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VOluMe 26, NuMber 19

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I.P.n. tenants saY Low-rent aPartments Get Few rePaIrs BY SAM SPOKONY ew York’s may be a tale of two cities, but at Independence Plaza North in Tribeca, some residents say it’s a tale of two maintenance lists. Angry low- and middle-income tenants at the three-building, 1,300-unit complex say their landlord places higher priority on apartment repairs for market rate renters, leaving them with sluggish service and worse living conditions. “It’s unconscionable what they’re doing,” said one woman, who lives in I.P.N.’s 80 North Moore St. tower and who spoke anonymously to avoid angering the landlord. She explained that whole sections of her apartment’s floor tiling are constantly popping up out of place and are in desperate need of repair — but she said that whenever she makes maintenance requests, the response is slow and the job isn’t properly completed. That woman, who is in her 50s, is one of many I.P.N. tenants who live there under the city-sponsored Landlord Assistance Program (LAP), which regulates yearly rent increases in a way similar to rent stabilization. Some others at the complex — often referred to as voucher tenants — receive federal subsidies through the Section 8 housing program. “I don’t think I should have to get out of bed in the morning and trip over the tiles, and I’m just so disgusted to be living with a floor that looks like a junkyard,” said the LAP tenant, who added that some of her low- and middle-income neighbors are living with perpetually leaky radiators or cabinets falling off the wall. “ We just want this place to be decent and livable,” she added. The distinct “classes” of I.P.N. tenants — voucher/LAP and market rate — emerged after the landlord, Laurence Gluck’s Stellar Management company, took the complex out of the state’s Mitchell-Lama middle income program in 2004. A voucher tenant who also declined to give her name said that when she and other similar tenants report broken appliances, such as stoves or dishwashers, the landlord only allows them to be replaced


Continued on page 7

Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony

Seaport developer Chris Curry of Howard Hughes Corp. joined with Councilmember Margaret Chin, left, Gail Brewer, Manhattan borough president, and Catherine McVay Hughes of Community Board 1 to announce the members of the Seaport Working Group.

New group named to bridge disagreement over Seaport development BY JOSh rOgerS ow the Seaport work begins. Last November, Howard Hughes Corp. announced plans to redevelop the South Street Seaport with a 600foot mixed use building, which drew near universal opposition from local leaders. A month ago, the firm agreed to join these leaders in a working group to find consensus. On Tuesday night, they came together to say they had agreed who would be in the group. Now the Seaport Working Group hopes to find consensus in the next three months before Hughes Corp. goes forward with a formal application to develop the New Market Building, the tower site, the Tin Building and the surrounding area. “You’ve asked for it and you’ve got it,” a triumphant Councilmember Margaret


Chin, said Feb. 25, at a press conference at the beginning of Community Board 1’s full board meeting. Consensus will no doubt be difficult since the group includes Hughes and a few of its supporters such as the Downtown Alliance, as well as people who favor landmarking the proposed tower site, the New Market Building, including members of Community Board 1 and Save Our Seaport. Chris Curry, who is overseeing the Seaport project for Hughes, said he looked forward to working with the community. “We embrace the historical significance of the place, and we believe this process is a great step forward for the project” he said, as he stood with three of the group’s leaders — Chin, Borough President Gail Brewer and Catherine McVay Hughes, C.B. 1’s chairperson who


has no connection to the corporation. The goal of the group, according to the Feb. 25th press release announcing it, is to develop a set of “governing principles” that will guide any development proposals. The final plan should complement the historic district, while it “maintains vital Seaport infrastructures, and reflects the increasing need for services and amenities geared toward Lower Manhattan’s growing residential population.” Brewer, who last year was the only city councilmember to oppose the Hughes firm’s plan to redevelop nearby Pier 17, said she thought consensus was possible. One of the leading opponents of Hughes’ plans, Robert LaValva, founder of the Seaport’s New Amsterdam Market, Continued on page 27


February 27 - March 12, 2014

Indeed, although Bill de Blasio was highly critical of Kelly’s Stop and Frisk policies during last year’s mayoral campaign, he also told Downtown Express he admired Kelly’s anti-terrorism record, and would be reluctant to make any changes at the W.T.C.

The Arms of Downtown

Alliance Solidarity

As far as we know, new Downtown Alliance president Jessica Lappin did not literally hit the ground running, but she did take a walk around FiDi with Community Board 1 chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes soon after taking office. Lappin, the former Upper East Side councilmember, also showed up to C.B. 1’s Executive Committee last week, and expressed sympathy for the board’s efforts to relax some of the tight security restrictions proposed for the World Trade Center. She said former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was “very stubborn” about considering modifications, and she offered a smidgen of hope for a little change. “There is a new administration, although a lot of this has already been set,” she said.

F.Y.I., one of the New Yorker’s “Five Favorite Sentences” last week was this by Thomas Beller: “There is only so much real estate to be sold on a tank top without obscuring the team logo; sleeves are the equivalent of the landfill on which Battery Park City was built.” Apparently the NBA is considering selling ads on sleeved jerseys, in the same way B.P.C. added to Lower Manhattan’s lucrative real estate stock three decades ago.

Singing for Pete

Musicians and others will be celebrating the life of legendary folk singer Pete Seeger, who was also a longtime friend of Lower Manhattan harbor, Sun., March 2 from 2 – 5 p.m. at a “Memorial Sing” at John Street Church, 44 John St. New York Packet, sea chantey specialists, and the Folk Music Society of New York, organized the event, which, in Pete’s spirit, is being billed as a “free will donation” concert. Proceeds after expenses will go to Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the environmental group co-founded by Seeger.


Any Tribecans who were browsing the real estate blogs probably spotted an alarming item — a rendering of a futuristically absurd, 860-foot residential “Sky Wing Tower” planned for 101 Murray St. The story, as reported by the sites, was that developers Steven Witkoff and Fisher Brothers are jointly developing the gargantuan tower on the site — which is currently a St. John’s University building — after purchasing the site from St. John’s last year for $223 million. Well, we checked it out…and although the Witkoff/Fisher purchase of the site is real, the story behind the rendering is false. We repeat, that monstrosity is NOT planned for 101 Murray St., according to the developer. It turns out that Coop Himmelb(l)au, the Austrian architectural firm, which designed that rendering, has absolutely no connection to that development site, according to a spokesperson for Fisher Brothers. According to the firm’s site, the tower is planned for an unspecified location in New York City. “There have been some recent online blog posts about 101 Murray St. that are wrong,” Suzi Halpin, the spokesperson, wrote in a Feb. 21 email to us. “There is no design rendering yet. The image that was used in those inaccurate posts is not the rendering, and the cited architectural firm is not working on the project.”


Rendering by Coop Himmelb(l)au of a proposed New York City building at an unspecified location. Some real estate blogs reported it was planned for 101 Murray St. but the developer says the firm has no connection to the architect.

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February 27 - March 12, 2014

City official defends Downtown construction center’s closure BY SA M SPOKONY Responding to concerns about the impending shutdown of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, a top city official came to Community Board 1 last week in an attempt to quell the anxiety. Luis Sanchez, the Department of Transportation’s Lower Manhattan Borough commissioner, began by stressing that his office is “inheriting” the functions of the L.M.C.C.C., rather than simply taking them over. “It’s also kind of an adoption, because I think we’re the only agency capable of continuing a lot of those functions, since we’re already doing a majority of the construction coordination in this area,” Sanchez said the Feb. 20 meeting of C.B. 1’s Quality of Life Committee. “We’ve always attended the command center’s meetings, and we’ve help facilitate them, so there is already a strong partnership there.” The command center, which coordinates public, private and street construction projects south of Canal St., is now set to be phased out on Feb. 28, according to Joe Simenic, the command center’s executive director. The roles of that organization will then be transferred to Sanchez’s office, which is staffed by 10 D.O.T. employees and has overseen construction permits below Canal St. ever since it was established after the 9/11 attacks. C.B. 1 Chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes, along with other board members, has expressed concerns about how responsive the D.O.T. office will be to community concerns regarding construction complaints. For years, L.M.C.C.C. was seen as a key advocate on behalf of residents and local business, by hosting coordination meetings and appearing each month at the board’s Quality of Life Committee to provide updates and listen to complaints. During his Feb. 20 remarks, Sanchez committed to either attending the committee meetings each month, or sending a representative. He also promised — as D.O.T. has previously stated — to continue the project coordination meetings and community meetings. But another key element of the transition will be residents’ ability to quickly contact Sanchez’s office for enforcement of permit regulations. Hughes pointed out

Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony

Luis Sanchez, the Department of Transportation’s Lower Manhattan Borough commissioner, at a Community Board 1 meeting last week, with board chairperson, Catherine McVay Hughes.

that in the past, board members could call Simenic or Robin Forst (who has since gotten a job with the Battery Park City Authority) and feel confident about seeing a swift response. Sanchez had, earlier in the discussion, encouraged residents and board members with complaints to either call 311 or send an email to his office through the D.O.T. website. “But who can we call to contact your office immediately?” Hughes asked him. “Who will be our direct link with you?” Sanchez said it will be “more efficient” for complaints to be made through the D.O.T. website. “But suppose the problem happens on Saturday or Sunday?” asked Pat Moore, chairperson of the Quality of Life Committee. The Lower Manhattan Borough commissioner said he will be checking any emails over the weekend. “In some situations we can address

Storm protection meetings Downtown residents are encouraged to make their voices heard by attending upcoming meetings for the NY Rising Community Reconstruction Program, which will help determine how $25 million in state funding is spent to help our neighborhood recover from Hurricane Sandy and prepare for future storms. Discussions will include flood protection for places like Hudson River Park and Battery Park, disaster preparedness and response planning and vital support for community organizations.

The next public meeting will take place on Sat., March 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the Village Community School Auditorium (272-278 W. 10th St.). Another open house will take place later that same day, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the Southbridge Towers community room (90 Beekman St.). And a third meeting will take place on Sun., March 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Confucius Plaza community room (33 Bowery). For more information, visit

those concerns immediately, but in others we won’t be able to,” said Sanchez. “But if we’re getting emails about a certain project because they’re making a lot of noise on Saturday, you can be sure that on Monday we’re going to be calling that project in for a meeting, to see what was happening, and to guarantee it doesn’t happen again.” During that same meeting, Hughes also raised new concerns about the D.O.T. transition after learning that Sanchez’s office — like L.M.C.C.C. — constantly faces the possibility of being shut down if it is not renewed by higher authorities. The borough office, which is funded by the Federal Highway Administration and the New York State Department of Transportation, must be approved for renewal every year, Sanchez said. Hughes wondered about the possibility it being dismantled in the near future, if the federal and state officials feel the funding is no longer needed.

“We’re definitely not going to be shut down this year,” said Sanchez, although he added that it could potentially happen after 2015. “We’ve always been able to show that there’s still construction going on, that there’s a need for our office, but I can tell you that we’re not going to be here forever.” Later, in a Feb. 24 phone interview, Hughes remained somewhat anxious about the effect this transition will have on responsive to community complaints, mainly because of the uncertainty and lag time that can occur as a result of 311 calls and bureaucratic email communication. “We’re just going to have to see how proactive they will be,” she said. Meanwhile, a coalition of elected officials, also citing concerns about the transition, has asked Sanchez to meet with them to discuss it and “resolve any issues that may emerge” regarding the community-centric aspects of the office’s new functions. The request came in a joint Feb. 19 letter from U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilmember Margaret Chin. In response to the letter, D.O.T. spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera said that a meeting between the Lower Manhattan Borough office and the polticians will likely be scheduled soon. “The office …looks forward to meeting with them to discuss their work in Lower Manhattan,” Mosquera wrote in a Feb. 24 email to Downtown Express. And aside from D.O.T.-related issues, Hughes expressed frustration with the offices of Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, who have not commented at all on the impending shutdown of L.M.C.C.C., or the transition to D.O.T. The command center is only being phased out now because it has not received a renewal of the joint executive orders, from the mayor and governor, which established it in 2004, and which were then renewed in 2011. “Our community deserves to hear from the mayor and the governor on this,” Hughes said. Spokespersons for the mayor and governor did not respond to requests for comment.

