Scoopy’s, week of Jan. 24, 2013


KOCH ON FILM — LITERALLY: The New York Post recently had a field day with a slur former Mayor Ed Koch uttered about Andrew Cuomo after Hizzoner was unable to get into the governor-elect’s election night headquarters to congratulate him on his victory in 2010. “He’s a schmuck!” are the precise words Koch used. The barb is captured on film in “Koch,” a new documentary by Neil Barsky, which opens in theaters in February. Koch told us that he was simply angry at not being able to get in. “I went to visit him before the announcement of his victory, which is customary,” Koch said. “I was distressed because it’s difficult for me to walk. I said, ‘schmuck’ — which means ‘jerk’ — nothing personal. I was just angry that I didn’t get in. I spent an hour or two to get there.” Koch has actually seen the flick three times already, since he’s been asked to speak at several screenings of it, so figures he might as well stick around and enjoy the show. We asked him if he actually plans to write about it in his “Ed Koch Movie Reviews” column. “I will review it,” he said. And it sounds like this one will definitely be getting a thumbs-up (a + sign from Koch). “I happen to think it’s a terrific movie, very well done,” he said. “I happen to believe Neil Barsky did an amazing job.” We asked Koch his thoughts on Mayor Mike Bloomberg seemingly having cooled on Christine Quinn as his successor, apparently preferring someone more in line with his high-profile caliber, like a Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer or Ed Rendell. Koch didn’t have much to say on that one, other than that his support for the City Council speaker is unwavering. “You’ll have to ask him — I’m for Christine,” he told us.

OH, MY GOD! Soho residents angry over Community Board 2’s recent approval of a plan to enable God’s Love We Deliver to sell its air rights to an adjacent residential project are now even more incensed that they were unable to weigh in at the Department of City Planning. According to the residents, they had been informed by C.B. 2 that City Planning would hold a public hearing on the matter, at which they could air their concerns. But it turned out there wasn’t a hearing at all and Planning approved the so-called “minor modification” on Tuesday.

jean-louis,-photoBOURGEOIS BATTLES ON: If developer Steve Witkoff thinks he’s seen the last of Jean-Louis Bourgeois, he’s sorely mistaken. Yes, admittedly, a lawsuit by Bourgeois, above, and some of his neighbors against Witkoff’s 16-story project at 150 Charles St. has been dropped after the Department of Buildings reviewed the suit’s claims and responded that the project is within scope and doesn’t violate regulations. But that doesn’t mean the battle against the 98-unit, luxury residential project on top of the former Whitehall Storage building — or the scant remnants that are left of it — is over. Specifically, the case is now before the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals. Barry Mallin, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said that “the venue has changed,” but that it’s the same struggle, and furthermore, he vowed that they will win. The attorney didn’t go as far as to promise, though, that Bourgeois’s full vision for the site will be realized. As Scoopy has previously reported, that would include Bourgeois and his cohorts gaining control of the property, which would then be redeveloped as the Louise Bourgeois Sculpture Garden in Sapokanikan / Greenwich Village. The new open space would feature giant, creepy, metal spiders and other artworks by his late, famous mom, plus a smaller-scale replica of the Washington Square Arch. As an olive branch to Witkoff, a Norwegian-style, wooden, reindeer bridge — primarily to be used by people, but certainly open to reindeer — to be dubbed “The Steven Witkoff Path to the River,” would be built over the highway from the sculpture garden to the Hudson River Park. Meanwhile, Bourgeois told us he’ll be ramping up his opposition by converting a bus he bought in Latin America into a rolling anti-development billboard. One side of the vehicle will feature slogans slamming the Witkoff project, while the other will sport messages decrying N.Y.U. President John Sexton and the university’s 2031 expansion project on the South Village superblocks. Bourgeois told us all this over dinner the other week with a small group of friends at a Thai place on Carmine St. Other guests at the dinner included Jim Drougas, owner of Unoppressive Nonimperialist Bargain Books, from down the block, and a buddy of Bourgeois’s from their days at Harvard who penned a book on the Japanese Army’s inhumanly cruel World War II vivisection and biological warfare experiments. An important book, for sure, but perhaps not the best dinner conversation topic. We brought along an artist friend of ours, so we naturally wanted to hear about Jean-Louis’s famous mom and her legendary salons at her Chelsea home. In fact, these were miserable affairs, Jean-Louis revealed, amounting to Louise simply lecturing the other artists, who never got to say a single word. His relationship with his mère finally hit bottom when at one of these salons, suddenly growing annoyed with another artist, she commanded Jean-Louis, who was sitting nearby, to “Attack her!” Jean-Louis, finally somehow finding the strength of will to stand up to his imperious mother, refused — and in doing so, became free. … But he’s certainly not reluctant to go after Witkoff and Sexton. Attack!!!

SAILING OFF FROM PIER 40: pierStudios, the nonprofit youth theater group run by Peggy Lewis and formerly located on Pier 40, at West Houston St., is desperately looking for a new home. The pier had been their home since 2001. When they moved in, they had one week to transform the space, which was the former parole office for a prison barge that used to dock at Pier 40 back several decades ago. Over the years there, pierStudios has worked with hundreds of kids, as well as adults, including students with learning difficulties, deaf, autistic, with Asberger’s and Tourette syndromes and many on need-based scholarships. “We have people of all color, size, shape and sexual orientation and we are not for profit. A landlord’s dream tenant,” Director Lewis said. However, pierStudios was seriously impacted by Superstorm Sandy. After remediating as much as possible, Lewis called in an environmental company to do an air-quality test. “The test results make it abundantly clear that we must evacuate our space, permanently,” she said. “We have just signed the surrender document with Hudson River Park Trust, which gives us until Feb. 15 to be completely moved out.” Since Sandy, they have been desperately searching for a new location. Ideally, they would like 2,000 square feet, with no windows and preferably high ceilings (for juggling), a basic Class C space, and taking advantage of pierStudios’ nonprofit status. Preferably, it would be in the West Village, since Lewis’s students and parents are accustomed to being there.

Photo by Clayton Patterson
Photo by Clayton Patterson

HOMAGE TO A COLLAGE MASTER: A memorial was held this past weekend for East Village collage artist John Evans, who died Oct. 5 at age 79. Starting in 1964 and continuing for the next 36 years, Evans made a collage every day. His materials ranged from newspaper clippings, business cards, product stickers and ticket stubs to bits of ephemera or random photos found on the East Village’s streets. He used colored inks to build upon the collage elements. His creations are mini-time capsules that mark the end of the Vietnam War, New York City’s 1970s fiscal crisis, the 1980s club scene and art market and the AIDS crisis and its devastating impact on the art world. He ceased doing daily collages in 2000, the millennium, since he thought it just seemed like a good time to stop. The Villager’s obituary on Evans was displayed on a table at the memorial, above.