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asPhaLt Green oPens satUrdaY BY T E RE SE L O E B K R E U Z E R he wait was long and fraught with delays caused by contractual and construction difficulties, and by Superstorm Sandy, but when Asphalt Green Battery Park City opens on June 15, it will be the palace that the Battery Park City Authority promised. The 52,000-square-foot community center at 212 North End Ave. houses two swimming pools, a regulation-size basketball court, an exercise room furnished with top-of-the-line Precor equipment, a 156-seat theater, a culinary arts center, three classrooms, and two


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de BLasIo BacKs downtown’s antI-terror BarrIers BY J O Sh R O g E R S ill de Blasio has many criticisms for the man he hopes to replace at City Hall, but on some issues like the antiterror security barriers Downtown, he’s in sync with Mayor Bloomberg. In a meeting with Downtown Express and the rest of the NYC Community Media editorial board May 31, de Blasio, the city’s Public


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Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Mayor Bloomberg outlined ideas Tuesday to prepare the city for future storms including possibly building “Seaport City,” a neighborhood patterned after Battery Park City.

Mayor’s got a plan to protect Downtown from storms B Y T E RESE L OEB KREUZER w I Th JOSh ROgERS n a building at the Brooklyn Navy Yard where battleships were once built, on June 11, Mayor Michael Bloomberg outlined plans for another battle that the city will be fighting for decades to come — the battle to address the risks presented by climate change. These include not only hurricanes and storm



surges, but sea level rise, heat waves, droughts and heavy downpours. “As bad as Sandy was, future storms could be even worse,” Bloomberg said. “In fact, because of rising temperatures and sea levels, even a storm that’s not as large as Sandy could — down the road — be even more destructive.” New York City has 520 miles of coastline. The New York City Panel on Climate Change,

comprised of climatologists from leading universities in New York and New Jersey, predicted in a report released on June 10 that sea levels in New York City could rise by more than twoand-a-half feet by mid-century. This would mean that up to one-quarter of the city’s land area, where 800,000 people live today, would Continued on page 7

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June 12 - June 18, 2013

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June 12 - June 18, 2013

Oklahoma Tornado Relief Fundraiser A Night of Music, Comedy and Arts

In an effort to help all those families affected by the recent Oklahoma tornado, American Flatbread Tribeca (, U Studios NYC (, Close Encounters, Roadrunner Talent and Media (, Money, You and Life ( and Downtown Express ( are teaming up to raise funds for those affected by this tragedy. Join us for a full night of entertainment: New York Night Train DJ Jonathan Toubin who will keep you shakin' all night. In addition: live music, comedians, a flamenco performance, many fine artists creations for sale, 50/50 raffle and more. Proceeds will go to the American Red Cross Relief Fund / Oklahoma.


Judge Kathryn Freed made a triumphant return to Downtown Independent Democrats two weeks ago after a ten-year absence. She received a hearty round of applause, which lasted longer than the “discussion” as to whether the club would endorse her run for reelection to be a Civil Court judge. Judicial rules bar her from attending almost all political club meetings so Freed has stayed away from the club she helped build, and which she used as a springboard to becoming Downtown’s councilmember in the ‘90s on through until just after 9/11. She is now an acting Supreme Court judge and hopes to be on the ballot for that bench if her judicial screening review comes through in time. Freed’s vintage “happy to be unhappy” style has held up well too. “Now I know why I only come here every 10 years,“ she said as members bickered at the end of the night on the exact endorsement vote counts, and whether or not to state it publicly. Freed said she would never have let it get so “crazy” if she were still running D.I.D. Notice she stayed the whole night. “Of course I miss it,” she told us.

Rajkumar notes

It may seem like it’s been a rough couple of weeks for Jenifer Rajkumar, who is challenging Councilmember Margaret Chin but she appears to always see the glass as full. “I’m pleased the opposition is talking about my record,” Rajkumar told us about a recent New York Post article taking her to task for W-Spin, a non-profit she founded but has not gotten off the ground. She also learned last week that in addition to her challenge to Chin, she is also being challenged for her unpaid district leader position by her Gateway Plaza neighbor, Robin Forst, the president of Lower Manhattan Democrats who has been active in community groups and organizations for many years. “Democracy is always a good thing,” Rajkumar told us of the challenge. “I’m glad whenever someone is able to step up and run.” Forst called her opponent “a bright, capable young woman” but said there’s “no substitute” for working on community issues for a long period of time. Rajkumar told us she is going to stay

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Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver offered a friendly hand last week to Jenifer Rajkumar, who praised him at a ceremony honoring Silver, but the speaker has endorsed her opponent in the September primary, Councilmember Margaret Chin.

focused on issues like getting more schools built and protecting Lower Manhattan from future storms. She also confirmed to our good friends at The Villager’s Scoopy’s Notebook, that a casting agency looking for a “gorgeous exotic female” for the next “Transformers” movie emailed her after an agent saw her picture in the Post. “I thought it was hilarious,” said Rajkumar, who turned the offer down. “No, I’m too much of a nerd at heart for movies.”


Ilan Kayatsky, communications director for U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, is moving to California to run communications for the San Francisco Jewish Federation “after seven phenomenal years” with Nadler. The interim press secretaries are James Owens and John Doty.

Stormy Signs?

We have no idea what this might mean, if anything, but we did take note that our two previous appointments at City Hall for briefings about Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s pending storm protection plans came on heavy rain days, but on Tuesday, the day of Bloomberg’s big announcement, lots of rain was predicted yet little came.


June 12 - June 18, 2013 According to a police spokesperson, the victim was treated and released.


cAugHT wiELDing SwoRD in cHinATown

On the afternoon of Wed., May 29, a police traffic sergeant noticed a man acting erratically and carrying a 16-inch long sword near Canal St. in Chinatown. She gave chase while calling for backup. Within moments, uniformed and plainclothes officers from the Fifth Precinct cornered the man in a Chinese buffet restaurant at the corner of Howard and Centre Sts. The 35-year-old man, a resident of Kips Bay, was removed by ambulance to a hospital for a psychological exam. He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, disorderly conduct and also false impersonation, because he gave police a phony last name, according to the Daily News. The accused reportedly has more than 30 prior arrests, mostly for drug-related offenses.


Police arrested two men for robbery early Sat., June 1, after they robbed two passengers on a southbound 1 subway train. The victims chased the thieves onto the streets near the Rector St. station. The chase ended when one of the pursuing victims was slashed with a knife,

but police caught up with the thieves and arrested Qwarte Moody, 20, and Dapree Peterson, 20. The victims, both 23-year-old males, are residents of Staten Island. They were going to South Ferry at about 5:40 a.m. Police say the victim was asleep and woke up when he felt Moody reach into his pocket. Moody and Peterson pulled out knives and one of them stated, “Give me what’s in your pockets,” according to police. Both victims complied, giving the robbers their cell phones and other property. When the train stopped at Rector St., police said the robbers fled toward the exit and both victims chased after Peterson south on Greenwich St. and then east on Battery Place and into the Bowling Green subway station where Peterson was cornered by the two men. He then pulled out a knife and slashed one of the victims on the forearm and scalp and fled south on State St., police said. Both victims were able to identify the robbers during the “show up” at the Staten Island Ferry terminal, police said, leading to the arrests. One cellphone, a $100 Verizon EnV Touch, was recovered. The rest of the stolen items — a BlackBerry Curve, MetroCard, driver’s license and $80 in cash — were not found. FINANCIAL

Two Harley-Davidson motorcycles were recently snatched off the Lower Manhattan streets, police reported. The first, a brand new black 2013 FLTSN103 model, was parked for an hour while its owner walked around the Seaport. The 44-year-old-man said he had left it outside 89 South St. at about 9 p.m. on Thurs., May 30. When he returned at 10:12 p.m. that night, the motorcycle was gone. A police canvass produced no results and no working camera was available in the area. The $22,000 motorcycle had New York plates. Another man reported the theft of his Harley June 1 in Battery Park City, which he said must have occurred sometime between 4 p.m. on Mon., May 27 to 7 a.m. on May 30. He told police he had parked his motorcycle, an $8,000, blue 2008 Softail Fat Boy, at River Terrace and Warren St., near his residence. When he returned to where he had parked it, the bike was gone. He told police he had done an extensive check with tow pounds and marshals. Neither Harley was recovered.


