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August 31st, 2007

The Penelope & Sam Fund for Neuroblastoma Research

by You the Reader

An open letter to the community:

Parents of two young patients have established The Penelope and Sam Fund for Neuroblastoma Research at the Vermont Cancer Center at the University of Vermont and Fletcher Allen Health Care. Approximately 650 children are diagnosed each year with neuroblastoma, an often-fatal form of cancer that occurs in infants and young children. Giselle Sholler, MD, a pediatric oncologist and assistant professor of pediatrics, and her colleagues at the Vermont Cancer Center are currently conducting basic science studies, as well as a Phase 1 clinical trial, to identify new treatments for children with the most aggressive form of neuroblastoma.

A Message from Penelope and Sam’s Parents:

“Neuroblastoma is a mean, nasty disease. As parents, we wanted to work with an organization that really embraced our role as advocates and partners in continuing forward momentum in treatment and in research for new therapies. At the Vermont Cancer Center–one of only 39 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer institutions in the nation–we are viewed as an important part of not only the care team but also the research team in the development of less-toxic and more-effective therapies for relapsed neuroblastoma. We hope that this model of partnership with parents will become the norm and will lead to better treatments and even cures for this terrible disease and others. Please lend your voice to ours and help us offer hope to parents and children diagnosed with neuroblastoma.” –John & Catherine London and Neil & Margot Hutchison

Facts about Childhood Cancer and Neuroblastoma:

Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Community | Take Action

August 28th, 2007

GVSHP: FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT(S)

by gvshp

The good folks at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation have been hard at work this summer. Here is an update of their progress:

Trump ‘Condo-Hotel’: Papers have been filed with the New York City Department of Buildings challenging the legality of the permits granted by the City for construction of the 45-story Trump ‘Condo-Hotel’ at Spring and Varick Streets. GVSHP is working closely with the SoHo Alliance and other community groups as the challenge to this outrageous and illegal development moves into the legal arena. For more background, see www.gvshp.org/trump.htm; for more information on the papers, see www.thevillager.com/villager_225/tryingtotrumptrump.html.

NYU Development and Satellite Campuses: GVSHP has led a coalition of community groups which have long called for NYU to work with the City to find locations for satellite campuses for the university, in order to prevent continuing over-development of our neighborhoods (see www.gvshp.org/documents/NYUAuxCampuses.pdf and www.nysun.com/article/29515). Earlier this year, Borough President Stringer began convening an NYU Community Task Force on Development Issues, and NYU finally began its long-promised “Strategic Planning” process, to examine and discuss with the community its long-term growth needs. As a member of the task force, GVSHP has made pushing NYU to make finding satellite locations a top priority. This became especially critical when NYU recently announced they will need six million additional square feet of space over the next 25 years, and will grow by 5,500 students — the equivalent of thirty-four of their new 26-story East 12th Street mega-dorms (www.gvshp.org/documents/NYUDormImages.pdf, www.gvshp.org/NYUdorm.htm) , and five times the entire student population of Cooper Union (see www.thevillager.com/villager_221/talkingpoint.html). Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Community | New York | News | Politics

August 13th, 2007

PLASTIC AND MILK DON’T MIX.

by John Coakley

Bisphenol A is a chemical used in the production of various plastics (water bottles, baby bottles) and resins (soup cans). A panel recently decided that the side effects of this chemical were minimal, though some concern was shown for fetuses still in the womb.

Other scientists feel that the effects of Bisphenol A have been downplayed, and that more concern should be shown. For the complete story, see what the good folks at Environment Service News have to say about it.

Filed Under: Community | New York | News | Take Action

August 9th, 2007

8/10/7: SAY GOODBYE TO THE MOONDANCE

by John Coakley

Thanks to Michael Perlman for the heads-up and the pictures.


