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VOLUME 27, NUMBER 1

JUNE 19-JULY 2, 2014

INSURANCE EXECS TAKE TO STREETS TO HELP MUSEUM

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B Y Z A CH WI L L IA MS riendly neighbors are helping one local museum in a time of need. About 150 of them gathered last week at Old Slip Park in support of the New York Police Museum whose permanent location at 100 Old Slip remains closed due to outstanding Hurricane Sandy damage. Dozens of them danced in unison for about five minutes as 100 more watched. The event, organized by Guardian Life Insurance Company, sought to promote community involvement in re-opening the 16,000 square-feet of exhibit space there. “We were very affected by Superstorm Sandy. We were out of our office right here at 7 Hanover for about 11 months and when we came back it became clear that we came back but many of our neighbors were still struggling,” said Jeanette Volpi, a spokesperson for the insurance company. The museum currently occupies a donated space at 45 Wall St. and will remain there for some time, according to Julie Bose, executive director for the museum. However, with 80 percent less space, many exhibits cannot re-open including a collection of police badges from those who died in the line of duty, as well as an exhibit which featured mock police equipment and events challenging children to think like real-world detectives in order to solve make-believe crimes. Early last winter, museum officials

Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess

A young protester joined Moms Demand Action marchers across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall Park Saturday. They’re calling for tighter restrictions to our country’s gun laws.

Downtown Notebook

The rocky road to pre-K B Y JOSH ROGERS Pre-K is like many things in life — you’re either in or out — so you might think there’s just two stories to tell, but really there are many more than that. Talk to Principal Alice Hom at Chinatown’s P.S 124 and she’ll tell you that she still has a full-day pre-K classroom to fill, and there’s only a few days before the first enrollment deadline, June

Continued on page 5

FIFA 2014

20. But she’s confident the last 18 spots will be taken by a mix of families. Some have not yet registered for their spot, others are on the waiting list, still more are outer borough people who work nearby and who have been coming in the last few days. It’s not surprising that Hom will not only be able to offer seats outside of her school’s small zone area, but also entirely

out of sprawling District 2, which includes almost all of the broad Downtown area as well as parts of Midtown and the Upper East Side. Chinatown will be an oasis of pre-K this September as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s large expansion of full-day seats. But even with the expansion, nearly

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TALES ON A SCHOOL Howard Hughes Corporation’s Chris Curry didn’t sound all that interested in adding a school to the firm’s Seaport redevelopment project back in January, when Downtown Express asked him about it, but it looks like that’s changed. Back then, he cited the nearby Peck Slip School, scheduled to open next year, as a reason not to delve further. He did acknowledge the firm had not yet made “a larger gesture to the community,” which is typically made to get large tower projects like theirs approved. One Downtown school advocate told us that in recent weeks, the firm approached him about adding a school site in exchange for supporting a project, but he rebuffed

the overture in part because he knew such a school effort would be opposed by community leaders who oppose the Seaport project. A second school advocate, Tricia Joyce, chairperson of Community Board 1’s Youth and Education Committee, said she also heard about the Hughes overtures, but the board is united in its opposition to the tower so a school sweetener will not divide them. Hughes’ predecessor, General Growth Properties, did put a school on the table, but a recession and bankruptcy scuttled that possibility. Meanwhile, the Hughes firm continues to revise its proposal in response to the Seaport Working Group’s draft recommendations, and Councilmember Margaret Chin’s office tells us the group is happy to report they got 650 Post-it notes and comments to their ideas which they expect to include in the final. Kyle Kimball, the city’s economic development head under Mayors Bloomberg and de Blasio said the group’s document will help “ensure that the future of the Seaport benefits both the local community

and economy while preserving the Seaport’s important role in the fabric of New York City.”  

THE REVOLUTION WILL BE DIGESTED Count Democratic District leader Jenifer Rajkumar as one of the Battery Park City residents happy with the new culinary choices at Hudson Eats. “It’s a revolution,” she told us.

LOCAL SNUB “Take the A Train”? Take a hike. Tom Goodkind, conductor of our favorite local marching band, the TriBattery Pops, tells us the powers that be at the M.T.A. won’t let them play the classic Billy Strayhorn tune — made famous by Strayhorn’s musical mentor and collaborator, Duke Ellington — at the grand opening of the Fulton Center subway station next Thursday. Goodkind said Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver’s office has been helpful making the case for the Downtown band to play for free, but the idea remains stuck in the station. Naturally, he does not have good

Downtown Express file photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Tom Goodkind, leader of the TriBattery Pops

or kind feelings toward the snubbing authority, particularly after rehearsing the song for six months. “The Pops officially at this moment think their new station looks like a small office building in Cleveland,” Goodkind wrote us.  “If they ever need to keep a non-corrupt set of books, don’t count on this C.P.A.!”

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June 19-July 2, 2014

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‘Seaport City’ floated, but C.B. 1 wants short-term storm help B Y Z A CH WI L L IA M S Weaving a future multi-purpose levee system into the Lower Manhattan urban fabric got tangled this month with ongoing efforts to restore the South Street Seaport. City officials on June 5 presented to Community Board 1’s Planning Committee an ambitious project to construct a multi-purpose levee on the East Side of Lower Manhattan, but some committee members did not necessarily like what they saw. The proposed flood barrier would eventually be able to withstand a 19 feet increase in water level compared to the current sea level and would be built over the course of 65 years depending on the eventual design of the project. Though such a defensive barrier could be built along the current waterfront, some proposed concepts would require land reclamation up to 500 feet into the East River, according to a 74-page feasibility report released in May by the city Economic Development Corporation. The study was an outgrowth of the “Seaport City” idea floated last year by Mayor Bloomberg when he released the city’s comprehensive resiliency report. The idea was to build a Battery Park City-type neighborhood on the East River with development helping fund the protection from sea level rises. This year’s study, which continued under Mayor de Blasio, examined the plausibility of a multi-purpose levee between the Battery Maritime Building and Pier 35 on the Lower East Side. Such a project would mitigate flooding in the surrounding area and potentially provide new land for commercial, residential and recreational development, according to the report. But an artist’s rendering of what such a coastal defense may look like, drew criticism from committee members who objected to the portrayal of a series of high-rises in the picture. Such structures would undermine the restoration of the historic South Seaport, said committee members. “It’s a slap in the face,” committee member Tom Goodkind said of the notion of building high-rises between the current historic area and the East River. Members of the committee acknowledged the necessity of preparing Lower Manhattan for future rises in sea level as well as extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy. However, the already frantic pace of development in Lower Manhattan already challenges the ability of the community to keep up, according to committee member Tammy Meltzer. “It was a really interesting presentaDowntownExpress.com

tion,” she said. “I love the idea of building additional resiliency. I have concerns about large high-rises being built on new land and how that affects the total infrastructure. We currently don’t have enough infrastructure to accommodate many things already.” Daniel Zarrilli, director of the mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, said the rendering is purely hypothetical and not a “land use proposal.” Insight from the local community is an important element in determining the ultimate design and use of the proposed levee, which unlike traditional sea walls, would be woven into the urban landscape in the form of a gentle slope, according to the report. “We are here to hear from the community,” he told the committee amidst the concerns that high-rises would be a necessary feature atop the future levees. City officials will meet with members of C.B.3 on July 9 to discuss the proposed multi-purpose levee. In concept, such a large and expensive project is feasible financially, technologically and legally, the E.D.C. report concluded. The sale of real estate on the levee for development could also fund storm-resiliency efforts elsewhere in the city, according to Zarrilli. The multi-purpose levee is one of 257 outlined in the “Resiliency Plan” released by the Bloomberg administration last June. The presentation was the first outreach to the committee following the publication of the report outlining the proposed project as well as the June 2 announcement of the “Big U,” as a winner of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development competition seeking designs for resiliency infrastructure. Of the $3.5 billion in HUD Community Development Block Grants, almost 10 percent, $335 million, will be used to implement the first section of the project which spans from Montgomery St. to East 23rd St. If completed, the protective system would stretch from West 57th St. south to The Battery and up to East 42nd St. The construction would be divided into three complementary sections which would physically separate any flooding from adjacent areas. Like the multi-purpose levee, the Big U would seek to integrate itself into current development projects as well as provide additional public space. Board 1’s committee passed a resolution seeking to spur quicker implementation of the “Berms to the Battery” which would protect the Financial District from potential flooding but currently lacks

Rendering of one city idea to extend levees in Lower Manhattan 500 feet into the East River and develop buildings on top.

funding. “Lower Manhattan is in desperate need of immediate resiliency and hardening measures. Existing plans for such measures, such as the Lower Manhattan Multi-Purpose Levee, are long-term projects that will not effectively protect Lower Manhattan for several decades,” reads a draft of the resolution. The first phase of the Big U, which currently excludes Community Board 1, could install berms from 10 to 20 feet tall within the next 5 years. In contrast, the

Multi-Purpose Levee requires eight years of pre-development planning with implementation spread out over subsequent decades, according to Zarrilli. This elongated schedule would allow planners to adjust designs not only to accommodate community concerns but also respond to any projected changes in the pace of climate change as well as funding availability, he said. “Phasing this in over time is actually a good way to manage risk,” he said during the presentation.

June 19-July 2, 2014

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BURGLAR WITH LOVELY HAIR If you’ve got great hair, you probably don’t need any covering, but a hat store might still be a great cash supply for curling products. Police say a suspect with apparently memorable “wavy/curly” brown hair may have broken into the Hat Club twice in recent days, taking just over $800, but no merchandise was missing from the Soho store at 103 Mercer St. The manager told police both times that he thought he knew the suspect, but either he or police did not reveal the man’s height or weight. Both times the manager described the suspect’s hair, which is said to be normal or short. The first break-in was around 2:30 a.m. on June 12, when the accused left the door open and the door jam in pieces after taking $367 in cash. Two days later at 3:30 a.m., police found a broken glass door when responding to the scene. The manager said $450 was taken that time. The store specializes in stylish baseball hats, and has attracted the likes of “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, whose straight hair means, undoubtedly, that he is not a suspect.

VICTIM CATCHES MUGGER A FiDi mugger was arrested after the victim knocked him to the ground of a subway platform Sunday night, police said The 36-year-old man was walking on Broadway and Beaver St. June 15 at 9:20 p.m. when police say the suspect punched the victim in the back. The man then realized his backpack resting on the sidewalk and his wallet were gone. He chased the mugger down into the Bowling Green station. He grabbed the defendant, 45, on the platform and both fell to the floor. Two police officers arrested the suspect.

