With a series of Save Ray\u2019s bene\ufb01 t concerts, a Facebook site, a new line of snazzy \u201cRay wear,\u201d cash donations and, as always, a steady chowing down of Ray\u2019s golden Belgian fries, East Villagers are doing whatever it takes to help beloved small business owner Ray Alvarez keep open his Ray\u2019s Candy Store on Avenue A.
With the usual winter drop-off in his business, coupled with the dev- astating economic recession, Ray has
been particularly hard hit, struggling to pay his $3,500 monthly rent since December. Alvarez \u2014 who has oper- ated the store for 36 years \u2014 was threatened with eviction at least twice in recent months, but each time, \ufb01nan- cial support from the community has helped him raise the needed money for his rent.
Monday night saw yet another Save Ray\u2019s bene\ufb01 t, at Theater for the New City on First Ave. between Ninth and 10th Sts., with $3,000 raised for the
For once, Ray, 77, was actually able to make it to one of his own bene\ufb01 ts. Since he works the 11 p.m.-to-7 a.m. overnight shift at his hole-in-the-wall store near Seventh St., he\u2019s usually sleeping in the early evening. But he was at the theater \u2014 and beaming with joy \u2014 at Monday\u2019s bene\ufb01 t, which started at 7:30 p.m. and went till 10:30 p.m.
The M.T.A.\u2019s Manhattan hearing last week went on for six hours, and took testimony from 99 speak- ers, including angry high school students, transit workers, local elected offi- cials and residents, who denounced the agency for proposing wide-ranging service cuts.
Students \ufb01lled many of the 600 seats in the Haft Auditorium at Fashion Institute of Technology
on Thurs., March 4, and railed against eliminating free student MetroCards. Transit workers \u2014 whose fellow union members demonstrated more than 1,000 strong at times on Seventh Ave. while the hearing was in progress \u2014 protested cutting token booth attendants. Residents from Battery Park City to Washington Heights plead- ed against proposed reduc-
In a neighborhood where classroom space is a top pri- ority, Grace Church School plans to open a new high school, one grade at a time, starting in 2012 in a four- story building where New York University now has classrooms on the west side of Cooper Square.
Community Board 2 last month unanimous- ly approved the Board of Standards and Appeals application by the owner of
38-50 Cooper Square and Grace Church School, as lessee, for a use change to allow for the high school.
\u201cWe\u2019ve had constant population growth in this part of Manhattan without much school infrastructure, either public or private,\u201d said George Davison, head- master of the pre-kindergar- ten-to-eighth-grade Grace Church School. \u201cLook at P.S. 234 [in Tribeca] and
Grace Church will
open Cooper Square
high school by \u201912
last week that former Mayor Ed Koch is helping lead an effort to clean up Albany by targeting \u201cincumbents judged to be impediments to change.\u201d \u201cI don\u2019t believe the good ones are good enough,\u201d Hizzoner said of Albany legislators, \u201cand the bad ones are evil.\u201d So far, joining Koch in the effort are Dick Dadey, head of Citizens Union, and former Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, who heads up his own group, New York Civic. Asked who they\u2019ll go after \ufb01 rst, Koch said they\u2019re still \ufb01 guring things out. \u201cI\u2019m not the one doing this myself \u2014 so I don\u2019t have any hit list,\u201d he told us. Other groups have also been invited to join, including Common Cause, the Urban League and the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. Once all the groups get together, Koch said, at that point they\u2019ll \u201cdevelop a policy\u201d on how to proceed. \u201cWe\u2019re not interested in the hot-button issues, like gay marriage or abor- tion or gun control,\u201d he noted, \u201cbut good-government issues, like reapportionment and redistricting, as opposed to ger- rymandering.\u201d Koch said once they start knocking out some bad incumbents, the rest hopefully \u201cwill self-correct.\u201d Their \ufb01 rst meeting is this Friday. \u2026 On the subject of embattled Governor David Paterson, Koch told us last Friday, \u201cI predict he\u2019ll be out in 10 days; I think he\u2019ll be out sooner \u2014 but I want to give myself a cushion.\u201d So that means by Mon., Mar. 15, at the latest. The former mayor con\ufb01 rmed a recent report that Paterson had called him, and that he had told him to resign. \u201cHe never before asked me for advice,\u201d Koch told us. \u201cI may be the only one who told him what was in his best interest \u2014 resign.\u201d Otherwise, Koch said he told the governor, \u201cThey\u2019re going to play with you like dogs with a bone\u201d \u2014 which is
exactly what \u201cthey\u201d have been doing. \u201cHis response was only one word, \u2018Thank you,\u2019 end of conversation,\u201d Koch said. ... On a totally different topic, we asked Koch to don his \ufb01 lm reviewer\u2019s hat and give us his Oscar picks, but he said he doesn\u2019t do that. He did let on, however, that he liked \u201cThe Hurt Locker\u201d for Best Film.