The Moondance Diner has been a SoHo mainstay, in one form or another, since 1933. The food was good. The service, er, unpredictable. But what really made it special was the simple presence of a genuine, old fashioned diner, with a unique, eye catching revolving moon sign that reflected the increasing gloss of the neighborhood. That mix of old and new has always been a welcome sight—whether you ate there or not—in a city that is constantly changing.

Well, change has finally caught up with the Moondance. As many of you already know, it was recently sold via The American Diner Museum to Vince & Cheryl Pierce of La Grange, Wyoming. It will be a working restaurant once again, which is much better than seeing it bulldozed to make room for the—say it with me, people—LUXURY CONDOMINIUMS. Sigh. Friday, August 10th, will be the last chance we have to say goodbye to an old friend. It’s scheduled to be loaded on the truck and rolling by 9pm, but get there early just in case they finish the removal process early. Yes, I know that’s an unlikely scenario, but, to paraphrase Billy Joel, will that be your consolation when it’s gone?

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York | News

August 6th, 2007

WHAT DO NEW YORK CITY AND LIBBY, MONTANA HAVE IN COMMON? ASBESTOS.

by John Coakley

The good folks at 9/11 Environmental Action picked up this story from the Missoula Independent, written by Paul Peters. It seems that small towns and big cities have a lot in common, especially when it comes to our shady government and their lack of concern for our health. Read on:

It’s called “Libby meets Manhattan: Connecting the dots between a New York terrorist attack and a Montana mining disaster,” and it does just that.

We encourage EVERYONE to read this well-researched story. And we think it’s important for Manhattan to hold up its end of the dialogue.

So we urge you to WRITE A COMMENT (the website provides a quick and easy way of doing that at the bottom of each page, as you read the article on the Missoulanews.com website) or a SEND A LETTER TO THE EDITOR to thank the reporter, Paul Peters, and to offer your own perspective.

Libby meets Manhattan:  Connecting the dots between a New York terrorist attack and a Montana mining disaster, by Paul Peters, Missoula Independent, August 3, 2007

Filed Under: Community | New York | News | Politics

August 2nd, 2007

LETTERS

by You the Reader

Feel free to voice an opinion on any subject; we want to hear what you have to say. Mail your thoughts and rants to:

Letters
c/o SoHo Journal, P.O. Box 1485
New York, NY 10013
or email us at info@sohojournal.com

FROM THE EDITOR:

Dear Readers;
From time to time even the very best of us make mistakes; it’s sad, but nothing a bottle of expensive red wine won’t cure. Still, I have to right a couple of wrongs. In the last issue we credited Rumors & Lies to contributor D. Grady, when in fact it was written by the infamous gossip monger, Jack Torrance. Also, we incorrectly listed an address for Gia Bottini, the very gifted photographer who shot that issue’s beautiful cover for us. The proper way to reach Gia (and we hope you do) is prettyinpictures@gmail.com.We don’t make many mistakes or apologize often, so please don’t get used to it. Enjoy this Journal, it’s an amazing issue with a lot of great articles to help you pass the lazy days of summer.
Cheers!
MDM

Dear SoHo Journal:

I don’t know what to make of your magazine. I mean I really like it, and it’s FREE but it’s so all over the place. I’m not complaining, just confused. Hampton Politics, The Plunkitt Of Tammany Hall, the Trump piece, and then you switch gears and there’s the piece on the Body Of Art, Larry Kramer and ACTUP, Girls Of The 80’s, [more] Houdini. Just not your usual fare for a “downtown” magazine. I’m in the publishing business as well, and we don’t have the kind of ‘editorial’ freedom you people seem to enjoy…how do you do it, and are you hiring?