RIDES LESS THAN GRAND A Downtown express rider exiting the soon-to-reopen Fulton subway center lost nearly 8 grand in cash when a man grabbed her pocketbook as she was walking up the stairs on a Tuesday afternoon, police said. It was one of four Lower Manhattan subway crimes this month. The 39-year-old woman got off a southbound 4 train June 3 at 3 p.m., and was walking to the Broadway and John St. exit when a 30-something robber grabbed her pocketbook and ran back into the

station. The woman said she lost $7,850 in cash, an iPhone 5 and a $300 black leather handbag. The large subway labyrinth has remained open throughout the multi-year renovation project and is scheduled to reopen on June 26. In another incident at the center, a pink polka dot wallet caught the eye of a pickpocket at the subway entrance near Broadway and John St. last week during afternoon rush hour. The victim, a 28-year-old woman, zipped her wallet back into her backpack after passing though the turnstile just before 6 p.m., Wed., June 11. She and the male suspect crowded into an Uptown 4 train, but the swiper exited the train before it left the station. The woman noticed her backpack was open at the next stop, Brooklyn Bridge. She lost her $112-monthly MetroCard, three credit cards, a $50-cell phone and the wallet, worth $25. The next morning, a 57-year-old man was robbed as he slept on the J train. Luckily, the man awoke in time to recover his property with the help of police. The victim was riding a Downtown J train at 2:30 a.m., Thurs. June 12. His wallet had been in his back pocket, but when he awoke at the last stop, Broad St., he found a man going though his wallet. The rider confronted the robber then found a police officer who arrested the 50-year-old suspect. In the fourth crime, a teenage thief on the Canal St. Downtown platform reached into a C train and grabbed an iPhone 5 from an 18-year-old woman Tuesday afternoon at 2:30, June 10, police said. The suspect fled, and the woman was later able to track the phone to 48th St. and 10th Ave.

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June 19-July 2, 2014

CON ED HEIST A Con Edison employee investigating a previous theft at a construction site near 80 Chambers St. discovered another heist in progress last week at 5 a.m. police said. The suspect, equipped with a cable splicing tool, ran down Broadway and headed West on Murray St. lugging 30 pounds of copper valued at $1,500 on Wed., June 11.

CONSTRUCTION BURGLARY A thief made off with over $5,000 worth of tools left in front of 194 Broadway sometime between Monday afternoon, June 2 and June 5 at 10 a.. police say. The tool box itself was valued at $800 and the most expansive item taken was a $1,500-welding machine.

UNWANTED TAX WRITE-OFF A 44-year-old man calculated he lost $5,500 worth of property stolen from his van, with the most expensive items being C.P.A. books worth $2,600. Police say the man parked his 2010 BMW at a lot at 1 South St., 8:30 p.m. Thurs., June 12, and when he returned three hours later, he discovered the back was open and also missing were $1,500 worth of clothes, a $500-Coach leather bag, and his iPhone 4.

FAST FOOD THIEF A Parisian tourist sampling American cuisine at a FiDi McDonald’s, had his wallet swiped on a Saturday just after 3 in the afternoon. The Frenchman put his blazer containing his wallet behind his chair on the second floor of the Mickey D’s at 160 Broadway on June 7. He said another man came up from behind, took the wallet and quickly exited the restaurant. – JOSH ROGERS

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Downtown Express photo by Zach Williams

Photo courtesy of New York Police Museum

The children’s area of the Police Museum, right, before it closed as a result of Hurricane Sandy damage, and the space as it looks today.

Insurance firm lends a foot to support Police Museum Continued from page 1

heard that the insurance company wished to help, Bose said. In addition to an eventual $25,000 donation to the museum, the company sought to spearhead an event involving its employees in an active manner, according to Volpi. Preparations for the event began during the winter and led the hiring of an event planning company to acquire requisite permits from the company as well as provide professional dancers to tutor Guardian employees who were inexperienced in public performance. Volpi declined to say how much the company paid for the assistance. For at least one company employee, the museum represents a cause more important than even a lifelong reluctance to dance in public. “I’ve never danced before. I didn’t even dance at my own wedding,” said Jeffrey Klappholz who added that the three recent rehearsal sessions enabled him to participate. Though visitor numbers and revenues remain strong, the storm’s legacy

remains a challenge for the museum as well as the surrounding community in a similar manner as the Sept. 11 attacks years before, according to Bose. “[The community] hasn’t bounced back yet, people are still grappling with this,” Bose said. A spokesperson for the city Department of Cultural Affairs, which is overseeing the rehabilitation of 100 Old Slip, said it will take another two to three years to design and complete the project, which could push the reopening back to the fifth anniversary of Sandy. “The city is working closely with FEMA to develop the damage scope and cost estimate for the building,” Ryan Max, the spokesperson, added in an email to Downtown Express. Most artifacts in the museum were not on the first floor of the museum — though six feet of water destroyed the children’s exhibit called the Junior Officers Discovery Zone and gift shop. It cost thousands of dollars to restore two historic police motorcycles and uniforms. Most unfortunate is the current inability of the museum to offer the same

attractions, which, before Sandy hit, were expanding its niche among local resident families, Bose said. “We were a focal point,” she said. “So much could happen there because we had the space.” Founded in 1998, the museum chronicles the history of the N.Y.P.D. and its predecessors from the 17th century to the present day. Exhibits in recent years have included video footage from 9/11, photos of early women pioneers in the police department, as well

as education programs focusing not only on teaching history to school children, but also ensuring that they know how to call 911. For now, such activities are inhibited by the current lack of space within the Wall St. location, according to Bose. She said despite the setbacks, even disasters, can eventually lead to good things, like stronger ties to a helpful neighbor such as Guardian. “We think this is the beginning of a long relationship with them,” she said.

Downtown Express photo by Zach Williams

Guardian Life employees dancing June 11 at a “Flash Event” to bring attention to the Police Museum. DowntownExpress.com

June 19-July 2, 2014

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New ideas to come as Pier 40’s secret deal is scrapped B Y LINC O L N A N D E RSO N Attorney Arthur Schwartz said he met with Madelyn Wils, the president of the Hudson River Park Trust, June 6 and she informed him that the secret $100-million memorandum of understanding, or M.O.U., for transfer of Pier 40’s air rights has officially been scrapped. As reported by downtownexpress. com and The Villager at the end of last month, attorney Arthur Schwartz said he was considering suing if a secret Pier 40 air-rights transfer plan was not put through a lengthy environmental review. Schwartz was considering a lawsuit to block the air-rights transfer altogether on the grounds that a comprehensive, lengthy environmental impact study would need to be performed. “Madelyn told me, ‘I read The Villager article. I want to meet with you,’ ” Schwartz said recently. “She confirmed that the M.O.U. is dead,” he said. The M.O.U. was signed by a representative of the Empire State Development Corporation; and a representative of Atlas Capital Group, a part owner of the St. John’s Center building, located across the West Side Highway from Pier 40, at W. Houston St. The language of the M.O.U. — which still has not been seen publicly — refers to a state-run General Project Plan, or G.P.P., for the project — not the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP. A ULURP would have a greater level of community review, plus binding votes by the City Planning Department and the City Council, and also normally would take more time than the faster G.P.P. However, according to Schwartz, Wils described the document’s language as conditional. “She said the M.O.U. reads, ‘Should the state engage in a G.P.P. …’ not ‘The state would engage in a G.P.P,’ ” he noted. “The M.O.U. was conditioned on there being a decision made to do a G.P.P. But given the reaction, it’s not going to happen…. According to the attorney, who is a longtime Hudson River Park activist, the Trust president said the M.O.U. was circulated in December, but was not actually signed until late February or early March. In a statement last week, Wils said, “We look forward to working with the city on a ULURP that will save the pier, achieve the Legislature’s vision, and fully engage our community’s stakeholders.” Schwartz related that, Wils said she

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June 19-July 2, 2014

couldn’t show him the M.O.U. because the decision to release it is up to E.S.D.C. and the Governor’s Office. “We’re not the decision makers,” Noreen Doyle, the Trust’s executive vice president, said at a Community Board 1 meeting last week. Officials are now looking for the “right mechanism” to sell the air rights, Doyle said. “This is something that everybody will be told in advance of,” she added. The area’s politicians have all said they were shocked to have learned only a few weeks ago — and through a New York Times article, no less — that an agreement had been signed concerning a massive air-rights transfer and a G.P.P. They quickly all signed onto a joint letter opposing a G.P.P. process — similar to another letter they had written only a few weeks before, when rumblings of the G.P.P. resurfaced after not having been heard of since last fall. The idea of the M.O.U. plan subsequently moving forward in the face of such overwhelming political opposition was highly unlikely. Schwartz said Wils was clearly smarting from criticism she has received in the past few weeks in the wake of the bombshell story. He added that sources close to the governor with whom he is in touch are furious about the fallout, feeling it’s been bad publicity for Governor Cuomo — something he doesn’t need, particularly in an election year. In Downtown Express’ last UnderCover column, Gale Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, said the fruitless search for the M.O.U. made her feel like she was being treated like a child at a Passover Seder. Schwartz said Cuomo believed doing a G.P.P. at the St. John’s Center site was something that local politicians and the community actually wanted. “A lot of people were onboard last year with a G.P.P. — but with a ULURP review,” Schwartz noted. A source familiar with the project said that what the Bloomberg administration, Cuomo and E.S.D.C. all actually favored was something that could be called a “modified G.P.P.,” which would have had pseudo-ULURP-like elements. However, in a follow-up article to the initial Times article, the paper reported that Alicia Glen, a deputy mayor for Mayor de Blasio, was now calling for a city review for transferring unused Pier 40 air rights to the St. John’s building. Finally clarifying things somewhat, last week, an E.S.D.C. spokesperson sent

Downtown Express file photo

Pier 40

a statement, saying the project would now go through a so-called “expedited ULURP.” “Pier 40 is a vital community resource and an integral part of Hudson River Park,” the E.S.D.C. statement said. “It, however, is suffering from severe structural issues that, if not quickly addressed, imperil the pier’s future, and the state and city administrations are committed to finding an appropriate and expeditious remedy. The St. John’s Warehouse [sic] General Project Plan (G.P.P.) provided one potential solution. … “While the prior city administration supported our approach, the current one has asked us to work with them through an expedited ULURP, which we support fully.” Under the M.O.U., the three-blocklong, four-story-tall building was to have been demolished and rebuilt in phases, with a mix of residential and commercial uses. More particulars about the project have not been forthcoming. Local politicians recently resorted to filing a Freedom of Information Law, or FOIL, request to view the document. The M.O.U. still has not been produced, but it usually takes some time to get a response to a FOIL request. A week prior, Brewer convened a meeting of the local politicians, City Planning representatives, of members Community Boards 1, 2 and 4, and other Hudson River Park activists, to discuss the mystery M.O.U. Delores Rubin, chairperson of the Hudson River Park Advisory Council, attended. Rubin said, “Despite the news reporting on the M.O.U., everyone in the room was moving forward, to work together to find a mechanism, a pre-certification — the process before the process. The G.P.P. would clearly be a shortcut. City

