Scoopy’s, Week of June 20, 2013
RACER XXX? As we were walking up West St. recently we noticed a new race car-themed graffiti mural on the building at the corner of Clarkson St. where a “gentlemen’s club” is planned. We thought we recalled that Thomas Wolfe, the proprietor of what was going to be called Platinum, had mentioned to us last fall that he would be doing some sort of artistic graffiti around the place’s new sign. Was this it? And, if so, was it too inappropriately kid-centric for a men’s topless club? Jennifer Economou and her son Lucas, 12 (above), were passing by on their way to watch a makeup ballgame at nearby Pier 40. They said they were O.K. with the colorful cars mural. It’s better than the gaudy sex clubs along the West Side Highway in Midtown, noted Jennifer, who is married to John Economou, president of Greenwich Village Little League. Jennifer said she’s not so much worried about the business’s impact on local kids as by “the kind of guys that would hang around.” Soho activist Bill Dobbs, who was spinning by on his bike, said he’s in favor of sex districts and the mural, too. “Keep New York sexy,” he said, adding, “It’s a G-rated mural.” Great cities need sketchy areas — at least this is Dobbs’s opinion. But when we called Wolfe this week, he said he didn’t commission the race car piece. According to Wolfe, whoever painted it also did a similar one up in the 40s or 50s on the West Side Highway. “I do not know who this guy is,” he said, adding, “We’re going to cover it up in two or three weeks.” As for the jiggle joint, he said it’s now called Mystique and should open in a few months. “We pretty much have our liquor license as long we comply with certain things they asked for,” Wolfe said. He had wanted to open at lunchtime, but has agreed his operating hours will be 5 p.m. to 4 a.m., though will close at 2 a.m. on Sundays. Asked if he still feels the club’s bouncers and exterior lighting will make Clarkson St. safer for Little Leaguers going to and from Pier 40, he said, “Of course, yes.”
FOIE GRAS TO PHARMA FLIERS: Well, the long-vacant, ground-floor, commercial space in the Philip Johnson Urban Glass House, at Washington and Spring Sts., is finally being filled. It’s going to be a digital printing and promotion company, churning out materials for pharmaceutical companies and the like. Two guys there last week, as metal studs were being installed to divide the space up into offices, said a high-end restaurant had been planned for the space. “But then that came,” one said, gesturing to the Department of Sanitation mega-garage being built across the street.
RAY’S INCREDIBLE DAY! Ray Alvarez of Ray’s Candy Store proudly displayed his new lease last week. After decades working at his hole-in-the-wall hot dog-and-fries shop on Avenue A, Ray, 80, feared his rent of $4,100 would be doubled in a new lease this month, beyond what he could afford. But he wound up getting a one-year renewal, with only a minimal increase to $4,282.95. Making things even better, Ray — given name Asghar Ghahraman — also got an “A” on his Sanitary Inspection Grade from the city’s Department of Health. He had always been galled by his previous “B” and vowed he wouldn’t rest until he achieved an “A” — and, well, he done it! Speaking to East Village blogger Shawn Chittle, Ray held up the lease and said, “I couldn’t believe my own eyes. I got a new lease and the ‘A’ on the same day. It was exciting. Good news, good things happening in my life.” Ray celebrated by buying a new blue polo shirt and getting a haircut. This all deserves an egg cream — with a side of beingets, and — hey, why not? — some fried Oreos, too! Congrats!
FLEA MARKET’S HOPPING: The East Village Community Market will kick off its 2013 season on Sat., June 22 — and will run every Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. — in the P.S. 64 schoolyard, at E. Fourth St. between Avenues B and C. The weekly school fundraiser will feature a variety of vendors, selling both new and vintage merchandise, including many formerly from the Mary Help of Christians flea market, at 11th St. and Avenue A. Vendors and customers are welcome. For more information, contact Jeanette at 212-979-2186 or Bill at 718-598-6604 or visit www.eastvillagecommunitymarket.com.
RIVER RHYTHMS: As we were pedaling up the Hudson River bike way Sunday, making passing maneuvers around all the slow-moving Citi Bikes blinking like UFO’s, we were drawn onto Pier 54 — along with, of course, three excitedly whooping Citi Bike riders — by the sound of pounding drums. Batala NYC, an all-women’s Afro-Brazilian samba-reggae drum corps, was holding a rehearsal on the W. 13th St. pier, and parkgoers were lovin’ it. “We have permits,” Stacy Kovacs, the group’s fearless leader, told us, “Sundays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer, and people are welcome to come dance.” Batala is an international movement started by Giba, a Brazilian drum master. Kovacs had the option of starting a co-ed group or an all-women group, and chose the latter, since guys tend to dominate the solos in drum bands. “In this country, little girls, when they want to play an instrument, they’re told not to play drums because they’re too loud,” Kovacs noted. “Women aren’t supposed to be loud. … This is a traditional male thing that we’re taking and owning.” Just a year old, in December, Batala NYC opened for the Rolling Stones at the Barclays Center, marching in while playing the drum intro to “Sympathy for the Devil” and wearing gorilla masks, a nod to the cover of the Stones’ new hits compilation, “GRRR!” Batala NYC is a diverse group, with both straights and gays — and one member who identifies as “them.”
CORRECTION: In last week’s article on 6th and B Garden’s stage-roof fundraiser, Nora Kolosiej’s name was spelled incorrectly. Sorry, Nora!