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February 27 - March 12, 2014

A.t.m. mUgger thwArted

Police arrested an 18-year-old man on Feb. 20 after he allegedly tried to steal a woman’s purse moments after she withdrew cash from a bank in the Financial District. The woman, 26, told cops that she took out $250 from a bank near the southern end of Broadway around 2:45 p.m., after which she was immediately approached by the man, who tried to strike up a conversation with her outside the building. Feeling nervous about the situation, the woman said she walked away and into a nearby deli — but then claimed that when she walked back outside, the suspect continued to follow her. After she kept walking and turned onto Morris St., the man allegedly tried to grab her purse, which contained the cash and other valuables, but the woman struggled and kept him from slipping away. The commotion was spotted by nearby cops, who quickly swooped in to apprehend the man, police said. He was charged with attempted robbery.

conStrUction Site theft

A homeless man was arrested early on Feb. 20 after police said he tried to steal tools from a construction site near City Hall. Workers at the 5 Beekman St. site told cops that the man, 44, snuck into the work area around 2 a.m. and snatched two drills, a

charger and a battery before attempting to flee the scene. Crawford was stopped before he could get away, and when police arrived on the scene in response to a call from the workers, the found the equipment stashed in his pockets.

no clUeS left Behind

A Tribeca man fell victim to a thief who broke into his car on Feb. 23, police said. The man, 64, told cops he was driving around that day while doing errands with his son. When he returned to his Duane St. home around 2 p.m., he realized that his laptop and several bank checks had been stolen from the inside of the car, although there were no signs of forced entry, according to the police report.

woUld-Be BUrglAr fleeS

Police are investigating what they believe was an attempted burglary at a Fulton St. residential building on Feb. 19. A 40-year-old man, who said he was staying with relatives at the 119 Fulton St. apartment, told cops he first heard a noise coming from the roof around 2:15 a.m. After checking out in the hallway, the man said he saw someone running frantically down an emergency exit staircase. Although the alleged intruder never entered any of the apartments before dashing out of the building, cops said they are still trying to identify the suspect.

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An unknown vandal smashed two glass doors at New York Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital sometime between the night of Feb. 16 and the next morning, police said. Staff from the 170 William St. hospital told cops that they saw the shattered glass around 6 a.m., after the two doors had been locked since 7 p.m. the previous night. There appeared to be no signs of burglary or any entry into the building, according to police.

StUdent’S lAPtoP lifted

A student at the Borough of Manhattan Community College got an unfortunate Valentine’s Day surprise when his laptop was reportedly stolen from a gym locker. The 20-year-old student told cops he was working out in the B.M.C.C. fitness center, at 199 Chambers St., from around 2 to 6 p.m. that day, after making sure to secure his belongings. But when he returned to the locker, he found it had been busted open, and the $1,100 MacBook Air was gone. And then on Feb. 16, another man fell victim to a sneaky gym locker thief — this time at Planet Fitness in the Financial District. The man, 40, said he was exercising from around 11:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., and found his lock broken upon returning. Stolen items included his credit and debit cards, as well as

a parka, winter boots, sweater and sweatpants — probably leaving him with a very chilly trip home that day.

no crUiSe control

A Staten Island woman was attacked while waiting for her ferry ride home from Lower Manhattan’s Whitehall terminal early on Feb. 17, police said. The victim, 37, told cops she had initially gotten into an argument with another woman inside the South St. terminal shortly after midnight. Moments later, police say the attacker punched the victim in the head, leaving some bruises. The alleged attacker fled the scene before police could arrive.

rogAine roBBerS

A couple of apparently self-conscious thieves stole more than $600 worth of hair growth formula from a Financial District convenience store on Feb. 15, police said. Employees for the Duane Reade at 67 Broad St. told cops that the two unknown men — one believed to be in his 20s, the other in his 30s — entered the store around 10:45 a.m., snatched the numerous packs of Rogaine off a shelf, and fled the scene before anyone could stop them. Police did not say if the thieves are bald.

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February 27 - March 12, 2014

N.Y.P.D. says ‘whoa’ to bringing horses back to Tribeca BY z A C h w il l iA MS Downtown residents may wait years until N.Y.P.D. can fulfill a two-year old promise to bring the police horses back to Tribeca. Community efforts to restore a mounted unit to their former stables at 19 Varick St. faltered on Feb. 12 when an N.Y.P.D. representative said at least three more years will pass before the World Trade Center Command Center will be able to vacate the site for a new location. The department had indicated in 2011 that the relocation of the unit would last less than two years. “As for the foreseeable future, we intend to remain at 19 Varick St.,” said Deputy Inspector Kevin Burke, who oversees the command center. A presentation by Burke to the Community Board 1 Tribeca Committee Wednesday offered the first update on the issue since the department missed that initial deadline. Finances, traffic considerations and bureaucratic hurdles hinder efforts aimed at securing a permanent spot for the command center, he added Some local residents oppose the current location of the command center because they say it could potentially increase the risk of a terrorist attack in the Tribeca area in addition to removing the horses from their historic stable. Opposition resulted in a 2011 C.B. 1 resolution protesting the move. However, tensions cooled that year after a letter to the board from then-Police Commissioner Ray Kelly stated that the horses would return after only an 18-month absence. Though that deadline has passed, the N.Y.P.D. will continue to honor Kelley’s intention, Burke told the committee. “The new police commissioner [William Bratton]

Downtown Express file photo by Aline Reynolds.

A preschooler petting a police horse back in 2011.

intends to have the horses returned and (the site) converted back to its previous function. So as of right now as I stand before you that’s the ultimate goal,” Burke said. The department will hire a real estate broker this spring to help find possible locations for the command center. Previous efforts focused on three locations: inside 4 World Trade Center, which recently opened, at West Broadway and Murray St., and on Rector St. None of the locations ultimately proved cost-effective and feasible, according to Burke. Local residents meanwhile said the ongoing delay diminishes hopes that horses will ever return to the nearly century-old stable. “We were disappointed when we were given so little notice in the first place and we were told it was temporary, but this is seeming quite permanent,” committee

Power out on Canal after slush causes fire

Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony

Two Canal St. buildings lost power Feb. 25 after an electrical fire.

Melting snow and salt caused an electrical fire that left two Canal St. buildings with a partial loss of power on the afternoon of Feb. 25. Around 50 firefighters rushed to the scene around 1:15 p.m., in response to reports of a smoking manhole just west of Hudson St., by the mouth of the Holland Tunnel. They soon realized that the blaze was coming from a Con Edison service box under the street, according to a Fire Department spokesperson. So the utility company was quickly called in to shut down the system, as firefighters put out some flames that had traveled to the basement of 499 Canal St., a four-story residential building. The blaze was under control by 2:25 p.m., the Fire Department spokesperson said.

Con Ed workers shut down the box around 3 p.m., leaving several apartments in the residential building and part of the adjoining 497 Canal St., a two-story commercial building, without electricity until around 4:30 p.m., according to a Con Ed spokesperson. There were no injuries and no evacuations, authorities said. The Con Ed spokesperson, Sidney Alvarez, explained that origins the incident were no mystery to the utility company. “This kind of problem is caused basically because of snow and salt getting down into the service box system,” said Alvarez.

—Sam Spokony

member Jeff Ehrlich told Burke. The committee decided to write a letter to the department seeking fresh commitment to restoring the stable to its original use. Peter Braus, the committee’s chairperson, said after the meeting that the issue must be kept in perspective despite deteriorating “faith” that N.Y.P.D. will return the mounted unit to its former station. “They are the police. They are doing a tough job. They have to police the World Trade Center, one of the prime terrorist targets in the world,” he said. “Our concerns are important, but the concerns of security at the World Trade Center are also important.” Local residents attending the meeting said the absence of horses in Tribeca undermines public safety and diminishes a key source of interaction between the community and law enforcement. Horses previously stabled at Varick St. now reside at 36th St. and 12th Ave. Suellen Epstein, a Downtown resident, said in a phone interview that mounted units are needed to control the large political demonstrations common to the area. Her experience after the Sept. 11 attacks demonstrates how mounted police can effectively manage the “fears and frustrations” of residents as well, she said. “They interact in a much more gentler way,” she said of police officers on horseback. Burke said although there was no specific strategic reason for needing the horses to be stabled on Varick, the concerns of local residents were important in ultimately deciding the future location of the command center. Beyond reasons of public safety, police horses are an important facet to life in Lower Manhattan, say residents. “They bring joy to the neighborhood,” Epstein said.


February 27 - March 12, 2014

Spring Studios apologizes to Tribeca for late night event B Y z A Ch w ill iA MS Spring Studios representatives apologized to Tribeca residents last week for a post-Super Bowl bash that aroused the ire of neighbors. The Feb. 3 event simply got out of control and efforts are underway to avoid such disturbances in the future, according to an attorney for the venue, Bradford Sussman. Bright lights and loud music from the venue that night have local residents concerned,however, that their newest neighbor will bring raucous crowds of celebrity elite and snarled traffic in addition to Fashion Week festivities. Members of Community Board 1’s Tribeca Commitee meanwhile considered on Feb. 12 withdrawing their initial support of the studio’s application for a state liquor license amid accusations that Spring Studios cannot be fully trusted to adhere to a 2013 agreement stipulating the hours and manner in which events can be held at 50 Varick St. The committee decided to wait before taking that action. Support from a local community board is an early and important element of the license-granting process, according to Bill Crowley, a spokesperson for the State Liquor Authority. While not common, community boards have withdrawn support in the past after initially supporting an applicant. “We do place substantial weight on their recommendation,” he said. Authority records state that no applica-

tion has yet been filed for a license at 50 Varick Street. Sussman said in an email that managing relations with neighboring residents is an ongoing process for the venue. “We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience to our neighbors as a result of the event immediately following the Super Bowl.” Sussman said in a prepared statement

“Nas,” offered a more colorful account of the event held in honor of Hennessy’s “Never Stop. Never Settle” ad campaign. “Jay Z and Beyonce, Tyson Beckford, Estelle, Luke James, and more were seen on the red carpet and partying throughout the night. Guests danced and chilled out to the sounds of DJ White Shadow and Mark Ronson, while being served Nas’ signature

‘We are deeply sorry for any inconvenience to our neighbors as a result of the event.’ Feb. 18th. “This was a one-time event held during an unprecedented week of activities throughout the metropolitan area with New York hosting the Super Bowl. Our contract for the event had it scheduled to end at an appropriate time under our stipulations, unfortunately the primary performer arrived at the venue late and the event went over time by approximately an hour. We are reviewing our internal policies so this does not occur in the future.” A post on, a website detailing the life and work of the rapper


drink,” the post stated. The rapper and singer Kelly Rowland performed early in the morning amidst a colorful display of lights and a packed dance floor. Posts made to the social media sites Twitter and Instagram from the event continued until about 2 a.m. on Feb. 3. A similarly star-studded group attended a Calvin Klein party at the venue on Sept. 13, garnering more than 20,000 likes on Facebook. C.B. 1 approved a resolution in April 2013 in support of Spring Studios’ liquor application. An agreement between the venue,

neighbors and the board stipulated that events must control light, sound, alcohol service and end before midnight, among other stipulations aimed at mitigating disturbances to residents. Live music performances were not among the 12 types of events indicated by Spring Studios as being intended for the venue. The word “party” is not mentioned within the 10-page agreement. The ongoing friction between Spring Studios and the local community erupted at the Feb. 12 committee meeting. Peter Braus, committee chairperson, said the Super Bowl party demonstrates a lack of good faith. “You knew what the rules were and you flagrantly violated them,” Braus said to the attorney during the meeting. A week before the apology, Sussman maintained at the meeting that he notified committee member Jeff Ehrlich before the event, an assertion with which Ehrlich disagreed. While Spring Studios has emphasized that 50 Varick St. is primarily intended for fashion-related activities, Tribeca residents remain apprehensive. Paul Barenholtz, who lives near the venue, said while light and noise from ongoing construction at the site has become less disturbing, he remains pessimistic regarding his main concern. “I think this will be a party space and we will have a repetition of this type of conduct.” he said.

