Volume 80, Number 43 | March 24 - 30, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Photo by J.B. Nicholas
Sarah Jessica Parker last month in Lower Manhattan at Stone and Hanover Sts. filming a scene for “I Don’t Know How She Does It.” Parker plays a finance executive in the comedy, slated for release next year.
S.J.P. on St. V:
Among the many community members paying their respects to Lucy Cecere at Perazzo Funeral Home on Tuesday was actress Sarah Jessica Parker. Cecere was always a huge fan of The Villager (which meant a lot to us), so we were thrilled to hear that Parker — one of Cecere’s favorite people in the world, along with her husband, Matthew Broderick — also reads us regularly. “It’s a great paper,” Parker told us. If anyone ever takes her copy of The Villager out of her building’s hallway, she has to rush right out and buy another one on the newsstand. “You’ve done a great job covering St. Vincent’s,” she told us. Asked what she thought of the latest post-St. Vincent’s proposal, for an emergency-care facility at the site of the former hospital’s O’Toole building, the “Sex and the City” star looked skeptical. “I’m concerned, let’s put it that way,” she said. “The community needs a hospital — and I think there’s been some clever obfuscation.” As a parent of three young children, she noted, she’s especially concerned about local healthcare. “I would like to see a proper, functioning [hospital] — not a walk-in,” she stressed. She said she had spoken to Council Speaker Christine Quinn about the issue. On another note, it was only a few months ago that Lucy Cecere had sadly told us that Parker and Broderick and their family were planning to leave the Village and move up to a spacious new apartment they’d bought on the Upper West Side. But on Tuesday, Parker said that her good friend Lucy had been wrong on that one. “We didn’t, we haven’t, we’re still here,” she said. “We’re southerners” (as in, Downtowners), she added with a smile.
Irreplaceable dispute is never-ending:
More than 10 years later, Irreplaceable Artifacts owner Evan Blum is still fighting the city over what he calls the illegal demolition of his building at Second Ave. and East Houston St. after a partial collapse there in July 2000. Blum was at Clayton Patterson’s place on Essex St. on Monday night, watching the documentarian’s videotape of the overnight demolition, which was ordered by then-Mayor Giuliani. Blum, who has always contended that the structure could be salvaged, indicated that litigation could soon be drawing to a close. He’s suing the city for $50 million. “It’s been a long and hard road,” Blum said in a telephone interview Monday evening. Basically, the collector contends that he lost $30 million due to either the destruction during the demolition or subsequent looting of the artifacts that he had crammed into the building. And he’s been fending off a six-figure lawsuit by the neighboring Cube building, which was damaged during the demolition; Blum said the contractors who knocked down his building are to blame, not him, since they didn’t take the proper precautions. “They broke every demolition code in the procedure — unless you’re Ray Charles, you can see it in the video,” he charged. In short, Blum is suing the city for slander, stolen property, loss of reputation and “all kinds of things,” he said. The building, according to Blum, was originally the National Garage, and was constructed extra-strong to hold the weight of 88 cars — which used to be much heavier back in the old days. The garage was built to serve the Yiddish theater that used to be across the street, where the Whole Foods Market is today. The theater was torn down in the ’60’s, and for many years the space was a parking lot run by “Bernie who lives on Long Island,” Blum recalled. But the former garage had horizontal beams every 8 feet, and so a collapse in one section didn’t threaten the whole structure, Blum said. “Essentially, you could cut the building in slices and it could still stand, the way it was constructed,” he explained. Although floors inside had visibly collapsed, Blum contends, “It was a minor failure on the building’s south side — less than 5 percent of the entire wall.” As for why the wall failed, he said, “We believe it was sabotage by a joint venturer who was a former alcoholic.” Blum said the entrance he was trying to install in the wall that partially collapsed was to lead to a restaurant that would have drawn “art enthusiasts” who would have flocked to the place to appreciate its art and artifacts. “I had the clock from Penn Station in there, stored. It was looted,” he said. “I had the Chicago Stock Exchange staircase in there by Louis Sullivan; it was destroyed. I had leaded-glass windows from Frank Lloyd Wright; they were looted from the subbasement. I had the clock from the Commodore Hotel. It was destroyed, I just have a few shards left.”
Eating to aid Japan:
Savore and Chicca restaurants in Soho are holding a fundraiser on Wed., March 30, during which 100 percent of the proceeds from lunch and dinner will be donated to the victims of the disaster in Japan. Savore is at 200 Spring St. and Chicca is at 184 Spring St.
Jenny Klion is working again! She recently announced that the second season of her Bakery 44 has begun. Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the stoop of 44 Jane St., just west of Eighth Ave., weekend noshers can now find her delicious offerings once again, including jam-filled corn muffins, sugar-glazed brioche tarts, mini-walnut sour cream coffee bundt cakes, homemade raspberry pop tarts and gingersnaps.
Last of the Chino-Latinos:
Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York reports one of our favorites, La Nueva Rampa, on 14th St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves., has closed. “It was one of the last (maybe the last?) of Chelsea’s once abundant Cuban-Chinese restaurants,” Jeremiah wrote. “These establishments began opening in the 1960’s, when many members of Cuba’s Chinese population fled from Castro.” Other favorites included La Chinita Linda and Sam Chinita, also both gone. Personally, we preferred Sam Chinita’s pork chops, which were a bit moister than Rampa’s. Both places were affordable — and we loved Rampa’s Chinese zodiac placemats (which informed us we are compatible with a “monkey” or “rat”).