A shoplifter in a Soho jewelry store walked away with over $1,000 in stolen finery, police said.

Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel

A plainclothes officer from the Fifth Precinct holding a 16-inch sword that allegedly had been carried by Morgan Soto.

An employee of Alexis Bittar, a highend jewelry store with a branch at 465 Broome St., reported that a man with long, curly hair, wearing a white jacket, entered the store on Thurs., May 30 at about 2:55 p.m. and proceeded to browse through the displays. When the sales representative stepped away, the man proceeded to take two $295 Cordova Jaguar Duo Bracelets, $195 Liquid Gold Extra Large Pave Hoop Earrings and $245 Chrysocolla Drop Earrings, for a total of $1,030 in trinkets. Video surveillance was available. Police noted that the thief had a tattoo of two stars on one arm and was impersonating a female.

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Dance New Amsterdam files for bankruptcy BY T E RE SE LO E B K R E U Z E R Dance New Amsterdam trains professional and aspiring professional dancers how to perform without injury and how to overcome injuries, but D.N.A. itself has taken one bruising after another. On May 28, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. New York City’s landlord/tenant court has given the non-profit organization until the end of September to come up with a financial plan that would enable it to keep its doors open at 280 Broadway. The bankruptcy was necessitated when D.N.A.’s landlord, Fram Realty, moved to repossess the 25,000-square-foot premises where the group has classrooms, a 130-seat theater and two art galleries. The bankruptcy filing will allow the school to maintain its class and performing schedule while it reorganizes. During this time, D.N.A. is continuing to pay rent for its space, but was $131,000 in arrears, and was also saddled with interest on a debt incurred when it renovated the space it occupies in a landmarked building that dates from 1845. Dance New Amsterdam, founded in 1984, trains dancers, rents dance rehearsal space, commissions work and offers residencies to professional dancers. It was the first non-profit arts organization to move to Lower Manhattan after 9/11. “The renovation put Dance New

Amsterdam into crisis,” said Catherine Peila, the executive and artistic director since 2008. “It took place in 2005 and 2006….That’s when the capital campaign ended but D.N.A. wasn’t fully funded. They were hoping that money from the city would come through, but it didn’t happen.” She said there were delays in the renovation. Also, she said, “We lost about a year’s worth of free rent when we could have been in business if things had gone smoothly.” The renovation, which was supposed to cost $3.2 million, also ended up costing $4.8 million plus interest. Since then, Peila said, “There was no moment when it was easy.” The organization was nearly evicted from its space in July 2010 because it owed more than $500,000 in rent. After three years of negotiations, the rent was reduced from $73,000 a month to $40,000 a month. Now it is $43,000 monthly. “I thought that once we had negotiated with our landlord for a lower rent, it would be easier,” said Peila. But then, in June 2012, Pace University, one of the group’s principal partners in the use of the space, decided to go elsewhere with most of its programming. Since then, the school has acquired two partners — the Joffrey Ballet School and the Tom Todoroff Conservatory, which

teaches acting for film and theater. It is also seeking funding from philanthropic organizations, which have held back their support because of the shaky financials. “We have lowered our expenses and increased individual giving,” Peila said. She hopes this will help to attract some additional foundation support. Peila said that it costs $2.2 Photo courtesy of Dance New Amsterdam million a year to Dance New Amsterdam is hoping it would be able to remain at 280 run Dance New Broadway after filing for bankruptcy. Amsterdam and the organization would need at least an addi“We support over 650 jobs — artists, tional $250,000 a year to be “comfortable.” costume and lighting designers,” said Peila. D.N.A. offers more than 140 classes We are filling a niche now because many a week and has 250 faculty members. dance companies are closing. Dancers don’t In addition, the organization employs 18 have daily classes with their dance comfull-time and part-time staff members in panies. They come to D.N.A. for that… production and administration. There’s nothing exactly like us.”


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Bloomberg outlines ways to protect Downtown Continued on page 11

be in the floodplain. “If we do nothing, more than 40 miles of our waterfront could see flooding on a regular basis, just during normal high tides,” Bloomberg said. Sandy cost the city $19 billion in damages and lost economic activity. According to forecasts, by mid-century, a storm like Sandy would cost the city $90 billion. “This leaves us with a few clear choices,” said Bloomberg. “We can do nothing and expose ourselves to an increasing frequency of Sandy-like storms that do more and more damage, or we can abandon the waterfront. Or, we can make the investments necessary to build a stronger, more resilient New York — investments that will pay for themselves many times over in the years to come.” Bloomberg has said repeatedly that the city cannot — and will not — abandon the waterfront. In a 440-page report called “A Stronger, More Resilient New York” released on June 11, the city identified 15 critical areas that must be addressed to protect New Yorkers against climate change. These include coastal defenses, buildings, utilities, food and fuel supply, healthcare, transportation and telecommunications.

Image courtesy of the Mayor’s Office

Rendering of temporary barriers that could be erected near East River Park.

In addition, the report looked at five sections of the city that suffered the most damage from Superstorm Sandy and proposed measures to protect them. These communities include the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront, the east and south shores of Staten Island, South Queens, Southern Brooklyn

and Southern Manhattan, the area south of 42nd St. Bloomberg said that some of the protective work has already begun while other parts of it will require further study and significant financing. The report also calls for installing in the

first phase “adaptable floodwalls” to protect the Financial District, Chinatown, the Lower East Side as well as other parts of the city. This would be a mix of temporary and permanent structures, which “can also be integrated with the urban environment to provide access to the waterfront for recreational, transportation and commercial uses.” Catherine McVay Hughes, Community Board 1’s chairperson, said she was pleased to see that the recommendations included short-term solutions for Lower Manhattan as well as so many detailed measures to protect critical infrastructure such as utilities. Bloomberg said that beaches are being restored in Staten Island and that protective barriers are being built. At Breezy Point and in the Rockaways, dunes have been proposed. The restoration of natural wetlands will lessen waves on the South Shore of Staten Island and throughout Jamaica Bay. Massive storm surge barriers have been suggested by some marine scientists to protect New York City. Bloomberg said, “Even though a giant barrier across our entire harbor is not practical or affordable, smaller surge barriers are feasible, and they could have prevented a lot of the flooding we saw during Sandy.” He said that one such barrier could be at Continued on page 11

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Silver’s support Downtown remains strong BY T E RE SE LO E B K R E U Z E R “Nobody has done more for Gateway tenants than Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver,” said Glenn Plaskin, president of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association. “For 20 years, he has been our strongest ally and a fierce supporter who believes in affordable housing.” Plaskin was addressing an audience of Gateway tenants assembled in the auditorium of P.S./I.S. 276 on June 6 for the presentation to Speaker Silver of the first Gateway Plaza Tenants Association Lifetime Achievement Award. The Battery Park City tenant group’s board voted unanimously six months ago to give a Lifetime Achievement Award to Silver. The award was based on the totality of his contribution to the quality of life for Gateway tenants, most notably his leading all rent stabilization negotiations. Considering the recipient, there could not have been a more appropriate venue than the school at 55 Battery Place, which opened in 2010. Speaker Silver pushed the Department of Education to build the school and made it happen. Several elected officials and community leaders who spoke about Silver that night noted this fact, among others. “Since Speaker Silver has represent-

ed us, he has created four K-8 schools in Community Board 1 and we’re hoping we’ll get another one soon,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1. “You’re right to give [Silver] a lifetime award today,” said U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, “although we hope that his life and service will go on for a long time.” Nadler said he met Silver in 1975 and they had worked together ever since. “Shelly has been the speaker for 20 years and I can tell you that he has been one of the leading protectors of everything that most people in this auditorium today would hold dear,” Nadler said. He mentioned Silver’s work on behalf of women’s rights, education funding and affordable housing. He specifically mentioned that Silver protected rent stabilization in opposition to the governor and the State Senate. “The fact that we still have rent control and rent stabilization is, to a very large extent, because of Shelly Silver, regardless of whether he gets credit for it,” said Nadler. “So you have chosen well. He deserves this Lifetime Achievement Award.” With a lawsuit over his handling of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment case hanging over him, Silver may have had a rough

