Scoopy, Week of July 23, 2015
Carbone commotion: Twitter was burning up last Friday night with observations of heavy police presence, “SWAT” and so forth on Thompson St. near Bleecker St. and the word was that President Barack Obama and his daughters were eating at Carbone. Stacey Rosenstock, who lives just doors down from Carbone, posted on Facebook: “Tried to take Ollie for his usual evening walk but the second I stepped out the door some guy in plainclothes asked what I was doing, and then said I couldn’t walk north. So I went south but there were two police dogs, police barricades with motorcycles and white shirts [police supervisors] stopping anyone from coming in. So I asked them if I’d be able to come back if I crossed the barrier and they asked if I had ID. So I told them I shouldn’t need ID just to walk my dog around the block.” She observed that the president must really like it there because he’s eaten at Carbone before with the neighborhood, again, being on lockdown.
Throws down the gauntlet: The Strand bookstore tweeted out a photo of Dante de Blasio at The Strand pitching some pages. “Dante de Blasio gave us a great comic book recommendation! Check out The Infinity Gauntlet by Marvel,” the store tweeted.
Say ‘cheesecake’! At the groundbreaking for the new Bea Arthur Residence on E. 13th St., pols told us that they just always connected with the TV shows that the L.G.B.T.Q. facility’s namesake starred in. Councilmember Corey Johnson watched “Golden Girls,” and state Senator Brad Hoylman, quipping that it dated him slightly, said he was a big “Maude” fan. “Sexual orientation is an innate, intrinsic quality — and so is being a ‘Golden Girls’ fan!” Johnson said later, beaming a smile, as he feasted on a piece of, of course, cheese cake.
Affordable housing hoopla: Councilmember Rosie Mendez and Community Board 3’s Land Use Committee are strongly against the city’s plan to have Donald Capoccia of BFC or L + M Development Partners renovate two beleaguered former squats, plus three other city-owned East Village buildings, in return for development rights. Under the plan, for every square foot that he fixes up, he would get one-and-a-quarter square feet of development rights to build market-rate housing along the “IZ” (inclusionary housing) corridors that were created in the East Village / Lower East Side rezoning of 2008. According to Mendez, Capoccia says he would resell these development rights. But the question — and the concern — is, who would he sell them to? “My problem is that there are no restrictions on who can get these air rights,” Mendez told us. “They could sell it to anyone — including someone who has questionable, bad-actor status. And it doesn’t just mean new buildings. It could be adding new units on top of existing buildings,” she said, “or demolishing a building and getting all the rent-stabilized tenants out…harassment issues.” The buildings include the two former squats, 544 E. 13th St. and 377 E. 10th St., as well as 507-509 E. 11th St. and two other buildings, one on Avenue A and the other on E. 12th St. that were co-ops that defaulted on their mortgage plans. The tenants from these last two buildings were relocated some years ago, we’re told, and were supposed to return home to the refurbished affordable units after the renovations, which were never done. Why? “We had 20 years of Republican mayors,” Mendez said. Meanwhile, Herman Hewitt, who sits on the C.B. 3 Land Use Committee, said when the developers came to their meeting seeking approval, the plan was all completely new to the board members, but the builders acted like it was already a fait accompli.
The Doris Report: Veteran C.B. 2 member, Doris Diether tells us that Uber robocalls were driving her crazy earlier this week. The messages told her to ask the mayor to can the bill that would have capped the number of the app-hailed cabs. “I got three calls in three days, one call each day,” she told us. “ ‘Contact the mayor and tell him he’s wrong, and that Uber is hiring all these people and keeping the economy going and so on and so forth,’ ” she said. “I don’t know where they got my number from. I don’t use it anyway,” she said of Uber. “But if they want to be able to drive their cars, let them drive their cars.”
Corrections: Last week’s article “Village district leader arrested after removing landlord’s spy cameras” incorrectly implied that if Arthur Schwartz had been given a desk-appearance ticket (instead of being hauled down to criminal court in handcuffs) it would have been in lieu of criminal charges. A D.A.T. merely means that the individual is given a date to show up at court and can come down by him- or herself, not in handcuffs, and not under arrest by police. The article confused a D.A.T. with an A.C.D., or adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, under which a person makes a plea and the charges are dropped if he or she stays out of trouble — i.e. doesn’t get arrested again — for a period of something like six months. In addition, another article in last week’s issue, “Borscht mecca still struggling to reopen after 2nd Ave. blast,” incorrectly stated that the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City had not sent an application to B&H dairy restaurant until the week before the article’s publication. In fact, the Mayor’s Fund did contribute to a separate fund raised over the past several months by the Lower East Side Business Improvement District, the Village Alliance business improvement district and Community Board 3 to assist businesses affected by the March 26 explosion. Yet applications for grants from this fund were not sent out until last week.