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East Villager, 3-10-11

East Villager, 3-10-11

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Volume 1, Number 33 FREE 
East and West Village, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown
March 10 - 16, 2011
With New York University poisedfor a major March 15 media roll-out of its revised development plansfor its two South Village superblocks,the East Villager, last Friday, got anexclusive preview of the university’slatest open-space plan for its northernsuperblock.As in previously viewed versions of the plan, the university’s intention is toopen up Washington Square Village’slarge, private, garden courtyard to pub-lic use; the latest plans include detailsabout what that open space wouldlook like, including green areas, seat-ing, reconfi gured playgrounds and two“light shafts” to underground classroomspace that would be added beneath theblock. Also, N.Y.U. still wants to getownership of some of the city-owned“strips” of land edging the superblocks specifi cally, N.Y.U. wants four of theremaining seven strips.In total, N.Y.U. plans to increaseby 130,000 square feet, or 3 acres,the amount of publicly accessible openspace on the two superblocks, whichare bounded by W. Third, Houstonand Mercer Sts. and LaGuardia Place.Currently, the two behemoth blockshave a total of about 50,000 squarefeet of public open space.In addition, on Monday, atCommunity Board 2’s Landmarks andPublic Aesthetics Committee meeting,N.Y.U. presented its plan for modifi ca-tions to the grounds of the landmarked1960’s University Village (Silver Towers)complex on the southern superblock.As part of its application to the city’sLandmarks Preservation Commission,N.Y.U. is proposing to shift the Mercer-Houston Dog Run into the southeasterncorner of the landmarked site, so thatthe university can incorporate the cur-rent dog run site into a new building itplans along Mercer St. on the spot of the current Coles gym. But, at Mondaynight’s meeting, Beth Gottlieb, the run’spresident, said the dog owners don’twant to vacate their space.“I think it’s an appropriate time tosay, We would decline the opportunityto be moved,” she declared. “We’vebeen where we are for 30 years and wewant to stay there.” The run’s member-ship numbers 300 families.Speaking to this newspaper later,Gottlieb added they are already takingsteps to block N.Y.U.’s efforts to relo-cate them, namely, by seeking perma-nent park status for the dog run fromthe Parks Department. Asked if they
N.Y.U. gives a preview of itssuperblocks open-space plan
Photo by Tequila Minsky
Soulful spirit of Mardi Gras
A Mardi Gras ball at Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St., on Fat Tuesday had it all, from brass bands direct fromNew Orleans to dazzling costumes. Presented by Two Boots, it was a fundraiser for the Lower Eastside Girls Club.
Continued on page 12 
A woman with a sprainedankle hobbled into a brand-new urgent-care center inChelsea around 8 p.m. Tues.,March 8.She was the fi rst patientin the center that NorthShore-Long Island JewishHealth System opened anhour earlier at 121A W.20th St., in partnership withVillageCare, to help fi ll thevoid left by the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital lastApril.“She was in and out inabout 40 minutes  afterwe X-rayed and gave her abrace, pain meds and refer-rals to local help,” said Dr.Benjamin Greenblatt, medi-cal director of the urgent-care center, referring to thecenter’s fi rst patient.“She was our prototypi-cal patient. I was expectingpatients to fi nd us throughthe Internet, but she wasjust hobbling around look-
Off on the right foot, urgent-care sees rst patien
Soho residents are fi ght-ing tooth and nail to preventa business improvement dis-trict from being created inthe area and to keep theirneighborhood’s zoninglaws.More than 100 area resi-dents gathered in the Puffi nRoom, at 435 Broome St.,on Feb. 28 to voice theirreservations about the busi-ness improvement district,or BID. An anti-BID pro-test is scheduled for April 2in front of CouncilmemberMargaret Chin’s Downtowndistrict offi ce, at 165 ParkRow, when demonstratorswill hand-deliver letters toChin’s offi ce contesting herpossible support of the BID.The Feb. 28 discussion,mediated by Puffi n Galleryowner and Soho residentCarl Rosenstein, quicklyevolved into a series of indi-vidual tirades against the
Soho residents wrangle over BID,artist-in-residence 
Continued on page 10 Continued on page 2 
