Volume 79, Number 35 | February 3 - 9, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Scoopy's Notebook

Map quest:
A “petition to change the city map” is circulating regarding the undeveloped “strips” along New York University’s two South Village superblocks. Making the rounds at Community Board 2’s full board meeting last month, it calls for “all the gardens, parks and open spaces” along Mercer St. and LaGuardia Place between Houston and W. Third Sts. to be transferred from the Department of Transportation to the Parks Department. The strips, left over from a street-widening project decades ago, are currently shown as “roadbed” on city maps. “Designating the strips as parkland will conform to their current actual use as public green space and ensure their preservation and proper maintenance,” the petition declares. Somehow, we think N.Y.U., which doesn’t want to restrict its development options, won’t be keen to sign. We asked new Councilmember Margaret Chin, whose First District contains the superblocks, her thoughts. “As far as I know, looking at the space, it’s park space, it’s green space,” she said. Noting she’s still getting briefed on many local matters, she said she recently met with the superblock-area residents and also has a meeting scheduled with N.Y.U.

Can’t stomach Garlic anymore:
C.B. 2 has recommended to deny the application of the Blue Knights Enforcement Motorcycle Club for their annual “Garlic Run” from New Jersey to Little Italy. The police-affiliated event, with its thousands of motorcycles, causes a lot of noise, not to mention pollution and traffic, the board said. The final straw, though, was that last year the Blue Knights failed to donate half the event’s proceeds to help two sick children in the C.B. 2 area, as they had agreed to, or even give the funds to a children’s hospital. The board further determined that the Blue Knights “have no ‘indigenous’ relationship to any specific street or the community for which their event is proposed.” It remains to be seen if the city will back the board’s advisory recommendation and deny a permit for the June 16 event. Will the administration really say no to all those New Jersey cops and the Little Italy Merchants Association? Also at the board meeting, Williamson Henderson, president of Stonewall Veterans Association, declared it’s not over as far as S.V.A.’s application for its own street fair, which C.B. 2 also recently recommended to deny. 

Lee on the mend:
Mary Johnson of C.B. 2 told us she spoke to Rita Lee, the board’s former district manager, last week, following her hip replacement surgery. Lee is with her daughter in New Hampshire while she recuperates, and is recovering very well, Johnson said. Lee sends everybody Happy New Year wishes. Lee was featured in a Villager “Flashback” from 1980 a few weeks ago.

Shami on the road back:
We hear that Shami Chaikin is now rehabilitating in the Village Nursing Home, right near the scene of her horrific accident in early November. Chaikin, 78 — an actress and resident of Westbeth artists housing in the West Village — was riding her electric scooter in a supposedly protected bike lane when she was partially run over by a Parks Department garbage-packer truck on Eighth Ave. at Bleecker St. “They are trying to get her to relearn how to swallow,” a Westbeth neighbor told us. “It's a tedious road. [Her sister] Miriam is exhausted.”

Helping Haiti:
On Monday night Jan. 18, Las Ramblas restaurant, on W. Fourth St., held an emergency Haiti benefit. Owner Natalie Sanz said, “With 10 tiny tables and a wonderfully dedicated customer base, we raised over $700! I have already sent our donation to water.org.” A U.S.-based nonprofit organization, the group is helping to rebuild Haiti’s water and sewer infrastructure to modern standards. Sanz’s parents, Rocio and Jimmy, own Tio Pepe restaurant next door. … Meanwhile, the Daily News reported that the Mercer/Houston Dog Run has donated $2,500, from its members’ dues, to Haiti relief; members of the private run — on the aforementioned Mercer St. “strip” (see Scoopy item No. 1) — asked that the funds be earmarked for the city’s canine-assisted urban search-and-rescue teams. ... We also got a message from someone at P.S. 3 on Hudson St. who said the school had raised funds for Haiti through a terrific dance benefit — but for some reason, she got cold feet, then said maybe she shouldn’t be doing this and hung up. Anyway, great job by everyone!