John Doe
Times Square Office
New York City, NY
Continue Reading »

Filed Under: New York

August 2nd, 2007

NYC TRIVIA…YOU DON’T KNOW JACK S%!#

by Lawrence Pfeil Jr

One side effect of being a jaded New Yorker is that you think you know everything there is to know about the city, and that’s really annoying to those of us who do. As any 3rd grader can tell you, Manhattan was purchased from the Native Americans who lived here by the Dutch for strands of glass beads. But…they probably can’t tell you what tribe they belonged to…Can you? No…not the Manhattan Indians! (Most accounts say the Canarsee Indians.) The following New York City trivia quiz will really separate the Rockefellers from the Knickerbockers…

1) What is Mahattanhenge?

2) What is the estimated real-estate value of Central Park?

3) Until what year did sheep still graze on the Sheep Meadow in Central Park?

4) A finalist for The New Seven Wonders of the World, The Statue of Liberty was originally named/entitled what? Bonus Question: How many points are on Lady Liberty’s crown and what do they represent?

5) The base of the TV tower on the Empire State Building was originally designed as what?

6) When the current Grand Central Terminal opened on February 2, 1913, the main concourse only had one staircase. But during the $200 million dollar restoration in the 1990’s the second one was added to balance the Beaux Arts interior of the room. Which staircase is the original one? Bonus question:What are the staircases modeled after?

7) How many stars adorn the Mediterranean night sky on the ceiling above the 80,000 square feet main concourse at Grand Central?

8) What is the only Art Nouveau theatre in existence in the US and probably the entire world?

9) Under what highly traversed four acre plot of land are found over 15,000 corpses?

10) How many Madison Square Gardens “arenas’ have there been? Bonus Question: What were their locations?

11) How many subway lines are there in the city? Bonus question: What will the new Second Avenue line be called?

12)What are the names of the two lions outside the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue?

13)What is New York’s longest running musical?

14)What is a Knickerbocker?

15) The gilded statue overlooking the fountains and ice rink at Rockefeller Plaza is of whom?

16)What determines if a VIP will ring the opening or closing bell at the NYSE?

17)Where is the smallest privately held parcel of land in the City?

18)What are Ruthville and Gehrigville?

19)Who introduced the Hot Dog to America in 1867 on Coney Island?

20)Why is it called “The” Bronx?

The Answers: Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | Community | New York

August 2nd, 2007

HAMPTONS POLITICS

by D. Clark MacPherson

As amazing as it may seem, the reigning Southampton Town Republican Party has dropped one of its stalwarts, Nancy Graboski, from their ticket. The Southampton Press has speculated that this was payback for not supporting Mr. Zizzi, a local builder, for the Planning Board post he had held for several years. For those of you who have never heard of the term Conflict of Interest, (a term which is unknown in Southampton) it refers to the concept that if you are involved in a branch of government which wields any power over a specific business in which you, yourself are engaged – you might inadvertently make decisions that could be compromised– and therefore, you should not seek or accept such an appointment. So, for example, a builder/developer, perhaps should not sit on a committee that votes on approvals for friends, associates, consultants or attorneys with whom he may do business indirectly – and especially if he were to do such business directly or has business which appears in front of that committee.

There are approvals for undersized lots, waivers for development projects, and zoning relief sought by or for political friends — all potential conflict of interest risks that deal in coin of realm. Especially in the Hamptons where the economy runs on the fuel of Real Estate.

Graboski and Dennis Suskind had apparently seen and heard enough bullshit and the “secret” had been outed to the point where they had to shout, “I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it any more.” As a result, after being a loyal Republican, Graboski was canned by Marcus Stinchi, the Westhampton Beach landscaper who runs the Republican Party for Skip Heaney, the Supervisor. Neither of them appreciated losing Zizzi on the Planning Board, a major source of “fundraising” for the party. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Commentary | Community | Politics | the Hamptons

August 2nd, 2007

RESTLESS MISCREANT: THE GHOST OF GOEBBELS

by Delbert Grady

Who could that be? Why, Rockin’ Rove of course (Karl Rove for those who have been on another planet the last few years). Now there’s a guy whose concepts and tactics could make a Nazi cry with joy. Let’s check out a few items:

Number one for me has to be his master plan to create a “permanent Republican majority.”

