December 30, 2010 - January 5, 2011
NEITHER RAIN, NOR SLEET NOR SNOW
— THESHOPPING MUST GO ON:
As we were walking to workMonday morning, a stroller talking into his cell phonevoiced our very thoughts: “Spring Street’s a pedestrianmall.” Indeed, cars were few and far between on thestill-somewhat-snow-covered, Soho cross-town street.Perhaps not surprisingly, though, those ubiquitous shop-pers were still out and about with their shopping bags,hitting the outlets and boutiques, even as gusts of windwere sending some of their hats ﬂying. Amid the snowyhush, the French tourists’ accents were even more notice-able. We guess if you come all the way from La France,and shopping in Soho is on your agenda, a blizzard isn’tgoing to stop you, n’est ce pas? Anyway, so there at lastwas a pedestrian mall — even if just a snow-day one— in Soho, and our thoughts turned to
.About three years ago, Director Sweeney and his SohoAlliance vehemently opposed, and ultimately deep-sixed, aDepartment of Transportation proposal to turn Prince St.into a part-time pedestrian mall. Actually, though, it turnsout Sweeney has a sensitive pedestrian side, after all. Hesaid he really enjoys walking around Soho and Tribecaat Christmastime, because the streets are so empty andtranquil — and even turned down a cousin’s Christmasinvite so he could stretch his legs around his Downtown’hood. And he planned to go out Monday and stroll aboutin the snowy streets. On another note, he noted it was theﬁrst time in 18 years that he had cancelled his CommunityBoard 2 Landmarks Committee meeting.
TREE SELLER CUTS OUT EARLY:
By chance we hap-pened to be passing by St. Mark’s Church on Second Ave.Thursday evening and came upon a sight that would saddenthe heart of any Christmas lover: Working in the freezingcold,
Roger von Baust
and his crew were breaking downtheir tree-selling operation early and getting ready to driveoff. Though he thought he’d gotten the correct clearances,it turned out von Baust didn’t have the required permits forseveral structures he had on the sidewalk. After CommunityBoard 3 acted on complaints it received, von Baust hadrecently gotten a $1,500 ticket. With the potential for moretickets running as high as $5,000, he had one thought:Outta here! Von Baust had a storage trailer and a fairly largewarming hut for his workers, plus a port-a-potty, all situatedaround the nexus of Abe Lebewohl Park, the church fenceand the nearby sidewalk. The Department of Transportation,in fact, determined there was sufﬁcient sidewalk room forpedestrians to pass by, but, well, regulations are regula-tions, and he lacked permits. In the past, from what weunderstand, the tree vendor would put his trailers in theparking lane. But with the new dedicated Select Bus Servicelane — which von Baust called, “the red zone” — that wasno longer possible. The veteran spruce seller said he doesn’twant to make a big deal about what went down, since hehopes to return to the location next year. “We’ll just have todo something entirely different, that’s all,” he reﬂected. “If a permit would be needed to erect the hut, we’ll do that.”Sadly, he said, he actually lost money on the trees this year,due to the economy: People just weren’t spending as much.In past years, buyers would come up and say, “I want a 6-foottree,” and pay the cost, he said. But this year, they’d just say,for example, “What can I get for $25 or $30?” If there wasany consolation, following a report by DNAinfo about hisbeing ticketed, von Baust said there was an outpouring of neighborhood support. Local ﬁreﬁghters even gave him adelicious, stationhouse-cooked meal complete with all theﬁxings. We’ve already probably written more about this thanvon Baust would have wanted, so we’ll stop now. But wewish him well for next holiday season and hope it goes moresmoothly — and proﬁtably.
B-B-B-BABY AND THE JETSSSS:
A few weeks ago,we reported on District Leader
’s delivery of their new baby daughter,
Silvia Verona Hoylman-Sigal
, via surrogate in California. Sowhen we heard the news on the radio Wednesday morningthat singer
and his partner,
, hada baby boy,
Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John
, by surro-gate on the West Coast on Christmas Day, it was déjà vu allover again. Congrats to Elton, David and Z.J.L.
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