Sweet! Cupcake crawl, p. 21
March 10 - 16, 2011
proposal. The BID, according to its oppo-nents, would give commercial property own-ers and ground-fl oor retail stores authorityover residents in neighborhood-wide deci-sions.“We each, in our own way, contributedto the creation of Soho as a laissez-faire dis-trict,” said Rosenstein. “The issue of beingobligated to be taxed by a private entity isundemocratic.”The setup, he and others fear, would beinequitable, since people living in co-ops mainly longtime residents  might not haveas much say as condo dwellers in the alloca-tion of funds to better the neighborhood.“What they do is, they take over a lot of the power that really should go to the peoplethat actually live and vote in the districts,”said Broome St. resident Lora Tenenbaum,a former Community Board 2 member. “Itreally is, to a great extent, taxation withoutrepresentation,” she added. “It’s going backto the days when the landowners got to vote,and the workers didn’t.”The BID organizers, however, are refut-ing these allegations.Barbara Cohen, a senior associate atRobert B. Pauls consultancy, said of thecritics’ concerns, “They’re making the grandjump to say” how much representation eachproperty will have in terms of voting on BID-related matters  before the BID is evenformed and its bylaws are created. Cohen whose fi rm is assisting in the BID’s forma-tion  pointed out that the BID’s steeringcommittee is made up of co-op residents aswell as property owners.The opponents also argue that the needto keep Broadway litter-free, a primary func-tion of the proposed BID, does not justifyestablishing a new group with an operatingbudget of $700,000.“Just because ACE says it can’t do itanymore doesn’t mean this is the solu-tion,” said Tenenbaum. “It’s killing a gnatwith a sledgehammer.” She was referring tothe Association of Community Employment,which, up until now, has been providingsupplementary sanitation services in Soho.They’re also against the potential rise intourism they fear the BID could bring.“To attract more people  it’s just aninsane idea,” said Rosenstein. The neighbor-hood, he said, has already turned into onebig shopping mall. “It’s kind of insulting tosay, ‘We’re going to offi cially turn it into amall.’ ”Business interests are what’s driving theBID, and as a result, residents’ needs will beoverlooked, according to John Rockville, aBroadway resident.“For me,” he said, “the problem is thesheer density of street traffi c. It’d get worse,’cause they’re trying to maximize business.”Councilmember Chin was invited to theFeb. 28 meeting, but couldn’t attend due toa scheduling confl ict, according to her com-munications director, Kelly Magee.The councilmember is scheduling a meet-ing with Soho residents  including thoseliving outside the BID’s boundaries  andBID organizers for sometime before March17, the date of the next BID steering com-mittee meeting.“We still think it would be good to geteveryone in a room together to discuss theBID, and are working to make that happen,”said Magee.In her talking point published in thisnewspaper’s Feb. 24 issue, the councilmem-ber said she would not support the BIDunless she sees “substantial support” fromresidents in the proposed district area. “Todate,” she said in her talking point, “that isnot the case. To date, I have not come out insupport of the Broadway BID.”When the BID goes before the CityCouncil in the coming months, she wrote,“I will base my decision on input from myconstituents,” hoping in the meantime to“fi nd compromise and reconcile disparateperspectives.”The councilmember was not available forfollow-up comment.Another reason Chin and others have notendorsed the BID is because residents in sixmixed-use co-op buildings (within the BIDboundaries) who own the buildings’ fi rst-oor commercial properties, will have to payan average annual fee of $52 per apartmentunit. (Residents in all other co-op buildingswill purportedly be reimbursed for any BIDassessments, and all other residents in theBID will only pay a symbolic $1 per year.)These six co-ops, which fi nancially ben-efi t from the commercial businesses in theirbuildings, “are treated no differently thana mixed-use rental property,” according tothe BID steering committee. “The residentshareholder, in this case, is truly the embodi-ment of ‘mixed-use,’ as this resident isalso a commercial property owner, as theyown shares of a business co-operation thatowns commercial property,” according to thesteering committee.Though these co-op residents could pos-sibly become exempt from the annual BIDfee, it’s a complicated process that requires a“full investigation” by the BID steering com-mittee and the co-ops.