Volume 81, Number 19 | October 13 -19, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Photo by Scoopy
Richie Wong was playing his yellow maracas and singing “New York, New York” at St. Mark’s Place and First Ave. on Saturday night, not far from where he works at the vegan Whole Earth Bakery down the block. Things were tense at the bakery recently over the lease — which had actually been under the name of the adjacent Italian restaurant, which hadn’t been paying rent and went out of business. But it’s all been worked out, he said. So... “It’s up to yooo, New York, New Yorrrrkkk!”
Fans and critics alike of the BMW Guggenheim Lab can toast farewell to it on Sun., Oct. 16, at its closing party at its East Houston St. and Second Ave. space. And we do mean, “toast” — as in there will be an open bar from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the event is free. We asked a friendly woman sitting at the BMW picnic tables through the fence on Tuesday morning, when the gate was still locked, if there would also be free food, and we think we heard something like, “...and pretzels and stuff — not dinner.” The woman said the party will be open to the whole community and will go from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
N.Y.U. — so sensitive:
Readers have been indignantly sounding off in letters to the editor after we recently quoted N.Y.U. Vice President Alicia Hurley saying the university is reluctant to present its development plans to Community Board 2 because of what she dubbed the board’s “lack of civility.” We asked Brad Hoylman, C.B. 2 chairperson, for his take. He responded, “As for Alicia Hurley’s comment, I would say that N.Y.U. has an obligation to share its superblock plans with the community board, no matter if they might get their feelings hurt from time to time. Given the enormity and controversial nature of the university’s plans — which would result in one of the largest and most comprehensive zoning changes in the Village since the time of Robert Moses — they should expect strong opposition and a spirited, healthy debate from the community.” Hmm...seems like a pretty civil, but pointed, response to us.
Occupy Tompkins Square!
After hundreds of Occupy Wall Streeters briefly occupied Washington Square Park last Saturday, East Village activist John Penley is trying to organize a similar event for Tompkins Square Park — except with one difference: He hopes they’ll camp out overnight in the famously radical East Village park. Penley posted a message about the plan, headlined, “Occupy Tompkins Square Park / 24 Hours,” on Facebook. The idea is for protesters to come to the park Saturday at noon and stay till noon on Sunday. Specifically, the post states: “PICNIC STARTS AT NOON ON SATURDAY OCTOBER 15 / GENERAL ASSEMBLIES AT 6PM. AND 10PM. BRING FOOD, SLEEPING GEAR, DRUMS, GUITARS, BANNERS, SIGNS AND YOUR FRIENDS. IN MEMORY OF MONICA AKA CATHERINE SHAY, BOB ARIHOOD AND TERRY TAYLOR.” Penley said they won’t be looking to confront police, and will lie down and be arrested if officers move to bust them for staying past the park’s midnight curfew. Penley said he also wants to see local elected officials — particularly Councilmember Rosie Mendez — take a stand on the Liberty Plaza occupation. He said he’s been down there almost every day and hasn’t seen any local politicians yet. As for the Tompkins Square occupation, the activist said he’s asked about 100 people in the neighborhood and everybody said they’re down with it. But it remains to be seen whether Penley can persuade the leaderless mass that is Occupy Wall Street to pull an overnighter in the East Village.
Bob memorial feud:
In more Penley news, he also recently forced Lorcan Otway to pull the plug on a planned memorial for the late blogger Bob Arihood at Otway’s Theatre 80 St. Mark’s. The main issue was that the Howl Festival has rented out Theatre 80 for five weeks, so Arihood’s memorial would have fallen under the aegis of Howl — which wouldn’t have pleased Arihood, Penley assured. “Bob HATED Howl, everyone knows that,” he said. “He almost wouldn’t go to Ray’s during Howl — that’s how much he hated it.” We bumped into Otway videotaping Faith’s performance at the Arihood memorial concert in Tompkins Square Park on Saturday and he was livid at Penley. He said his venue, sporting a 28-foot screen and hi-def projector, would have been perfect for showing Arihood’s photos. Plus, he has a new bar, featuring everything from $3 beers to pricey Talisker single-malt Scotch whiskey. “Bob used to come in for the $6 Smithwick’s,” Otway said. Penley had some choice words about Otway, but mainly said he’s focusing all his energy on Occupy Wall Street right now.
Occupying vs. commandeering:
Speaking of O.W.S., Village state Democratic Commiteeman Arthur Schwartz tells us he was one of the lawyers in court representing demonstrators arrested on Sat., Oct. 1, and that on Oct. 3 he filed suit for the Transport Workers Union to stop the practice of forcing bus drivers to leave their passenger routes and transport prisoners.
Turning the heat up:
Super chef Mario Batali’s restaurant Babbo, on Waverly Place between MacDougal St. and Sixth Ave., has had neighbors fuming for years about limos and cabs idling for hours on the residential street and fouling the air. The complaints hit the New York Post on Monday, and Tuesday Batali replied that he would do what he could to solve the problem. A police spokesperson said Sixth Precinct traffic cops would cite violations of the law that prohibits nonemergency vehicles from idling for more than three minutes and ask illegally parked cars to move.
Laurie Mittelmann tells us that she and fellow Time’s Up! member Bill di Paola are hoping to open a Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space in the C-Squat storefront on Avenue C. “Nothing is official yet, though, because we have to raise money,” Mittelmann reported. She said a main idea would be to do walking tours of the neighborhood, and that they’re trying to find a handful of tour guides who both know the area’s history and have cool personalities. They think PEOPs cartoonist Fly, for one, would be perfect. Check out Fly’s PEOP of John Farris in this week’s issue, on Page 24.