Scoopy’s Notebook

You’re over euro!

The shockwaves from the world financial crisis are resounding on E. Houston St., specifically at Billy’s Antiques & Props tent by the Bowery. On Monday, proprietor Billy Leroy announced he’s ditching the much ballyhooed and media-hyped “Euros Only” sign he unveiled at the store in February. “At $1.35 for one euro, I am taking my ‘Euros Only’ sign down,” Leroy stated in an e-mail. “It no longer makes any sense. It was as high as $1.82 for one euro in July. The euro has dropped steadily since. Back in February, it was $1.50. At $1.35, it does not make financial sense to exchange the euro at the store. CNN said they want to come and film me taking it down.” After the story of Leroy’s euros sign — a collaboration with local documentarian Clayton Patterson — was first reported in The Villager, it went worldwide, beamed around the planet by satellite dish-toting TV news trucks that swooped down on the tent. The debonair antiques dealer put the cheeky sign up, only partly tongue in cheek, to cater to the droves of Europeans flooding New York City to exploit the weak dollar — and the rest is history. “Thank you all for my 15 minutes of fame,” Leroy concluded his message.

Falling chunks of CHARAS:

Bricks and part of the terra-cotta facade fell off the northeast corner of the sadly neglected old P.S. 64 (former CHARAS/El Bohio) on E. 10th St. near Avenue B around 10 p.m. on Thurs., Sept. 25. Three young women were reportedly sitting underneath the building’s sidewalk construction bridge at the time but were luckily unharmed — though badly shaken — protected by the safety structure. A tree branch was also ripped off, with a thunderous sound, by the falling debris. Afterward, firefighters and police entered the vacant building to check things out. The Department of Buildings did not respond to our repeated calls for information on the incident; and Gregg Singer, the building’s owner, also did not return a call. Michael Rosen, a member of the East Village Community Coalition, who lives next door in Christodora House, said, “We’re lucky no one was killed or seriously injured beneath the falling brick of old P.S. 64. In addition to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Department of Buildings has to act for an unsafe condition.” Trying to reverse the building’s landmark designation, Singer used a pre-existing demolition permit to lop off the ornamental details around the old building’s dormer windows, leaving ragged, exposed brick, which he covered with blue tarps. But now, as time goes by and with Singer’s negligence, the building — and passersby, and trees — are being put at risk. Shame.

Park pick?

We hear Borough President Scott Stringer interviewed Jim Solomon on Tuesday as a candidate to fill one of his three slots on the Hudson River Park Trust board of directors. Stringer previously told us he would probably replace two of his three Trust appointees, Julie Nadel and Franz Leichter. “We really pushed the borough president to consider Jim Solomon,” said Rich Caccappolo, of the Pier 40 Partnership. “He’s just a real good guy,” Caccappolo said of Solomon, a TV writer who lives in Soho, has young children and is chairperson of Community Board 2’s new Chinatown Committee and vice chairperson of its Waterfront Committee.

Ink to wine:

The building on Varick between Spring and Vandam Sts. formerly occupied by El Diario newspaper is now home to City Winery. Billed as “Manhattan’s first private-label winery,” it will offer winemaking, winemaking classes, tastings and concerts. With two levels, the capacious, 21,000-square-foot space will hold 200 private wine barrels in the basement. You can buy one starting at just $5,000 per year, and going up to $12,000, depending on the type of barrel and grapes. A barrel will yield 250 bottles of wine, with the vino ready for bottling after one year. Trucks will drop off the grapes at the building’s loading dock. Said grapes will then go through a destemming machine, then along a conveyor belt, allowing barrel owners to inspect the makings of their beverage-to-be. Alas, not barefoot peasants imported from Italy and France, but special, high-tech machines will then crush the grapes. Eight friends might go in on a barrel, or a company can buy one — giving the perfect excuse for a company “crushing party,” “bottling party” and, of course, let’s not forget the “uncorking party”…you get the picture. The main oenophile behind City Winery is Michael Dorf, founder of the Knitting Factory. Tapping Dorf’s music-world connections, City Winery will also sport a small stage and offer musical events. Already scheduled are Philip Glass and Wilco, though a C.W. spokesperson tells us musical performances won’t really get going until 2009. The place will also be an event space, with room for 200 people seated or 400 standing. The whole kit and caboodle, complete with a restaurant and a Murray’s Cheese shop — you need some cheese to go with all that wine — will open next month.


Scoopy’s Notebook last week incorrectly stated that extending term limits would “trigger” a big-stakes game of political musical chairs. In fact, extending term limits would avert just that sort of situation from happening, as citywide elected officials, councilmembers and borough presidents facing term limits would be able to run for re-election to keep their seats.