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APRIL 3-APRIL 16, 2013
and the BaBes shaLL Lead the PoPULatIon Boom By J O Sh RO g E R S he city perhaps is hoping that numbers do lie since recent Census numbers show Lower Manhattan’s well-chronicled population surge is even more dramatic than previously thought when you look at the boom in babies and toddlers — a group that looks to be a few years away from longer school waiting lists. “We knew these trends were happening but this is the first time we’ve had detailed data,” said Community Board 1’s planning consultant, Diana Switaj, who used block by block Census numbers to calculate the children’s population growth in each of Lower Manhattan neighborhoods. The numbers even surprised Eric Greenleaf, a business professor at New York University who has been calculating Lower Manhattan’s growing school seat needs for years. “If you take a look at these gross figures, they are absolutely astounding,” Greenleaf said. There was large growth in the Downtown childhood population across most neighborhoods and age groups, but the most dramatic increases between 2000 and 2010 were in the four and under category. The Financial District and Tribeca roughly tripled their youngest populations with a 242 percent increase in FiDi and a 196 percent in Tribeca, according to the C.B. 1 analysis, released two weeks ago. Battery Park City saw an increase of about 150 percent in ages 0 – 4 over 10 years. Even the Seaport/Civic Center area, which showed zero growth in the overall underage population, still had a 57 percent hike among the pre-school set.
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
It was Tartan Day at the Seaport Saturday. More photos on P. 2.
Hidden no more, Seaport developer’s desire for hotels & housing revealed B y T E RESE L OEB KREUZER he Howard Hughes Corporation wants to erect a first-class hotel, market-rate residential apartments and additional retail space in the Seaport. There is no longer any doubt about their intentions. Nine days after the City Council approved a ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) application from Howard Hughes for construction plans on Pier 17, and for rezoning the East River waterfront between Maiden Lane and the Brooklyn Bridge, new information has surfaced about what the Dallas-based developer and E.D.C. agreed to as the basis for a “mixed use
project” in the Seaport. A Letter of Intent between the parties dated Dec. 12, 2011 had previously been released, but portions of it relating to a “mixed use project” were blacked out. Now, in an unredacted version, it becomes clear what Howard Hughes, and its subsidiary, South Street Seaport Limited Partnership, have in mind. Though the Letter of Intent does not stipulate exactly where these buildings would go, the amount of square footage mentioned suggests that to a large extent, they would have to be in the newly rezoned waterfront area. The New Market Building, which is not in
Continued on page 26
5 15 CANAL ST RE ET • N YC 10 013 • C OPYRIG HT © 2013 N YC COMMU N ITY MED IA , LLC
the Seaport historic district, is a likely spot for this possible development. Although the City Council just approved zoning changes to limit building heights in the area, the zoning could be changed again. Should Howard Hughes proceed with some version of its mixed-use plans for the South Street Seaport, they would still have to go through another ULURP process. They would have to be vetted by Community Board 1, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (for those parts of the plan affecting a landmarked Continued on page 16
April 3 - April 16, 2013
Downtown Express Photos by Milo Hess
Scottish festivities The 12th annual “Tartan Day on Ellis Island” was rerouted this year to South Street Seaport, as the island is still closed to the public because of Hurricane Sandy. But the crowds that gathered at Pier 17 on March 30 were still in Highland spirits as they were entertained by pipers, jugglers and traditional dancers. Over 5,700 visitors attended the family-friendly programs produced by the Clan Currie Society, a Scottish heritage organization, with performances by the Rampant Lion Pipe Band, the New York Celtic Dancers and the NY Celtic Harp Orchestra. The fling’s not over yet — it merely kicks off Tartan Week NYC.
April 3 - April 16, 2013
Youth leagues on march for more fields at Pier 40 By L I N CO LN A ND E R S O N Local youth leagues recently struck out with their plan to build twin 22-story luxury towers on the Hudson to finance the preservation and expansion of their “field of dreams” at Pier 40. The leagues, as a coalition called Pier 40 Champions, funded their own feasibility study and even hired their own architect to design the plan. Led by Tobi Bergman, head of P3 (Pier Park & Playground Association), they lobbied aggressively, with thousands of sports parents signing electronic petitions for the plan, which were immediately automatically forwarded to all the local elected officials. They packed a Pier 40 forum last month. Nevertheless, there was staunch local political opposition to the Champs’ concept plan, and then — like Mariano Rivera coming in to close out a ball game in the ninth inning — City Council Speaker Christine Quinn fired a fastball of a statement in to Downtown Express saying she has “a commitment to no residential development at Pier 40.” After Quinn’s strong statement, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, the only local politician who had voiced any support for residential use in Hudson River Park — feeling more lonely than Bill Buckner caught in a rundown — quickly declared that housing at Pier 40 was “off the table,” at
least for now. But the leagues took great encouragement from the other part of Quinn’s statement about the 15-acre W. Houston St. pier, in which she said, “Any future development at this site must retain the playing fields and not relegate them to a roof of the structure. Finally, we must do everything we can to work together to expand park space, and add more playing fields at both Pier 40 and throughout the park.” So, when Greenwich Village Little League holds its opening day ceremony at the sprawling pier on Sat., April 6, they will be joined by kids and parents from other Champions league members in what is being billed as a massive “March for Pier 40.” “Good News” is the headline on a notice the Champions sent local youth league parents two weeks ago. “Following the Pier 40 forum, Council Speaker Christine Quinn promised that our Pier 40 courtyard fields, about 25 percent of the pier[’s footprint], will be forever protected for park use,” the Champs’ notice proclaimed. “This means our fields will no longer be just a temporary accommodation on a pier designated entirely for commercial use. It means we will not lose the courtyard fields we love and children’s play will not be relegated solely to the roofs of a private development.” Continued on page 11
Courtesy of Hudson River Park Trust
The lights at Pier 40 blazed to life on the ball fields last week, after being run on a generator since they were knocked out in Hudson River Park during Superstorm Sandy. The pier ball fields are used more than 200,000 times a year by athletic leagues, and the power-up comes just in time for the first Little League game of the season on April 6. “It’s such a relief to have power back at the beginning of our Spring season — just in time for baseball.” Hudson River Park Trust’s president Madelyn Wils said in a statement. The park is currently on a rented transformer but hopes to bring other parts back onto the grid in May. It will have to rebuild its entire substation because it cannot be repaired.
April 3 - April 16, 2013
New Top Cop at First designer duffles Bagged
Six shoplifters conducted a grab and go operation at a Louis Vuitton store in Soho that cost the boutique $6,210 in merchandise plus repairs. An employee told police that four young men entered the 116 Greene St. location at 3:15 on Sat., March 30. The men caused a distraction while a fifth entered and grabbed three Louis Vuitton duffle bags. Three of the men blocked security from getting to the thief, and escorted him to the front door. When security locked the front door, the two men on the outside broke the door open to allow their cronies to escape. All six fled northbound on Greene St.
Cards CHarged up
Two victims who lost their wallets in the Financial District ended up with heavy credit card tabs thanks to unauthorized spending sprees. One woman, 24, reported that she was having drinks with friends at the Ulysses Folk House bar at 95 Pearl St. on Thursday night when her purse was taken. She had left it on a hook under the bar near where she was sitting on March 28, from 7:30-7:45 p.m. During that time, someone took her purse which contained her $200 Michael Kors wallet and several bank cards. The
abductor was a fast spender. In the two and a half hours between the time of its theft and her report to the police at 10:18 p.m., the thief had reportedly charged four of the cards for a total of $2,378. Another woman did recover her stolen handbag, but the damage had already been done. The 28-year-old was an employee of Ryan Maguire’s Restaurant and Bar who said she left her purse on an unattended coat rack at the 28 Cliff St. location at 5 p.m. Fri., March 22. While she was working, she said someone had removed the bag from the rack. Her manager found her bag the next morning in the bar’s adjoining parking lot. Three credit cards had been removed from the purse, and she later discovered that one had been charged for $139.60 at 40 Exchange Pl. and another had been charged at various locations for a total of $370.37. She cancelled all of the stolen cards.
snatCHer pedals past
A bicyclist made off with a pedestrian’s cell phone as she walked through Hudson Square. A 19-year-old woman reported to police that her iPhone was snatched out of her hand at the intersection of Varick and Charlton Sts. on Mon., March 25 at 8:10 p.m. She said she held the phone close to her body in both hands as she walked and listened to music through her headphones. She thief walked toward her with his bike next to him and passed her. He then doubled back and got on his bike and Mexican Grill rode toward her from behind, snatching her $400 white iPhone 5 from her hand and riding away northbound on Varick St. She described the snatcher as about 20 years old with dark hair and eyes, 6’1”, wearing jogging clothes and a gray cap. The phone’s tracking app 11 Park Place, NYC was unable to activate because 646-448-4207 T: 646-410-0591 the phone had been turned off.
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A new commanding officer has taken over the N.Y.P.D.’s First Precinct, whose headquarters are in Tribeca. Captain Brendan Timoney introduced himself to the community at Community Board 1’s full board meeting on March 27, two weeks after his first day at the precinct on Tues., March 12. Timoney is taking over from Captain Edward Winski, a veteran of almost 20 years on the police force who had been the First Precinct’s commanding officer since May 2010. Winski was rotated to the Midtown Manhattan South district. Timoney had previously served as executive officer of Manhattan’s Ninth Precinct for just under two years, which covers East Houston to East 14th St. and from Broadway to the East River. A 15-year veteran of the police force, he is also the nephew of former First Deputy Commissioner John Timoney who left the N.Y.P.D. in 1996, and went on to head police departments in Philadelphia and Miami. At the Community Board 1 meeting last week, Captain Timoney said he joined the New York police force in 1998 in the 52nd Precinct in the Fordham section of the
Hookup? no, piCkpoCket yes
A young woman’s overly familiar conduct was explained when her target noticed that his belongings were nicked. The victim, 24, said he had been drinking with a friend and spending time with a woman before the incident, which occurred on the street corner of Hudson and Spring Sts. between 3:30 and 5:30 a.m. on Thurs., March 28. He told police that an unknown woman, about 5’4” with dark hair was rubbing his chest and feeling his front left pocket. Presumably she was more interested in his bank account than in him, because immediately after she left he noticed that his credit card, MetroCard, Australian driver’s license and $95 in cash were missing from his pockets. He was later notified by his bank that his credit card had been maxed out. Police reported that $95 in cash was
Bronx and stayed there for about five years. In 2003, he was promoted to sergeant and ended up in the Midtown North Precinct in Manhattan, where he said he worked with “quality of life conditions, peddler conditions, and dealt with the narcotics units.” Timoney was then promoted to lieutenant in 2008 and served as the administrative lieutenant in the 43rd Precinct, in the Parkchester and Soundview sections of the Bronx, before moving to the Ninth Precinct in 2011 with a promotion to the rank of captain. Now he is settling into his role as commanding officer of the First Precinct, which consists of a single square mile but covers a district rich in residential, commercial and tourist attractions in Tribeca, the Financial District, Battery Park City, the Seaport and Soho. It has some of the lower crime statistics in the city, with a crime rate that had dropped by over 50 percent between 2001 and 2012. In the first two months of 2013, the overall crime statistics in the First Precinct rose by about five percent compared to the same time last year.
recovered, but no arrests were reported and the other property was not mentioned.
