Scoopy, Week of Jan. 30, 2014
Read, Rosie, read! We’ve been trying to get Rosie Mendez’s reaction to Judge Donna Mills’s stunning Jan. 7 ruling in favor of the community lawsuit against N.Y.U.’s 2031 South Village development plan. Of course, Mendez, along with everyone else in the Council, save for Charles Barron, voted in lockstep for N.Y.U. 2031 back in July 2012. The week prior to the Council’s final vote, speaking before she gave her “aye” on the plan in the Council’s Land Use Committee, Mendez acknowledged that many people in her district would be happy if she voted “no” on N.Y.U.’s scheme, and noted it would be the “easy thing to do.” But Mendez deferred to Councilmember Margaret Chin — in whose district the project site is located — calling her “my sister.” This week we tracked the East Village councilmember down, or more exactly, she finally got back to us and left us this voice mail: “The reality is, I have not read the details of what the judge has decided because I’ve been sick and I’ve been busy. I really want to read the details of what the judge wrote out in the decision before commenting.” O.K., we’ll give her a little while more to recover, and hopefully her workload eases up a bit — but we’re going to check back soon, and hopefully Mendez — who is an attorney — will have read the legal decision by then. It’s not that long! The relevant section is only about 10 pages — it was roughly around Page 30 to Page 40, as we recall. And there will be a quiz afterward! Just kidding… . But we do want to know where Mendez stands on this important issue. P.S., speaking of where Mendez stands, she wasn’t standing at the headquarters of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation last Friday for the victorious press conference for the community lawsuit. Andrew Berman, executive director of G.V.S.H.P., confirmed to us that Mendez was invited, but she didn’t show up. … For her part, as The Villager has previously reported, Chin has issued statements that, on the surface, seemed to praise Judge Mills’s ruling. But nothing in Chin’s statements has indicated any lessening of her support for the N.Y.U. plan in its entirety.
- Photo by Bob Krasner
Gallery seen: Fine-art photographer David LaChapelle, left, and former MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch were enjoying the moment on Fri., Jan. 17, at LaChapelle’s “Land Scape” show at Paul Kasmin Gallery, at 293 Tenth Ave.
Fleshing out the story: Thomas Wolfe, the operator of Mystique, the new topless club that will be opening at Clarkson and West Sts., called us last week to dispute a previous report of ours a while back when we wrote that a new 12-story residential project planned by Ian Schrager will eventually knock the strip club out of its spot. Wolfe told us that Schrager’s new building is actually slated for “the next block over.” However, Tobi Bergman, chairperson of Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee, said Wolfe is wrong, and that the Schrager project includes the site of the soon-to-open jiggle joint. When Mystique actually will start doing business is still a ways off, Wolfe admitted. Work is going “at a snail’s pace,” he said. The lone stripper pole, however, is installed, and he even invited us to come take a look for ourselves. We believe him, we told him. In addition, he said that, in accordance with the community’s wishes, the place will have very minimal exterior signage and, in fact, won’t even say “gentlemen’s club.” As for gentlemen, some would say Schrager was one for pledging to give the Hudson River Park $5 million. The developer’s lawyer stated this publicly back in October before Bergman’s committee. At the time, Berman, of G.V.S.H.P., protested that the cash contribution to the park shouldn’t sway the committee’s vote on whether to recommend that the Board of Standards and Appeals grant a variance for residential use for Schrager’s project, which is on a manufacturing-zoned site. The board’s resolution, however, does specifically mention that Pier 40 is nearby and that Hudson River Park, in general, has appreciated real estate values along the waterfront. In addition, Schrager’s attorney also told the committee they won’t buy any air rights from the park. Then again, they probably want to start their project A.S.A.P., and don’t want to wait the two or three years that it could take to hash out the complicated regulations for the air rights transfers.
For Ray’s eyes only: Congratulations to Ray, who turned 81 on Jan. 1. Friends threw the Avenue A beignet and cheese fries king a big party this Monday evening, complete with what has now become an annual tradition — a full lineup of strippers dancing on his countertop. This year’s photos, courtesy of Shawn Chittle, are a little tame compared to years past, but — hey! — just use your imagination! Last week, Ray told us his current lease runs through July and he has an option to renew.
Meaty subject: Interested in learning more about the planned Meatpacking District business improvement district? Neighbors are invited to two community meetings that are being held to provide information and answer questions about the proposed BID. The first one will be held Thurs., Jan. 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Fulton Center Auditorium, 119 Ninth Ave. The second is scheduled for Mon., Feb. 3, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Our Lady of Pompeii Church, 25 Carmine St.