Planning did say there are mechanisms to keep ULURP from being overly lengthy.” The consensus in the room regarding Pier 40 and the St. John’s Center, though, she said, was: “We shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” As for the advisory council’s own concerns, she said, “We have questions. But everyone’s asking the same questions. Like, how many square feet are available [for transfer from Pier 40]? “Everyone is aware of the idea that time is of the essence in bringing money to the park,” she added. “But neither the electeds or anybody else wants anything [to go] too fast. It was a very productive meeting.” Any money from the sale of Pier 40’s air rights must, under the legislation passed last June, be funneled straight back into the huge but dilapidated 14-acre pier for its sorely needed repair. The Trust is poised to release a report saying that, without a massive cash infusion, in a worst-case, doomsday scenario, the pier could completely collapse into the Hudson in as little as two years. Pier 40 needs $100 million for full-scale repairs — coincidentally, the same dollar amount as in the M.O.U. — according to the Trust. According to Assemblymember Deborah Glick, however, $44 million is sufficient for the most important repairs for the pier. State Senator Brad Hoylman was among the group in Brewer’s office. “The city also discussed instituting a public process for creating a mechanism for evaluating and transferring air rights to the St. John’s building and any other sites,” he said. “We will be discussing this process further. I’m pleased that the city is taking an inclusive approach that Continued on page 8

DowntownExpress.com


Pier 26 opening expected any day now B Y Z A CH WI L L IA M S The Downtown Boathouse will open by the end of the month, but the future makeup of Pier 26 remains an open question. Hudson River Park Trust officials, who oversee the Tribeca pier as part of the 550-acre park, will seek potential operators this summer for a future restaurant and education center. Recreational boaters meanwhile will be able to launch their craft and stow their equipment from the Downtown Boathouse, expected to open this month. Ongoing inspections from government entities such as the city Dept. of Buildings and the F.D.N.Y. make it difficult to determine an exact date when the new boathouse will open, according to Noreen Doyle, executive vice president of the Hudson River Park Trust. The projects have been years in the making with an unclear end date. “We’re at the mercy of the agencies that approve us,” she told Community Board 1’s Tribca committee Board last week, adding: “We’re optimistic but it’s an inspection.” Total costs for the construction of the boathouse near N. Moore St. were about

$7-8 million, according to Doyle. A Request for Proposal process will lead to an announcement in the early summer of the future operator of the restaurant which will likely open mid-year 2015, according to Doyle. However, a planned glass facade and possible rooftop bar drew the ire of committee member Marc Ameruso who told Doyle that Board 1 opposed such infrastructure. “We didn’t want a large glass facade ,, and secondly we didn’t want a bar on the rooftop,” he said. Doyle responded by saying that she was unaware of any C.B.1 resolutions opposing the glass facade. The design nonetheless was presented to C.B.1 before being finalized, she said. “There’s a food service where food and beverages can come up … but he’s operating a restaurant, not a bar,” Doyle said. Less controversial is a future “estuarium” which will combine education and research into the Hudson River environment. Officials are utilizing a “Request for Expressions of Interest” process, expected to close by July 18, to determine the future operation of the $10 million education center, Doyle said. This process allows Hudson River Park Trust officials

Downtown Express file photo by Josh Rogers

Planting work near Tribeca’s Pier 26 in April.

to engage multiple parties through a less stringent process than that required by a Request for Proposal, according to Doyle. Having “a strong vision” for integrating the “estuarium” into the pier will be a key factor in determining the future operator, said Doyle. She added that a broad range of possibilities exist for the eventual makeup of the education center. The idea grew out of The River Project, a grassroots organization that started on Pier 26, prior to the pier’s closing for construction. Academic institutions and corpora-

tions are two potential types of partners in the project, she said. A public hearing process is required for such agreements lasting more than 10 years, she added. More far-reaching proposals could also require additional funds to realize, she said. “I think it depends really on if someone says they have a basic need for classrooms and a storage area … Maybe that’s a relatively modest building,” Doyle said. “If someone says they would like something more ambitious for a lab or whatever, that could be more.”

SAFETY FIRST ME ANS ACTING FAST. Nothing is more important to Con Edison than your safety. So here are some things you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones a little safer. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, leave the area immediately and call 911, 1-800-75-CONED or your local gas utility. (Remember, you can report leaks anonymously.) If you see a downed power line, keep your distance and, again, call Con Edison. Last but not least, if you see steam from a Manhattan manhole, just let us know and we’ll check it out. For more safety information, visit conEd.com and follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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June 19-July 2, 2014

7


Secret deal nixed L U X U RY R E N TA L S

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will involve the local community.” Hoylman added that it’s “an ongoing outrage” that they still haven’t been able to see the M.O.U. As for Brewer, she said she’s upset too, like the area’s other elected officials, at not having access to the M.O.U. Despite the fact that three of the Trust’s 13 board of directors members are appointed by the borough president, she said she — like all the other local politicians — was unaware of the M.O.U. until only a few weeks ago. That raises the question of whether the Trust’s own board members even knew what was going on. As of last week, the local politicians said their understanding — based on what an E.S.D.C. official recently only happened to let slip to them in another meeting — was that the M.O.U. was signed in December, a month before Brewer took office. Tobi Bergman, a leader of the Lower West Side’s youth sports community and a strong candidate to be the next

chairperson of Community Board 2 in November, said the process for Pier 40 and the St. John’s site is now focused on “moving forward with developing a zoning framework for transferring air rights, which means through the city Uniform Land Use Review Process.” For Downtown families, preserving Pier 40 — with its huge courtyard sports field, in an otherwise park-starved community — is an absolute must. Meanwhile, Cuomo may be right to have feared political payback for backing a G.P.P. at the St. John’s site. It emerged as a hot-button issue at the Downtown Independent Democrats’ (D.I.D.) recent endorsement meeting. “ D ow nt ow n I n d e p e n d e nt Democrats endorsed all the other Dems for statewide office, except Andrew Cuomo, for whom we took ‘no position’ — basically not endorsing him,” said Sean Sweeney, a leading D.I.D. member. “Particularly glaring for us locals was his recent clandestine approach to the air rights at Pier 40, as well as his support of State Senate Republicans.”

With reporting by Zach Williams

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Johnson on Pier 40 air rights B Y L I N CO L N AND E R S O N The Empire State Development Corporation — the state’s development agency — is now saying that an “expedited ULURP” is what will be done for the process under which Pier 40’s unused development rights will be transferred to the St. John’s Center site across the West Side Highway, and also for the new project that will then rise on that site. A still-unseen memorandum of understanding, or M.O.U., signed by E.S.D.C. and Atlas Capital Group (a St. John’s Center owner), called for the transfer of $100 million worth of air rights from Pier 40, and for the whole project to be done under a state-run General Project Plan, as opposed to a city-run Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. ULURP involves more local community review, plus binding votes by the City Planning Commission and City Council. As the councilmember whose district includes Pier 40, at W. Houston St., Corey Johnson will be the lead negotiator on the ULURP. Downtown Express asked Johnson his thoughts on the upcoming review process — which reportedly could be com-

pleted by December 2015 — as well as about the secret M.O.U. What exactly is an “expedited ULURP”? Does that mean the project’s application will be rushed through, skipping some of the usual required steps? Or rather will the project simply be prioritized — as in moved up in the queue of applications for review, allow-

Corey Johnson

ing it to be dealt with more quickly? Creating the mechanism to transfer air rights from Pier 40 won’t happen overnight. There is a precertification process that must take place before the project goes through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which is the public process by which land use matters are determined in New York City. Once the project has been certified, it takes a maximum of 150 days to wend its way through that process. The work that is done beforehand — studying the site, doing an environmental impact assessment, soliciting public input — is something that I and elected officials involved with this project are going to prioritize to make sure Pier 40 is a focus to ensure its current uses are maintained and guarded.

In your understanding, exactly what kind of project is being conceived for the St. John’s Center? We have yet to see the M.O.U., even though a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request was sent to retrieve it — which was a rare step for my and other T:8.75” elected officials’ offices to have to take

to retrieve an M.O.U. from a public entity. Pier 40 needs serious repairs, and to do so will require a significant amount of money. Right now, residential development generates significantly more income for developers than commercial. Considering the history of this site, a mixed-use development would be appropriate, and certainly the residential component must include affordable housing in various income bands. This project presents an opportunity to open up the streets that were closed long ago to create the multiblock-long St. John’s building. Should that be done? Opening up the streets makes sense and will improve access to the waterfront and the amenities at Pier 40. If the community is in favor, it is certainly something I can support and advocate for. How tall should a new development at the St. John’s Center site be? The St. John’s terminal is a huge Continued on page 15

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Downtown Notebook

Looking for pre-K rooms in Downtown’s ‘desert’ Continued from page 1

two out of every five of families who applied, including mine, were not offered any public school seats anywhere (we’re waitlisted at six). The number of waiting 4-year-olds, 37 percent, has to be much higher in Downtown Manhattan which so far has seen minimal expansion outside of Chinatown, even in places where there’s room. Chinatown actually has more full-day seats than it does eligible children — 145 spots for every 100 children — according to an analysis done by WNYC’s SchoolBook. But the two other Lower Manhattan sections grouped in the survey, each have only 6 spots for every 100 4-year-olds.

P.S. 234 PRE-K? That’s why Catherine McVay Hughes, Community Board 1’s chairperson, asked last week if a pre-K classroom could be opened in Tribeca’s P.S. 234, which typically has long kindergarten waiting lists, but this year is under-enrolled by 27 kindergarten students — potentially freeing

up one classroom. The Dept. of Education’s Drew Patterson shot her suggestion down immediately saying you couldn’t count on the space permanently. “The other thing with opening pre-K in a single year when a room is available is what happens next year when fewer kids opt to go to private school,” he asked Hughes at the June 13 meeting of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s overcrowding task force. Actually what would happen next year is that the pre-K students would apply for kindergarten, and a whole new crop of families would be denied a pre-K opportunity at P.S. 234 — but they also wouldn’t have been promised one. So it was far from clear what the problem was that Patterson was identifying. D.O.E. officials have been adamant so far about not creating temporary spaces with one notable exception — Silver, who wields much power in Albany, got them to open one temporary full-day pre-K class at Spruce Street School. It’ll only be one year because the Lower Manhattan school community has

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Downtown Express file photo by Julie Shapiro

The old kindergarten waitlists did not return this year at Tribeca’s P.S. 234 in part because the school was able to add two additional classes for a total of seven.

been pushing for years for the D.O.E. to stick to the plan to grow the school into a K-8. Still the Spruce addition did not give much chance to Lower Manhattan families without a sibling in the school. “It’s disappointing, but not surprising that our 4-year-old didn’t get a pre-K spot in a local school,” Victoria Grantham, a Tribeca mother who contributes to this newspaper, told me. “There were very limited options in terms of full day programs (only two were relevant for us) and there were very few spots within those schools.” As it turns out, the P.S. 234 idea is not workable, primarily because the principal, Lisa Ripperger, is looking to fill the space with more kindergarten students. Like some other principals in the city, she is far from excited about opening pre-K. “That’s a separate budget — that’s federal money so it’s not supportive of anything else in the school and yet it takes resources,” she said at Silver’s meeting last Friday. But there are District 2 schools which did want full-day pre-K seats and were denied. “The D.O.E. missed an opportunity to maximize the pre-K seats in district programs,” he said in a phone interview this week. “We made repeated requests to open these seats in April, May, and June and there hasn’t been any movement.” said Eric Goldberg, a member of the district’s Community Education Council.   The city is still scrambling to find 8,000 more full-day seats to meet the mayor’s goal of over 53,000 this September, so perhaps they are about to move. An

Education Dept. official told me on background that some of the seats to come will be in public schools, which many parents say they prefer to the private school options the city is creating. Goldberg has been leading the charge to expand pre-K in the district for years. He has dubbed the area a “pre-K desert” and said P.S. 340, a brand new building on Sixth Ave. and17th St. with some un-programmed classrooms, is a prime spot to open some full-day rooms. “P.S. 340 has three half-day sections, they wanted three full-day sections and they were rejected,” Goldberg said at a C.E.C. meeting Tuesday night.

