Volume 73, Number 8 | June 23 - 29, 2004



Scoopy's Notebook

Voice to drop staff — newspaper?! We hear staffers at the Village Voice are dreading a round of deep layoffs. Freebie Web sites like Craig’s List have reportedly hit the Voice hard, cutting into its bread and butter — apartment ads, one insider told us (funny, we thought porno ads were the Voice’s bread and butter). An even more shocking rumor coming out of the East Village, though not confirmed by insiders at the paper, is that the Voice will go electronic — as in become solely an online publication. Don Forst, the Voice’s publisher patently denied the online-only rumor: “No, that’s absolutely not true,” he told The Villager. “We are publishing the paper. We do the Web site — but we put out 270,000 papers a week.” Then Forst quickly tossed us to a public relations spokesperson, who didn’t call back. It sure sounds far-fetched. But why was Nat Hentoff, the Voice’s most well-known political writer shifted onto the Web site? Although some Voice readers feel certain they haven’t seen Hentoff’s column in the Voice on occasion, Hentoff says it’s been in every week the last year, but has just been switched to another spot in the paper. “They want to do more with the Web,” he said, “but I think there’s still an appetite for paper.”

Schumer Rashomon: We hear Judge Kathryn Freed and Lawrence B. Goldberg, of Community Board 2, tried to get a few words in with Senator Chuck Schumer after he spoke at the recent Village Reform Democratic Club annual dinner. Greg Lambert, of V.R.D.C., who had assured Schumer it would be a quick “in and out” appearance, said he was surprised when Freed came up and started telling Schumber about some upcoming bar or judge association events. Then, Lambert said, Goldberg approached Schumer and chided him, “You cost me the election.” “Who are you?” the senator replied, according to Lambert. Schumer endorsed Larry Moss against Goldberg for Democratic state committee in 2002 in a race narrowly won by Moss. Goldberg, however, told The Villager he just asked Schumer how he liked the dinner. Freed told The Villager she only asked if Schumer planned to go to Downtown Independent Democrats’ fundraiser, and certainly didn’t complain about Schumer backing Moss. “I could care less about Larry Moss,” Freed said. “He’s really, really, really unimportant — And I don’t do politics anymore.”

After Eva’s seat: Attorney Jack Lester — known Downtown for his quality-of-life community lawsuits — will be kicking of his campaign for City Council in District 4, Eva Moskowitz’s East Side district, on June 29, 6:30-8 p.m. at M.J. Armstrong’s, 329 First Ave. at 19th St. The event is a fundraiser and chance to meet Lester, who is running “as a tenants’ candidate.”

N.A.C. payback: Letters recently went out to the Gramercy Property Owners Association, informing them that each owner’s lot will be assessed $14,000 in order to pay for the $1.6 million settlement to eight Washington Irving High School students who sued the association after they were rudely kicked out of private Gramercy Park in April 2000. O. Aldon James, Jr., president of the National Arts Club, had brought 45 15-year-old students to the park on an authorized fieldtrip when they were asked to leave by park trustee Sharon Benenson. Each student will receive $35,000 to $50,000 — the lawyers also get a percentage. Only eight students sued, because not all wanted to go through the lengthy deposition process, James said. Clearly, it was worth the trouble. However, James is now beside himself that N.A.C., originally a plaintiff in the suit, is also being asked to pay towards the settlement — $28,000 for its two lots!

Glorious Mosaic (tirade): Jim “Mosaic Man” Power called The Villager to complain about the recent cover story on FEVA, the group that produces the HOWL! Festival. Power, responsible for the lamppost mosaics on Avenue A and St. Mark’s Pl., was not allowed to appear onstage at the festival last year and destroyed one of his mosaics in protest. Power alleges that last year’s HOWL! was attended by far fewer than the reported crowd of 100,000 people, and actually cost the community money. He said “no one knows who” HOWL! executive director Phil Hartman is, and that his staff all wear Gucci sunglasses. Power also said he was evicted last week, and may leave the city in a month.

Honi is dunni: Honi Klein, executive director of the Village Alliance business improvement district and a 21-year veteran member of Community Board 2, has not been reappointed to the Greenwich Village board by Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields. Klein was a member of the board’s Sidewalks Committee and was also a member of the board’s Waterfront Committee, until being removed last year in the purge of the committee by then-board Chairperson Aubrey Lees. In Klein’s place, Fields appointed Michael Xu, an N.Y.U. student. We tried to call Klein to get her reaction last week, but she said she was too busy getting her Taste of the Village benefit for Washington Sq. Park ready. Not uncommon for Board 2, Klein had some enemies on the board, most notably Bob Rinaolo. The two had clashed over Rinaolo’s efforts to get more seats for his sidewalk cafe at his Garage restaurant on Seventh Ave. S. In return, Rinaolo tried to block the Village Alliance’s Eighth St. sidewalk-widening project.

Don’t mention us! Stonewall Veterans Association president Williamson Henderson said that while, yes, S.V.A. didn’t want David Carter’s new book on Stonewall to be published, claiming it was inaccurate (it doesn’t mention Henderson or his organization) they didn’t want to be included in it, either. “[S.V.A. member] Jeremiah Newtown told [the book’s editor, Keith Kahla] that the Stonewall Veterans Association members better not be in the book because we knew what a big liar this guy [Carter] was,” Henderson said. Henderson said S.V.A. did indeed discuss protesting outside events for the book, but opted against it. “It was decided we didn’t want to give him the attention,” he said. By the way, Henderson added — Carter is banned for life from S.V.A.

Dancin’ square: Break-dancers at Union Sq. have been given a hard time recently by the Parks Department — a riot nearly broke out a few weeks ago after Parks workers tried to confiscate the dancers’ sound equipment. But Parks would be advised not to mess with the capoeira class who will be at the square this Friday night from 10 to midnight, performing their fierce Brazilian dance-like martial art to singing and drumming. “It’s martial arts disguised as dance; slaves needed to learn to defend themselves,” explained their teacher, Boca, at a recent performance, before jumping back into the dance circle. They perform at Union Sq. every other Friday.

Keep your shirt on: Fears of a new strip club were kindled when a sign reading “Buck Naked — Live Entertainment” recently appeared in the window of a store at 7 E. 14th St., a former Petland that was vacant a few months. “How is it possible to open such a place without community input?” a “concerned resident” e-mailed. Turns out it was a promotion for the upcoming Sci-fi Channel mini-series, “Five Days to Midnight.” We’ll have to watch that one.

I was a Yippie: Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, said he’s enjoyed reading about the Yippies’ protest plans for the Republican National Convention. In fact, he said he was once a Yippie himself and was among the protesters at the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention. “In ’68 I was trying to overthrow the Democratic Party,” said Sweeney. And replace it with? “I don’t know — anarchy?” Sweeney said he wore a motorcycle helmet to the rallies and got Maced in the eye. He said what prompted the riot was that people in the back threw bottles and cops then attacked the people in front.

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