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It’s a classic case: She knows she put her wallet in her backpack, but doesn’t know where it went. A woman told police that she was sure she had put her wallet in the small pocket of her bookbag and zipped it closed while she was walking near South Street Seaport on Wed., March 27 at 6:45 p.m. After about two blocks, on the corner of John and Water Sts., she realized that the zipper was open and her pocketbook was missing. A police canvass for video was negative. She cancelled her credit cards with no unauthorized usage, but lost $250 in cash and her Colombian ID and driver’s license.
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April 3 - April 16, 2013
Oﬃcial previews city’s post-Sandy plans B y T E RE SE LO E B K R E U Z E R He was addressing the members of the Lower Manhattan Marketing Association on March 28, with information about what had caused Superstorm Sandy’s unprecedented destructiveness, what the future might hold given the probable impact of climate change, and what the city can do to rebuild in a safer way. “We are not going to climate-proof New York City,” he said. “That would be impossible and it would be folly to claim that that is our goal. But, what we do believe, is that through a multi-layered approach, we can reduce the impact of climate change and we can ensure that where we do get impacted, we are able to bounce back faster.” Pinsky’s exposition of the causes of Sandy’s destructiveness are largely known by now — the unhappy confluence of a wind field that extended 1,000 miles from the eye of the storm (compared with a wind field of 300 miles for Hurricane Katrina), the westward track that took Sandy inland instead of out to sea, the precise timing of the storm’s arrival in the city when tides were high in the ocean and pushing inland, and a change in wind direction at a critical juncture on the night of Oct. 29 that augmented the surge. “Due to its idiosyncrasies, Sandy’s value as a predictor of the future is limited –
though it again reminded New Yorkers that the city is vulnerable,” Pinsky said. He noted that since 1851, only three hurricanes have made a direct hit on the New Jersey coast, much less New York City. However, he said, even though Sandy is unlikely to be exactly repeated, policy makers need to think about hurricanes generally, “and not just about hurricanes but about climate change.” He said that Mayor Bloomberg had created a special task force to study the issues raised by Sandy and that a report is due in May. In the meantime, he provided a preview. In 1983, FEMA drew up flood maps that put much of the city in the 100year flood plain. This meant that in any given year, there would be a 1 percent chance of flooding in that area. The maps also showed a 500-year flood plain, with a .2 percent chance of flooding in any given year. As mapped in 1983, the 100-year flood plain covered about 260,000 residents, 190,000 jobs, 36,000 buildings and 374 million square feet of floor area. “All very scary,” said Pinsky, “but as we learned from Hurricane Sandy, [these maps] understated our vulnerability.” When Sandy came ashore, more than half of all impacted buildings were outside
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Seth Pinsky, president of the Economic Development Corp.
the 100-year flood plain as designated by the FEMA maps. Now, 447,000 residents are said to be living in the 100-year flood plain — a 72 per-
cent increase. The number of jobs impacted by flooding has grown to 341,000 — a 79 Continued on page 9
April 3 - April 16, 2013
NYCHA grilled on plan to build Downtown B y L incoln A nderson Although local politicians, Community Board 3 and public housing residents are all calling for a slowdown in the process, the New York City Housing Authority is moving full-speed ahead with a plan to allow private “infill development” on eight of its Manhattan sites, including at five complexes in the East Village and Lower East Side. The new buildings would be rental, with a mix of 80 percent market-rate units and 20 percent affordable units. NYCHA is set to release a request for proposals (R.F.P.) for interested developers at the end of the month. According to a timeline being given out by the city, developers would be selected between August and November. Ninety-nine-year ground leases would then be signed for the parcels. The infill buildings “could come online in four to five years,” according to Fred Harris, formerly of AvalonBay developers, who is overseeing this NYCHA development project. Department officials say the scheme could generate $30 million to $50 million annually for the cash-strapped agency. Complexes where the new buildings are constructed would benefit by getting a share of the revenue to use for repairs and maintenance, plus they would get
emergency backup power in the case of blackouts — which would provide hot water, limited elevator use, security and hallway lighting. The new units would be permanently affordable. The city’s plan is to lease sites for development within existing public housing complexes, including Baruch Houses at East Houston St.; Campos Plaza at E. 12th St.; LaGuardia Houses at Madison and Rutgers Sts.; Smith Houses at South St. and Robert Wagner Place; and Meltzer Tower at E. 1st St. The Baruch site — now a parking lot — would allow one new building of 375,000 square feet with 405 apartments. The Campos property — currently a parking lot and basketball and handball courts — would allow a 90,000-squarefoot building with 97 apartments. The LaGuardia Houses parcels — right now two parking lots — is earmarked to become two new buildings with a total of 255,000 square feet and 276 new apartments. At Meltzer Tower, an outdoor seating area now used by the complex’s senior residents would be replaced by a 90,000-square-foot, 97-unit building. At the Smith Houses, there would be two new developments — to be located on the current sites of a paved baseball
Photo by Peter Mikoleski/NYCHA
Baruch Houses informational meeting drew about 100 people on a snowy, slushy evening, March 18.
field and basketball court, parking lot and garbage-compactor lot — comprising more than one million square feet and 1,150 new units. At an Assembly hearing on the plan March 15, state legislators pushed John Rhea, the Housing Authority’s chairper-
son, and Harris for more information about the plan. Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, whose East Side district includes two of the affected housing complexes, accused Continued on page 7
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the authority of “hiding the ball” on details about the infill plan. Rhea said the idea is simply for NYCHA to “leverage one of our most valuable assets — our land.” Based on current zoning law, many NYCHA developments, he said, “have the ability to grow, and the ability to enhance their neighborhoods.” Added Harris, “These areas are all located in areas that are dense, but we think they could be a little denser.” “Why are we rushing this?” asked Keith Wright, chairperson of the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Housing. The authority is struggling financially, Rhea explained, having lost $2.3 billion in government funding since 2001, and is carrying an operating debt of $60 million. A substantial part of the money from the new infill buildings will go toward fixing roofs, elevators, lobbies and boilers and upgrading security in the complexes where the new projects are sited. “Every penny will go to the capital needs of NYCHA,” Rhea stated. “This represents the single, best way to raise the money — and the time to act is now.” The Housing chairperson said NYCHA has been talking about the idea of capitalizing on its land for more than a decade. He added that the new construction projects “will bring $3 billion in economic activity and money to neighborhoods in need.”
Rhea said NYCHA residents would be given jobs in connection with the construction of the new buildings and then permanently, staffing them. Rhea said it’s incorrect to dub the infill buildings “luxury housing,” rather, that they would be “mixed-income, 80 percent market rate.” But Carmen Quinones, a Douglass Houses tenant activist shouted out: “Eighty percent luxury housing!” Harris said, NYCHA would “receive significantly less” if it increased the num-
new affordable units. In response to accusations that NYCHA hasn’t done an adequate job informing the public about the plan, Rhea said the authority has been doing outreach, and is currently completing a round of tenant-outreach meetings, and that the plan will also go to local community boards for review. There will also be a second round of community outreach later on, he said. A Web site on the infill plan is now live at on.nyc.gov/landlease, and will
“I’m hoping this will be so successful that in a couple of years you’ll come to us and say, ‘Please, give us another of these wonderful buildings.’ — NYCHA’s Fred Harris ber of affordable apartments. Rhea said NYCHA residents would receive priority for the new lower income apartments and that applicants would have to earn less than 60 percent of area median income — $36,000 for a single person and $54,000 for a family of four. NYCHA does have middle-income residents, but they won’t be eligible for these
eventually let people post comments, though they can’t now. However, Wright asked, “Will the horse be out of the barn [once the R.F.P is released]?” “Absolutely not,” Rhea countered, saying, “What we’re trying to do is put down a track [for the horse].” Harris said later that because the new
buildings would have to be rental, they would likely not be extra-tall (which is not as cost-efficient), and would be “fatter” — similar to the buildings AvalonBay constructed at Bowery and East Houston St. (including the building housing the Whole Foods Market and Chinatown Y.M.C.A.). Kavanagh also said residents hope the new buildings would at least have ground-floor commercial uses, but Harris and Rhea said zoning doesn’t allow it. A prevailing concern is that the new mixed-income buildings will open the door to privatizing the NYCHA complexes. “Our headline is ‘Trojan horse,’” said attorney Joel Kupferman , who is representing tenants at the Smith Houses. As part of the community outreach process, Mon., March 18, Cecil House, NYCHA’s general manager, and Harris gave a presentation to Baruch tenants. About 100 local residents turned out for the presentation, at nearby Bard High School, on the snowy and blustery evening. Many of them have been living in Baruch for decades, if not their whole lives. House kept cool under fire as residents repeatedly peppered him with complaints about ongoing problems at the complex and lack of services, and slammed the new plan. Baruch tenants complained about “rats as big as horses,” a lack of outdoor benches for seniors, problems with recurring sewage backups on the comContinued on page 10
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5 new members join C.B. 1 B y KAITLyN mEADE Borough President Scott Stringer announced the new appointees to Manhattan’s community boards on April 1, including five new members of C.B. 1. C.B. 1’s new members range from a small business owner to a former board member and cover three of Lower Manhattan’s neighborhoods. “It’s a nice diverse group,” said C.B. 1 chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes. “It’s great to have some fresh, new blood on the board and get some new perspectives.” Two are residents of the Seaport, two are from Tribeca and one lives in Battery Park City. The Seaport has been struggling to rebuild since Superstorm Sandy, and few have been as active in addressing the needs of the area’s businesses as Marco Pasanella. Pasanella, who owns Pasanella & Son, Vintners in the South Street Seaport, has had a diverse career that includes designing housewares, writing for the New York Times and teaching at Parsons — so a move into politics is not unusual. Pasanella lives with his wife and son near his shop at 115 South St. and is an advocate for the Seaport and its businesses. “It just draws you,” he said of the area in an interview with Downtown Express last year, recalling when he first moved in. “It was right by the water, has the Brooklyn
Image courtesy of Marco Pasanella
Bridge, has all this stuff going on, and some of these old buildings just looked like diamonds in the rough.” His was one of the first businesses to receive a grant from the Downtown Alliance to renovate after Sandy, but even after he was back in business, Pasanella has worked Continued on page 12
April 3 - April 16, 2013
Post-Sandy plans for climate change Continued from page 5
percent increase. There are now said to be 71,000 buildings in the 100-year flood plain — a 97 percent increase. And the floor area covered by this flood plain has grown to an estimated 589 million square feet — a 57 percent increase. Even so, Pinsky said the flood maps are incomplete. “They show us a historic set of data and Nor’easters that have hit the New York City area since 1938. They don’t take into account things like sea level rise or the future intensity of storms. “The flood maps also don’t show us things like what happens when you have frequent downpours, which have an impact on our reservoirs and water supply, which have an impact on our infrastructure. They don’t talk about things like heat waves, which actually kill more people in the United States each year than any other natural phenomenon.” In August 2007, for instance, almost 3.5 inches of rain fell in an hour, overwhelming the transit system and affecting nearly 2.5 million riders by mid-morning. Mayor Bloomberg has enlisted a group of academicians to serve on the New York City Panel on Climate Change. They have been tasked with helping to quantify the climate change problem and recom-
mend ways of addressing it. The institutions represented on this panel include Columbia University, CUNY, NASA, Princeton University and SUNY. In 2009, the New York City Panel on
long term, the 2050s. For storm surges, their baseline of data from 1971 to 2000 predicted a 1 percent chance of a storm surge of eight to 13 feet. Looking forward, they predicted that
‘New York City has always been vulnerable to coastal flooding, but what Sandy and the new flood maps from FEMA show is that our vulnerability is actually greater than we had understood.’