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February 27 - March 12, 2014

Slow repairs at low-rent Tribeca apartments? with used equipment, while their market rate counterparts receive brand new versions. That woman pointed out that, while she pays less outof-pocket than a market rate tenant, her Section 8 subsidy pays the difference — meaning that the landlord doesn’t actually make any less money off her apartment. “They’re getting the same rent from everyone,” she said, “so they should be putting in the same quality appliances for everyone.” Another woman, a LAP tenant, even claimed that when she was calling management to request a repair, she was asked whether she was on a “Fair Market Renovated” list. “They stop you and say, ‘Wait I have to check to see if you’re fair market,’ ” she said, adding that three other people she knows at the complex have had the same experience. And after hearing those kinds of complaints from many other tenants, State Senator Daniel Squadron is now looking for answers from Gluck and his management staff. In a Feb. 25 letter to the landlord, Squadron said the complaints “raise questions about whether repairs are handled differently for market-rate tenants than for LAP and Section 8 tenants,” and asked Gluck to provide information about how maintenance requests are handled, and whether or not repairs are in fact prioritized for market rate residents. Squadron also specifically asked the landlord: Does a “Fair Market Renovated List” exist? Stellar Management declined to respond directly to Squadron’s letter. But a spokesperson for the landlord released a Feb. 14 statement in response to a previous

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request from Downtown Express. “Stellar Management responds promptly to all complaints and has a strong record in working with its residents to provide clean, safe, quality affordable housing,” the spokesperson said. “Our long-term goal at Independence Plaza is to keep residents in place and the overwhelming majority of our renters are, in fact, longterm residents.”

‘They stop you and say, “Wait I have to check to see if you’re fair market.’”

And apparently, there are still some non-market rate tenants at I.P.N. who feel they are being treated fairly by the landlord. “I think they do a good job fixing things when we ask them, so I don’t have any problems with the maintenance,” sNathan Weber, a LAP tenant at the complex, said when asked about the situation. But aside from the current allegations, Gluck and many of his LAP and voucher tenants have had a stormy relationship in the past. Last year, I.P.N. opened a new gym facility and playroom that were initially only available to market rate tenants, although the landlord eventually yielded and allowed all residents of the complex to use them.

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community SUNDAYS IN LENT, 12-5PM MARCH 9, 16, 23, 30 AND APRIL 6 Lenten Labyrinth Walks Come walk the St. Paul’s Chapel labyrinth during Lent. Orientations on: March 16 & 30 at 1:30pm St. Paul’s Chapel


MONDAYS, MARCH 3 & 10, 1PM Bach at One The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Julian Wachner, conductor, offer a weekly service of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantatas. Trinity Church (Note location change from St. Paul’s Chapel)

Shoddy floor tiling inside the apartment of a LAP tenant at Independence North Plaza, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I’m just so disgusted to be living with a floor that looks like a junkyard,” she said.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 1PM Pipes at One Christopher Jennings, Associate Organist-Choirmaster, St. James’ Episcopal Church, NYC Trinity Church (Note location change from St. Paul’s Chapel)

worship SUNDAY, 8am & 10am St. Paul’s Chapel · Holy Eucharist 8pm · Compline by Candlelight SUNDAY, 9am & 11:15am Trinity Church · Preaching, music, and Eucharist · Sunday school and child care available

THURSDAYS, MARCH 6 & 13, 1PM Concerts at One March 6: Lee Konitz, saxophone; Dan Tepfer, piano March 13: ETHEL Trinity Church

MONDAY—FRIDAY, 12:05pm Trinity Church · Holy Eucharist MONDAY—FRIDAY, 5:15pm All Saints’ Chapel, in Trinity Church Evening Prayer


Watch online webcast

SUNDAY, MARCH 2, 10AM Discovery: Revelation - Prophecies that Provoke Miriam MacGillis: “No longer at ease here, in the old dispensation” 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Parish Hall SUNDAY, MARCH 9, 10AM Discovery: Crossing the Threshold A spiritual and cultural introduction to the Lenten practice of reaching out into the community around Trinity with Jennifer Chinn, Bryan Parsons, and members of the Discovery Adult Education committee. Charlotte’s Place

Leah Reddy

Continued from page 1


February 27 - March 12, 2014

Denny’s plan for breakfast booze doesn’t go over easy at C.B. 1 B Y SA M S P O K O N Y Most of the time, controversial liquor license applications at the community board lead to long discussions over how late an establishment plans to serve drinks. But for a new Denny’s restaurant, which plans to open in May ― with a bar, in addition to its dining area ― at 150 Nassau St., the question was: how early is too early? Representatives of the restaurant went before C.B. 1’s Seaport/Civic Center Committee on Feb. 18, hoping to secure a full liquor license that would allow patrons to chug one down with their breakfasts. With food service planned to start everyday at 5 a.m., they hoped to start serving alcohol at 10 a.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. Frances Allen, the restaurant chain’s chief brand officer, told the committee the request was, in part, based on “fitting in to the local community,” since this will be the first Denny’s in Manhattan. “Manhattanites have a different kind of brunch culture,” she said, “so we feel it’s important for people to have the opportunity to enjoy a drink with a meal at whatever time of day.” And Gurbax Marwah, the franchisee whose California-based company will own the Nassau St. restaurant along with 23 others across the country said it was just about business. “We chose 10 a.m. for [weekdays] for the

Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony.

Gorbax Marwah (at right), who will run the 150 Nassau St. Denny’s, spoke at the Feb. 18 C.B. 1 committee meeting while Frances Allen, left, a Denny’s executive, and a clearly skeptical Roger Byrom of C.B. 1 looked on.

simple reason that there will be people coming from the Financial District, whether they’re entertaining clients, or they just want to have a snack and a refresher, so we will need them to be served,” said Marwah. He later added

that he believed pushing any of the hours back could take away from his breakfast crowd. But those impressions didn’t go over too well with the board, or the dozen residents who came out to oppose the early hours.

“You must have the point of view that a lot of Manhattanites are alcoholics, if you really think you’re going to lose the breakfast meals if people can’t have a drink that early,” said committee member Paul Hovitz. He pointed out that most restaurants and bars in the area generally start serving alcohol around 11 a.m., and also noted that 150 Nassau St. is bit too far north to cater directly to Financial District business meetings. “I’m just trying to figure out, who needs a drink at 10 a.m. next to [the Spruce Street School] and a university?” said Sarah Elbatanouny, a John St. resident whose daughter attends the elementary school, also referring to Pace University. And Marijo O’Grady, Pace’s dean of students, opposed the early hours because she feared, among other things, “direct marketing to our students” regarding alcohol. One resident of neighboring 140 Nassau St. attended the meeting to share a particularly blunt opinion of the situation. “The kind of person who wants to have a drink before noon is not the kind of person I want in front of my building,” he said. “Or in my neighborhood.” This all came after nearly a year of conflict surrounding the new Denny’s, during which the condo board at 150 Nassau St. had sued to try to keep out the restaurant, which was Continued on page 9


February 27 - March 12, 2014

NYCHA leader says no to new development ideas b Y SA M S P O K O NY If Mayor Bill de Blasio decides to rehash an infill plan to raise funds for the New York City Housing Authority, he may have to leave the Lower East Side’s Smith Houses off the list. De Blasio said in February that he had abandoned ex-Mayor Bloomberg’s scheme to lease public housing land — including some at Smith Houses — to luxury developers in order to finance much-needed building repairs. He also said he would revisit such a plan if there is support from NYCHA residents, but a tenant leader at the L.E.S. complex declared she and her residents would never back a new infill. “Our reasons against it haven’t changed,” Aixa Torres, the Smith Houses tenant association president, said in a Feb. 15 phone interview. “The fact is that we would never support a land lease project here.” Aside from Bloomberg’s idea allowing 50-plus-story luxury towers on the sites, which she called a “slap in the face,” Torres explained she’s still worried about the disastrous effects any large-scale construction could have on the structural integrity of her development’s aging buildings. In particular, she stressed that the buildings at 20 Catherine Slip and 180 South St. are still very vulnerable after

being flooded by Hurricane Sandy, as well as suffering infrastructure damage from the city’s minor earthquake in 2011. Digging new foundations next to those sites could potentially exacerbate those problems — especially because the cashstrapped housing authority has been notoriously slow in making many building repairs across the city.

“So it’s not just about me saying no,” Torres added. “It’s about the safety and well-being of my residents, because we have a right to decent housing.” The Smith Houses leader also said that, while she hasn’t yet had an actual meeting with the mayor’s office to discuss this specific issue, she has “made these feelings very clear to members of his staff.”

Other East Village and L.E.S. developments included in the Bloomberg-era infill plan included Campos Plaza, Baruch Houses, LaGuardia Houses and Meltzer Tower. Bloomberg and former NYCHA boss John Rhea had hoped that the scheme would bring in around $50 million per year to close the authority’s budget gap and speed up the building repairs.

Denny’s liquor license Continued from page 8

originally proposed as a 24-hour establishment that sought to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. That resulted in a settlement allowing the plan to move forward, but also stipulating that no liquor will be served after midnight. By the time of their Feb. 18 application, the Denny’s representatives had already agreed to the earlier “last call” time. And although Marwah and the Denny’s crew refused to budge on the morning hours over the course of the committee’s discussion, they were eventually forced to deal with a different outcome. The committee passed a resolution recommending approval of the liquor license, as long as the restaurant begins serving drinks at 11 a.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. on Saturdays and

noon on Sundays. After it passed, Marwah said he would agree to the new times, and C.B. 1’s full board later passed the resolution Feb. 25. The State Liquor Authority will weigh the community board’s resolution before deciding on the license. But just before the Feb. 18 vote on the amended hours, Richard Rosen, an attorney representing Marwah, had tried to reframe the discussion in a final appeal to the board, referring both to the previous lawsuit and the current debate. “This has all started off with a presumption, on the part of many people, that the Denny’s that is going to open in your neighborhood will have all kinds of problems,” said Rosen. “And I’m not going to say that I don’t understand why people have these concerns, and it’s appropriate for people to have concerns. But one thing I

would ask people to do, in terms of being fairminded, is to recognize that these are concerns that are in fact based on presumption, maybe about things that have happened in the past in different states.” “All I’m saying is, give this a chance,” he continued. “I think that, six months from now, people will say, ‘Wow, why were we so worried about this?’” But as the final resolution showed, that appeal like Allen’s culture pitch and Marwah’s business pitch, simply didn’t play well to C.B. 1 or the crowd. “Our presumptions are not based on what happened in a different state,” said Hovitz, responding to the attorney. “Our presumptions are based on what happens in New York City, and that’s because we’ve weighed in on so many of these kinds of problems here.”