He should have added “by whatever means necessary,” sort of like in the Third Reich. The curious Presidential election results in Ohio in 2004 comes to mind. Then there’s his “storm trooper” move during the 2000 Presidential election, which comes in as number two. For those who don’t remember, Rove sent “muscle” to Florida during the “hanging chad” recount to derail it – and he was all too successful. There are certainly dozens of other examples, but let’s skip forward to today’s atrocity – that little matter of trying to turn the Justice Department into a Republican partisan stronghold by installing new U.S. attorneys who would “play ball” in prosecuting baseless Democratic “voter fraud” cases and close out investigations into Republican corruption, etc. For instance, there can be little doubt that Rove’s boy Tim Griffin was installed specifically in Arkansas to dig up sealed court document dirt on Hillary Clinton arising from the old Whitewater affair. Griffin had, after all, previously headed the opposition-research operation at the Republican National Committee. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Commentary | New York | News | Politics

August 2nd, 2007

OUR TIME THEATRE

by John J. Flanagan

“Very moving,” “inspiring,” “wonderful,” “fulfilling,” “courageous!” What has Tony Award Nominees Kellie O’Hara and Daphne Rubin Vega and Quantum Leap star Scott Bakula searching for superlatives? It’s the 5th Annual Benefit Gala for the Our Time Theater Company, and all three have just performed an original musical with a talented group of 8-18 year old kids. What makes this theater company unique, however, is that Our Time is an ensemble of young people who stutter.

Our Time was founded in 2001 by Taro Alexander to “create a place where young people who stutter could express themselves without the fear of being ridiculed or rushed.” Himself a stutterer and a performer, Mr. Alexander and his creative team (including Musical Director Everett Bradley) have expanded the company to 25 children and developed an international reputation. The Our Time members not only perform, but they also write their own songs and plays. Each year the group writes a series of one act plays, in addition to writing the musical that is performed at the annual gala. Members of the company travel and perform around the country at conferences and events, and last year the company performed in Dublin, Ireland at the International Fluency Association’s Fifth World Conference. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | New York

August 2nd, 2007

EVERETT BRADLEY: THE BIGGEST STAR YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

by Mr. Norman Maine

It’s a really perfect morning in New York City. I’m sitting outside at a small table with too many things on it, a too attentive waitress, and with me is the biggest star you’ve yet to hear of, Everett Bradley. To say this man is talented is like saying Hillary Clinton is mildly ambitious. Everett’s career encompasses the showbiz gamut, from rock, pop, and soul to Broadway and concert halls, singing jingles and doing voice-overs. He has been on most every TV show taped in New York and LA, early morning to late night. He has toured with Carly Simon, Hall and Oates, Bobby McFerrin, and counts Bon Jovi, Patti Austin, and a host of other better-known performers as close friends.Mr. Bradley also devotes much of his time to charity, The Our Time Theatre Company, an organization that benefits young people who stutter; Everett Bradley does not stutter, he’s just that generous and kind. So who is this un-well known, giant talent, where did he come from and where is he going? We were able to pin him down for a few moments during one of his usually hectic days to ask him.

SoHo Journal: A little background please, Everett. How long have you been living in New York City?

Everett Bradley: I moved to New York in the fall of 1989, so about 18 years.

SJ: Your goal was to become a performer, or was there something else that brought you here?