Climate Change developed a chart showing what its members thought would be the impact of climate change in the medium term — the 2020s — and in the
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it would be safe to assume present conditions and add sea level rise. For heavy downpours, their baseline data indicated that three days a year there
would be more than two inches of precipitation. In the medium and long term, they predicted that this would happen three to four days a year. They expected sea levels to rise by two to five inches by the 2020s, unless there were rapid ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica, in which case, the sea levels could rise five to 10 inches. In the medium term, they expected that we could see a precipitation increase of 0 to 5 percent, and 0 to 10 percent in the long term. “We have asked the New York City Panel on Climate Change to update those figures,” said Pinsky, “and while we are still waiting for the results of that update, what I can tell you is their feeling is that generally the projections are accurate.” He also said that the city is working with McKinsey and SwissRe to quantify the cost that climate change is likely to impose on the city in the future. Preliminary results show that there will be a substantial cost to the city if nothing is done to mitigate the potential impacts of extreme weather events and other climate-related changes. “The bottom line for us as New Yorkers is that we have to start taking steps immediately to address these long-term challenges,” Pinsky said.
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Downtown Express Photo by Lincoln Anderson
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Continued from page 7
plex’s grounds and a “temporary sink” plan a few years ago that bombed. Members of GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) also protested that NYCHA pays $100 million annually to the city for police patrols, but that this should be free, and that if the agency could keep that money, it wouldn’t need any new infill buildings. Damaris Reyes, executive director of GOLES and a Baruch resident, objected to the 80/20 breakdown, saying the formula should also include middle-income NYCHA residents. “You’re saying to us that this is a proposal,” she said. “But ‘proposal’ to us means that we can negotiate. Many of our families are middle-income, being doubled- and tripled-up [in apartments].” She demanded to know what the market-rate units’ rents would be. Harris said studios would be more than $2,000 per month and one-bedrooms more than $3,000. He noted there’s room at Baruch for even more than one new building. “I’m hoping this will be so successful,” he said, “that in a couple of years you’ll come to us and say, ‘Please, give us another of these wonderful buildings.’” Regarding concerns about parking, Harris said, the new buildings won’t be required to provide it. NYCHA residents who currently have parking spaces will be able to keep them, Rhea assured. Councilmember Rosie Mendez noted that letters had been put up
falsely saying the Baruch meeting was canceled. As a result, she called for another outreach meeting. House said they’ll consider whether to hold “a supplemental meeting.” Mendez chairs the City Council’s Committee on Public Housing, which will hold a public hearing on the infill plan on April 5. Last month, a group of local elected officials, including Kavanagh and Mendez, Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez, Assembly Speaker Silver, Councilmember Margaret Chin, Borough President Scott Stringer and State Senators Brad Hoylman and Daniel Squadron, as well as C.B. 3 Chairperson Gigi Li, wrote to Mayor Bloomberg and Rhea calling for “greater transparency” on the infill plan and a slowdown on issuing the R.F.P. The mayor responded, saying that the plan “must be undertaken in close collaboration” with local residents, the community and elected officials, but not indicating there would be any change in NYCHA’s aggressive timetable. Speaking after receiving the mayor’s response, Kavanagh said in an interview that, in fact, he thinks it is “a good idea” for NYCHA to use its own property this way, but also said he wants to make sure the new buildings “make sense in the context in which they’ll be built and that they’ll benefit the residents in these communities — if they get buy-in from the community.” Also, he added, “NYCHA has to be more open and accountable than it has been in the recent past.”
April 3 - April 16, 2013
Pier 40 field space Continued from page 3
“Just as important, [Quinn] promised that more fields will be included in future development of the pier,” the Champs’ e-mail continued. “This means our growing Lower West Side communities will have more fields at Pier 40 so every child gets to play.” The prospect of expanding field space prompted the Downtown Little and Soccer Leagues to join the Champions group in the hopes of getting field time for their growing leagues. The notice says city and state funds are needed to keep the pier open, and that Downtown youth leagues, competing for limited field space, face “an overcrowding crisis that is forcing sports leagues to turn children away.” In that vein, the Champs’ release says $25 million is needed now “to complete essential repairs this year to keep the pier open,” and that $25 million more is needed “to add more fields next year to respond to the overcrowding crisis caused by the Manhattan population boom.” The notice states that it’s important to get other elected officials to sign onto this program. However, not all elected officials are on the same page as the Champs. One aide to a local politician, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said “Not everyone wants more sports fields at Pier 40.”
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In addition, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, a fierce critic of opening the Hudson River Park Act to allow housing, said Pier 40 probably can’t meet all of the leagues’ needs. So, she said, the community must start thinking more broadly in terms of the whole 5-mile-long park and where playing fields can be sited. She added it makes sense to distribute the fields more evenly throughout the park to accommodate more neighborhoods. “Pier 40 is never going to be able to meet all of their needs,” Glick said of the youth leagues. Glick suggested Gansevoort Peninsula and “possibly something in the Pier 76 area,” at W. 36th St., as places that might hold promise for siting more sports fields. She said there has also been talk of rebuilding Pier 54 wider, which has mainly been proposed to make for safer access for dances and events there — but that this could also allow the historic W. 13th St. pier (where the Titanic survivors were offloaded) to double as a place for sports uses. However, Glick said she was concerned at hearing that some young players, particularly girls — she mentioned the Gotham Girls soccer league — are having difficulty getting playing time at Pier 40. “You don’t want to have a situation where 90 percent of the youth league space is boys,” Glick said. “That becomes a conundrum.”
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April 3 - April 16, 2013
New community board members Continued from page 8
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to get the Seaport seaworthy again. Another Seaport resident, Jason Friedman, is an architect with Joseph Pell Lombardi & Associates who received his B.A. in Architecture from Syracuse University in 2002. He and his wife also began Stitch’T, a home-based business that creates quilts out of vintage T-shirts. His expertise in architecture and business will be useful, especially in the historic Seaport district, said Hughes. New Tribeca reps are also bringing their knowledge and experiences to the board. Elizabeth Lewinsohn has a background in policy analysis and homeland security which she used as director of policy & plans for the N.Y.P.D. Counterterrorism Bureau, and as volunteer policy analyst for Gov. Cuomo and volunteer advisor for State Senator Daniel Squadron, who represents much of the C.B. 1 area. Lewinsohn is currently a member of the Jewish Community Project, Friends of Hudson River Park and Hudson River Park Mamas. Sarah Currie-Halpern, also a Tribeca resident, is a business woman and environmental proponent who has served as vice chairperson of the Solid Waste Advisory
Board of Manhattan since 2007 alongside board chair Hughes. “April is Earth Day, so it’s great to have someone to provide that perspective,” said Hughes, who noted that Currie-Halpern was also a board member of the New York League of Conservation Voters and Earth Day New York. She has a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University and is the founder and president of SAC Marketing, a communications consulting firm. Kathleen Gupta will be returning to the board after serving on C.B. 1 from 19831993 after years as a public member. A longtime resident of Battery Park City, she co-founded the Liberty Community Gardens in B.P.C. in the ‘80s and received Battery Park City Community Service Hours in September of last year. She also recently retired from 23 years as chief development officer at the Henry Street Settlement House. Gupta represented Downtown on the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s committee on the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and has donated several personal items to the museum to help tell the story of her neighborhood during 9/11 and its aftermath. The new members are mostly filling vacant seats, although one member was not reappointed due to poor attendance.
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April 3 - April 16, 2013
Downtown Express photos by Scot Surbeck
Easter celebration Easter Festive Eucharist services on Easter Sunday at Trinity Wall Street were accompanied by a family event in the church’s cemetery. With balloons and a backing band, children played while parents were treated to coffee. The Episcopal Church holds Holy Week events every year with programs for all ages.
GROWING TOGETHER FOR AFRICAN CHILDREN
CITY OF NEW YORK 2012-2013 DISTRICTING COMMISSION NOTICE OF PRECLEARANCE SUBMISSION TO THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL PUBLIC NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT on March 22, 2013, in accordance with Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, 42 U.S.C. 1973c, and 28 C.F.R. § 51.10(b), covering the counties of Bronx, Kings and New York, the City of New York 2012-2013 Districting Commission (the “Districting Commission”) submitted to the Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, the Districting Commission’s final plan for the boundaries of the fifty-one City Council districts in the City of New York (the “submission”).
Dee Grieve 3 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004 I am a private individual and I have worked in early childhood education throughout my career. I have recently established contact with a Senegalese military unit based in Ivory Coast, Africa. We are jointly initiating a program to provide toys and educational materials for children in Ivory Coast and children in two orphanages in Senegal. I am presently soliciting for toys, old or new, for children birth to 5 years of age. Toys will be sent on a monthly basis, as this is an ongoing project. I will be responsible for all mailing costs incurred to send these toys. The military unit has assured me that they will personally receive and deliver these toys to the appropriate institutions.
If you are interested in donating any toys, please email me to arrange for pick up at: GROWINGTOGETHERAFRICA@GMAIL.COM
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR HELPING THESE CHILDREN!
A complete duplicate copy of the submission is available for public inspection at the office of the Districting Commission at 253 Broadway, 7th Floor in the borough of Manhattan. A complete copy of the submission is also available on the Districting Commission’s website at http://www.nyc.gov/districting, where it can be automatically translated into over 50 languages. The Districting Commission invites members of the public to review the submission and to provide comments for the Attorney General’s consideration as this request for preclearance is being considered. Any such comments may be forwarded to: Mr. Chris Herren, Chief, Voting Section Civil Rights Division, Room 7254 – NWB Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20530. Please take further notice that, in order to permit timely implementation of the final districting plan in advance of the City Council’s upcoming primary and general elections, the Districting Commission has requested that a decision on preclearance be issued on an expedited basis pursuant to 28 C.F.R. § 51.34.
