Scoopy’s Notebook, Sept. 15, 2016

(Black) green day: Tobi Bergman, the chairperson of Community Board 2, told us that he got a call from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development this week, alerting him that the agency would be issuing a request for proposals, or R.F.P., on Wed., Sept. 14, for an affordable housing project on the beloved Elizabeth St. Garden. Bergman, who has championed the cause of saving the garden, sees the announcement as possibly being tied to the recent primary race for the 65th Assembly District. He suspects that the R.F.P. was held off this long in order not to hurt the election chances of Gigi Li, who was the only one of six candidates in the race who supported the housing project — which is vehemently opposed by C.B. 2 and the overwhelming majority of residents who live near the garden and enjoy using it. “The timing looks suspiciously like they waited with the announcement, so as not to hurt Gigi — but seeing as she came in last, it obviously didn’t work,” Bergman observed. Li’s political patron, Councilmember Margaret Chin, is hell-bent on building the housing. Bergman assured that the community absolutely will go to the mat to save the treasured green oasis. “There will be a big fight,” he pledged. Meanwhile, Chin put out the following statement on Wednesday: “With the issuance of this request for proposals, we are taking an important step as a community to create affordable housing for our seniors, as well as establishing a permanent garden space at this location. With thousands of seniors on wait-lists for affordable, safe and age-appropriate housing, the need for these senior housing units in the heart of Little Italy is overwhelming. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and H.P.D. for partnering with me to help address this crisis of affordability that threatens the health and well-being of too many elderly New Yorkers. As this process continues, I look forward to working with the community board and the gardeners to recreate an open space that everyone can be assured will be available and open to the public for decades to come.” Chin’s Office noted that page 17 of the R.F.P. requires that proposals incorporate a minimum of 5,000 square feet of “high-quality, publicly accessible space into the project,” with preference for proposals that maximize the amount of open space without sacrificing room for seniors.

Remember The Alamo? … Maybe not: On another subject, C.B. 2’s Bergman said he had heard that the restored “The Alamo” a.k.a. “The Cube” finally would be returned to Astor Place on Wednesday. But a staffer at the Village Alliance business improvement district told us, that while they were told that, too, the sculpture’s reinstallation has been delayed yet again, with no definite date set for its triumphant return.

Judy Rapfogel handing out fliers for Alice Cancel for Assembly on Grand St. on Tuesday. Photo by Grand View

Judy Rapfogel handing out fliers for Alice Cancel for Assembly on Grand St. on Tuesday. Photo by Grand Pix

Asleep on the job: We hear from a Grand St. source that, on primary election day, the poll-site supervisor at the East River Houses co-ops not only was wearing his pajama bottoms but actually was caught sleeping at one point! … Our source also snapped a photo of Judy Rapfogel, former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s chief of staff, handing out campaign fliers for Alice Cancel, who finished fourth in the six-way race.

Le plot thickens: Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation, reports that, in fact, the facade of the Florent restaurant, at 69 Gansevoort St., has not been restored per the building permits that were issued. As Berman tells it, G.V.S.H.P. asked that the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission check out the work to see that it was being done correctly. L.P.C. reported back that all looked fine — that the R&L Restaurant signage and brickwork had been restored, as the developer had promised to do. However, now that the construction fencing finally has been removed, it appears that there is a problem: The permit called for corrugated metal siding to be restored to the bottom of the facade, but wood has been substituted for it. G.V.S.H.P. has written a letter to L.P.C. asking for clarification and for the storefront to be redone per the permit. … Vive le Florent facade!

Super-savior: Westbeth disabled activist Margie Rubin recently tipped us off that John Catsimatidis, billionaire owner of the Gristedes supermarket chain, has entered into a partnership of sorts with D’Agostino to keep the latter ailing chain alive. West Villagers have been concerned for months now as the D’Ag at Greenwich and Bethune Sts. has been sporting frighteningly empty shelves — a puzzling pattern repeated at other D’Ag’s around the city. The New York Post recently confirmed that “Cats,” who ran for mayor as a Republican in the last election, has indeed “pumped substantial dough” into D’Agostino, which was said to have been looking to unload its stores earlier this summer. The deal reportedly includes “the possibility of a joint venture” between the two chains. “They needed the money right away,” Catsimatidis told the Post, adding, “There is an unlimited amount of time to grow the companies.” The brand names would continue to exist separately, he said.