EB: It was. I was touring with this artist, John Eddie.When he got signed, he was supposed to be the new, young Springsteen. He was a part of the whole Tommy Matolla craziness with CBS, and there was a lot of hype about him. Anyway, he was making his record at John “Cougar” Mellencamp’s studio in Indiana. He was recording with Shawn Pelton, who is now the house drummer on Saturday Night Live. John asked Shawn if he knew of any black guys who could sing and play percussion on the tour. Shawn told him “look no further, I’ve got the perfect guy.” I was living in LA at the time. They called, and I moved to NYC to work with them.We toured with The Kinks, and we were the opening act on The Bangles’ last tour. That’s what got me to New York. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | New York

August 2nd, 2007

VIDEO STORE GUY: DVD REVIEWS

by Steven Anderson

CUTTHROAT ISLAND: 4 STARS
Directed By: Renny Harlin, Written By: Robert King, Marc Norman
Starring: Matthew Modine, Geena Davis, Frank Langella, Maury Chaykin
Produced By: Renny Harlin, 124 mins, PG-13 1995

In a move that can only be described as callous, calculated brilliance, Lions Gate has re-released “Cutthroat Island,” a 1995 film about piracy, just in time to coincide with the release of the third “Pirates of the Caribbean” film.

Which isn’t to say that you don’t actually benefit from this sleazy money grab–“Cutthroat Island” was a wildly unappreciated gem from the depths of my old high school days. Captain Morgan Adams was plying the high seas and seizing booty (of all types) long, LONG, before Johnny Depp insane-minced his way across the silver screen.

Morgan and crew are out to lay hands on the treasure on Cutthroat Island (hence the title)–a seized Spanish treasure ship’s entire haul.Which is a lot. And that kind of gold sitting out in the middle of the Caribbean will call all sorts of unsavory types, from Morgan’s crazy uncle Dawg to the governor of Jamaica himself.

Okay, so let’s dispel the first query right now. No, it’s not as good as “Pirates of the Caribbean.” But then, would anything be that good? “Cutthroat Island,” meanwhile, is still a great entry in the pirate movie category, with lots of explosions, assorted swordplay, some gunplay for variety and occasional laughs and romantic bits. It’s definitely worth your time, even if it can’t stand up to Captain Jack. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | New York

August 2nd, 2007

SOHO GADABOUT

by Anthony Venditto

I love the summer in New York City. I know the prevailing wisdom amongst the cognoscenti is that summer in the city is fit for neither man nor beast. I’ve even heard those in the hipster elite compare a NYC summer to having a naked, fat epileptic chick wrapped loosely in saran wrap squat on your chest and just sweat and giggle for three months straight.

But to those foolish naysayers I say: You are weak, narrow-minded sheep! Take off your blinders of sobriety, strap on your beer goggles of enlightenment and LIVE! Summer is a time when anything and everything becomes doable. It’s the season when, perennially, the planet wakes from its slumber, comes alive, spreads its legs and dares us to dive in for a taste.

Summer in the city is a veritable feast of the flesh. It’s a decadent circus filled with scantily clad ladies and scads of spindly legged, pasty-faced foreigners. It’s a carnival of hazy humidity where filthy hippies, from time to time, will spontaneously combust before your very eyes. It’s a wonderland of playground after playground of fat, unwashed, ugly, ugly children.

In short: Summer in the city is a Fellini film come to life for those of us brave enough and drunk enough to discover it. So come with me, if you will, as I reveal to you my top ten favorite places to wile away the dog days. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Commentary | Community | New York

August 2nd, 2007

DAMN RIGHT, IT’S A LOVE SHACK.

by John Coakley

KITSCH IN THE CATSKILLS AND A FEW QUESTIONS FOR KATE.

Technically, our first date was on June 11th, 2004. But this year that date fell on a Monday, and celebrating by spending a Saturday night in the Catskills just held more appeal. This was our third anniversary and I wanted to spend it somewhere special. Really special. A-place-worthy- of -a-proposal-special. Yeah. Hoo boy.

