vOLUME 26, NUMbER 20
MARcH 13-MARcH 26 2014
HEAt biLLS At gAtEWAY P. 3
wIth condo ProJect BacK on tracK, so Is aFFordaBLe hoUsInG MoneY... eVentUaLLY
health issue that put him out of commission for a while. “I’m recovered,” he said. “I’ve 98% of my strength back. I feel like I’m 55 or 60 years old. I think I can shoulder my pastoral obligations.” On his tenure, he simply answers, “I’m
BY SAM SPOKONY ow that the previously stalled 50 West St. luxury condo project is back from the dead, Downtown residents can also look forward to the development’s planned public space, which will further help link the Financial District to Battery Park City. However, that lag time on the condos has also put a three-year hold on the nearly $5 million the developer had agreed to pay towards Downtown affordable housing in an almost-forgotten deal struck with the city in 2007. After it was originally planned to be paid out in 2013, the developer will now have until mid-2016 — which is when 50 West St. is now expected to be complete — to shell out that cash. Time Equities, which is developing the site, finally broke ground last October after the project — originally planned as a 65-story hotel/ residential tower — was sidetracked for years following the nation’s financial crisis in 2008. Now 50 West St. is being built as a 63-story tower, minus the hotel, which in addition to the condos will also include ground-floor retail, a bar/restaurant and one floor of office space, according to the developer. Speaking at the March 5 meeting of Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee, Time Equities C.E.O. Francis Greenburger said he has also since cut down the number of condos planned for the tower — from around 300 to around 200 — in order to increase the size of the units, which will range from one to four bedrooms. He also noted that his plans for a privately owned public space — sometimes referred to as POPS — outside 50 West St. have remained the same as when the project was originally
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Downtown Express photo by Scot Surbeck
hINTs oF sPrING… The sunset and warmer weather at Battery Park City’s North Cove last week and this week gave Downtowners some hopes for spring, although predictions are for a few more cold days before the season begins March 20. The recent mix of snow, rain and warm weather led to The Rink closing for the season a few days early this week.
Fearing priest’s forced retirement B Y t E Q U iLA M iNS K Y ather Fabian Grifone may have celebrated his final Ash Wednesday mass last week as pastor of Little Italy’s Church of the Most Precious Blood. “I’m supposed to be retired, but not as yet,” he said in response to the constant murmurings of his imminent retirement which has Parish members in a state of anxiety.
He’s 88 and pastors have a mandatory retirement age of 75. Technically he is already retired, but he still performs all of his pastoral duties proficiently and happily. “I’ve been here for 21 years and four months,” he emphasized. The church at 109 Mulberry St. briefly had a pastor who was going to replace him last year, but that did not last. A few years back, Father Fabian had a severe
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March 13 - March 26, 2014
Jan Lee, one of the Chinatown community leaders who has fought against many of Lower Manhattan’s post 9/11 street closures, tells us the Downtown federal trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, doesn’t seem to have worsened the traffic problems, but it does appear to have prompted the installation of an unsightly new security booth that is so far not been operational. The biggest problem with the booth, Lee said, is it gets in the way at the Worth St. public plaza outside the Moynihan Courthouse. He fears that the plaza may close again as it did for several years in the ‘00s, which would close a shortcut to the subways and mar Maya Lin’s sculptures, which have auditory sounds designed to be experienced up close. Adding insult to injury, Lee said, the booth is the “cheapest-looking, Home Depot piece of [crap].”
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With all the heated and somewhat antagonistic dialogue currently taking place between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, the governor was still lighthearted enough to drop a couple of zingers when he came Downtown to dedicate a new memorial at the Museum of Jewish Heritage last week (page 13 ). During the dedication, Cuomo praised Peter Kalikow, the museum trustee who funded the new addition, but then switched gears for a moment to get a pretty good laugh from the crowd at the museum trustee’s expense. (Kalikow, is a big supporter of the governor, even though he typically supports Republicans, including George Pataki, who ended the political career of Gov. Mario Cuomo, Andrew’s father.) Back to our story. Apparently, the Italian government honored Kalikow in 2008 by naming him a Commendatore of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and Cuomo shared his “suspicions” as to why the wealthy Kalikow was given the prestigious award. “I have a feeling Peter was named Commendatore because he’s done so much for the Italian economy by buying all his Ferraris,” said Cuomo, enjoying the quick dig. Well, it’s a good thing Occupy Wall Street isn’t still camped Downtown...they would’ve had a field day with that one.
The ToLL beLL rINGs aGaIN “Grildlock Sam” Schwartz, a.k.a. Transit Sam, author of a Downtown Express column, and traffic analyst Charles Komanoff,
and others are ready to revive their hopes to drive home their plan to pump more money into the subway and highway system and reduce traffic in Manhattan by tolling some bridges, Komanoff tells us. Schwartz and Bill Keller, the former New York Times executive editor, generated lots of buzz with a Sunday Times column back in 2012, but the plan never got moving with the powers that be. Move New York, a new group forming to push the plan, is hosting a conference March 21 to announced the renewed effort. Komanoff, who has been working on many of the proposal’s revisions, said there have not been fundamental changes, but declined to offer specifics before the event. Schwartz’s idea is to spread the benefits and pain to thwart the opposition that killed former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s traffic pricing plan. So in addition to increasing tolls into Manhattan under the Schwartz plan, many tolls between other boroughs would drop. Money would go to help roadways as well as subways and buses. Komanoff, a Tribeca resident, said with all of the traffic problems in Lower Manhattan, “the benefits Downtown are enormous.” The strategy this time appears to be to generate widespread support so it will be hard for car lovers — such as, oh say Gov. Andrew Cuomo — to say no. After we spoke to our old friend Charlie, it crossed our minds that Cuomo might see added political value in reducing traffic, giving the problems his cross-river counterpart is having in New Jersey…
W.T.c. For saLe
...Speaking of Gov. Chris Christie, in case you missed it, the New York Times reported this week that the 20 New Jersey mayors whom Christie was most interested in securing endorsements from — the list apparently numbered 100 —all got World Trade Center remnants for their towns’ 9/11 memorials. The artifacts are under the control of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that implemented the infamous “traffic problems” ordered by Christie aides. We might have thought almost 13 years later, the political abuse of 9/11 had mostly subsided. Even in the earlier days, or perhaps because it was the earlier days there was some restraint. When President George W. Bush picked New York for the 2004 Republican convention, it was widely assumed and reported that he would make a dramatic return visit to the W.T.C. during the convention, but he didn’t’t do it. Donald Trump backed a plan to rebuild the Twin Towers in an apparent effort to boost ratings for the finale of the 2005 season of “The Apprentice,” but for whatever the reason, Trump did not include it in the episode. Maybe the passage of time makes exploiting 9/11 easier. After all, Christie’s aides if not the governor himself, apparently did not hesitate to tie up the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 11.
March 13 - March 26, 2014
High electric bills have Gateway Plaza tenants hot B Y SA M S P O K O N Y Gateway Plaza tenants are outraged over their incredibly high electric bills this winter — some of which surpassed $1,000 — and are still calling on their landlord to complete longoverdue repairs that would make their buildings more energy efficient. “We’re in electric shock, as Gateway is in an electric bill crisis,” said Glenn Plaskin, president of the tenant association for the six-building, 1,700-unit complex in Battery Park City. “Management attributes skyrocketing costs to rising Con Edison rates and sub-zero temperatures, and while those things are both true, the underlying cause of these astronomical energy bills is the condition of our buildings.” Gateway’s landlord, the LeFrak Organization, has been heavily criticized by tenants and local politicians after failing to keep a promise — made more than a year ago — to replace or upgrade all of the complex’s leaky windows, poor insulation and aging heating units by the end of 2013. As of now, none of the windows have been replaced, only around 500 out of 4,000 heating units have been replaced and the insulation remains subpar, according to Plaskin. The tenant leader also pointed out that since Gateway’s electric meters are now 33 years old, he and many other tenants believe they could be giving faulty readings and should also be replaced. The whole situation, he said, goes at odds with the fact that Gateway is marketed as a “luxury” housing complex. “Do we call this property luxury,” Plaskin wondered. “With snow, ice, rain and cold air insinuating itself into apartments, tenants are suffering both physically and financially. It’s very sad when tenants with young children tell me its difficult to keep their children warm.” As with some other developments around the city, Gateway tenants are not billed directly by Con Ed for their electricity use. Instead, LeFrak buys energy in bulk from the utility company and
then acts as a middle man in billing the residents. And while Con Ed did raise its prices this winter — according to Gateway’s bills, the costs rose about 20 percent from 21 cents per kilowatt hour in December to 25 cents per kilowatt hour in January — tenants at the complex saw their costs increase at a much, much higher rate, even though they claimed not to have used any more energy. Gateway tenant Nancy Chambers, 70, said the bills for her one-bedroom apartment nearly doubled this winter, from just over $300 for December to $567 for January. She and her husband, who both live on a fixed income through Social Security, had to borrow money just cover those costs, even as they’ve remained shivering cold due to the shoddy windows, bad insulation and a fear of racking up even higher fees by trying to warm their home. “I’m sitting here in the cold, under blankets, and I’m too scared to crank the heat,” she said. “I don’t want to move…I want to stay here, but I just want to be warm, and I shouldn’t have to borrow money just to pay these bills.” William Couig also lives in a one-bedroom apartment at Gateway, with his wife and young daughter, and although he said his use of heat didn’t increase, his bill similarly shot up from around $300 for December to more than $500 for January. “When I called management to complain about the bill, they didn’t even want to talk about the subject,” said Couig. “They posted these notices throughout the building saying that Con Ed had raised its prices, trying to say that’s why the bills were so much higher.” However, weeks after Couig’s original complaint went unheeded, a management employee stopped by to read his electric meter. “[That worker] said there were some abnormalities with the meter, maybe some spikes, and he said he wanted to come look at it again,” Couig explained. “That was a couple of weeks ago, and we haven’t heard back from them yet.”