\u201cHe was courting me like a month ago to get my endorse- ment \u2014 real hot,\u201d she said. However, Mendez said she told the governor she wasn\u2019t going to be able to make it to his campaign kickoff announcement, since she had plans to be somewhere else that day. As it turned, pretty muchevery-
Paterson she was looking forward to talking to him about the rescinding of Section 8 subsidized housing vouchers, and she eventually did get a call back from a Paterson campaign worker to discuss it. \u201cHe agreed, but then he didn\u2019t agree to the restrictions I put forward,\u201d the East Side councilmember said. Asked if she felt Paterson should resign, Mendez said, \u201cI\u2019m all for a person being able to \ufb01nish out their term \u2014 but I\u2019m not sure how effective he can be right now.\u201d
ing all the Paterson coverage in The New York Times, we were once again reminded of the paper\u2019s formal style: Every politician and elected of\ufb01 cial under the sun\u2019s name is regally spelled out in full \u2014 and don\u2019tever forget the middle ini- tial. So, it\u2019s Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (not plain old Mike Bloomberg), Edward I. Koch (never just simple Ed Koch), state Senator Thomas K. Duane (not, aw shucks, Tom Duane) District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (rather than shorter-and-sweeter Cy Vance Jr.) and so on. But we couldn\u2019t help noticing that Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver\u2019s name \u2014 of course, Sheldon Silver in the Times \u2014 never
has a middle initial in the Gray Lady\u2019s copy. Sure, Silver is the state\u2019s second most powerful Democrat \u2014 but does he have the power to order the Times to drop his middle initial \u2014 assuming that\u2019s what happened? \u2014 and make the paper subvert its own hallowed style? Does he maybe have a middle name he\u2019d rather just forget? We were wondering. Well, Dan Weiller, the speaker\u2019s press secretary, who has worked in Silver\u2019s of\ufb01 ce for 10 years, said it\u2019s really not that complicated. \u201cI simply believe that he does not have a middle initial,\u201d he said.
us that a V-BAC is a \u201cvaginal birth after a C-section,\u201d and that the rate at St. Vincent\u2019s is extremely good, close to 75 percent. \u201cWe had a little under 1,800 deliveries last year,\u201d she told us the other weekend at the St. Vincent\u2019s \u201cvisibility rally.\u201d \u201cDespite that, our C-section rate has been dropping by 2 percent each year.\u201d Thirty percent of St. Vincent\u2019s deliver- ies have a midwife present. About 20 midwives who don\u2019t actually work at St. Vincent\u2019s have privileges to do deliveries there. However, Arnold-Leahy said, \u201cIf you go to B.I. or the other side of town, they will not take midwives unless they\u2019re employed by the hospital\u201d \u2014 \u201cB.I.\u201d being \u201cBeth Israel\u201d in hospital lingo. If St. Vincent\u2019s, with its top-notch midwife program, closes, she said, \u201cIt really will decrease the options for women.\u201d
Chinatown-Little Italy Historic District won recognition last month from the National Register of Historic Places. Known for its intersection of Italian and Chinese immigrant cultures, the neighborhood roughly bounded by Worth, Lafayette and E. Houston Sts. and the Bowery was designated by the State Historic Preservation Of\ufb01ce last fall. The designations do not prevent the district\u2019s buildings from being demolished, but property owners may be eligible for tax bene\ufb01ts and historic preservation grants. The Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, which sponsored the application, will hold informa- tion sessions for property owners in April.
Billy, and Savitri D are expecting a baby in two weeks, a very baby-bumped Savitri told us at the Save Ray\u2019s bene\ufb01 t Monday night. No word on whether it\u2019s a boy or girl.
