Volume 22, Number 04 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 5 - 11, 2009
Soho fetish studio owner Don MacPherson, who’s under indictment accused of recruiting dominatrix clients for a $50 million real estate fraud scheme in the Hamptons, showed up to Tuesday night’s Downtown Independent Democrats endorsement vote. MacPherson, a club member, would not tell us whom he voted for, but he looked very happy when Pete Gleason won the club’s City Council endorsement, and he was one of the first persons Gleason hugged after winning.
Before the vote results, Gleason said he thought he had MacPherson’s support and he was not concerned it could backfire. MacPherson is innocent until proven guilty, Gleason pointed out, and he had been very critical of Suffolk County officials long before the indictments.
MacPherson was friendly, but he did not want to talk about his case. “Oh now, you know better than to ask me a question like that,” he told us.
Speaking of the First District race, onetime State Assembly hopeful Paul Newell has thrown his support behind Pete Gleason.
Last fall, Newell tried unsuccessfully to topple Speaker Shelly Silver, and since then he’s been lying low, politically speaking. But Newell told UnderCover this week that he’s volunteering as a consultant for Gleason’s campaign to unseat incumbent Alan Gerson.
“Lower Manhattan has been inefficiently represented for some time now,” Newell said. “Pete has the experience and the energy to do a good job.”
There’s nothing entirely autobiographical in the Tribeca-based TV show Bonnie “Alixx” Schottland is pitching, but the characters may be familiar to anyone who hangs out with a stroller in Washington Market Park.
There’s the quintessential stay-at-home mom, who frequents charity board meetings and refuses to get a nanny, whose husband may or may not be having an affair. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s a coke-snorting Upper East Side socialite who just moved to Tribeca.
“It’s just about being a mom and trying to keep it all together,” said Schottland, who has some experience as a mother of two, married to Matt Pomerantz, owner of Zucker’s Bagels on Chambers St.
Schottland dreamed up the show, called “Mommy in Manhattan,” with her sister Alyssa Schottland-Bauman, a writer in Vancouver. She hasn’t filmed a pilot yet but will hold a staged reading June 17 and 18 at the Flamboyan Theatre, hoping to attract a network or even a Broadway producer.
The cast for the staged reading includes Donnetta Grays from “The Wrestler” and Josh Burrow, who played one of Carrie’s one-night stands, Chad, on a “Sex and the City” episode. Recording artist Marc Ribler will perform, and Isaac Byrne is directing. The reading will feature local footage, including pickup time at P.S. 234 and last month’s Taste of Tribeca. Reservations for the reading are required (604-290-1231, 215-353-3780).
Wall St. takeover
The Municipal Art Society is taking over Wall Street Rising, the nonprofit that Julie Menin founded after 9/11 to help Downtown’s recovery.
The Wall Street Rising name will live on under M.A.S., and Menin will retain some influence over the organization since she was appointed to the board of M.A.S. last year.
“We’re absolutely delighted about it,” Menin said of the merger. “We can have greater influence if we partner with a larger organization, and the Municipal Art Society has tremendous resources.”
Wall Street Rising’s resources aren’t too shabby either, with $1 million left in the bank.
Vin Cipolla, president of M.A.S., promised the money would stay in Lower Manhattan. He wants to combine Wall Street Rising’s knowledge of the neighborhood with the Municipal Art Society’s focus on planning. One idea is to hold a summit on Downtown’s future, which Menin said would be a great idea given the rapid population growth.
Another potential project is to update the Civic Center guide that jurors use to navigate the neighborhood. Menin hopes to create a podcast of famous New Yorkers giving a tour of the Civic Center that jurors can listen to on their lunch break.
Wall Street Rising’s two staff members will keep their jobs running the Downtown Information Center, which will stay open on the fourth floor of 55 Exchange Pl. The information center once had ground-floor space when Wall Street Rising was more active, but the nonprofit has held few events recently.
Talks on the merger and the $1 million booty started just after Menin joined the prestigious M.A.S. board last year. Menin said M.A.S. approached her about the board, and she did not think about a merger until after she became a director and learned more about the society. Menin stopped directing Wall Street Rising in 2005 when she was elected chairperson of Community Board 1, but she remained involved and on the W.S.R. board.
The community is unlikely to forget that Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver secured space for a new school in the rapidly rising Beekman Tower, but just in case, Community Board 1 wants to name the school’s auditorium after Silver.
“If it wasn’t for Shelly Silver, we wouldn’t have the building,” said Paul Hovitz, a C.B. 1 member. “And we can’t name the school after him because he’s still alive.” Also, the K-8 has already been christened Spruce Street School by new principal Nancy Harris.
Since naming the whole school for Silver was out, Hovitz was then left deciding between the gym and the auditorium. The gym was tempting because Silver is known for his basketball skills, but Hovitz ultimately settled on the auditorium because it’s “more prestigious and more frequented,” he said.