I’d first heard about Kate’s Lazy Meadow-nestled in the heart of the Catskills, near Woodstock–a couple of years ago and immediately filed it away in a mental folder labeled, ‘Things to Do/Places to Go that Will Become Increasingly Unlikely to Be Done/Gone to as Time Passes.’ The website did a great job of displaying the outre funkiness that one would expect from a place owned and co-designed by Kate Pierson of the B-52s: 50’s furniture, garden gnomes, tchotchkes galore, and little soaps and shampoos collected from years of touring. I never thought I’d get off of my ass and make it up there, but now I had a mission, a purpose. Dee (Not her real name – she’s a spy. Oops. She’s shy, I meant. Yeah. Shy) was looking forward to the trip, happy that we’d be spending our anniversary somewhere other than our couch, watching “Six Feet Under” DVDs. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Arts & Leisure | New York

August 1st, 2007

JADED…NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR SUMMER!

by Lawrence Pfeil Jr

It can happen to anyone…without warning or provocation…and come at anytime. The dreaded phone call from a distant relative or long lost friend living in one of those square states across the river, or worse, the friend of a friend:

“…and you’ll never guess where we’ve decided to go on our vacation…New York City! We’ve never been to the Big Apple so we want to see everything and can’t wait for you to show us all the sights! Won’t it be fun?”

To a native or even a “naturalized” New Yorker (i.e. someone who has lived here more than seven years with absolutely no desire to live anywhere else) the thought of playing tour guide for out of towners from the hinterlands is a fate worse than a two week old garbage strike in August with no AC.We wouldn’t be caught dead going to any place listed as a “Top 10 tourist attraction” and would be mortified if someone we know saw us waiting in line to “see a sight.”

But truth be told, we’re actually missing out on some great things to see and do because we’re too damn jaded for our own good at times. It seems like we’re always so busy going somewhere–work, an audition, an opening, home, a movie, whatever–that we really forget where we live. Sure, when we sit next to a celeb in a restaurant we remember, or when we get into a club NO ONE can get into we remember, but generally we are too distracted by the grueling pace of our own lives that we forget. And it is these times, when we schlep someone around town that we realize how cool New York really is, and you remember how cool you are for being able to show the rubes around! So before you book your guests on every Greyline Bus Tour, or Circle Line dinner tour available, here are just a few activities and attractions you may want to reconsider visiting yourself.

Top of the Rock: Having reopened less than two years ago, Top of the Rock at 30 Rockefeller Plaza is the “newest” scenic spot in the city. Closed to the public for more than 50 years, it’s 70th floor observation deck offers a unique and breath-taking 360 degree, unobstructed, panoramic view. This includes Central Park and the northern half of Manhattan, which can’t be seen from any other public vantage point. Its beautifully restored art deco interior from 1933 is equally spectacular and features two dazzling new pieces of art created by Swarovski Crystal. “Joie,” a stunning crystal waterfall chandelier, greets visitors entering fromWest 50th Street and “Radiance,” a massive crystal geode wall, shimmers with 600 custom glass and crystal panels spanning a width of 180 feet on the first level of the Observation Deck.

The Empire State Building: Without question The Empire State Building is the grand dame of city landmarks, with long lines daily to prove it. Be a savvy visitor and order tickets in advance online, but more importantly take in the grandeur of our city from its 86th floor observation deck or from its recently reopened 102nd floor observation deck…at night! It’s open till 2AM so crowds are sure to diminish through the evening hours, and the view of city lights is unparalleled–making it one of the most romantic spots in Manhattan. According to its website, “Static electricity buildup is so mammoth on top of the Building that, under the right conditions, if you stick your hand through the observatory fence, St. Elmo’s fire will stream from your fingertips. Lovers who kiss up there may find their lips crackling with electric sparks.”