Ice forms inside unsealed windows at Gateway Plaza. December 2013 ﬁle photo courtesy of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association.
And Tom Goodkind, a Community Board 1 member who lives in a two-bedroom apartment at Gateway with his wife and children, said he somehow racked up an exorbitantly high January bill — just over $1,000. “And everything is unplugged all day while we’re all at work and school,” said Goodkind. “There’s just something wrong here.” A LeFrak spokesperson declined to answer specific questions about possible meter abnormalities that may have led to the absurdly high electric bills. But in a statement responding to questions about the overdue building repairs — which could improve the complex’s energy efficiency —
the landlord seemed less worried about completing the repairs than about using them as leverage in its ongoing rent negotiations with the Battery Park City Authority, the state organization which is effectively LeFrak’s landlord. “Gateway has engaged in productive discussions with agencies of the State of New York, its regulator and ground-landlord, in the hopes of making adjustments to its outdated ground lease to facilitate investments at the property,” said the landlord’s spokesperson in the March 4 statement. The B.P.C.A. declined to comment on the situation. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has met with both the B.P.C.A. and Gateway’s tenant association to discuss the issue, and said in a March 5 statement that they’re all working together as part of an “ongoing effort” to make the repairs and upgrades. But he had took a strong stance against the current living situations at the complex. “I have made clear that residents of Gateway Plaza should not have to pay sky-high electric bills for poorly insulated apartments,” said Silver, who has negotiated past Gateway rent agreements with LeFrak for over two decades. “I am encouraged that discussions are now taking place with Gateway’s owner, and I am committed to ensuring that these unacceptable conditions are fixed as soon as possible.” And State Sen. Daniel Squadron — who has pushed for the repairs ever since working with LeFrak and Gateway’s T.A. to conduct an energy audit of the complex in 2012 — responded to LeFrak’s terse statement by once again calling on the landlord to simply honor its previous commitment. “At a meeting last February, Gateway residents were promised basic repairs and energy efficiency upgrades,” Squadron told Downtown Express on March 4. “Now, 13 months later, they’re still waiting for the promise to be kept. That’s simply wrong.”
Morrone admits to grand larceny, but avoids jail B Y SA M S P O K O N Y Joseph Morrone, a former Southbridge Towers board president, pleaded guilty Feb. 28 to felony grand larceny after stealing $109,000 in Social Security disability benefits, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. He will be forced to pay back all of the stolen money, and will do five years of probation and 200 hours of community service, a D.A. spokesperson told Downtown Express. Morrone, 60, was the Southbridge president for several years, starting in the late-’90s, and still lives at the middle income complex. He was spotted outside the State Supreme Court building on Centre St. minutes after entering his guilty plea, but declined to comment. City prosecutors first indicted Morrone on Jan. 7, alongside more than 100 other defendants, after an investigation showed that he received the disability benefits between October
‘In the end, [Joseph Morrone’s] signature was on the papers, so he had to be held accountable, and he was,’ his attorney said.
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2009 and June 2013 by fraudulently claiming to suffer from psychological illnesses. He was originally charged with second degree grand larceny and fourth degree criminal facilitation — which collectively could have put
him in prison for up to 16 years if convicted — but prosecutors cut him a deal that allowed him to plead guilty to third degree grand larceny, with no jail time. A month ago, Morrone’s attorney, Vincent
Licata, told this newspaper that he believed he could prove that his client had suffered from legitimate, “documented” illnesses that qualified him for the disability benefits. He also turned down an initial plea deal offered by the D.A. on
Feb. 7, according to an attorney representing one of his co-defendants. But that optimism apparently did not last, and apparently for good reason. A source close to the situation told Downtown Express that
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some defense attorneys involved in this case originally believed they could prove their clients’ innocence by showing that they have physical disabilities, but have since realized that the rigid guidelines for psychologically based Social Security benefits will prevent them from doing so. A few days after Morrone’s guilty plea, Licata said his client had no malicious intent, but that he instead had gotten “caught up” in the disability fraud scheme due to a belief that its allege ringleaders were legitimate. In a phone interview, the attorney also said the quick plea deal showed that the D.A. thought Morrone was “at the bottom of the totem pole…. “In the end, [Morrone’s] signature was on the papers, so he had to be held accountable, and he was,” Licata told Downtown Express. “Mr. Morrone accepted full responsibility for his actions, and he demonstrated that by pleading guilty.” IN PRINT OR ONLINE w
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March 13 - March 26, 2014
WeddING rINGs sToLeN
An unfortunate woman lost both her $28,000 engagement ring and her $3,000 wedding ring to a sneaky thief while she was exercising at a Whitehall St. gym on Feb. 24, police said. The woman, 43, told cops that she started working out in the New York Health and Racquet Club, at 39 Whitehall St., around 6 a.m., after securing her jewelry in a locker. But when she finished the workout around two hours later, she found that her lock had been picked — not broken — and realized that the two valuable rings, along with a $2,000 white gold necklace and a $2,000 garnet and emerald ring, were gone. There were no witnesses, and although video from the gym’s lobby was made available to cops, they do not yet have a description or identification of the suspect.
Someone stole more than $4,000 worth of fiber optic cables from the roof of a residential building near the South Street Seaport on March 6, police said. An employee of the Empire Telecommunications company reported the apparent theft to cops on March 10, saying that two large spools of the cables were missing from their place atop the
seven-story building at 160 Front St. There were no signs of forced entry to the rooftop area, according to police, and that area is reportedly easy to access by the building’s many residents, as well as numerous telecommunications companies that utilize space on the roof. There were no witnesses, and police said they are still investigating.
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Police arrested two men, aged 21 and 24, early on March 3 after they tried to rob one person in the Financial District and then actually did rob another person minutes later. The suspects first walked into the 7-Eleven store at 111 John St. around 11:30 p.m. on March 2, and asked a 19-year-old male employee to step outside, police said. On the sidewalk, the two suspects, aided by a third man, then reportedly tried to take the employee’s wallet by force, but they failed and then fled the scene. Then, shortly before midnight, all three of the muggers approached another man near the corner of Pine and William Sts., threatened him with a knife and took his wallet, police said. After the incident was reported, cops arrived on the scene and, after a canvass of the area, were able to apprehend the 21-year-old
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and 24-year-old suspects, although the third one got away. The two men arrested were both charged with robbery and attempted robbery.
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Police arrested a 20-year-old woman after they say she ran over an elderly man in Chinatown on Feb. 28 and then fled the scene. The woman was driving a 2014 Infiniti Q50 west on Hester St. shortly before 7 a.m. when she made a left turn onto Bowery and struck the 63-year-old pedestrian, who was within the crosswalk, police said. The man suffered injuries to his head and hands, and after witnesses reported the incident, and was treated at Bellvue Hospital, according to cops. After barreling the unwitting man over, the driver reportedly stepped outside her car, took a look at him, and sped away. But a witness was able to snap a photo of her, which he quickly provided to police. An immediate investigation by the N.Y.P.D.’s Collision Investigation Squad soon revealed that, following the incident, the suspect fled to Brooklyn over the Manhattan Bridge, police said. And later that day, cops learned that the same Infiniti had been slapped with a parking ticket in Prospect Heights, after which officers there canvassed the area and spotted the car — although they found it was now being driven by a 23-year-old man. Shortly after that, both the female suspect and the man were apprehended. She was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, and both suspects were charged with unlicensed operation and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
An opportunistic thief made off with a woman’s pricey shoulder bag on March 9 after she left it on the counter of a Tribeca pastry shop, police said. The woman, 34, told cops she was with her children while making a purchase in Duane Park Patisserie, at 179 Duane St., around 3 p.m. when she placed the leather Louis Vuitton bag (valued at $800) near the cash register. She then stepped away from the counter to attend to the kids, after which she reportedly left the store, forgetting that she’d left the the bag behind. When she returned to the pastry shop two hours later, the bag — which contained $270 in cash, a Louis Vuitton wallet which held her credit and debit cards, and a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses — was gone. And before that, a man also fell victim to a thief on March 5 after leaving his backpack unattended in a Financial District bar, police said. The man, 30, told cops that he was with some friends inside Killarney Rose, at 127 Pearl St., around 6:45 p.m. when he placed the bag — containing his $1,800 laptop and his passport — on the floor. Around 20 minutes later, he walked over to pick up the backpack but realized it was gone. And even before that, yet another woman had been targeted by a thief after leaving her $15,000 mink coat unattended at a Starbucks near City Hall. The woman, 42, told cops she hung the coat on the back of a chair inside the 195 Broadway coffee shop after walking in around 4:30 p.m. She then walked over to the counter to buy a drink, and by the time she’d returned to her seat, the coat was gone.
