Scoopy’s, Week of May 9, 2013
MEET THE NEW PARK CHIEF: Sarah Neilson, above, the new administrator of Washington Square Park and director of the planned Washington Square conservancy, if it can actually be called that (see below), introduced herself at the Wed., May 1, meeting of C.B. 2’s Parks and Waterfront Committee. Because the expressive-matter vendors issue, which was also on the meeting’s agenda, was expected to have copious discussion, the committee decided to put off its consideration of the so-called conservancy — also expected to be a lengthy and intense subject — until its next regularly scheduled meeting, on June 5. Initially, we were hearing, however, that it wasn’t clear if the committee would actually take any position on the conservancy issue, as in passing a resolution for or against the idea. That clearly wouldn’t go over well with many community members. So we asked C.B. 2 Chairperson David Gruber about it, and it sounds like things are still a bit in flux. “That needs to be discussed in Executive Committee,” he told us, adding, “I’ll have to weigh in on that.” Gruber then made a quick call to Rich Caccappolo, the Parks and Waterfront Committee’s chairperson, then reported right back to us. It actually will not be a conservancy registered with the Parks Department, Gruber explained, but a “friends” group, so C.B. 2 conceivably might not feel it has to weigh in on the issue with a resolution. “Talk to Rich,” Gruber urged us. Caccappolo told us, “We may do a resolution based on what we hear, i.e. concerns and risks and fears raised that should be mitigated, pledges and promises, agendas and goals, etc. My understanding is that there will be no formal agreement, e.g. a license, between the Parks Department and this organization.”
MAGICAL MYSTERY TRICKS: A small but enchanted crowd gathered around David Blaine, above, on a quiet Tuesday night in the Village, as he was being filmed doing card tricks on MacDougal St. The world-famous magician declined to say what the footage would be used for. But he was gracious enough to stick around to pose for photos with some very happy fans.
EARLIER SUNDAY EYE-OPENER? We hear from Bob Gormley, Community Board 2 district manager, that the city is proposing changing the opening time for sidewalk cafes on Sundays to 10 a.m. Currently, sidewalk cafes legally aren’t allowed to open on Sundays before noon, due to the prohibition on serving alcohol until that hour on the traditional church-going day. Under the proposal, from what we understand from what Gormley told us, not only sidewalk cafes, but obviously, bars and restaurants, in general, would be allowed to start serving booze at 10 a.m. on Sundays. Gormley, and other representatives of several other Manhattan community boards, were down at the City Council earlier this week when the proposal was being discussed. He told us that, generally, the board reps were O.K. with allowing sidewalk cafes to start serving at 10 a.m. However, since this might mean a bit more morning noise under residents’ windows during these two added hours, Gormley advocated for cutting back the Sunday night closing time for sidewalk cafes by two hours from the currently mandated midnight. “We recognized it’s very helpful to Sunday brunch,” he said of the outdoor Bloody Mary-in-the-morning-enabling proposal. “But we asked the Council to link the 10 a.m. opening time to a 10 p.m. closing time.” David Rabin also attended the Council discussion, representing the restaurant industry.
DORIS DOES REHAB: The C.B. 2 district manager also brought us up to date on board member Doris Diether, who is rehabilitating at VillageCare, on Houston St. between Sixth Ave. and Varick St. The octogenarian activist should be out by May 16, Gormley said. Although she’s recuperating from a broken hip and broken shoulder, the biggest issue for her might be the fact that one of her vocal cords is damaged, preventing her from speaking above a loud whisper, he said. “I heard someone say it was possibly paralyzed,” he noted. “There’s a shot that can restore her voice for a few months, but it would only be temporary.”
IN THE POLE POSITION: The “Mosaic Man,” Jim Power is giving it another go, as he’s ratcheting up (yet again) his legendary “Mosaic Trail” project, this time with a little help from Indiegogo. He’s aiming to raise no small sum — $80,000 — which would pay for the renovation of half of his trail of tile-encrusted lampposts throughout the East Village. You can give $5 “and Jim will love you forever,” the site promises. For $25, you get an official Mosaic Trail sticker. For $100, you — yes, you! — can become a part of the trail, with your face on a tile, on a lamppost, on the most famous public art trail in history. And, no, it doesn’t stop there. For $250, you get a T-shirt with one of Power’s mosaic designs from the trail. For $500, you’ll get a one-of-a-kind, wearable-art, Mosaic belt buckle. For $1,000, you will receive an original 8-inch-by-8-inch mosaic artwork by Power. And — drumroll, please — finally, for $2,500 you can “Adopt a Light Pole,” with your name, business or brand featured on a lamppost along the trail. For more information, go-go online to Indiegogo at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/385985/emal/3004188 . It certainly sounds like an extremely ambitious undertaking for any mortal man. We recently visited “Mosaic Man” at The Lee supportive-housing facility on E. Houston St., and he declared to us that he is ready to completely “dominate” St. Mark’s Place like it’s never been dominated before, sprucing up his poles there. He badly needs a hip operation, though, and told us he might get it in June, so we certainly wish him well with that, as well. Apparently, the idea of a Mosaic Scooter has been scrapped. “Been a longtime coming. All of this,” said “Mosaic” helper Matt Rosen. “The efforts we’ve done over the last year or two have all been leading up to this. Basically, Jim had an audience. We just needed to curate it.”