When it comes to turbo-gentrification, longtime East Village activist John Penley has drawn a line in the sand at the Bowery Wine Co.; the newish wine bar co-owned by actor Bruce Willis. Penley, who joined Jerry "the Peddler" Wade in pushing the Parks Department to permit this August’s concert commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Tompkins Square Park riots, not only objects to the “yuppie” wine bar’s sterile aesthetics but also Willis’s GOP support. A couple months back Penley announced plans to “roast a whole hog” named Bruce.
The Post has been getting plenty of mileage out of the drama, and why not; yesterday the tabloid gleefully noted that the New York Young Republican Club had held their monthly meeting at Bowery Wine Co. just to spite Penley, quoting one “juvenile GOPer” as saying, “We're going to fill his neighborhood whether he likes it or not. We're coming with briefcases and BlackBerrys in hand to stake our claim.” Welcome to the party, pal!
Now Penley's fired back by announcing a demonstration next Friday in front of Bowery Wine Co., where he will be joined by local “slacktivists” (Post’s term) in protesting the neighborhood’s “takeover by right-wing Republicans.” The demonstration will also call attention to the long legal battle between residents of the rent-stabilized tenement at 47 East Third Street and the landlord who would to evict them to turn the building into a one-family mansion.