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February 27 - March 12, 2014

Stop and go on B.P.C. traffic safety issues BY SAM SPOKONY City education officials have once again denied a group of P.S./I.S. 276 parents’ request for bus service — and the parents say it’s a decision that places technicalities and finances ahead of their children’s safety. The group of 30 parents, who all live in the Financial District, were pushing the Department of Education’s Office of Pupil Transportation to grant a hazard variance to the neighborhood’s third-to-eighth graders who must currently walk nearly a mile, through dangerous, high-traffic intersections, to get to the Battery Park City school (located at 55 Battery Pl.). O.P.T. guidelines state that students above second grade, and who also live less than one mile from their school, cannot ride the bus unless they are granted a hazard variance due to safety concerns. Kate Godici, one of those parents (whose second-grade daughter will lose bus service next school year), applied for the variances on behalf of the group last September, after she had told an O.P.T. official about her situation, and was actually urged by the official to submit an application. Her argument was bolstered by the fact that the P.S./I.S. 276 bus that already picks up younger children in the Financial District is nearly empty throughout the school year. In addition, its riders will continue to dwindle because students in that neighborhood are now being zoned for the nearby Spruce Street School or forthcoming Peck Slip School. But the city denied those requests a month later, claiming that “no hazards” exist on the students’ rush hour walking route, which crosses both the mouth of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the busy north and southbound lanes of Route 9A/ West St. The written response came from Robert Carney, O.P.T.’s chief of staff. The parents were outraged by his decision, as this newspaper reported last year, and — with support from local elected officials — eventually convinced O.P.T. to reconsider the proposal by conducting another study of the route at the end of December. However, Godici says Carney told her that he actually had no interest in reversing his ruling based on the consideration of safety issues. ‘I’d called Carney to ask what was taking so long,” Godici told Downtown Express, “and he said, more than once, that he was going to do the study again just so he could prove his position. He was being personally vindictive.” According to both her and Stacey Vasseur, another parent in the FiDi group, the O.P.T. chief was particularly miffed by the fact that Godici was trying to get a variance for her daughter in advance of the second-grader aging out of bus service. “Carney clearly took exception to Kate fighting this fight for us, as a representative,” Vasseur said. “He had a problem with it.” Godici added that she kept pushing

Downtown Express photos by Sam Spokony

This stop sign was recently installed near P.S./I.S. 276 after a crossing guard was hit by a cab, but the city has denied another request to allow more students to use bus service.

The intersection of Battery Place and Little West St. near P.S./I.S. 276, which does not have any traffic signals.

so hard, not only to support her fellow applicants, but because she “saw this all happening, and I didn’t want it to happen to my kids next.” She also has a first-grade daughter who will soon be forced to walk the allegedly unsafe, crosstown route to school. In the end, Carney did deny the variance requests one again — while perhaps revealing his own frustration with the nature of the parents’ effort — in a Jan. 27 letter to Godici. “You have requested information on behalf of the parents of other children who are now ineligible and in anticipation of the fact that, given the decisions made in the other cases, one of your children will become ineligible next year,” Carney wrote, dwelling on Godici’s personal stake in the issue before stating that his previous denial still stands.

As with the last October’s decision, the letter also put forth an O.P.T.-approved walking route for the children, which would still force them to cross the busy bottom of West St. It also suggested that the students cross an intersection at Battery Place and Little West St. that has no traffic signals (although the letter states that intersection “can be avoided” by crossing higher up at Battery Place And First Place). “It just seemed like making the kids safe was never part of the equation for [Carney],” said Vasseur, whose fourth grader must now continue to make the walk to school each day. But the FiDi parents still have support from local elected officials as they seek to make their voices heard on the issue. Along with previous backing from Councilmember Margaret Chin and State

Senator Daniel Squadron, Chin sent a Feb. 20 letter to D.O.E. Chancellor Carmen, urging her to “review the safety situation and reconsider this [O.P.T.] decision if possible.” However, when this newspaper asked D.O.E. for an explanation of its bussing office’s actions, — of lack thereof — and mentioned Chin’s letter, the department’s response was decidedly terse. “We have criteria for bus service,” wrote D.O.E. spokesperson Marge Feinberg, in a Feb. 24 email. “Older students do not meet the distance requirement and are not eligible to ride the school bus. We have provided an alternative walking route that avoids intersections parents had mentioned.” Apart from the bussing stalemate, another recently highlighted safety issue around P.S./I.S. 276 involved the Department of Transportation’s decision to install three-way stop signs at the intersection of Battery Place and First Place, just outside the school’s entrance, where a crossing guard was struck (but not seriously injured) by a cab on Jan. 29. “Following a recent intersection study, D.O.T. installed multi-way stop regulations there to reduce potential conflicts between vehicles and the many students crossing the intersection, enhancing safety for everyone using these streets,” said D.O.T. spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera. That particular decision has been applauded by parents and local electeds. “The recent incident involving a school crossing guard served to highlight a concern that local residents and parents have expressed repeatedly: This is a dangerous intersection and it is crucial that we take measures to reduce the likelihood of an accident,” Assembly Speaker Silver said, in a statement released last week. “I want to thank the D.O.T. for responding to our community’s needs.” Meanwhile, Chin is also reviving a previous push to convince D.O.T. to approve a Slow Zone — which would lower the speed limit to 20 m.p.h. and further enhance traffic safety — around the entrance to the B.P.C. school. An application last year was denied by the Department. In her Feb. 20 letter to the D.O.E. Chancellor, Chin said she and other advocates plan to resubmit an application this year. She also asked Farina to “join me in urging [D.O.T.] to install better traffic calming and safety measures in proximity to the school.” A new application may be more likely to succeed, given Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new Vision Zero initiative that seeks to implement Slow Zones and other new safety measures across the city, in an attempt to eliminate traffic-related deaths and injuries. But the mayor does not yet seem willing to take a stance on the issue, specifically regarding P.S./I.S. 276. When asked for comment on the possibility of a Slow Zone there, de Blasio’s office did not respond.


February 27 - March 12, 2014

Million-dollar upgrade for Wagner Park bathrooms BY SAM SPOKONY The Battery Park City Authority says it’s planning a major renovation of the aging public bathrooms in Robert F. Wagner Park, and currently estimates that the job could cost nearly $1 million. The 18-year-old bathrooms are, for now, still in service for visitors of the park — which sits adjacent to historic Battery Park — but have reportedly become much harder to maintain in recent years. “The planned upgrade will replace equipment and fixtures which are very nearly depleted, decrease the amount and cost of required upkeep, significantly improve lighting and provide an air circulation system, making the restrooms a much better experience for the public,” Robin Forst, a B.P.C.A. spokesperson, said last week. The authority first put out a request for proposals (R.F.P.) for the project this past December, following an initial study of the site. Now, after receiving responses from three construction firms, it is nearly ready to approve a contract for the job, according to Chairperson Dennis Mehiel, who raised the issue at the Feb. 18 B.P.C.A. board meeting.

Using an estimate from the initial study, the board agreed to cap its expenses for the contract at around $926,000, pending an additional, “double-check” study within the next week that seeks to confirm the figure. While the project may be approved soon, the renovations likely won’t take place until after this summer, Mehiel said at the meeting, in order to prevent an extended closure of the bathrooms during those extremely busy months for the park. But although the overhaul may be welcomed by plenty of local park lovers, there is at least one Battery Park City resident who’s already unhappy with how the job is being done. “I certainly wish they would’ve told us about it,” said Anthony Notaro, chairperson of Community Board 1’s B.P.C. Committee, who was unaware of the plans when Downtown Express reached him for comment on Feb. 18. “This has been such a serious problem lately, because [our committee] always wants to know about the B.P.C.A.’s capital budget, and how it’s spending money on infrastructure, but then we always find out about things like this after the fact.”

Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony.

The bathrooms at Battery Park City’s Wagner Park will be renovated at a cost of nearly $1 million.

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February 27 - March 12, 2014

TRansiT saM thUrS., feB. 27 – wed., mArch 5 AlternAte Side PArKing rUleS Are SUSPended wedneSdAy for ASh wedneSdAy Prepare for nocturnal gridlock getting into Lower Manhattan Thursday night. The New York-bound south tube of the Lincoln Tunnel will close 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday, sending some drivers south to the Holland. Meanwhile, one inbound tunnel lane in the Holland will also close 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday. Your luck won’t be much better crossing the East River – all Manhattan bound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge will close 11 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday (as well as midnight Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday, and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Wednesday nights). That’ll send westbound drivers to the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, and right onto Canal and Delancey Sts.

No F trains in either direction between Jay St. and W. 4 St. 10 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday. F trains will run via the A line. For service to Broadway-Lafayette, take the D train. No trains at N, Q, or R stations in Manhattan 10 p.m. through 5 a.m. Monday through Wednesday nights. N trains run only in Queens and Brooklyn. Q trains run via the D line in Manhattan. R service ends early in Manhattan. Use nearby stations on the Eighth, Seventh, Sixth and Lexington avenue lines instead. Beginning Friday and continuing through June, a new traffic pattern is coming to Worth St. courtesy of the Hudson St. Trunk Water Main project. Worth St. between Hudson St. and West Broadway will allow only westbound traffic, from West Broadway to Hudson. Northbound traffic on Hudson St. will no longer be able to turn right on Worth St. Franklin St. is the detour for Worth St. traffic from Hudson St. Rector St. will close between West and

Washington Sts. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Washington St. will close between Albany and Rector Sts. during the same hours. These closures will repeat the next two weekends. Franklin St. will close between Greenwich and Hudson Sts. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Eastbound traffic will be detoured to Harrison St., one block south. Park Place will close between W. Broadway and Greenwich St. 7 a.m. Saturday through 7 p.m. Sunday. Eastbound traffic will be detoured to Warren St., two blocks north.

from the mAilBAg: Dear Transit Sam, I don’t agree with your advice regarding flashing DON’T WALK signals. The NYC Traffic Rules, Section 4-03, sub c-2 states that a pedestrian in the roadway when the DON’T WALK signal starts to flash, should go to the nearest sidewalk

or safety island. I have had discussions with D.O.T. personnel in the past and they agree with you. However, if the N.Y.P.D. starts enforcing jaywalking more rigorously, an officer would be justified in summonsing a pedestrian who fails to go to the nearest sidewalk/safety island. Perhaps D.O.T. should remove the word “nearest” from the rule. Charles, Retired Co Traffic Operations, Traffic Control Division, NYPD Dear Charles, Wow! I never read it that way. But, you’re right, a very literal interpretation means if a person just stepped into the street, and the DON’T WALK starts flashing, they should turn around and go back to the sidewalk. That’s not what we traffic engineers intended. I’ll let the D.O.T. know and maybe their linguists can straighten this out. Transit Sam

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February 27 - March 12, 2014

Effort to reduce W.T.C.’s homeless population postponed BY zACh williAMS Beneath the heights of the World Trade Center, a growing subterranean homeless population continues to serve as a source of friction between the city and civil rights groups. Following the latest clash between the two sides, homeless rights activists declared victory early Monday morning following a decision announced Friday by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to reschedule a planned cleaning and homeless outreach effort on the E train in Lower Manhattan. The victory however may ultimately be short-lived for those who regularly bed down on the E train through cold winter nights. The overnight homeless population on the line has risen in recent weeks along with rider complaints regarding the cleanliness of the trains at its two terminals: World Trade Center and Jamaica, Queens. Agency officials though opted not to follow through with a plan to both address sanitary issues on the train and connect sleeping homeless with local “hospitals, transportation and housing” services starting at 3 a.m. on Feb. 24, according to spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. “It’s a postponement, not a cancellation,” he said while declining to state why the agency decided on such action. He did not say when the M.T.A. would next conduct such an outreach. He added that allegations from activists and local media last week “erroneously” characterized a two-decade old social program known as M.T.A. Connections. During such actions, passengers are asked to voluntarily leave subway cars, he said. “There is nothing new about what we’re doing here,” said Ortiz.