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Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spoke with Gateway Plaza tenant Irving Levine at a ceremony honoring the speaker’s work.

day before he arrived at the Battery Park City school, but the warm reception that greeted him should have made up for it. The audience applauded him loudly and at length. “Thank you for your friendship and for your support over the years,” Silver said. Julie Menin, Community Board 1’s former chairperson, who is running for Manhattan Borough President, said, “No one has believed in our community more than Speaker Silver. “There was a time after Sept. 11 where people doubted the tenacity and perseverance of our neighborhood. And Speaker Silver said that was wrong, that we would be able to rebuild our community.” City Councilmember Margaret Chin spoke of Silver’s protection of affordable housing, and her opponent for reelection, Democratic District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar, spoke about how much she had learned from Silver about leadership. For his part, Silver said, “Gateway Plaza and its residents have really been special to me.” He said that it was at Gateway Plaza, which has 1,705 apartments and is the largest residential complex in Battery Park City, that he began the fight for affordable housing. “It was 25 years ago, almost exactly, that the mandatory deregulation, rent stabilization ended at Gateway,” he said. “And here we are, 25 years later, still with a rent stabilization program — and it was a career just keeping it that way.” Silver spoke about pressuring Richard LeFrak, chairperson and C.E.O. of

the LeFrak Organization, which owns Gateway Plaza, to keep Gateway rent stabilized if he wanted to refinance the building. Long-time tenants of Gateway are still rent stabilized through 2020 although tenants who moved in after 2009 now pay market-rate rents. Silver also referenced quality-of-life issues necessary to accommodate population growth in Lower Manhattan. “We continue to push the Department of Education to build more schools for our rapidly growing community,” he said. “And likewise to accommodate that growth, we built new parks, we revamped recreational facilities such as the state-of-the-art ball fields just a few blocks from here.” This is “a great place to live, and nobody thought it would be almost 12 years ago,” he said. “They figured people would flee Lower Manhattan and never return. We proved them wrong.“ He said that between the census of 2000 and 2010, Lower Manhattan and specifically his Assembly district, experienced larger population growth than any other community in New York City. “Many of you were here on that dark day almost 12 years ago,” he said. “You stayed here. You helped rebuild because you believed in community. You believed in your neighbors and you believed in working together to ensure that Battery Park City continues to be one of the greatest places in our city to live, to work and to raise a family.”


June 12 - June 18, 2013

New Washington Street plaza pleases some B y K A IT LY N M E A D E On a sweltering Friday afternoon, a handful of people were scattered throughout the small graveled plaza near the southern end of Washington St., most of them consulting maps or iPhones for their next destination, while a few chatted over iced beverages from a recentlyopened Starbucks. The pedestrian plaza opened between Carlisle and Albany Sts. on May 23 after a 24-hour installation, and is maintained by the Downtown Alliance Business Improvement District. The block is now a pedestrianonly zone with planters, movable tables, chairs and an Alliance mobile information kiosk. The idea to improve pedestrian flow around the 9/11 Memorial’s temporary entrance comes from the BID’s study, “Five Principals for Greenwich South.” Steven Douglas, who was manning the Alliance’s kiosk on a recent Friday, said, “During the day, it’s been a relief for people who’ve been walking around all day.” He calls himself, “pretty much Mr. Know It All for Downtown,” and said the Washington St. location was a good spot for the info booth, “opposed to our previous location on Greenwich St., which was crammed in with the memorial’s space.” However, not all residents have been thrilled about the pedestrian plaza cutting off through traffic on Washington. At a Community Board 1 Quality of Life Committee meeting on May 16, several residents in the area came to protest the plaza’s location, saying it would disrupt traffic and complicate an already crowded area. A few new projects are scheduled to open near Greenwich St. from 2014 to 2015, promising an increase

Downtown Express photo by Kaitlyn Meade

The Washington Street Pedestrian Plaza.

in construction in coming months. Demolition at 22 Thames, which began in mid-April, caused a full road closure on Thames St. which is expected to continue at least until late July, according to a Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center report. Construction of a 26-story Hampton Inn hotel at 100 Greenwich St. is scheduled for completion in late 2014. Construction on a 28-story hotel could potentially start at 133 Greenwich St.

“The point is, all this time we’ve been asking for help getting tourists out of our way, and now they start this when there are three construction projects starting on Greenwich St…. and so when traffic jams up on Greenwich, that’s when they put in the mall,” Pat Moore, the committee’s chairperson and a FiDi resident, said in a phone interview. “It makes no sense.” “Greenwich St. was never meant for this kind of traffic,” said Eric Hazard, a nearby resident who said closing of an alternate route on Washington St. created “a gigantic congestion zone centered at Greenwich St.” He said it had increased vehicular traffic in front of his building on Greenwich St., made it more dangerous for pedestrians and removed needed parking spaces. Moore said that since the plaza had been installed, she had seen no improvement for residents in the amount or flow of crowds around the 9/11 Memorial. However, on that hot afternoon a week after if was up and running, it seemed several of the people that lived and worked in the area were enjoying it as well. Mark Kehoe, a tour guide who sat waiting for his tour group to exit the 9/11 Memorial on Friday, said it was nice to have a place to sit in the area and that it definitely made the block more pedestrian-friendly. He noted that the plaza’s location probably complicated traffic in the area, but, “[Downtown traffic] is super confusing. It’s been that way all my life.” “I think it’s great,” said Constance Houghton, a nearby resident and real estate salesperson. She said she was not inconvenienced and anticipated further development of the area. “All we need now is the Citi Bikes.”


June 12 - June 18, 2013

Soho man frightens neighbors, frustrates cops BY h E AT h E R D U B IN Residents and merchants from around Spring St. in Soho and Nolita turned out in force at last week’s Fifth Precinct Community Council meeting to voice concern about Richard Pearson, a mentally ill man who, they say, has verbally and physically assaulted pedestrians and retailers alike. Pearson is currently in jail after being arrested for throwing a brick at a person’s head two weeks ago, for which he was charged with assault in the second degree, a felony. About 50 people, including representatives for state Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Deborah Glick, were there to address the issue of Pearson, and appealed to police to keep him off the streets. Deputy Inspector Gerard Dowling, the Fifth Precinct’s commanding officer, described Pearson as, “6 feet 4 inches…and mentally unstable.” Pearson has been arrested 21 times, with his first arrest on Jan. 28, 1983, for burglary. According to Dowling, Pearson has committed numerous offenses around Spring St., and has been labeled by police as an emotionally disturbed person, or E.D.P. Several community members spoke, including Christina Nenov, who lives on Spring St. She pleaded with officers for protection from Pearson, noting she had called 911 in the past after he prevented her from leaving a store.

“I’m disabled, I can’t run, and he was threatening me with sexual assault,” she said. “It’s Crosby St., it’s tourists, it’s children, it’s Lafayette St. — this man has been a predator in my neighborhood,” she said. Hemal Sheth, manager of Lafayette Smoke Shop, said he has called the police on Pearson 10 to 12 times over the past year. “We have an order of protection [against Pearson] for assault in the third degree,” Sheth said. “He entered the store, broke newsstands, pushed me and tried to hit me.” When the protection order expired, Pearson returned to the store on that very day. “He knows what he’s doing,” Sheth added. Neighbors also claim Pearson has been physically violent with people on the street prior to the recent brick incident. “He will harm people, he cannot control himself, and he’s a known danger,” Nenov stressed. Peter Chong, a crime prevention officer, injured his shoulder while struggling with Pearson to get him into an ambulance. “Dealing with him is not like dealing with anyone else,” he said. The limits of police response are also an issue. “The cops come, but an officer told me, ‘Well, I didn’t see it, therefore, we can’t really do anything,’” said Nenov. One officer advised Sheth to call police

