Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of Oct. 18, 2018

JR’s new decal mural in the Elizabeth St. Garden shows Nova, a young girl who lives nearby, fighting to save one of the garden’s trees from destruction by the de Blasio administration’s bulldozers. Courtesy E.S.G.

Garden good and bad: There’s a lot going on at the Elizabeth St. Garden, most of it good, but some of it troubling. On the positive side, last week the French street artist JR created a really cool mural on a wall on the garden’s northern side in a show of support for preserving the garden intact as it is now. The artwork depicts Nova, a young girl, as she desperately holds on to one of the trees in the garden, which would be destroyed if the city’s development plans are not stopped. Nova and her sister Luna are the daughters of neighbors Stephanie Tricola and Mark Craemer, who frequently visit and volunteer at the garden. Also, the garden’s Sixth Annual Harvest Fest is set for this Sat., Oct. 20, from noon to 4 p.m. The free affair will feature delicious snacks, pumpkin decorating, face painting and more. Costumes encouraged! There will be speakers, including local politicians who support saving the garden, from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Rain date is Sun., Oct. 21. Not so good is the news that the city has asked Allan Reiver to clear out all the statues and sculptures from the garden so that test drilling and digging can be done. On July 9, Harold Weinberg, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s deputy general counsel for property management and special litigation, first wrote Reiver, notifying the gallerist he would have to remove all of the heavy sculptures and monuments from the garden, so that H.P.D. could do 10 soil borings and dig six test pits throughout the space. Weinberg explained this was necessary so that the sculptures wouldn’t be damaged by the machinery during all the boring and digging. After the soil and environmental testing — which would take three weeks — Reiver could reinstall the monuments, the H.P.D. honcho added. But Reiver responded that to remove the weighty monoliths, truck them away, then truck them right back and reinstall them would cost at least $1 million. Weinberg wrote back on July 20, saying department officials had decided they could wait till the fall to do the tests. “The Agency will give you sufficient notice to remove the statuary and sculptures at that time,” Weinberg added. But it came as cold comfort to Reiver. “I installed it with helpers 25 years ago,” he told us, referring to all the statuary, trees and planting beds. “I was younger — and it took years. It’s not feasible” to remove everything, much less put it back, he said, adding, “It would destroy the garden.” As a result, Reiver will be leading a protest at the garden on Sun., Oct. 28, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Advocate Avalanche: Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s name is reportedly in the mix for public advocate. But then again — whose isn’t? Letitia James is slated to resign from the position next month, so she can take over as New York State attorney general. A nonpartisan special election for advocate would then be held in February or March; each candidate would create their own party and symbol. Other names being mentioned are Councilmembers Jumaane Williams — who narrowly lost to Kathy Hochul in the primary election for lieutenant governor last month — and Ydanis Rodriguez. Melissa Mark-Viverito, who was Council speaker after Quinn, may be interested in advocate, too, they say. Columbia professor David Eisenbach, who has raised his profile as an advocate for the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, is also expected to be in the running.

A dog with a Donald Trump ’do at the Washington Square Dog Run’s Halloween costume competition two years ago. Photo by Tequila Minsky

Doggone it — or not gone? It was looking like the annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade — which would have usually happened this coming weekend — had been canceled. According to a recent statement on the event’s Facebook page, the Parks Department was asking for “a large insurance & liability policy in order to hold the event this year — and we simply don’t have the funds or sponsor willing to provide it.” Gothamist reported that because the nearly 30-year-old event has grown so much in recent years, Parks was requesting a certificate of insurance, or C.O.I., valued at $1 million. However, we heard the amount in question was only $2,000 — but that the leader of the dog run, Garrett Rosso, would have had to put his name on the insurance policy and thus be liable as the “responsible party.” Over the years, the costumed-dog confab reportedly has raised $200,000 for the East Village park, plus secured twice that amount in matching funds. “We’re hopeful that the annual dog parade will return in some form in the future,” the group’s statement concluded. Well, at least there was still the Washington Square Park Dog Run Association’s event on Sun., Oct. 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the parade at noon. Billed as the Dog Day Halloween Costume Party & Parade, it features judging of the pooches’ get-ups, prizes, treats, artists, “pawdicures” and more. It’s free and open to all but $10 to enter the