Downtown Express photos by Zach Williams

The World Trade Center E stop at 3 a.m. Feb. 24.

Despite the decision, about 20 activists from at least two organizations congregated at the World Trade Center E Station platform early Monday morning to verify the postponement. Darlene Bryant, a member of The Housing Committee at Picture the Homeless, said Monday morning that her experience as a homeless person and activist makes her skeptical of assurances from police and subway officials that they would leave the dozens of people who sleep on the E train alone. “Have you [ever] changed your mind? Say ‘I’m not going to go to the store now’ … ‘Oh shoot I’m going to go to the store,’” she said. “They can do it too.” A contingent from the Cop Watch Patrol

Unit was also present to monitor police activity that morning, according to co-founder Jose LaSalle. He added that homeless people are considered an important demographic in his organization’s efforts to support the civil rights of disadvantaged communities. “Everybody in this society is just a step away from being homeless,” he said. The E and C are the only subway lines which are completely underground, an advantage for homeless people looking to avoid bursts of winter cold coming in from open carriage doors. One of the homeless at the W.T.C., a former bartender who worked the last seven years in the West Village area, said early

Advocates for the homeless were also on the scene after reports that there would be an M.T.A. action.

Tuesday morning that he lost his job and apartment two months ago after the restaurant he worked at closed.. A 1995 Land Rover rag-top convertible he owned containing most of his worldly possessions was towed away several weeks later to parts unknown, said the 50 year-old man who wished to be identified only by his first name, Marty. After one night in a homeless shelter, he decided that the subway line from Downtown to his native Queens was the best accommodation available to him under the circumstances. While far from ideal, conditions on the train allow him to sleep comfortably for up to 12 hours as well as come and go at any hour. “I don’t know the other lines. I mean I have taken them short distances in my life but this goes back and forth, same neighborhoods,” Marty said. He added that he questioned how the delayed action would have played out as planned Monday morning for the police and M.T.A. “They leave me alone, but these other poor guys, how are they going to sweep them out,” he said. “There are 10 or 15 people in each car every night.” The E line garnered a rating of seventh out of 19 subway lines in the 2013 report from the Straphangers Campaign with a reported 94 percent of cars with “light or no interior dirtiness.” While urine is a common scent at the World Trade Center station, a handful of early morning passengers said they are not bothered by the large presence of homeless there. The passengers described the lack of alternative housing and the necessity of escaping the cold weather as important considerations in letting the homeless sleep there each night. “If the city views this as a problem, which I don’t necessarily do, then they should think about affordable housing as opposed to policing people which is just creating more of a problem,” said Nick Malinowski, a Brooklyn resident who rode the E line Monday morning.


February 27 - March 12, 2014

4 1 0 2 T R O P E R PROGRESS A Year of Openings!

Downtown Express photo by Scot Surbeck | Inset photo by Josh Rogers

One World Trade Center, a.k.a. the Freedom Tower, as seen earlier this month from Battery Park City. Later this year, the first companies will begin moving into the 1,776-foot building. It is being built by the Port Authority and the Durst Organization. Insert: Platform A, the first platform of the new W.T.C. Transportation Hub, opened to PATH commuters Tuesday. “The design, the architecture, truly makes a statement and that statement is ‘we’re back and we’re better than ever,’” Steve Plate, who oversees W.T.C. construction for the Port, said at the platform opening. The new design by Santiago Calatrava also gives the public its first view of the W.T.C. slurry wall since the site has been rebuilt to street level. The wall, which helps protect the site from flooding and survived 9/11, took on symbolic meaning for many after the attack.

By Catheri ne M cVay Hughes We are only two months into 2014, and already we see change all around us. We have new city leaders, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James and Manhattan Borough President Gail Brewer. Last month our borough president came to the January Community Board 1 Executive Committee — a first. Our new mayor brings in new commissioners for the city agencies and they in turn bring in new support staff. We have welcomed these appointments, but we anxiously await others that affect our daily living. These appointments matter because C.B. 1 works on a range of issues with a multitude of agencies. C.B. 1 protects the quality of life and the delivery of city services to our district and advocates on behalf of those who live or work in the district. C.B. 1 is under the jurisdiction of the Community Affairs Unit, and its new commissioner, Marco Carrion, came in person to the February C.B. 1 Executive Committee — also a first. We are very pleased that our new City Planning Commissioner, Carl Weisbrod, knows Downtown well from his time as president of the Downtown Alliance. His participation will be important as we continue the dialogue about the revitalization of the historic South Street Seaport. C.B. 1 has been working with our elected officials to undertake a participatory, community-centered, collaborative process by creating a Seaport Working Group – by doing this we have jumpstarted the dialogue before the ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) has even begun — another first. Two other key Downtown organizations now also have new leadership. Shari C. Hyman is the new president of the Battery Park City Authority. She wants to increase the dialogue with the community and we look forward to that increased openness. Jessica Lappin is the new president the Downtown Alliance and she has already presented to C.B. 1 and has been warmly received. Two thousand 14 will be a year of many more firsts — openings. On Feb. 25th, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey opened the first World Trade Center Calatrava-designed PATH Station platform. The fully modernized platform features new lighting, speakers, illuminated signs, escalators and elevators. The completed station will be the center of the new W.T.C. Transportation Hub that will include several similar platforms. The hub will continue to Continued on page 17


February 27 - March 12, 2014

Downtown Express photo by Joseph M. Calisi

June date for Fulton subway The Metropolitan Transportation Authority opened the Dey St. entrance to the Fulton Center last year and expects the entire $1.4 billion project, which will provide better connections between 10 subway lines, will open this June. Currently, the authority is installing and testing major systems including elevators, escalators and emergency generators. Architectural finishes on all floors are about 90 percent complete, and are scheduled to be done by the end of March. The center will also have an underground passageway to the World Trade Center train center.



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February 27 - March 12, 2014

Photos courtesy of 911 Memorial Communications

9/11 Museum almost ready to open The 9/11 Museum is expected to open this spring underneath the World Trade Center’s memorial plaza. Many of the large artifacts including metal remnants from the original Twin Towers have already been installed, and officials with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum are excited by the opening. “Seeing the space become the museum we envisioned, and that we have worked so hard to create, is tremendously gratifying,” Alice Greenwald, 9/11 Memorial Museum director, said in a statement last month. “We believe that this historic museum that will tell the story of 9/11 and its aftermath through personal stories and powerful artifacts …will resonate deeply with visitors from around the world.”

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February 27 - March 12, 2014

Downtown is moving into 2014 with plenty of openings Continued from page 14

open in phases through 2015. This spring the National September 11 Memorial Museum will be opening. The fences around the Memorial will be coming down along West St., Liberty St. and the southern portion of Greenwich St. This is a critical step towards re-integrating the World Trade Center back into the surrounding neighborhood. Across the street from the Memorial and Museum in Battery Park City, at Brookfield Place, both the Market and Quick Casual Dining will open in the spring. This summer we will be able to enjoy Pier A on the Hudson River Promenade. Pier A was originally constructed in 1886 and was designated a New York City landmark and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in the late 1970s. It has been vacant since 1992 and its physical condition deteriorated severely. For the first time in over two decades this will be open to the public. Governors Island will re-open this May. For the first time ever, the island will be open 7 days a week, from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September. Visitors will be able to enjoy for the first time 30 new acres of park and two ball fields: the biggest new park to be built in New York City in my lifetime. One block east of the W.T.C., the Fulton Center will open this summer as well. It will improve connections between six existing Lower Manhattan subway stations and 11 subway

lines. It will connect to the W.T.C., PATH trains and Hudson River ferries at Brookfield Place, improving the travels of 300,000 people a day. Later this year we hope that the 3-acre Town Green and Phase 1 of The Battery Garden Bikeway will be complete. It will link the Hudson River Park Bikeway to the East River Esplanade. The bikeway will include new park entrances, unique perennial gardens, and separate areas for bikers and pedestrians. The exterior of 4 W.T.C. is completely finished. The exterior of 1 W.T.C. will be completed this spring. The interiors for both buildings are being built out. Companies will begin

to move into both buildings in late 2014. The Manhattan continues to be a premiere internaVehicular Security Center will be completed tional city. However, we cannot forget the big within the year with the rooftop public space picture and the importance of protecting our open spring 2015. The Greek Orthodox Church precious waterfront. We must step up and fund foundation is being built and fundraising for the “climate resilience” to research ways to prechurch structure is underway. pare communities and infrastructure for climate Recently the W.T.C. Performing Arts Center change. We are proud to have taken challenges took an important step forward by announcing and made them into opportunities; we love our their artistic leadership and releasing a prelimi- small corner of our city’s beautiful fabric and are nary sketch of the building. It will need to raise more committed than ever to making it livable, additional funding and hopes to open in four to welcoming and prosperous for all. five years. We are ready to build on this momentum Catherine McVay Hughes is chairperson of Tribeca.Trib.Pawel:Layout 1 2/18/14 5:45 PM Page 1 and see our hard work being realized as Lower Community Board 1.


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February 27 - March 12, 2014

Affordable units will be part of project in Hudson Square B Y SA M S P O K O NY A new proposal by the Extell Development Corporation could bring the fi rst wave of affordable housing to Hudson Square, following the neighborhood’s major rezoning last year. Extell wants to construct a 22-story residential building at 68 Charlton St., between Hudson and Varick Sts., on a currently empty lot where, several years ago, the developer had once sought to build a hotel. The proposed project calls for 116 total units: 91 market-rate co-ops and 25 affordable apartments. Of the affordable units, Extell representatives said 22 would be two-bedroom apartments and three would be studios, with initial rents ranging from $830 to $1,080 per month. Since slightly more than 20 percent of the units are affordable, Extell has said it will be applying for a 421a state tax break. The developer is also taking advantage of an inclusionary-housing bonus — a key zoning element of the new Hudson Square Special District, which provides a big boost in F.A.R. (floor area ratio) — in this case, from 9 to 12 F.A.R. — in exchange for the addition of affordable units. That bump is what’s allowing Extell to build to a relatively large residential height; a proposal on the 68 Charlton St. lot last year was for an all-luxury condo building, and would only have risen to 13 stories. Extell will soon submit an application to the inclusionary-housing program under the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and will require the agency’s approval before its project can move forward. Under that program, the building’s affordable units would be available to individuals or families who whose income is around 60 percent of New York City’s area median income, as established by H.P.D. That


W W W. D O W N T O W N E X P R E S S . C O M

means an individual looking to rent a studio would be eligible if he or she makes around $35,000 per year, and a family of four would be eligible if they make around $50,000 per year. The project technically consists of two equal-sized towers — one facing Charlton St. and the other facing Vandam St. But there will be no “poor door,” as Extell representatives pointed out in a presentation to Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee on Feb. 12. The only lobby will sit on the Charlton St. side, and a groundlevel walkway will connect the entrance to an elevator bank serving the Vandam St. side. At its Feb. 20 full-board meeting, C.B. 2 ultimately voted to recommend that

board said those should also be offered to affordable tenants, on a month-to-month basis, for a maximum fee of $50 per month for the two-bedroom units, and $40 per month for the studios. That represents an 85 percent discount compared to what would be paid by the market-rate residents for the same amenities. Extell has committed to honor those stipulations. In a Feb. 20 letter to C.B. 2, Extell Vice President Jeffrey Dvorett agreed to give the affordable tenants free access to the amenities proposed by the board, and also agreed to the fee structure for the fitness elements. However, C.B. 2 also made a request that Extell has not yet addressed, regarding the placement of the 25 affordable

The developer has agreed to discount the pool and gym to its lower income tenants. the city approve the development, along with the inclusionary-housing component. However, C.B. 2 did include two stipulations in its recommendation, both regarding the amenities Extell plans to offer residents of the building, which include a pool, gym, steam room, courtyard, basketball court, bicycle parking and a children’s playroom. In its resolution, which was drafted by the Land Use Committee, C.B. 2 called on the developer to give all residents of the affordable units free and equal access to the building’s courtyard, basketball court, bicycle parking and children’s playroom. As for the pool, gym and steam room, the

units within the building. The developer currently plans to construct all of those units within the Vandam St. side of the building, with all of them stacked between the second and 15th floors. Practically speaking, that relegates the affordable tenants to one very specific section of the overall structure, largely separate from the market-rate residents. Under the inclusionary-housing guidelines, no floors of a building are allowed to consist entirely of affordable units, but Extell technically isn’t violating that rule because, although the two sides of the building are separate, they would be constructed as part of the same overall address.

