Volume 20, Number 41 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Feb. 22 - 28 , 2008

Under cover

Downtown Express photo by Shoshanna Bettencourt

Will the real Shelly Silvers please stand up

UnderCover doesn’t get to play matchmaker very often, but we have to take the credit for bringing the two Shelly Silvers together. The Assembly speaker came face to face with his younger, female double last week, after UnderCover pointed out the coincidence of the two Lower Manhattan residents sharing the same name.

The female Shelly Silver, an artist, was thrilled to meet the speaker, who has been her state representative for as long as she can remember.

“He seemed very, very sweet and familiar, in a way,” said the artist, whose short black hair matched her black dress pants and jacket. “Us Jews are all from the same village.”

The pair spoke for half an hour, discussing everything from affordable housing to their family histories in Eastern Europe. They both speak some Yiddish, and Speaker Shelly Silver is nearly fluent.

“I have lots of cousins,” the speaker said, referring in part to the many other Silvers in New York City. “It’s nice to have one more.”

The artist reflected on years of sharing the politician’s name.

“It’s been nice knowing about you, knowing you’re there,” she said.

“Watching over you,” the speaker added with a faint smile.

“Somehow, yeah,” the artist replied.

Bouley Battle

Celebrity chef David Bouley is in hot water over a liquor license for his planned new Japanese restaurant, Brushstrokes, at 109-111 W. Broadway. The chef, who also owns Tribeca’s upscale Bouley and Danube, exchanged sharp words with Community Board 1’s Julie Nadel at the Tribeca Committee last week. The board turned him down, saying Bouley has had problems with the community in the past.

Nadel, whose condo battled Bouley, came to the meeting armed with so many examples of those problems that UnderCover lost count. There was the insurance lawsuit over 9/11 funds, the triple-parked cars outside his restaurants, and the news reports of carbon monoxide poisoning at Bouley a year and a half ago and health code violations there in 2004.

“That doesn’t show a good community presence,” Nadel told UnderCover after the meeting.

Perhaps that’s what convinced six Tribeca Committee members to vote against granting the license, though three voted in favor of it and two abstained. The restaurant is going near Bouley’s other spots at the site of the old Delphi Restaurant – the affordable Greek nabe fave that closed last year. Bouley also hopes to put a cooking school in.

As Nadel laid out the case against Bouley, we heard there was some back-and-forth fighting, and it got personal. But don’t look for a repeat performance at this Tuesday’s full board meeting; Bouley is headed out of the country and won’t attend. (He requested that the community board bump him to next month’s agenda, but the board nixed that, too.)

Bouley and his reps did not respond to requests for comment.

Speaking of Bouley, we hear he is also still talking with Trinity Real Estate about several Hudson Square spots to open another restaurant.


A Park Enforcement Patrol, or PEP, officer was caught perpetrating some deadly fowl play in Battery Park last week. According to The New York Post, Martin Hightower, 45, was spotted by witnesses on Friday afternoon intentionally mowing down pigeons and seagulls with his park cart.

Hightower is said to have killed three pigeons and two seagulls, nearly striking some pedestrians in his outburst of anti-avian anger. Police spokesperson Detective Martin Speechley said Hightower, who was arrested at the scene, was charged with reckless endangerment and torturing and injuring animals. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said if the charges are true, what Hightower did is “heinous and outrageous.” Hightower has been suspended and may be fired, according to Benepe. Hightower used to patrol Washington Square Park and The Villager reported two years ago that Hightower was accused of following a female into the park’s women’s bathroom to tell her she couldn’t rinse her dog’s water bowl in the sink.

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