Volume 74, Number 24 | Octuber 13 - 19 , 2004

Scoopy’s notebook

Csendes incensed: Republican State Senate candidate Emily Csendes is complaining that Community Board 2 chairperson Jim Smith prevented her from speaking at the board’s meeting last month. The fact that Democratic incumbent Tom Duane later was allowed to speak, struck Csendes as highly unfair, her campaign manager, Steven Evans, said — though Duane only discussed liquor license issues, not his candidacy for reelection. Evans decided to do some research and called Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields’ office, finding out that, as he put it, Duane as a councilmember originally “appointed Smith to the board.” However, Smith said the board’s meetings aren’t for politicking. “The community board is a civic group. We don’t have ‘candidates’ nights,’” Smith told The Villager.

“If we did, I’d invite all three candidates for state senator in the 29th District to tell us why we should vote for them. As is appropriate and necessary, incumbents do report to us on their work for the district. But all of them in my experience scrupulously avoid partisanship in their reports. Nevertheless, with regard to Ms. Csendes, I did agree to allow her companion to speak instead if he would keep it nonpartisan, and if he would remove his large lapel button promoting Ms. Csendes’ candidacy. He did not agree to remove the button.” Smith added that councilmembers only recommend appointments to the board, while the B.P. actually appoints them.

Super slugfest: The war of words between Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Presevation, and Michael Haberman, N.Y.U. director of government and community relations, over the I.M. Pei-designed, N.Y.U.-owned superblock continues. Berman took offense at several comments by Haberman in last week’s article on the Society’s efforts to preserve the Pei block. For example, Haberman described N.Y.U. as a “longtime member” of the Society. But Berman said records show only N.Y.U. senior vice president Lynne Brown and another university-affiliated individual have memberships. Haberman also claimed the Society hasn’t responded to invitations to meet with N.Y.U. and offer ideas on the issue.

But Berman said, in fact, they’ve tried repeatedly to schedule a meeting ever since President John Sexton’s April community town hall, but that the university has been unable to schedule it. As for Haberman saying G.V.S.H.P. is “misusing the landmarks law” in trying to block development on the Morton Williams supermarket site, Berman said, “It seems ironic for N.Y.U., which has destroyed more historic buildings in the Village than anyone else, to be saying this.” Responding to Berman’s responses, Haberman said: “The Society talks about irony? I think it’s ironic that a preservation society seems to have such a short memory: they seem to have forgotten the award they gave N.Y.U. for our preservation efforts, N.Y.U.’s support for historic districts, N.Y.U.’s support for landmarking the Brown Building and N.Y.U.’s financial support of the Society’s preservation efforts — to the tune of almost $10,000 over the past five years.” Haberman further accused G.V.S.H.P. of having become “so fixated on attacking N.Y.U…so pettily, bitterly and personally.”

Whole lotta Villager: At last week’s Board 2 Parks Committee meeting The Villager, past and present, was well represented. In addition to a current Villager associate editor who was reporting on the meeting, there was Haberman, a former assistant editor of the paper, representing N.Y.U., while Steve Simon, who said he was the editor at The Villager in the 1970s, was representing his boss, Bill Castro, Manhattan borough Parks commissioner.

Slight Demo delay: The start of the renovation of Father Demo Sq. at Sixth Ave. and Bleecker St. has been delayed two months while the Department of Transportation does a traffic survey on Bleecker St., where the renovation calls for the park to be expanded into a narrowed road. “They’re doing their due diligence,” said David Gruber, president of Friends of Father Demo Sq. The 10-to-11-month-long park project is budgeted at just under $1 million.

Joe’s jolted: After 30 years at the corner of Carmine and Bleecker Sts., Joe’s Pizza’s lease will be up in December, according to a source. A pizza man at Joe’s on Monday confirmed the report, saying they will be moving to Joe’s smaller space at 7 Carmine St. The new tenant of the corner space is said to be, surprisingly, not a Starbucks, but another pizza place.

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