SIBLINGS BLOCKED The school is centrally located to accommodate parts of the “desert,” such as the West Village, with 9 seats for every 100 children, Gramercy with zero seats for its 196 4-year-olds, and the neighborhoods in and around Chelsea, which has 17. P.S. 340 also might be a source to help solve a sticky situation for a group of perhaps a few dozen families who have been slighted at P.S. 41 and 3 in the Village, and P.S. 116 on E. 33rd St. At P.S. 41, 18 children with siblings in the school were rejected for half-day spots, shortly after they say the school promised them one. Adding to the muck, is that these same rejectees next year will jump ahead of the children admitted ahead of them to P.S. 41 pre-K this year. If Continued on page 18

DowntownExpress.com


Farina backs parent efforts at Morton middle school

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, left, at a May 19 town hall meeting, with C.E.C. members President Shino Tanikawa, who is also on the 75 Morton Task Force, and Eric Goldberg.

B Y SA RA H E N D R IC K S O N At a March 25 town hall meeting hosted by City Councilmember Corey Johnson, the Department of Education’s newly minted leadership was quick to thank the community for advocating so relentlessly to open a new middle school at 75 Morton St. in the West Village. “This school would not have been possible without your advocacy,” proclaimed Sadye Campoamor, the schools chancellor’s special assistant. It was, coincidentally, the same day that the city finally took ownership (a year behind schedule) of the massive 177,000-square-foot, seven-story building. D.O.E. promised a new collaborative approach in designing the school. Campoamor’s commitment that the agency would be in “lockstep with the community…in an inclusive process” was followed up by action, as senior D.O.E. staffers across departments were soon mobilized to work closely with the various community groups: the 75 Morton Task Force (formed by Community Board 2 and the Community Education Council District 2), the 75 Morton Community Alliance, local elected officials and community boards across the sprawling School District 2. Alliance members spent hours in meetings over the last two years developing a shared vision for the new school’s facilities and programming. As the sister agency to D.O.E., the School Construction Authority is in charge of the “bricks and mortar” and is the de facto general contractor for all D.O.E. schools. The Alliance had coalesced around some must-haves. At the top of the list were a full gymnasium and an auditorium with a stage that could seat the whole school community. Given New York State’s physical education requirements, there might not be any periods left in the DowntownExpress.com

school day to even use a hybrid “gymnatorium” for an auditorium. It sounded like new Chancellor Carmen Fariña was on the same page in her 100-day speech espousing her vision of a robust middle school education, when she said: “Team sports can hook kids into school when other things may not. There is no better incentive to stay in school than to stand before an audience and share your talent!” One of the community’s concerns was how to avoid the “sardine can model,” since S.C.A. had hinted at an enrollment of 1,000 students, which would squelch any hope for an enriching learning environment. The community is calling for a 600-to-800-seat middle school, right-sized for a cohesive and intimate community of adolescents, along with a 70-to-100-seat District 75 school for children with disabilities, such as autistic spectrum disorder. The C.E.C. and C.B. 2 passed resolutions endorsing the Alliance’s comprehensive vision, which included elements like well-equipped science labs and alcoves for small-group work among students. Thankfully, cramming students into city school buildings may become a problem of the past. Early in her tenure, Fariña formed a task force (with wide representation, including parents) to scrutinize D.O.E.’s “Blue Book” that dictates formulas for enrollment capacity and school space allocation. That task force will likely propose major changes to alleviate overcrowding and better balance classroom space with other space, such as gyms and art rooms. With the community unsure whether ink was drying on blueprints for the building, local politicians helped ratchet up pressure to make room for a community seat at the planning table.

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June 19-July 2, 2014

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Plans for 75 Morton St. middle school Continued from page 11

Fortuitously, a town hall meeting with Fariña was also coming up at the May 19 C.E.C. meeting. Michael Markowitz, a 75 Morton Task Force member, as well as a civil engineer experienced in school construction, stepped up to the mic at that town hall with “one urgent request — we need a place at the table with the S.C.A.” The chancellor did not hesitate to respond. “The answer is yes,” she said. “You can have a seat at the table.” But what does a real seat at the table look like? “It is not the model where a city agency makes a presentation at a big public meeting, and the public can say something at the meeting or submit something in writing,” explained Shino Tanikawa, a task force member and president of C.E.C. District 2. “We want an iterative process where they give us something, we give feedback, revisions are made, they come back for more feedback, and more compromises are made. It’s a collaboration we are looking for.”

David Gruber, a task force member and Community Board 2 chairperson, has a consistent refrain at every task force meeting: “We need transparency. We need a dialogue.” The community is thrilled that S.C.A. kicked off the conversation by sharing its draft plans at an Alliance forum on June 16 to gather feedback from the community. Ongoing community meetings have been promised by S.C.A. to finalize the building design. Hot topics for discussion at the forum included a full-size gym versus a “gymatorium,” keeping student enrollment below 1,000, and ensuring “flex space” in hallways and alcoves for students to work together in small groups, a widely used approach in suburban and private schools that is particularly effective with middle schoolers. The tug between a traditional versus a progressive approach to education will likely filter into future planning sessions. Design plans for the building should be completed by late summer or early fall by S.C.A. and its chosen architectural firm, John Ciardullo Associates, whose portfolio includes the Beacon

School, on W. 61st St., a 1,200-student high school. Beacon School offers a 400-seat performing arts theater, regulation-sized gym, science labs, art and music rooms and black-box theater — almost a mirror image of what the community has asked for in the Morton St. school. By early 2015, the project — a gut-rehabilitation of the existing building — would be put out to bid. Construction could take 30 months, up through mid2017, but the community has not given up on a fall 2016 opening and will propose ideas on how time can be saved. On a parallel path, planning for the school’s programming will begin this fall with what D.O.E. calls a community mapping and needs assessment. Jackie Lee of D.O.E. says of this groundbreaking approach, “We are trying to develop new processes in big foundational ways because we’re trying to do this across the city — have real communication with communities.” Through a series of neighborhood meetings throughout School District 2, a “map” of the district would be created showing student population, demographic information, middle school locations and, importantly, the programming that middle schools currently offer. Given the chancellor’s laser focus on a middle school curriculum filled with physical activity and the arts, this exercise might reveal, for example, that more dance studios are needed in new middle schools coming online. Or, given the needs of District 2 children, more sensory gyms for special-needs students might have to be built. The Alliance and C.E.C. are already working hand in hand with D.O.E. in sketching out this district mapping and needs assessment process. Anticipation of construction crews

arriving next year has made Alliance parents and community members more energized than ever. Future topics for school advocates will include the job description and hiring process of the new middle school’s principal, and identifying local organizations — like the Downtown Whitney and Google — that could partner with the school to bring the curriculum even more alive. The Alliance is hopeful to receive a grant from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s Office to pay for a professional facilitation firm, NYC Public, to orchestrate its ongoing meetings, a tactic that was effective for consensus building in past meetings. The local C.E.C. will continue its work on proposing to D.O.E. an overhaul of the middle school admissions process. The dysfunction of three simultaneous systems — lottery, selective screen and zones — has created an agonizing process for parents and their fifth graders. Tanikawa sees this as an opportunity to also achieve more diversity in District 2 schools. “Diversity has to be done through the admissions process,” she said. “We need to weigh the opinion of all parents, and it’s a huge discussion that needs to happen.” Keen Berger, the task force’s chairperson, is an author of bestselling textbooks on child psychology and the mother of four graduates of P.S. 3 in the Village 20 years ago. She said, “There’s a mantra in developmental psychology that parents are children’s first teachers and have to be involved in their education every step of the way.” Alliance member Heather Lortie chimed in, “The old administration planted new schools. We want to grow our own.” Your Global Partner Your Reliable Bank

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BID has built a better tree pit B Y SE RG E I KL E B N IK O V Business improvement districts are known for helping keep neighborhoods cleaner and safer by providing extra sanitation and security. Now, one BID is breaking new ground, so to speak, by taking on another thorny issue: tree pits. The Hudson Square Connection is standardizing tree planting around its west-of-Soho neighborhood, implementing a unique method that’s new to the city, plus, better for the trees. The tree pits create both a more sustainable environment and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks. In short, the new method, called the “Hudson Square Standard,” focuses on increasing the trees’ lifespan and reducing the neighborhood’s carbon footprint, as well as providing much-needed relief for the overburdened sewer system. At the end of last month, two dozen Hudson Square Standard trees were planted around the neighborhood. Most were installed along Hudson St., as well as Freeman Plaza

(near the Holland Tunnel entrance) and along Varick St. The Hudson Square Connection plans to continue planting trees around the district, with 30 new ones every planting season for the next three years, for a total of 180 trees. The BID will partner with the Parks Department and the New York Tree Trust for the project. In addition, the BID will work with property owners of new buildings, in order to install 120 additional trees using the standard style. The new standard differs from the common city standard for tree planting — the latter, basically, a small tree pit. The Hudson Square Standard sports an expanded tree pit, permeable paving, structural soil and distinctive, raised, metal tree guards. The enlarged tree pits allow the roots more room to grow, and are connected by a subsurface trench that is filled with structural soil and covered by permeable pavers, helping to prevent excess flooding. The water gets captured underground, relieving the

A rendering — shown without the standardized tree guard — of the Hudson Square Standard tree pit.

city’s overburdened combined sewer system and helping reduce flooding. “Our concern is making Hudson Square a greener, more resilient and pedestrian-friendly neighborhood,” said Ellen Baer, Hudson Square Connection’s president and C.E.O. She said the small changes to the sidewalks’ design and structure rep-

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resented by the better tree pits — plus the trees themselves — will have big environmental and health benefits for the community. The trees, she said, will benefit the neighborhood by attracting more people, thus, strengthening local retail — all the while improving area health by reducing air pollutants.

