Volume 74, Number 14 | August 04 - 10 , 2004

Scoopy’s notebook

Doing the Madison? According to a source, at United for Peace & Justice’s meeting on Tuesday night, some members raised the possibility of trying for a new site for their anti-Bush rally on Aug. 29, at which an expected 250,000 protesters are expected — Madison Sq. Park. The city rejected the protesters’ requests for Central Park, but not all in the group are resolved to accepting the city’s offer of the West Side Highway with a rally near Chambers St. It turns out, U.P.J. never tried to ask the city for a permit for Madison Sq.

Pen pals: Chad Marlow, president of Village Independent Democrats, and Harvey Epstein, former Community Board 3 chairperson and a Hell’s Kitchen housing activist, recently met for lunch, after their dueling letters in The Villager on the West Side stadium issue and now see roughly eye to eye on the issue, according to Epstein. Said Marlow, in an e-mail: “I did go out to lunch with Harvey and we had a great talk. It is notable that the meeting came about through proposals in The Villager’s letters to the editor section…. As for ‘being on the same page’ — I think it would be more accurate to say that we discovered many areas of common concern in which we can look forward to working together…. For example, I think we both feel passionately about the issue of affordable housing.” Well, that worked out nicely. We only hope the Stonewall Riots and Abingdon Sq. letters feuders now get together for lunch and bury their respective hatchets, too. On second thought, then we’d have no letters.

Porn touches nerve: Yet another sex shop may open in Greenwich Village, but this time community activists are ready. The site is 287 Bleecker St., which is for rent. Interested businesses are said to include a porn store. Surrounding businesses and residents are reportedly very unhappy about the idea of a large porn store leasing the space. David Gruber, president of the Carmine St. Block Association, which includes part of Bleecker, said his group plans to focus on stopping this shop because, “It’s not built yet. We have the opportunity to stop it cold instead of playing catch-up after it opens.” Gruber said he plans to “use whatever legal means are at our disposal, through the city bureaucracy or protest. This is a blight on the Village and it has touched a nerve.”

Mondo condo: As high-end residential development in Hudson Sq., the former Printing District, continues to boom, the latest new project is reportedly slated for the site of an open-air parking lot just north of Canal St., between Hudson and Renwick Sts. According to real estate sources, the site, which was owned by the Mandelbaum family, of New Jersey, was recently sold to a development group including Apollo and Metropolitan Housing Partners, the same team that developed the new 505 Greenwich St., a 104-apartment condo building, a block away. Asking price for the property was reportedly in the range of $170 per sq. ft. for about 70,000 sq. ft. of buildable space. Jane Gladstein, principal of Metropolitan Housing Partners, would not say if the property has been purchased. “I can confirm that we’re involved in the project, but it’s very premature,” she said.

Does a 180: First he left the Committee to Defeat Margarita Lopez 2005. Now Israel Perez says he’s resigning from the Baruch Houses Tenants Association, of which he is vice president, because he’s angry over the association’s attempt to convert a children’s room into an after-hours social club. Some of the same players are in both the anti-Lopez group and the Baruch T.A. Also, Perez said he doesn’t want to support Adriano Espaillat for Manhattan borough president, just because the Committee is supporting him. Asked who he would back, he said — Lopez! — even while admitting they disagree on some issues. “They can play the race card,” he said. “I’m Spanish. She’s Spanish. But it makes sense.” He further said he plans to start a new club, the Puerto Rican Latino Democratic Club, and start recruiting members next week. The members of the Committee to Defeat Margarita Lopez are not welcome, he said.

BAMRA-cadabra, presto chango: It’s official, Lois Rakoff is now the elected co-chairperson for residents and Mario Yagobi, owner of 1849 bar/restaurant on Bleecker St., is co-chairperson for merchants of the Bleecker Area Merchants and Residents Association. “We’re going to work on positive things and healing this organization,” said Rakoff.

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