Volume 79, Number 34 | January 27 - February 2, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Ian’s the man: State Senator Dan Squadron gave a congratulatory shout-out to pilot Ian Dutton at Community Board 2’s full board meeting last Thursday night, setting off a round of applause from board and audience members. Squadron said he was “very proud to read in The Villager today” about Dutton’s having flown a marathon relief mission to Haiti the previous weekend, during which Dutton brought in some of the first U.S. troops to hit the island and took out Haitian evacuees aboard his Continental Airlines 757. Dutton, a C.B. 2 member from Soho, told us afterward that Squadron had also called him that morning — at 10 a.m. while he was in the shower — to thank him. “It was probably the most rewarding experience I’ve had as a professional pilot,” Dutton reflected of the operation. The humble Dutton has been a bit overwhelmed by the outpouring of appreciation: Terri Cude, a public member of the board’s Arts and Institutions Committee, told us she asked Dutton to autograph her copy of The Villager before the meeting, and he recoiled and couldn’t deal with it. Hey, Ian, get used to it — you’re a hero! Assemblymember Deborah Glick also attended the meeting, and thanked Dutton, as well as C.B. 2’s Keen Berger, who participated in the protests this month outside 75 Varick St. to free imprisoned Haitian immigrant activist Jean Montrevil. Montrevil was freed last week.
Checking in with Chin:
New Councilmember Margaret Chin attended her first C.B. 2 full board meeting last Thursday. Harkening back to one of her predecessors, Kathryn Freed, after speaking, she took a seat in the audience and listened to the proceedings for a while. (Most politicians usually give their remarks and leave.) We asked Chin about the recent vote for Council speaker that saw Christine Quinn win re-election by 48-1. Chin, who voted for Quinn, simply shrugged, “What’s the alternative?” Charles Barron, the only opposing candidate, “just got up” and gave a speech, she said. “He didn’t reach out to any of the new people [in the Council]. He didn’t reach out to me.” We also asked the new councilmember about her reported recent meeting with officials from the city’s Economic Development Corporation about the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area on the Lower East Side. We heard that Chin’s sit-down was with E.D.C.’s Madelyn Wils, former Community Board 1 chairperson, who is now heading up the city’s SPURA redevelopment effort. “I had a briefing with E.D.C. It was good,” Chin said. “There was a whole historical part to it. Now, we’re reaching out to the stakeholders. We want to talk to people with experience as developers. I think the city hopefully will listen to the community and be able to work with us.” Chin, well known as an affordable housing advocate, said she is talking to developers specializing in senior housing, and also to Habitat for Humanity, about which she said, “They create real home-ownership opportunities for working families.” Asked if, as we had heard, Wils was a bit taken aback at the sheer amount of affordable housing Chin was asking for, Chin just said, with a smile, that the meeting went well.
Villager photo by J.B. Nicholas
Singer Wyclef Jean arriving Friday at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens for the “Hope for Haiti” fundraising telethon.
Lou Reed, Sonic Youth, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, members of The Fugs and Richard Belzer were among the performers at a star-studded benefit concert for Tuli Kupferberg, co-founder of The Fugs, at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn last Friday evening. Kupferberg, the influential songwriter who co-founded The Fugs, suffered two strokes, in April and September of last year, which left him blind, confined to his apartment and in need of 24-hour care. The Downtown arts legend is recovering well — he is able to speak clearly — but has overwhelming medical expenses not covered by Medicare or the very modest publishing/royalties income he earns at age 86.
Arthur Schwartz, general counsel for ACORN, tells us that the “rebranding” and “decentralization” of the beleaguered, nationwide, community organizing group — about which he first told The Villager back in October — are already happening. “New York ACORN quietly folded its tents and the staff and members created New York Communities for Change,” Schwartz said last week. Also, he added, California ACORN has a new name — the acronym for which is something like A.C.C. — and Massachusetts ACORN is now New England United for Justice. ... Schwartz, Greenwich Village’s Democratic state committeeman, also gave his thoughts on a potential Kirsten Gillibrand-Harold Ford Democratic Senate primary race. He admitted that Ford is a type of candidate “who could do well in New York.” But Schwartz said Gillibrand won him over when she was one of only seven Democrats in the Senate to vote against the Defund Acorn Act.
Bald Man replacement:
Ending the speculation of what would fill the empty storefront formerly occupied by Max Brenner Chocolate by the Bald Man, at Ninth St. and Second Ave., signs recently went up in the windows announcing it would be...an HSBC bank branch. Dottie Wilson — who wrote a blistering send-off in The Villager about M.B.C.B.T.B.M. after the choco chain’s inglorious exit — said, “And I thought it would be a drugstore. ... Sick, silly me.”
Printer on Trump’s ‘paperweight’:
We were wondering if the new Trump condo-hotel across the street had anything to do with 1-800-POSTCARDS’ ground-floor space at the corner of Varick and Dominick Sts. being offered for rent. But Jeff Woodward, business manager at 1-800-POSTCARDS and associate publisher at Next, said Trump had nothing to do with it. The company rents the ground floor, but owns space higher up in the building, and plans to move some of its operations there. “I don’t need all the space,” Woodward said. “The economy’s killing printing.” As for the condo-hotel, he said no one wants to buy units in a half-empty building anyway. “I doubt if that hotel has any impact on this neighborhood at all,” he scoffed. “It’s just a big paperweight for now.” The 6,000-square-foot, ground-floor space, with 18.5-foot-high ceilings, will likely rent for $30 to $40 a square foot, he said.