Volume 79, Number 30 | December 30 - January 5, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933


It was a blue Christmas for ‘Arrow Keyboard Man’

First, during the weekend of the big snow, the Department of Buildings dragged Novac Noury’s music equipment out of his Little West 12th St. building — piling it under a tarp, which soon blew off. Then, Christmas Eve, workers started dismantling the building from the top. D.O.B. has deemed the structure — next to the swank, new Standard Hotel — “compromised.” Noury said several other keyboards that were controlled by his patented wireless Arrow Keyboard system were destroyed, including a Hammond organ, a Mellotron and a Clavinet. He largely salvaged his 24-track recording equipment, though. Noury said D.O.B. had told him he couldn’t go up to the third floor, yet never gave him notice they were going to remove his equipment. A disco-era performer, Noury formerly ran an after-hours club, R.S.V.P., for Studio 54 revelers at the building. A clue to the condemned structure’s partying past are its quirky “hieroglyphics” — Arrow Keyboards, representing man, and hearts, for woman.

Nowadays, Noury leads local senior groups in sing-alongs. “In a paradoxical way, I wore a Santa Claus hat and clasped my hands because I just came from Our Lady of Pompei Church [on Carmine St.], doing a Christmas performance there,” he noted. He plans to build a “mini-inn” on the site, but is searching for a developer partner. In the meantime, he had hoped to construct a “green, pyramid, satellite penthouse” on the existing building, to be moved later to the top of his planned 10-story building. “I’ve thought about this project for 25 years,” he said. Opposite page, bottom, a Standard Grill employee took a break near the pile of Noury’s musical equipment and other items.
Lincoln Anderson.

Villager photos by J.B. Nicholas

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