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March 13 - March 26, 2014
De Blasio blocks Success charter from opening in Murry B Y S A M S P O K O NY The previously planned charter school co-location at Murry Bergtraum High School will no longer go forward, the city’s Department of Education announced two weeks ago. At the end of last year, the D.O.E. under ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg approved the proposal to place a Success Academy charter school, serving grades K-4, within the halls of Murry Bergtraum, located near Police Plaza at 411 Pearl St. But that move was heavily criticized and rallied against by many Downtown parents, education advocates and elected officials. The Feb. 27 annoucement showed a clear shift — by Mayor Bill de Blasio and his new education officials — away from the charter school-friendly policies of Bloomberg’s D.O.E. under ex-Chancellor Dennis Walcott. “If there is one thing school communities should know, it’s this: we’re going to do things differently,” said D.O.E. Chancellor Carmen Farina, in a statement released with the announcement. “Today, we are turning the page on the approach of the past. We are going to listen and be responsive like never before, and that will be reflected in everything we do.” The reversal of the Murry Bergtraum co-location plan was one of nine such reversals throughout the city, and one of three blows dealt to Success Academy that day. The D.O.E. also blocked the charter’s proposed move into a Jamaica, Queens high school, as well as removing a Success Academy school from a Harlem location — which also serves two other schools — where it had been co-located since 2008. Success Academy, which is run by ex-City Councilmember Eva Moskowitz, whom de Blasio criticized during his campaign, immediately shot back after the announcement, with harsh words for de Blasio.
Downtown Express file photo by Yoon Seo Nam
Murry Bergtraum High School.
“With so few good school options in many of the city’s neighborhoods, it’s shocking that Mayor de Blasio would limit families’ access to high performing schools,” said Success spokesperson Ann Powell. “Instead of the progressive politics he ran on, the mayor is waging a campaign of personal politics that hurts the very communities he vowed to protect.” This week, Moskowitz announced a lawsuit to reverse the decision. As part of the same Feb. 27 announcement, D.O.E. also said it is shutting down a previous proposal to co-locate a new public high school at University Neighborhood High School, located at 200 Monroe St.
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That co-location plan had also faced heavy opposition, as supporters of U.N.H.S. said there was no chance its building could successfully house two schools due to severe lack of space and resources. D.O.E.’s announcement was enthusiastically applauded by Downtown education advocates. “I am pleased that the Department of Education heard the voices of the parents, students, educators who understand firsthand the educational needs of our community,” said Councilmember Margaret Chin — who had written letters to D.O.E. and joined parents in rallies against both Downtown co-location proposals — in a Feb. 27 statement. “This is a major victory for U.N.H.S. and M.B.H.S., and I thank Chancellor Fariña and Mayor de Blasio for putting our children first.” And Shino Tanikawa, preisdent of the District 2 Community Education Council, said she was “delighted by the decision that responds to the needs of the community, and [I] am deeply grateful to the Chancellor for listening to the parents.” However, D.O.E. said that it still plans to propose two co-locations at the Murry Bergtraum campus, including both the public high school that had previously been planned for the U.N.H.S. building, and another public high school that had previously been planned for co-location in Long Island City. In a memo detailing the plans, D.O.E. spokesperson Devon Puglia called those new proposals “better building matches” for the schools. Last year during the fight over moving Success into Lower Manhattan, Murry students and parents said the school had already been hurt by the co-location of another high school into the building.
With reporting by JOSH ROGERS
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March 13 - March 26, 2014
Collision course for 2 cabs
Photo by C4
On Sat., March 8, at 8:30 p.m., two yellow taxis collided at the intersection of Broome and Eldridge Sts. One taxi, the sedan, was reportedly traveling northbound on Eldridge St. “at a high rate of speed.” Meanwhile, an S.U.V.-style cab heading eastbound on Broome St. The S.U.V.-style cab broadsided the sedan cab in the intersection, flipping the sedan onto its side. The S.U.V. taxi didn’t have any passengers. The sedan had a female passenger, who was taken to Bellevue Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, as was that car’s hack. The sedan’s driver, at left, with a backpack on and with his back to camera, refused medical attention. At the time the photo was being taken, no summonses had been issued.
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March 13 - March 26, 2014
transit sam Thurs., March 13 – Wed., March 19 ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES IN EFFECT ALL WEEK Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Midtown will be hardest hit by the 253rd annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Fifth Ave. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday but Lower Manhattan will feel the domino effect. The limits of the parade are 42nd St. to 79th St. Consequently drivers will be avoiding the Queens-Midtown and Lincoln tunnels and heading Downtown to the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn bridges, and the Holland Tunnel. Late-night homecoming won’t be easy for Lower Manhattanites on Thursday. In the Lincoln Tunnel, the New York-bound south tube will close 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday, sending inbound traffic south to the Holland Tunnel. Meanwhile, one inbound lane of the Holland Tunnel will close during the same period.
Over on the East River, all Manhattanbound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge will close 11 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday. It might be tough for straphangers to get home too: No service at the following Sixth Ave. stations 10 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday: 14th St., 23rd St., 34th St.-Herald Sq, 42nd St.-Bryant Park, 47th-50th Sts., and 57th St. southbound D trains run via the C line between 59th St. and W. 4th St., then via the F track to and from 2nd Ave. Northbound D trains run between Stillwell Ave. and W. 4th St. F trains run via the E between W. 4th St. and Roosevelt Ave. Q service is extended to 21st St.-Queensbridge via the F after 57th St.-7 Av. B and M service ends early. The New York City Half Marathon will close several streets in and to Lower Manhattan 5 a.m. to noon Sunday: the southbound West Side Highway between 44th St. and the Battery Park Underpass, the Battery Park Underpass between the West Side Highway and the South Street exit of the F.D.R., South St. between Old Slip and Maiden Lane, Maiden Lane
between South and Water Sts., Water St. between Maiden Lane and Wall St. and between Wall and Whitehall Sts., State St. between Whitehall and Pearl Sts., Front St. between Maiden Lane and Old Slip, Wall St. between Water and South Sts., Gouverneur Lane between Water and South Sts., Hanover Square between Water and Stone Sts., Stone St. between Hanover Square and Coenties Alley, Coenties Alley between Stone and Water Sts., Pearl St. between Coenties Alley and Hanover Square, and Broad St. between Water and South Sts. This means that the southbound F.D.R will see lots of extra traffic, and it’ll be tough for Battery Park City residents to get their cars east of West 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 this weekend. Washington St. will close between Albany and Rector Sts. during the same period. Leonard St. is closed between Hudson and Varick Sts. through late March.
From the mailbag: Dear Transit Sam, There is an error on the summons I received today for “Disobey Stop Sign.” There is an incorrect letter in my license plate number indicated as the “PLATE #” on the summons. Do I have recourse (dismissal or reduction in fine amount) in this matter? Rosario, New York Dear Rosario, Not much recourse. If it were a parking ticket, yes. The parking ticket is the city’s case against you. With a moving violation it is the testifying police officer who makes the case. An error in the plate letters won’t weigh very much against a cop’s testimony you ran a stop sign. By the way, the N.Y.P.D. will be writing more of these and I fully support this effort, so be forewarned. Transit Sam
C.B. 3 delays vote on landmarking of old dispensary B Y L E SL E Y S U S S M A N The fate of a historic dispensary located at 75 Essex St. remains uncertain as Community Board 3 decided to postpone a vote last month on whether to support its landmark designation. The former Good Samaritan/ Eastern District Dispensary was constructed in 1890 with charitable donations and operated for 60 years with city funding. C.B. 3’s full board voted overwhelmingly for the delay at its Feb. 25 meeting despite an earlier vote by C.B. 3’s Landmark’s Subcommittee and the board’s Executive Committee in favor of such a designation. Board members wanted to give the building owner, Shalom Eisner, more time to present his case against landmark status. The free-standing, four-story brick building was designed by noted architects Rose & Stone in the Italianate style and is the only structure of its kind in the area. The dispensary, which closed in the 1950s, served as a free and low-cost walk-in community healthcare facility for the impoverished immigrant community of the Lower East Side. The mostly vacant building is located adjacent to the proposed Essex Crossing development, a mixed-used project set to break ground this year on a former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area site. The building now houses a sports retail store owned by Eisner on the ground floor. The property has been on and off the market in recent years, and is reportedly now on sale for $21 million. At the C.B. 3 full-board meeting, attended by about 100 local residents, Eisner told the board that he and his family have devot-
Downtown Express photo by Lincoln Anderson
Now home to a sports retail business, 75 Essex St. was for 60 years a low-cost healthcare facility serving the Lower East Side.
