Volume 79, Number 15 | September 16 - 22, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


2Scoopy's Notebook

Villager file photo
Jane McCarthy, left, and daughter Janette Sadik-Khan.

Biking bond: Jane McCarthy, mom of Janette Sadik-Khan — the city’s bicycle-friendly Department of Transportation commissioner — is heading up a new bicycle-focused initiative on Community Board 2. The Bicycle Strategies Subcommittee, chaired by McCarthy, will hold its first meeting at the end of this month; the meeting’s two agenda items are “reducing pedestrian-bicyclist conflicts” and “revision of bicycle lane markings approaching intersections.” Previously known as the Bicycle Enforcement Subcommittee, it had been meeting since last fall, but basically under the radar as an offshoot of the board’s Traffic and Transportation Committee. “The goal of the committee was, and continues to be, to encourage responsible and courteous cycling behavior,” said Ian Dutton, Traffic and Transportation Committee vice chairperson. “The name was altered to reflect that there are many ways to accomplish that goal besides strictly enforcement, though enforcement may well play a role in curbing irresponsible behavior. It was Jane’s interest in making sure that cyclists were acting respectfully that was the seed for initiating the committee.” Added Jo Hamilton, C.B. 2 chairperson, “It’s an opportunity to talk about and encourage safe cycling. ... Community Board 2 has a long record of creating safe cycling in the city, [but] I think the community board is also aware that there are also very rude cyclists out there. The community board wants to help promote safe cycling.” As for McCarthy’s heading the biking committee while her daughter is laying down hundreds of miles of new bike lanes, Hamilton mused, “Maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” The subcommittee will meet Wed., Sept. 30, at 6:30 p.m., in the C.B. 2 conference room, at 3 Washington Square Village, on Bleecker St. east of LaGuardia Place, ground floor.


18,000 (and counting) watch debate online: As of last week, nearly 18,000 people had clicked on the online video of the Aug. 13 debate The Villager and Gay City News co-sponsored for the Council District 3 Democratic candidates, Christine Quinn, Yetta Kurland and Maria Passannante-Derr. About 11,500 people had viewed the debate on The Villager’s Web site, www.thevillager.com . Just under 4,000 had viewed it on the Gay City News site, and there were 2,000 total hits on the sites of Downtown Express and Chelsea Now, our two other Community Media weekly papers.


food fest may grin and bear it: There may be hope yet for da bears this season. No, not the Chicago Bears — the leather bears. Robert Valin, director of the West Village Leather and Bear Street Fair, said he met last week with Ian Nicholson, manager of Andre Balazs’s Standard Hotel, and Annie Washburn, executive director of the Meatpacking District Initiative, about the bondage-themed bash being able to hold its annual event on W. 13th St. by the new High Line-spanning hotel. Washburn has been in charge of bringing the Wine and Food Festival to the Standard from Oct. 8-11, while the leatherpalooza is scheduled for Oct. 11. “I don’t think we’ll be getting 13th St.,” Valin said. “I think we might be getting the street on the other side of the hotel — Little W. 12th St.” In other words, the hairy, burly, whip-cracking gay bears in their leather kilts, along with their submissive and groveling geeks in black PVC outfits, would be just a bit farther away from the Standard’s entrance. But the Wine and Food Festival’s guests at the Standard — the foodie fest’s headquarters — would have nothing to fear from the S&M set, Valin assured, quipping, “The most pain and abuse they’ll get is when they get their hotel bill.” Meanwhile, C.B. 2 chairperson Hamilton noted the community board certainly didn’t discriminate against the bears, months ago having recommended approval of their using W. 13th St. “The Wine and Food Festival never came to us,” she said, “so the community board never knew there was a conflict.” It’s not even exactly clear what the conflict is, since, as Hamilton noted, “The Wine and Food Festival must not be using the streets, because they never came to us [requesting approval for a permit].” Washburn this week told us that it was she, not Balazs, who raised concerns about the leather fest being near the hotel. “We’re doing a 50,000-person event over four days; it’s all over the neighborhood,” she said. “It’s a family event.” Washburn added: “Our event does not require community board approval. It’s done by the ‘Office of Major City Events.’ ” Washburn said she’s told the city that she’s O.K. with the bears using Little W. 12th St., but that now it’s up for the city to decide. “I don’t know what the city’s going to do about it,” she said. As for W. 13th St., she said, “The leather fest was on a street that was a construction zone a year ago — but now it’s a major loading zone for the hotel. The Standard is our headquarters hotel. We’ll have events going on at the hotel all Sunday. I don’t really want any other event — of any kind — in the middle of our event,” she admitted, but conceded that she thinks the foodies and the bears can coexist, at least for this year. As for furry the out-of-towners attending the Food Festival and what they might think of the BDSM’ing bears, Washburn said, “I think they’ll think it’s part of being in New York.” Last year, the Food and Wine Festival raised $1 million for the Food Bank for New York, which provides food to needy New Yorkers, she added.