when Pearson entered the store, and they would pick him up for trespassing. “By the time you guys come — 45 minutes to an hour later — he’s gone,” Sheth replied. Since he is considered an E.D.P., Pearson receives different legal and medical treatment. “By law, if you’re mentally unfit and charged with a misdemeanor, your charges are dismissed,” said Assistant District Attorney Kaitrin Roberts. “There is a complicated analysis when the police can make arrests.” When an E.D.P. is brought to a hospital, New York State law only allows the person to be committed if he is a danger to himself or others, or if a psychiatrist determines he needs to be involuntarily committed. “Just because they’re outside ranting and raving, we can’t force them to go to the hospital,” said an officer. “We can only tell the psychiatrist what the person is doing.” Pearson’s latest behavior presents community members the opportunity to share their stories about him with a judge, which could lead to substantial jail time and psychiatric intervention for Pearson. On May 29, Pearson was indicted for assault charge, and is scheduled to appear in front of Judge Charles Solomon in State Supreme Court on June 25. A.D.A. Roberts explained that Pearson’s bail was set at $5,000, or $7,500 bond,

in Criminal Court. “A lot of you would like to be heard, and I think it’s very appropriate for those of you who’ve had interactions [with Pearson] to write a letter to the judge,” At 6 feet 4 inches tall, Roberts told Richard Pearson is an the commu- intimidating presence, nity council people say. meeting. She suggested residents detail what Pearson has done to the community, and how he has impacted their lives. Frustrated by having to assign two officers to cover Pearson whenever he is in Bellevue Hospital, and the general disruption he causes, Dowling urged residents to write letters. Robert Ianniello Jr., president of the Fifth Precinct Community Council, and owner of Umberto’s Clam House said: “If the judge gets 50 letters saying this guy is terrorizing our neighborhood, he’s going to have to do something about it.”

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June 12 - June 18, 2013

Mayor’s storm plans Continued from page 7

Newtown Creek to protect Greenpoint and Long Island City and another could be at Coney Island Creek. He also proposed a surge barrier at the mouth of Jamaica Bay. He admitted that such a barrier would be “very complicated” and take years to build, requiring “real study so we can determine if it’s worthwhile, but that analysis can begin today.” The Army Corps of Engineers will be enlisted to do much of this work. One of the most ambitious of the plans that Bloomberg put forward was for something he called “Seaport City” that could be built along the East River between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Battery Maritime terminal. He described it as a wall of levees, built into the East River, on top of which apartment buildings and office space could be erected, helping to offset the construction costs. This would be a blue-sky proposition, requiring much study and a realistic financing plan. “This is a long-term proposal,” Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the head of the team that generated the report, told Downtown Express. “It would require significant input from the community,” he said. “The goal is to create new development opportunities and

to do it in a way like with Battery Park City where we can not only pay for it but protect the land behind.” He said that none of this building would impact the old structures in the Seaport. “It would be built on new land in the East River,” he said. “It would be fully compatible with all the plans that are currently out there for the Seaport.” Without including what Seaport City might cost, Bloomberg pegged the cost of what the city was proposing at $19.5 billion. “Approximately $10 billion of that is covered by a combination of city capital funding that’s already been allocated and federal relief and other moneys already designated for the city,” he said. “Another $5 billion should come from the federal government in subsequent rounds of Sandy relief that has been appropriated by Congress, as well as through FEMA risk mitigation funding and other sources.” He said that “we’ll press the federal government to cover as much of the remaining costs as possible.” Bloomberg has 203 days remaining in his term as mayor. Clearly, the climate-change protection work will only have just begun by the time he leaves office. But, he said, the work is urgent “and it must begin now. So we will use every one of the next 203 days to get as much work as possible under way and to lock in commitments wherever we can.”

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June 12 - June 18, 2013


miRAmAR oPEnS AT SouTH coVE:

Miramar, the Mediterranean seafood restaurant that opened on June 5 at 21 South End Ave. (facing South Cove), is a family enterprise. It is owned by Naglaa Mohamed and Tamer Abdelgawad, by Mohamed’s aunt and uncle, Una and Aldo Eskandar, and by two cousins. Miramar is also part of the Battery Park City family. Mohamed and Abdelgawad have lived in Battery Park City for five years. Their son, Adam, 4, goes to the Battery Park City Day Nursery. Mohamed, who has a Ph.D. in microbiology, and Abdelgawad, an economist, have full-time jobs working for a pharmaceutical company, so are at the restaurant on weekends and sometimes in the evening. The Eskandars are running it day to day. They previously ran six restaurants in Manhattan and in Fair Lawn, N.J. “We need this food in the area,” said Mohamed. “There are very limited options in Battery Park City, and with the water view, I thought we need seafood.” Mohamed was born and brought up in Egypt. She came to the United States in 2003 to attend graduate school at the

University of Maryland. She said she is passionate about food and often entertains at home. “We have this thing in my culture,” she said. “We love to see people eating good food and being happy. I learned this from my mother. We always had people in our home. Always. She would be cooking food and waiting for the feedback.” Some of Mohamed’s father’s family came from Sicily, so her cooking reflects both her Egyptian and her Italian heritage. The recipes on Miramar’s extensive menu came from her and from her aunt Una. For three years, they talked about opening a restaurant in Battery Park City and looked for a site. Finally, they found the perfect place, with its dramatic views of the harbor and the Statue of Liberty. “When I made the menu, I put on it everything I liked and everything I eat healthy at home,” said Mohamed. “It’s very hard to find healthy food around here.” She said that she eats mostly vegetables and fish. She said that since Miramar opened, the whole grilled fish has been popular ($29) and the kabobs (chicken kabob, $19; mixed grill kabob, $29; seafood kabob, $31). At lunchtime, the restaurant offers soup ($8 to $14), salads ($12) and sandwiches ($9 to $14). On both the lunch and dinner menus, a platter of Mediterranean mezzes (falafel, baba ganoush, hummus, tabouli and pita bread) is $16. Desserts such as baklava, tiramisu, cannolis, tartufo and chocolate mousse cake are $8.




Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Naglaa Mohamed, a Battery Park City mom, outside Miramar, a new neighborhood restaurant that she and her family own.

Miramar is still waiting for its liquor license, but in the meantime offers diners a complimentary glass of wine. The restaurant can seat around 75 people inside and 75 people outside. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, call 212-964-3000.


The linden trees that line the Battery Park City esplanade between North Cove and South Cove are in trouble. Several large trees blew down on May 11 when a storm with heavy rain and high winds targeted that area. In addition, some of the remaining trees have few leaves and numerous bare branches. “We are doing an assessment along the Esplanade from South Cove to North Cove,” said Matthew Monahan, spokesperson for the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, which maintains the neighborhood trees and most of the other plantings.

“It is a prudent approach for several reasons. There was salty water from Superstorm Sandy that covered tree pits and planting beds. Battery Park City Authority’s Parks Conservancy did a valiant job in ‘overwatering’ the trees in early November in an attempt to dilute the salinity of the soil. Much came back in the spring but there were some trees that did not fully leaf out, showing branches that stayed bare. “The micro-burst of severe weather episode in early May blew over several trees that had to be removed. In addition, there have been several drenching rains of late, which are saturating the soil.” Monahan said that it is premature to know for sure what the conservancy will do about the ailing trees, but one possibility would be to cut back the canopy as a precautionary measure. “Such cutting would reduce the weight of the tree,” he said. “Public safety remains our overarching priority.”

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Linden trees on the Battery Park City esplanade, weakened by Superstorm Sandy last year, took a further hit when a powerful gust of wind and water assaulted them on May 11,. Some toppled over. Others appear to be severely compromised.


June 12 - June 18, 2013

M Y P A 5 D SUN 3 11AM 2 E N U J









June 12 - June 18, 2013

Art vs. bikes. Parks Dept. quietly backs Soho protesters BY L I N CO LN A ND E R S O N A vocal core of residents around Soho’s Petrosino Square are protesting the siting of a new Citi Bike docking station on the triangular island’s northern end, saying it has “usurped” a spot traditionally used for public art displays. Indeed, the spot, formerly known as Kenmare Square, has been home to public art since 1984, when a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council-sponsored installation, Lisa Hoke’s “Molecular Motion,” first graced it. Other notable works included Stephen Whisler’s monolithic “Tongue of Fire,” in 1985; Rudolph Serra’s unnamed white, ball-like piece perched between the square’s entrance piers in 1988; “Let Them Die in the Streets,” a series of signs about the AIDS crisis and homelessness ringing the square’s fence by the ACT UP artists collective Gran Fury, in 1990; and Minsuk Cho’s 2007 “Ring Dome,” constructed of white hula hoops. In 1987, the park within the square was renamed for New York police Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino (1860-1909), who was a pioneer in the fight against the mafia. Other works in the triangle, at Spring and Lafayette Sts., have included pieces sponsored by Storefront for Art and Architecture, such as Nancy Hwang’s “S: An Urban Oasis,” in 2002, in which people could get their hair cut underneath potted palm trees; and Kim Holleman’s “A Park in a Trailer in a Park,” 2006, featuring a trailer with a park constructed inside it. From 2008 to 2011 Petrosino Square was closed for renovation. After it reopened, public art exhibits continued in the open space at its northern corner, including Carole Feuerman’s “Survival of Serena,” from May to September 2012; and Jessica Feldman’s “The Glass Sea,” from October to November 2012.