ed years to the building’s upkeep and that a landmark designation for the historic structure would make him lose up to 60 percent
of the building’s value because it would place development restrictions on any new buyer. “It was a very bad neighborhood in 1985
when my brother and I bought the building,” he said. “I was almost going to leave. Finally, things changed for the better, although my business is still zero. The only way my property is valuable is by not landmarking it. If it is landmarked, this is not fair to me and my family for all the work I’ve done there over the years.” Speaking in support of Eisner was Jan Sasson, a local businessman, who concurred that landmarking it would sharply decrease the building’s value. “Sure, it would be good for the community,” he added, “but it will put a hole in the life of his family and that’s not fair to him. While the whole area is being redeveloped, he will be left out in the cold. I think there’s a middle ground we can reach here somehow.” Speaking in support for landmark designation were members of Friends of the Lower East Side, a preservation group that, last January, asked the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect 75 Essex St. The preservation group is concerned that the building could be damaged from construction work on the Essex Street Crossing project and would be “vulnerable to inappropriate alterations or demolition” by whoever purchases the structure. They noted that the building is a prime candidate for conversion to a luxury hotel, an upscale condo or any number of uses. Joyce Mendelsohn, author of “The Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited” and a member of the preservation group, said it was essential that the building be protected. Continued on page 9
March 13 - March 26, 2014
The Soho Kid: He could have been a contender B Y PA SH A FA R M A NA R A Soho resident Joey Goodwin lives two lives. By day, he’s the creative director at men’s clothing label Unruly Heir and Good Days Marketing. But, by night, he’s the Soho Kid, representing his neighborhood in boxing matches. Goodwin currently lives and was raised in Soho, so he takes pride in his ring name. “Soho embodies a lot of great memories for me, from eating at Alidoro to Sullivan St. Park [Vesuvio Playground],” he began. “Dreaming about our fashion brand being up there with the big boys in Soho, to playing ball at W. Fourth. This neighborhood has always been my playground.” Goodwin planned to take part in the Golden Gloves, one of the nation’s bestknown amateur boxing tournaments. After strenuously preparing for the tournament, Goodwin was set back by an injury. “On my last day of sparring at 6:30 in the morning, I took a body shot,” he related. “The punch gave me a hairline fracture to my rib.” After a diagnosis of the injury, it was ruled that Goodwin could not participate in the tournament. Even though this was a crushing blow to his boxing dream, he can still appreciate a good punch. “It was a great shot,” Goodwin admitted. Boxing was not always a part of
Joey Goodwin sported a bloody nose and blood-spattered T-shirt after a sparring session while training for the Golden Gloves.
Goodwin’s life. It began rather recently in a local park. “A good friend of mine took me to
the park and started showing me how to hit the pads,” Goodwin explained. “I then went on to fight in an underground
boxing match party called Friday Night Throwdown.” After getting the boxing itch, he decided to join a gym to learn how to “do it right.” He became a member at Mendez Boxing, at 23 E. 26th St., to hone his skills. After joining the gym, and working with trainers Salvadore and Carlito, Goodwin dropped 40 pounds. As a creative director for a fashion company, it seems unfitting for Goodwin to take part in such a rugged sport, but he points out, the two activities have their similarities. “What made me fall in love with boxing is really the strategy and fundamentals of the sport,” he said. “Things like distance, timing and footwork are at the crux of boxing, but they are equally important in business.” As part of his Golden Gloves effort, Goodwin planned to raise money to fight obsessive compulsive disorder through the International O.C.D. Foundation. He was asking people to pledge funds for the foundation for every round he boxed. Even though his fractured rib knocked the Soho Kid out of the Golden Gloves, he plans to continue boxing, though not competitively. “I will definitely continue boxing,” he said. “I want to keep improving it is an art and a great way to stay in shape physically and mentally!”
March 13 - March 26, 2014
Board votes to delay decision on landmarking Essex building “It is our responsibility to preserve buildings that reflect the core immigrant character of the Lower East Side,” she said. “Plans for the new Essex Crossing present a vision of the future. The former dispensary provides a reflection of the past.” Mitchell Grubler, a founding member of Friends of the Lower East Side, told C.B. 3 members that the building must be landmarked “in recognition of its architectural and historical significance.” “Surrounded on three sides by the planned new construction of the massive Essex Crossing development, and, as yet, unprotected by landmark designation, this historic structure is vulnerable to demolition or inappropriate alternations,” he said. “The former dispensary needs to be preserved, not just for its architectural excellence, but saving it will have a positive effect on the environment.” As the moment arrived for a final vote to be taken on the issue, board member Morris
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Faitelewicz was one of several members who asked C.B. 3 Chairperson Gigi Li to send the measure back to the board’s Landmarks Subcommittee for more discussion. “There’s no rush on this,” he said. “It shouldn’t be approved just by the Executive Committee. Eisner should be given more time to present his arguments and show his
‘It was a very bad neighborhood in 1985 when my brother and I bought the building, The only way my property is valuable is by not landmarking it.’ community support.” Li said that the proposal came before the Executive Committee because “the ball was already rolling. Eisner wasn’t present at the Landmarks Subcommittee meeting, so we got it to vote on.” Carolyn Ratcliffe, chairperson of the subcommittee, said that Eisner “was aware
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of the meeting and it’s not our responsibility to notify people.” She admitted, however, that there was “some confusion” and that her committee would be willing to reconsider the matter. After the full-board meeting, Eisner said that he didn’t make it to the subcommittee meeting because of the “snowy weather” that
SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 1pm “In Truth: Poems for Mary Magdalene” A debut reading by Trinity parishioner MacKerrow Talcott. With accompanying scripture read by the Rev. Mark Bozzuti-Jones. Charlotte’s Place
day. He said that all he wanted was a “compromise” regarding the fate of the former dispensary building. “If I could get air rights for my building I would be satisfied,” he said. “I have no special strategy. I just want things done that are right for me and my family.” The Essex Crossing project is being de-
veloped by Delancey Street Associates, and calls for an Andy Warhol Museum to be built right next door to 75 Essex St. The parcel of land has frontages on Broome and Ludlow Sts. In addition to the museum, the developers plan to develop residential units on SPURA Site 1. The former dispensary building is about 12,400 square feet, and the property has nearly 32,000 feet in additional air rights. The developers, to date, have not indicated whether they would be interested in purchasing the privately owned building. The building is located in the Lower East Side Historic District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The fourstory structure, which is in excellent condition, is clad in orange and tan brick, and laid in Flemish bond with a brownstone trim. It features a series of five round-arched openings on the first story along Essex St. The former dispensary building survives as a testament to social reformers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries whose vision and commitment propelled New York City to pioneer progressive change.
FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 6-7:30pm Family Friday Pizza and Movie Night Relax with your kids and meet other downtown families for free pizza, children’s movies, and community. All families with young children are welcome. Charlotte’s Place
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Continued from page 7
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March 13 - March 26, 2014
Children’s Magical Garden sues to reclaim a lot slated for building
Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.
Assemblyman Shelly Silver
BY SAR AH FERgUSON After being fenced out for 10 months, members of the Children’s Magical Garden filed a claim of adverse possession on Mon., March 10, against Lower East Side developer Serge Hoyda and the development entity 157, LLC, seeking to reclaim the portion of the garden that Hoyda took over last May. The gardeners say they staked their claim on “lot 19” and two others on the corner of Norfolk and Stanton Sts. more than 30 years ago, when it was just a vacant patch of land festering with trash, rats and used needles. They planted fruit trees and vegetables, transforming the parcel over the years into a vital green space and learning center for L.E.S. children. “After Plaintiff’s claim and uninterrupted possession for thirty years, Defendants cannot now re-emerge to seize this land for themselves. Lot 19 belongs to the Children’s Magical Garden,” claims the lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court
on March 10. In June, the city transferred the garden’s other two lots to the Parks Department to preserve them as green space. Whether this suit can put a halt to development plans already afoot for this sliver of land remains to be seen. In November, Hoyda’s firm filed plans to erect a six-story, six-unit residential building on the site, replete with penthouse and gym. And in January, Hoyda sold the lot for $3.35 million to 157, LLC, a limitedliability corporation registered to David Marom, owner of the Horizon Group, a Yonkers-based real estate development and investment firm that is developing another luxury residence off Delancey St. C.M.G. members planned a press conference and rally at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday morning to explain their legal strategy. They are promising “News, Justice and Donuts,” along with free hot chocolate to anyone who shows up on the way to work or school to show support.
