Volume 74, Number 30 | December 01 - 07, 2004

Scoopy’s notebook

Raw feelings: Caryn Marcus, an attorney representing Sushi Samba 7, said the popular raw-fish restaurant on Seventh Ave. S. plans to abide by the terms of its agreement with the city and replace its second-story rooftop tent with a permanent, enclosed structure by March 15. However, she accused neighbors and the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission of having it in for the restaurant. “It seems the city has a vendetta against Sushi Samba and will try anything to shut it down,” she said. Landmarks’ request for an injunction to take down the tent and for monetary penalties of $5,000 per day over a three-year period was denied by State Supreme Court Justice Faviola Soto on Nov. 9. Referring to Landmarks’ general counsel, Marcus said, “Mark Silberman’s out of his mind. It’s ridiculous to fine a restaurant $5 million when there are no violations. You have to keep in mind, Jekyll & Hyde is next door with skeletons on the roof. I’m trying to think of that other restaurant — with the margarita glass on the side — is nearby. The neighbor that makes all the complaints lives in the building and owns Pennyfeathers next door — a competing business.”

Righteous occasion: Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel celebrated his 61st birthday at a fundraiser for his political committee on Tues., Nov. 30, at Lotus nightclub on W. 14th St. Though he’s criticized Mayor Bloomberg quite a lot since the Republican National Convention and the crackdown on Critical Mass, Siegel said he’d only be interested in running for public advocate, not mayor.

Owes it all to Keith: The recent subject of a glowing profile in the Times’ Metro section, Steve Stollman, who is renting his E. Houston storefront space to Time’s Up! for a song, recently told us he learned everything he knows about community activism from none other than Community Board 2 member and Villager columnist Keith Crandell of Noho. Stollman lives in the neighborhood.

Wrong Tong soup? An anonymous letter received by The Villager charges that “a leader of the traditional On Leong Tong” gang has been appointed to Community Board 3. “Chinese community does not want to see gangsters go to mainstream and be recognized as public representatives,” the letter cautioned, adding that joining the community board may be “a new age of Tong business.” A newspaper clip from the Chinese World Journal — which we unfortunately couldn’t read — was included, featuring a photo of a tough-looking Asian guy, allegedly the new board member. Susan Stetzer, C.B. 3’s district manager said, “The only new members appointed to the board recently have been two women, Keisha Hogans and Jenny Lim — neither of them are part of a Chinatown gang.” Stetzer said she’ll check it out, however. Lim was former Public Advocate Mark Green’s liaison to the Asian community. Hogans works in Comptroller Bill Thompson’s office.

McScoop on the prowl: Scoopy’s recent report that Goldie, the well-known St. Mark’s Pl. pot dealer, had returned to the block just may have scared him off. Is it a coincidence that no one’s seen hide nor hair of Goldie around since the item ran? Hey, looks like Scoopy may be giving McGruff the crime dog a run for his money.

He wanted Pagan: David McWater tells us that in 1993 he was seriously considering running against incumbent City Councilmember Antonio Pagan. The Community Board 3 chairperson said that “as a young East Village business owner” he was unhappy about the direction the neighborhood was going under Pagan. McWater was down at a Board of Elections office at the World Trade Center learning what was required to run for election when the first bombing of the towers occurred. However, it wasn’t that but a breakup with a girlfriend three weeks later that derailed his political hopes. He still mentions — jokingly? — aspirations of being governor of his home state, Oklahoma, someday.

There goes the ’hood: Curbed Web site recently reported that New York Post publisher Lachlan Murdoch is renovating 11 Spring St. for his new home. Murdoch purchased the former stable for $5.25 million last year. Frankly, we’re sorry the offbeat, old inventor who lived there finally decided to sell. We miss the elegant, single, white pin lights he put up in every window after neighbors called the graffiti-strewn building an eyesore.

Chelsea change: Tim Gay will step down as the male Chelsea Democratic district leader on Jan. 31, 2005. Gay said it’s something he and fellow Chelsea Reform Democratic Club members have mulled for a few years. “I thought, ‘O.K., I’m about to be 50 years old. I’ve been doing this since I was 37. It’s time for someone new,’ ” Gay said. The club will pick his replacement.

Chino on CHARAS: CHARAS/El Bohio co-founder Chino Garcia was at last week’s East Village Arts Summit sponsored by the Federation of East Village Artists at Lil’ Frankie’s restaurant on First Ave. Although he and CHARAS’s board are under a gag order as part of an agreement with developer Gregg Singer, Garcia briefly shared a few thoughts. Asked if CHARAS, which now operates from an 116th St. loft, hopes to return to the old P.S. 64 now that Singer is bent on developing it into a dorm, Garcia sounded resigned against it. “We are doing small projects,” he said. “We are trying to figure out our future as a group — and as individuals. Right now, we are in retreat.” Asked his thoughts on the new East Village Community Coalition — led by Christodora House condo owners — which is trying to landmark the old school, Garcia said, “The community right now is talking. I think it’s healthy, let’s put it that way.” However, Susan Howard of the Save CHARAS Committee said Scoopy’s recently claiming she was ready to work with E.V.C.C. was inaccurate. “Retract that statement!” she said. Commented Garcia: “Susan is Susan.” By the way, the gag order doesn’t seem to work both ways — Singer is never shy about blasting CHARAS and Garcia. Michael Rosen of E.V.C.C. said they’d just like to work cooperatively with everyone to save the building.

Hoss-like dorm no Bonanza: Posters in the East Village are equating the 19-story dormitory designed by Beyer Blinder Belle on the site of the former P.S. 64/CHARAS/El Bohio cultural center with a concentration camp. “Do you sell your souls, Beyer & Blinder & Belle — for 30 coins of Silver?” the poster asks. “Rudolf Hoss [sic] designed Auschwitz. Design is not neutral, pretending so is an abdication of professional responsibility.”

Tortured art: New Yorkers who have come to know the Falun Gong from their sidewalk reenactments of torture at the hands of Chinese police would have felt right at home at an opening of an art show by Falun Gong members at the National Arts Club last week. There were paintings of Falun Gong members having their legs broken, being flagellated and injected with psychotic drugs. There was a sculpture of a man kneeling, imprisoned in a cage. A filmmaker was on hand: his film was about a Falun Gong member recalling being — you guessed it — tortured. Hey, China! Stop persecuting the Falun Gong already so they can start doing art about normal things!

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