Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of June 28, 2018

Norman Siegel, Elizabeth St. Garden’s attorney, with Nina Taylor, a longtime Elizabeth St. resident, at the garden fundraiser last week. Photo by C. Van Jahnke

A moving moment: Well, Terri Cude, the chairperson of Community Board 2, has finally done it. She has agreed to put Tom Connor back on “S.L.A. 1,” as in, one of the two State Liquor Authority Committees on C.B. 2. (Basically, there are so many liquor-license applications in the Village and Soho area, that they had to have not one but two committees to handle the volume.) “Terri sent me an e-mail stating that she would put me back on the S.L.A. Committee as of July 1. Thanks for following up,” Connor told us. Cude explained that she is keeping Connor on the Social Services Committee, “because that is a very good fit for him” as a senior activist. But she is now taking him off the Traffic and Transportation Committee, so that he will only be on a total of two committees. Connor was “not removed” from that committee, she stressed, “but moved from it” to another committee. “I’m trying to accommodate his preferences, as well as the board’s needs,” she explained. Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note that Scott Sartiano, a partner in Zero Bond, was recently appointed to C.B. 2. It was Connor’s complaint that the application for the private members club — a three-story affair slated for Broadway and Bond St. — was not treated fairly that sparked the flap that saw Cude remove him from — oops, sorry! We mean, move him off of — S.L.A. 1.

Garden party: The Elizabeth St. Garden nonprofit group held its fundraiser last Thursday night.  More than 400 people passed through the green oasis, at Elizabeth St. between Prince and Spring Sts., over the course of the night. Norman Siegel, the group’s attorney, and Joseph Reiver, its leader, gave rousing speeches. Entertainment was provided by the band Phantom Lovers led by local jazz musician John Lander. La Esquina did the food catering, and Van Leeuwen brought in an ice cream truck for the occasion. There was also a cool sensor that turned the vibrations of a tree and those standing near it into electronic music. Now, if that tree could actually speak, what would it say? Probably something like, “Save me! Build the housing on Hudson St.!”

Welcome aboard Westbeth’s board: The Westbeth board of directors elected four new members at its annual meeting on June 14: George Cominskie, Anisha Steephen, Judd Levy and Samantha Vincent. A longtime resident of the artists’ affordable-housing complex, Cominskie is vice president of John Turner Photo, working in the photography field for the past two decades. He previously was on the Westbeth board from 1989 to 1994 and from 2002 to 2004, and was its vice chairperson from 1990 to 1994. Cominskie served on the Westbeth Artists Residents Council a.k.a. WARC for 21 years, 17 of them as president, before abruptly resigning at the end of last year. (As Scoopy reported back then, there was a rumor it was because he was being denied a seat on the complex’s board.) Levy is former chairperson of the board of directors of the State of New York Mortgage Agency and the New York Housing Finance Agency. Before that, he founded the Community Development Trust, the country’s first Real Estate Investment Trust devoted to providing debt and equity capital for community development projects. For the past 15 years, Levy has also been pro-bono adviser to Habitat for Humanity. Steephen is a community development officer at Local Initiatives Support Corporation, one of the nation’s largest Community Development Financial Institutions. She leads originations and underwriting of economic development real estate projects by mission-driven organizations in New York City. Finally, Vincent is president of One Race Films, a film, television and video-game company. She also serves as executive producer of Vin Diesel’s “The Fast and the Furious” franchise. Samantha — like Diesel, her older brother — grew up at Westbeth, and her parents are still residents. “We are proud to announce the election of these new board members,” said Patricia Jones, chairperson of Westbeth’s board and its interim executive director. “As we approach our 50th anniversary in 2020, Westbeth continues to be a vibrant arts community that enriches the cultural life of our city. These individuals bring a range of talents to the board and will help us continue our mission of supporting artists with affordable housing and stable work space for decades to come.”

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