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March 13 - March 26, 2014
Feds & city gear up for Governors Island’s expanded season BY zAcH WiLLiAMS Governors Island may have a small stature compared to the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan 1,000 yards away, but the value of the East River tract is growing within the local community, National Park Service officials told members of the C.B.1 Financial District Committee on March 5. A presentation to the committee was just one of several recent efforts by federal and city caretakers of the 172-acre island to inform the public on the current reshaping of the former military installation off the southern tip of Manhattan. Construction of new scenic heights atop the island as well as the introduction of new commercial vendors are underway as officials prepare for the season opening on May 24. Increased ferry service to seven days, a lengthened season and a dramatic increase in visits from the general public in recent years is also encouraging the park service to aim high with programming beyond the periodic discharge of artillery fire, said Patti Reilly, superintendent of Governors Island National Monument. “Our tours have been climbing and climbing in terms of people coming out. The popularity is going up. We’ve had a 60 percent increase since 2008,” she told committee members. The federal park agency manages 22 acres of the island, concentrated around Fort Jay and Castle Williams. The Trust for Governors Island maintains the rest of the island on behalf of New York City, which bought these 150 acres land for $1 in 2003. The Trust is currently spearhead-
Photo by Timothy Schenck, courtesy of the Trust for Governors Island
Governors Island’s Hammock Grove, which is near The Hills under constrction.
ing efforts to make the island a destination for activities as diverse as baseball, dining and the enjoyment of panoramic views from the comfort of hammocks. Also on tap this year is the expansion of the New York Harbor School and a new biking concession further reflect the multifaceted nature of this new incarnation of the historic island, Elizabeth Rapuano, spokesperson for the Trust, wrote in an email to Downtown Express “In addition to the completion of the new park spaces and construction of the Hills, the Trust is proceeding with an ambitious infrastructure program to ready the island for expanded tenancy and activity,” she wrote. “These projects
include repair and replacement of the 2.2 mile seawall, upgrading electric and telecom systems, restoring potable water to the island and stabilizing historic buildings.” While applications for state alcohol licenses often arouse debate at community board committee meetings, one such application for a new vendor to be located on the uninhabited island faced no such barrier during the meeting March 5. Memorial Day will mark the opening of 30 new acres of public spaces on the island. In the meantime other potential tenants remain to be approved as well as the permits submitted by community groups to utilize new infrastructure. Joshua Laird, who became commissioner of
national parks of New York Harbor seven months ago, told the committee that managing the island and other sites as famous as the Statue of Liberty and as relatively obscure as the African Burial Ground offers him a unique opportunity. “One of the reasons I took this job was to take on the challenge that while people know a number of these sites they don’t realize they are national parks,” said Laird, who oversees 22 sites and approximately 27,000 acres of land for N.P.S. Laird, who previously worked for the city Parks Dept. for 17 years, said “the idea that the park service is just the wide parks of the West isn’t really the case.” Tourists also bring money to the island and local economy as a whole, Laird added. According to research conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists and released by N.P.S. on March 4, 348,249 visitors to Governors Island inspired more than $28 million in economic activity in 2012 alone. While citing such data from the report, N.P.S. officials emphasized that Governors Island serves a purpose beyond generating revenue. Activities such as historical interpretations by rangers in flat hats attract visitors towards a time when the island played a key role in the coastal defenses of the fledgling United States. “Imagine yourself in a magazine, someone actually vividly reliving the trials and tribulations of people during that time period… There’s a lot of excitement about what we’re going to be doing this year,” Reilly said.
March 13 - March 26, 2014
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March 13 - March 26, 2014
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New memorial at Holocaust museum
Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined religious leaders and ofﬁcials from the Museum of Jewish Heritage on March 6 to dedicate the museum’s newest memorial, which honors European non-Jews who helped to save potential Holocaust victims. The simple but powerful memorial wall, pictured at right, will now make be part of the historical tours given to tens of thousands of school children, among others, who visit the Battery Park City museum at 36 Battery Pl. “This memorial speaks to the commonality of humanity, and how that commonality demands action,” Cuomo said at the ceremony inside the museum, which is also a Holocaust memorial. “It’s about never saying no to those in need.” The memorial was made possible by a donation from Peter Kalikow, a museum trustee, and his wife Mary. Along with providing support that helped the museum to open in 1997, Kalikow is a former chairperson of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a former commissioner of the Port Authority and a former owner and publisher of the New York Post. “Back when we started this, I made it clear that my one condition was that, even though there are a lot of villains to go around when we talk about the Holocaust, we needed to remember that there were some good people,” said Kalikow, who currently runs the H.J. Kalikow & Company real estate ﬁrm.
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March 13 - March 26, 2014
50 West project to resume with housing $ to come Continued from page 1
conceived. That outdoor space — aside from providing the benefit of public seating — will lie adjacent to the eastern mouth of the much-anticipated W. Thames St. Pedestrian Bridge, a federally-funded, city-planned project that will span West St. in order to connect FiDi and B.P.C. The city has said it expects to complete the pedestrian bridge by the end of 2016. “So one of the things we’ve done is to create space in our plan to allow people to access our public plaza directly from that bridge,” said Robert Singer, a project manager for 50 West St. “And that will basically extend the direct connection from Battery Park City.” And just as there are many different elements mixed within its overall framework, the history behind the approval of the 50 West St. project is certainly filled with its own complexities. Since its location next to the Battery Tunnel Garage needed a zoning variance for the build-out, Greenburger in 2007 had to go through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure known as ULURP — which requires input from the community board and borough president, and the approval of both the City Planning Commission and the City Council — in order to make the project possible. Early in that process, local officials strongly urged the developer to invest in affordable housing for other parts of the community — since it was clear from the start that 50 West St. wasn’t going to have affordable units — but Greenburger initially declined to do that. The resulting resistance on the part of the local leaders, including former District 1 Councilmember Alan Gerson, seemed at the time as if it would lead to a bitter showdown before potential approval of the project. Eventually, however, Gerson was able to broker a deal between Greenburger and the city that, by all accounts, made everyone relatively happy. Along with his previous commitment, pushed by C.B. 1, to give hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding to area schools — providing new laptops and other materials for P.S./I.S. 89 and helping to save the Lower East Side’s Center for Space Science Education — the developer also made a commitment to Downtown affordable housing. So by the time the City Council ended the ULURP in November 2007 by approving the 50 West St. project, Greenburger agreed, among other things, to pay $4.6 million to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, for allocation directly toward the creation or preservation of affordable housing below Houston St. The school-related money, totaling $785,000, was paid out in 2008, and the original agreement would have had the developer pay the housing money by 2013. But then, largely due the financial crisis of 2008, construction on the condos was stopped before it had even really started.
Renderings courtesy of Time Equities / Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony
Rendering of the tower that is being built at 50 West St. by Time Equities above, and the project floor plan below. Its C.E.O., Francis Greenburger (inset), said last week that he is building fewer, larger condos than he proposed in 2007.
Eventually, a number of other false starts on the project led Greenburger to renegotiate his deal with the city in order to gain more time. In 2012, the developer and the city agreed to amend the deal, by pushing back the original deadline of the $4.6 million payment by three years, according to an E.D.C. spokesperson. So instead of the money arriving in 2013, it won’t be due until June 2016.
In exchange for getting break on the timing, Greenburger in 2012 also paid E.D.C. $1.3 million in interest — although that particular money was not earmarked for affordable housing. In any case, Gerson — who was subsequently defeated by Margaret Chin in the 2009 election — still touts the original deal he brokered in 2007 as an “early model” of what Mayor Bill de Blasio now talks about when it
comes to compelling luxury developers to do their part in boosting low-income housing. “Any development beyond what’s as of right should be linked to affordable housing, whether that means including housing within the development or contributing to affordable housing elsewhere,” Gerson told Downtown Express this week. “That’s the model I wanted to apply in our Council district, and that’s what we did [with 50 West St.].”
March 13 - March 26, 2014
Soho Victoria’s Secret, a paradise for shoplifters B Y SA M S P O K O N Y Now here’s a store that can’t help getting caught with its pants down. Soho’s Victoria’s Secret has become a haven for shoplifters, with 10 reported crimes over the past year that have collectively cost the lingerie shop more than $17,000 worth of stolen merchandise. The most recent incident at the 591 Broadway outlet, on Feb. 21, involved an unidentified woman who successfully made off with 105 pairs of panties, according to police reports. And a month before that, four women got away with swiping 300 pair, after three of them were apparently able to distract and confound both the sales staff and security guard before dashing out the door. Those crimes might suggest that Victoria’s Secret didn’t quite learn its lesson after hundreds of panties, thongs, garter belts and bras were stolen from the Soho store throughout 2013, with only one shoplifter during that time — a 32-year-old woman who snatched up four bottles of perfume — actually being caught by store security and arrested by cops. On top of all that, a customer’s cell phone was stolen while she was browsing the shop last October. A recent visit to the Broadway store showed a single security guard standing idly just inside the front door, who explained that he’s not actually employed by Victoria’s Secret, but
instead works for an outside agency, whose name he didn’t disclose. The guard, who also didn’t give his own name, said he works alone at the store, from opening to closing time, four days a week, in tandem with a second guard who works the other three full days. And those are long shifts — clocking in at around 12 hours for Monday through Saturday, and eight hours on Sunday. So, the reporter wondered, maybe those two guys could use some help in terms of breaking up the shifts and getting a fresh pair of eyes on the door? But the guard said he isn’t aware of any plans to bolster security, even after all the shoplifting problems, and Victoria’s Secret’s corporate office doesn’t seem to want to talk much about the issue either. “We take matters of theft seriously and work closely and in cooperation with local state and federal authorities on these types of investigations,” said a company spokesperson, in response to questions about the many undergarments that have unlawfully passed through the Soho shop’s doors. “We do not have any additional information to provide at this time.” All in all, however, the Soho location may not be quite as rife with intrigue as Victoria’s Secret’s flagship store at W. 34th St. and Sixth Ave., where last October a 17-year-old shoplifter was caught also carrying a dead baby in her bag.