April 3 - April 16, 2013
B Y TERESE LOEB KREUZER
Ball fields ready for Downtown Little League to open:
There should be a rousing celebration on Sun., April 7 when the Downtown Little League takes to the Battery Park City ball fields for the opening of the 2013 season. Were it not for the intercession of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and advice from synthetic turf experts for the New York Mets, the ball fields, wrecked by Superstorm Sandy, would not have been ready in time. The 85,000-square-foot fields, covered with $3 million worth of artificial turf, had to be completely remade. “There’s nothing better than having a deadline that’s real,” said B.P.C.A. chairperson Dennis Mehiel at the Authority’s board of directors meeting on March 26, when he announced that the B.P.C.A. had issued a permit for opening day. More than 900 kids have registered to play in the Downtown Little League this year. They range in age from the 5-year-olds, who play T-ball, to 17-year-olds in the Senior League. The opening day festivities will begin with a parade starting at City Hall Park. Players in uniform and their families will assemble at 8 a.m. and depart at 8:30 a.m., led by Marijo Russell-O’Grady, dean of students at Pace University. Escorted by the N.Y.P.D., the group will march across Park Place to Greenwich St. and then to Murray St. The TriBattery Pops will be on the fields to greet them, playing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and other favorites. Former Mets ace Dwight “Doc” Gooden, star of the ’86 World Series team, will be on hand to represent the Mets and sign autographs.
Speaker Silver, City Councilmember Margaret Chin and Downtown Alliance president Liz Berger will also be there, with Speaker Silver pitching the first ball. Then guests can enjoy a carnival set up on Warren St. with an obstacle course, dunk tank, “Baseball Speed Pitch” and “Batter Up” inflatable games, plus four carnival games. There will be popcorn, cotton candy and facepainters. The carnival will end at 11:30 a.m. as the first games of the season get under way. Mehiel commended Gwen Dawson, the B.P.C.A.’s senior vice president of asset management, and her team for “executing under difficult circumstances and a compressed time frame” to get the fields ready. He also applauded the efforts of Speaker Silver, New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Councilmember Chin. Applied Landscape Technologies did the work, racing against a deadline that was made more difficult by snowstorms.
Battery Park City Seniors:
The Battery Park City Seniors group has plans to leave town. On Wednesday, June 19, members will be going by van to the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut. The museum houses more than 185,000 works, including African art, American paintings and sculpture, art of the ancient Americas, coins and medals, Asian art, European art, prints, drawings, photographs and more. At the time of the B.P.C. seniors’ visit, the museum will be hosting a special exhibit of art objects made of wood drawn from the renowned collection of Ruth and David Waterbury and organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Ruth Ohman, who heads the seniors’ group, said that details of the New Haven trip are being finalized. In the meantime, the seniors have a lot to keep them busy close to home with exercise and meditation classes, a weekly walking group and a monthly dinner event called “Seniors’ Night Out” on the second Tuesday of the month.
Retired Met “Doc” Gooden will be at the Downtown Little League’s Opening Day, April 7.
“Seniors’ Night Out began originally at Izzy & Nats,” said Ohman, referring to the deli formerly at 311 South End Ave. that closed and reopened as Pick-A-Bagel. “Our idea now is to go to different neighborhood restaurants.” So far, the group has tried Wei West and Merchants River House, where it will be meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9. The seniors get a 20 percent discount. Reservations for Seniors’ Night Out are necessary by Sunday, April 7. Email Ohman at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve or to learn more about the group and its activities.
Battery Park City in bloom:
Although the weather remains cold, Battery Park City’s gardens have burst into dazzling springtime bloom. Daffodils glow against moist, brown earth. The hillside at South Cove is blanketed with miniature blue-purple irises (Iris reticulata “Harmony”). In the south-facing “cool garden” of Wagner Park (so called because it was planted with flowers in the blue and pastel shades of the color spectrum), Chionodoxa
forbesii “Pink giant,” commonly called gloryof-the-snow, suggests an artfully arranged bouquet, paired with delicate white Scilla bifolia, otherwise known as “alpine squill.” Elsewhere in Wagner Park, large, white crocuses (Crocus ‘Joan of Arc’) explode from the ground like rockets. Amidst all this springtime finery in Wagner Park, nothing is more handsome than Iris “Katherine Hodgkin.” The petals of this miniature iris are sky blue. The large lip is yellow, flecked with darker blue and delicately striped. An amateur gardener in Gloucestershire, England, named E.B. Anderson (1885-1971) created this flower around 60 years ago when he crossbred two rare irises, I. winogradowii and I. histriodes. His efforts produced two seeds. One of them died. The other flowered for the first time in 1960. Gallantly, he named his hybrid for the wife of his friend and fellow garden enthusiast, Eliot Hodgkin. All of the examples of Iris ‘Katherine Hodgkin’ are descended from that plant. To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb10@ gmail.com.
Downtown Express flower photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
One of the most spectacular of the miniature irises now blooming in Battery Park City is called Iris “Katharine Hodgkin.” A botanist and writer named E.B. Anderson created this hybrid in the 1960s by crossing two rare irises — I. winogradowii and I. histrioides. He named his exotic new flower after the wife of Eliot Hodgkin, another passionate gardener.
Blue-purple miniature irises called Iris reticulata “Harmony” blanket the hillside in Battery Park City’s South Cove.
April 3 - April 16, 2013
Wounded by Sandy, Vietnam Vets memorial is recovering B y KAITLYN MEADE Flowers bloomed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza for the first time since Hurricane Sandy, just in time for the laying of flowers at the city’s Third Annual Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day in Lower Manhattan March 23. Hundreds of veterans and families gathered at 55 Water St. for the ceremony, which included reading the 1,741 names of New York City soldiers who lost their lives during the war — a remembrance of those that were lost and a reminder to honor survivors whose welcome home was long overdue. The names are also written on plaques along the “Walk of Honor” on the memorial’s plaza, which marked the height of the floodwaters last October as Hurricane Sandy roared into the Financial District. “This is the only place where this exists,” said Vince McGowan, founding member of the United War Veterans Council and board member of Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Plaza. The council and Friends group have been working to restore the memorial and 90,000 square foot public space, which suffered extensive damage from Sandy. “We lost all the electric, all the lights in the ground, all of the trees and flowers, and one flagpole,” said Scott Bridgwood, who is handling most of the repairs. While the original memorial — a glass wall etched with letters donated by friends and family members of Vietnam vets — is still intact, its interior lighting has been damaged, making the letters hard to read. All of the underground lighting that illuminates the plaza must also be replaced. The beds which once held trees, bushes and 17,000 tulips, are now mostly barren. Some of the usable beds were planted with pansies “to freshen them up” for the Saturday
Downtown Express photo by Kaitlyn Meade
An Honor Guard of Fordham University R.O.T.C. cadets paid tribute March 23 to the 1,741 New York City troops killed in the Vietnam War.
event, said McGowan, who until recently was an executive with the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. He is “optimistic that nature will take care of itself” and bring back the rose bushes, “but the trees are gone.” One of the hardest hit areas was the circular bed closest to the water which held spruce trees and bushes. The memorial’s Friends group is working with Rubicon to replace the soil, which was filled with contaminated saltwater, and hopes to have plants in the ground by the end of April and flourish-
ing by the end of May. Fundraising for the project has yet to begin but a FEMA application is pending for repairs, which McGowan says will cost $2.7 to $3 million. McGowan, a Vietnam veteran, has helped rejuvenate the memorial before. In 1999, wear and weather had taken its toll since the memorial’s original dedication in 1985 by late Mayor Ed Koch and the NYC Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission. The Friends group formed and raised $7.1 million for renovation, starting in 1999. “We were in the process of completion during 9/11,” McGowan recalled. “At the time, the smoke was still rising off the pile.” Fang Wong, the first Asian-American to be elected national commander of the mutual-aid organization, the American Legion, said the memorial “serves to remind people that there are many heroes, many warriors out there fighting for their country… After 40 years, when we went back to Iraq and Afghanistan, we were facing the same thing. But people, the citizens, learned from the last time and supported [the returning soldiers].” Wong, a Chinese immigrant and Vietnam Vet who grew up in Harlem and Chinatown, retired from the Army in 1989 and joined the American Legion’s Lt. B.R. Kimlau Post 1291, based out of Canal St. After 9/11, Post 1291 played a role in Chinatown’s recovery efforts and supported returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Turning back from the memorial to look at the gathering of veterans, Wong said, “To be able to see it and absorb and receive appreciation from others, even their peers… it’s a positive feeling. It’s a healing process for some of them, even now.”
April 3 - April 16, 2013
South Street Seaport document revealed Continued from page 1
district), the City Planning Commission, the Borough of Manhattan President and the City Council. The unredacted Letter of Intent was obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request to the E.D.C., and provided to Downtown Express, which first reported its contents online, March 29. The letter says the hotel could be about 95,000 square feet, and there could also be approximately 280,000 gross square feet of market-rate residential apartments, and about 82,000 gross square feet of additional retail space. In addition, the stipulations include about 60,000 gross square feet of parking plus reconstruction of the Tin Building to consist of approximately 100,000 square feet. The document notes that the Tin Building is now a four-level building but that the South Street Seaport Limited Partnership would have the right to increase it in height to five levels. The document states that the E.D.C. and the Hughes subsidiary acknowledge that the range of areas for each of the major components of the mixed use project are general estimates and that, in connection with the development of the final plan for the mixed use project, the Seaport subsidiary has the right to reallocate space among its major components without the consent of the E.D.C. “The allocation of square footage between hotel use and residential may vary as between such two uses as S.S.S.L.P. shall determine in its sole discretion,” the letter says. “We’ve been asking [Howard Hughes] for a master plan for the site all along.
They have obviously not been telling us the truth when they said they didn’t have one,” John Fratta, chairperson of Community Board 1’s Seaport Committee, said when told of the new information. “Obviously, hearing this, there was a very clear plan. This is the problem that the Seaport Committee and I’m sure, the board, has with Howard Hughes. They’re not being forthcoming with us.” Asked what the Howard Hughes “mixed use project” would consist of and where the elements of it might be located, Alex Howe, a spokesperson for H.H.C. declined to comment. He also declined to comment on whether there was a master plan for the Seaport. On March 29, Kelly Magee, press secretary for City Councilmember Margaret Chin, in whose district the South Street Seaport is located, said in an email, “There is absolutely nothing in the L.O.I. (Letter of Intent) that describes H.H.C.’s development plans. Absolutely nothing. They haven’t even taken their option to develop!” She subsequently clarified to say that the square footage and specific uses in the letter, fall far short of fully fleshed out “development plans.” Robert LaValva, founder of the New Amsterdam Market on South St., said that in August 2012, he was allowed to look at the unredacted L.O.I. though he was not allowed to keep a copy. He said that he did this in the presence of Councilmember Chin and several members of her staff, along with some of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s staff members. “I certainly remembered that the Letter of Intent made reference to hotels and market-rate housing,” he said, but without the actual document in his hands, he was unable to prove this.
Howard Hughes Corporation will be redeveloping Pier 17 and has an option on the Tin Building, which is in the Seaport Historic District, and the New Market Building, which is just outside.
