Volume 79, Number 20 | October 21 - 27, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


Scoopy's Notebook

Hudson Riled:
Bill Thompson promised Downtown neighbors last week that, if elected as mayor, he would build the community-alternative to the Department of Sanitation’s planned garage in Hudson Square. “The one thing I haven’t done in this campaign is to say, ‘If I were elected mayor, I would do this,’” Thompson told Downtown supporters gathered on Oct. 15. “Let me tell you, if I were elected mayor, Hudson Rise would happen. It is the right thing to do.” The crowd of about 100 cheered his Shermanesque statement, which Thompson made during a campaign stop at Renwick Gallery in Hudson Square. But not everyone was convinced Thompson will get the chance to build Hudson Rise, which includes room for two Sanitation districts and a rooftop park. “Too bad, he’s not going to win,” one woman said as others were sill applauding. “It’s true,” a man replied. Thompson, the city comptroller, was not nearly as definitive about the garage project two weeks ago in an interview with The Villager. Asked about the city plan for a three-district garage at Spring and Washington Sts., and his expected appearance at last week’s event supporting the community alternative, Thompson said he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to do anything two months from now. He also didn’t say anything in support of Hudson Rise. “I’m not sure if there’ll still be time,” he said on Oct. 8. “Come January 1, is it something I’d take a second look at? Absolutely.” As he was leaving last week’s event, Thompson said his staff in the Comptroller’s Office had looked at the Hudson Rise plan awhile ago and it is a “no brainer” because it will save money and is better environmentally, reducing truck traffic compared to the city’s plan. Proponents estimate their design will cut about $200 million from the city’s $520 million construction plan for the garage, in part because air rights could be sold to the St. John’s Center building, whose owner supports Hudson Rise and, coincidentally, leases some space for Bloomberg L.P. back offices. Hudson Rise proponents, who have sued the city, have suggested numerous alternative sites for the third Sanitation district, but say the city hasn’t seriously considered any of them. Thompson said, if elected, he would consult with other communities before selecting a site for the trucks for the third district. Local celebrities, including James Gandolfini and Michael Stipe, have joined the neighborhood fight. Tribeca art-royalty couple rocker Lou Reed and performance artist Laurie Anderson attended last week’s event, which was organized by Rosemary Kuropat and others. Asked his thoughts on the city’s hated megagarage plan, Reed told The Villager, “It’s so ugly, so entirely horrible. It’s hard to believe that they can sell this. Who’s making so much money that they can put this right across from a park?” The former Velvet Underground front man turned to Richard Barrett, a leader of the community opposition, and asked how the suit against the city was progressing. There was some discussion about whether the court has tossed out the suit, or just not deigned “to hear it yet.” Barrett assured the case is still alive — plus, he added, “We have options.” “Can an individual sue?” Reed asked. Also at the event was Margaret Chin, who defeated Alan Gerson in the City Council District 1 primary last month. Costing him support in Hudson Square and Tribeca, Gerson abstained in his vote on the Sanitation project. But Chin said she backs the community alternative all the way. “I think it’s a wonderful thing when the community can come together on something so beautiful,” she said of Hudson Rise. “I mean, how can the mayor say no? It does make sense to have a beautiful park on top of a garage — right?” Chin promised, if elected, to try to make the alternative plan a reality. Yetta Kurland, who gave Speaker Christine Quinn a run for her money in the Third District primary race, was also at the anti-megagarage get-together, throwing her support behind Thompson’s bid for mayor. Said Kurland, “I just think that Hudson Rise is an incredible community-based alternative — and I think elected officials need to listen to the community.”

Miriam memorial:
A memorial for Miriam Friedlander will be held Thurs., Nov. 12, in the City Hall Council Chambers, starting at 5:30 p.m. Original plans to have the memorial at St. Marks Church in the East Village reportedly were changed because of the need to accommodate the schedule of Miriam’s son, Paul Friedlander, a music professor in Chico, Cal.

The .nyc Matrix:
Paul Farkas, C.O.O. at Connecting NYC Inc., called us to say that Tom Lowenhaupt’s lukewarm quote in The Villager’s recent article on the battle for .nyc didn’t accurately convey the group’s intention to go the distance and seek ownership of the expected new top-level domain name. Farkas noted they’ll even be going to Korea soon to lobby folks from ICANN — who will be there for a conference on T.L.D.’s — to make sure .nyc becomes available next year. Speaking of ICANN, a representative of theirs, Steve Chan, responding to The Villager’s query on whether they recognize East Villager Paul Garrin’s ownership of .nyc, sent a seven-page section of the T.L.D.-regulating organization’s Internet Coordination Policy. In a nutshell, ICANN thinks that running a T.L.D. on an alternate root, as Garrin does with .nyc and 200 other such addresses, “threatens the stability of name resolution in the authoritative Domain Name System.” Yeah, but who’s threatening whose stability — and who (i.e. Garrin) has been operating .nyc since 1996?

 

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