Rallying around the May Pole

“I’m in a New York state of mind.”

— Billy Joel

So rather than try to rephrase things and fuck it up — since I’d likely get a nasty call from Sean Sweeney, here’s his organizations take on current politics. We supported Marte and he fortunately won. We have high hopes. A few others that we supported won as well but the jury is out on that. We got behind Alvin Bragg and Adams but haven’t had any feedback on them yet. I like Adams’ energy though. I’m not holding my breath for a call from Bragg’s office unless they’re gunning for me like Thomas Spota did — which didn’t work out to well for him. I’m sure a few of you are disappointed about the decision on Trump but, hey who knows, right? I haven’t heard from Melinda Katz for a few years either (although I admit trying to reach her), but no soap since I interviewed her several years ago. But, that was before I was hit with 107 felony counts by a not yet imprisoned D.A. looking for cash.

However, I so think it’s time to start giving others a shot at downtown politics — like, for example, the Assembly. Ryder Kessler is running. Meanwhile, here’s what the SoHo Alliance has to tell us about the community.

A Volunteer Community Organization

Dear Don,

He swept SoHo in last year’s election and he’s still sweeping it.

City Councilmember Christopher Marte announced on Wednesday that he has reallocated funding to hire ACE workers to sweep our streets from Mercer to Wooster, Houston to Canal, three days week. ACE workers will also be maintaining the corner trash bins that currently often overflow with trash.

Dressed in their red work clothes, workers from ACE, the Agency of Community Empowerment Programs for the Homeless, were a familiar sight on SoHo streets for years.  

However, the program suffered from perennial fundraising shortfalls, causing it to cease its “free” street cleaning operation in 2016. (ACE is still retained by the SoHo Broadway Initiative to clean Broadway and the abutting side streets.)  

In response to ACE’s departure, in 2017 Clean-Up SoHo, a volunteer group with which the SoHo Alliance was involved, raised sufficient funds to purchase some eighty corner trash bins and hire workers for a year to bag and empty the trash on a daily basis. However, fundraising and organizing the cleaning services is basically a full-time job, beyond the scope of community volunteers.

So for the past several years, due in no small part to the budget cuts to the Department of Sanitation, SoHo streets have become increasingly littered. 

In response, earlier this year there was an effort to organize a BID, a Business Improvement District, to raise funds to clean the streets by increasing property taxes. With property taxes rising more than 10% annually here, that is the last thing we need. 

Not to mention that BIDs push for changes that primarily benefit commercial property owners and large multinational retailers — not local small businesses or residents. The role the SoHo Broadway BID played in the recent upzoning of SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown testifies to that. Who wants a BID to control the rest of SoHo in perpetuity?

Thus Councilmember Marte’s grant is a double blessing. We get cleaner streets and retain local control.

Marte says this funding is not a one-off, but will continue as long as he is in office. It is in tandem with a similar program he has arranged to clean Delancey Street on the Lower East Side.

Marte announced the news at a press conference last Wednesday at the corner of Greene and Prince Streets joined by ACE workers and local community activists.

Photos courtesy of thevillagesun.com

Our neighborhood provides the city so much revenue in property and sales tax receipts, yet has been the forgotten stepchild of so many past administrations, getting nothing in return but filthy streets and crowded sidewalks. It is so gratifying to have an elected official who helps rectify that unfair situation. Thank you, Chris.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS GOOD NEWS TO FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.

Sincerely,

Sean Sweeney

Director

SoHo Alliance

PO Box 429

New York, NY 10012

212-353-8466

info@sohoalliance.org

sohoalliance.org

Keep your eyes open. I’ve got a few books coming out this summer. The world of Justice and the American Way was interesting and in these delightful stories I describe the joy of living in a New York State prison. In Up & Away I give a first hand picture of how corrupt politicians can destroy your life — while in The Bonfires of the Hamptons showcasing Trump SoHo, Dominatrixes, Hamptons real estate and a little prison thrown in — those of you who are still waiting for that knock on the door can pour yourselves another drink. And don’t think it can’t happen to you.

Just when you thought it was safe…….

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

— Yogi Berra

Okay, so just in case you think I’m complaining…I am.

My question is this. How can you function in a society where nothing works? Let me give you an example. A few favorite subjects immediately come to mind.

First, let’s review the danger in crossing the street and the traffic in SoHo — and what it’s like to try and do something about it.

Starting with the dangerous traffic situation in SoHo, especially in the streets around the Holland Tunnel. Traffic is worst crossing from Delancey coming from the Wiliamsburg Bridge and coming down across Broome Street and from the Manhattan Bridge heading across Canal Street.

