August 19 - 25, 2009
ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE (WHY NOT?):
, who many felt came off as “the angrycandidate” during last Thursday’s Council District Threedebate, is apparently still angry. For one, Passannante-Derr’s Web site claims that East Village activist
was barred from entering the debate. However, not onlydoes a YouTube video show Ortiz-Arroyo in his wheelchairbeing let into the building, but Ortiz-Arroyo himself toldus on Tuesday that he got in, and, by the sound of it, had apretty good time once inside, too, enjoying the debate fromthe overﬂow room. “Yes, I was squeezed into the other roomwith a video view, and also met an Angola native who maybe interested in taking some of the hundreds of books I gotas freebies during my radio news and public affairs career,”Ortiz-Arroyo told us in an e-mail.
T.G.I. FRIDAY-IZATION OF UNION SQUARE:
Walmart’s long-speculated entry into New York City,most recently via a rumored deal to take space in UnionSquare, found no lack of detractors among the Downtownset. So imagine how the arrival of chain-restaurant T.G.I.Friday’s will be received after it was reported that thepurveyor of “Parmesan-Crusted Sicilian Quesadillas”would be opening inside a recently purchased buildingon Union Square. The Riese Organization, which justbought 34 Union Square East, announced plans to bringin both a Friday’s and Tim Horton’s coffee shop if it can’tfind another tenant on the quick. (The property has beenvacant for nearly two years, and Riese scooped it uponly after the asking price fell by a reported 40 percent.)The move follows on the blockbuster lease of the formerVirgin Megastore/Circuit City space on Union SquareSouth to Nordstrom Rack and Best Buy, respectively. Thebacklash among Needle Park purists began immediatelyafter the news started trickling through the Web, withat least one Twitter page created to “help send a loudand clear message to The Riese Organization that wedon’t want his TGI Friday’s in Union Sq. SAVE THESQUARE!” For its part, the Union Square Partnershipresponded that the restaurant — whose original outpostopened on the Upper East Side in 1965 — would be aboon to business on the bustling hub. “We are fortunatethat in this difficult economy, Union Square’s retailvacancy rate remains one of the lowest in the city, withdiverse retail options and new businesses coming to thearea,” said
, the Partnership’s executivedirector. “T.G.I. Friday’s will bring much-needed foottraffic to the businesses located on the eastern side of the square, which historically has not seen as manypedestrians as the businesses to the south and west.” Acall to mayoral candidate and anti-consumerist
went unreturned as of press time, but somehow wethink we already know his thoughts on the matter. T.G.I.Friday’s apparently would also be a boon for those want-ing to get sloshed. According to Wikipedia, “Friday’s hasa large menu with an emphasis on alcoholic beverages,which includes their famous ‘Crazy Night Cocktail.’ Ithas a more impressive bar area and larger alcoholic menuthan many of its casual-dining restaurant competitors.‘Ultimates’ drinks are served in an 18 oz. glass, and oftenmade with top-shelf and darker liquors.”
, of the LowerEast Side Political Action Committee, thought this time,at last, he really had Councilmember
—one of his many nemeses from Coalition for a DistrictAlternative. A recent article in the Daily News cameout blasting local elected officials, including AssemblySpeaker
, for giving funds to the United Jewish Councilof the East Side, only to have a U.J.C. member workcollecting petition signatures for their campaigns. Thearticle also noted that Mendez had given $8,000 to theU.J.C. — which Caballero crowed isn’t even in Mendez’sCouncil District 2. However, Mendez seemed to have agood answer, retorting, “The U.J.C. runs senior centersin my district, or on the periphery of my district that myconstituents walk to.” She specifically cited a U.J.C.-runprogram in the Lillian Wald Houses on Avenue D and aprogram at the Bialystoker facility, the latter which is justover the border in Alan Gerson’s Council district. Theseniors attend the centers for cultural classes, like danc-ing and music, and meals and to use a library and takecomputer classes. As for any quid pro quo with U.J.C.,Mendez said, “No one from U.J.C. has been volunteer-ing in my campaign. I don’t do quid pro quo. … Peopledecide whether they like the work you’re doing.” Hmm,we score it: CoDA wins another round over LESPAC.
MARGARITA AND THE SUPREMES:
Speakingof CoDA, one of its favorite daughters, formerCouncilmember
, attended the WhiteHouse party for newly confirmed U.S. Supreme CourtJustice
last week. Lopez did the intro-duction before
gave a reading from hisnew book at the L.E.S. Tenement Museum last Thursday,
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