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Pier 40 & Corey Johnson Continued from page 9

building and is located in a part of town that could accommodate a substantial development. I am open to hear what the owner would like to build there, and compare that with what the community thinks would be appropriate for the site, understanding that I also have a responsibility to Pier 40, its maintenance and use. How do you feel about the whole secret M.O.U. process that transpired? Madelyn Wils, the Trust’s president, kept publicly assuring everyone that the whole process would be governed by ULURP — even as the M.O.U. called for a G.P.P. The M.O.U. signed in December by E.S.D.C., the developer and the Hudson River Park Trust came as a total shock. It was also stunning to learn that such an action was done behind a curtain of secrecy. The Trust spent a lot of time assuring the community that nothing would be done without its consultation, and then, boom — they go and sign a deal with the state and the developer without telling anyone. That’s not O.K.,

and the M.O.U. ought to be officially revoked. Is the Trust ratcheting up fear excessively about Pier 40’s condition? A new engineering study the Trust commissioned, to be released soon, reportedly will say the pier could sink into the river in just two years from now. I’m not an engineer or a pier expert. But from the reports I’ve seen issued by the Trust, I have serious concerns about the condition of the pier, and believe it is in dire need for repairs to stay in use. What about the fact that Michael Novogratz, chairperson of Friends of Hudson River Park, is a principal in Fortress Investment Group, which is one of the three partners that co-own the St. John’s Center? Is it “self-dealing” that his company stands to handsomely profit off any development at the St. John’s site and will more than recoup their share of the $100 million spent buying air rights from Pier 40? We have to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest that exist as their project moves forward, and I take that very seriously.

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TRANSIT SAM Thurs., June 19 – Wed., June 25 ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES ARE IN EFFECT ALL WEEK It’s been one year since I last reviewed bike share. Now, after nearly 100 rides here’s my updated review: 1. The bikes are holding up reasonably well. The seats are cracking and look like they won’t make it another season. The brakes and tires seem fine. The gears occasionally slip. I give the bikes themselves an A-. 2. I’m not much of an app user but a common complaint is the CitiBike app is often inaccurate as to the number of bikes available or docks open. A lot of the time, broken docks are still reported as available. Apps: C. 3. Most of the time I have a hiccup on either taking a bike out or returning a bike. Neighbors complain about the noise of riders having to shove their bikes in hard and multiple times till (if) it catches

making noise around the clock. Docks are often broken. Docks: D+. 4. Tourists seem to be having a really tough time using CitiBike. I often see them on the phone with the “help” desk. Tourists: D. 5. Notifications from CitiBike are inconsistent. I only learned my subscription was up when I went to a few stations and couldn’t get a bike released. I saw an email in my spam folder that arrived the same day! However, other users report better luck and have received timely renewal emails. Notifications: C. All in all I remain a loyal user and have renewed for another year. I certainly hope the city finds a way to make this financially viable for an operator. I just think the current operator could do a much better job. Overall grade: C. At the Lincoln Tunnel, the Manhattan-bound south tube will close 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday. During the same hours, one New York-bound lane will close

Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.

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June 19-July 2, 2014

Downtown Express file photo by Jefferson Siegel.

in the Holland Tunnel. The first closure will send cars down to the Holland, which will be slower than usual because of the second closure. Try to make it back into the city before 11 p.m. Thursday! No full weekend closure at the Brooklyn Bridge – phew – but overnight closures continue: all Manhattan-bound lanes will close 11 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday, midnight Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday, midnight Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday, and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Wednesday nights. Inbound traffic will head for the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and the Battery Tunnel instead. That’ll make for an uptick in traffic on Canal, Delancey, and West Sts., respectively. The Romanian Day Festival will close Broadway between Rector St. and Battery Pl. as well as Whitehall St. between Stone and Morris Sts. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. T he Dow ntow n A lliance Greenmarket Event will close Coenties Slip between Water and Pearl Sts. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. On West St./Route 9A, one lane will close in each direction between West Thames and Vesey Sts. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Chambers St. will close between Broadway and Church St. 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. The Little Italy Pedestrian Mall will close Mulberry St. between Canal and Broome Sts. and Hester St. between Mott and Baxter Sts. 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The city Dept. of Transportation’s

Positively 8th Street festival will close W 8th St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves. noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. A few weekend service changes will hit Lower Manhattan subway service: at Fulton St., there will be no Uptown 4 or 5 trains on Saturday or Sunday. Take a Brooklyn-bound 4 or Bowling Green-bound 5 to Wall St. and transfer to an uptown train. M service now runs between Metropolitan Ave. in Queens and Delancey St/Essex St in Manhattan. M service previously terminated at Myrtle Ave. That means Lower Manhattanites can access the M on the weekend, and transfer between the F and the M at Delancey St.    

FROM THE MAILBAG: After I gave my review of CitiBike online, I received the poem below about the Petrosino station. I don’t know the latest regarding Petrosino Park but I would have no objections to moving the station.   To Transit Sam   Rolling your bike Down the ramp at Petrosino Square, Are you a triumphant General Rolling along the Champs-Elysee? The plundered Art Do you already regret it?  As for the future: might the Elderly problem be solved By cyclists running them down And rolling over them For two extra points on their citi cards?      Minerva, Soho DowntownExpress.com


Bluegrass takes root at the South Street Seaport

let’s do something together at TRINITY WALL STREET

All Are Welcome All events are free, unless noted. 212.602.0800

trinitywallstreet.org

TRINITY CHURCH Broadway at Wall Street 74 TRINITY PLACE is located in the office building behind Trinity Church

ST. PAUL’S CHAPEL Broadway and Fulton Street CHARLOTTE’S PLACE 107 Greenwich Street btwn Rector & Carlisle Streets The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, Rector The Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee, Vicar

an Episcopal parish in the city of New York

DowntownExpress.com

once worked at the bar). “We’ve become a magnet for bluegrass,” says Gail Courtney, the music coordinator. “People drift in and we have a hillbilly jam. Now I have people call and want to play here.” “We didn’t intend to create a niche, it evolved that way,” adds Seahorse manager Maura Kilgore. “We like to keep other things in the mix but we are being embraced as the Downtown hub of bluegrass.” “I really owe it all to my wife,” mandolin player Bob Holmes says of his latest incarnation as founding member of The Crusty Gentlemen. “It was her idea. I’d been playing bluegrass music with friends for years. She invited us down to Seahorse and the band was born.” Along with Holmes, Jeffrey Friedberg, Doug Allen, Jonathan Gregg and Roger Moley make up The Crusty Gentlemen. Some of them have been playing together since college. Fellow Rhode Island School of Design grad Doug Allen and Holmes had a successful and Grammywinning run with their New Wave band Rubber Rodeo. “When we were on the road traveling to gigs in the 70’s and 80’s playing rock and New Wave music, we played bluegrass for

community THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 10:15am-12pm Job Seekers’ Group Join with other people who are seeking to improve and effectively market their skills while they undergo the search for new employment. 74 Trinity Pl, 3rd Fl, Room 2 FRIDAY, JUNE 20, 6pm Family Friday Pizza and Movie Night Relax with your kids and meet other downtown families for free pizza, children’s movies, and community. All families with young children are welcome. Charlotte’s Place SUNDAY, JUNE 22, 10am The Spirituality of Philanthropy: Ministry of Money - Joan Chittister, OSB A screening of Sister Joan Chittister’s presentation at the recent TENS Stewardship Conference at Emory University in Atlanta. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Parish Hall

The Crusty Gentlemen, Jeffrey Friedberg, left, Bob Holmes, Doug Allen, Jonathan Gregg, Roger Moley (on stand up bass) — got their start at Cowgirl Seahorse.

fun.” Back then, he says, bluegrass appealed to hippies and Grateful Dead fans. Today, he reckons, the success of the movie “Brother, Where Art Thou,” opened to genre to a whole new group of enthusiasts. “It’s just fun music, feel-good music. Just about anyone can sing along,” he says. The music’s appeal has grown over the last few months so much that Cowgirl Seahorse is one of the sponsors of the first annual MMNY Porch Stomp on Governors Island Saturday, June 21 (1 – 5 p.m.). More than 30 bands will be there to “holler

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 12pm Public Art: Summer Ribbon Project During the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, hundreds of people tied white “Remember to Love” Ribbons to the fence at St. Paul’s with personal messages of remembrance and love. Trinity donated these ribbons to Muriel Stockdale (the artist behind the Charlotte’s Place flag collection) and she will be sharing the creation of this project all summer. Charlotte’s Place FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 6pm Family Friday Yoga and Veggie Night Practice with your children in this familyfocused yoga class! As kids discover the foundations of yoga, adults can stretch away their stresses from the week. Charlotte’s Place

up a storm.” It also features jams and workshops from bluegrass to old-time folk and everyone is encouraged to sing along on at this island hootenanny. Many of the bands that have played Seahorse will be there, including Fausto Bozza and Fiddlin’ Damian Boucher, and others such as Kings County Ramblers and Feral Foster. And, of course, The Crustys, will croon. “It’s really the spirit of the music that is its appeal,” says Courtney. “With all these bands we see high energy and community, a sense of team. They really respect one another.”

worship SUNDAY, 8am & 10am St. Paul’s Chapel · Holy Eucharist 8pm · Compline by Candlelight SUNDAY, 9am & 11:15am Trinity Church · Preaching, music, and Eucharist · Child care available MONDAY—FRIDAY, 12:05pm Trinity Church · Holy Eucharist MONDAY—FRIDAY, 5:15pm All Saints’ Chapel, in Trinity Church Evening Prayer Watch online webcast

SUNDAY, JUNE 22, 1:30-3pm Afternoon Music at Charlotte’s Place A recital featuring soprano Pamela Mosley, with works by Robert Schumann, Richard Strauss, Samuel Barber and spirituals arranged by Moses Hogan. Reception follows. Charlotte’s Place

Leah Reddy

B Y J A N E L BLA D O W Foot-stomping hill music of the Deep South feels right at home in the South Street Seaport. What started as a clever way to draw in some customers on usually quiet Monday nights has now turned into a cultural phenomenon and made the Cowgirl Seahorse (Front and Dover Sts.) the urban spot for hillbilly hoedowns. Nearly a year ago, Cowgirl owner Sherry Delamarter approached her husband Bob Holmes with an idea — how about getting some of your musician friends together and come play music at the pub Mondays? He bit and the rest is, as they say, history. It was the birth of his latest band, The Crusty Gentlemen, and the beginning of a bluegrass music movement in Manhattan. Bands started coming out of the woodwork, wanting to play the club. Groups such as Idiot Brigade, The Pens, Little Embers, let loose. Musicians come with their fiddles, guitars — even a stand up bass — to jam, sing and generally have a raucous good time. Celebrities in pop in from time to time, Dominic Chianese (Uncle Junior of “The Sopranos”) and even musician Jeff Tuohy (who

June 19-July 2, 2014

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Downtown Notebook

Pre-K’s rocky road Continued from page 10 PUBLISHER

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John W. Sutter

there were to be a waiting list for next year’s kindergarten class, the new pre-K families could be bounced from the school even if they are within the zone, because many do not have siblings. “What we’re being told now is your 4-year-old has to go to school somewhere else and then he or she will be grandfathered in kindergarten starting next year and there’s no educational justification for that,” said Maud Maron, one of a half dozen P.S.41 parents who attended the C.E.C. meeting Tuesday night. She has two children in the school, but was denied a spot for her youngest because the city changed the school zoning lines a few years ago. She and other parents at the meeting said during the rezoning debates, the principal said the sibling rules would apply, and as recently as this month, they say they got an email from the parent coordinator saying they’d be able to register. But apparently the Dept. of Education never extended the sibling rules to pre-K. The C.E.C.’s Goldberg said the city has quietly agreed to change the rules for next year, essentially admitting their mistake, but the D.O.E. declined to respond to most questions for this article. Shino Tanikawa, the C.E.C.’s president, said the Education Dept. is trying to shift the blame onto to them, but added the D.O.E.’s Elizabeth Rose, who was in

charge of rezoning at the time, did not disclose any exceptions. “There was no mention of ‘for kindergarteners’ or ‘for first graders, not for pre-K,’” Tanikawa said. “She said clearly siblings would be grandfathered in so they would stay together.”