There are not enough Traffic Agents to protect pedestrians from frustrated drivers who want to get to New Jersey. And, NO agents at all giving out tickets. The worst thing that can happen to a motorist, no matter what they do is to be directed off one of the lines and head away, flying into the mist and no-man’s-land of lower Manhattan with no line to be part of.

This, of course, means that there is no incentive to avoid hitting a pedestrian. If a driver hits you trying to cross the street, the responsibility is on you to get help. Any help. So, when some guy hit me while crossing in the crosswalk, here’s how it played out.

First of all, the driver started complaining. He was worried that I might report the incident. Forget that my back hurt, I’d dropped all of my groceries and I was pissed off that this Jeep had hit me when I, as a pedestrian, had the light. Forget that I wasn’t in a car. So, now I had to listen to him bitch at ME. He actually was complaining that he’d just beat cancer.

I pointed out that I hadn’t yet beat cancer, and that he had no registration or insurance for his car, had no license plate, and had just rammed me. The Traffic Agents paid no attention but one guy in his car advised me to get the guy’s information. I was told to go to the 1st Precinct and make a report.

As I stood there in pain, after collecting my groceries the frankfurter guy just shook his head at the scene. He’d seen it all before. Later he told me I was lucky the guy didn’t attack me for forcing him off the line and missing his queue into the tunnel. He’d seen that happen a couple of times.

By now, there were three lines of gridlock snaking around the corner from 6th Avenue into Watts Street with no one moving. So, I just walked away, with no help apparently coming, no tickets being written, no police in sight. If I called the police I’d probably be attacked for fucking up the line.

The next day I made a report at the 1st Precinct and headed over to CityMD for a consultation. I was advised to have an MRI. My back bothered me but I wasn’t going to use a cane to increase my benefits. Having blood/bone cancer, however, is a dicey situation. According to one lawyer, Shelly Silver had made it virtually impossible to sue unless you were in a full body cast. Now Shelly’s dead after having been imprisoned for corruption and I was left trying to figure out what my future held.

No attorney wanted to handle this case on contingency as a result of the fact that I had obviously not been maimed or had tire marks on my chest. Any case would require some legal work. And, most attorneys now view this kind of case without a retainer much like Dracula fears the light.

So, after filing a police report and visiting a doctor I spoke to a lawyer and obligated myself to a retainer. Even though the driver had no insurance card, no registration and no license plates, the police were not excited. They didn’t see this as a HIt & Run. It was more like a Smack and Skip. Numerous letters to the 1st Precinct got nowhere. I even sent letters to the Community Board. No response.

But, there was some movement. My retained lawyer got a response. From the City.

After having been a member of Community Board #2 and having spent meeting upon meeting with D.O.T. which promised changes so residents wouldn’t get hit, I realized they were all full of shit. Although, at CB2 you can’t really say that. So, in filing a lawsuit I listed the City for creating an unsafe situation with no enforcement. They’d been promising changes for twenty years. The Traffic and Transportation Committee are all smiles when the City sends their polite twenty-year olds from the City. Veddy, veddy!

Suing the City resulted in what’s called a 50H hearing. At $650 an hour I had to sit in front of a lawyer that apparently COULD afford to deal with this issue. First, I was told that the hearing could not be recorded, that it was preliminary (meaning she got to see what my cards were and this didn’t really count). Then, I was told me that SHE got to ask questions and that I didn’t. You know, democratic-like?

So, by now, I’d only racked up a few thousand in legal fees. The police were going to do nothing. I still had no idea who owned the car. And, the driver, who claimed to be local, had given me phony phone numbers before he skipped.

Finally, my attorney, who was doing me a favor since Shelly Silver had fixed things for everyone, kept the cost down to under $5,000. And, he filed a summons for me.

The result was this — some attorney responded for the Skipper and it flatly stated that no accident had ever happened. No one had hit me. There never was a guy whose license I photocopied. I never had any damage and my cancer was a ruse. In fact, this was all my fault. Wasn’t I the criminal here?

I had to withdraw my case against the City since they were not a fault for the pedestrians being hit and killed in lower Manhattan. And, since I still was able to walk, what was I complaining about?

Keep in mind folks that in People v. Torres, the D.A. is required to prosecute this, “Right of Way Law” which makes it a misdemeanor for a driver, while failing to exercise due care, to make contact with a pedestrian or bicyclist who has the right of way and thereby cause physical injury.