“If the BID was established, the BIDcould certainly assist in looking into thispossibility with each co-op property,” saidCohen.Stakeholders are also lobbying for a mod-ifi cation of Soho’s manufacturing zoningrestrictions to usher in nonartist residents,as well as artists, to the increasingly trendyneighborhood. It’s the 40th anniversary of the Soho zoning’s artist-in-residence regu-lation, which only permits certifi ed artiststo legally live in Soho lofts. The city hasstepped up enforcement of the rule in recentyears, which has weakened sales in the area,according to several sources.Margaret Baisley, a Soho-based real estateattorney who opposes the artist-certifi cationrequirement, plans to set up an organiza-tion in support of a zoning change, whichshe and other advocates are discussing withcity offi cials. The zoning they’re advocatingwould replace joint-live-work quarters forartists with ordinary apartment dwellingsavailable to any type of resident.Longtime artist tenants, Baisley said,would ideally be grandfathered into the newzoning.“I’ve never seen so much interest in thisquestion in the last 20 years  it’s affect-ing sales, rentals, as well as alterations of individual units,” she said of the impedimentposed by artist certifi cation. Buildings eli-gible for temporary certifi cates of occupancy,
Soho residents wrangle over BID and artists’ rule
Photo by Aline Reynolds
Sean Sweeney, director of the Soho Alliance, speaking at the Feb. 28 meeting. Thewall’s message refers to Soho residents’ belief that a quasi-governmental agency,the BID, should only be set up if residents support it.
Continued from page 1Continued on page 9 
Gay City News
Manhattan Chamber of Commerce LGBT-2-B
Marriage Equality New York
of Gay
How would gay marriage in New York impact your business?
ind out more from
John Liu
, NYC Comptroller,
Christine C. Quinn
,NYC Council Speakerand a group of panelists from
Marriage Equality NY,American Airlines
Prestigious Elegant Events, Immigration Equality,MetLife
and the foremost economist on economic effects on gay marriage,
M.V. Lee Badgett
plus many others whose business will be impacted fromsame-sex civil marriage.
ollowed by Q & A, networking opportunity, the session promises todeliver realistic financial status in real time with current worldsocial/governmental conditions and what might be the future.
efreshments and hors d'oeuvres will be served. RSVP required.
 March 14, 2011
from 6-8 pm
Met Life
, 1095 Avenue of the Americas
(between 41st & 42nd Streets)
$25 members / $35 non-members
Discussion moderated by
Paul Schindler
, Editor-In-Chief,
Gay City News.
March 10 - 16, 2011
Local Little Leaguesare calling foul on a topless nightspot  MystiqueGentlemen’s Club  that’s trying to get a liquor licensereportedly to “expand” its operations at 75 Clarkson St.That’s right near Pier 40 at West Houston St., hallowedhome of the co-ed kids’ leagues’ main playing fi eld. Thepresidents of both the Greenwich Village Little Leagueand the Downtown Little League wrote protest letters tothe State Liquor Authority earlier this month right beforean agency hearing on the license application. “Each andevery day, hundreds of children will walk by this estab-lishment on their way to baseball practices, games andclinics as part of our after-school baseball programs thatbegin at 4 p.m. for the younger divisions and often end at10 p.m. for the older divisions,” G.V.L.L.’s
Daniel Miller
 wrote, adding, “We are very concerned that granting aliquor license to a strip club in the midst of the busiestintersection of children’s outdoor activities in DowntownManhattan will make our family-oriented neighborhoodand, most importantly, our children less safe, many of whom walk to and from practice at Pier 40 on their own.”Added
Bill Martino
