Volume 73, Number 34 | December 24 - 30, 2003


Allan Pepper, the Bottom Line’s co-owner, middle in photo above, and rocker David Johansen, shared a light moment at last Friday’s rally to save the club from eviction, at which they were joined by Councilmember Alan Gerson, at right. Villager photos by Elisabeth Robert

Gerson, Bottom Line ask N.Y.U. for more time
Supporters of the Bottom Line rallied on W. Fourth St. last Friday afternoon, calling on landlord New York University to stop its eviction of the legendary Greenwich Village music club. However, John Beckman, a university spokesperson, said the eviction notice will be delivered in a few days and probably enforced in a couple of weeks. Criticizing Gerson’s involvement, Beckman said, “I think many people may find it problematic to find an elected official who’s also an attorney acting in defiance of court orders.” Beckman added, “If he considers this a place of such cultural importance, why hasn’t he brought public funds to bear?” Beckman said, N.Y.U., as a nonprofit, can’t continue to “subsidize” the club, which accumulated $185,000 in rent arrears over the past four years. Gerson is asking the university to allow 45 more days and try to negotiate conditions under which the club could pay market-rate rent for the space, such as by bringing in an outside partner or sharing the space with N.Y.U. music programs, which he said would be a “neat relationship” for the students. Gerson called Beckman’s comments about him “ridiculous.” He said he’s not defying the judge’s ruling, but asking N.Y.U. not to enforce the eviction and to try to have the two parties negotiate a deal. The Bottom Line has agreed to pre-pay three months rent in the meantime. “What’s the harm?” asked Gerson. “N.Y.U. would retain all its legal rights.”

Lopez calls for task force on Section 8 housing
Describing it as a crucial piece of legislation, Councilmember Margarita Lopez recently introduced a bill in the City Council to create a task force to study ways to protect the Section 8 housing program.

President Bush recently made deep cuts in Section 8, which provides federal subsidies for low-income tenants living in privately owned housing.

Lopez said that with Mitchell Lama developments — whose residents are mainly middle income — facing buyouts, if Section 8 is eliminated, no one but the very rich will be able to live in the borough.

“If we lose Section 8, we will have a commuter workforce permanently here,” she said. “This is very important, particularly for Manhattan, because what you have here is a concentration of luxury housing, middle-class housing and upper-class housing. On the other hand, all you will have is NYCHA [Housing Authority] housing [for low-income people].”

In addition to Section 8 and Mitchell Lama, Lopez is concerned about the threat to eliminate rent stabilization and rent control.

“These are like Siamese twins; if you separate them, they will die inevitably,” she said of the several housing programs.

C.B. 3 approves 2 street co-namings
Community Board 3 approved two street co-namings at its full board meeting last week. Proposed by Asian Americans for Equality and supported by Councilmember Alan Gerson, Allen St. will be co-named “Avenue of the Immigrants” in honor of its having been a “gateway for immigrants to the United States.” Andrea Diaz, a C.B. 3 member who lives on Allen St., opposed the renaming, contending that the street has been known simply as Allen St. as long as anyone can remember and that residents didn’t support the co-naming, but she failed to gain support. Also, the board approved Bayard St. between Baxter and Mulberry Sts. being co-named “Zhe ‘Zack’ Zeng Way,” in memory of Zhe “Zack” Zeng, 30, a Seward Park High School graduate, Bank of New York employee and former E.M.T., who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11 after gathering first-aid kits and rendering aid to injured civilians.

Nadler allocates $7 million in district
Congressmember Jerrold Nadler has announced more than $7 million in federal funding this year for several West Side and Brooklyn community-building projects including the High Line, New York University’s Rudin Center, New School University and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.

Programs sponsored by Nadler that received House and Senate appropriations include the High Line, $500,000 for preservation of the 4.5-mile derelict rail viaduct between Gansevoort and 33rd St.; New School University, $250,000 for services for at-risk, low-income students; L.G.B.T. Community Center, $150,000 for the mental health online demonstration project; The N.Y.U. Rudin Center, $75,000 for the center’s Latin American mega-cities project; and the Center for Jewish History, at 15 W. 16th St., $328,000 for archival preservation.

A total of $864,000 went to three Sephardic community groups in Brooklyn. Other funding includes $450,000 for the Lincoln Center Jazz Program; $250,000 to Phoenix House for drug rehabilitation services; $250,000 to John Jay College for law enforcement research and $500,00 to the American Museum of Natural History.

The largest appropriation was $2 million for the Center for Court Innovation, for programs to reduce crime, substance abuse and recidivism. The Midtown Community Court, which tries quality-of-life violations in the Sixth, 10th and Midtown North Police Precincts, was organized by the Center.

“It’s a pleasure to see that the House and Senate have recognized how significant these programs are to the people of New York,” said Nadler.

Chamber cruises down the Riviera
The Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce threw its holiday party at the Riveria Café on Seventh Ave. S. at W. Fourth St. last Monday night. Left to right, in photo at left, Christina Brown, deputy director of the Union Sq. Partnership and coordinator of the Chamber, and Jean-Michele Andriot and Susan Buchbinder of Buchbinder & Warren. In photo at right, husband-and-wife chiropractors Dr. Archer Irby, left, and Dr. Randi Irby, right, of University Pl. Chiropractic, with Colin Gregory, The Villager’s retail ad manager.

Villager photos by Elisabeth Robert


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