I withdrew my case against the driver because I was getting no help from anyone. Apparently, I had never been there and who was I going to get to testify, the frankfurter guy? Imagine his fealty to me when he received a subpoena (if I could even afford to send him one) and had to testify about his legal status and then worry about retaliation for selling old hot dogs. HE would probably attack me every time I passed his cart.

He’d probably fear being attacked by a gangster from New Jersey. Or, maybe the guy who hit me. Unless the line was still moving. Who knows who would be blamed the next time someone was killed by a car.

Probably, me because I didn’t write about it.

Stay tuned for “Up & Away,” a novel about prison life — “Murder in SoHo” — and “Bonfires in the Hamptons,” the story of Justice at the hands of corrupt Hamptons politicians — all based upon true stories. Coming this summer. They’ll make your hair stand up if you believe in the 1st Amendment.

The 1st Amendment and the Free Press

“There’s a reason education SUCKS, and it’s the same reason it will never, ever,  EVER be fixed.It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it. Be happy with what you’ve got.Because the owners, the owners of this country, don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now, the BIG owners! The Wealthy… the REAL owners! The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions.

Forget the politicians. They are irrelevant. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice! You have OWNERS! They OWN YOU. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought—and paid for—the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls.They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying, to get what they want.  Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want:

They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.

That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that! You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shitty jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street—and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later ‘cause they own this fucking place! It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it! You, and I, are not in the big club.

By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head with their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table has tilted, folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care! Good honest hard-working people; white collar, blue collar it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-working people continue—these are people of modest means—continue to elect these rich cock suckers who don’t give a fuck about you….they don’t give a fuck about you… they don’t give a FUCK about you.

They don’t care about you at all… at all… AT ALL.  And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That’s what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that’s being jammed up their assholes everyday, because the owners of this country know the truth.

It’s called the American Dream—because you have to be asleep to believe it.

— George Carlin

Okay, so it’s a George Carlin rant. But, even for those of you who despised Donald Trump, he made a few relevant points. Some had to do with the minimal time under the statute of limitations to sue for certain offenses, like defamation, false reporting, and outright character assassination in the media. For those of us who bought the Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression aspect of life in these here United States, it was Jefferson who knocked down Adams when he was about to get the Alien and Sedition Act passed that prompted his actions.

For those of you who wisely stay away from opening your mouth, attending demonstrations, and writing about politics — all of which I did and caught 4 years from a corrupt Hamptons D.A. prompted by the Town of Southampton and that beacon of honest reporting, the Southampton Press, for it — the time may be coming where that may not be possible. Of course, fascism is always an option. Unless you start ponying up to bring your elevated blood pressure into the courts if you still believe they’re honest. But, word to the wise, stay away from Suffolk County. It was the Feds who got D.A. Spota, not the State Supreme Courts. Take it from me I know what I’m talking about. That game was carefully controlled by Spota (now in prison for operating a criminal enterprise out of his District Attorney’s Office) and his pals like Frank McKay of the Independence Party. Nothing has changed. And, with a $9,000 dollars a month pension which he collects while in prison and $17 million in cash awaiting Spota’s release, a Club Fed might be just the time he needs to plan his next moves. No fences, tennis, a pool, and great food.

I just published “Up & Away,” the first of several books coming this year. Soon to be available to those who’d like to experience four plus years behind bars without the financial and emotional devastation. And, I can always sit and read about myself on the internet compliments of a hit piece ordered by John Sutter and written by Lincoln Anderson — still available more than ten years after the fact on The Villager, now available through Schneps Media who bought them out. They claim to be a “Community publication” which looks suspiciously like a company who figured out how to collect an ever-expanding wellspring of advertisers as if it were a Ponzi scheme that keeps acquiring new money-losing newspapers to maintain its existence. And, theres no limit on how long a company can publish articles on the internet if you don’t file a lawsuit within one year for defamation. Cute.

Stay Tuned.

Now is the time for all good men…

“Peace in our time.”

— Neville Chamberlain

If you think things will get better if we wait, you’ve got another think coming. We can all delay the inevitable but the situation will only get much worse.

Stop the advance into Kiev and other cities now. Before the other countries that belonged to the old Soviet Union are also attacked; stop the anschluss now before Putin raises the anti and before the threats become more and more dangerous, ominous and threatening. There is no winning here. There is no placating here. There is only meeting force and intransigence with a reciprocal presence of power. Have we not spent enough money and created a formidable framework to protect Democracy? Time to stop the bullshit and show our hand. Right now, it’s a Full House. Later, it may be a pair of Deuces as we cower under new pretexts of fear.