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“Their distribution of the units does follow the letter of the rule, but the purpose behind all this is really to make sure there’s integration of the populations,” said Tobi Bergman, chairperson of the board’s Land Use Committee. “We’re just not sure that purpose is 100 percent served yet.” But Bergman, like many others on the board, has expressed great enthusiasm at the prospect of affordable housing coming to the Hudson Square district, which spans from Canal St. to W. Houston St., roughly between Sixth Ave. and Greenwich St. “The inclusionary-housing element of the Hudson Square rezoning was always something that made it attractive to our community board, and we want developers to take advantage of it,” he said. “It’s definitely something new for us, but we’re wading into it, and we’re looking forward to success.” And while big developers like Extell typically don’t have great relationships with block associations across the city, that doesn’t seem to be the case so far for 68 Charlton St. Richard Blodgett, president of the Charlton St. Block Association, was at Extell’s initial Feb. 12 presentation and said he was impressed by the plans. “I think they did a nice job with it, and it should fit well within the context of the neighborhood,” said Blodgett. “Frankly, I thought nobody was going to do the inclusionary housing here, because you don’t really see people doing it Downtown. But these guys seem like they’re really going for it, and I’m pleasantly surprised.” Although Extell has shown renderings of the planned 68 Charlton St. building to C.B. 2, the developer declined to provide this newspaper with any of those renderings for publication. But neighbors have not objected to the designs they have seen.


W W W. D O W N T O W N E X P R E S S . C O M

February 27 - March 12, 2014


Downtown Express photos by Milo Hess

Who you gonna call? Harold Ramis fans Fans of Harold Ramis flocked toTribeca’s “‘Ghostbusters’ Firehouse”Tuesday for a makeshift memorial to honor the writer, actor and director who died Mon., Feb. 24, from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis at the age of 69. “All the movies he’s done. Looking back at the list, it’s all my favorite movies. It’s heartbreaking,” said Alice Sorensen, a fan who was crying near the memorial. Ramis, who co-starred in and co-wrote “Ghostbusters”, also co-wrote many of the classic comedies of the last four decades including “Animal House”, “Groundhog Day”, Caddyshack, and “Stripes”. The memorial on N. Moore St. included burning candles, flowers, as well as items connected to Dr. Egon Spengler, his “Ghostbusters” character — Twinkies and Crunch Bars. “Hilarious in one word is the best way to describe him.The movies he’s been involved in, especially ‘Ghostnusters’. He played it so straight,” said Chris Rauch.

— niCoLaS FernanDeS


February 27 - March 12, 2014


Room for gardens, as well as affordable housing Downtown Publisher

Jennifer Goodstein Editor

Josh Rogers Arts Editor

Scott Stiffler Reporter

Sam Spokony Sr. V.P. of Sales & Marketing

Francesco Regini Retail ad manager

Colin Gregory

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Allison Greaker Alex Morris Mike O’Brien Andrew Regier Rebecca Rosenthal Julio Tumbaco Art / Production Director

Troy Masters Senior Designer

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Andrew Gooss Photographers

Milo Hess Jefferson Siegel Publisher EMERITUS

John W. Sutter

Housing and open space

are essential commodities. In New York City, especially, both can be extremely hard to come by — especially affordable housing. What’s going on right now in Community Board 2 is very encouraging on both fronts. In January, the board bucked both City Councilmember Margaret Chin and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development by voting to recommend that the Elizabeth St. Garden, between Spring and Prince Sts., be preserved permanently as open space. Chin and H.P.D. would like to see the 20,000-square-foot through-lot developed with up to 70 units of affordable housing as an add-on to the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area development project. But where the garden is located — whether you call it Nolita or good, old Little Italy — is one of the most open-space-starved spots in a sorely open-space-starved community board district. Yes, the garden couldn’t really be called public in the past; it was rented on a monthly basis by Allan Reiver of the Elizabeth Street Gallery. He cleaned it up, planted it with foliage, and has used it to display his artifacts and monuments, as well as host private, paid events. But realizing they had a precious resource at risk of being lost, neighbors rallied together, and are creating a nonprofit to operate the space as a garden permanently. Reiver would

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affordable housing elsewhere in the district, there are already plans for 66 new affordable units on the table. That already equals what H.P.D. and Chin envision at the Elizabeth St. Garden. And more is likely coming down the pike. According to the draft environmental impact statement for the Hudson Square rezoning, up to 3,330 residential units could be created in the district, of which up to roughly 700 would be affordable. As for the garden, Chin has indicated it could be developed partially with housing, and part of it left as open space. But, according to C.B. 2, H.P.D. says a “viable” affordable housing project would need the entire site. The community board is also going to work on preventing the loss of existing affordable units. And, if the St. John’s Center building, across from Pier 40, is eventually developed, hopes are it would include affordable housing, too. As for linkage between Seward Park and the Elizabeth St. Garden, frankly, they are nearly 20 blocks away from each other. Plus, let’s get real: Fifty percent affordable housing at SPURA was a great achievement by Chin and others. One hundred percent affordable housing was never going to achieve community consensus. Yes, the new Hudson Square buildings will be tall — but they will contain affordable housing. Chin and H.P.D. should back off from the garden.

and the popular Bodies exhibit. Both brought thousands of visitors and locals to the Seaport every year. Both were located on the second floor, which sustained minimal damage from Sandy, yet H.H.C. decided to terminate their leases. To further rub salt in the community’s wound, H.H.C. proposes to build a 50-story tower on the site, which they very well know the community is completely against. It’s the height of corporate arrogance perpetuated by a bully. In order for the Seaport to survive, it is essential for H.H.C. to outline a plan for Fulton and Front Sts. It is their responsibility to the community and their civic duty for the privilege to operate the historic gem that is the Seaport. If they are not forced to do so, they will continue to squander the last great historic icon of the City of New York.

need for middle school and high school seats. The DOE and elected officials need to take steps to be in front of this tidal wave of population before it washes over Lower Manhattan. Pre-K seats would be a great perk, but only if there are enough seats for K-12 students.


Seaport siege

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no longer be involved. In backing the housing project on the garden site, some local advocates — and a couple of C.B. 2 members — said there is nowhere else in C.B. 2 to create affordable housing. Yet, what’s transpiring in Hudson Square puts that argument into question. In short, the rezoning’s inclusionaryhousing component — which offers increased development square footage in return for including affordable housing in a project — is, panning out, and quicker than anticipated. As we report this issue, the first residential project — a 22-story building planned at 68 Charlton St. — would include 25 affordable units out of 116 total apartments. C.B. 2 approved this project last week. The unanimous vote was accompanied by members’ light applause. Indeed, it’s been a long time since genuine affordable housing was created in Board 2. And now we hear the board has received an application by The Related Companies for the second new residential project slated for Hudson Square, which calls for 41 affordable units. Clearly, it’s a trend; developers want the extra square footage — not to mention the tax breaks they are eligible for under the pre-existing 421a program — for adding affordable units. So, just a month after C.B. 2 — in its resolution recommending preserving the garden — said it would focus on locating sites for

To The Editor: Our beloved South Street Seaport is under siege. Once a vibrant icon of New York City’s historic waterfront, it has become an eyesore. Comprised of shipping containers, makeshift ice rinks and inflatable bars, (which collapse under the weight of snow) our Seaport has become an embarrassment, and the Howard Hughes Corporation is to blame. I work in the Seaport area and I lived there for 7 years until I recently moved. Prior to being devastated by Hurricane Sandy, it was bustling with tourists, street vendors and artisans. And as if Mother Nature was in cahoots with H.H.C., the crippling flood damage caused by Sandy, allowed H.H.C. to terminate leases, leaving shops and restaurants vacant. Mom & Pop style shops and restaurants prior to Sandy, mostly occupied the north end of Front St. Currently, 90% of those businesses have returned to the area, but they are being hindered by H.H.C. The gateway to the South Street Seaport is Fulton St. and since it is filled with such uninviting chaos, visitors do not explore and end up leaving. H.H.C. controlled the lease to Fulton Market building, which housed Bridgewaters event space

Tom Brown

Posted To “Birth rate grows like babies & so does the need for schools” (news article. posted Feb. 13):

The increased need for elementary school seats also means a not so distant future increased

A.S. Evans “Pre-K push worries Downtown advocates” (news article, posted Feb. 13):

A small tax increase, Ha george “Denny’s plan for breakfast booze doesn’t go over easy at C.B. 1” (news article, posted Feb. 19):

The kind of person who categorizes others because of their personal preferences — whether political, religious, or drinking habits — “is not the kind of person I want in front of my building, or in my neighborhood.” I agree that disorderly conduct cannot be tolerated. But it is the worst kind of discrimination to presume that anyone who wants a drink at 1 am or 10 am is by definition a threat to the community. Alan Smithee

February 27 - March 12, 2014


C.B. 2 votes to save garden, plus focus on affordable housing B Y LI N COL N A NDER S O N Agreeing with about 150 passionate, green-T-shirt-wearing adults and kids who filled the auditorium at last month’s full board meeting, Community Board 2 voted to recommend preserving the Elizabeth St. Garden as permanent public, open green space. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development is considering the site — a 20,000-square-foot, through lot from Elizabeth to Mott Sts. between Spring and Prince Sts. — as a spot for an affordable-housing development with 60 or 70 units. The garden was identified as a site to provide more affordable housing in connection with the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area project, located on the Lower East Side at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge. But neighbors who turned out in force at C.B. 2’s January full-board meeting protested that the neighborhood barely has any open space left and that the garden, which is now regularly open to the public, has become a genuine community resource. Neighbors are in the process of setting up a 501c3 nonprofit to run the open space. Among those testifying in favor of preserving the garden was Sharon D’Lugoff, one of the daughters of legendary Village Gate impresario Art D’Lugoff. She received a round of applause from the audience after her name was announced before she took the microphone. She noted she lived on Elizabeth St. for 30 years and has witnessed the neighborhood — which she calls Little Italy, not Nolita — radically transform over the years. “I’ve raised three kids here,” she said. “Two grew up and moved away — they can’t afford to live here.” Nevertheless, she doesn’t support affordable housing on the Elizabeth St. Garden. “There are many sites that can be converted, and I truly believe that we can preserve open space and have affordable housing,” she said. But K Webster, a member of the M’Finda Kalunga Garden in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, spoke in favor of affordable housing. “I guess you could just look around the room to see we could use more diversity — racial and economic,” she said of the overwhelmingly white crowd. “We can’t pretend there are more sites to build affordable housing — they’re not. Webster invited people to come enjoy her own garden, located just two blocks away from the Elizabeth St. Garden. However, architect Steve Wanta, a 30-year Soho resident, lamented the neighborhood’s loss of all its undeveloped spaces and parking lots “where kids would have snowball fights and pickup games. These are all gone,” he said. After the public testimony and before voting on the issue, C.B. 2 members first debated it among themselves. “Nolita is ultra-wealthy now,” stated Daniel Ballen, saying he supported “putting a roof over 70 people’s heads.” Susanna Aaron also came down on the