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
Councilmember Margaret Chin came to the South Street Seaport on Saturday to celebrate Tartan Day with Robert Currie, president of the Clan Currie Society. She said she was happy that lots of people were at the Seaport again and that the leases of the Pier 17 tenants had been extended through the busy summer season.
However, when he testified in front of City Council’s Sub-committee on zoning and land use on March 14, 2013, he said, “Some people will try to tell you that the ULURP before the Council today has nothing to do with the Fish Market site and that we should express our concerns in the future. I am here to tell you that is not the case.” He went on to say, “What is troubling about this is that E.D.C. and Howard Hughes have a Letter of Intent to redevelop the Fulton Fish Market site as a luxury residential high rise, hotel and retail complex. The proposed rezoning therefore enables a development that has never been revealed to the public or reviewed by the Council. If we wait until these plans are proposed, it will be too late. The only time to protect this site from demolition is now.” LaValva said subsequently that Magee scolded him at the time for bringing these matters up at the Pier 17 ULURP hearing. Seth Pinsky, president of the E.D.C., told Downtown Express March 28 that E.D.C. can say “no” to a proposal from Howard Hughes, depending exactly on what is proposed. The plans would have to meet certain criteria, many of which are spelled out in the Letter of Intent. E.D.C. officials have not explained why the unredacted version was withheld until after the Council vote. The Hughes firm has until Aug. 30 to exercise its option and submit more details. Councilmember Chin, in an email to
Downtown Express March 30, suggested the Seaport developer has a development plan that has not been released to the public. “Like the community board, my office has also asked Howard Hughes to make their development plans public,” Chin said. “I understand the frustration people feel, but the Letter of Intent (L.O.I.) is not a master plan for the Seaport. The L.O.I. does not contain any specific development proposals, and furthermore, it is not accurate to use the numbers quoted in the L.O.I. to predict what future development could entail. On March 20, 2013, as part of the Pier 17 ULURP, the Council passed a rezoning that limits what can be built at the Seaport. This applies to any form of development be it residential, commercial, or community facility use. This recently passed rezoning set the limits for future development and supercedes what is in the L.O.I. “If Howard Hughes does take the option to develop, they will have to present a formal plan to the city, but this has not happened yet. That plan will have to go through the public ULURP process. Development cannot proceed unchecked. The city has final say and approval on development at the Seaport.” Howard Hughes Corp. is scheduled to meet with C.B. 1 April 16, although executives are expected to talk about short-term plans to bring more visitors to the Seaport this summer.
-— With Reporting by Josh Rogers
April 3 - April 16, 2013
Council approves Pier 17 plan By T E R E S E L O E B K R E U Z E R The City Council approved Howard Hughes Corporation’s ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) application for the redevelopment of Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport March 20. However, the $200 million plan was authorized with a few modifications. Construction on Pier 17 will now begin on Oct. 1, 2013 instead of July 1, giving existing tenants in good standing the right to remain through the busy summer season and attempt to recoup losses suffered from Superstorm Sandy. Under the new agreement, they must vacate the pier by Sept. 9. These tenants will be able to apply for space in the new mall on Pier 17, though Howard Hughes will not be obligated to grant them new leases. Howard Hughes has agreed to engage an acoustical engineer to study ways to mitigate sound from concerts on Pier 17 and on the roof of the new mall so as not to disturb residents both in Lower Manhattan and in the waterfront neighborhoods of Brooklyn. The pier will be redesigned to accommodate maritime uses. A new plan must be submitted to City Council no later than June 30, 2013. The final modification was that the public will be guaranteed free access to the pier at all times. Portions of the rooftop will be made available without charge to community-based organizations up to four times a year. City Councilmember Margaret Chin, in whose district the South Street Seaport lies, did much of the negotiating to obtain these concessions from The Howard Hughes Corporation, which has a 60-year lease on Pier 17 and on parts of the South Street Seaport. Following the voting, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmember Chin announced a deal with The Howard Hughes Corporation and its subsidiary, South Street Seaport Limited Partnership, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation for two new food markets in the South Street Seaport area. Before Oct. 1, 2014, Howard Hughes and South Street Seaport Limited Partnership have agreed to open a food market that includes locally and regionally sourced food to be open to the public seven days a week. It will be at the Link building, within the area of their South Street Seaport. In addition, there will be a new food market at the Tin Building, which dates from 1907 and is in the Seaport’s historic district. The agreement mandates that any proposal for a mixed use project at the Tin Building must include a food market occupying at least 10,000 square feet of floor space showcasing locally and regionally sourced foods that are sold by multiple vendors. Like the first market, it must be open to the public seven days a week. “Markets of this kind have a historic presence in Lower Manhattan, and I am proud that we were able to reincorporate this use into the wider redevelopment of
the Seaport,” Chin said in a statement. “The start date of construction on the Pier 17 project will be postponed to allow current tenants to remain open throughout this summer. This is the right thing to do. It will allow small businesses to make back the revenue they lost as a result of hurricane Sandy….” At the press conference, Quinn and Chin were surrounded by representatives of various community organizations including Community Board 1 and the Downtown Alliance. Representatives of the Fulton Stall Market were there, but Robert LaValva, founder of the New Amsterdam Market on South Street, was notably absent. In a telephone conversation later that day, he said it was his birthday and he had other plans for the day. He also said that he was glad that the Tin Building would be used as a market for local and regional foods. However, he noted that the Tin Building has 20,000 square feet of space and that only 10,000 are being allocated to a market. That would make the market significantly smaller than the New Amsterdam Market, which has been using around 15,000 square feet of space under the F.D.R. Drive between Beekman St. and Peck Slip on Sundays from April to December. LaValva said that a 10,000-square-foot market would be an amenity for local residents but would not be sufficient to act as a tourist attraction or a destination. “We’re now talking about a 10,000 square foot market in a development site that is not known in any way,” he said, referring to the fact that Howard Hughes has an option on the site but has not publicly revealed its plans for it. He believes that it will have a shopping mall on one side of it and possibly a hotel and apartment complex on the other. He also said that he has not yet decided if he will open the New Amsterdam Market this year. He said that the March 20 announcement changes the picture and that he does not know at the present time what he will do or when he will decide. The Hughes Firm and the city’s Economic Development Corp., which owns Pier 17, released statements of praise. “Our vision for a revitalized South Street Seaport has taken an important step forward today,” said David R. Weinreb, C.E.O. of Hughes. “I am particularly pleased because the redevelopment will have a catalytic effect on Lower Manhattan and help the area continue to recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy.” Kyle Kimball, executive director of E.D.C., said “Not only will this project create enhanced shopping, dining and entertainment options as well as a new food market and open space to better connect the Seaport to the local community, it will also create hundreds of jobs and revitalize the Seaport.” But members of the Save Our Seaport Coalition, a group of organizations and individuals that has been working to preserve the historic nature of the South Street Seaport,
Image courtesy of SHoP Architects
Rendering of The Howard Hughes Corporation’s plan for Pier 17.
felt differently. None of them attended the press conference. “We did not want to be seen anywhere near it,” the coalition’s David Sheldon said. The Save Our Seaport Coalition has been
circulating a petition in support of its viewpoint. The coalition wants the Seaport Historic District to be extended to the north side of Pier 17 and to the New Market Building.
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Still searching for trust at the Seaport Another year, another big plan to
“save” the Seaport. Downtowners have coexisted with corporations running the Seaport mall for a few decades. There have been some good initiatives, and some great events, but the operators have never fully embraced the Lower Manhattan community. The companies over the years have tried to make the area more attractive to residents, but have not yet succeeded. There are malls all over the county, but what makes the Seaport special is its ties to early New York and the Fulton Fish Market, which did not leave all that long ago — and the South Street Seaport Museum with its historic ships decorating the harbor. ‘”It’s not just another mall on the waterfront,” is the way Catherine McVay Hughes, Community Board 1’s chairperson, put it to us. Two weeks ago, the City Council voted to approve the Howard Hughes Corporation’s plan to redevelop the Pier 17 mall. There are clear, positive elements about the plan, but there is a lot to be concerned about too. “Pier 17 plan and community trust,” was the headline of our editorial one year ago, and the need to restore trust is much more pressing now. Chief reason for that is the city Economic Development Corporation’s apparent decision to withhold important information from the public until after the Council vote. As we first reported last week online, the unredacted portions of the letter of intent between the city and the Hughes firm included the company’s intention to build a large apartment and hotel building near the pier. The only sort of defense we’ve heard for this
contemptible decision to keep the public in the dark is essentially, “big deal everyone has known for years that there was a desire for big development.” If everyone knew, then what would have been the harm in releasing the entire document during the lengthy public debate process? If we ever get an answer to that one, we’ll let you know. More importantly, everyone didn’t know. Every time Community Board 1 members and other advocates asked about development beyond Pier 17, they were met with silence — not with “you know what we want to do.” General Growth Properties, Hughes’ predecessor, did make their development plans clear five years ago. Then they went bankrupt and reorganized as Howard Hughes Corp. so it was far from clear that anything had stayed the same. There’s no question that if the full information were made public earlier, it would have affected the debate at the very least, and perhaps even the outcome. Clearly, the city and H.H.C. did not want to negotiate about anything other than Pier 17, but we can’t help but wonder if a more strident position would have won more. We weren’t in the room so we can’t know. There’s always a risk if you take too tough a line. But this would not have been the first time the city negotiated two land use projects, known as ULURPs, simultaneously. Officials did it before in Tribeca nine years ago, and that deal which involved two sites and different developers, led to the Spruce Street School, an annex for P.S. 234 and the Downtown Community Center.
We’re not suggesting a similar deal was possible this time. It’s a different time, and the comparisons are far from exact, but it does make us think. Councilmember Margaret Chin did win some concessions at Pier 17. One — like extending the leases of Pier 17 shops — was hard, but it should not have been since it’s smart business to let the merchants sell through the busy summer season, before things close up for redevelopment. These stores lost lots of money as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which also should have made the decision easier to make. We are also pleased to see the agreement includes more public access on the roof of the new Pier 17, more boat mooring for the museum and two large, locally sourced food markets, with one expected to open next year. A large, permanent food market has been the dream of many. It’s a natural replacement for the former home to fish merchants, and we hope the new markets prove to be viable. The Council vote did put much more restrictive size limits at the New Market Building, which is just outside the Seaport Historic District. Howard Hughes Corp. has an option on this building. But with so little talk about the zoning limit, it makes us think that those in the know have reason to expect an attempt to get approval to build bigger. Howard Hughes Corp. will have to go through the same review process regardless of whether they look to build big or small. It’s never too late to begin building trust. You do it by sharing your plans early and working with a community.