The Ukrainians understand what the deal is. Either we come to their assistance now with an enforced “No fly zone,” which may very well result in war — or, we let the tanks roll over their children while we debate next year’s military budget. Speaking of which — double it NOW, not later, and create a bastion of democracy that is neither full of shit nor fearful of bullets, missiles or bombs. We can all chip in. Including Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Jamie Dimon, Mark Zuckerberg and the many billion dollar corporations that benefit from our “Best of all Possible Worlds” of Democracy, you know, our own home-grown Oligarchs. The ones that don’t share their wealth with anyone.

Here’s an opportunity for the Oath Keepers and Boogaloo Bois and militias who would like to kill Democrats to ship out and help in a real war where they can put their AK-47s and automatic rifles to good use. Perhaps Kyle Rittenhouse, that brave protector of freedom and democracy would like to join them? Perhaps the memory of Maria Butina, who conned the NRA into believing that she was going to support gun rights in Moscow could call upon the NRA membership and the executive committee and enjoin them to pick up their assault rifles and take a plane to Ukraine?

Be prepared to pay the price whatever the cost. Because this problem is NOT going to go away.

The time for protests is over. Now is the time for action.

Stay Tuned.

Sanction This

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” 

– Alice in Wonderland

As we watch the news in this “Best of all Possible Worlds,” keep in mind that people with big money, whether earned or stolen have been buying up real estate in this country for decades. Paul Manafort, bless his pardoned heart, bought numerous properties since FinCen has been looking the other way in the Hamptons. Even Trump and his friends caught onto that play. And, then, there are the condos in Manhattan, in newly constructed buildings that curiously seem dark at night — for years. I once asked about the new twin towers at 565 Broome Street in SoHo. I wasn’t told that I was wrong — and that people don’t really stash that much money in Manhattan real estate and never occupy the new apartments — I was simply told, “No, it’s the Chinese. The Russians aren’t buying right now.”

So, if old Joe isn’t really worried about stepping on anyone’s toes, and he’s really serious, perhaps a review of multi-million dollar purchases in the Manhattan condo market when the price tag reaches over a certain dollar mark — as well as for those nifty little houses in Southampton, Amagansett, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, Sagaponack and Montauk which have changed hands since the early 2000’s when the money started to flow into broker’s coffers — perhaps a little investigating? Especially, when they were bought by shell companies and shills. A lot of cash that FinCen wasn’t watching being in those big broker’s escrow accounts could be elucidating.

Maybe contacting Donald Lochheim, the owner of the Southampton Press, who was the Mayor of Sagaponack could help with that. Apparently, being the only disseminator of “news” in the Hamptons is worth something since selling newspapers never really brought home the bacon. Advertising conveniently placed in the Southampton Press which is now owned by Joseph Louchheim by the East End Towns along with some very valuable knowledge about real estate, does. However. I always thought it strange that with all of the corruption in the District Attorney’s office — which landed the top law enforcement official in prison — was not worth reporting on. But, not a word. Instead, I got bad press for three years running — for renting new houses to immigrants and then four years in prison for renting houses to Latinos.

That was before it became obvious that Latinos weren’t criminals — the politicians were. Now, villages like Hampton Bays where nearly a third of its population are those hard workers who have now bought houses — who previously had found affordable housing from landlords like me. For renting to Latinos I was “offered” four years in prison as a result of the attempts by characters like Skip Heaney, the former Town of Southampton Supervisor who, along with D.A. Thomas Spota, criminalized landlords for providing housing to those immigrants. The Latinos are back and Heaney is gone, along with his buddy D.A. Spota who got five years in prison for operating a criminal enterprise out of his office. Does the word Racism sound about right? So much for journalism and a “free” press. Sounds like RT doesn’t it?

So Joe needs to ramp up his game and people need to keep their eyes open. All is not what is obvious. It ain’t just oligarchs buying big yachts. It’s also Russian politicians hiding money out of sight of the worthless rouble.

Unless, of course, we’re not really serious.

Stay tuned.

Oh, and by the way, my first book is out and several more are in progress and will be published this year.

Look for “Up & Way,” true stories by a journalist of life behind bars. Compliments of Hamptons justice.

Varsity Black & Blues

“The mania about status is a marker of our new Gilded Age.”