Downtown Express photo by Tequila Minsky

Standing behind racks of parked Citi Bikes, protesters held cards spelling “ART IN PETROSINO PARK.” Council hopeful Jenifer Rajkumar held the “R.”

The latest public artwork, installed last month by the Parks Department and running through September, is Tracey Emin’s “Roman Standard.” But this last piece, critics say, is not in the art-installation space taken over by Citi Bike, but rather in a green, planted area inside the fencedin park. “Greenery had to be taken up to accommodate the large steel plate to which this artwork is anchored, which demonstrates in itself why we need the installation space,” said Georgette Fleischer, founder of Friends of Petrosino Square. Images of the public artworks were provided by Fleischer, fellow Soho activist Pete Davies and, in some cases, by the artists themselves. Davies noted that the L.M.C.C.

Web site states that 30 years’ worth of archives held in the organization’s offices at the World Trade Center were destroyed on 9/11. “So, much of their record may have been lost,” he said. The Parks Department did not provide images of the 30-plus years of art displays in Petrosino Square, but according to e-mails forwarded by Fleischer, agency officials clearly understand the historic role of public art in the square. After Fleischer reached out via e-mail to Christopher Crowley, a designer with Parks, to convey the community’s concerns, Crowley, in turn, e-mailed Steve Simon, Parks chief of staff, on April 5, saying, “Hi

Minsuk Cho’s 2007 “Ring Dome,” in Petrosino Sq., left. Carole Feuerman’s “Survival of Serena,” May - Sept. 2012.

Steve, Georgette is right. There was a lot of effort during the design phase to preserve the front triangle of Petrosino for art display. This is why there is a lack of green in this area.” Less than an hour later, Simon e-mailed Colleen Chattergoon, community liaison for Margaret Forgione, Manhattan borough commissioner of the Department of Transportation, regarding the community opposition to a bike-share rack at Petrosino Square: “Colleen: Please let D.O.T. Borough Commissioner Forgione and the Director of Bike-Share know that Manhattan Parks Commissioner Bill Castro agrees that this is not an appropriate location for a bike station.”


June 12 - June 18, 2013

De Blasio takes on Downtown issues Continued from page 1

Advocate and a Democratic candidate for mayor, said his inclination would be to maintain the security protections in high profile places like the World Trade Center, Police Plaza, the New York Stock Exchange and the Statue of Liberty ferries. Many Lower Manhattan residents and businesses have complained for over a decade about the effects of these barriers, but de Blasio said it’s hard to argue with the police department’s record in this area. “On the topic of anti-terrorism, they have an incredible track record so I tend to give the benefit of the doubt in a very big way to N.Y.P.D. on the question of what we need to do,” he said. He acknowledged there’d be great political risks to making security changes, but he pledged to continue to evaluate and discuss the barriers with affected communities, and did not rule out someday loosening the restrictions. “If you do that and God forbid, that becomes the beginning of a problem, yes, you’ll pay the price for it many times over, but that’s a choice you make in leadership every single day on a host of levels,” he said. “Terrorism is maybe the most dramatic example, but you make those decisions all the time.” When it comes to storm protection, de Blasio also appeared to be in agreement with the mayor. Both look favorably on one of the ideas Bloomberg proposed in his comprehensive report released June 11 — temporary flood barriers in southern Manhattan to be installed prior to big storms. “It strikes me on a common sense level as a more believable short term solution, perhaps, than the sea barriers,” he said during the hour-long interview on a wide range of issues. Bloomberg had also been much more than skeptical of storm surge barriers, but in a surprise this week, he said he was open to building some and studying others, although not the comprehensive system backed by some scientists and advocates. De Blasio, who spoke before the mayor released his recommendations, also said he would have more to say in the coming months about storm protection, and that he had not reached a final decision on sea barriers or temporary structures. “I feel more sureness on [changing] building codes, on incentives to get folks out of the areas below sea level, and on wetlands restoration or creation,” he said. De Blasio, a former member of his local school board who would be the first mayor with children in public schools (he volunteered that his opponent John Liu also could be the first), said the city must commit more capital


Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Bill de Blasio at a mayoral forum earlier this year.

money to building schools. “In Lower Manhattan, the space dynamics are daunting,” he said. “There’s no such thing as impossible, but they’re daunting.” One of the centerpieces of his platform is to raise taxes on people making over $500,000 to provide enough full day pre-K slots for every family that wants it. He said creating pre-K centers will help Downtown’s school overcrowding problem, by allowing schools to move classes into these neighborhood centers. “You could take a former Catholic school, you could take a former warehouse, you could take whatever and turn it into a pre-K center,” he said. De Blasio reiterated his criticisms of things like the N.Y.P.D.’s stop and frisk policy, and on issues like development, he continued to link Bloomberg to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the perceived front runner in the Sept. 10 mayoral primary. In response to a question concerning New York University’s approved development plan, he said, “When it comes to development, the Bloomberg world and the Quinn world are one unit. Let’s get real — look at the history look at the votes — Quinn has never substantially separated from Bloomberg on development issues.” He also knocked the mayor for allowing St. Vincent’s Hospital to close, pointing out that the Greenwich Village hospital served some West Siders all the way down to Battery Park City. He said Mt. Sinai Hospital came up with a reasonable proposal to keep the hospital open. “There’s no question it could have been saved,” he said. “It should have been saved. It was too important to too many people.”


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June 12 - June 18, 2013


A great start to protecting us from storms


Jennifer Goodstein Publisher EMERITUS

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If you go all the way back to 1900,

three of the 10 worst storms to hit the Battery occurred after 2009. That’s one of the more staggering things revealed in the Bloomberg administration’s comprehensive analysis of the growing threats from climate change. The most memorable — and overwhelmingly the largest of the 10 storms — of course, was Superstorm Sandy, which devastated chunks of Lower Manhattan as well as other parts of the region. In Southern Manhattan, defined as south of 42nd St., 73 percent more buildings are now in the flood plain, representing 10,000 more homes, even though the flood zone has not expanded significantly in Manhattan. The 430-page report, “A Stronger More resilient New York,” by Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his team are full of short-, medium- and long-term solutions to better protect the city. The need is obvious. We are pleased that the $20-billion plan is bolder than we and many others were expecting, given that Bloomberg had been so dismissive of river surge barriers. He is now proposing a few and is open to studying others.

“Two new preschools for B.P.C.” (News, May 29):

path to bike share begins”


Albert Amateau Jerry Tallmer

(Editorial, May 29): Of the hundred or more commentaries on


Milo Hess Jefferson Siegel

bike share I’ve seen so far, this one makes the most sense and sounds the most right notes. Particularly how the program could be a godsend

Published by NYC Community Media, LLC 515 Canal ST, UNIT 1C New york, NY 10013 Phone: (212) 229-1890 Fax: (212) 229-2790 Downtown Express is published every week by Community Media LLC, 515 Canal St., Unit 1C, New York, N.Y. 10013 (212) 229-1890. The entire contents of the newspaper, including advertising, are copyrighted and no part may be reproduced without the express permission of the publisher - © 2012 Community Media LLC. PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes or typographical errors that do not lessen the value of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for other errors or omissions in connection with an advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the advertisement in any subsequent issue.