At last year’s Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, event founder and emcee Garrett Rosso got a thank-you kiss from a contest winner. Photo by Bob Krasner

contest. You can preregister at wspdogrun.org to get a treat bag. But then on Wednesday night, after The Villager’s print edition had gone to press, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade WILL happen! Yes, Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), the nonprofit local tenant advocacy group, and ESPN have teamed up to put on the dog parade at the East River Park amphitheater on Sun., Oct. 28, from noon to 3 p.m. Katie Nolan, the host of “Always Late” on ESPN+, will host this year’s parade. ESPN donated $10,000 to the City Parks Foundation and GOLES will fund and hold the insurance. City Councilmember Carlina Rivera — with her pug Yoshi in tow — announced the news early Thursday morning at the Tompkins Square Dog Run. She said the stumbling block had been that the event’s organizers did not want to lose local control of the event by giving responsibility over to a corporate entity that could hold the insurance policy and potentially retain control over the event’s structure and fundraising. “I am so happy that after months of work with community advocates and dog lovers, the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade will be returning to the community for its 28th iteration,” Rivera said. “This beloved Lower East Side tradition wouldn’t be happening this year without the tireless efforts of Good Old Lower East Side and the supporters of the Tompkins Square Park Dog Run, particularly Ada Nieves who has previously co-hosted the parade and took over planning this year.”

“I don’t think we’re in Oz anymore, Toto.” An adventure in fun at last year’s Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade. Photo by Bob Krasner

Going after Golden: State Senator Brad Hoylman held a day of action with Andrew Gournardes in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, on Sunday. “We knocked on some doors, rallied the troops and even managed to squeeze in some canine time!” said Avery Cohen, Hoylman’s press secretary. Gounardes is running to unseat incumbent Marty Golden, the borough’s only Republican state senator, who, last week claimed to have no idea what the Child Victims Act was.

Disney designs on Downtown: In July, The New York Times reported that Disney plans to move out of its Upper West Side digs and build a modern, 1-million-square-foot complex on the entire square block bounded by Hudson, Varick, Vandam and Spring Sts. The company would lease the property, to be dubbed Four Hudson Square, for 99 years from Trinity Real Estate in an estimated $650 million deal. The complex would house ABC headquarters, WABC News and the studios for “The View” and “Live With Kelly and Ryan.” Praising the company’s planned new neighborhood, Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive, said, “The Hudson Square district is rapidly becoming a dynamic, innovative hub for media, technology and other creative businesses.” The block is currently home to four historic warehouse and store buildings — two eight stories high and the other two lower — that were developed by Trinity Church at the end of the 19th century. City Winery occupies the block’s northwest corner. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said the society and the Charlton St. Block Association have jointly asked City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s Office plan to set up a meeting with Disney to learn more about the megaproject. In July the society also submitted a “request for evaluation” for the block to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, to see if any of the existing buildings might be eligible for review as possible city landmarks. Berman said Disney has not released any design plans yet regarding its designs on the block.

In the weeds: Former city Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe has been out on poisonous-plant patrol again on the Hudson River bikeway — and he recently spotted some offending foliage. “There were small patches of both Jimsonweed and black nightshade in several locations a month ago,” he told us. Benepe said he planned to bike the path again soon and let us know if the creepy greenery had been removed, but he got the bug that was going around and hasn’t been out riding lately, so we don’t have any updates. Our advice in the meantime: It’s probably wise not to eat any of the plants, smoke them, snort them or drink them as tea. Last summer, The Villager reported on how Benepe, an avid cyclist, had spotted Jimsonweed a.k.a. locoweed and black nightshade in the planted areas bordering the path. After our report, someone really went to town with a weed whacker because the dangerous plants — along with a lot of innocent shrubbery — were clear-cut.

In pole position: We bumped into Jim Power, the “Mosaic Man,” working on one of his iconic tile-encrusted lampposts, at Second Ave. and St. Mark’s Place, and, as usual, he had plenty to say. For starters, Power would love to get the job to do the mosaic tile work in the expanded First Ave. L train station. Also, he’s planning to lead a revolt “to take back the territory” of St. Mark’s Place between Second and Third Aves. from the Village Alliance business improvement district. “They’re from the West Side,” he complained. He still hasn’t gotten the hip operation(s) that he clearly needs. Maybe this winter, he said. He just turned 71. … Also, he said, red lettering is always the best for visibility when he does store signs.

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