Volume 80, Number 41 | March 10 -16, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Scoopy's Notebook

Anti-topless squeeze play:
Local Little Leagues are calling foul on a topless nightspot — Mystique Gentlemen’s Club — that’s trying to get a liquor license reportedly to “expand” its operations at 75 Clarkson St. That’s right near Pier 40 at West Houston St., hallowed home of the co-ed kids’ leagues’ main playing field. The presidents of both the Greenwich Village Little League and the Downtown Little League wrote protest letters to the State Liquor Authority earlier this month right before an agency hearing on the license application. “Each and every day, hundreds of children will walk by this establishment on their way to baseball practices, games and clinics as part of our after-school baseball programs that begin at 4 p.m. for the younger divisions and often end at 10 p.m. for the older divisions,” G.V.L.L.’s Daniel Miller wrote, adding, “We are very concerned that granting a liquor license to a strip club in the midst of the busiest intersection of children’s outdoor activities in Downtown Manhattan will make our family-oriented neighborhood and, most importantly, our children less safe, many of whom walk to and from practice at Pier 40 on their own.” Added Bill Martino of D.L.L. in his own letter to the S.L.A., “Expanding Mystique would expose those kids to sexualized ‘red light district’ imagery, rowdy partygoers and alcohol consumption. Surely there is a better location for such an establishment than right across from a principal youth park and family recreation area.” We happened to be walking down Clarkson St. ourselves a few weeks ago (no, we weren’t planning to go see a strip show!) and noticed that 75 Clarkson St. — which had been a strip joint since a few years before the Pier 40 courtyard ball field opened — was closed and its windows covered with newspaper. It was called the Carousel club in its strip club heyday, if we recall correctly, but the name on the door was now “Santa’s Luncheonette.” We checked next door at the XXX-rated video store to see what we could find out. The cashier there told us she’d heard the plan is indeed to have stripping at the new club — with separate gay and straight nights — but only a few nights a week, and that it would be “a normal dance club” the rest of the time. She said the two partners behind the new hot spot, “Matt and Carlos,” have gotten some good press as “hip young entrepreneurs,” and suggested we check online for articles about them. Well, it turns out Matt and Carlos are none other than Matt Kliegman and Carlos Quirarte, the guys behind The Jane Ballroom, and that the name of their planned quasi-nouveau burlesque club is Westway. They’re known for a couple of things: namely, their places being super-cool “destination clubs” — and also their beards. Describing Westway’s intended vibe, Quirarte told Women’s Wear Daily: “The fact that it is a topless, go-go dance place is secondary. It’s the same way that music is sort of in the background. That’s how we think of it.” Or as Guest of a Guest New York Web site described it, they’re just trying to do an ironic take on “the whole Bada Bing T&A thing.” But the only “Bada Bing” you might hear at Pier 40 is the wholesome baseball chatter when a batter’s up and his or her teammates are cheering for a little “Bada Bing,” as in a base hit. And the only “T&A” the Little Leagues want to know from are T-ball and the A’s. In short, Matt and Carlos could end up looking like real “boobs,” if they follow through with this overly “titillating” plan.

Can’t get no Scoopy satisfaction:
A Rolling Stones fan begs to differ with Sean Sweeney’s dig in last week’s Scoopy’s Notebook that “vandalizing public walls must run in the family” for Keith Richards and his model daughter Theodora, who was busted last week for graffiti and drug possession in Soho. A California woman posting a comment on our Facebook page (“The Villager Newspaper”) as “rubytuesday” writes, “Au contraire, Keith Richards wasn’t arrested for the petrol station incident in 1964. Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman and Brian Jones were.” Sweeney had been referring to Page 253 of Victor Bockris’s 1993 “Keith Richards: The Biography,” where Richards is quoted boasting, “We’re still the only rock and roll band busted for peeing on a wall.” When we told Soho activist Sweeney of “rubytuesday”’s comments, he conceded, “Indeed it was a petrol station and I don’t remember who was and who wasn’t specifically arrested. Richards says ‘we’ in referring to the arrest in his bio. But your commenter seems certain.”

Photo by Scoopy

Trigger strikes a prayerful pose.

Talkin’ with Trigger:
We were walking up the Bowery around 2 a.m. a couple of Thursdays ago and espied the distinctive hat of Trigger, as he was hanging out in front of the Bowery Electric. He said he had just stopped by to say hi to his pal rocker Jesse Malin, who is a partner in the E. Second St. club. As we strolled with the bamboo-hatted bar owner back to his Continental, near St. Mark’s Place, he strenuously denied charges that he has a racially discriminatory door policy. “I have a dress code — I don’t discriminate,” he explained. “We turn away white trash and ‘Jersey Shore’ types. I want my bread-and-butter crowd — my college kids and neighborhood people — to feel safe there. I don’t like extreme machoism, the gangsterism — to me this is over the top.” No-no’s as far as he’s concerned are “saggy, baggy jeans…bling.” Trigger invited us into his bar and down to the place’s former green room, where legendary punk bands like the Ramones and the Dictators used to hang out, where he fished out a letter from the city’s Human Rights Commission stating that a previous, similar complaint had been dismissed. Passing through the place, we observed that the crowd of roughly 25 twentysomethings was about 30 to 40 percent African-American. “I can’t possibly have orchestrated it,” Trigger said of the patrons’ racial diversity, adding, “There are always people of color in my bar.” On a less serious subject, we asked him the question that many, no doubt, have wondered about: What’s the story of the hat? “I got it in Vietnam 10 years ago. Stayed with it. Girls like it,” he explained. “I don’t have a whole calculated approach to it. I have no personality — I need a prop. I still have a full head of hair, thank God. I’ve thought about burning it at Burning Man, but I’ve never done it. I may do it this year.” As we took photos of him — including the one of him in a praying pose on Page 3 — he quipped to us that we couldn’t come inside because “Your jeans are too baggy!” Hey, man, “Relaxed Fit,” c’mon!

Congrats!
Jefferson Siegel was awarded third place in the Spot News category in the 2010 New York Press Photographers Association contest for his shot in the Daily News last September “Jumper Up,” showing a man threatening to leap from his 16th-floor balcony on Clinton St. The man spent a harrowing two hours on the ledge. A different photo by Siegel of the same incident ran in the Sept. 9 issue of The Villager and East Villager with the caption headline, “Hanging out on Clinton St., man dangles 160 feet up.”

Location, location:
In the article in last week’s issue on the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, the e-mail address for residents to send comments to about the ongoing urban design plan was incorrect. The right address is spura@cb3manhattan.org .

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