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pervade this Chelsea fixture, a
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fare in a \u201cclassic\u201d \u201cpub-style\u201d
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fire\u201d and a \u201cvast Waterford
collection\u201d; the staff\u2019s \u201clack of
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The gray-colored tenement at 80 St. Mark\u2019s Place has always been a local curi- osity, spanning the history of its neighbor- hood. After almost a half century of own- ership by the Otway family, the building\u2019s shady past is being brought to light as the Museum of American Gangster.
\u201cThe place itself is an artifact of orga- nized crime,\u201d said owner Lorcan Otway. \u201cThis is the perfect place for it.\u201d
Better known as the home of Theatre 80 St. Mark\u2019s, the building previously served as a speakeasy, complete with a bar, tunnels and secret doors. In 1964, actor Howard Otway bought the building from gangster Walter Scheib, and discov- ered two safes with $2 million in gold currency inside.
\u201cMy father called him, and he took the money,\u201d said Otway. \u201cThe safe also had beer bottles and World War II Army-issue matches.\u201d
Howard Otway gave the building new life as a theater, with its own sidewalk walk of fame. In the years since, his son contin- ued discovering Prohibition-period items throughout the building, and compiling his own collection of old newspapers, bottles and models of rum-running vessels.
\u201cIt probably wasn\u2019t Scheib\u2019s money,\u201d said Otway. \u201cPeople were going back to that safe as late as 1945. And that\u2019s the mystery our visitors can try solving, as they explore the museum.\u201d
Otway, who is a Quaker, does not apologize for opening a museum that may appear to some as glorifying crime.
\u201cOrganized crime is the middle ground between control of vice and liberty,\u201d said Otway. \u201cJohn Hancock smuggled molasses, trafficked in humans, and Sam Adams was a brewer. They protested the sugar tax.\u201d
Otway promises visitors that the experience of his new museum will be authentic, and representative of the East Village\u2019s history.
\u201cThere\u2019s a large proliferation of fake speakeasies in the city,\u201d said Otway. \u201cPeople want something real.\u201d
At the March 7 public preview, some of the visitors spoke of their own family ties to the Prohibition era and organized crime.
\u201cI did some genealogy on my family,\u201d said Upper West Sider Kathy Gaulthier. \u201cMy grandfather was shot by the mob in a similar bar. It was during the Al Capone period.\u201d
\u201cMy grandfather was a longshoreman in Red Hook,\u201d said Camille D\u2019Agosto, of Brooklyn. \u201cI cannot say anything further about this.\u201d
For the visit, D\u2019Agosto and her hus- band, Donato, and son Johnnie donned Al Capone shirts, recalling the one-time Brooklyn resident.
Other local residents knew the build- ing for its theater, which currently hosts \u201cHappy in the Poorhouse,\u201d by The Amoralists.
\u201cI used to come to this theater all the time,\u201d said tour guide Mark Grant. \u201cThis is where \u2018You\u2019re a Good Man, Charlie Brown\u2019 had its start. It\u2019s Off-Off-Off- Broadway.\u201d
The museum will continue to share the building with the theater and apartments above, including the home of Otway\u2019s mother, Florence; she turned 90 on the museum\u2019s preview day, and lives in an apartment that once housed Leon Trotsky. Born three months into Prohibition, Florence said her parents were active par- ticipants on the speakeasy scene.
\u201cIt\u2019s very interesting to work here,\u201d said Theatre 80 house manager Ingrid Blanco. \u201cYou see and feel history all the time.\u201d
At Prohibition\u2019s height, the city had some 3,000 speakeasies, with back entrances, tunnels and alcohol-produc- ing equipment. The basement of the St. Mark\u2019s Place row house has tunnels lead- ing to an alley, as well as a storage room and a telephone to provide notice when- ever authorities approached.
The collection\u2019s centerpiece in the basement is the safe, with its random, period items.
\u201cWe want the visitors to be involved in the history of the museum,\u201d said co- founder Eric Ferrara. \u201cWe are lucky this is an authentic speakeasy.\u201d
Plans for an opening date will be announced later this spring. For more information on the museum, visit www. moagnyc.org .
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