Vet takes G.V.C.C.C. helm:
The Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director, Thomas Gray. Gray most recently served as director of land use policy for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. He earned a bachelor’s of science degree in justice studies from Kent State University. During his studies and after graduation he served in the U.S. Coast Guard as a machinery tech third class. He performed harbor security and anti-terrorism duties abroad during Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan War) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Second Gulf War).
A burning issue:
The annual marijuana march hasn’t been snuffed out. Bleecker St. activist Dana Beal remains in jail in Wisconsin on pot charges, but what is now being dubbed the Cannabis Peace March will still occur on Sat., May 7. “Dana was the face behind the event for 30-plus years,” said attorney Noah Potter. “The committee has sworn to pick up the pieces in supporting Dana.” The weed walk now happens in 300 cities around the globe, but the New York one is the original. Participants will call for the release of nonviolent pot prisoners and will call attention to New York City’s pot arrest policy. The marchers will assemble at noon at Washington Square. At 1 p.m., they’ll head down Broadway to Foley Square, where at 2 p.m., there will be music and speakers.
After years of on-and-off homelessness, Jim Power, the “Mosaic Man,” was thrilled to recently get a room in The Lee, the new supportive-housing building at Houston and Pitt Sts. run by Common Ground. He moved in about two months ago. But what once seemed like a dream come true is turning into a Lower East Side version of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” for him, according to the street lamppost artist. The details are a little sketchy, but Power said he recently said just one little word, “jump” or “push” — as in jump or push off the building — and was also falsely accused of having a gun, and that this landed him in the Beth Israel psych ward for eight days, where he was forced to take medication. “They recommended this stuff, Depakote, 1,000 milligrams, it makes me sleepy all day,” he said. “They say I’m manic, depressive, dispolar. What? I was doing fine before this.” The Vietnam veteran said he doesn’t have a gun, but rather a belt buckle with a bullet on it — “it’s a piece of artwork,” he stressed. He also claims a security guard is roaming the halls at night barking like a dog, trying to get Power’s canine companion, Jesse Jane, into trouble, by making it seem like she’s running loose in the building. When he called us the other day, a noticeably slower-speaking Power said the drug was also blurring his vision, which he really doesn’t need on top of everything else he’s dealing with. But one of the caseworkers at The Lee is telling him to take the medication. “They want me to think in a single mode — not the way I usually do,” he complained. “There’s an impression that they’re overmedicating.” At this point, he said, he’s afraid to even look at any of the caseworkers for fear of being whipped right back up to the psych unit. Reader Billy Sternberg e-mailed us recently, saying he bumped into Power on Avenue A and gave him a buck, and that Power told him what was on his mind. “He says his sanity was questioned — that he said he threatened to jump off of the roof, which, he says, he has no recollection ever suggesting,” Sternberg wrote. Personally, Sternberg said, he thinks Power should stay on the meds.
Pier girls gone wild:
David Poster, head of the volunteer Christopher Street Patrol, said he and another Village resident, Diana Horton, and a group of Guardian Angels were patrolling on the Christopher St. Pier on March 18 when they witnessed a shocking scene — girls fighting each other all over the place. It was around 11:15 p.m. on a Friday, 70 degrees, the first really warm night of the year, and it seems, well, pent-up energy perhaps just exploded. The women were ages 17 to 24, and here and there around the pier, knots of them were breaking into melees. Most troubling to Poster was that “they were loving it — they were hitting each other in the face. There were like 150 kids out there. It was like a bloodbath.” Up to a dozen women may have been fighting at any one time, he said. The patrol and the Angels — Shaggy, Phantom, J and Bambam — tried to break fights up, but it was out of control. The Park Enforcement Patrol officers were “overwhelmed” and didn’t know what to do, Poster said, and apparently called 911. Soon, four squad cars from the Sixth Precinct rolled onto the pier and things settled down. A couple of the women were taken away in ambulances, according to Poster, but others just sat holding their bloody faces and apparently refused treatment. The quality-of-life activist said he just hopes this wasn’t a precursor to “a long, hot summer” of problems on the pier.