Penley, in red cap, with fellow conspirators
If, on Friday evening, while sipping a light chardonnay at Bruce Willis' new wine bar on the Bowery you happen to notice a bunch of graybearded anarchists yelling at you and chanting, "Die Yuppie Scum!" do not be alarmed.
There are merely there to protest what they see as the takeover of their neighborhood by the forces of evil, incarnated in the New York Young Republican Club.
Turns out, the NYYRC held one of their monthly socials last month at the very spot where you are now swishing wine, proof, if ever one was needed, that the neighborhood is going to hell, says John Penley, a long time Lower East Side character leading the protest.
"This is my answer to the Young Republicans who have been calling for a showdown," said Penley. "I don't have anything personal against Bruce Willis--I kind of like his movies but I just had to make a point."
The protest is called, "A March Against Real Estate Developers, Landlords, Yuppie Wine Bars and Republicans," and will end up at 47 E. 3rd Street, where the Economakis family has purchased a 60-room, five story building that they are trying to convert to a single family home and evict all of the tenants living in rent stabilized units.
"It's because of things like Bruce Willis' wine bar that people want to come here and do things like that," said Penley. "We are seeing ourselves get more and more pressed in on all sides. People are getting nervous about their living situation."
For their part, Lynn Krogh, president of the New York Young Republicans, said the choice of wine bar did not constitute an endorsement.
"He's making this more than it is," she said, "Talking about how we all come in with blackberries and briefcases. Just because we have an event somewhere doesn't mean that a place is pro-Republican or anti-Democrat."