hotel didn’t want the S&M confab there. “When I spoke to the Standard…they said they were surprised about the [Scoopy’s] article,” Valin said last Thursday. “At this point, I don’t know who’s telling the truth and who’s not. … They say they’re all about diversity. All of a sudden they’re like, ‘Maybe we can make this work.’” A hotel spokesperson said, “They [the hotel] are speaking with them [the leather bears] and there is hope they will not move the festivities.” In fact, the real reason the bears were going to be banished from the block may be because the hotel is hosting a major fest of its own: The Standard Hotel is “headquarters” for the Food Network’s NYC Wine and Food Festival, from Oct. 8-11, according to the event’s Web site. But it shouldn’t be a problem, Valin said, since, “Half of these bears are chefs anyhow.” Nevertheless, the Mayor’s Office is asking Valin if the fetish-friendly fest — expected to draw up to 500 to 1,000 bears — can be held another weekend; but Valin said he specifically picked Sun., Oct. 11, during Columbus Day weekend because it’s a good travel time — plus it’s too late to change the date. Valin said the abuse may have been too extreme this year, even for the BDSM festival, and that it might have to be cancelled. “I’ve told everybody, at this point it’s not happening,” he said last week. Ironically, he noted, the bears — hairy, beefy, beer-drinking gay guys whose fashion accessory of choice is a leather chest harness — will need a hotel as their event grows, and the Standard would be perfect. Except those floor-to-ceiling, untinted glass windows that the Standard’s guests have been turning into a kinky peep show for High Line parkgoers could be a little problematic. “I think I would request that the bears get higher floors — we are sexual men,” Valin said.

9/11 conspiracy movie night: Now that Van Jones is out of a job as President Obama’s green-jobs czar, after conservatives hit the roof over Jones having signed a 9/11 Truth petition, he probably has some time on his hands. So he might want to swing by Tompkins Square Park on Fri., Sept. 11, at dusk and check out the outdoor screening of “9/11 Mysteries” just to get a better sense of what that petition he signed was all about. The “professionally produced” documentary seeks to “explore anomalies and expose the lies and truth behind the collapses” of the Twin Towers and 7 World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Members of NYC CAN will be on hand to collect signatures for a ballot initiative to create “a truly independent 9/11 commission” that will investigate the events of the attack, or should we say, “alleged attack”? Sponsored by NY 9/11 Truth and The Shadow newspaper, the film will be screened on the site of the park’s former band shell, along Seventh St. between Avenues A and B.

Petition was just drummed up: For the record, Susan Furman said she is not the person behind a petition that was said to be circulating to ban drummers from Washington Square Park. As was reported several weeks ago, Gil Horowitz, of the Coalition for a Better Washington Square Park, told The Villager that he was pretty sure “a Susan” was behind the petition, and that it was either Susan Goren or Susan Furman. Goren, a.k.a. “The Squirrel Whisperer,” has already denied she was involved, and last week, Furman called us to say the same. In fact, Furman told us there isn’t even any petition at all — and that she would know, since she’s in the park virtually every day. Besides, she said, “the problem” has been solved, as police have been cracking down on overly loud drumming. Though, she still vividly recalled when “three drum sets” were set up in the park one day, with their drummers flailing away. (We think we may have seen the “Pots and Pans Guy” — who was the main noise culprit — playing to a crowd up at Grand Army Plaza at 59th St. by Central Park the other weekend.) Interesting to note, both Goren and Furman were part of the group that fought the park’s renovation, even filing a community lawsuit against the project. As for Horowirtz, Furman had no comment on him or his motives for targeting “the Susans.”

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