Come Sail Away: For a truly unique way to experience Manhattan in all of her glory, go sailing through New York Harbor! Classic Harbor Line offers several daytime, twilight and night sails aboard the Adirondack, an 80 foot pilot schooner.While sipping complimentary drinks, you’ll sail south from Chelsea Piers down the Hudson River to Battery Park, passing by Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.Wind and time permitting, it’s up the East River to the Brooklyn Bridge and then home again. To complete the experience, pack a basket with your favorite goodies and munchables to bring along and have a picnic on deck as the cityscape drifts by. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | New York

August 1st, 2007

A TOWN WITHOUT PITY

by Christian McLean

The True and Tragic Tale of a Young Man’s Failed Social Experiment.
While some of us are lucky enough to have family and friends with places in the Hamptons, paying our rent in NYC and buying a ticket out east can be too much for our wallets to bear. On a crowded street in mid-May, I saw a disheveled man holding a sign that stated his parameters: “I’m not a drug addict, I just need money for food.” The image stayed with me and as Memorial Day Weekend approached, I thought, why can’t I have a sign asking for a little help? Surely Manhattan would embrace a clean-cut, twentysomething, white male who had to get to the Hamptons for the weekend. Right? Didn’t everyone realize that after such a drab spring I was starving for the ocean and some open space?

On the Thursday morning before Memorial Day Weekend, I designed a wardrobe: khaki pants, pink Polo button-down (a must for the summer season), matching pink argyle socks, saddle shoes, and a beach hat to collect the spoils. I made two cardboard signs. On the first sign I scribbled, “I’m not homeless, I need to get to the Hamptons!” while the second read, “Wish you were in the Hamptons? So do I!!!” Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Community | New York

August 1st, 2007

CONEY ISLAND—LABORATORY FOR THE MASS CULTURE

by Mr. Norman Maine

Although the name of this article sounds like something from the pompous Village Voice or the “we wanna be cool” New York Press, it’s not. It’s actually a quote from Historian John F. Kasson, referring to Coney Island at the turn of the century–the last century, not this one, although I guess it might apply then too, though in a more abstract way.

Luna Park, Dreamland, Steeplechase Park, and much later on Astroland Park all comprised what was once the world’s most famous playground, Coney Island. To this very day, no other city or single attraction has managed to match the overwhelming number of visitors as Coney did in 1943, when 46 million people came to the resort by the sea. Imagine this: in 1955, the year it opened, Disneyworld had 5 million visitors. Last year New York City and Las Vegas, two of the three biggest tourist destinations in the USA, couldn’t crack 40 million visitors. Orlando, Florida boasts of over 50 million visitors, and yet in this age of air travel and beautiful interstates, these three destinations still average one million less than Coney Island drew 64 years ago.

The long and sordid history of Coney Island is a fascinating one. What started as separate beaches for the residents of the area blossomed into arguably the greatest resort town ever. The idea was to have beaches for the three social classes. Manhattan Beach was for the wealthy, so they wouldn’t have to mingle with the help on their days off, the middle class would spend their leisure time at Brighton Beach, feeling better about themselves because they didn’t have to associate with the poor, who were relegated to spend their pennies and sun their withered bodies at West Brighton Beach. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Community | New York

August 1st, 2007

CURMUDGEON’S CORNER: MORTGAGE MELTDOWNS, EXECUTIVE PAY-CUTS, FLAT TAX & PATRIOT ACTS

by Sean Jaeger

Call it subprime, call it Alt-A, call it liar’s loans, call it what you will, the giant sucking sound was the roar of Wall Street giants scooping gold up off the streets of America and making it disappear into their pockets.

The biggest profit center, maybe the only profit center for GM lately has been GMAC finance (the mortgage and car loan branch of the company). Does the name Ditech ring a bell? The big winners in the great housing boom have been the money lenders in the temple…GM, Citimortgage, Lehman Bros, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, not to mention the usual suspects in the hedge fund camp. The big losers are the people who thought they were buying a house and actually were financing the champagne and caviar lifestyles of those who have been making money on the commissions, the points, the packaging and the trading of these mortgages. You think maybe these big spenders were passing around mortgages for charity? Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Commentary | Community | the Hamptons

August 1st, 2007

SOHO DISCOVERIES: DANNY ROSS

by Mr. Norman Maine

Introducing Danny Ross! Is the debut EP from the multi-talented Mr. Ross. Most people in show business lead a double life and we depend on the Enquirer to tell us about it. Mr. Ross really does have a double life. By day he is a Congressional Staffer for Rep. Jerrold Nadler. But by night he is the music world’s newest piano man. His sound is reminiscent of early Billy Joel mixed with Ben Folds Five. Ross’ voice blends emotion and control, while taking us on a mature beyond his years, lyrical journey. Showmanship and grace are words that come to mind as Danny travels up and down the keyboard with the ease of an accomplished, assured musician!