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Having watched the many years of delays redeveloping the World Trade Center, we know all too well the perils of competing jurisdictions and egos. The subways and transportation network are critical and there needs to be more coordination. Lastly, the idea to build a Battery Park City on the East River, the so-called “Seaport City,” is very long-term, and we can already imagine the scoffing to come. But we hope the idea gets a chance to breathe because it is worth exploring. We recognize the potential downsides — overdeveloping the waterfront, forever marring historic South Street Seaport by taking it away from the water — but these are not impossible obstacles to overcome. While Battery Park City made out well after the storm, the Seaport and the rest of the East Side is clearly vulnerable. The plan would not only provide protection, but it would also add desperately needed park space. It’s something for us and our future leaders to consider. In the meantime, let’s do what we can now to protect our lives, our homes and our livelihoods.

Posted To: “After the rollout, the

Arnold Rozon

That debate with the public, scientists and politicians needs to continue. We are far from consensus on that issue, but even if there was agreement, we’d still be a long way from building this protection. That is why the shorter-term solutions like movable barriers along Lower Manhattan’s vulnerable East Side are important. Also critical was is the level of attention paid to protecting utilities, hospitals and communication networks. One reason Sandy hit Downtown so hard was because it was high tide here, but the city has also looked at protecting critical areas that made out fine — most notably our food supply, which comes in large part from Hunt’s Point. The mayor has set up ambitious yet achievable goals for 2013 before he leaves office and he has given his successor a good framework to build on and change, where needed. The dialogue with the mayoral contenders on this issue should begin now. We do have some concern about the amount of communication so far between the city, state and some of the other critical players, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

for younger people with cramped budgets and apartments, and how it “expands our transportation network now.” Well done.

These are just two more opportunities that the D.O.E. has ignored for building much need public school capacity downtown. We are facing a crisis in seating that will only get worse. The D.O.E. employees responsible for our district must either build new schools or be held accountable for their continuing failure. Parents have had enough. Buxton Parents should get together and sue the D.O.E. Perhaps litigation will get them to do the right thing. Pathetic that it would have to come to that.... Chris

Charles Komanoff


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BONUS ISSUE NEXT WEEK Downtown Express will be publishing a bonus hard copy issue next week on Wed., June 19. Two weeks later, we will return to our bi-weekly schedule, publishing on Wed., July 3. The change is being made for internal scheduling reasons to coordinate better with all of the other NYC Community Media publications. To make sure you see all of our content, sign up for our weekly email newsletter at, friend us on Facebook, and follow us @downtownexpress.

Letters Policy Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be emailed to or can be mailed to 515 Canal St., New York, NY, 10013.


June 12 - June 18, 2013

Waterfront rocks…

By J anel B lado w

Summer is upon us…

let’s hope the action in the hood helps keep our special neighborhood afloat!

Italian food tour…

The regional gastronomical tour of Italy continues this week at Acqua where Chef Ivan Beacco conjures culinary hits from Marche. Located in central eastern Italy, Marche boasts more than 100 miles of coastline along the Adriatic Sea yet remains one of the country’s least known providences. Mostly agricultural, very green and mountainous, it was rural and poor until the 1980s when it began capitalizing on its agrarian past with boutique vineyards and small craft workshops that have blossomed into major international brands (think Tod’s). Wines and foods of the area are also little known but surprisingly delish. The most common vines are Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Sangiovese and Verdicchio, for example. Regional dishes run from local fish to homegrown olives. Chef Beacco is presenting a four-course tasting menu – olive ascolane: breaded green olives stuffed with blended ground beef, chicken and pork; Capelli d’angelo ai ceci: angel hair pasta with Italian bacon, chickpeas and shallots; Tonno in panizza: zesty fresh tuna with black olives and tomatoes; and Crema fritta: fried custard cream with pistachio gelato. Paired with local wines, including Verdicchio dei

Castelli di Jesi “Garofoli”, this is a sure winner for $48 a person. The Marche menu continues through the weekend. Then on June 24 through 30, Acqua celebrates the fantastic foods and wines of the more well-known Tuscany region. That menu includes Pappa al pomodoro: thick tomato bread soup; Pappardelle alla maremmana: wild boar ragu; and other dishes. Enjoy!

Celebrating life and arts Downtown through music and dance is the annual River to River Festival which opens June 15 and runs through July 14 at various locations from the East River to the Hudson and around Battery Park. With more than 150 events at 28 sites all over Lower Manhattan, there should be something for everyone to enjoy. The first event in the Seaport features So Percussion, a quartet from Brooklyn, on Pier 17, Tuesday, June 18 with open rehearsal from 1-4 p.m. and a work-in-progress performance from 5-6 p.m. Check out for more events.

Moving music…

More free fun…

Our own Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra kicked off the summer season with a free concert at Brookfield Place Plaza (outside the Winter Garden, near North Cove, in Battery Park City) Tuesday, June 11, at 5:30 p.m. Founder/conductor Gary S. Fagin led the band in a high spirited hour of waltzes, foxtrots and tangos to get even the most flat-footed among us up and dancing. K.C.O. swings!

Shop till you drop…

The New Amsterdam Market opens for its 2013 season on Sunday, June 23, kicking off with a one-day fair and exposition at the Old Fulton Fish Market (South Street between Beekman St. and Peck Slip). More than 70 vendors will be on hand to sell their crops and goods. Among the newcomers are Nutshell Projects, a small farm and food consultancy founded by NAM’s first program director, Cerise Mayo. Also featured will be a special exhibition and dairy bar organized by milk expert Dani Zylberberg and Anton Nocito of P&H Soda.

transit sam ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING IS IN EFFECT ALL WEEK Sunday is Father’s Day! Traffic is not as bad as on Mother’s Day but I expect the Holland Tunnel to be jammed late afternoon. FASTRACK repairs on the Broadway line mean no trains at N, Q, and R stations in Manhattan 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday and Tuesday nights. Q trains will be rerouted via the D line in Manhattan, and there will be no N or R service in Manhattan. All lanes of the Manhattan-bound Brooklyn Bridge will close 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday nights. This will drive inbound traffic to the Manhattan Bridge and onto Canal St. The Brooklyn-bound Centre St. ramp onto the Brooklyn Bridge will close 12:01 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday. Only one lane of Broadway will be open between E. Houston and Broome Sts. and between Howard and Canal Sts. 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday through Friday nights. All lanes of the Manhattan-bound Lincoln

Tunnel ‘helix’ road (the spiral approach road to the tunnel) will close 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday nights. This will send inbound drivers to the Holland Tunnel and onto Canal St. In the Battery Park Underpass, all westbound lanes from the F.D.R. to West St./Route 9A and one of two eastbound lanes from West St./Route 9A to the F.D.R. will close 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday. These closures will continue through June 30. Rector St. will close between West and Greenwich Sts. 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Monday and Tuesday nights. From the mailbag: My review of Citi Bike in last week’s online column sparked a flurry of comments on the station in Petrosino Square. Here’s the debate: Dear Transit Sam, Do you have an opinion on whether

The Seaport Music Festival continues Friday night, June 14, 7 p.m., with Paws on Pier 17. The fest, founded in 2002, draws crowds… Meanwhile, Art Battles, a faceoff between teams of artists, continues to color our world with street art and runs 10 days starting June 20.