— Viet Nguyen

Political corruption is so pervasive that it is almost a given. It is the exception that stands out. The recent death of Shelly Silver, the former Speaker of the Assembly in New York stands out only because he died while in prison — an unusual and sad event. As one of the “three men in the room” which included him and Cuomo who is now also gone, only the $400,000 in cash found in his Chief of Staff’s closet — which she claimed she was unaware of — has any humorous implications. Only the Rothchilds would find it amusing. I didn’t either. I failed to see the humor in it when when I was denied Work Release in prison four times while Silver’s friend William Rapfogel got it immediately. It was good to know Silver could even pull strings AFTER he was indicted and convicted — three times. Like Murray, in Goodfellas, who asked “What am I a schmuck on wheels,” I kept trying but I had a mean-spirited D.A. trying to keep me IN prison because I was writing about his pay-to-play operation and the stacking of the Suffolk County court system with corrupt judges — which is still going on in the Hamptons. The Feds finally got Spota and he’s doing soft time in Otisville.

But, you know, it’s not only politics that’s seeming extra dirty these days. It’s the Justice system itself, and has also infected Education. We are all familiar with the status system in America. The Varsity Blues prosecution, whereby money was spread around to gain entrance to exalted institutions of higher learning was noteworthy if not surprising.

I always wanted to attend Harvard. Not because I’d learn anything. I just wanted to have an easier time getting into graduate school, have an advantage in my job search and get laid more often. Instead I went to Wagner College where I was assaulted by a pedophile professor (a reputable Christian) and then attended NYU before it took over most of Greenwich Village. In those days, the late sixties and early 70’s (Dylan was around the block at Gerde’s Folk City in the 60’s performing but was ignored because the students didn’t think he could sing), NYU was trying to become the downtown version of Columbia University. A girl I wanted to date knew I hadn’t gone to Harvard and therefore wouldn’t play with me but she did interest me in the Ph.D. program she was attending in the late sixties. I listened to her because I was searching for a way to avoid being riddled with bullets in Vietnam.

The program was called Media Ecology. Essentially, she said, it was a completely bullshit program run by a couple of hippy professors, including Neil Postman and one of his buddies, who simply repeated Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message” for a few years while everyone smoked dope. The program is now called Media, Culture & Communication. No one wanted to talk to me recently because of my age, my stint in prison, the books I’d written, and the fact that I knew it was a bullshit program — not to mention the fact that I hadn’t ever paid into the Alumni program. I knew too much. Postman wouldn’t even return my emails about the program when he started it during the anti-war hysteria.

The same was true of the Social Work program where psychotherapy was taught before it was called a “Clinical” program. The fact that I’d attended and was granted a Master’s in the 70’s and written numerous books and had intimate knowledge of the fact that there was ZERO mental health treatment in the prison system now sealed my fate. I knew too much. And, again, my age stood in the way. Plus, the people at the Social Work program had no idea when prison treatment was like — and didn’t care.

So, how is this relevant? Stay with me.

I also attended Columbia University doctoral program. But, I couldn’t stay because I ran out of money. The professor who was my advisor suggested I take a leave because there was no money in those days if your family wasn’t rich or connected. The leave was open-ended. I took it and wanted to return. Someday. Like, now.

Both Columbia and New York University rejected my recent attempts to continue my education. Both schools wanted me to start from scratch in providing them with testing (a big business in itself), background information, my reasons for wanting to attend and……..(drum roll) my history of alumni participation and contributions. My interviews held by foreign graduate students who assessed my credentials and suitability to return to the fold and experience after spending four years in prison — who weren’t interested in reading my books about political and social corruption — were very good at vetting my “alumni activities.” They were looking for people who would make them look good. Not people who could do something NOW for the community.

I’ve always believed that the simplest explanation is the best. Like Occam’s Razor, arriving at the bottom line quickly always seemed best. I’m not an Existentialist. I’m an Absurdist.

Our educational system, from High Schools like Dalton in Manhattan to graduate schools like Columbia, NYU or UCLA, is corrupt. University degrees from our elite institutions are bought and paid for so when someone at a party drops the name of a school like Columbia, New York University, UCLA or Harvard — laugh or walk away — unless you want to engage and ask, “What did that cost?” And, you won’t be talking about tuition.

If you can’t buy your way in with “Legacy programs,” donate a building, buy a degree or prop up the Alumni program — forget it.

Oh, and none of my children made it into either school. But they did make the Wait list at NYU. The others from China, Africa and Eastern Europe made it in. My three degrees from NYU didn’t qualify them as Legacy.

As George Carlin said, It’s called the American Dream—because you have to be asleep to believe it.

So So SoHo

“Things ain’t what they used to be.”