of D.L.L. in his own letter to theS.L.A., “Expanding Mystique would expose those kids tosexualized ‘red light district’ imagery, rowdy partygoersand alcohol consumption. Surely there is a better locationfor such an establishment than right across from a princi-pal youth park and family recreation area.” We happenedto be walking down Clarkson St. ourselves a few weeksago (no, we weren’t planning to go see a strip show!) andnoticed that 75 Clarkson St.  which had been a stripjoint since a few years before the Pier 40 courtyard balleld opened  was closed and its windows covered withnewspaper. It was called the Carousel club in its stripclub heyday, if we recall correctly, but the name on thedoor was now “Santa’s Luncheonette.” We checked nextdoor at the XXX-rated video store to see what we couldnd out. The cashier there told us she’d heard the plan isindeed to have stripping at the new club  with separategay and straight nights  but only a few nights a week,and that it would be “a normal dance club” the rest of the time. She said the two partners behind the new hotspot, “Matt and Carlos,” have gotten some good press as“hip young entrepreneurs,” and suggested we check onlinefor articles about them. Well, it turns out Matt and Carlosare none other than
Matt Kliegman
Carlos Quirarte
,the guys behind The Jane Ballroom, and that the name of their planned quasi-nouveau burlesque club is Westway.They’re known for a couple of things: namely, their placesbeing super-cool “destination clubs”  and also theirbeards. Describing Westway’s intended vibe, Quirarte toldWomen’s Wear Daily: “The fact that it is a topless, go-godance place is secondary. It’s the same way that music issort of in the background. That’s how we think of it.” Oras Guest of a Guest New York Web site described it, they’rejust trying to do an ironic take on “the whole Bada BingT&A thing.” But the only “Bada Bing” you might hear atPier 40 is the wholesome baseball chatter when a batter’sup and his or her teammates are cheering for a little “BadaBing,” as in a base hit. And the only “T&A” the LittleLeagues want to know from are T-ball and the A’s. In short,Matt and Carlos could end up looking like real “boobs,” if they follow through with this overly “titillating” plan.
A RollingStones fan begs to differ with
Sean Sweeney
’s dig inlast week’s Scoopy’s Notebook that “vandalizing publicwalls must run in the family” for
Keith Richards
and hismodel daughter
, who was busted last week forgraffiti and drug possession in Soho. A California womanposting a comment on our Facebook page (“The VillagerNewspaper”) as “rubytuesday” writes, “Au contraire,Keith Richards wasn’t arrested for the petrol stationincident in 1964.
Mick Jagger
Bill Wyman
and BrianJones were.” Sweeney had been referring to Page 253 of 
Victor Bockris
’s 1993 “Keith Richards: The Biography,”where Richards is quoted boasting, “We’re still the onlyrock and roll band busted for peeing on a wall.” Whenwe told Soho activist Sweeney of “rubytuesday”’s com-ments, he conceded, “Indeed it was a petrol station andI don’t remember who was and who wasn’t specificallyarrested. Richards says ‘we’ in referring to the arrest inhis bio. But your commenter seems certain.”
We were walking up theBowery around 2 a.m. a couple of Thursdays ago andespied the distinctive hat of 
, as he was hangingout in front of the Bowery Electric. He said he had juststopped by to say hi to his pal rocker
Jesse Malin
, who isa partner in the E. Second St. club. As we strolled withthe bamboo-hatted bar owner back to his Continental,near St. Mark’s Place, he strenuously denied chargesthat he has a racially discriminatory door policy. “I havea dress code  I don’t discriminate,” he explained. “Weturn away white trash and ‘Jersey Shore’ types. I want mybread-and-butter crowd  my college kids and neighbor-hood people  to feel safe there. I don’t like extrememachoism, the gangsterism  to me this is over thetop.” No-no’s as far as he’s concerned are “saggy, baggyjeans…bling.” Trigger invited us into his bar and downto the place’s former green room, where legendary punkbands like the Ramones and the Dictators used to hangout, where he fished out a letter from the city’s HumanRights Commission stating that a previous, similar com-plaint had been dismissed. Passing through the place,we observed that the crowd of roughly 25 twentysome-things was about 30 to 40 percent African-American.“I can’t possibly have orchestrated it,” Trigger said of the patrons’ racial diversity, adding, “There are alwayspeople of color in my bar.” On a less serious subject,we asked him the question that many, no doubt, havewondered about: What’s the story of the hat? “I got it inVietnam 10 years ago. Stayed with it. Girls like it,” he
Photo by Scoopy
Trigger strikes a prayerful pose.
Continued on page 5 
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65 East 8th St.
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