Who benefits…

While all this free fun is great and draws an eclectic mass of humanity to the Seaport, many of us in the hood are wondering, who’s benefiting? What is happening to our unique little corner of the city? How is all this construction, new container shops, food stalls run by vendors from other boroughs and artists from various locales going to help our community of artists, businesses, restaurants and pubs? The rumbling rages. Businesses along Front St. can barely survive with the street fenced off between Beekman St. and Peck Slip by a private developer, just to help him refurbish his million dollar residential empire. All along Peck Slip, long-time neighborhood establishments are either gone or struggling as they endure

D.O.T. should remove the Citi Bike station from Lt. Petrosino Sq., a space specifically dedicated for the exhibition of public art? Can you please use your connections at D.O.T. to find out why the agency won’t restore the art space? Art Lover, New York

the epic construction of a park that many longtime neighbors thought unnecessary. As New Amsterdam Market founder/ director Robert LaValva recently wrote in an email announcing the 2013 season: “If you’ve been wondering how recent developments at the Seaport have impacted our long-term vision for this neighborhood, all that we can say right now is that its future remains uncertain. Several months ago the City Council voted to facilitate a proposal whose full implementation…will degrade [the Seaport’s] character and potential as an economic and cultural engine.” And LaValva isn’t the only community leader and committed business owner in the Seaport who is questioning the intentions of the City Council, Community Board 1 and Howard Hughes Corporation. Why, we ask, would you set up stalls selling food and drink by vendors from OUTSIDE the Seaport when so many of our local restaurants were so badly hurt by Superstorm Sandy and could have sold, say, beer or sushi or tacos or whatever, and encouraged people to wander around the hood and fill those places that are open: Seahorse, Jeremy’s, Fresh Salt, Meade’s, Acqua, Mark Joseph, Fish Market? Perhaps a community meeting could have shown these powers-that-be that our neighborhood is filled with artists and creative people who might have loved show and sell their work at a summer pop up shop. Were they asked? Doubtful. We believe in our colorful, historic neighborhood and want to see its rich history and culture survive, not turn it into a theme park and mall with huge box stores. We are devastated about what is happening to the Seaport Museum. Please, current and future city officials, don’t allow the South Street Seaport to lose its personality.

Dear Doug and Art Lover, I’ll take a ride over to Lt. Petrosino Square (as soon as it stops raining) to see if I can find a more suitable place nearby. I’ll then contact the D.O.T. Transit Sam

Dear Transit Sam, Petrosino Square was expanded by 200 percent a few years ago. The park was being reconstructed, and I pointed out to a friend at D.O.T. that only one of the three adjacent travel lanes of Lafayette St. was needed. Those three lanes were fed only by vehicles turning right onto Lafayette from Spring St. I suggested to D.O.T. that they contact Parks and have the park expanded into two of the three lanes. Parks stopped the construction, redesigned the space, and the result was a much larger park. The spot in question where the bike station is now located was previously a travel lane; it would not be park space were it not for D.O.T. offering it over to Parks. It has only been available for art displays since 2011, when the reconstruction was completed. Doug, New York

Bikes and protest signs outside Petrosino Square.


TRINITY ChURCh PRESENTS fAMILY fRIDAY PIZZA & MOVIE NIghT Trinity Wall Street hosts this third-Fridayof-the-month event for kids who are hungry (for food and entertainment) and adults who are too pooped to cook (or even dial for delivery!). On the screen June 21, it’s the 1982 Steven Spielberg classic “E.T.” — an excellent chance to quiz your kids and see if they know that Elliott’s little sister grew up to play the Cinderella character in 1998’s “Ever After.” Their reward for making the connection? Reese’s Pieces, of course! Free. Fri., June 21, from 6-7:30pm. At Charlotte’s Place (107 Greenwich St., rear of 74 Trinity Place, btw. Rector & Carlisle Sts.). For more info, call 212-602-0800 or visit trinitywallstreet. org/calendar.

ThE ChILDREN’S ROOM AT POETS hOUSE This bright and vibrant space encourages literacy and creativity. In addition to housing many poetry books by classic and contemporary authors, the Children’s Room is designed to stimulate the imaginations of young ones and drive them to create poems and art of their own. From Thurs.-Sat., children are free to draw inspiration from the room’s card catalogue full of quirky objects and type up their own masterpieces on vintage typewriters. Every Thurs. at 10am, “Tiny Poet Time” offers poetry

June 12 - June 18, 2013

readings and music for toddlers. At 10 River Terrace (at Murray St.). Hours: Children’s Room open Thurs.-Sat., 11am-5pm. Admission: Free. For info, call 212-431-7920 or visit

SATURDAY fAMILY PROgRAMS AT ThE SKYSCRAPER MUSEUM Explore tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction and places of work and residence at The Skyscraper Museum. Their spring “Saturday Family Program” series features workshops designed to introduce children and their families to the principles of architecture and engineering through hands-on activities. On June 29, the “Archikids” workshop (lead by architect Yves Roger) gives kids ages 9-13 the chance to make their own soaring structures (inspired by images, vintage film and models of actual skyscrapers of the past and present). All workshops ($5 per family) take place at 10:30am. Registration is required. Call 212-945-6324 or emaileducation@ At 39 Battery Place (btw. First Place & Little West St.). Regular museum hours are Wed.-Sun., 12-6pm. Admission is $5 ($2.50 for students/seniors).

Photo by Liz Ligon, courtesy of Friends of the High Line

STARGAZING ON THE HIGH LINE Chelsea’s elevated park has more to offer than cool breezes and lazy strolls. Long before the sky darkens, members of the Amateur Astronomers Association gather on the High Line — and invite you to watch the sunset through their telescopes. But the real show begins when the planets and red giants begin to emerge. On a recent Tuesday night, tourists, families and locals alike peered through the lens at a dim, red spot we soon learned was Mercury. The smallest of the planets, Saturn, was also visible (as were its orange rings). When Venus rose over the Hudson, we gasped in wonder as a huge white spot flew by. Too big to be a plane and too fast to be a star, it was the International Space Station — and we all looked up in awe, at humanity in the heavens. Free. Tuesdays, 6:30-9:30pm, on the High Line. Location and times vary, depending on conditions. For updated info, visit or call 212-206-9922.

—Maeve Gately



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We accept clean & dry textiles like clothing, paired


June 12 - June 18, 2013

The unsinkable River to River rises, again Down by the water and in the streets, 150+ events at 28 sites THE RIVER TO RIVER FESTIVAL All across Lower Manhattan June 15 through July 14 Free For a schedule of events & more info, visit

BY M A E V E G AT E LY Every time spring turns to summer, it seems as if the promotional material for every musical performance, theatrical presentation, art exhibit, reading or family activity in Lower Manhattan boasts the same familiar phrase: “Part of the River to River Festival.” The mostly outdoor and completely free series, which long ago had art down to a science, has designed its first post-Sandy installment to function as a homecoming for displaced artists — as well as a reminder to audiences that the area’s energy and vitality wasn’t washed away, or even slightly waterlogged, by the physical destruction of last October’s superstorm. When asked whether the ongoing struggle to rebuild this area has impacted the event, Sam Miller (president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, which sponsors the festival) said, “What has compounded the personal and professional losses for both artists and organizations, particularly in the areas most severely damaged, has been the loss of community, of home in that wider neighborhood sense.” As restaurants and stores closed, he went on to explain, the area struggled to recover psychologically. That’s why this time around, River to River hopes to bring back more than foot traffic. “We will be providing activities and events that engage residents, workers and visitors in the hardest hit districts, particularly along the Water Street and South Street corridors, that we hope will generate a sense of excitement and interest in the area,” said Miller, adding that, “The festival will remind people of what a magical place

Photo by Stephanie Berger

Every year, a glorious noise: River to River favorite Bang on a Can opens the festival with a nine-hour super mix of boundarybusting music.

Lower Manhattan is to work, play, learn, eat, shop and experience art.” That there was any festival at all, let alone one whose physical reach and formidable roster equals that of years past, only happened “with the support of stakeholders in the neighborhood.” This year’s event will focus more closely on the processes by which the artists create their work, and not simply the works themselves. Open rehearsals and studio visits will allow visitors a glimpse into the ways in which a painting, sculpture or song is created. But before you go pulling the curtain back to see what makes a River to River artist tick, give the analytic part of your brain a break and just enjoy the beat.

THE BANG ON A CAN MARATHON An all-ages event on Sunday, June 16, 1-10pm. At the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts (3 Spruce Street). A feat to witness and a joy to endure, this culture-blending, genre-busting musical marvel returns, with its traditional non-stop,

nine-hour compilation of musical styles from across the world. The group, which is celebrating its 26th year, began as a one-day marathon concert in 1987. It’s since grown to include a variety of active and innovative programs and approaches — including residencies for musicians in developing countries (partnering with the State Department), a summer music festival for young composers, Asphalt Orchestra and an aggressively creative street band. This year’s marathon will include performances by Alarm Will Sound, Talk Normal, Asphalt Orchestra and Hans Abrahamson.