— Duke Ellington

Trying to get a handle on the conditions in SoHo is not easy. People lie. Some tell the truth. But, conditions are somewhat obvious.

Business is clearly suffering. There are numerous empty storefronts. There are fewer restaurants. And, those that remain, have shortened hours. The hotels have reopened and while the old James Hotel on Avenue of the Americas and Grand Street has a new name and new management they’ve raised prices, The SoHo Grand and its cousin The Roxy in Tribeca are still under the Stern ownership. I understand from the doorman that a night can be had for as low as $150 during the week. If you shop on Hotels.com you’ll find that ModernHauz, the old James, runs $270 a night ad The Dominick, the old Trump SoHo is about $250. If you judge how they’re doing by whether the lights are on, it makes you wonder.

Felix’s owner Alain says that they are now open from Wednesday thru the weekend. Most of the other restaurants were closed even on a Thursday, except for the Broome Street Bar, a stalwart in SoHo. You can always get a great burger, salad, or exotic sandwich along with a bowl of chili and sit inside or outside.

The new place, Bice, on Watts has been closed for the last couple of days but don’t read anything into that. It’s an excellent restaurant and the owner and staff are first class.

I highly recommend calling in advance if you plan to visit. Don’t expect to find a parking spot, though, since no one moves their cars any more.

Lincoln Anderson of The Village Sun, formerly editor of The Villager, has essentially been filling the void in local SoHo and Greenwich Village politics — since Gothamist focuses mainly on Manhattan as a whole. However, there are some tired and opportunistic pols still laying around, like Deborah Glick and Brian Kavanaugh and we need new blood. I know I do. The only old-timers worth their salt is Chuck Schumer and Jerry Nadler. My only questions to Nadler’s committee is: Why can we now not get the full Mueller report, AND, What would these characters who planned 1/6 be facing if they’d done this in Venezuela, Russia, or North Korea? Exactly.

Speaking of which — I know Cuomo was handsy. And, he was never a favorite of mine. But, how many Republicans with similar problems have resigned? And, you know, Hochul let the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures expire in the middle of a pandemic surge! Are those upstate roots showing? Have her pollsters told her she doesn’t need Manhattan or New York City to win?

Take a look at the restaurants on West Broadway below and see what you think.

Stay Tuned.

Felix Restaurant

Hudson Square Meets SoHo West

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

— Wm. Shakespeare

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

For more than 20 years I’ve been complaining, no, railing about the fact that the cars and trucks heading for New Jersey have been aiming at pedestrians Downtown. Then, after spending eight years on Community Board #2 trying to grab anyone who would listen — that there is no enforcement in SoHo/Hudson Square to stop vehicles from hitting people trying to cross the street, I left. Partly, because I was sent up the river for writing about Thomas Spota, the D. A. in the Hamptons — who has now been incarcerated.

I sent letters to D.O.T. and got a lot of bullshit responses claiming that they were working on it. And, they were. Only ENFORCEMENT was never part of the plans. Traffic flow, groins, patterns, routes, studies — were all part of the routine that has enabled D.O.T. to continue its lovefest with CB2. Letters to Downtown politicians, from Assemblymember Glick to Corey Johnson in the City Council as well as members of the Traffic & Transportation Committee on CB2 got residents nowhere.

Enter the Hudson Square BID and the Bigs who also have influence with the City Council. Why? Well, apparently, the fact that a new condo has been built at 565 Broome Street, a block away from where the real crime scene has been located for more than 20 years — Broome Street turning into Watts and the Holland Tunnel, West Broadway and Broome, Varick and Watts, Varick and Grand, and ALL of Canal Street — has awakened the local “leaders.” NOW that the condo corner has been impacted, pedestrians have become important. Suddenly, the fact that pedestrians have been hit or killed by cars matters.

As one local activist reported:

“Hudson Square BID, Cory Kunz and Sean Lewin appeared at the 1st Precinct Sector D meeting on Dec. 15; their plight was getting traffic management at the corner of Varick and Broome, where there was such “horrendous” traffic.
Dan Miller, “2nd” chair of CB’s Traffic and Transportation also commented about this particular corner at the CB2 Traffic and Transportation Committee meeting in December. Dan sits on the Hudson Square BID board (the sole “community”) member and also the HPRT (Hudson River Park Trust).
All these guys name-dropped they had been touring that corner with either Corey Johnson or someone from Corey’s office.”