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Letters Independence Plaza problems To The Editor: Publisher
Jennifer Goodstein Editor
Josh Rogers Arts Editor
Scott Stiffler Reporter
Sam Spokony Sr. V.P. of Sales & Marketing
Francesco Regini Retail ad manager
Allison Greaker Alex Morris Mike O’Brien Andrew Regier Rebecca Rosenthal Julio Tumbaco Art / Production Director
Troy Masters Senior Designer
Michael Shirey Graphic Designer
Andrew Gooss Photographers
Milo Hess Jefferson Siegel Publisher EMERITUS
John W. Sutter
Re “I.P.N. Tenants Say Low- Rent Apartments Get Few Repairs” (news article, Feb. 27 – March 12): Thank you for your article. In addition to the problems with repairs, we also have problems with cleaning and building maintenance. As your article pointed out, voucher tenants pay the same rents as market rate tenants. The market rate tenants pay the prevailing rate of other rental buildings in this part of Manhattan. In theory we should be entitled to the same level of services — specifically luxury services. This is not the case. We do not have a concierge. We have only one security guard for each 39-story building. Our stairwells have not been painted in 35 years. We have only a skeleton cleaning staff – equal to or less than the cleaning staff when we were a Mitchell-Lama rental. We have generally dirty conditions. Lighting fixtures in the corridor were not installed properly. Management refuses to make repairs. Management refuses to shampoo the rug in the corridor. Instead of properly repairing walls in the corridor – management is installing unsightly trap doors. Complaints are ignored – even ridiculed. Housing Preservation and Development, a city agency, administers the voucher pay-
· Since as the article states anyone of us are only just a few paychecks away from being homeless and especially with all the crazy weather this year I hope the city continues to support the homeless everyone deserves a warm place to place to sleep. I really felt bad for Marty who had his car and possessions stolen. Excellent reporting. NYC Community Media, LLC 515 Canal ST, UNIT 1C New york, NY 10013 Phone: (212) 229-1890 Fax: (212) 229-2790 www.downtownexpress.com firstname.lastname@example.org Downtown Express is published every week by Community Media LLC, 515 Canal St., Unit 1C, New York, N.Y. 10013 (212) 229-1890. The entire contents of the newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2012 Community Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.
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Spring Studios responds To The Editor: Re “Spring Studios apologizes to Tribeca for late night event”(news article,Feb. 27 – March 12): We at Spring Studios sincerely regret that the post-Super Bowl event went over time. It was unintended, we apologize for it and it will not happen again. However, we are troubled by the tone and characterizations in your coverage of the event. Specifically: •Spring Studios notified Community Board 1 staff in advance of all of their events. •This event, as planned, was permissible under the terms of the stipulations. We at Spring Studios have been in the process of a soft opening as a result of construction delays and an extended community board approval process. We believe we have been forthright and open with our neighbors and have worked diligently to address concerns as is evidenced by the agreed to stipulations. Those stipulations and license were approved
by the full board unanimously. Many of the stipulations were never intended to be implemented until construction has been completed and the liquor license is in effect. Nevertheless, we have endeavored to adhere to every stipulation as soon as physically possible. For example, as soon as construction was sufficiently completed on Varick St., all invited guests to Spring’s programming have entered the building through the Varick St. entrance. Also, in accordance with the stipulations, our community cleaning crew is already working in the neighborhood picking up litter. We continue to work towards our community service goals by meeting with the Chinese-American Planning Council to implement a youth internship program; to meet with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Jewish Community Project to consider the possibility of hosting cultural events and High Holiday services. There will be no more programming during this soft opening so all future events at Spring will occur with all stipulations fully implemented. Spring is currently employing dozens of local artists and photographers, will employ over 300 people at well-paying jobs. We believe that Spring’s philosophy as well as the stipulations that we agreed to provide a framework that will serve to create an extremely positive and mutually beneficial relationship between Spring and the entire Downtown community.
Bradford J. Gonzalez-Sussman Consultant, Spring Studios
Posted To Effort to reduce W.T.C.’s homeless population postponed (Posted Feb. 27):
ments to the landlord on behalf of the federal government. Complaints to H.P.D. officials have not been fruitful.
kcwilliams “High electric bills have Gateway Plaza tenants hot” (Posted March 6):
What I don’t understand is how my “heating” bills are way higher than my A/C bills. Yes, I use the A/C in the summer ALL NIGHT when I sleep for several months. I do not use the heat even close to that extent; rather I bundle up in leggies, socks and a hoodie and sleep under 3 comforters. My highest bill this past summer was $194. My Jan bill is $303. And I’m freezing. In addition, the bills are impossible to decipher. anon I lived in Battery Park City from 1986 - 2003, spending 1987-1991 as a tenant at Gateway Plaza. Even back then, the cold air would leak in through the windows, even to such an extent as to ice up ON THE INSIDE. And the heating units
were inadequate even back then — sounds like you current tenants are still relying on the original vintage electric heating units. And for all this, you pay several thousands of dollars in RENT a month. Wise up — buy your own apartment instead of just flushing your money down the toilet like this! LeftNYCLongAgo I.P.N. tenants say low-rent apartments get few repairs (Posted Feb. 27):
I live in 40 Harrison Street, another of Gluck’s 3 IPN towers. Maintenance is “sometimes” prompt regarding, for example, plumbing problems and backed up showers and sinks. However, when it comes to the cleanliness and maintenance of hallways, carpeting, and trash rooms almost next to nothing is ever repaired. The fake wood molding in the hallways, only 2-3 years old is falling apartment due to shoddy installation and materials. And on our floor there is a hole in the wall of the trash room next to the garbage shoot that neighbors have called maintenance a dozen or more times about. Nothing has been done. The consequence is that the entire hallway often smells of sour garbage, on warm days the smell becomes overbearing. This situation has gone unaddressed by Gluck for the past six months. Next stop, the NYC Health Department! Seth Rogan
Although I was quoted accurately as saying I had no problem with maintenance at IPN, what I meant was that I appreciate the skill of the workers who do the repairs. I should have added that, like many tenants, I often get frustrated with management’s 800 phone service. But most of my discussion with the reporter centered on other issues, none of which he included: the bitter cold lobby for months on end, making life miserable for the desk attendants and tenants; the disruption caused by the constant construction; the transformation of once-beautiful apartments into cramped units (studios into one-bedrooms, one-bedrooms into two bedrooms, etc.) to squeeze out yet more profit; the deliberate elimination of affordable housing in a city that is desperate for more… Nathan Weber The new tenants come and go and pay big time for an apartment. I witnessed new tenants making remarks about the voucher tenants in the building. What nerve!!! Tribeca would of never existed if it wasn’t for the working class ORIGINAL Tenants who live at IPN. Larry Gluck had all the politians in his pocket thats why we lost the fight. We should have been stabilized a long time ago!!! Shame on you Mike Bloomberg!! mad as hell
March 13 - March 26, 2014
BY JANEL bLAdOW The ice skating rink and blow up music venue are gone. Sidewalk café tables are coming out. Spring must be on its way. And with it comes a lot of rebirth around our neighborhood.
Good and bad news with the closing of Meade’s on Peck Slip. Sadly our neighborhood hangout is now gone, but happily much of it is preserved over at Jeremy’s Ale House (228 Front St.). Most of the Meade’s staff has transitioned over along with tables and benches, with the crew dubbing the front corner “Club Meade’s.” Two weekends ago, the famous Meade’s brunch was recreated and has proven a hit at the Ale House. Among the new favorites on the menu are the eggs benedict with lox and freshly made hollandaise. And the all the Mimosas special continues as well. “We have a slightly smaller menu,” says Lee Holin who will operate the venue on weekends. “And bring aboard Meade’s extensive beer menu, “ by adding more choices of craft beers in bottles and cans. Mondays through Fridays, 8 – 11 am, customers can start the day (or end it!) with Pupu’s breakfast – an egg sandwich with a can of beer ($5) or a coffee ($4). “At the core, we will still have our dive bar atmosphere,” adds Jeremy Holin who will still be around part of the week. “There aren’t that many left in the city. And we are one of the longest running establishments here in the Seaport.” Both say that their place is a little part of what the Seaport used to be. But while they like to keep alive the old spirit, they are forward thinking. Soon they will embrace “green” and away will go the giant Styrofoam beers giving way to glass pints. “We’ve been thinking about it a long time,” adds Jeremy. “Customers like our big foam cups. But it’s time for them to go.”
in Italian)… Transition over at Pasanella & Son Vintners (115 South St.) as well. After six years as wine esparto, Ryan Ibsen has returned to California to open a Loire Valley-focused wine bar. His great taste and help with selections will be missed. But in his stead comes an equally qualified taste-master. Michael Doctor joins the staff as wine director/manager. Most recently in charge of the wine program at Ristorante Rosi on Madison Ave.,
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Caption Lee Lee’s Forest, one of the new shops by the Seaport.
