Scoopy’s, Dec. 12, 2013
Bloggers off base on Squadron? Although Jenifer Rajkumar says she’s raring to run for his state Senate seat, should it open up, according to Daniel Squadron — or at least his chief of staff — she should look elsewhere to fulfill her political ambitions. Bloggers have recently speculated that Squadron may be tapped for a post in Bill de Blasio’s administration, such as possibly Parks Department commissioner, and if that happens, Rajkumar would run to succeed him. But Amy Spitalnick, his chief of staff, quashed those rumors. “Senator Squadron will vigorously campaign for re-election on the strength of his record,” Spitalnick told us. “Anyone expecting a vacancy will be disappointed.” It’s funny but we recently kept seeing Spitalnick at the Talking Transition tent in Duarte Square, first when members of de Blasio’s transition team, Carl Weisbrod and Jennifer Jones Austin, toured the place, then when “BdB” himself came there. We naturally asked Spitalnick if SHE was eyeing a spot in the de Blasio administration. No, she told us, she was “just helping out.”
Santacon pledge a con? There have been recent media reports that SantaCon has finally agreed to provide the route of its annual bar crawl to local police precincts, community boards and politicians. However, that’s not the whole story, state Senator Brad Hoylman told us on Tuesday — mainly because SantaCon still has not actually provided the route to anyone, and there are only a few days left until the Santas start swilling and staggering about on the morning of Sat., Dec. 14. Hoylman wrote to the annual booze-fueled St. Nick-themed bar romp in October, requesting that the route be provided. Seven other local politicians jumped on the sleigh, er, wagon recently, signing on to a joint letter along with Hoylman to SantaCon, again, stating forcefully that a route be produced and shared. Last week, Hoylman and all the local elected officials who signed on to the letter — or their representatives — held a 45-minute conference call with four SantaCon volunteer organizers. During the parley, the SantaCon reps promised they would deliver the route. “These are volunteers, people who have stepped forward,” Hoylman told us. “These were some of the original organizers from years ago who believe SantaCon has gone off track.” However, he added, “I’m reserving judgment to see what their ability is to enforce this agreement. But it’s a very positive step forward. As far as I know, the precincts are awaiting information. [SantaCon] said they would share with any precinct that asks. The proof will be in the pudding, so to speak,” he said, tossing in a quick, inadvertent Christmas-themed pun. “It’s a good first step, but it’s certainly no guarantee,” the state senator continued. “I don’t know if they were negotiating in good faith. … Does anything with the SantaCon volunteer organizers mean anything?” Hoylman asked rhetorically. “Look, it’s a flash mob — people come because they were invited through social media.” The politicians also stressed to the four SantaCon volunteers that the event needs to police itself for bad behavior — such as puking on the sidewalks, public urination, general rowdiness, etc. — and the volunteers said they would. “Again, it’s on them. It remains to be seen,” Hoylman said. “I’m not saying we solved this problem yet. How are they going to self-police thousands of people who come in from all of the metro region?” Hoylman provided a real name (i.e., not “Blitzen,” etc.) and phone number for one of the volunteers, and we called and only got a “Ho! Ho! Ho! You’ve reached the New York City SantaCon line,” recorded greeting. We also e-mailed an address Hoylman gave us for SantaCon, and “Santa” himself eventually e-mailed us back: “I am not sure where you are getting your information (or lack of information) from? Are you expecting Santa to give the route to you? Santa has clearly been meeting with state legislators, the Parks Department, police precincts and local community boards to discuss the route. Even a basic Google search can tell you that. [The e-mail linked to a recent Daily News article, “SantaCon working with politicians, police to turn naughty event nice.”] What exactly are you trying to find out?” we were challenged by the snippy “Santa.” The route, we told them, that’s what everyone is trying to find out, not just us! So will they provide it? we asked again. “Santa is good on his word,” came the response — but still no route. Meanwhile, Bob Gormley, district manager of Community Board 2, said that despite SantaCon’s claims, no one has ever contacted him from the event. “Nobody reached out to me — zero,” he told us late Wednesday afternoon. He said he was going to check with some of his district manager colleagues at Midtown community boards to see if SantaCon might have called them. The soused Santas do definitely come to C.B. 2, he said, noting, “I have seen them on Bleecker St.” As of now, all we know is the thirsty Santas will meet in Tompkins Square Park at 10 a.m., and then head to Brooklyn around 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. Oh yeah — and there will be an estimated 30,000 of them.
Detective Doris: As if Obamacare didn’t have enough problems, now Doris Diether, the legendary Community Board 2 activist and frequent target (though never victim) of phone scammers, says there’s another brewing crisis. Diether tells us she recently got a phone call from a man saying he was with the Affordable Healthcare Act and wanted to send her a new card for it. He asked her what bank she used, to which the senior sleuth — used to these sort of scams, and immediately suspecting foul play — answered “various.” Then, he cut to the chase and said he needed the digits of her bank account. “That’s when I hung up,” she told us. Diether has seen just about every scam under the sun, but this one threatens to bamboozle and fleece countless seniors — and perhaps others would be targeted, too, who knows? “This is new,” she said. So, surely, she called the police right away? “No, I called you!” Diether responded.
Funky finds for the holidays: Looking for a “relaxed and joyful” holiday shopping experience? (Wow, could such a thing even exist?) Search no further than La Plaza Cultural, at E. Ninth St. and Avenue C, where garden member Sheila a Garson is organizing the inaugural FUNKtional Arts Fair, “a holiday fair of functional art for the funky at heart.” There you will find Christmas wreaths and trees, holiday decorations, clothing, costumes, jewelry, housewares, leather goods, paper goods, customary millinery and children’s items. The FUNK fair will be in full effect on Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 14-15 and Dec. 21-22, from noon to 9 p.m.