So, there you have it. Nothing is in the works for the rest of us slobs in SoHo West who have been dealing with and getting hit by vehicles rushing to New Jersey — because there is zero enforcement. But, had we purchased a condo at 565 Broome Street and had “a couple of teeth in our heads and a few friends in town,” perhaps Shirley Secunda or the new Board Chair Ms. Kiely might try to help save pedestrians from being killed.

Crossing Canal
Crossing Watts

Traffic-Con in SoHo

“Truth is like the Sun. You can shut it out for a time but it ain’t goin’ away.”

— Elvis Presley

So, in my demented idealism, having fervently believed that the political process can make a difference I started out twenty years ago trying to do something about the dangerous traffic conditions in SoHo. I fully understand that getting to New Jersey is important. Especially, if you live there. And, I also understand that pedestrians are an interference for cars as well as bicycles. Further, I understand that West Broadway, Broome Street, Watts Street, Prince Street, Spring Street and parts of Houston Street are great places for tourists to be entertained and fed. But, there are people in SoHo who depend on their legs and feet to carry them, including tourists who luckily find parking spaces and then have the same problem trying not to be hit by a speeding Porche.

No one wants to get hit, hurt, or killed crossing the street — even if the Traffic guards ARE too busy directing vehicles to New Jersey and practically finding crosswalks irrelevant. Canal Street and Varick Street between Canal and Watts are just such a location. This has added to the extension of Chinatown so as to be renamed SoHo South or Chinatown North. We can thank the developers who have stacked the Planning Board for that. I won’t even attempt to defend the fact that Art and Artists for the success of SoHo because they’re long gone. What is left are condos, vacant stores and restaurants who have extended their rentals to what used to be parking spaces.

The point of this is that after being hit by several vehicles that have eliminated crosswalks and Traffic Agents who clearly are so overworked that pedestrians are their least concern, I’ve had to make the choice about HOW SERIOUS my wound was. Do I go to a hospital, a doctor, or a radiologist? Do I call the police? Or, do I forget it because everyone is going to be annoyed because I’m still walking. I’m not dead. So, how bad could it be? The car took off to New Jersey, the Traffic cop was busy with traffic and he doesn’t give out tickets or report accidents. What do I want from him? I’m annoying him. As I drag my left leg along hoping that the pain will subside I called the police but they can’t get through and the three cop cars with sirens were headed to dinner or mabe a murder. Calling in a report got me two guys showing up 5 hours later in my apartment. Apparently, I could walk, so what’s the problem? The fact that the car that hit me this time (since the previous time I was hit the car was from Georgia and presented insurmountable problems for NYPD and Georgia), did not leave me with crippling damage. The time before that I tapped on the rear of the car on line along Varick Street and the driver got out and started screaming at me for touching his car.

I contacted Shirley Secunda, the Chair of The Traffic and Transportation Committee on Board #2 and let her know what was going on downtown in my article and a letter — I mean further downtown below Greenwich Village where real damage is being done and where the developers are no longer satisfied with artists and condos. Now, they want to build the new election catchword for politicians — affordable housing. It doesn’t matter that the warehouses that artists managed to eke out an existence in, charged fixture fees and they got bought out by owner-developers who made a fortune on their backs. Now, the jealousy of REALLY big money is dangling the prospects of windfalls courtesy of the Planning Commission who is causing the developers to salivate by pushing the affordable housing button. Of course, no one ever tells the truth about real affordable housing. The most recent building in SoHo that pushed that concept, 111 Varick Street, finally has a waiting list that could put you on the street or living in your car before you got an apartment. And, then there’s the fiction that HPD comes running when rent-stabilized apartments have a problem. In my building, operated by criminals, not even 311 will accept a heat complaint because the HPD complaint system is so fucked up. When I finally sent a letter to HPD an inspector came around — two weeks later. There was heat by then because they called the landlord before heading over. No violation. Imagine how much time these new developers will devote to helping tenants in the affordable housing units once the condo units are sold in the SoHo-NoHo rezoning?

Secunda is a nice person. I knew her on Community Board #2. We were there together when Bob Rinaolo was arranging for his people to get liquor licenses and pushing members to vote in favor of his parcel for a local nursing home for $5 mil. I don’t know the new Chair of the Board Jeannine Kiely but I can say that the Board meets periodically with the DOT. The presentations and reports they review involved groins, curbs, traffic plans. The same ones that the DOT has been pushing down our throats for the last 20 years I’ve been writing about it.

Nothing about enforcement and the fact that people are being hurt and killed is in those reports. No one gives a shit. After twenty years of writing about it I can say that with certainty.