Michael has a passion for the wine-food connection. And he sports a fun-loving pair of turquoise laces on his wingtips. He will lead the shop’s upcoming wine tasting series, Tasting Tuscany. The four sessions will explore the winemakers of Chianti Classico, Maremma, Montalcino and Super-Tuscans. For details: www.pasanellaandson.com.
nEW tO tHE HOOD…
More changes and growth. Three new shops recently opened. •Lee Lee’s Forest – while Leigh Ann Boatman and boyfriend Ryan Benz have had their boutique in the neighborhood for a while (fi rst on Pier 17 then in the containers), their new shop at 14 Fulton St., is a welcome break from the Gap and Express of old. “We only have four or five of everything,” says Leigh, better known by her nickname Lee Lee. “I wear dresses every day and I wanted to have a place for others to get casual but cute clothes.” Lee Lee says they love the neighborhood so much that they wanted to stay. She plans to have community events in the shop, including yoga classes and acoustic music nights. Plus on Saturdays she serves a mean Mimosa until 2 pm to shoppers. •Gilded Age – this upscale menswear shop harkens back to Old New York so what better than opening its fl agship
shop at 224 Front St. Owner/designer Stefan Miljanic, whose brand sells at Bloomingdale’s and high-end boutiques, says he’s been looking for a place for his first store for a long time. The cobblestone streets of the Seaport fit his image perfectly. Here you’ll find stylish sweaters, shirts, scarves and jeans made of sustainable fabrics. •Emily Thompson Flowers – A bit of spring popped up early when renowned florist Emily Thompson opened her flower shop at 142 Beekman St. in late February. The burst of color on an otherwise gray corner was such fun to see. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and U.C.L.A.-trained designer started in floral arrangements 14 years ago with brother’s wedding and has gone on to decorate the White House for Christmas. Her forte is combining branches, nests and even sea fans with flowers and ferns for beautiful, ethereal displays.
saVinG OUr HOOD…
Much has been made of the gigantic vision of the Howard Hughes Corporation for the South Street Seaport and Pier 17. All the secret goings on have left most long-time residents stymied and dumbfounded. And fi nally the powers-that-be woke up and formed a committee to look into the “Redevelopment Mixed-Use Project.” And while the Seaport Working Group does
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have a couple concerned locals on board, including members of Save or Seaport and several politicians, missing are members of the South Street Seaport Museum, a cornerstone of our community and what remains of our seafaring past. I’m concerned that with this key component to our history missing and the large number of politicians onboard, that the community’s concerns about corporate development and maintaining historical integrity may be overlooked. Hopefully not and the politicos represent the people as they were elected to do and not the commercial concerns. I’m also deeply troubled that so far all of the working group meetings are closed to the public and press. Please raise your voice… a master plan must be developed that respects the South Street Seaport Historic District; money must be made available to continue and revive the wonderful South Street Seaport Museum… and all the dealings between the N.Y.C. Economic Development Corporation and Howard Hughes Corporation, their handpicked developer, be made public.
HOnOrinG OnE OF OUr OWn… A bit
of brouhaha happened last month when a proposal came through to co-name Peck Slip after the late Harold Reed, a longtime neighbor and local activist for our community. The proposal went to Community Board #1 Seaport/ Civic Center Committee. But after much concern from residents, the motion was tabled. The community feeling was that while it would be nice to honor this wonderful gentleman who contributed a lot to the neighborhood, renaming the street would further undermine the area’s history that we are already losing. Why not honor him as the city/community did the colorful boat captain Jerry Driscoll, who ran oil lighters (refueling barges) around the city and longtime Seaport character? Unfortunately because of the current construction of the East River boardwalk, the brick monument and plaque in his memory are currently off-limits. But a similar plaque in keeping with the area’s historic image would be ideal. But for that matter, there are plenty of other Seaport advocates who deserve noting. What about Peter Stanford, the still-living founder and first president of the South Street Seaport Museum whose energy and activism in 1968 earned Schermerhorn Row landmark status.
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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 cmany.org Tiny Button Time: Decorate buttons. Ages 5 and up. Mar. 13, 3 – 5:45 p.m. Allan McCollum Inspired Shape Collections: Design miniature abstract shapes inspired by the work of Allan McCollum. Ages 5 and up. Mar. 14, 3:00 – 5:45 p.m. Super Hero Animal Trading Cards: Create thematic trading cards. Ages 5 and up. Mar. 15, 16, 11 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. Victorian Photocollage Scrapbooks: Create hand-laced scrap books from book and magazine clippings. Ages 5 and up. Mar. 17, 3 – 4:45 p.m. Unravel!: Unravel everyday objects such as toilet paper rolls, discover their shape when flattened, and make them into wearable art. Ages 5 and up. Mar. 20, 3 – 4:45 p.m. Plants From Plastic: Make potted plants and wearable flowers using plastics. A discussion about waste will be the main focus. Ages 5 and up. Mar. 22, 23, 11 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. Sea Life Curiosities Part 2: Make crea-
NEW AMSTERDAM LIBRARY 9 Murray St. (between Broadway and Church St.) 212-732-8186 nypl.org/locations/new-amsterdam Story Time: 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. Mar. 13, 18, 20, 25 – 10:30 – 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Scene it @ the Library: Family Movie Matinee: Join us for a fun family movie every Saturday on the big screen. All ages. Free. Mar.15, 4 p.m. - The Smurfs 2, Mar. 22, 4 p.m. - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. Monday Madness: Enjoy either a fun craft, short movie, or a surprise activity. Ages 3 – 12. Free. Mar.17, 3:30 – 5 p.m., St. Patrick’s Day craft, Mar. 24, 3:30 – 5 p.m. – Surprise activity. Leggo my Legos-Block Time: Children are invited to play with piles of blocks. Bring toy car. Participants will improve their interpersonal skills through play. Ages 18 – 36 months. Free. Mar. 12, 19, 26 , 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. TRINITY CHURCH 74 Trinity Place 212-602-0800 www.trinitywallstreet.org Family Friday Movie and Pizza Night: Relax with your kids and meet other downtown families for free pizza and children’s movies on the third Friday of every month. All families with young children are welcome. Free. Donations are welcome. (107 Greenwich St., rear of 74 Trinity Place, between Rector and Carlisle Sts.) Mar. 21, 6 – 7:30 p.m. For more information contact Lisa Bridge at email@example.com” lbridge@ trinitywallstreet.org. POETS HOUSE 10 River Terrace 212-431-7920 www.poetshouse.org Tiny Poets Time: Poetry reading for toddlers. Free. Mar. 13, 10 a.m.
, TEENS & ADULTS
THIRD STREET MUSIC SCHOOL SETTLEMENT TELEPHONE
235 EAST 11 TH STREET • NEW YORK, NY 10003 212-777-3240 • FACSIMILE 212-477-1808 • WWW.THIRDSTREETMUSICSCHOOL.ORG
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Spring semester begins Feb. 4th. Register Today! FREE Open house Feb. 9th
Toddler/Adult Preschool Afterschool Arts Academy Rock the House Foundations of Fine Art 72 Teen Program Private & Group Instrumental Senior Chorus Birthday Parties
BATTERY PARK CITY LIBRARY 175 North End Ave (at Murray Street) 212-790-3499 nypl.org/locations/battery-park-city 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 first-served. Ages 0-18 months. Free. Mar. 13, 18, 20, 25 - 11:30 a.m. Crafternoon! Arts and Crafts: Listen to a story and create a hands-on project. Child should be able to use scissors independently. Ages 5 – 12. Free. Limited to 25 children and their caregivers. Mar. 13, 4 p.m. Bilingual Story Time: Enjoy classic stories, songs, and rhymes in French and English. Children of all agaes. Free. Mar.
tures and sea plant life out of drawings, fabric and trim. Ages 5 and up. Mar. 24, 3 – 4:45 p.m.
BARNES & NOBLE 97 Warren St. (212) 587-5389 Truly Talented You Storytime: Featuring fun activities, puzzles, and crafts. Free.
Girls, ages 8 - 12. Mar. 15, 11 a.m. Hands-On Learning Storytime: Families will read with LeapFrog. Space is limited. Free. All ages. Mar. 22, 11 a.m.
14, 4 p.m. Toddler Story Time: A librarian will share lively picture books, finger plays, and action songs with toddlers and their caregivers. Ages 12-36 months. Free. Mar. 17, 24 - 4 p.m., Mar. 19, 26 - 10:30 a.m. Picture Book Time: A librarian will read classic stories and new picture books. Children of all ages. Free. Mar. 18, 25 - 4 p.m. Modern Masters: Henri Martisse: The Children’s Museum of Manhattan will show kids the mediums, messages, and techniques of modern artists. Ages 6 and up. Free. Mar. 19, 4 p.m. Bedtime Stories: Join us for a bedtime story session. Wear your pajamas. Children can show-and-tell. All ages. Free. Mar. 20, 6 p.m. Modern Masters: Pablo Picasso: The Children’s Museum of Manhattan will show kids the mediums, messages, and techniques of modern artists. Ages 6 and up. Free. Mar. 26, 4 p.m.
BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY 212-267-9700 bpcparks.org Early Spring Children’s Gardening: Learn about green practices and composting. $120. Pre-registration required. Ages 6 - 10. Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, Children’s Garden. Tuesdays, Mar. 25 Apr. 29. Call 212-267-9700 x. 348 or 366 to register. Parent & Baby Yoga: Yoga for new parents and babies. Gain strength and flexibility, relax, and meet other parents. Beginners welcome. Mats provided. Newborn through pre-crawling. $180. Pre-registration required. 6 River Terrace, Mondays, Mar. 24 - May 19 (excluding 4/21). 1 - 2:15 p.m., 2:30 - 3:45 p.m. Call 212-267-9700 x366 to pre-register.
March 13 - March 26, 2014
March 13 - March 26, 2014
All the city’s a stage, its pedestrians major players Pillsbury’s long exposures slow the urban swarm PHOTOGRAPHY CITY STAGES: PHOTOGRAPHS BY MATTHEW PILLSBURY Through March 27 At Aperture Gallery 547 W. 27th St. Btw. 10th & 11th Aves. (4th Floor) Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-6pm Aperture recently published Matthew Pillsbury’s book, “City Stages” Call 212-505-5555 or visit aperture.org
BY NORMAN BORDEN Matthew Pillsbury is a photographer with a unique vision of contemporary metropolitan life. For the last decade or so, he’s been taking long exposure, large format (8x10 inch film) black and white photographs that compel viewers to slow down and smell the roses, so to speak — or at least take a closer look at their urban environment. His current exhibition features 31 images selected from three bodies of his work: “Private Lives,” “Hours” and “City Stages.” Together, they illustrate how urban spaces serve as a backdrop, or stage, for a city’s source of energy: its “Sitting on the High Line, New York, Thursday, November 10, 2011.” inhabitants. With his tripod-based view camera — and using exposures that can last well over an hour — Pillsbury lets us view human activity in a palpable way. The time exposures allow us to see individuals interacting in their bedrooms or living rooms, or the isolation they experience in front of T V or computer screens. He shows us huge, blurred crowds of people swarming against recognizable cityscapes, landmarks and interior spaces. Although most of the pictures were taken in New York, Pillsbury also photographed sites in Paris, London, Venice and other cities. Nothing is lost in translation. In the Louvre, a blurry mass of visitors crowd around and walk past the Mona Lisa — who remains motionless, still unsmiling and oblivious to her admirers. I’ve watched (and photographed) the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade many times, but Pillsbury has captured it in an unexpected and original way. His camera is perched above the crowds, with the © Matthew Pillsbury, courtesy Bonnie Benrubi Gallery rock-steady buildings along Seventh Avenue a stage for the blurred masses, mostly faceless because of “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, Thursday, 2011.”
© Matthew Pillsbury, courtesy Bonnie Benrubi Gallery
their activity. Even more interesting are the marchers and balloon handlers directly in front. Their balloon’s movement makes it look more mysterious, while hiding its identity. “Sitting on the High Line” adds a new perspective to one of New York’s most popular and iconic destinations. Shooting at night, Pillsbury creates a new cityscape by using the sunken overlook at West 17th Street and the buildings behind them as a stage. The long exposure makes the two people sitting on the steps transparent, while the two (look closely for them) in the first row are ghost-like. One or two ghostly figures seem barely visible in the facing windows. The night setting and the graphic effect created by the crisscrossing lines enhance the image’s strength. It’s one of my favorites. The artist adds another perspective to the “Tribute of Light, New York,” the much-photographed twin Continued on page 20
March 13 - March 26, 2014
magnifying the details of urban existence Continued from page 19
beams of light that shine above each year to commemorate the events of 9/11. Photographing them from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, his long exposure captures people walking past, including the tripods set up by other photographers. They’re all transformed into ghost-like figures, which add a mournful touch to a sad event. In Pillsbury’s “Screen Lives” series, the artist took long exposures of friends in their apartments while they were sitting in front of their televisions or computer screens. When interviewed by the School of Visual Arts magazine, he explained that he grew up in France and wasn’t allowed to watch T V. He said, “I realized the role these objects (T V and computers) were playing and the time we’re spending with them.” He then began taking long exposures that would last as long as a T V program and show how people interact with the screen. One example is “Tanya and Sartaj Gill, CSI: Miami, New York, Monday, November 25, 2002, 10 : 00 –11: 00 p.m.”
Over the course of the hour, the couple on the couch has barely moved — their empty dishes and cake plate on the coffee table, the scene lit by the T V’s glow and ambient light from outside. While the cityscape as seen from the windows looks vibrant, they seem isolated from it. There’s more to see and savor in this show: images of Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park, the sweet joys of Economy Candy on the Lower East Side, crowds swarming among the motionless dinosaurs in the American Museum of Natural History, more images of the artist’s family life and selfportraits. Take your time. After all, Matthew Pillsbury did. Norman Borden is a New Yorkbased writer and photographer. The author of more than 100 reviews for NYPhotoReview.com and a member of Soho Photo Gallery and ASMP, he currently has an image from the 2013 Village Halloween Parade in the juried show, “Masquerade,” at the New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery. See more at normanbordenphoto.com.
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© Matthew Pillsbury, courtesy Bonnie Benrubi Gallery
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March 13 - March 26, 2014
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March 13 - March 26, 2014
Parish fears Precious pastor’s removal Continued from page 1
continuing until they appoint a new pastor.” From the Mulberry St. rectory, Father Fabian will move to the Franciscan retirement home on Thompson St. Parishioners fear that could come any day, but no moving date has been announced. “Hopefully, I’ll come back to visit,” he said. “I’m very close with the people. You never can tell when I can come back to help out.” Emily DePalo, who has lived in Little Italy her whole life (“I went to P.S. 130”) and has been the church secretary for two years said “we feel bad,” about Father Fabian’s leaving. “He loves the parish. He has so much energy and a sharp mind…. “I was confirmed, had communion, buried my family at this church. My sister was married here,” she said, listing her life-long connection to the church. “We don’t know why they can’t find a Franciscan replacement,” she said, explaining that the Franciscans are giving the church back to the Archdiocese and while continuing as a Roman Catholic church, it will be unaffiliated with any order. As she spoke prior to the Ash Wednesday Mass, another parishioner came by to pay the yearly fee for upkeep of the four commemorative (electronic) candles lit at the base of different Saints. DePalo also greeted George and Mary Tropia who drove 40 miles from Freehold, New Jersey to attend the noon mass. “Most Precious Blood Church is the jewel of Little Italy,” Tropia said. “We don’t know when we’ll see Father Fabian again.” DePalo said that about 400 in total attend the four weekend Masses. “On Saturday, there are some who travel by train from Brewster, for the 5:30 Mass.” The 2 p.m., Sunday Vietnameselanguage service draws 200 with a Vietnamese priest. Marieteresa Porcher Allen, 11, travels to the church from Riverdale with her mother Karenbeatrice Porcher every weekend. She was an alter server with Father Fabian on Ash Wednesday. “She was baptized and had first communion with Father Fabian,” her mom recounted. “We’re devastated. She’s been crying ever since she learned he’d be leaving. He’s very in tune with the younger generation.” Allen said, “He’s so current. No one should force a priest into retirement, especially, one as vibrant as Father Fabian. He connects with young people and old people. It’s obvious age discrimination.” An Archdiocese spokesperson declined to comment on any details regarding Fabian. The parish began in 1891 and the Franciscan order, Church of the Most Precious Blood has been at 109 Mulberry St. since 1898. A beauty of a house of worship, the church entrance looms above Baxter St. The congregation started to serve Italian immigrants who arrived in the late 1800s and the beginning of the 20th century. They were a devoted population mostly from Naples and southern Italy. Eventually, many moved to the outer boroughs and neighboring states. The largest service and turnout is the annual Mass, the last Saturday in September, in honor of San Gennaro (martyred in 305 A.D.), the Patronal Feast of Neapolitans. The church has a relic, a bone of San Gennaro. The first Feast was celebrated in 1926. As the host church for the 11-day Feast of San Gennaro, the statue of San Gennaro is taken on a procession through Little Italy streets. Monies from the Feast and selling religious items year-round pay for the church, which is self-sufficient, DePalo explained. The church has seen its share of wear and tear in its 115 years. Of the time he’s been at Precious Blood, Father Fabian noted his efforts in taking care of the physical building that was in great need of repairs when he arrived. The sanctuary, the hall, rectory, courtyard, and façade have been renovated under his watch. In 1997, Cardinal O’Connor attended the rededication with great approval.
Downtown Express photos by Tequila Minsky
Father Fabian Grifone put the ash on a young parishioner March 5 at the Church of the Most Precious Blood in Little Italy, but he will likely be replaced soon because of his age. Another parishioner said her daughter has “been crying ever since she learned he’d be leaving.”
© Stomping Ground Photo 2014
March 13 -S:8.875” March 26, 2014
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