Volume 74, Number 10 | July 7 - 13, 2004

Scoopy's Notebook

Grassroots effort: Protesters are pitching a new approach to get the Parks Department to allow them on the pitch — that is, either the Great Lawn or North Meadow — for a mass rally for 250,000 people the day before the Republican National Convention starts. “We’re willing to take off our shoes to go into the Lawn,” proposed John Penley, a leader of the Yippie protest contingent. “We’ll have a mass de-shoeing of protesters at the site…. They let ’em sit up there and women have spike high heels on,” Penley added, referring to events on the Lawn for the Philharmonic and Metropolitan Opera. Conversely, he said if the mayor and Parks continue to deny a permit for the park to United for Peace & Justice, it’ll be a big mistake. “If they don’t let ’em use Central Park, we’ll tell everyone to go to Central Park — and stay there,” Penley warned. “Bloomberg’s got a choice — a three-hour rally in Central Park or a three-day rally in Central Park.” However, the no-shoes boogie plan isn’t getting any traction with Parks. Margaret Johnson, a department spokesperson, said, “It’s an imaginative idea — unfortunately removed from reality. Shoes on or off, it’s still more than three times the maximum number that can fit into the area.”

Jeffords: Thumbs up! We were catching a breather up in Vermont over the Fourth of July weekend and took in Michael Moore’s new documentary, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” in West Rutland. As we were going in, we bumped into Jim Jeffords — the Vermont senator whose switch from Republican to independent is portrayed in the film — who was leaving the earlier showing with his wife, Liz. Jeffords gave the flick an enthusiastic thumbs-up. “When I heard I was in it, I had to see it,” he told The Villager. “I think it’s very accurate and well done — a little exaggerated, but basically true. And I hope the American people will believe it.”

Vanishing committees: Jim Smith, Community Board 2 chairperson, informs us he has regrettably disbanded the board’s Arts Committee, proclaiming it “defunct for lack of participatory interest by board members… The only board member left on the committee was its chair,” said Smith. While Smith said the committee was born with noble goals, “in seven years a stream of members have come and gone, including four chairs.” Specific arts issues will be handled by other committees, such as Parks, Waterfront, Sidewalks, as appropriate. Whether the Arts Committee flap over installing the apple sculpture by Stephan Weiss, Donna Karan’s late husband, in Hudson River Park, played any role, Smith didn’t say. In addition, the board’s L.G.B.T. Committee isn’t doing so great, either. Cynthia Smith, the committee’s most recent chairperson, is going back to school at Harvard for a year. “There’s been no response to my call to board members for a volunteer to take over,” said Smith. “While the committee will be on hiatus indefinitely, its members remain on call for when the committee revives.” If a matter requiring a resolution arises, he said he’ll assign it to an appropriate active committee, such as Social Services or Youth.

Toasts McWater: They were once mortal foes, but last week Marcia Lemmon of Ludlow St. said she only wishes David McWater well as Community Board 3’s new chairperson. “Good luck. That’s a tough job. That’s great,” said Lemmon, once the Lower East Side’s most feared anti-bar watchdog, who has been laid up the last few years due to health problems. Lemmon provoked the ire of McWater when she went after his pal Gary Auslander, owner of Baby Jupiter on Orchard St., ultimately convincing the State Liquor Authority to shut the place down. Asked about her past clashes with McWater — who owns several bars on Avenue A — Lemmon said, “That was years ago.”

U.P.S. delivering site? We hear U.P.S. has picked a developer for its parking-lot site at Washington and Spring Sts. As The Villager first reported in April, the delivery company issued a request for proposals for developers to build a 450,000-sq.-ft., 12-14-story, residential building. Jackie Larson, a U.P.S. spokesperson, said yesterday, “We are talking to people about developing the property. We have not finalized who we are talking to. We definitely want to retain a presence in the property.” U.P.S. reportedly would have an 80,000-sq.-ft. garage in the new building.

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