    Chico murals to Girls Club news:
We were walking along E. Houston St. by Avenue B last week when we couldn’t help notice that Chico’s graffiti mural for the Power of Peace Youth Anti-Violence Coalition had been covered over. The wall was now painted lime green and there were the outlines of two cool-looking dudes sketched in. We called Lyn Pentecost, executive director of the Lower Eastside Girls Club, which had commissioned the Power of Peace mural, and she explained. It turns out Chico, who is back in town from Tampa for some more commission work, is painting over the P.O.P. mural with a new one for a local band, Loisaida. He’ll then paint a new one for the Girls Club just to the west, covering over another of his murals, for the local band Aventura. Basically, it’s not what we thought — that someone might have dared diss Chico by painting over his work — but just some mural switching by the artist himself. Also, Chico will be painting a mural of the woman who owned the liquor store that the wall belongs to, which has sported so many of his memorial murals over the years; she died a few months ago. The new Girls Club mural will promote their existing bakery and also a new cafe the girls will be running in a well-known local venue. Pentecost didn’t want to make the cafe details public just yet, because they’re very excited about it, and want to launch it with a bang. In other Girls Club matters, Pentecost said they’ll be breaking ground on their Avenue D clubhouse project very soon, in April. In fact, they must do so by April 15, contingent on the bond financing. Finally, 10 Girls Club members will be performing Eve Ensler’s new set of monologues for teenage girls, “I Am an Emotional Creature,” this Thursday at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Center in the West Village.

Speaking of anti-violence:
Comm-unity Board 3’s Youth and Education Committee is planning a forum down the line to deal with youth violence in the East Village and Lower East Side, according to C.B. 3 District Manager Susan Stetzer. “A lot of residents are concerned, and we’ve gotten lots of reports from the police over the last six to eight months,” Stetzer said. “We’ve also been reading about it in the newspapers. So now we want to work with the city in a concerted effort, instead of different groups doing things about the situation individually.” Stetzer added that local schools, such as Bard High School on Houston St. near Avenue D, have been working with the Seventh and Ninth precincts, but that things have gotten so bad “that they’re giving kids tips like don’t travel home alone.”

A case of projection? Local blog EV Grieve has some disturbing news:
A “serial vomiter” may be “targeting” the new Cooper Union building. EV says that over the last month or so, as he’s walked by the school’s new academic building he’s noticed, on at least six different occasions, that someone has “barfed in the shadows” of the mod new building. “This is a trend,” EV declared.

Everybody loves Ray:
...and his candy store on Avenue A, but everyone has his or her own favorite treat. For example, Bill Di Paola, executive director of Time’s Up!, said, “I’m personally a fan of the egg cream, and the sundae — sometimes I’ve had two vanilla sundaes at one time. Sometimes, I’ll mix my egg cream and my sundae!” Actress/activist Elizabeth Ruf-Maldonado said, “My favorite is a malted and Belgian fries at Ray’s. I mean, c’mon, it’s vegetarian food!” Melanie Neichin, of the blog East Village Corner, said, “I love his malted milkshakes, and of course his coffee egg creams — the milk has to be extremely cold; he knows just how to make them.” Meanwhile, Jimmy Sims said ironically as he dug into his Ray’s chow the other weekend that he was dutifully “eating my 1,000 calories for Ray.” ... We bumped into Karl Rosenstein on the bus Saturday night, and he said he liked The Villager’s article on the community supporting Ray in last week’s issue, but that we should identify Rosenstein as a Trotskyist, not a Trotskyite. There is a big difference, he said. 

A photo caption beneath a restored Star of David stained-glass window on Page 19 of last week’s Villager mistakenly stated it was from the Sixth St. Community Synagogue. Patty Kelly, who repaired the window, called us to say that it was actually from the first Hungarian synagogue in the East Village, on Seventh St. between Avenues C and D. That synagogue shut its doors in the 1970s. At one point, someone who was living in it gave the dilapidated window to Kelly. About six years ago, she started to restore it, even painstakingly etching the 10 Commandments into its two tablets by hand. The job took a year. The beautifully restored window, Kelly notes, is for sale, and the former synagogue is now a residential co-op. ... Also, a photo of B.C. Vermeersch that ran in last week’s issue and lacked a credit was taken by Gisella Berger; and a photo in this column in December of Eden & John’s East River String Band performing at Banjo Jim’s that lacked a credit was taken by Melanie Neichin.







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