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON DANNY OR TO PURCHASE THE EP PLEASE GO TO WWW.DANNYROSSMUSIC.COM

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | New York

August 1st, 2007

SOHO POLITICS

by D. Clark MacPherson

Several issues impact the SoHo and Hudson Square communities in much the same way. While Trump SoHo moves ahead, activists are gathering forces for this and other important confrontations. Unfortunately,Mayor Bloomberg and his sidekick Dan Doctoroff have proven that they are the pro-development Republicans that we all feared. So, in addition to the Trump fiasco and the ramifications for development, the downtown communities are simultaneously watching their flanks and fighting a rear guard action with the Gansevoort Transfer station and the Pier 40 RFP (Request For Proposals).Wherever the community turns, there’s Doctoroff, the Robert Moses look-a-like who apparently never saw a development he doesn’t like. Just as Napoleon escaped back to Paris in 1812, Bloomberg and his minions have left the troops behind to fend for themselves. Is it the lure of the Governor’s Mansion or a fantasy of the White House that drives the newly registered as Independent Bloomberg?

The Trump problem has little to do with the Donald’s swing-wing hair, and all to do with a failure of the City Council to take the lead and reign in the phony Hotel/Condo concept which weaves a little legal maneuver through the City Planning rule books.After all, they’ve had ten years of warnings by such notable downtown voices as David Reck of the Friends of Hudson Square and Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

City Planning is a Bloomberg creature, as is Lancaster of the Department of Buildings–and neither agency can sell-out the community fast enough if his nibs wishes it. In fact, Trump SoHo could have been stopped if there wasn’t so much money to spread around and we had a city that gave a damn about its historic architecture and our place in the world. Christine Quinn, Speaker of the City Council, who wishes to follow in Bloomberg’s footsteps, is already ramping up her fundraising. But her opinion is that a change of zoning (to contextual zoning) for Hudson Square is optimistically at least a year away. One wonders how many building permits for 40 or 50 story mega condo/hotels can be planned in that amount of time. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Commentary | Community | New York | News | Politics

August 1st, 2007

PLUNKITT OF TAMMANY HALL: A POLITICAL COLUMN OF AMAZING RANDOMNESS.

by Trip Plunkitt

In case you live under a rock and haven’t read or heard any of Presidential hopeful Rudolf Giuliani’s speeches, they pretty much go like this:

“On 9/11, I was mayor of the City of New York. Nobody else was mayor on 9/11–I was mayor on 9/11. 9/11 was a big thing forAmerica, and since 9/11, people call me America’s mayor. Why? Because I was mayor on 9/11. Terrorists hate me because I am tough because of 9/11–I’ll have everybody arrested, just to be safe from another 9/11 (but not you of course). If you vote for anybody else for president, we’ll have another 9/11.We need more troops in Iraq because of 9/11.My cell number is 911911911 and 911 is the code on my car alarm. I named my dog 9/11…”

It goes on like this. Now, what happened to the presidential bid of our former governor? Mr. Pataki didn’t even make it to the Republican debate, and some pretty invisible candidates were there–we thought we saw our doorman up there on the podium–but where was Pataki? This proves our theory: Pataki talked about a run for president, raised money while he was still inAlbany so he could increase his profile with the goal to eventually say he was a “former presidential candidate,” thus getting a more lucrative job somewhere (except that “former candidate” status came even before he was a candidate).
Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Commentary | New York | News | Politics

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