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Letters to the Editor
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To The Editor: I am greatly disappointed by the article in the Downtown Express about a “secret plan” for development at the South Street Seaport (posted to Downtownexpress.com, March 29, “Seaport developer’s secret plan for hotel & apartments revealed’). First, there is no “secret” plan for development at the Seaport. It is a well-known fact that for years developers have sought to build a project that includes hotel and residential uses at the Seaport. Howard Hughes’ predecessor, General Growth, first proposed a condo-hotel tower on the site of the New Market Building in 2007. At the time, I testified against General Growth’s Plan, saying: “People come
down to the Seaport because of its history. A 40-story tower has no place in the Seaport,” (news article, July 11 -17, 2008, “Some like Seaport plan’s tower, others say build a school,”). My position has not changed: I will not support a development plan from Howard Hughes, or anyone else, that includes high-rise buildings at the Seaport. Furthermore, any development at the Seaport must be consistent with the character of the neighborhood and its history; and must provide benefits to the surrounding community. Second, the Express wrongly characterizes the Letter of Intent (L.O.I.) between the Howard Hughes Corporation (H.H.C.) and the city’s Economic Development Corporation as this “secret” plan for
development at the Seaport. The L.O.I., which has been available to the public since December 2011, is a non-binding agreement that gives Howard Hughes the ability to propose a mixed-use project at the Seaport. Howard Hughes must submit a first-draft of a design for this project to the city prior to August 30, 2013. To date, H.H.C. has not presented a proposal to the city. When it does, the city may or may not find the proposal acceptable. Any development at sites H.H.C. leases at the Seaport will trigger a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). This is a public process which necessitates sign-offs from the community board and borough president, and ultimately, approval from City Planning and the City Council
before any development can proceed. There is no great conspiracy surrounding the future of development at South Street Seaport; and to imply so is simply irresponsible. Margaret S. Chin Editor’s Note: A similar version of the article in question appears on Page 1 of this edition. Both versions focus on the unredacted portion of the letter of intent, which was only recently made available to the public. The articles also pointed out the lengthy review process that Councilmember Chin cites in her letter. We’re not aware of an instance when a Howard Hughes Corp. executive ever voiced their development intentions in public.
April 3 - April 16, 2013
Hudson River Park must generate more revenue By D iana L. Tay lor , Robert K . S teele Paul A. U llman , Pa m ela Frederick , Franz L eic h ter , J e f f re y K aplan and L awrence B . Goldber g Over the last 18 months, the Hudson River Park Trust hosted a series of task force meetings attended by all the local elected officials or their representatives and many experienced urban planning experts, representatives of the three community boards and other community groups, environmental experts and parks professionals. These meetings were highly structured, transparent and thoughtfully designed to find common ground with respect to the park’s challenges and needed changes to the Hudson River Park Act, which created and governs the park. The original idea behind the creation of the park was that public money would create it and commercial revenue would sustain it. And the city and state have been incredibly generous to the park over the last 13 years, funding nearly $350 million in capital construction.
But it is important to understand the scale of the task. With five miles of property, we still have a long way to go to fulfill the promise of creating the park in all the communities it serves. We have forecast that we will need an additional $15 million per year to support the park’s operations and capital maintenance by 2022, and another $250 million to actually complete the park — not including additional ball fields on Pier 40. Despite the many good ideas generated during these many meetings, the idea to allow residential development at Pier 40 dominated the conversation. The political battle associated with this one potential revenuegenerating use eclipsed the progress we made on other possible changes to the park act, and obscured the point of the original discussion — which is that the park is not generating enough revenue to maintain itself. The critical benefit residential development brings is that it generates the most revenue while occupying the smallest footprint, with vastly less vehicular and foot traffic impact than any alternate use. It was because of this combination and the failure of past high-impact proposed uses that a community group, the Pier 40 Champions, invested in
a concept plan and came up with a novel approach that no one else had considered. However, we do not wish to see the conversation halted over one specific use. We seek a productive environment where good ideas and their financial and cultural impacts can be intelligently discussed. We want and need to hear from our local elected officials about what ideas they believe can work and what should be done to secure the future of the park. If our state or city representatives really believe that government should be responsible for funding the upkeep and repairs required, then our representatives need to work with us to create or identify that funding stream. The recent announcement of open space money allocated from the Hudson Square rezoning for Pier 40 future repairs was a useful and very welcome step in the right direction. The Trust board has undertaken revenuegenerating initiatives both directly and indirectly through our fundraising partnership with Friends of Hudson River Park. We have high hopes for private fundraising and volunteer involvement, and Friends have already demonstrated their dedication by raising (postSandy) more than $300,000 to repair the play-
ground at Pier 25 in Tribeca. Our initiatives also include asking the neighbors of the park to support a neighborhood improvement district (NID), where residential and commercial property owners along the length of the park would contribute a small amount to the annual care of this great asset to us all. We ask for community support since this idea ultimately rests with a decision by the City Council. The Trust board strongly urges our local political leadership to allow the Hudson River Park Act to be significantly amended. It is only with flexibility within the act that the park can get the most revenue from our designated commercial nodes, thereby allowing us to create and maintain the most field space and the most open parkland for all of our West Side neighbors. We have been trying very hard to find real solutions. The problem is simple: We do not have enough money coming into the park to maintain it. But the solution is not so simple. We look to our elected leaders and our community to work with us to find a path forward sensibly and cooperatively. The writers are all members of the Hudson River Park Trust board of directors.
transit sam Alternate side parkin g rules are in e f f ect all w eek Great news for Lower Manhattan residents: The old 1 train South Ferry station will open this week. This means the 1 train will no longer terminate at Rector St., but go straight through. It also means improved service at Chambers, Franklin, Canal and Houston Sts. Remember, if you are getting off at South Ferry, you need to be on the first five cars because of the short platform. All Manhattan-bound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge will close 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 12:01 a.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday, 12:01 a.m. to 9 a.m. Sunday, and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday. This will drive fan traffic to the Manhattan Bridge and across Canal St. after Nets games 7 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Due to FASTRACK repairs, there will be no J trains between Broad St. and Delancey St. – Essex St. from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday nights. Take the F, 4, or 6 trains instead. Ann St. will fully close between Theatre Alley and Nassau St. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For eastbound access, take John St.
Crane operations will fully close White St. between Broadway and Lafayette St. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For westbound access, take Canal or Leonard St. At the Battery Park Underpass, one lane of the north tube and the entire south tube will close overnight 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday, and 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday and Tuesday. As part of the Peck Slip reconstruction project, Beekman St. will fully close between Front and South Sts. beginning Monday and running through June. Chambers St. will close between West Broadway and Greenwich St., and between Broadway and Church St. from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Double closure trouble on West St./ Route 9A: two northbound lanes between W. Houston and W. 14th Sts. will close overnight 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday, 1 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday, and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday. Two southbound lanes between W. 23rd and Bank Sts. will close overnight 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday; 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. Sunday; and 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Monday and Tuesday.
Fro m the mailba g: Dear Transit Sam, Where can I find out how much money is collected at each tunnel and bridge? More importantly, how can I find out where all that cash is going? Peter, Chatham, N.J. Dear Peter, Toll revenue information for M.T.A. bridges and tunnels — Bronx-Whitestone, Cross Bay, Henry Hudson, Brooklyn Battery, Marine Parkway, Queens Midtown, R.F.K.-Triborough, Throgs Neck and Verrazano — is available on the M.T.A. site as part of the “Monthly Agency Data,” mta.info/mta/news/books/#. Traffic volume and revenue at each crossing are recorded monthly and yearly — no data for the daily figures. For Port Authority bridges and tunnels — Bayonne, Goethals, George Washington, Outerbridge, Holland and Lincoln — data about toll revenue is released in annual reports at panynj. gov/corporate-information/annual-reports.html. Both the M.T.A. and Port Authority reports give operating budget data, so you can see how much money they are spending. Transit Sam
Got a question about parking regulations or upcoming construction? Email me at TransitSam@downtownexpress.com or write to Transit Sam, 611 Broadway, Suite 415, New York, NY 10012.
Letters Policy Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be emailed to letters@ downtownexpress.com or can be mailed to 515 Canal St., New York, NY, 10013.
April 3 - April 16, 2013
Join us as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the founding of Borough of Manhattan Community College of The City University of New York at the New York Stock Exchange. Event Honorees are Lawrence Leibowitz Chief Operating Officer of the NYSE Antonio Pérez President of BMCC. Looking forward to seeing you there! BMCC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Tuesday, April 30, 2013 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The New York Stock Exchange 2 Broad Street, New York City (212) 220-8020 for ticket information.
The Lady Blazers continued their city dominance.
Bergtraum wins 15th straight city title B y Daniel Jean- Lubin At some point, you would think this streak would have to end. At some point, Murry Bergtraum may catch a hot team and see their Public Schools Athletic League championship dominance come to an end. We’ll have to find out next season, however. After a torrid comeback by top-seeded South Shore came up just short, No. 2 Murry Bergtraum held on to win, 48-43, in the P.S.A.L. girls championship game March 16 at Madison Square Garden. The Murry Bergtraum Lady Blazers (252) entered the game hungry for revenge after suffering a 46-54 loss at home to South Shore on Dec. 7. During that game, the Lady Blazers’ leading scorer, Jasmine Nwajei’s game-high 23 points could not push the Blazers past the Lady Vikings. Last Saturday, the Lady Blazers of Lower Manhattan found themselves in an unusual position, trailing early on in the game, as the South Shore Lady Vikings (22-5) began the first quarter shooting very well. Bergtraum found their offensive spark from the team’s second-leading scorer, Ashanae McLaughlin, who notched the Blazers’ first few points. McLaughlin finished the game with 15 points and four assists. Despite the early difficulties, the Lady Blazers found their defensive legs and also found themselves carrying an 11-point lead, making the score 17-6 well into the second quarter. Bergtraum kept the offensive pressure cranked all the way through
the second quarter and ended the half up by double digits. But South Shore stormed back onto the court in the third quarter, shooting very well from all angles and keeping their title hopes alive. With the game winding down in the fourth quarter, the Lady Vikings pulled within 2 points thanks to Brianna Fraser’s layup with 1:38 left on the clock. Fraser’s powerful move provided momentum, possibly enough to propel them to steal a win. But a clutch rebound by Bergtraum’s Kimberley Viafara paved the way to a gamewinning free throw from her teammate Nwajei. With Nwajei’s shot the resulting score was 48-43 and Murry Bergtraum had won their 15th straight P.S.A.L. championship. The Lady Blazers streak did not extend to the state. The team lost to Bishop Ford High School 57-40 in the New York State Federation Class AA semifinals March 22, ending what otherwise was a very successful season with another city title.
