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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
Shirley Secunda, Jeannine Kielly, Bob Gormley — Community Board #2
Dear Board Members,
It’s been some time since Shirley and I have spoken. We go way back. I’m contacting you because I’ve been keeping track of the myriad pieces of information regarding traffic flow and safety which emanates from the Traffic & Transportation committee.
Since I’ve lived and worked in SoHo since the late 1940’s I have a unique perspective. And, as former Vice Chair of CB2 I’ve watched the ebb and flow of information and disinformation.
I’ve read the most recent Full Board minutes from CB2 and it reminds me of the numerous reports, studies, research, which I wrote about in the 1990’s in The SoHo Journal. In one regard, nothing has changed. There is nothing about enforcement or pedestrian safety.
I was recently hit by a car turning the corner from Avenue of the Americas into Watts Street. We have one traffic agent from 4 p.m. to about 6 or 7 p.m. directing vehicles. That’s it!
He doesn’t give out tickets, he doesn’t prevent vehicles from completely blocking crosswalks and he doesn’t EVER assist pedestrians. In fact, people with baby carriages cross the street at great risk. People are often hit by cars and keep going because they know that there is no enforcement. In fact, I’ve even tapped the fender of a car because there was not enough room to cross the street with the light in the crosswalk. As the traffic agent looked on, the driver got out of his car and threatened me for tapping on his fender. The traffic agent did nothing.
Recently, after having been hit by a car heading for the Holland Tunnel I reported this Hit & Run to the police. They did nothing after interviewing me. The vehicle sped away.
So, enforcement is non-existent in SoHo. Do not waste your time discussing ANY reports about how the CIty plans to change traffic flow until enforcement is addressed. Otherwise, DOT is perpetrating a fraud on CB2 and SoHo residents. And, until this issue is dealt with, your committee, from the point of view of the community and pedestrian safety, is a waste of time. This is an issue that Kavanaugh, Glick and Chin are all intimately familiar with and nothing has been done. Meanwhile pedestrians are killed, maimed and damaged by the inactivity.
I recommend taking action before the lawsuits begin.
Oh, and by the way, you’ve been through many scandals at CB2 and I”m sure you’re aware that I’ve had my own. Even though I never heard a word of support from any of the members of CB2 or any other politician aside from Brad Hoylman, I wanted you to know that after being coerced into taking a plea for my writing about corruption — and spending four years in prison, the SoHo Journal is alive and well and publishing,
And, as a result of my writing, D.A. Thomas Spota, who prosecuted me for exposing corruption in his office and racism in the Hamptons, was recently sentenced to 5 years in prison.
After complaining about traffic in SoHo and warning that pedestrians are being hit by vehicles rushing to New Jersey at an alarming speed — some character in a Jeep decided to accelerate as I was crossing IN the crosswalk, WITH the light, while being watched by a Traffic cop. It took 20 years. But, it was bound to happen because the City of New York, despite its many Traffic plans, doesn’t give a shit about pedestrians. Only lawsuits. So, I’m suing them. During all of this time, Sadik-Kahn from the DOT a biker who worked for Bloomberg, was able to get bike lanes installed all across the city. What did that dynamic duo do for pedestrians? Nothing. What does that tell you? Nothing. I have a bad back and too bad for me. As well as a lot of other people — some of whom are dead.
What I did learn was, that there are Traffic Agents and then there are Department of Transportation Agents. One gives out tickets and the other directs traffic. They don’t do the same thing or even talk to each other. So, you guessed it. The guy on the corner of Watts and Thompson who stands on the corner, occasionally hiding out with a SWAT team of ticket issuers, can’t walk a block over and ticket the vehicles trying to hit me or the woman pushing her baby carriage while in the crosswalk — with the light. But, the Traffic Agent does watch out for the bike riders. What a relief!
And, then we have Law & Order SVU. Those of you who have been reading the SoHo Journal blogs and magazine since the 1990’s know that film crews are favorites in SoHo. Not of the residents, though. They’re popular with the Police. They are so popular, in fact, that if you park legally the cops will still tow your car somewhere else. So, here’s a brief warning. As we exit the pandemic (in the minds of many, not in reality), the film crews are returning. Like the one which takes place this coming week. “SVU Season 23” begins shooting in SoHo. Naturally, Law & Order is not suffering since they have our neighborhood as a free back lot. Along with a Police escort that allows them to hobnob with the stars — well, maybe not real Stars. These Stars are starting to look a little rough around the edges and Dick Wolf doesn’t really need the money, especially with a net worth of $550 million. But, hey, who am I to complain about how he’s going to pay for his next cheeseburger? Except that WE won’t be able to walk down our streets, park a car or find a space in OUR neighborhood or avoid the line for our new Covid-19 test clinic now located in a residential building with kids who are unable to be vaccinated. The landlord decided to install a pop-up testing facility in one of our storefronts without any notice.
We’ll have lines of possibly Covid-19 infected people without masks lined up and mingling with the Law & Order stars at the film caterer tents. You know, it’ll be like the old days — another film shoot, where “Night of the Living Dead,” meets “Law and Order in SoHo.”
So, in anticipation of the party it is not-exactly SoHo, also known as SoHo West or Hudson Square, depending upon whether you’re a greedy landlord, Felix Sater or Ivanka Trump trying to sell another condo in the now-defunct Trump SoHo. It’s now The Dominick, of course — which has reopened. However, be forewarned. Stay away. The real SoHo attractions are no parking, the Holland Tunnel traffic whether you are driving or walking and, now, Law & Order “Stars”, lines of possible Covid-infected patients without masks, and building owners who would sell Dracula’s blood to a hospital ICU if they paid in cash. Fortunately, Fashion Week, which AOC got a free ticket to while others paid $35,000, is over and, yes, you missed the invite.
It’s starting to feel like the rich are all around us and WE are all being ignored by the politicians and screwed. Is this the new Gilded Age? Maybe. Is this a precursor to the Bradley-Martin Ball of 1897 and we haven’t been invited to the Waldorf?