Scoopy’s Notebook

McNally does the Bowery:

Keith McNally’s latest new eatery, Pulino’s Bar & Pizzeria, has glitzified the formerly dingy southwest corner of the Bowery and East Houston St. On the exterior, McNally has spiffed up the block quite a bit, installing rustic-style brickwork and white globe lights along Houston St. On its Bowery side, the place boldly beams out its presence in bright neon red. Actually getting inside, however, is no easy feat, requiring a minimum 45-minute wait, we’re told. Working the pizza ovens is Nate Appleman, of San Francisco by way of “Iron Chef.” According to a source, Pulino’s is “not as laid-back” as McNally’s Schiller’s Liquor Bar, on Rivington St., where there’s no wait, and patrons are packed right in. One neighbor who is taking a wait-and-see attitude on McNally’s latest is Billy LeRoy, proprietor of Billy’s Antiques & Props, across East Houston St. — who is waiting to see if the uber restaurateur will say hi. Said LeRoy, “When you’re a bigwig restaurateur who moves into a neighborhood that has this much history and ghosts, one would think, ‘Hey, let’s get to know the guys across the street.’ Well, me and my Bowery Boys are still waiting. Daniel Boulud, owner of DBGB, came over and introduced himself. John Varvatos came in and introduced himself. Pat Field, when she came to the ’hood, came in and introduced herself. It’s just neighborly. But maybe Keith McNally is worried that my Bowery Boys will ask for freebies. Tell him Parisi Bakery already does [give us freebies] — and the pizza is better.” … In related news, Rob Fennick, who founded the East Houston St. antiques tent, originally as Lot 76, on an empty, garbage-strewn lot, recently passed away after a long illness. Fennick, who lived on Central Park South, was active in the Downtown music scene in the ’80s with his band, the Brunettes. Originally from Detroit, he was good friends with Mike Skill, the lead guitarist for The Romantics, also from the Motor City. His twin brother, Ron, said a big memorial with lots of rock-’n’-rollers was planned in Detroit.

Here we go again…:

The Parks Department is proposing sweeping new rules to cap the number of street artists allowed in various city parks. Under the regulations, no more than three artists would be allowed to vend in the High Line park, 18 in Union Square Park, five along Central Park South, nine in Battery Park and a maximum of 12 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art along Fifth Ave. between 79th and 81st Sts. According to Robert Lederman, president of ARTIST (Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics), under Parks’ plan, the artist vending spaces would be “first come, first served.” Naturally, Lederman is gearing up to fight the new rules. He says if the regulations are approved, Parks will then try to install a permit system, which it has wanted to do since back in 1988. In December, The Villager reported on Lederman’s ultimately successful fight to vend his art on the High Line. The artist activist declared that the same First Amendment rights that protect art vending in all city parks also apply to the High Line park, and the Parks Department — whose Park Enforcement Patrol officers had arrested him twice in the new park for vending without a permit — ultimately relented. At the time, Lederman reported to The Villager that Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, after personally assuring him that he could vend his art freely on the High Line without fear of arrest, also told him that Parks was considering limiting the number of artists on the High Line to three. In response, Lederman told The Villager, “If Benepe makes a rule — ‘Three artists on the High Line’ — someone might challenge that… . As soon as they pass that law, we would seek an injunction.” Lederman has always won these free-speech vending cases in the past. Vickie Karp, a Parks spokesperson, said there are reasons why the department is seeking to cap artists in the parks. Of the High Line, she said, “In 10 months, 2 million people have passed through there. That’s a lot of people. This is about balance — [the issue is] how do we continue to maintain the intent of the park? It’s supposed to be a park — how do we keep it a park when it’s very heavily used?” Lederman and his group plan a protest at the hearing for the new rules on Fri., April 23, at 10 a.m., at the Chelsea Recreation Center, 430 W. 25th St.

Playground fascism?

Carl Rosenstein, who owns the Puffin Room gallery in Soho, was surprised while having his morning coffee Fri., April 2, at his usual table in DeSalvio Playground, at Spring and Mulberry Sts, when a cop emerged from a van and gave him a summons for sitting in a children’s playground without a child, in violation of a posted sign. Noticing that the officer who summonsed him came from a van that said “Truck Enforcement,” Rosenstein asked what was up. “He told me he was taken off truck route enforcement to do this because they had complaints about other playgrounds,” Rosenstein told The Villager. He said it was ironic because he was the point person two years ago in getting no-truck zones designated in the neighborhood. As for the ticket, Rosenstein said it smacked of fascism. “I’m going to court and get it dismissed,” he vowed.


‘The Magic is Back’: Kicking off another exciting season of baseball, the Greenwich Village Little League will be holding its opening day on Sat., April 10, at 10 a.m. at Pier 40, at West Houston and West Sts. (Hey, George Capsis, you’re invited, too!) Continuing one of the inspiring stories of last season, Thomas Ellenson and his dad, Richard, will be with the A’s again this year. “The A’s are excited to welcome back Tom and Richard as coaches. The magic is back in 2010,” said Daniel Miller, the A’s head coach. Last year, Thomas, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair and a Tango device invented by his father to speak, was named the A’s M.V.P. — “Most Valuable Person” — and was the intangible “X” factor in their championship season. The Villager’s article on Thomas and the A’s brought Yankee superstars A-Rod, Andy Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain down to J.J. Walker Field during the Yanks’ inaugural HOPE Week — “HOPE” standing for “Helping Others Persevere & Excel” — where the pros praised the team’s inclusive spirit and ran a baseball skills clinic.