April 3 - April 16, 2013
ThE ChILDREN’S ROOm AT POETS hOUSE The Children’s Room at Poets House in BPC is a bright and vibrant space that encourages literacy and creativity. In addition to housing many poetry books by classic and contemporary authors, the Children’s Room is designed to stimulate the imaginations of young ones and drive them to create poems and art of their own. From Thurs.-Sat., children are free to draw inspiration from the room’s card catalogue full of quirky objects, and type up their own masterpieces on the vintage typewriters provided. Every Thurs. at 10am, “Tiny Poet Time” offers poetry readings and music for toddlers. On April 6 at 11am, the Children’s Room will host a performance of “Blown Away by Poetry” — a puppet show that teaches kids about poetic devices like simile and alliteration. On April 18 at 4pm, Poets House will present an allages Poem in Your Pocket Day celebration, featuring poetry readings from local school children and music by the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra . At 10 River Terrace (at Murray St.). Hours: Children’s Room open Thurs.-Sat., 11am-5pm. Admission: Free. For info, call 212-431-7920 or visit poetshouse.org ThE SChOLASTIC STORE Held every Saturday at 3pm, Scholastic’s in-store activities are designed to get kids reading, thinking, talking, creating and moving. On April 6, the “Science Spectacular” (ages 5 and up) gives kids a chance to take chances, make mistakes
and get messy! Ms. Frizzle is back again with demonstrations of some cool science kits. Hop into the Magic School Bus for a picture with the Frizz! On April 13, “Emergency Vehicles” (the latest book from the Discover More series) comes to life, with a visit from SoHo’s own Ladder 20. Learn fire safety facts from real live firefighters, and make your own fire fighter hat (appropriate for ages 4 and up). At 11am every Tues., Wed. and Thurs., the Scholastic Storyteller brings tales to life at Daily Storytime. At 557 Broadway (btw. Prince & Spring Sts.). Store hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm and Sun., 11am6pm. For info, call 212-343-6166 or visit scholastic.com/sohostore. SATURDAy fAmILy PROgRAmS AT ThE SKySCRAPER mUSEUm Explore tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction and places of work and residence at The Skyscraper Museum. Their spring “Saturday Family Program” series (taking place from 10:30-11:45am) features workshops designed to introduce children and their families to the principles of architecture and engineering through hands-on activities. On April 6, also designed for ages 7-14, “Cathedral of Commerce” explores how the Woolworth tower used the architectural vocabulary of medieval cathedrals. On April 27, “Woolworth’s Gargoyles” takes kids ages 3-10 on a quick tour of the exhibition “Woolworth Building @ 100,” then reveals why its design includes sculptures carved
14TH STREET Y FREE SUMMER THEATER CAMP PREVIEW WORKSHOPS
Created in partnership with Amas Musical Theatre, MCC Theater and the Red Fern Theatre Company, the 14th Street Y’s Teen Theater Summer Institute offers students entering sixth to ninth grades the opportunity to study with theater experts from a variety of fields and perspectives. Through programs such as master classes, physical theater and script analysis, students will receive discipline-specific instruction in the areas of musical theater, acting and theater for social justice. At the conclusion of the July 8-19 Institute, graduates will present their work for an audience of family and friends (in the Y’s newly renovated, state-of-the-art black box theater). Two free workshops, hosted by the 14th Street Y, will provide an opportunity to meet some of the teaching artists and learn more about the Institute. Bring your questions about blocking and script analysis to the Actor Skills workshop (Wed., April 10 from 5-6:30pm). Then, at the D.I.Y. Theater workshop (1-2:30pm on Sun., May 12), learn how to create theater about what matters most to you. Both free workshops take place at The Theater at the 14th Street Y (344 E. 14th St., btw. 1st & 2nd Aves.). To register for a workshop or learn more about the summer program, call 646-395-4322, or visit 14streety.org/teens. The cost of the Teen Theater Summer Institute is $900.
to resemble a monkey, dragon or lion (hint: it has something to do with rain water and the roof!). After the tour, participants will design skyscrapers with visual stories of their own. On May 11, kids of all ages are invited to a Mother’s Day Card Workshop to construct architecturally-themed cards for mom. All workshops ($5 per family) take place at 10:30am. Registration is required. Call 212-945-6324 or email email@example.com. At 39 Battery Place (btw. First Place & Little West St.). Regular museum hours are Wed.-Sun., 12-6pm. Admission is $5 ($2.50 for students/seniors). fACE TO fACE: AN ExhIBIT AT ThE ChILDREN’S mUSEUm Of ThE ARTS The Museum celebrates its quarter century of promoting self-expression and esteem — by presenting a new exhibit that offers a fascinating exploration of self-identity through still, moving and living portraits, as portrayed by children using traditional methods of painting and drawing, as well as technology. On view through June 9, “Face to Face” features 40 portraits selected from CMA’s Permanent Collection of children’s art from over 50 coun-
tries, dating back to the 1930s. “When viewed together,” says CMA Deputy Director Lucy Ofiesh, “the exhibit represents the diversity of self-expression and identity across the world and through the years.” To incorporate CMA’s philosophy of hands-on-art-making, the exhibit will be accompanied by a variety of interactive installations that examine the texture, shape and sound of portraits. Hands-on stations encourage visitors to become part of the exhibit, including reimagined versions of a typical self-portrait station. At the CMA Media Lab, visitors can take photos that will be projected on the wall. These photos will stream into a montage that will be accessioned into the collection and will also serve as a fascinating time-lapse of the exhibit as a whole. At the Children’s Museum of the Arts, in the CMA Gallery (103 Charlton St.). Hours: Mon. & Wed., 12-5pm; Thurs. & Fri., 12-6pm; Sat. & Sun., 10am-5pm. Admission: $11 (Seniors and 0-12 months, free, from 4-6pm). Thursdays are pay-as-you-wish. For info, call 212-274-0986 or visit cmany.org. For Twitter: twitter.com/cmainnyc.
April 3 - April 16, 2013
Immediate, Uncompromising and Socially Conscious Ego Actus explores technology, teen bullying and fighting back THEATER I KNOW WHAT BOYS WANT
Written by Penny Jackson Directed by Joan Kane Presented by Ego Actus Through April 13 Thurs. through Sat. at 8pm Matinees Sat. at 3pm Talkback with neuroscientist Heather Berlin on April 11 At WorkShop Theater 312 W. 36th St., 4th Fl., btw. 8th & 9th Aves. For tickets ($18), 800-838-3006 or brownpapertickets.com Visit egoactus.com
BY MARTIN DENTON (of nytheatre.com & indietheater.com) Bullying is a hot topic these days, and with good reason. Most of the theater work I’ve come across that deals with this subject has been focused on victims. But what if a bullied teen found an effective way to fight back? And better still — what if that bullied teen was a girl? That’s the idea behind Penny Jackson’s new play, “I Know What Boys Want.” It’s being presented by Ego Actus, a relatively new but extremely prolific and energetic theater company run by director Joan Kane and theatrical jack-of-all-trades Bruce A! Kraemer (the exclamation point is not a misprint, and tells you a lot about this guy, believe me). Here’s what Kane says their latest project is about: “‘I Know What Boys Want’ is about a girl named Vicky who refuses to be a victim of a bully, when he makes her the sensation of the Internet by posting a video of her having sex with her boyfriend. It is also about a group of teens who are rudderless, in that their parents are not involved in their lives and they have no one to help them navigate the rocky waters
of adolescence.” Kraemer adds: “I think it is about the pervasiveness of technology in society today. We used to be afraid of Big Brother government watching everything we did. It turns out that ‘little brother’ is much more dangerous to privacy.” Intrigued? I know I am. The first collaboration of Jackson, Kane and Kraemer — also produced by Ego Actus, at the 2012 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity — was a play called “Safe,” about a teenage girl who decides to start a relationship with a much older man she meets in a Starbucks. “Safe” went on to win the Best Playwriting Award at the Festivity, and was published on Indie Theater Now shortly thereafter. It will be heading to the Edinburgh Fringe this August, following a short engagement at 59E59 as part of their East to Edinburgh Festival. Not a bad showing for a writer’s first produced play! Jackson told me, “I'm very interested in how today’s generation of girls are turning their back on feminists like Gloria Steinem and are creating what is known as ‘the third wave of feminism,’ referred to as ‘grrl,’ where they feel proud of displaying their sexuality.” She’s been a theater fan since she was 16, when she saw a Tom Stoppard play in the back of a pub. “I knew then that theater can be truly magical and transformative.” Her work, immediate, uncompromising and socially conscious, certainly strives to awaken people to issues they may not have thought much about, and maybe even change some minds. Jackson is on record as saying that Kane is her mentor. “She taught me how to write a play,” Jackson says, “how to focus on characters and motivation, and to emotionally connect to an audience.” Jackson has chosen wisely: Kane has been involved in theater for more than four decades, first as an actor and dancer and then as a founding member of the all-female company Lupa Productions — where she directed plays, readings, sitespecific and devised works. In 1978, Joan met Bruce at a dress rehearsal of a production of “Platonov,” which she was acting in and he was lighting. Kane says, “Bruce got into an argument with the director and quit a show for the only time in his life. A few days later we saw each other in a bar and I told him that the show was lousy. He was delighted.” They became partners in life, and after their children grew up, they decided to become partners in a new theater company, Ego Actus (“my way” in Latin), which they founded in 2009. “We wanted to create a company where artists could cre-
Photo by Kacey Anisa
Left to right: Sara Hogrefe & Dara O'Brien.
ate and produce their art using whatever technique they were comfortable creating in,” Kane explained. “There are a variety of different techniques of producing a work of art and one way is not better than another way. We wanted all artists to be respected and cherished.” I met Kane and Kraemer in 2011, when they were presenting the first NYC revival of Saviana Stanescu’s terrific play “Aliens With Extraordinary Skills.” Kane and Kraemer’s work on this piece was exemplary, and as I am very familiar with Saviana’s work, they invited me to do a talkback after one of the performances. I was immediately impressed by their seriousness, their craft, and their fearlessness. In a city where too many indie theater companies cover the same ground over and over again (mining the classics and a small passel of popular new plays), Kane and Kraemer seek out challenging work that is relevant to audiences and very likely unfamiliar to them as well. It’s through them that I got to know Jackson, and I will be excited to meet whatever other
new writers they may happen to discover in the future. Once “Boys” is finished, Kane and Kraemer will be presenting Kraemer’s play “what do you mean” at this year’s Planet Connections Festivity, and a revival of Kate Fodor’s provocative “100 Saints You Should Know” at Urban Stages. Then they’re off to Edinburgh with Jackson and “Safe.” They’re planning another new show in November at Theater for the New City, a co-production with Scandinavian American Theatre Company of the play “More” by award-winning Norwegian playwright Maria Tryti Vennerod. Jackson has a new play in the works called “Lay Me Down,” which is “about a family that is shattered when the father of an autistic son decides to abandon his wife and child.” Yep, it’s a lot to take in. One can only admire the energy and dedication that these three artists bring to the NYC theater scene. In the meantime, check out “I Know What Boys Want,” which is sure to provide an unusual and thought-provoking perspective on a pervasive problem.
April 3 - April 16, 2013
Bed Notches and Groomsticks Eisenberg’s autobio a love letter to doing it before the I Do’s BOOKS SCREW EVERYONE: SLEEPING MY WAY TO MONOGAMY
BY OPHIRA EISENBERG Seal Press (sealpress.com) $16 Visit ophiraeisenberg.com NPR’s “ASK ME ANOTHER” LIVE TAPING Mon., April 8, 7:30pm At The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY 149 Seventh St. (btw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.) For tickets ($10), amatickets.org THE “SCREW EVERYONE” BOOK PARTY Thurs., April 25, 7-9pm At Housing Works Bookstore Cafe 126 Crosby St., btw. Houston & Prince Sts.
