Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of May 31, 2018

Win some, lose some: After recently winning the support of the Village Independent Democrats club in her run for governor, Cynthia Nixon has won one and lost one with other local clubs. She personally showed up at the endorsement vote of the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club where she faced off with Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, who was standing in as a surrogate for Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo won C.R.D.C. by three votes. However, Nixon got the backing of the East Side’s Coalition for a District Alternative, or CoDA, which also is supporting Councilmember Jumaane Williams for lieutenant governor and Congressmember Carolyn Maloney for re-election. V.I.D., for its part, is also backing Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul for re-election over the upstart Williams. After all, Erik Coler, the club’s president, noted, it’s the Year of the Woman.

Bryan Leitgeb, left, of Mast Books, with R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe, at a book-signing event for Stipe’s new tome of photography. Photo by Bob Krasner

Rockin’ photography: R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe was at the new location of Mast Books, at 72 Avenue A, at E. Fifth St., Tuesday night to celebrate his just-released monograph, “Volume 1.” Stipe signed his collection of black-and-white photographs — and some memorabilia — for a store full of grateful fans while Bryan Leitgeb, Mast’s owner, explained the situation. “We’re out of the old location,” he said. “But there’s still a lot of furniture and lots of books to be installed. Think of this as a ‘pop-up.’”  The store should be open for business again in two to three weeks.

From left, Arnaldo (Arnie) Segarra, Theater for the New City Director Crystal Field, dancer Kitty Lunn, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Dan Kelley, T.N.C.’s house manager, at the ribbon-cutting for the East Village theater’s new handicap-accessible elevator. Photo by Joe Bly

Uplifting event: As usual, the Theater for the New City’s 23rd annual Lower East Side Festival over the Memorial Day weekend was a smashing success. There were more than 190 performances during the three days, featuring theater, music, art, dance, video, film, aerial arts, poetry, magic and comedy. Making this year’s event extra-special, T.N.C. held a ribbon-cutting on Sunday for its new, state-of-the-art wheelchair-accessible Gerald Rupp Elevator. Kitty Lunn, of Infinity Dance, a dance company of abled and disabled dancers, and the Yip Harburg Foundation’s Rainbow Troupe performed, and there was a champagne toast. Contractor Voula Mamais discussed the installation process, and Gerald Rupp, the elevator’s namesake, was on hand to take the very first ride in the A.D.A.-compliant lift. “Theater should be accessible to all: emotionally, spiritually, physically, economically,” said Crystal Field, T.N.C.’s co-founder and artistic director. “All hail an accessible Theater for the New City in the true tradition of the Lower East Side. Welcome! Welcome to all!”

Wants to be on C.B. 3: Former Community Board 3 Chairperson Anne Johnson is furious after being notified by the Manhattan borough president’s office that she has not been reappointed to the East Village board. Johnson was removed from the board, on which she had served for years, toward the end of last year after being told she had a conflict of interest because she prepared then-Councilmember Rosie Mendez’s tax returns. “All the time I was on the board, no one said anything,” she recently told us, indignantly. Yet, Johnson claimed, she was assured by B.P. Gale Brewer’s office that once Mendez was term-limited out of office, she would be reappointed to the board. Obviously, that hasn’t happened. Johnson — who was part of C.B. 3’s dissident faction — is thinking of appealing or taking some other action, which she didn’t want us to mention yet. Meanwhile, she’s fuming that Alistair Economakis — of all people! — was appointed to C.B. 3 last November. Back in 2009, of course, Economakis succeeded in clearing an entire 15-unit apartment building he owned on E. Third St. of rent-regulated tenants, using the owner-occupancy provision, so that he could turn the whole place into a private “mansion” for his young family. Some of the tenants took buyouts, but others only left under threat of eviction after trying to wage a legal battle to stay, and ultimately realizing they could not financially afford to keep up the fight. Valerio Orselli, the former executive director of the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association, also told us he was outraged at Economakis’s appointment to C.B. 3. When we asked new Councilmember Carlina Rivera about it earlier this year, she said she wasn’t familiar with the battle over 47 E. Third St. years ago, but that she was sure that Brewer had conferred with Susan Stetzer, the board’s district manager, about whether Economakis should be appointed. When we told her that, Johnson hit the roof, telling us that it was “unforgivable!” that Stetzer — the board’s top staffer, who serves at the pleasure of the 50 volunteer board members — would dare to have influence over such a thing. Economakis did not respond to requests for comment. Stetzer told us, “I believe I have gone on record previously about other issues, that it would be really inappropriate for someone in my position to comment on internal community board affairs.” Brewer’s spokesperson said, “The borough president’s office does not comment on the specifics of individual community board appointments. Mr. Economakis was appointed Nov. 21, 2017, to fill a vacancy, and he did previously serve on the board as a public member.” We remember how the late Artie Strickler, the longtime district manager of the Village’s C.B. 2, always told us how he ensured he would keep his position, so that he would eventually be able to collect his pension. Basically, he indicated he did play a role in who was on or off the board, so that he always kept a majority of the members’ support. Or, as he put it, “I got the numbers.” Other leading dissidents no longer on C.B. 3 include Ayo Harrington, who was eighty-sixed by Brewer after accusing former Chairperson Gigi Li of not promoting black and Latino members to committee chairpersonships, and Chad Marlow, who announced he would not be reapplying, only to be promptly booted off the board by current board Chairperson Alysha Lewis-Coleman, who said if Marlow wasn’t reapplying, well, then, “Adios!” By the way, Li is now working in Margaret Chin’s office, which observers see as Li’s positioning herself to run for the District 1 City Council seat when Chin is term-limited in a few years from now. Marlow has been busy campaigning for the A.C.L.U. at the federal level on behalf of ’Net neutrality.

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