Scoopy’s, Week of Aug. 7, 2014

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.
Richie Gamba, “The Mayor,” outside the shuttered Hair Box.   Photo by Tequila Minsky
Richie Gamba, “The Mayor,” outside the shuttered Hair Box. Photo by Tequila Minsky

Closed! There has been a sudden wave of store closings in the South Village and Soho area, and longtime patrons are devastated. The Hair Box, on Spring St. near Sullivan St., recently felt the cut, and has shuttered. Richie Gamba, “The Mayor of Spring St.,” can usually be found seated on a chair outside the place. “It’s a shame,” he said. “The owner, Patricia, is being forced out due to the rent. This barbershop has been around for 104 years. Landlords should stop the gouging of the rents, so we can have businesses for family-oriented people.” Other recent closings include Ruben’s Empanadas, on Broome St. (one of our personal favorites). Of course there was Miladay’s bar, on Prince St., though it still has a Web page for former fans to keep in touch. And it looks like Once Upon a Tart, on Sullivan St., will be transformed into yet another nightlife hot spot — that is, if Navy’s operators, who hope to expand into the space, get a liquor license for it. Not too far away, Mexicana Mama, on Hudson St., has also reportedly closed. “At Ready to Eat next door, they said the rent did it!” reader Bruce Martin told us. “We are losing all our beloved small businesses!” As if all that wasn’t enough, another neighborhood institution, the Broome St. Bar, may close by December, we hear, since the building was recently sold.

Pounding Park drums: Concern is peaking again — as it seems to do every few years — over noise in Washington Square Park. Even Sharon Woolums, a public member of Community Board 2’s Parks Committee who is a huge fan of music in the park, is saying things have gone too far. The real issue, according to Woolums, is that people are bringing in full drum kits — though even just white spackle buckets are plenty loud — and really pounding up a storm of noise, which is drowning out other quieter musicians, like acoustic guitarists who just want to gently jam on their Beatles tunes in peace. At its recent full-board meeting, C.B. 2 approved a resolution by the Parks Committee that stated, “The pendulum has swung too far: Loud music is impeding general enjoyment of the park. Those who are breaking the rules or exceeding the guidelines are disrupting park use for the rest of the community.” Skateboarding in the park is also an issue, with the shredders doing tricks on park furniture and setting up ramps to do aerial stunts, especially near the Garibaldi statue, the board noted. Finally, people are hanging out in the park past the curfew and playing recorded music — which is technically amplified — and, needless to say, they don’t have a sound permit to do that. In short, C.B. 2 is calling for better enforcement in the park regarding excessively loud noise, skateboarding and violation of the curfew. On the latter, the board said the French barriers currently used to block the park entrances after the curfew are no obstacle to late-night parkgoers. As for the tunes, David Gruber, the board’s chairperson, said the real problem, as he sees it, is specifically late-night music, which “really penetrates the windows” of residents who live around the park’s northern and western edges. Phil Abramson, a Parks spokesperson, said the department will be assigning three more Park Enforcement Patrol officers to Washington Square, which already has three PEPs. “Two or three will be on duty at the same time, allowing for full coverage throughout the day and evening,” he said. The Washington Square Park Conservancy referred questions regarding the whole quality-of-life to-do to the Parks Department. Sarah Neilson, the conservancy’s executive director, said, “These issues are Parks Department matters and the Washington Square Park Conservancy has no involvement.”

Boricuas do Paris: Coach Damien Acevedo tells us that actor Luis Guzman, after recently hanging with the Lower East Side Lady Furies at the girls softball team’s last practice, was off to Europe, where he’s now busy filming his new flick, “Puerto Ricans in Paris,” which is slated for release next year. 

Political scene: Lois Rakoff recently attended a fundraiser at the famed Gargiulo’s on Coney Island for Domenic Recchia, who is challenging incumbent Michael Grimm for Congress in a Brooklyn-Staten Island district. Rakoff was a health and phys-ed teacher for Recchia when he was a teen growing up in Coney Island. “If he wins, New York will be all Democrat,” Rakoff noted of the city’s congressional delegation.