I sued the City to get their attention because the Community Board is nothing more than a repository of political bodies in return for campaign donations and fealty unless you still believe a politician is going to help you without campaign checks. (with a few notable exceptions like Schumer and Hoylman). And, you know what? I got to have a PRE deposition called a 50-H hearing that Mayor de Blasio arranged. Well, maybe not personally.

A pleasant woman got on the zoom call, told me that she occasionally shops at Gouret Garage and asked me about my latest unfortunate experience of being hit by a car that had no insurance, no registration and a phony license. You know, a Hit & Run in disguise. The 50-H hearing, conducted by Kathy Fata of Colón & Peguero LLP, was instructive. First of all, there were to be no notes, no recordings and no testifying. She questioned and I answered. She asked me why I crossed the street, did I go in front of the car or behind the car that hit me. I thought that the fact that I was in a crosswalk and the car rammed me was fairly obvious. She asked me how I was. Not like, how was I, but like what was damaged and did I go to a hospital and call the police. She didn’t really give a shit how I really was. But, then it got better. Did I owe any taxes? Do I have a tax bill with the City? Obviously, she was figuring that if I ever got a payoff for their fucking all of us over in SoHo they’d want to be able to claw it back before I ever saw a check.

Then she quickly moved on to whether I had a criminal history. Because you know when you’re a felon you deserve to be hit by a car. And, I was starting to get excited. About the fact that I wrote about corruption in the Town of Southampton where all of the Swells and Wall Streeters hide out — and the Hamptons D.A.s office where I was asked to accept 44 felonies as a result of my articles about racism and political payoffs by D.A. Thomas Spota (who was just incarcerated for witness tampering, essentially prosecuting opponents and journalists, obstruction of justice, and operating a pay-to-play legal system) — otherwise the D.A. would destroy my family.

Which he did anyway.

Fata didn’t want to hear about any of that. In fact the 50-H hearing was a fraud. It was a way of getting info to use against the plaintiff — a fishing expedition to be used so that the Truth never comes out.

Neither the City nor any of the elected officials give a shit.

Look for my first book coming out in 2022.

Stay Tuned.

Denial: Not Just a River in Egypt

“He said, ‘What makes a man a writer? Well,’ I said, ‘It’s simple. You either get it down on paper. or jump off a bridge.”

— Henry Bukowski

As we wend our way through the fog of democracy, Manhattan is starting to look like a shelter for liberals and conservatives who have not yet lost their minds. Eric Adams is the new mayor-elect, Vance will be replaced by Alvin Bragg, Letitia James remains as the Attorney General and the Public Advocate is once again Jumaane Williams.

Adams seems like a smart guy who, since he’s a former cop, may turn out to be more conservative than expected. Bragg seems competent and follows on the heels of Vance, who I helped during his first election. Neither seem like guys who will take a lot of bullshit. James is adored by Downtown but I found her office unresponsive and strangely disinterested — especially, when trying to get help with a criminal landlord. Williams, a former City Council Housing Committee Chair was useless in his former role. Multiple attempts to get assistance went nowhere.

Former D.A. Thomas Spota, in the Hamptons, and his assistant bag man Christopher McPartland, just turned themselves in to Federal prison for five years for operating a criminal enterprise out of the D.A.’s office. The Pay-to-Play operation involving judges and the court system, however, remain. Unfortunately, having done four years courtesy of New York State for having written about that cabal — left me with zero options, no job, and no money. Spota keeps a checking account with $17 million in it, plus a $9,000 dollar pension. It’s good to be a real crook — not some “schmuck-on-wheels” as Murray from Goodfellas said — who believed in 1st Amendment protections. Now there’s denial for you!

Here in America many waited for Trump to leave and anyone else to arrive. Of course, no one expected that after the Mueller report, the truncated whitewash of Russian-American cooperation, a Congressional investigation into January 6th, the failed Bugs Bunny coup and a now anticipated invasion in Ukraine — as those who support the current Constitution try to rewrite the script for “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” of current politics. There are a few commentators out there like James Carville who have been screaming and jumping up and down but, then, again, most of us continue to be in denial. Frankly, Putin seems to be a good bet for our next Vice Presidential candidate. We’re years behind in weapon systems, appallingly behind in internet security, and we are very nice to those who want to destroy our democracy and kill us. We just stand by as Racial cooperation, political activism, Truth, National Security and common sense are eviscerated.

Many of us have decided that, as Ronnie Reagan said when he quoted Larry Hardiman, politics is derived from “Poly” (as in many) and “ticks” (as in blood suckers). We are all seriously in Denial.

Stay Tuned and Happy Holidays!