PRIVATE PRE K’S & CHELSEA The sibling rules have a decided effect in the P.S. 11 zone, where I live, since the school only has 18 pre-K seats. The only

matter what the results of the public school application, there are other good options available. Under other circumstances, I would have of course been flattered and would no doubt have tried to speak with him more about pre-K and other city matters, but the call was a recording. One of the private options near me continues to get reimbursement for halfday classrooms there, but they were denied a full-day approval by the city. On

‘We made repeated requests to open these seats in April, May, and June and there hasn’t been any movement.’ family I know that got accepted there has a sibling in the school, and I understand all of the spots go to brothers and sisters of students. “It’s easier to get into Harvard than P.S. 11,” said one friend in a similar situation as me. My other neighborhood school, P.S. 33, also three blocks away, has two fullday rooms, so elder children in the zone are typically accepted, but we’re one block out of the zone. The D.O.E. has been pushing what they now call Community Based Early Childhood Centers as an alternative. The mayor even called me a few days before my rejection letter to tell me no

a visit, a school leader told me another of their locations elsewhere in the city was approved, and they got a form rejection email from the city denying them a spot without any info. It seemed like a fairly good program and I couldn’t guess why they were rejected, particularly since another program a little further away was accepted even though they have not yet set up their space, or hired a director or teachers. Harry Hartfield, a D.O.E. spokesperson, said the private pre-K’s all received “rigorous” scrutiny, but he said he would not discuss any particular decisions. So many of us, the 37-percenters across the city, wait.

to fix this if HHC doesn’t? Most of my neighbors are in full support of what HHC is doing to revitalize the seaport.… We need more open space, a community center, better restaurants and retail, and lots of other things and we should fight for that but at the end of the day.

District was established was to fund and improve the Seaport Museum and its Historic District. It will not cost $120 million, by the way, to ‘save’ the pier.

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June 19-July 2, 2014

“HUGHES REACTS TO SEAPORT GUIDELINES; BREWER & CHIN DIFFER ON POSSIBLE SMALLER BUILDING” (POSTED, JUNE 5): SHoP Architects and HHC Lobbyists brought in ringers to post positive notes about the Tower...please don’t just take things at face value. SaveOurSeaport I don’t want the city to spend $120M to fix a pier that a private developer is offering to do. I want them to spend that money on desperately needed schools for the Financial District. FiDi is a neighborhood of skyscrapers. This tower is not in the historic district. This plan results in a brand new Tin Building, which by the way completely burned down … and what is there now is a cheap replica that is falling apart. Who else is going

DTNYC We would all welcome the amenities promised, but that does not mean that the public has to give the developer this particular site, for this particular (gargantuan) tower to get them. There are lovely build-able sites one and two pier-heads down, for a tower, and other sites in and immediately adjacent to the District for lower-rise, profitable development. Pier 14, for instance is lovely for this purpose. The entire reason the Seaport

gvshp · No historic landmark anywhere else in the world has a structure nearby to “compete” with it. The Tower Bridge in London, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the list goes on, have ANY structure that overwhelms the presence of these historic landmarks. If we allow this six-hundred foot monstrosity, what is next? Perhaps Las-Vegasesque buildings with fountains and lighting visible from 40 miles away? No structure within 600 yards from the Brooklyn Bridge should overwhelm it. Robert Gedzelman DowntownExpress.com


Talking Points Southbridge Towers: Should we privatize? YES NO B Y VI CT O R J . PA PA Shareholders of Southbridge Towers (S.B.T) are now poised to vote in a referendum that will ultimately determine the fate of their 1651 units of over 40 consistent years of state-regulated Mitchell-Lama affordable housing. It remains one of the last vestiges of affordable housing in Lower Manhattan. The gradual demise of certain Mitchell-Lama projects from the roster of such housing developments, built throughout the city and state since 1955, has marked the permanent end of thousands of regulated rental and cooperative affordable housing units. The program, in its genius, thrived and provided countless middle-income families with the means to live comfortable lives while raising children. St raddle d alongside the Brooklyn Bridge in an area which was once blighted and forbidden, and since revitalized in the early ’70s, Southbridge was built through an urban renewal plan. At the time of its opening in 1970, prospective residents had to be practically enticed to consider living there, which is why the first residents of Southbridge are known to be the true pioneers of frontier residential living in Downtown Manhattan. If urban renewal projects were meant to reverse the flow of fleeing middle-income families from Manhattan, Southbridge residents are the evidence of its overwhelming success. For over 40 years, the people here have built and maintained a vibrant integrated community, characterized by a lively neighborhood spirit long before Manhattan’s highest residential tower, the 76-story Gehry Beekman Tower, was built directly across the street. Dominating the skyscape as it overshadows S.B.T., and existing in an exclusive world of its own, this luxury steel and glass tower, and others sprouting all over Downtown Manhattan, seem to provoke the inevitable sig nificant question Southbridge Towers’ shareholders are now facing: maintain housing that is affordable, or convert it to DowntownExpress.com

market rate housing, subjecting it as if a commodity, to the vagaries of the market. Ideology and philosophy aside, a vote for the dissolution is fraught with risks, as itemized prominently in the Special Risks Section found

BY JESSE MAN DEL One wonders if there is anybody anywhere, outside of Southbridge Towers possibly, who would prefer to say they live in a “public hous-

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

in the front pages of the prospectus we received a month ago. The risks not only affirm the worst fears of the opponents, they have converted once ardent supporters of privatization into vocal advocates against. Among one of the major risks is the uncertainty about whether the proposed reconstitution triggers both the city and state real property transfer tax, which at the point of dissolution, could cost the shareholders up to $27.7 million. The uncertainty lies in the pending Court of Appeals case between Trump Village and the city, which will likely be decided after our vote on reconstitution. There are also other uncertainties, which diminish overall shareholder confidence and cast doubt about whether a required affirmative vote from at least two-thirds of shareholders can be realized. One is the 7-year period it took the sponsors to complete the prospectus, mainly caused by long delays the sponsors took to repeatedly respond to the state attorney general’s office to more than Continued on page 22

ing development” or in “subsidized housing,” rather than that they own their own home in a very desirable location. Homeownership has traditionally been considered a virtue, a source of pride. A home is usually the largest asset or source of financial security most homeowners ever possess. The equity in one’s home is often a key or essential element in the ability to relocate, should a homeowner want or need to. What if a move to an assisted-living facility becomes necessary? What about getting a home-equity loan to help your children with education expenses? How about if you need a home-equity loan for any reason? What if you want to leave an inheritance to a loved one, to your child? How does Mitchell-Lama’s “limited equity” help with any of that? It doesn’t, not at all. So why should Southbridge shareholders have any qualms about really owning our very valuable property? Obviously Mitchell-Lama home “ownership” is not true homeownership. If you can’t sell or bequeath your property, even to your own family, what strange kind of “ownership” can that be?

Contrary to the long-term fear-mongering by opponents, the Black Book’s most reliable budget forecast, and the history of similar “limited equity” co-ops which have reconstituted, indicates that maintenance will not increase after reconstitution. Incidentally, have reconstitution opponents failed to notice the 46 percent rise in maintenance at Southbridge since 2001 under Mitchell-Lama? And as to the infamous $26 million real property transfer tax, it currently does not exist. It’s been struck down in two different court rulings, one by the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division, the other by the New York City Tax Tribunal — both rulings indicating the tax is inapplicable to Southbridge’s circumstances — and the tribunal further finding that the use of fair-market value to determine the tax is without basis. It’s extremely unlikely either ruling will be overturned on appeal. But it’s budgeted for, under any circumstances with a contingent, 33 percent, rather than 28 percent, transfer fee (flip tax) on first-time free-market sales post-reconstitution. Transfer fee revenue is a key factor in maintaining small maintenance for the majority of shareholders who wish to remain at Southbridge. A very modest increase from the historical, and unprofitable, apartment turnover rate assures a budget surplus with no maintenance increase. Southbridge Towers is extremely valuable real estate in a superb neighborhood. Manhattan, like London, England, is an internationally-prized location for real estate investors. It’s an island, so capacity for further expansion is limited. Long- or short-term, the tremendous value of Manhattan real estate is unquestionable. Fortunately, Southbridge shareholders have the ability to determine for ourselves what’s in our own best interest. We need not be misled or misinformed by local propagandists with their own agendas. Understand reconstitution, and how successfully it’s worked elsewhere, and you’ll vote yes when the time comes. Jesse Mandel has been a resident of Southbridge Towers for 37 years. June 19-July 2, 2014

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Activities

EVENTS DOWNTOWN JUNE 19-JULY 2 THURSDAY, JUNE 19 NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, nypl.org/locations/battery-park-city Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers: Enjoy simple stories, lively songs and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood. Limited to 25 babies and their caregivers; first-come firstserved. Ages 0-18 months | Free |11:30 a.m. | EVERY THURSDAY AT 11:30

Bilingual storytime: Children | Free | 4:00 p.m. BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY 212-267-9700, bpcparks.org Preschool Art: Come learn art with paper, clay, wood, and paint. Ages 4 and under | Free, drop in | Nelson A. Rockefeller Park| 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. THURSDAYS UNTIL OCT. 30

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS 103 Charlton St., 212-274-0986, cmany.org Technique-Based Workshop: Experimenting with Photography & Collage: Experiment with digital and manual photo processes. Learn to alter photos and create digital collages with Photoshop. Ages 6 and up | $11 (seniors and 0 – 12 months free) | 3-6 p.m. | EVERY THURS. UNTIL AUG. 31

FRIDAY, JUNE 20 NORTH RIVER HISTORIC SHIP FESTIVAL Pier 25, West Street at North Moore, http://www.nrhss.org Free boat rides, dockside ship tours, a circus on a barge, fishing on the river, knot-tying, Historic vessels open for free dockside tours, 5-8 pm CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS 103 Charlton St., 212-274-0986,

20

June 19-July 2, 2014

cmany.org Technique Based Workshop: Experimenting With Painting & Printmaking: Experiment with unusual techniques using different types of paint and print media. Ages 6 and up | Admission - $11 (seniors and 0 – 12 months free, from 4 – 6 p.m.) 3 – 6 p.m. | FRIDAYS UNTIL AUG. 31

CHARLOTTE’S PLACE Family Friday Pizza & Movie Night: Bring the whole family to Charlotte’s Place for free Family Friday Pizza & Movie Night. Charlotte’s Place is a free space in Lower Manhattan. Open to everyone, it is supported and operated by Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal parish in the city of New York. 107 Greenwich St. (between Rector & Carlisle Sts. |Free | 6 p.m.

