Volume 80, Number 14 | September 2-8, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Scoopy's Notebook

Landmark lover:
Rose Molignano of Horatio St. called us out concern, saying she’d been noticing a lot of work going on lately at the landmarked former bank building at the northwest corner of 14th St. and Eighth Ave. (which used to house Balducci’s), but that she hasn’t noticed any construction permits posted at the site. It’s a beautiful building, with a gorgeous ceiling, she noted, adding that years ago, the eagle on its facade somehow disappeared. Molignano, 73, who attended the former St. Bernard’s School on W. 13th St., remembers when she was 10 and she and her schoolmates would sing Christmas carols inside the bank, when it still was one. (She also recalls when The Villager used to be only four pages back when she was a kid when her parents used to read it.) “I just want to make sure they have permits to do what they’re doing,” she said of the current construction. According to the Department of Buildings’ online BIS (Building Information System) Web site, 81 Eighth Ave. is being converted into a CVS pharmacy. Two permits for the address were “pre-filed” for August, one for “construction of partitions for interior tenant fitup [sic] for a new CVS pharmac [sic],” and the other for “structural work for display fixture supports and new merchandise” and “general construction for interior fit-up of a CVS pharmacy.” A year ago, Scoopy first reported that the Duane Reade at 14th St. and Seventh Ave. had heard about CVS coming into the former bank building down the street and was gearing up to do battle, by adding snazzier uniforms for its employees and remodeling its interior. Let the pharmacy war begin!

What a concept:
“Go Glocal!” New York University President John Sexton exhorted Poly Prep High School’s Class of ’10 when he keynoted their commencement in June — so trumpeted the press release from Poly Prep. We found ourselves thinking about it, and got to wondering whether Sexton, in fact, believes he coined the phrase — a catchy compression of “Think Globally, Act Locally.” According to John Beckman, a university spokesperson, actually, he does. “John came up with the word independently in about 2001 and has been using it pretty frequently since,” Beckman said, referring to “glocal.” We then naturally asked if the N.Y.U. prez had trademarked, or was thinking of trademarking, “glocal” — similar to how former Lakers coach Pat Riley trademarked “three-peat.” However, James Devitt, another university spokesperson, said Sexton “has no intention of trademarking or otherwise registering the word ‘glocal.’ But he feels the word captures the uniqueness of both New York City and New York University because it reflects the wider world, but it’s still rooted in the neighborhoods of New York City.” Sexton’s idea is purely to get the glocal concept out there, Devitt explained, “rather than to own it.”

Road rage:
We hear the Coalition Against Rogue Riding, furious over the new protected bicycle lanes on First and Second Aves., is considering calling for the resignation of Janette Sadik-Khan as the city’s Department of Transportation commissioner. CARR charges that, with the new lanes, cyclists are “being rewarded for bad behavior.”