Downtown Express photo by Lincoln Anderson

Young Elizabeth St. Garden activists made their point clear at the C.B. 2 meeting, hoisting their signs up in the front of the auditorium, right next to where the community board officers were seated on stage.

side of constructing affordable housing on the garden. “Whether the people in that building come from Little Italy or West Harlem,” she said, “we all benefit from the diversity.” Robin Goldberg, though, noting she is a 36-year Little Italy community member, said the area is starved for quality open space for families. “DeSalvio Playground is generally ridden with drug addicts and homeless people and other people that play cards and checkers and that have nothing to do with kids,” she said. “I don’t consider the Liz Christy Garden or the Sara Roosevelt — which is essentially a traffic strip — to be a park.” Added Richard Stewart, “We are a community board and we should be listening to the voices around this park.” Another board member noted, “This is the southeast corner of the district; it’s not what it’s like if you live near Hudson River Park.” Maria Passannante-Derr said that the recent Hudson Square rezoning includes a provision for “inclusionary housing,” which would allow developers to build higher if they include affordable housing in their projects. Other members said another potential development site, the St. John’s Center, across from Pier 40, could be somewhere affordable housing is created. The board then voted on the resolution by its Land Use Committee, chaired by Tobi Bergman. That detailed resolution noted that in the mid-1970s, P.S. 21 was demolished on the site, and in 1981, part of the site was sold to LIRA Apartments Co. for the construction of 152 units of Section 8 affordable housing, now known as 21 Spring St. That agreement called for development and maintenance by LIRA of a public “recreation area” on the remaining portion of the former school site, which

remained city-owned; but for unknown reasons this never occurred and the lot became derelict. In 1991, the open space was leased on a month-to-month basis to Allan Reiver for use by his Elizabeth Street Gallery. Reiver cleaned up the then-crack-infested lot, planted it with trees and shrubs and set out his artifacts and monuments in it — some for sale, some for permanent display — also leasing the space out for private events. In June 2013, the C.B. 2 committee’s resolution further noted, neighbors, upon learning that the site was city-owned land, worked with Reiver to open up the garden to the public on a daily basis from noon to 6 p.m. The local group subsequently organized free community events in the garden, including movie nights, poetry readings, children’s art programs, the planting of 2,000 daffodil bulbs and a “Harvest Festival” attended by 1,500 people. The resolution ultimately urges the city to transfer jurisdiction of the lot to the Parks Department; supports the efforts of the Elizabeth St. Garden volunteers to form a nonprofit group to improve the garden and provide programming and community events; and also commits C.B. 2 to “an ongoing and strategic and activist effort, alongside our elected officials and government agencies, to expand and preserve affordable housing in the district.” The board approved the resolution overwhelmingly by a vote of 30 “Yes” to 2 “No.” City Councilmember Margaret Chin originally supported the idea of using the Elizabeth St. Garden site as a spot for more affordable housing as a part of the SPURA plan. The SPURA site will have 50 percent affordable housing, but some advocates had pushed for 100 percent affordable housing, and Chin has said she was disappointed she

couldn’t get more affordable housing on the actual SPURA site. Asked her thoughts on the board’s vote, Chin said, “I fully support Community Board’s 2 commitment to develop more affordable housing in our neighborhood. In today’s difficult economy, it is more important than ever to create housing opportunities for working families. The site on Elizabeth St. is an ideal place to start; it is one of the largest publicly owned, undeveloped sites in Community Board 2, and also offers the potential for a significant openspace component that everyone can enjoy. I thank everyone who has participated in community discussions for the best uses of the site, and I look forward to continuing the dialogue and exploring these possibilities with residents and neighborhood stakeholders. Together, we can work toward a plan that reflects both affordable housing and open-space priorities.” Meanwhile, Land Use Committee chairperson Bergman and David Gruber, C.B. 2 chairperson, stood firmly behind the board’s resolution on the garden. “The response in the community to the idea of using this site for housing was huge and almost unanimous in opposition, but the proposal served as a wakeup call,” Bergman said. “Our resolution also strengthened our commitment to preserving and expanding affordable housing, which is as important to protecting the true character of our neighborhoods as preserving our historic districts and buildings.” Added Gruber, “We need to do more for affordable housing, but we can’t give up our precious open space. Our district is at the extreme bottom of community boards in terms of parks and open space. I’ve appointed a task force of board members to work with H.P.D. and our elected officials as well as housing experts to develop a strategic and activist approach to assure we will be doing everything we need to do to hold onto the thousands of affordable apartments we have, and to encourage and work toward creation of new permanently affordable units. “This month,” Gruber said, “I expect the board will approve a project that will build 25 new affordable apartments in Hudson Square, the first new affordable units to be built in our district in many years.” Bergman said that project is on Clarkson St. The H.P.D. proposal for the Elizabeth St. Garden isn’t even in the ULURP stage yet, Bergman noted, referring to the city’s seven-month-long Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which would be required for such a project. Under ULURP, C.B. 2 would again have a chance to weigh in on the proposal. But first, H.P.D. would have to issue a request for proposals, or R.F.P., from developers for the site. If H.P.D. picked a developer, that developer would have to do the necessary environmental reviews and the ULURP. “As far as I know, H.P.D. is not working on an R.F.P. at this time,” Bergman said, “and of course given the C.B. 2 position, I hope they will not.”


February 27 - March 12, 2014 lively picture books, finger plays, and action songs with toddlers and their caregivers. Free. Ages 12-36 months. Mar. 3, 10 – 4 p.m., Mar. 5, 12 – 10:30 a.m.

BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY 212-267-9700 Battery Park City Ballfields: All events take place on West St. between Murray and Warren Sts. Winter Games: Kickball, dodgeball, flag-football, and more. Ages 7 – 12. February 28, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Ultimate Frisbee: Enjoy a fun game of ultimate frisbee. Bring your own frisbee. For all ages. Mar. 1, 4 - 6 p.m. Women’s & Girls’ Soccer: Enjoy a game of soccer. Free. Drop in. Ages 12 and up. Mar. 2, 2 - 4 p.m. BARNES AND NOBLE 97 Warren St. 212-587-5389 The LEGO Movie Building Event: Participants will build a scene from the LEGO movie. Pre-registration required. Space is limited to 50 children. Free. Ages 4 and up. Mar. 1, 11:00 a.m. Read Across America Storytime: Join us for

Read Across America, featuring the exclusive Barnes & Noble Edition of Green Eggs and Ham. Story time and fun activities. Free. Children of all ages. Mar. 3, 11:00 a.m. Children’s Storytime: Kids and parents, join us in our Children’s Department for our Saturday Children’s Story time reading. Free. Children of all ages. Mar. 8, 11:00 a.m.

BATTERY PARK CITY LIBRARY 175 North End Ave (at Murray Street) 212-790-3499 Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers: Babies and their caregivers can enjoy simple stories, lively songs and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood. Limited to 25 babies and their caregivers; first-come firstserved. Free. Ages 0-18 months. Feb. 27, Mar. 6, 11 - 11:30 a.m., Mar. 3, 10 – 9:30 a.m. Picture Book Time: A librarian will share classic stories and new picture books. Free. Children of all ages. Mar. 4, 11 – 4 p.m. Toddler Story Time: A librarian will share

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS 103 Charlton St., Admission - $11 (seniors and 0-12 months free, from 4-6 p.m.) 212-274-0986 Button Fax: Create a print of a temporary button layout .Ages 5 and up. Feb. 27, 3 – 5 p.m. Sock Drawers: Participants will attempt to draw every single pair of socks they own and arrange them in the fashion of pinned butterflies within a velvet (or velvety material) lined drawer. Ages 5 and up. Feb. 28, 3 – 6 p.m. Irish Step Dancing Marionettes: Learn how to make a simple marionette that will dance and make a “tap tap” sound when manipulated. Ages 5 and up. Mar. 1, 2, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Spirals in Nature: Focusing on snails and seashells,.Ages 5 and up. Mar. 3, 3 – 4:45 p.m. Funny Bone Collections: Create a display of a bone collection. Ages 5 and up. Mar. 5, 3 – 4:45 p.m. Mar. 7, 3 – 5:45 p.m. Rod Puppets: Make puppets using the inspiration of Lisa Ludwig’s window installation. Ages 5 and up. March 6, 3 – 4:45 p.m. Comic Books: Learn how to create a story told in pictures. Ages 5 and up. Mar. 8, 9, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wonders of the Forest Floor: This workshop will focus on wild mushrooms, lichen, fun-

gus and moss. Ages 5 and up. Mar. 10, 3 – 4:45 p.m. Allan McCollum inspired Shape Collections: Explore, shape, design, display and scale through the creation of miniature abstract shapes. Ages 5 and up. Mar. 12, 3 – 4:45 p.m.

NEW AMSTERDAM LIBRARY 9 Murray St. (between Broadway and Church St.) 212-732-8186 Children and their caregivers can enjoy interactive stories, action songs, fingerplays, and spend time with other children in the neighborhood. Free. Ages 18 - 36 months. First come, first served. Feb. 27 - 11 a.m. (doors lock at 10:35), 12 a.m. (doors lock at 11:35) SMITHSONIAN’S NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN 1 Bowling Green 1st Floor, 212-514-3700 Daily Screenings: Especially For Kids: Family friendly screenings of live action shorts and animations. Free. Mar. 3 – 12, 10:30, 11:45 a.m. SEND INFO FOR YOUTH ACTIVITIES EVENTS HAPPENING SOUTH OF CANAL ST. TO: NEWS@DOWNTOWNEXPRESS.COM

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February 27 - March 12, 2014

Flurry of Talent

Horse Trade’s annual FRIGID fest burns bright 100% of box office proceeds go directly to the artists. Not everything is a random act, though. The Canuk Cabaret series tips its beaver fur top hat to our neighbors from the Great White North, by giving stage time to native and “honorary” Canadian talent. A little payback seems only fair, considering how Horse Trade liberally cribbed from the Canadian Association of Fringe Festivals’ nurturing mission statement. Late in the FRIGID run, some notable standouts will get one more performance, at HANGOVER night (happening simultaneously, at The Kraine and UNDER St. Marks). As for what’s warming up the regular old FRIGID boards, quite a few entries just happen to fall into convenient categories.


Through March 9 At The Kraine Theater (85 E. Fourth St., btw. Second Ave. & Bowery) At UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place., btw. First Ave. & Ave. A) Tickets: $8-$16 Visit Call 212-868-4444



Photo by Theresa Unfried

See the funny, sexy, sacred sides of Edna St. Vincent Millay, in “I Shall Forget You Presently.”


New York’s Estraña Theatre Company brings twists, turns and psychological thrills to this modern telling of London’s Jack the Ripper murders. Set in the East Village, a prostitute takes it upon herself to bring a brutal serial killer to justice, after four women (one of them, a close friend) “fall victim to ghastly acts of contempt.”


As if his long run on “Law & Order” and that memorable guest spot on “The Golden Girls” weren’t enough, Jerry Orbach further secured his good guy reputation with a final, visionary act: the donation of his corneas. Written by four members of the No. 11 Productions collective, this musical comedy imagines the two recipients of Orbach’s gift as lonely New Yorkers who meet and fall in love.