SATURDAY, JUNE 21 NORTH RIVER HISTORIC SHIP FESTIVAL Pier 25, West Street at North Moore, http://www.nrhss.org Free boat rides, dockside ship tours, a circus on a barge, fishing on the river, knot-tying, Historic vessels open for free dockside tours, 5-8 pm, Free boat trips on the Hudson River. Try to reserve your FREE tickets for the boat trips online in advance on the website (there’s a $5 refundable fee). Walk-ups will be accommodated the day of if space is available. BARNES & NOBLE 97 Warren Street, 212-587-5389 Storytime: Free | 11 a.m. EVERY SATURDAY AT 11:00 A.M.

SUNDAY, JUNE 22 NORTH RIVER HISTORIC SHIP FESTIVAL Pier 25, West Street at North Moore, http://www.nrhss.org Free boat rides, dockside ship tours, a circus on a barge, fishing on the

river, knot-tying, 1 pm and 4 pm Showboat Circus, 1- 5 pm Family Fun on Pier 25 and aboard steamship Lilac, with fishing, knot-tying and more | Free except Showboat Circus which is $13-15 for adults and $10-13 for children BANG ON A CAN MARATHON Winter Garden 220 Vesey Street, http://www.bangonacan.org Bang on a Can returns to lower Manhattan’s River to River Festival with its annual super-mix of music from around the corner and around the globe. All ages | Free | 2-10 p.m. KidAround Series: Billy Kelly South Street Seaport KidAround! at the South Street Seaport is a FREE family event series featuring live music, story-time with characters, games and more. Happening this Summer at See/ Change. Billy Kelly has been writing and recording songs for kids since 2009. All ages | Free | 2-4 p.m.

Park |3:30 to 4:30 PM, 5-6 year olds, 4:30 to 5:30 PM, 7 & older EVERY MONDAY UNTIL OCT. 27

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE ARTS 103 Charlton St., 212-274-0986, cmany.org Technique-Based Workshop: Experimenting With Ceramics & Sculpture: Experiment with handson ceramic techniques. | Ages 6 and up| Admission $11 (seniors and 0 – 12 months free) | 2 – 5 p.m. MONDAYS UNTIL AUG. 31

TUESDAY, JUNE 24 NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, nypl.org/locations/battery-park-city Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers: Enjoy simple stories, lively songs and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood. Limited to 25 babies and their caregivers; firstcome first-served. Ages 0-18 months | Free |11:30 a.m. EVERY TUESDAY AT 11:30 A.M.

MONDAY, JUNE 23 NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, nypl.org/locations/battery-park-city Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers: Enjoy simple stories, lively songs and rhymes, and meet other babies in the neighborhood. Limited to 25 babies and their caregivers; first-come firstserved. Ages 0-18 months | Free |9:30 a.m. EVERY MONDAY AT 9:30 A.M.

Toddler Story Time: A librarian will share lively picture books, finger plays, and action songs with toddlers and their caregivers. Ages 18-36 months | Free | 4 p.m. EVERY MONDAY AT 4 P.M.

BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY 212-267-9700, bpcparks.org Preschool Play: Interactive play on the lawn. Toys, books, and play equipment provided. Ages 4 and under | Free | Drop in | Wagner Park | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. EVERY MONDAY

Children’s Basketball: Adjustable height hoops and fun drills to improve skills. Close-toed shoes required. Ages 5 – 6 | Free | Drop in | Rockefeller

Picture Book Time: A librarian will read classic stories and new picture books. All ages. | Free | 4 p.m. | EVERY TUESDAY AT 4 P.M.

BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CONSERVANCY 212-267-9700, bpcparks.org Preschool Play: Interactive play on the lawn. Toys, books, and play equipment provided. Ages 4 and under | Free | Drop in | Wagner Park | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Soccer for Preschoolers and Elementary Schoolers: Have fun passing, shooting & dribbling! Parks programming leaders facilitate the fun. Everybody plays! Closed-toe shoes required. | Free | Drop in | Nelson A. Rockefeller Park |2:30 – 3:15 PM, 3-4 year olds | 3:30 – 4:15 PM, 5 to 7 year olds | 4:30 – 5:30 PM, 8 to 11 year olds EVERY TUESDAY UNTIL OCT. 28

THE FRIENDS OF WASHINGTON MARKET PARK Chambers Street at West Street, in tennis courts, info@washingtonmarketpark.org, http://www.washingtonmarketpark.org/events/childrens-tennis-clinic Children’s Tennis Clinics: The Friends of Washington Market Park organizes free tennis clinics for DowntownExpress.com


children. Grouped by age, children receive instruction from the tennis pros — this year from Super Duper Tennis. No reservations are necessary — the first 20 children to arrive at the courts for each time slot will be able to participate. 3-4pm is for children aged 7-8 year olds | 4-5pm is for children aged 9-10 year olds | Free | 3-5pm EVERY TUESDAY IN JUNE

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25 NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH 175 North End Ave, 212-790-3499, nypl.org/locations/battery-park-city Toddler Story Time: A librarian will Photo courtesy of BPC Parks Conservancy share lively picture books, finger Almost Summer Celebration - Lawn Games plays, and action songs with tod- Lawn games organized by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. dlers and their caregivers. Ages 18-36 Sing together! Share rounds and Children’s Basketball: See 6.23 for months | Free | 10:30 a.m. folk songs. Led by folk singer Terre details EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 10:30 Roche. THURSDAY, JUNE 26 Ages: all | Free | 7-8:30 p.m. Gross Biology: Discover what is CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE inside you, how the body works hard NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY ARTS CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE Technique-Based Workshop: See to keep you healthy, and why it is BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH important to make healthy choices. Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers: See ARTS 6.23 for details Technique Based Workshop: See Ages 5 and up | Free | 4 p.m. 6.19 for info 6.20 for details SEE/CHANGE BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS TUESDAY, JULY 1 Front/Row Stage, http://www.south- CONSERVANCY streetseaport.com/events/# Preschool Art: See 6.19 for info SATURDAY, JUNE 28 NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY Wednesdays with Bilingual Birdies: BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH Every Wednesday this summer, join CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF THE UNUSUAL CREATURES Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers: See Bilingual Birdies at the Seaport. Gardening ARTS Club Tuesdays 376 9th Street at Sixth Avenue, New 6.24 for info Bilingual Birdies is a foreign lan- 103 Charlton St., 212-274-0986, York NY, http://unusualcreatures. Picture Book Time: See 6.24 for info guage program for kids that will cmany.org com/ teach Spanish (June), French (July), Technique-Based Workshop: See Experience Michael Hearst’s unique BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS and Mandarin (August) through live 6.19 for info project Songs for Unusual Creatures, CONSERVANCY music, movement, dance, puppetry, a five-piece band that shows videos Preschool Play: See 6.24 for info and theatre-based games. and croons tunes about strange ani- Soccer for Preschoolers and Free | 1:30pm and 2:30pm mals from across the globe. Hear Elementary Schoolers: See 6.24 for FRIDAY, JUNE 27 the wacky sounds of the theremin, info BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS CHARLOTTE’S PLACE claviola, daxophone and stylophone. CONSERVANCY 107 Greenwich Street, rear of 74 All ages | $10 suggested donation | Wagner Park, 212-267-9700, Trinity Place, between Rector and 4-5 p.m. WEDNESDAY, JULY 2 bpcparks.org Carlisle Young Sprouts Gardening Young Sporouts Gardening Preschool Play: Interactive play Family Veggie & Yoga Night: This BARNES & NOBLE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY on the lawn. Toys, books, and play fun, healthy class includes yoga poses Storytime: See June 21 for info BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH equipment provided. that are accessible to people of all Toddler Story Time: See 6.25 for Ages 4 and under | Free | Drop in | 10 ages, and also emphasizes group more information a.m. – 12 p.m. and partner poses. Delicious veggie MONDAY, JUNE 30 Wednesdays at Teardrop: Come enjoy snacks will be served. Charlotte’s SEE/CHANGE lawn games and art projects. Art Place is a free space in Lower Wednesdays with Bilingual Birdies: supplies provided. Ages 5 and up. | Manhattan. Open to everyone, it is NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY See 6.25 for more information Free | Drop in | Teardrop Park | 3:30 supported and operated by Trinity BATTERY PARK CITY BRANCH – 5:30 p.m. Wall Street, an Episcopal parish in Baby Laptime for Pre-Walkers: See BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS the city of New York. | Free | 6 p.m. 6.23 for details CONSERVANCY Toddler Story Time: See 6.23 for Preschool Play: See 6.25 for more EVERY WEDNESDAY UNTIL 10.29 Drop-in Chess: Play chess and get BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS details information CONSERVANCY pointers from an expert. Wednesdays at Teardrop: See 6.25 Ages 5 – 15 | Free | Drop in | North of Battery Park, off Battery BATTERY PARK CITY PARKS for more information Place, 212-267-9700, bpcparks.org CONSERVANCY Rockefeller Park | 3:30 – 5 p.m. Drop-in Chess: See 6.25 for more Sunset Singing Circle Preschool Play: See 6.23 for details EVERY WEDNESDAY UNTIL OCT. 24 information DowntownExpress.com

June 19-July 2, 2014

21


Talking Point No to privitization at Southbridge Continued from page 19

500 deficiencies which that office cited over 5 years. Some of these deficiencies were comprised of: facts not adequately disclosed, risks explained in vague language seeming to veil the degree of risk, and deficiencies expressed either as overly speculative or absolutely deceptive. This is not meant to diminish the difficulty of formulating a 903-page prospectus and calculating, to exactitude, the hundreds of projections under at least two scenarios. But how much confidence can be generated in the veracity of a “Black Book” when, after publishing it, some schedules within it contained serious errors, later revised and contained in an amended booklet shareholders received. Subsequently, errors were found in those same schedules regarding the equity calculations. The shareholders now await yet another revision, delaying even further the referendum (probably in the fall) which they

voted to allow back in 2007. Ultimately chipping away significant confidence is that the sponsors, for whatever reason, recently attempted to ban the use of the Southbridge community room to certain groups, including the SBT Cooperators for Mitchell-Lama, for free, open, independent shareholder forums on the subject, necessitating the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal to contravene the ban almost immediately. Ultimately the Black Book speaks for itself thanks to some tenacious shareholders, Southbridge’s Mitchell-Lama group, who sought and obtained multiple revisions from the attorney general’s office and from D.H.C.R. It’s now free from unwarranted speculation and it discloses all of the risks of leaving Mitchell-Lama. Victor J. Papa was president of Southbridge Towers’ board of directors 1992-99, and is a founding member of SBT Cooperators for Mitchell-Lama.