Rosie vs. Robert, Round ???:
Robert Caballero, who is on the board of the Baruch Houses Community Center, sure didn’t extend the welcome mat to his nemesis, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, at this year’s Baruch Houses Family Day on the Lower East Side. In fact, once again, Caballero — who is basically the lead organizer of the annual event — and Roberto Napoleon, the complex’s president, made a point of not inviting her at all. Not put off by their snub, Mendez came anyway. Caballero admits he was shocked when, shortly after shaking Mendez’s hand at last year’s Family Day, he was served with a subpoena after a member of her political organization, Coalition for a District Alternative, or CoDA, discovered Caballero, who was running for district leader, was registered to vote in the district, claiming he lived in Baruch Houses, when, in fact, he actually lived just outside the district, in Masaryk Towers. Caballero — who was a district leader back in the 1990’s — was forced to bow out of the race. He told us last week that he has since changed his voter registration to Masaryk, but he’s still obviously smarting from the embarrassing incident — to the point that he has psychologically blocked out Mendez, especially when she’s at Family Day. “When I look at her, I’m looking at air,” Caballero stated, adding, “I don’t forget subpoenas.” He added they weren’t even going to give her the mic to speak this year, but their scheme was foiled when Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, always the gentleman, handed it to Mendez after he’d finished his own remarks. Caballero said he won’t shake Mendez’s hand anymore. As for Mendez, she said, “He can speak to me, he can not speak to me, it doesn’t change my day. Listen, I’m not the one who’s lying and creating fraud — he is.” She said Baruch’s in her district, the residents are her constituents, she gets plenty of votes there, and so of course she’s going to show up. She asked why Caballero is so involved in Baruch anyway, since — as everyone knows by now — he lives in Masaryk. But Caballero said his mother, who is 83, lives in Baruch and that he visits her there practically daily. As for why Mendez was unable to allocate funding for security cameras at Baruch this year, she said Baruch simply put in its request too late; there are limited capital funds that she can allocate, she said, and this year other East Village and Lower East Side housing projects which got their requests in earlier lucked out — though she did put in the request for Baruch. For example, the Lillian Wald Houses, which got their request to Mendez in first, received funding for an access ramp, while at Campos Plaza, two out of four buildings got funding for security cameras. Ironically, according to veteran political activist Frieda Bradlow, a young Caballero was being groomed for politics by one of CoDA’s founders, the late Councilmember Miriam Friedlander, before he went over to “the dark side” and joined forces with Friedlander’s foe and successor, Antonio Pagan, who like Friedlander, also died last year. “What a disappointment,” Bradlow said of Caballero.

Salmonella scare’s no yolk:
With the huge egg salmonella outbreak, people seeking an alternative might want to check out Lou George’s stand at the Union Square Greenmarket, where he sells New Jersey ostrich eggs. One $20 ostrich egg weighs 3 pounds and is the equivalent of about two-dozen hen eggs. These babies are perfect for omelets and scrambled eggs. “The white gets a little fluffier, and they’re slightly sweeter, but most people won’t know the difference,” said George, a.k.a. “The Ostrich Whisperer.” Hard-boiled, on the other hand, isn’t such a good idea. “You’d have to boil it for 90 minutes — and the outside would be chewy like a tire,” he noted. Ostrich eggs are ideal for large gatherings. “It’s an impact egg,” he said, “a party egg. If you’re going somewhere.” But the eggs are really only an attraction for the red ostrich meat that he sells, which is high in protein and 97 to 99 percent fat-free. Oh yeah, one more thing: Although their eggs are pretty impressive, Ostriches are extremely dumb, George told us. They wake up each morning with their minds a blank slate, as if coming out of hibernation, and don’t even remember him, he said. “Every day is Groundhog Day,” he said.

Au revoir, Bon Vivant:
The Bon Vivant diner on Broadway near Union Square closed recently and, according to a neighbor, it was after the landlord upped the rent. Victoria Stewart said the eatery was family run for more than 30 years, and that playwright David Mamet would occasionally work out of the back of the diner. Stewart said the place’s owner once received free tickets to one of Mamet’s shows, but told customers later he couldn’t understand it. According to Mamet’s assistant, the playwright “used to go there and write for hours every day and hang out with Shel Silverstein.”

Ray on CNN:
Cnnmoney.com recently did a nice video profile on Ray’s Candy Store on Avenue A. Ray told us that the reporter, a woman who used to come to his store pretty often, dropped by recently, and seeing “all the publicity” he’s been getting — i.e., articles by The Villager and others posted on the wall, chronicling how the community rallied to save his place this past winter — decided a profile was in order. The online segment sparked a major surge in “Save Ray’s” T-shirts, he said, causing him to have to order more.

Meanwhile, Ray super-fan Barry Kushelowitz told us Ray’s Ansul system should be rocking and rolling by this week, allowing chef Ray to cook up his famed fries once more. As for Ray, he said he’s also keen on making Turkish-style kebabs with fresh-cooked bread, and may put up an “NYC Kebab” sign on his awning. As for his previous competitive ploy to write “NYC ICY” on his awning, he said he’s not going to do it now — even though he could legally — because the “season is over” for ices.

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