Volume 80, Number 35 | January 27 - February 2, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Photo by J.B. Nicholas
Bundled up in a long down coat with a big hood in the frigid weather, on Sunday Maggie Gyllenhaal arrived at the Classic Stage Company, near Union Square, where she is appearing in the Chekhov classic “Three Sisters.”
Showing love for shops:
Extremely concerned about the plight of small businesses that have been devastated by the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital last April, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and other local elected officials are teaming up with the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce to sponsor a “Love the Village” event on Sat., Feb. 12. Starting at 10 a.m., “Love the Village” will be a daylong scavenger hunt that will encourage the public to shop at businesses hurt by St. Vincent’s closure. Participants will be given a map of businesses on Greenwich, Sixth and Seventh Aves. and, after shopping at these businesses, will have an opportunity to exchange their receipts for raffle tickets and the chance to win prizes donated by local businesses at a raffle held at the Lesbian and Gay Center on W. 13th St. In a show of Valentine’s Day appreciation, giveaways will include specially designed “Love the Village” T-shirts for all who take part. “I envision this will be a fun, community-building day for everyone involved,” Glick said. “In these distressed times it is important for all of us to unite together and pitch in to help the community.” More details about “Love the Village” will follow.
Still locked in ‘land lock’ debate:
Speaking of St. Vincent’s, Yetta Kurland and her allies continue to insist that Community Board 2 has “land locked” the former Greenwich Village hospital campus so that it can only be used as a hospital in the future. Plus, they now claim, Community Board 6 has also gotten onboard the “land lock” bandwagon, having recently passed a resolution of support. So said Evette Stark, a member of Kurland’s Coalition for a New Village Hospital, speaking before C.B. 2’s full board meeting last week. A few days before, Kurland had put out an e-mail blast trumpeting the “victory.” However, C.B. 2 member Lois Rakoff took exception, saying she had read the East Side community board’s resolution on St. Vincent’s, and that nowhere in either C.B. 2 or C.B. 6’s resolutions does the word “land lock” appear. Stark shrugged. Jo Hamilton, followed up Rakoff, emphasizing, “We never used that word [land lock]. No, we don’t know that word. Our resolution was to preserve zoning that allows hospital and healthcare uses at the site.” (According to the Department of City Planning, there is no such term as “land lock” in New York City zoning. Also, to say that only hospital uses are allowed at the St. Vincent’s site would actually represent a change of the zoning, since the site does currently allow other uses.)
In other C.B. 2 news, the Greenwich Village / Soho community board last week unanimously backed the city’s Astor Place / Cooper Square reconstruction plan. C.B. 2 in its resolution, however, did support members of C.B. 3, the East Village / Lower East Side community board, who had expressed strong opposition to open seating areas in what would be called “Village Plaza,” to the south of the current Peter Cooper Park. “Therefore it is resolved that C.B. 2 approves this reconstruction as proposed if seating opportunities that cannot be locked or removed at night are eliminated from the areas below Seventh St.,” the board’s affirmative resolution stated, in part. A representative of Grace Church School, which plans to open a new high school on the west side of Cooper Square, announced at the meeting that they have “an agreement” with the city “to maintain” Village Plaza. “We will use it as a teaching spot,” she said. “We will have our life sciences kids down there.” (We’re not sure what sorts of wildlife species they’ll be studying on the plaza; hopefully, not “drunken hooligans,” for C.B. 3 members’ sake.) A Noho representative said that, moving forward, they hope to get more information on whether some sort of business improvement district (BID) will be overseeing the open plaza areas that are to be created. Meanwhile, Jim Power, the East Village’s “Mosaic Man,” called us several times, simply beside himself at the idea of Astor Place being closed between Fourth Ave. and Lafayette St. as part of the pedestrianization plan. This is nothing but a blatant land grab by the new building to the south of “The Alamo” cube sculpture, Power fumed. Plus, he added, agitatedly — what would happen to all his mosaic-tile planters and lampposts that dot the intersection?
Clearly, new Schools Chancellor Cathie Black went a bit too far when, addressing the issue of Lower Manhattan’s exploding population, she quipped at a School Overcrowding Task Force meeting two weeks ago, “Could we just have some birth control for a while? It would really help us all out.” Unfortunately, we, in turn, went a bit farther still in our article’s headline, which referred to Black’s having made an “abortion remark,” which she did not do. While birth control and abortion obviously both have to do with reproduction, they are obviously not the same thing at all. Our only explanation for the gaffe is some combination of brain lock and the rush to meet the deadline. We regret the error.