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June 19-July 2, 2014

DowntownExpress.com


Coney Island Museum returns to form New features include interactivity, 3D

Photo by Kenny Lombardi

©2014 Norman Blake

“Thompson and Dundy’s Luna Park: 3D” is a 1:13 scale replica of the original Luna Park, populated with 3-D images of modeled on players in the contemporary Coney Island scene.

Fun house mirrors, show posters, passenger cars from amusement park rides, and a Mermaid Parade float are among the permanent collection items.

Photo by Bill Scurry

BY TRAV S.D. (travsd.wordpress.com) Among Coney Island’s many attractions — the amusement parks, the beach, the boardwalk, the eateries, and Brooklyn Cyclones baseball — there lives one that is less noisome but just as significant and true to the spirit of the neighborhood. Nestled on the second floor of Coney Island USA, the same organization that produces Sideshows by the Seashore and the Mermaid Parade, one can find the Coney Island Museum. The creation of a museum was part of Coney Island USA’s mandate since the organization’s inception in 1980. It has been a going concern since 1985. The museum had been closed for 18 months DowntownExpress.com

to allow an extensive city-funded renovation that included restoration of the 97-year-old building’s decorative architecture and the installation of a new heating and cooling system. This is welcome news to longtime visitors, who will remember the stifling temperatures that once were an expected feature of a trip to the Coney Island Museum. This reporter attended opening day (Memorial Day Weekend) and was pleased to observe a veritable gale of Arctic breezes flowing out of the vents. The bulk of the museum’s floor space is devoted to the permanent collection, which contains an abundance of artifacts related to the culture of Coney Island’s recreational beaches and amusement district: fun house mirrors, show posters, passenger cars from amusement park rides, souvenir post cards, a Mermaid Parade float, an entire wall of vintage picnic gear, photographs, ephemera such as tickets to long-gone rides, and oddments like a game-of-chance doll prize topped with the grinning face of the Steeplechase man. Documentary footage of Coney Island’s amusement parks in their heyday is projected onto a screen on a continuous loop. An interactive exhibit displays several postcards with fun glow-in-the-dark elements. Also on view at present are several exciting new features. Longtime Coney Island USA performer Fred

Kahl, a.k.a. “The Great Fredini” has opened the Coney Island Scan-A-Rama 3D Portrait Studio where, for a fee, visitors can immortalize themselves in 3D scan plastic sculptures, a kind of modern updating of the old time Coney island photo booth. His ultimate creation in this cutting edge format now sits upstairs, occupying an entire room of the Coney Island Museum. Called “Thompson and Dundy’s Luna Park: 3D,” it is a 1:13 scale replica of Coney Island’s original Luna Park (different from the current one by that name) which operated from 1903 through 1944. (Frederic Thompson and Elmer Dundy were the visionary entrepreneurs who built the original park.) In addition to depicting Luna Park’s historic structures, the piece is populated with 3D images of people, all of whom were modeled on players in the contemporary Coney Island scene: sideshow performers, burlesque dancers, Mermaids, etc. — and standing at the center of them all, Coney Island USA Founder and Director Dick Zigun. “The brilliance of this piece is that it recreates the lost architecture of the original Luna Park even as the new Luna Park finishes its buildout,” says Zigun. “It is the largest 3D printed art project ever attempted.” Kahl plans to expand his Continued on page 23

June 19-July 2, 2014

23


Museum embraces its ‘Darkside’ Continued from page 23

Luna Park by adding new pieces to it throughout the season. Directly across from the exhibition, something a little different: an exhibition of visual art by a Coney Island native. “The Darkside of Dreamland” is a showing of paintings, collages and sculptures by local artist Africasso (Daniel Blake). Some of Africasso’s work seems to be about the culture clash between the amusement district (and its rubber-necking hipsters) and the urban poor who live only a block away, but seldom seem to factor into public discussion about the present and future disposition of the neighborhood. Other pieces, such as his mixed-media “Miles Davis” are more celebratory, or like the mural “Negroes on the Corner,” politically suggestive in a more general way. Zigun says, “Africasso is the most prominent artist living in Coney’s often forgotten residential West

24

June 19-July 2, 2014

Photo by Kenny Lombardi

The mural “Negroes on the Corner” is part of local artist Africasso’s “The Darkside of Dreamland” exhibition.

End. We were attracted to the way his works deal with the surrealistic nightmare of violence juxtaposed to the business of fun.” In addition to the ongoing exhibitions, the Coney Island Museum is the site of a variety of public programs, such as events in the recent Congress of Curious Peoples, an annual collaboration between Coney Island USA

and [the Gowanus] Morbid Anatomy Library and Museum. (Full disclosure: this reporter gave a talk there just a few weeks ago). Now that summer is here, visitors can also enjoy the return of the annual film series put on by the Coney Island Film Society. This year’s season is a mix, including documentaries about Coney Island,

historical oddities like the 1923 Harry Houdini silent, “Haldane of the Secret Service,” and co-presentations of B-movies with the likes of Phantom Creeps Theatre and Ghoul A Go-Go. Admission to the Coney Island Museum (1208 Surf Ave.) is $5, and only $3 for students, seniors, and residents of the 11224 zip code. Summer hours are 1-6 p.m. For more info on the Museum: coneyisland. com/programs/coney-island-museum. Trav S.D. has been producing the American Vaudeville Theatre since 1995, and periodically trots it out in new incarnations. Stay in the loop at travsd.wordpress.com, and also catch up with him on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, et al. His books include “No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous” and “Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and its Legacies from Nickelodeons to YouTube.”

DowntownExpress.com


Gender role rebels become comic book heroes Tale of costumed vigilantes has sass, spandex, substance THEATER THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF ALL AMERICAN GIRL & THE SCARLET SKUNK Written & Directed by Charles Battersby Wednesday, June 25 at 9 p.m. At The Brick 579 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn Subway: Take the L to Lorimer or the G to Metropolitan Tickets: $18 To order, visit bricktheater.com Call 212-352-3101 For artist info: charlesbattersby. com Visit pressxy.com (co-founded by Battersby, devoted to exploring transgender issues in gaming)

BY SCOTT STIFFLER Well-rounded vigilantes don costumes, embrace their true identities, and risk their lives patrolling the mean streets of a square city unable to embrace their unconventional lifestyle — while twisted villains lurk in the

them has an Adam’s apple! Playwright and director Charles Battersby plays the non-lethal gas-spraying Scarlet Skunk — whose uneasy alliance with a Jiu Jitsu-savvy, World War II vet-turned-underappreciated-secretary-turned-nocturnal-hero

‘You Freudian types can’t stand anything that you can’t classify. Nothing bothers you more than looking at Hyena and not knowing how to define her.’ —The Scarlet Skunk shadows, hiding behind masks. That’s just one of the thrilling, actionpacked aspects of this sassy, daffy, heartfelt, spandex-filled parable about self-acceptance. Part of The Brick Theater’s annual Comic Book Festival, both of the title characters from “The Astonishing Adventures of All American Girl & The Scarlet Skunk” do their crime fighting in heels — but look closer, intrepid viewer, and you’ll see that one of

(aka All American Girl) might just blossom into an epic romance. Golden Age comics, post-war gender roles, serial cliffhangers, women’s rights, “moral panic,” and transgender issues all get worked over like the henchmen who lob hurtful words and deeds in the direction of our fisticuff-friendly, titular couple. “You Freudian types can’t stand anything that you can’t classify,” says The Scarlet

Photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrical Photography

Alex Gray as All American Girl (left) and Charles Battersby as The Scarlet Skunk. Their astonishing adventure unfolds at The Brick’s Comic Book Festival.

Skunk, while confronting an unenlightened adversary. It’s a super observation made powerful because it flows from the glossy red lips of a man who champions the right to present himself as a woman.

Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary “Bravisimo!” sing supporters of this “over-the-top” “old-fshioned” TriBeCa Northern Italian, where “superb” eats arrive via tuxedoed waiter who’ll “pamper” you “like a don” (”no wonder” they filmed a Sopranos scene here); post-meal the “gratis grappa” eases the pain of “shelling out lots” for the tab.

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June 19-July 2, 2014

25


Just Do Art:

June 26 – 29, Thurs./Fri./Sat. at 7:30 p.m. and Sun. at 2 p.m. At New York Live Arts (219 W. 19th St., btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.). For tickets ($20, $15 for students, seniors), call 212-024-0077 or visit 10hl.org.

SPECIAL PRIDE EDITION BY SCOTT STIFFLER

10 HAIRY LEGS

NY WRITERS COALITON: WRITING ALOUD READING SERIES

With the go-go boys of Rawhide and Splash long gone, where exactly does one go to see well-defined men in various states of undress, dancing up a storm? Through June 29, some of those crumpled up singles you used to keep handy for “entertainment purposes” will gain you entry to New York Live Arts. That’s where 10 Hairy Legs celebrates the tremendous technical and emotional range of the male dancer. While not identifying as a gay company, founder Randy James notes, “We perform some gay-themed work, by gay choreographers. We also perform work by heterosexual men and women. Some of that is gay-themed, and some not.” That being said, James let us know that, like most current members of the company, he is openly gay (and there are two couples among the dancers). Now that they’ve got your attention, try focusing back on the best reason to

Now in its tenth season, the Writing Aloud Reading Series gives the public a chance to discover what’s been developed during the free creative writing workshops offered by the NY Writers Coalition. This month’s Pried-themed installment features established poet and playwright Joan Larkin reading from her newest work (“Blue Hanuman”), alongside Writers Coalition alum who’ve just been published. Available for purchase at the event (which also serves as the official book launch), the material in “Still Practicing: Writing from the SAGE Center” is culled from those with ties to the Chelsea-based organization, SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Elders). The collection takes its name from a line in Bill Weimer’s work-in-progress memoir (“Still Practicing”), excerpts

Photo by Steven Trumon Gray

An hour prior to the June 28 performance from 10 Hairy Legs founder Randy James will lead a workshop (pictured, James’ “Closing the Glass Door”).

be there: a rotating program with pieces including a reimagined version of David Parker’s physically intimate “Friends of Dorothy.” Tiffany Mills’ “Work for Five Dancers” is a recurring dream that begins with the same image, and then diverges according to the quirks and personalities of each dancer. Before the June 28 performance, James will lead a workshop about the relationship between live music and dance (register in advance, via the 10 Hairy Legs website).

music&art

summer Starting June 23rd n

n n

n

Image courtesy of NY Writers Coalition

Meet some of the contributors to “Still Practicing,” at their June 25 book launch event.

of which you’ll hear at the Writing Aloud event. Free. Wed., June 25, 7 – 9 p.m. at SAGE (305 Seventh Ave., btw. 27th & 28th Sts., 15th Floor). For info, visit nywriterscoalition.org and sageusa.org.

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DowntownExpress.com


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Profile for NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA

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