Midnight: Wed-Sat., Feb. 22-March 8 At UNDER St. Marks

FRIGID HANGOVER March 8, 5:15pm (at both venues) BY SCOTT STIFFLER From Chicago, Toronto and other chilly climes they come — to perform daring acts of indie theater and mock a weary Manhattan’s notion of what passes for excessive snowfall. Over the next three weeks, as the predictions of a certain Staten-Island based groundhog will likely continue to prove annoyingly accurate, the eighth annual FRIGID festival is giving you over 30 reasons to brave the cold and take a chance on those who’ve won the lottery. Literally. Horse Trade Theater Group’s nod to the risks and rewards of chance fills this annual winter fest with content chosen by first-come electronic submission. The selection process may be random, but the rewards are a lock:


Brooklyn-based twentysomething Colin tells the story of his five-year collaboration with Steve, a retired railway clerk in Australia. Although the two never meet, their exchange of over 6,000 emails yields some 100 songs (many of which you’ll hear, augmented by “bells, flags, clocks frogs, maps, a stylophone and other curious artifacts”). SHOWS WITH SHAKESPEARE ON THE BRAIN


Photo by Anais Koivisto

The late Lady Macbeth awakens in purgatory, to find she’s been trapped by “Something Wicked.”

Packed with ecstatic beats from the 1980s A&M Records portfolio — and inspired by the narratives of “A Chorus Line” and “Hamlet” — playwright Gregg Barrios merg-


February 27 - March 12, 2014



Wayne manipulates the medium of painting by approaching oil paint as a sculptural material. She often scrapes, folds, cuts and builds up her surfaces, creating works that take on three-dimensional textures. The tactile quality of her work evokes the experience of geology and natural phenomena. Her relationship to landscape is rooted in memory, especially in the light, colors and geography of the West. Based in midtown Manhattan, Wayne approaches her subject as an opportunity to depict visual manifestations of physical forces: compression, subduction and morphogenesis. These are not pictures of nature in the traditional sense, but lyrical contemplations of movement and instability. Through March 22, at Jack Shainman (524 W. 24th St, btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10am-6pm. Call 212-645-1701 or visit

© Leslie Wayne. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Leslie Wayne: “Paint/Rag #32” (2013, oil on panel, 15 x 9 1/2 x 6 inches).

© Leslie Wayne. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Leslie Wayne: “Paint/Rag #19” (2013, oil on panel 14 x 7 1/2 x 2 1/4 inches).

©2014 Robert Henry Contemporary

“The Point Where All Points Converge” (2013, ink on book pages, 21 drawings, 7” x 5” each).

PANCHO WESTENDARP: THINGS THAT BARELY EXIST Westendarp’s drawings, videos and installations seek to analyze relationships between time, space, memory and movement. He states, “Developing our own way of measuring time means creating our own notion of history and developing new rituals where time can be practical and playful.” Through March 9, at Robert Henry Contemporary (56 Bogart St., Brooklyn, btw. Harrison Place & Grattan St.). Hours: Thurs.-Sun., 1-6pm. Visit or call 718-473-0819.

©2014 Robert Henry Contemporary

“Days Go By” (2012, Video, 5 minutes 19 seconds, Edition 5, Installation view)


February 27 - March 12, 2014

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“Boogie of the Apes” takes less than an hour to skewer every last cheesy element of the five original “Planet of the Apes” films.

es 70s Chicano politics with AIDS-era club culture to tell the story of queer DJ Amado Guerrero Paz (aka Warren Peace). Old school dance floor attitude meets the new dub-step style, when a younger DJ challenges Peace to a winner-takes-all musical standoff.


Draped in a blood red dress and surrounded by tormentors clothed in tones as black as her soul, Lady Macbeth awakens to find herself trapped in “a purgatory created from her own gruesome misdeeds.” New York’s Everyday Inferno Theatre Company tears into the heart of Shakespeare’s text, to deliver a new tale that pulses with highly choreographed movement, moody music and dark humor. SHOWS WITH ONE PERSON AND MULTIPLE PROBLEMS


Dressing like a banana, playing the accordion or speaking frankly about her suicide attempt — Chicago’s Maja Wojciechowski will do whatever it takes to find the comedy in her struggle with bipolar disorder and panic attacks. “Sometimes,” she says, “the most human part about being a functioning human being is not being able to function.”


A washed-up children’s book author battles booze, phobias and poisonous thoughts, as the deadline for her latest project comes and goes.


The longest (and best-titled) FRIGID


Ashley Allen

“Ashley Allen   is,   a   surprising,   fresh,   young,   and   provocative   new   talent   who   is   putting   some   substance  into  the  pop  world  with  a  batch  of  infectiously  catchy  future  hits  that  make  you  want   to  sing,  dance,  and  wild-­‐out  on  the  surface,  but  think,  dream,  and  wonder  on  the  inside”    -­‐     Ashley  Allen’s  Z100  Show  Featured  on  NY1   Her  Song  “Body  Say  No,  Heart  Say  Yes”  Will  Go  to  Pop  Radio  in  Early  2014     “Let’s  Go”  Featured  on  Australia’s  Channel  9  Promo    (Comparable  to  NBC  /  CBS)     AA  was  a  Featured  Performer  at  the  2013  Operation  Smile  Benefit  Along  with  Aloe  Blacc   Performed  at  a  WNBA  Halftime  Glamazons Show  In  Front  of  a  Sold  Out  CJosh rowd     Zuckerman Ashley  Allen  Featured  on  Kings  of  A&R  and  Chosen  As  One  of  the  “Top  8  Emerging  Artists”   Opened  for  Chris  Wallace  at  Highline  Ballroom     Ashley  Performed  as  Part  of  2013  New  York  City  Fashion  Week       The  “Let’s  Go”  Music  Video  Premiered  on  Artist  Direct     Performed  at  the  2013  CMJ,  CBGB’s  Festival  &  Miami  Winter  Music  Conference   Performed  at  Prom  Jam  Fashion  Shows  with  Bravo  Televisions  Project  Runway  Stars  

fest entry puts a guitar in the hands of actor-playwright J. Stephen Brantley, whose • journey from heroin user to Mr. Clean is• told • with ample samples from Madonna —• the • ultimate queen of reinvention. •


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Celestial Zenith takes you through one woman’s breakneck attempt to mend her MANAGEMENT    I    LIZA  LEE-­‐BENEDICT    I    I    646.319.0720   AGENT    I    JON  MOSKOWITZ    I    I    212.582.7575   broken past, during a difficult night   of speed Jay Blahnik Aris dating. SHOWS PLAYED FOR LAUGHS


Travel back in time and experience over ten hours of monkey business, in just under sixty minutes — as Madison, Wisconsin’s own Broom Street Theater players dance, fight and masterfully mug their way through every increasingly cheesy installment of the five original “Planet of the Apes” films. Their lipsynched performance of highlights from the Power Records adaptation lampoons and critiques everything from the 70s that has aged poorly — including TV variety shows, the audio version’s bombastic, kid-friendly aesthetic and every “Apes” film that didn’t have Charlton Heston as its star.

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New York’s own Dysfunctional Theatre Company — an always-entertaining member of the Horse Trade stable — uses the poems and letters of Enda St. Vincent Millay to bring out the funny, sexy, sacred and profane dimensions “of a woman who captured love, defined feminism and shaped the 20th century.”

For information on exhibiting and attending: RDP Group 800-243-9774 •



February 27 - March 12, 2014

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February 27 - March 12, 2014

New group will try for Seaport consensus SOUTH STREET SEAPORT // THE SITE

altering another, the Tin, the plan’s effect would be to diminish neighborhood’s hiswill not be on the group. toric market character. “I am very fond of Robert, but he’s not The Hughes team counters that the going to be at the meetings, but he will be city Landmarks Preservation Commission represented at the meetings,” Brewer said, has rejected previous attempts to add in an apparent reference to groups he’s the New Market Building to the historic closely allied with, like Save Our Seaport. district, and that demolishing the buildLaValva, who had formally asked to ing would open new access points to the join the group, wrote in an email to waterfront, a long-held goal of Board 1. Downtown Express Wednesday that he Large food markets are another desire hoped the Working Group takes “this of the community board, as well as the opportunity to reconsider the original larger community. vision for the Seaport to evolve as a treaJeremy Soffin, a spokesperson for the sured destination for all New Yorkers. Hughes Corp., said last week that food “Since 2007, New Amsterdam Market, shopping was far and away the most popits customers, and supporters have… built ular thing people wanted, according to the foundation of a cherished community the thousands of surveys the firm mailed amenity that is also [a] proven magnet to Lower Manhattan residents and others. for customers … who support local small “People want a supermarket,” said businesses. We will welcome the Working Soffin. “Trader Joe’s is surprisingly popuGroup’s … consideration of our proposed lar.” redevelopment of the Fulton Fish Market He declined to mention any more and other public amenities.” results from the survey, saying the firm As part of last year’s Pier 17 deal, would unveil more details at the Working Hughes committed to opening two Group’s first closed-door meeting, which 10,000 square-foot food markets — one has now been scheduled for this Thurs., in the Link Building and the second in the Feb. 27 in Assembly Speaker Sheldon Tin, although the second one would be Silver’s office. dependent on getting some version of the Borough President Brewer and current plan approved by the city. Councilmember Chin said the community LaValva, in an interview last week, board would be giving the public regular said there were two essential problems briefings about the discussions. with the proposed Hughes’ markets — The city’s Economic Development one is that they would be too small to Corp., which is the Hughes Corporation’s create the vibrancy of something like landlord at South Street Seaport, will Seattle’s Pike Place Market. The other provide the working group with technical is that by destroying one former Fulton assistance. UTH STREETFish SEAPORT MARINA - New VIEW FROM NORTH Market //building, Market, and PORCHKyle Kimball, E.D.C. president under Continued from page 1





Schematic of the proposed Seaport development area. The tower would be at the New Market site. The redevelopment of the Pier 17 mall was approved last year.

both Mayor de Blasio as well as former Mayor Bloomberg, joined the Feb. 25 press release announcing the new group. “We look forward to assisting all local stakeholders in establishing their priorities for a mixed-use development project in this iconic area,” Kimball said in a prepared statement. “We thank Councilmember Chin and other local elected leaders for steering this important effort.”

Chin, who will have a key negotiating role before a plan comes to the City Council for an up or down vote, said Tuesday night, there would be “a lot of work, a lot of meetings the next couple of weeks, the next couple of months…. “How do we preserve the South Street Seaport that we all love so much — what about the [Seaport] Museum that we want to make sure will grow and thrive?”

With reporting by Sam Spokony

Seaport Working Group Below is the list of people and organizations named to the new group:

Rendering courtesy of Howard Hughes Corp

Rendering of the proposed marina at the South Street Seaport, which is part of the Howard Hughes Corp. development plan.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, N.Y.S. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. N.YS. Senator Daniel Squadron City Councilmember Margaret Chin, Community Board 1 Chair Catherine McVay Hughes, CB1 Seaport/Civic Center Committee Chair John Fratta, CB1 Landmarks Committee Chair Roger Byron CB1 Planning and Infrastructure Committee Chair Jeff GallowayThe Howard Hughes Corporation Save Our Seaport Seaport SpeaksOld Seaport AllianceThe Downtown AllianceThe Manhattan Chamber of Commerce Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Allison Gaines Pell, Head of the Blue School Diane Harris Brown, Downtown resident and director of Educational and Community Programming at the James Beard Foundation, Charles Jaskel, local resident, Jonathan O’Donnell, 95 John Street Board of Directors, Paul Kefer, Southbridge Towers Board of Directors.


February 27 - March 12, 2014











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