Triangulation: The Remember the Triangle Coalition is planning a public meeting to follow up on feedback from Community Board 2 members and the community, in general, from the C.B. 2-organized town hall meeting this past February on the proposed Triangle Fire memorial project, planned at Washington Place and Greene St. One hundred forty-six garment workers perished in the tragic blaze at the location 100 years ago. However, a vocal contingent of neighbors oppose the flashy, literally, memorial design, which would sport reflective stainless-steel panels, including one reaching to the top of the building. The critics cry that the glare bouncing off the memorial would beam into their windows day and night, and that it would attract unwanted crowds to the spot. The design is also noncontextual with the landmarked building, they protest. Anyway, we’re told the follow-up meeting will be held at The Cooper Union. The tentative date is Fri., Sept. 27. We’re awaiting more details. Angering the project’s detractors, C.B. 2 has declined, thus far, to take a position on the issue.

To make way for the construction of N.Y.U.'s new "Zipper Building," workers sawed down a stand of Kwanzan cherry trees on Mercer St. last week. Photo by Tequila Minsky

To make way for the construction of N.Y.U.’s new “Zipper Building,” workers sawed down a stand of Kwanzan cherry trees on Mercer St. last week. Community members fear they will soon be chainsawing more cherry trees and other types of trees. Photo by Tequila Minsky

Hope springs eternal: Although New York University sparked “pink rage” by chainsawing a stand of Kwanzan cherry trees on Bleecker St. last week, some are holding out hope that another small grove of them further south on the same block might be spared. “While they were old trees, they might yet have provided the community many more years of beauty, shade and moments of joy as they blossomed to welcome spring and shaded us through the summer,” District Leader Terri Cude reflected sadly on the trees that were felled. As for those that are left, she said, “There are also Kwanzan cherry trees in what was the ‘Reflecting Garden,’ between the former dog run and the former water playground — plus many pin oaks, honey locusts and more on Mercer St. between Bleecker and Houston Sts. — that will be taken down. N.Y.U. has not released the design for 181 Mercer St. [a.k.a. the ‘Zipper Building,’ which will replace Coles gym], so there is still time to create a design that does not destroy all these beautiful, air-cleaning, smile-bringing trees.” Cude said she’s looking forward to seeing what information N.Y.U. brings about the project to C.B. 2’s Arts & Institutions Committee, on Wed., Sept. 28, at 6:30 p.m., in the Little Red School House auditorium, at Sixth Ave. and Bleecker St.

‘You can call me Al’: We hear from Paul Bartlett that a petition will be starting for an “Al Orensanz Way” co-naming street sign on Norfolk St. between Stanton and E. Houston Sts. in honor of the late Angel Orensanz Foundation director. However, Community Board 3 guidelines require that two years pass after a person’s death before his or her name can be submitted for a street co-naming. A memorial for Al Orensanz, who died on July 23 at age 73, will be held at the foundation, at 172 Norfolk St., on Wed., Sept. 21, at 6 p.m.

Nope-rah’s Club: Former Lower East Side activist John Penley blasted the recent New York Times article “How the Christodora House Became the Chelsea Hotel of the East Village,” which takes as its departure point Tim Murphy’s new novel, “Christodora.” Penley’s succinct review, posted on Facebook: “The New York Times story on the new book about the Christodora House…which became a focal point for the Anti-Gentrification War In the Neighborhood, is a revisionist, selective nonhistorical, pro Real Estate Developer…piece of dogs— crap propaganda.”

Skateboard (crash!) sonata: In other Facebook news, we heard from a violinist, a fellow busker, that Colin Huggins a.k.a. “That Crazy Piano Guy” posted a plea to the Washington Square Park skateboarders, who enjoy hopping over his tips bucket, to rein it in. One of them recently totally lost control of his board and it went flying — right into him. “Dear skateboarders of Washington sq park,” Huggins wrote. “Why did things have to become so negative between us? Was it because I asked you to stop jumping over my buckets during my performances? You only have about an 80% success rate when you attempt this trick. So you should understand it makes me a little tense when you continue to do it. Last night while you were practicing jumps over the no skateboarding sign, one of you lost control of your board and it hit me while I was playing under the arch. I stood up and said, it’s cool. Can you guys just give me a little space? You told me to f— off and one of your friends told me to shut up and play the piano. As you were leaving I yelled, ‘We should be friends. Why do things have to be this way?!’ And you ignored me. But really, why must it be this way? All things considered even by the most anti establishment/punk rock standards, I’m really a pretty cool guy. I think perhaps next time I’ll ask if you want to play something and I’ll try to do some skateboarding. I think we’re probably equally bad at both. So it might bring us to some common ground. I can’t guarantee you won’t still hate me. But that’s the best I can come up with at the moment. Hugs and kisses, Colin.”

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