Tried to ‘import’ himself: When Roberto Caballero visited our office a few weeks ago to introduce us to Juan Pagan, the candidate he was backing for City Council, Caballero gleefully took frequent pops at incumbent Rosie Mendez and her political organization, Coalition for a District Alternative. Not only did Caballero blast CoDA as being all about “the three ‘L’s — liberal, leftist and lesbian,” but he accused Mendez, who grew up in public housing in Williamsburg, of being “imported” into the East Village district by CoDA. Well, there’s that old expression, Those who live in glass houses — or should we say, glass apartments — shouldn’t throw stones. It turns out Caballero, who was running for Democratic district leader, or so he thought, shortly thereafter was knocked off the ballot by a challenge by District Leader Anthony Feliciano, CoDA’s candidate. It seems Caballero lives in Masaryk Towers, a Mitchell-Lama co-op — at 77-79 Columbia St. — and, thus, not in Part A of the 74th Assembly District, as was required. Yet, Caballero reportedly claimed on his voter-registration form to live at 120 Columbia St., in the Baruch Houses, his mother’s public-housing apartment. In an affidavit, Ted Reich, a Masaryk board of directors and CoDA member, stated that “R. Caballero” is listed on both the tenant roster and intercom at 77-79 Columbia St. The judge was convinced. So, one could say that Caballero’s own effort to “import” himself into the district got caught in Customs, by CoDA. Asked for comment, Caballero responded in a defiant e-mail, “It is comforting to know that the Rosie Mendez campaign had to expend at least $5,000 in legal fees by bringing this issue before the New York State Supreme Court. My removal from the ballot also removed my opponent’s name, Anthony Feliciano, as well. ... If CoDA is under the mistaken impression that my removal from the ballot in 2009 prevents me from running again, Mendez needs to think long and hard as to what I intend to run for next,” he warned. Caballero also said Feliciano openly “aspires to become the first Mexican-American in the New York City Council.” However, Donna Ellaby, Mendez’s campaign manager, swatted away all of Caballero’s accusations. While it’s true there was no primary election for male district leader as a result of Caballero’s being dropped from the ballot (Feliciano won re-election automatically), CoDA had pro bono assistance in the case, and wound up paying only $400 for filing fees. Also, Feliciano is Puerto Rican, Ellaby noted, though his wife is Mexican-American. “He changed [where he said he lived] back and forth repeatedly from 1997,” Ellaby said of Caballero’s switcheroos. “It was common knowledge, it was tiresome — it’s a violation of election law and it’s a felony. Now, he’s free to run in the neighborhood where he really lives.” 

Rosie report: Although a few weeks ago, Mendez had indicated to us she would be endorsing in the Council District 1 race, she subsequently told us she had decided otherwise, and would not be endorsing. Her political organization, CoDA, backed Margaret Chin. ... Pulling a Kathryn Freed, Mendez on Tuesday was bidding to be both the East Village’s city councilmember and the female district leader for the 74th A.D., Part A, simultaneously. Freed, when she was a councilmember, also used to be a district leader. According to Mendez campaign manager Ellaby, Jasmine Sanchez had been poised to run, but her relations with Caballero were too close for comfort for Mendez and CoDA: Sanchez reportedly wanted Caballero to be on her committee for vacancies — which finds a new district leader if the one elected can’t serve for whatever reason. So Mendez — who used to be district leader before she was councilmember — decided to run herself.

tale of two towels: In our swimming-pool travels, we recently noticed that the Chinatown YMCA, at the Bowery and E. Houston St., has implemented a new one-towel-per-gymgoer policy. As of Sept. 1, for an optional second towel per visit, users have had to shell out an extra $5 per month; a sign on the locker-room door cited rising costs as the reason. No such rationing exists across town at the McBurney YMCA at 14th St. and Sixth Ave., however, where the loose policy is still two towels per visit — though the pile of terry cloths is not vigilantly guarded, and we have to assume some users are swiping more than their allotted share.

Corrections: The headline of Martin Tessler’s letter in last week’s Villager, “Providence the next Poe?” should have read, “Provincetown the next Poe?” ... Also, our editorial last week inexplicably urged voters to go to the polls on Tues., April 15. (Blame it on lack of sleep and too much caffeine on deadline, though we are still wondering... “Why April?” And yes, we did file our taxes... .) ... A photo in last week’s issue of Chelsea waterfront activists at the dedication of Pier 64 credited to William Alatriste was taken by Jefferson Siegel.

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