BY SCOTT STIFFLER She may have a nice, seemingly normal second act existence — living in Brooklyn with her supportive husband and adorable dog — but don’t think for a minute that Ophira Eisenberg has gone soft or settled down. While the more timid among us are doomed to look in the rearview mirror only to see roads not taken, Eisenberg will be living for years off the worldly confidence one can only get after gingerly hopping from bed to bathtub to the occasional sleazy hotel countertop. Voyeurs, virgins, prudes and dudes will all find something to recoil from and admire, under the covers of “Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy.” You could be forgiven for glancing at that title and assuming Eisenberg’s autobiography is just a series of DWI (Dating While Intoxicated) misadventures. But “Screw Everyone” is more than a coming of age story (although there’s some of that) and more than a barfly confessional (there’s plenty of that). Like the author, the book slowly reveals itself to be in possession of a solid moral foundation.
That said, barely a page goes by where sex and pleasure aren’t front and center, described in frank and occasionally graphic detail — usually leavened with crackling observations that are more anthropologic than pornographic. Fortunately, this teen-to-thirtysomething tale is the work of a professional stand-up comic. So every potential suitor gets the sharp evaluation, and witty punchline, he deserves — while the author (a Village comedy club and Moth story slam veteran who hosts NPR’s game show “Ask Me Another”) never emerges unscathed from her own wellcalibrated bullshit detector. Long before her bed notches reach the double digits, readers who can see beyond the sex on the beach, the sunburns and the social disease scares will realize that this relentless collection of hook-ups and hangovers is really about the rewards of putting it out there and taking chances, without the crippling burden of shame — or the desperate end game goal of settling down just because you don’t want to be alone. Why, some of the life lessons Eisenberg accrued in the sack actually translate into helpful etiquette and esteem tips for the sober and the celibate! Straight guys will learn more about what women really want
Image courtesy of the publisher
Howdy, Doo-Me: Ophira’s autobio is a fast read about her randy road to long-term commitment.
set out to be a slut,” Eisenberg hits it right on the head, so to speak, when she reasons, “I just thought I was being nice.” She certainly was. Even when knee-deep in tales of vomit, meth addict sex partners, near-arrests and
lesbian flings, Eisenberg rarely disavows her often ill-advised choices. She wears her mistakes and her triumphs equally well — badges of pride that look damn good on her, just like the wedding dress she ends up in by the book’s final chapter.
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Barely a page goes by where sex and pleasure aren’t front and center, described in frank and occasionally graphic detail — usually leavened with crackling observations that are more anthropologic than pornographic. by reading this book than indulging in a lifetime of locker room brag sessions (or Lifetime movies). “Call me an enthusiastic consenter, or a fairly responsible hedonist,” says our conquering hero, “but sleeping around was often a by-product of getting what I wanted.” Right after proclaiming that she “never
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THE MANNAHATTA PROJECT
In this free lecture, landscape ecologist Eric Sanderson will discuss his work at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) as well as how recent storms have impacted the Manhattan landscape. Sanderson will also talk about Manhattan’s early history — harkening back to when Henry Hudson sailed his ship, the Half Moon, up the river that now bears his name. For the past decade, Sanderson has directed The Mannahatta Project, a recreation of the ecology of Manhattan Island at the time of its European discovery in 1609. Part of the WCS’s Human Footprint initiative (which maps the human race’s impact on the surface of the earth), The Mannahatta Project has recreated a rich and diverse landscape in digital form — using new methods in geographic analysis (and a remarkable 18th-century map prepared by British Headquarters in 1782 charting Manhattan with over 70 miles of streams and at least 21 ponds). Free. Thurs., April 18 at 1pm. At 6 River Terrace, Battery Park City (South end of River Terrace, north of the Irish Hunger Memorial). For info, visit bpcparks.org.
Image courtesy of Eric Sanderson and WCS.
Photo by L. Deemer
What is, what was, what will be: Landscape ecologist Eric Sanderson lectures on his Mannahatta Project, on April 18.
Sarah Gerkensmeyer is among the guests at the April 9 Pen Parentis Literary Salon.
PEN PARENTIS LITERARY SALON
Free (optional cash bar at Happy Hour prices). Ages 21+. On Tues., April 9, from 7-9pm. At Andaz Wall Street, 2nd Floor Dining Room (75 Wa l l S t . , a t Wa t e r S t . ) F o r i n f o , visit penparentis.org. On Facebook: f a c e b o o k . c o m / p e n p a r e n t i s . Tw i t t e r : @penparentis. Subscribe to the blog: http://penparentis.blogspot.com
Three intense authors open up about their personal writing lives at the April installment of a monthly event sponsored by Pen Parentis, an organization that provides resources to authors who are also parents. Sarah Gerkensmeyer (recent winner of the Autumn House Press Prize and 2013 Pen Parentis
Fellow) will share the intimate stage with notable author, publisher and editor Kelly Link, and Oprah.com editor and memoirist, Leigh Newman. All three will read from new work and discuss how they balance active family lives with their successful literary careers. Books, vended by Bluestockings, will be available for signings.
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Downtown’s baby boom continues Continued from page 1
In the four neighborhoods, Lower Manhattan’s population of four and unders came close to tripling, from 1,459 to 3,931, for an increase of about 170 percent from 2000 to 2010. Switaj said she used Census data released a few months ago and built on some of Greenleaf’s work for the report. Greenleaf, the NY.U. professor and parent advocate, said the new analysis may increase his estimate that Lower Manhattan will need an additional 1,200 elementary school seats in just
a few years. The Dept. of Education has maintained that Downtown’s newer schools — Peck Slip, P.S. 276 and Spruce Street — will be enough to meet the growing demand. For the upcoming kindergarten registration, four out of the five zoned elementary schools in Lower Manhattan had more applicants than seats. Greenleaf, said waiting lists are “so predictable” if you consider things like whether new development projects have many or few large apartments. He said because the city also groups together distinct neighborhoods like
Community Board 1 analysis of Lower Manhattan Census data.
Tribeca and the Village, it can make it look like the need for school space is less than it actually is. “The Dept. of Education adamantly refuses to forecast at the neighborhood level,” he said. “I think they don’t because they don’t want to see what they’d find… “The city spends billions and billions encouraging development in Lower Manhattan. If you’re going to encourage development, you have to plan for the infrastructure that will be needed.” Greenleaf is not overstating the public investment in Downtown development.
The federal 9/11 recovery program alone included $1.6 billion in tax-free Liberty Bonds for residential development, and about $300 million in incentives for residents to stay or move to Lower Manhattan. Last week, the Dept. of Ed did not say whether it was giving any thought to looking at individual neighborhoods for school need projections, or considering the size of planned apartments. “Our projections are based on a variety of complex analyses that incorpoContinued on page 27
April 3 - April 16, 2013
Lots to like at Leica store for camera connoisseurs By B O B K R A S N E R Did you hear the one about the $8,000 digital camera that only shoots in black and white? Funny, right? Leica, the revered camera manufacturer, doesn’t think so. Their M Monochrom is one of the more intriguing items in their new Soho location, which is filled with compelling merchandise for both pro and amateur shutterbugs. The store recently opened at 460 West Broadway, between Houston and Prince Sts. It’s a collaboration between the 150-yearold manufacturer and Elliot Kurland, a Leica enthusiast and former proprietor of Kurland Photo. While the brand name instantly conjures up images of film cameras for photographers of a certain age, the company has jumped almost completely into the digital market. Although they still sell two models which use that archaic format, their focus on digital is both a leap into the modern age and a nod to the past, using classic designs to house a contemporary format. The store’s minimalistic design space is filled not just with cameras, but books, magazines, accessories and a photo gallery. The place’s rear is designed to convert into a classroom as well. Customers are encouraged to test drive the wide variety of models available, and the extremely knowledgeable staff is more than willing to educate the consumer. Even the guy who came in and
asked, “How is a Leica different from my iPhone?” got a straight answer. One possible answer to that query is that Hermes and Paul Smith don’t make limitededition iPhones, as they do in collaboration with Leica. Of course, you may not be in the market for a $25,000 collector’s item, like the Hermes edition, but it’s still worth checking out the possibilities. One of the more popular items is the V-LUX 4, a midsize, point-and-shoot that has a fixed f/2.8 lens that zooms from 24 mm to 600 mm, with a surprising degree of sharpness at the long end. It sells for a more reasonable price of $800 (which includes Adobe’s Lightroom software). Smaller models designed for street shooting and medium format for studio work bookend the range of available equipment. One overwhelmed customer at the shop called his friend to inform him, “This is where I want to come to die.” (The management, for the record, discourages this). Unfortunately, according to Kurland, the supply does not always meet the demand and there is a waiting list for many of the more popular items. That is sometimes the case with the M Monochrom, that highend, black-and-white shooting machine. One of its more illustrious proponents is art photographer Ralph Gibson, a longtime favorite of ours who made his reputation
Population boom Continued from page 26
rate a wide range of data,” Devon Puglia, an agency spokesperson, said in a prepared statement to Downtown Express. “We’re working extremely hard to develop great new schools in areas that have seen population growth, and we continue to work closely with these communities in that effort.” Julie Menin, the former chairperson of C.B. 1, said, “We’ve been saying for years that the problem with the population analysis by the Dept. of Education is it is not detailed enough.” Menin, a candidate for borough president, was not involved in the C.B. 1 report, but coincidentally she released her own proposal last week calling for a formal review of the borough-wide and community-wide needs for key areas like schools, parks and affordable housing. She said by studying and identifying each community’s needs before big projects are proposed, it will create more public pressure to get the most pressing needs met. “Rather than react when develop-
ers proposed something, we need to proactively look at what the community needs are,” she said. C.B.1’s Census analysis may point to other needs as well. When St. Vincent’s Hospital closed in the Village three years ago, Board 1 also raised objections because the closest hospital, New York Downtown Hospital, does not have a pediatrician in its emergency room. The new numbers and the recent takeover of the hospital by New York-Presbyterian might prompt a new look at the issue.
Image courtesy of Bob Krasner
Holding their own: Soho Leica store staff with their favorite cameras, from left: manager Chris Durkin, with the ME; salesman Craig Williams, with the MP (film camera); salesman John Flanigan, with the Monochrom; and owner Elliot Kurland, with the M9-P Hermes Special Edition. The photo was taken with an M9 Titanium ($35,000).
creating beautiful, surreal images on blackand-white film. When asked for his opinion about the new camera, Gibson said: “I have been using the Leica rangefinder system exclusively for over 50 years and I can write with fullest confidence about the new Leica M Monochrom. I have travelled extensively
with the camera and my only complaint is that the user manual doesn’t explain how to set the camera down sometimes...” After spending just a half an hour with the Monochrom, we know just what he means. And if anyone is wondering, my birthday is in October.
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April 3, 2013, DOWNTOWN EXPRESS