Volume 75, Number 8 | July 13- 20, 2005

Scoopy’s Notebook

A view without light? Residents of the seven-building Village View co-op between First Ave. and Avenue A from E. Fourth to E. Sixth Sts. opened their mailboxes on Fri., July 8, and were hit with a letter from Con Edison regretfully informing them that electricity would be shut off on July 25 unless the co-op paid a $95,868.71 electric bill, not to mention a $111,855 security deposit. The letter dated July 7 told residents of the Mitchell-Lama co-op that they could avoid the threatened blackout by applying for electric service in their individual names. However, no one in the complex has an individual electric meter — Village View electricity has always been included in the monthly carrying charges. But by Mon., July 11, the Village View Housing Corp., managing agent for the co-op, posted fliers telling residents that there would be no blackout, “Checks were hand-delivered to Con Edison’s offices last week. The Con Ed notices had already been put into motion and could not be taken back after the checks were received,” the fliers said. The co-op board has promised a meeting soon to explain the situation. Some skeptical residents plan to bring flashlights.

Petition madness: In District 2, which has 72,000 registered Democrats, the 12 candidates running for City Council to succeed Margarita Lopez have been hustling for voters’ John Hancocks in order to collect enough petition signatures to get on the September primary election ballot. Each candidate needs 900 legitimate signatures after challenges; so the accepted wisdom is to collect 3,000 or more to be safe. That means a total of up to 36,000 signatures between the 12 candidates, or half the district’s registered Dems. If a person signs for more than one candidate, only the first legitimate signing counts. Darren Bloch, a candidate, said it illustrates how the system might leave something to be desired. “We’re all racing to get people’s signatures first,” he said.

In the doghouse: An article on the recent People’s Rally to Save Washington Square Park noted an award was given for Most Aggressive Dog. While there were awards given for Best Dressed for a Protest Dog, Most Congenial Dog and Most Outspoken Dog, there was, in fact, no award for aggressiveness. “Writing that there would be an award for the most aggressive dog sends a very bad message to the community,” chided Pat McKee, of the Washington Square Dog Run Association. McKee noted that she was also concerned that The Villager recently reported that Bob Kerrey, New School University’s president, speaking at the Village Alliance’s annual meeting, was quoted as saying, “Those dog people are some of the worst you’ve ever seen.” Asked McKee, “What have we done to deserve such negative attention?”

No bookroom brawls: A word of caution to shoppers at the Eighth St. Barnes & Noble: Don’t try any funny business like slipping the magnetic strips out of any books and trying to smuggle them past the door detector. The security guard there is one of New York’s Finest, an off-duty New York Police Department officer, who the bookstore hires under the department’s paid-detail program — and he packs heat. Although last year’s effort by the New York Nightlife Association to allow bars and nightclubs to hire off-duty officers to patrol the sidewalks in front of them never got too far, it looks like there won’t be any donnybrooks amid the books, at least not at the Eighth St. B&N.

Poignant lampshades: In celebration of what may be the last season the Washington Square Music Festival performs on its beloved bandstand, local artist Marjorie Kouns has created special ornamental festival lampshades by the fountain and bandstand that will enhance the music and mesh with her “Well-Lit Chess Pieces” public-art installation in the square. This special addition will remain for the three-week concert series.

Correction: An April 20, 2005, news article and an Aug. 11, 2004, Scoopy’s Notebook item in The Villager, both about George Bliss’s former Pedicab of New York bicycle taxi company at the Hub Station in Soho, incorrectly stated that a New York City bicycle taxi company that was a competitor of Bliss’s company lacked insurance. In each case, the competitor pedicab fleet was not identified by name, but as being owned by an operator who also owns hansom cabs, or horse carriages. The Scoopy item stated that, according to Bliss, this operator had no liability insurance for his drivers, while the news article stated that the operator’s pedicabs didn’t have insurance. Manhattan Pedicab Company does have insurance covering its company, pedicabs, drivers and passengers.