Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of June 6, 2019

Scoopy the cat was The Villager’s office mascot in the paper’s early days. In fact, there were a number of Scoopys over the years.

Waterfront watchdog whisperings: We hear a rumor that Tobi Bergman, who recently resigned in frustration from Community Board 2, may be trying to start up a new independent watchdog group for Hudson River Park. The Friends of Hudson River Park used to fill that role, and even aggressively filed lawsuits against city agencies to force them out of the park; in its original incarnation, Friends sued to get the Department of Sanitation to vacate its garbage trucks from Gansevoort Peninsula and also sued the W. 30th St. Heliport to force it to end tourist helicopter flights. However, the group, recently renamed Hudson River Park Friends, today is basically a fundraiser for the park and an advocacy group for the Hudson River Park Trust, the state-city authority that runs the 5-mile-long riparian green ribbon and its piers. So, we told Bergman word is going around that he’s cooking up plans to bring back a “real” independent advocacy group for the waterfront park. “That’s not exactly true,” he responded. “But if you heard a rumor and have no real information, then the right place for it might be Scoopy. I’m just one of many people who think the Trust and the Friends are too closely joined at the hip. Stay tuned.” Bergman resigned from C.B. 2 two weeks ago, two days after a public forum on draft proposed amendments to the Hudson River Park Act for Pier 40 that local lawmakers had put together. Bergman charged the pols had “ignored” the community board’s carefully considered position on the beloved Downtown sports pier.

Some new BID’ness: We hear from a reliable source that plans are well underway to form a Seventh Ave. business improvement district. The new BID reportedly would cover the area between Sixth Ave. and Hudson St. from Houston St. to 12th St. The group plans to raise around $1 million, we’re told — but word is much of that cash would go toward two executives’ salaries, which not everyone is exactly thrilled about. Brooke Schooley, a Village resident, is apparently leading the charge to get the BID up in running. As usual, strong buy-in by local property owners would be required to create the BID. Landlords would have to pay a special assessment to the city that would then be kicked back to the BID to pay for supplemental services, like extra sanitation and security. But landlords could also legally pass on this charge to their commercial tenants, which has some local merchants sweating. Residential tenants, we’re told, would pay a very small annual charge, like only a few dollars. Another meeting about the group’s formation is planned for this month.

One Response to Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of June 6, 2019

  1. BIDs are unconstitutional. They are taxation without representation. There need to be fewer of them, not more, or else our City government will continue to shirk their responsibilities. BIDs are bad for the City, for many reasons, but a big one is because you can't vote out their leaders. They are anti-democratic.

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