Scoopy’s, Week of March 12, 2015

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.
Buxton Midyette.
Buxton Midyette.

Buxton in a landslide! Well…make that 4 to 0. Congrats to Buxton Midyette, who was recommended unanimously by the 66th Assembly District’s quartet of Democratic district leaders — John Scott, Jean Grillo, Keen Berger and Arthur Schwartz — to fill the vacant seat for state committeeman. Alan Schulkin recently voluntarily vacated the post after getting tapped to be commissioner of the Manhattan Board of Elections. Midyette, a V.P. in marketing, lives in Tribeca and got involved in community activism when he headed the successful grassroots campaign to keep P.S. 150 from being relocated to the new school at the former Foundling Hospital building, at W. 17th St. and Sixth Ave. He founded and leads Build Schools Now, an organization advocating for more schools to alleviate Lower Manhattan’s school overcrowding. He has three children in local public schools. He also is known as a very dapper dresser. The district leaders hailed the selection process for its openness, saying an invitation was extended to all eligible and interested males. Other candidates interviewed included Jonathan Geballe, Dennis Gault and Delay Gazinelli. Their recommendation will be submitted to the State Committee, which will consider it closely at their next meeting. Like district leaders, state committeemembers are unpaid volunteers who serve two-year terms. Midyette is an executive board member of the Downtown Progressive Democrats club. D.P.D.’s Scott said Midyette is exactly the type of community-minded person that they want to get more involved in politics. Said Berger, a member of Village Independent Democrats, “We expect Buxton to represent us well, and to add new energy to the political power of Downtown.” Rachel Lavine, the district’s state committeewoman, said, “Congratulations to each district leader for making the process as transparent as possible, and to Buxton for filling the state committeeman vacancy.”

Legal eagle flies on: He’s become a hero in the Village, Nolita and elsewhere around Downtown for his lawyering on behalf of community members battling everything from the N.Y.U. megadevelopment project to the purportedly pesky Citi Bike rack in Petrosino Square — and the N.Y.U. case has been pro bono. Now Jim Walden has left the firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher to form his own enterprise, Walden Macht & Haran. He and his partners, Timothy Macht and Sean Haran, are all former federal prosecutors. Walden, for example, during his stint as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1993 to 2003, was the chief of the Department of Justice’s Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property Division and deputy chief of its Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. He successfully prosecuted members of the Bonanno crime family and other mafia figures, and was featured in the National Geographic series “Inside the American Mob.” But the community probably hasn’t seen the last of this soaring legal eagle, as we’re told he’s going to “continue to take cases involving government and government investigations, as well as what could be called ‘public good’ cases.”

Occupy petition! We hear that before The Villager’s article a few weeks ago about Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s proposal to felonize resisting arrest, a petition against the idea on change.org had gotten 250 signatures. Convicted Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan, who was featured in the article, subsequently started her own petition on Facebook and it quickly got more than 10,000 sign-ons. As the article’s reporter, Gerard Flynn, said, “Don’t say The Villager can’t stimulate social change.”

Success vs. 7-Eleven: State Senator Brad Hoylman recently gave us the update on the ongoing effort to mitigate the noisy A/C units on the 7-Eleven store on Avenue A that had been driving neighbors nuts. “The offending units were moved to the roof of the Kushner building just before Christmas and the Environmental Control Board lifted the cease-and-desist order as a result,” Hoylman reported. “It’s my understanding that tenants have been able to sleep peacefully since.” The building is owned by Jared Kushner, the young real estate mogul / New York Observer publisher. “The whole situation demonstrates why national retail chain stores typically aren’t good neighbors,” Hoylman added. “This matter should have been resolved in weeks, not months and months. Instead, 7-11 and its battery of consultants and lawyers fought us nearly every step of the way in our attempt to get the A/C and refrigeration units silenced.” The E.C.B. case was between the city Department of Environmental Protection and 7-Eleven. D.E.P. issued a cease-and-desist order to 7-Eleven due to outstanding violations for their air conditioning and refrigeration units, which were in violation of the noise code, and Hoylman then took them to court to get the order enforced. The state senator and a number of residents served as “interested witnesses” and took part in the proceedings.

Brained at Balthazar: In case you missed it, the New York Post recently reported that one of the giant antique mirrors at Keith McNally’s Balthazar on Spring St. in Soho crashed down onto a group of diners one morning. The mirror, in fact, hit Arnaud Montebourg, 52, France’s minister of industrial renewal, right on the head, causing him to unleash a gale of Gallic curses. One diner said the minister was “like Superman,” holding up the mirror until others arrived to help. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt. We called the restaurant shortly afterward, and they were open for business. We’ve always noticed when passing by the place how the mirrors do conspicuously lean out at an angle from the wall — so diners can look up at them and get a view of the room. But obviously if they’re hung like that, they better be well anchored!

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