FLUID: CONSTRUCT June 15 through July 14. From 8am-6pm. Weekdays, at One Liberty Plaza. Many of the shops at South Street Seaport are still closed, and the memory of the overwhelming power of Superstorm Sandy lingers. With this in mind, four New York artists will examine the city’s relationship with water in an exhibition commissioned by Arts Brookfield. David Baskin, Jason Head, Wyatt

Nash and Emily Sartor will present their own interpretation of this shared theme, drawing from their backgrounds as painters and sculptors to bring color and life to an otherwise dark part of the city’s recent past.

THE JAZZ SAXOPHONE An all-ages event on Friday, June 21 at 12pm, 12:30pm & 1pm. At Brookfield Place Plaza, 220 Vesey Street, One New York Plaza and Zuccotti Park. New York City is, in so many ways, where the saxophone found its first and truest home. From the jazz clubs of 1920s to the work of Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker and Jimmy Heath, to the backing tracks of many Frank Sinatra songs — the saxophone has had a love affair with this city. A co-presentation with Arts Brookfield, as part of Make Music New York, “The Jazz Saxophone” is a musical tribute to this soulful instrument. Three 15-minute sets in three Continued on page 20


June 12 - June 18, 2013

River to River to make month-long wave Continued from page 19

different locations will feature hip voices from the contemporary jazz scene. Come celebrate the perfect fusion of lively jazz and a lazy summer afternoon, and let the wail of the sax take you back — or forward.

LAURIE ANDERSON June 18-22. A film/mixed media, interactive, literature/spoken word and music event, at various locations. NASA’s first artist-in-residence isn’t resting on that 2003 laurel. The uncategorizable, unpredictable and prolific Laurie Anderson brings her decades of experience as a multimedia artist, musician and cultural analyst to the job of River to River Guest Curator. On June 18 and 19, two 7pm Rockefeller Park concerts, “The Language of the Future,” have Anderson’s group of handpicked writers and performers exploring how time functions in their work. The first performance will focus on stories, the second on songs — as Anderson attempts, to “create a floating atmosphere that extends the sum-

Photo courtesy of the artist

June 18 & 19: Multimedia, performance art and electronics visionary Laurie Anderson adds “River to River Guest Curator” to her list of credits, when she joins select artists to perform “The Language of the Future.”

mer evening and makes it all the more dream-like and timeless.” Over the next three nights, Anderson will present a series of projects that demonstrate her interest and investment

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in fellow writers, directors, theatre and visual artists working in and around New York City — including a June 22 multimedia performance by Brooklynbased performer and interactive-elec-

tronics artist Andrew Schneider. It takes place at 9pm, on Pier 15 (East River Esplanade). Expect the unexpected — but plan for plenty of “strobe lights and loud music.”


June 12 - June 18, 2013



Like a rundown carnival’s dark ride attraction, Clay McLeod Chapman packs his monologues, short stories, novels and plays with the unnerving sense that serious danger is lurking just around the bend. But unlike promised Midway thrills that rarely materialize, Chapman’s characters always deliver when it comes to crossing the line that separates sinister impulse from violent action. That makes him particularly well-suited for this musical version of “The Penalty.” Chapman’s stage adaptation (with music and lyrics co-written by Robert M. Johanson) is inspired by the Gouverneur Morris novel and the Lon Chaney film version. Set in 1920 New York City, a legless beggar’s plea for spare change is ignored by Lower East Side passersby — who are blind to the fact that the seemingly helpless derelict is actually an underworld kingpin obsessed with executing a macabre revenge plot against the prominent doctor who deformed him. “The Penalty” stars Gregg Mozgala as Blizzard, along with an ensemble that includes actors from Mozgala’s The Apothetae theater company (dedicated to the production of new full-length plays about the “Disabled Experience,” and the only NYC-based

company to be run, owned and operated by people with disabilities). Fri. & Sat., June 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 & 29. At 7:30pm, at Dixon Place (161A Chrystie St., btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.). For tickets ($15 in advance, $18 at the door; $12 for students/seniors), call 212-219-0736 or visit


Once dominant and now dwindling, South Greenwich Village’s Italian community has been captured for the ages — in vibrant and loving detail — by New York-based photographer, writer, installation and mixed media collage artist Anne Kristoff. In “The Last of the Italians,” Kristoff uses expressive photos accompanied by brief interview excerpts to tell the story of a changing neighborhood’s casualties, stubborn survivors and enduring traditions. At its best, as in the case of Frances Ciotta, the exhibit’s combination of visual and audio beautifully conveys both the crystalized essence of a particular person and their universal desire to retain that which they hold near and dear. “We celebrated everything in that place,” says Ciotta of an old haunt. Refusing an invite to join her daughter in the outer boroughs, she insists, “I’m going from here to the cemetery. I’m my own boss. I like it that way.” True to her word, Ciotta passed away in 2012, exiting this world as a Village Italian. Her sense of

Photo by Anne Kristoff

See and hear Frances Ciotta — at Soho Gallery for Digital Art, through June 15 (and forever on the web, at

defiance endures, alongside other exhibit participants — such as 43-year-old Tommy Cannella (who’s been praying in front of the blessed mother at St. Anthony’s for decades) and 16-year-old Christina Auricchio (who admits to spending most of her time out of the neighborhood, yet daydreams about what life would have

been like to grow up with dozens of kids her age on the block). Free. Through June 15, at Soho Gallery for Digital Art (138 Sullivan St., btw. Houston & Prince Sts.). For info, call 212-228-2810. Visit to view exhibit photos and listen to their accompanying audio clips.

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June 12 - June 18, 2013


Set back by Sandy, Asphalt Green to finally open in B.P.C. Continued from page 1

studios for yoga, Pilates, tap dancing and spinning. The theater will be suitable for performance classes, movies and community meetings. The entrance lobby, open to anyone with or without a membership, will have a juice and snack bar run by Elixir and seating overlooking the dazzling six-lane swimming pool where Asphalt Green will offer learnto-swim and competitive swimming classes. A smaller pool heated to 90 degrees with a movable floor will offer exercise opportunities for the mobility-impaired. Babies as young as four months can be introduced to the water in that pool and “get comfortable with it,” said Bryan Beary, the director of Asphalt Green Battery Park City, who was formerly aquatics director at Asphalt Green’s Uptown campus on East 90th St. The community center was originally budgeted at $55 million and was supposed to open in November 2011. At first, the delays were attributed to construction issues. Then it became apparent that the Battery Park City Authority, which was paying for the facility, wanted to modify the contract with Asphalt Green that had been written under the administration of B.P.C.A. Chairperson James Gill and President Jim Cavanaugh. Eventually, the contractual difficulties were resolved. The center was close to opening when Superstorm Sandy struck on Oct. 29, 2012, causing millions of dollars in damage. The floors buckled and had to be replaced along with more than $900,000 worth of exercise equipment and the elevator. The facility had to be repainted. When the community center opens, it will offer all of its sports programs plus a summer camp. However, the cultural programs will not be available until the fall. These will be run in partnership with the Church Street School for Music and Art, and Great Performances, a catering company that will teach 15 cooking classes a week. Other partners include InShape Circus

that offers aerial and ground classes for kids and adults, and Baby Fingers, which teaches babies to communicate with their caregivers using sign language. Most of these special classes will entail a fee over and above the basic membership fee. Membership in the community center will not be required to take most of these classes, but members will get a discount. Beary said that the community center now has around 2,000 adult members plus their children, and could accommodate around 3,300 people. He said there are 100 people on staff, many of whom are coming to the Battery Park City center from Asphalt Green’s Uptown campus. During the community center opening on Saturday, June 15, free demo classes will be offered in swimming, circus arts, basketball, soccer, an obstacle course and volleyball. Registration will be required for the swimming classes, which are for ages 5 to 14. Some of these free demo classes will also be available from June 16 to June 27 with registration required for some such as the Pilates Reformer. This class utilizes special equipment to improve posture and build core stability. Registration will also be required for Training C.A.M.P., a high-intensity cardiovascular and strength training class. The demo class will be offered for adults 18 and older on June 22 at 10 a.m. To enroll in a free demo swimming class, email To enroll in a Pilates Reformer class, available on a limited, first come, first served basis, email Through June 14, Battery Park City residents can enroll as Asphalt Green members for a discounted fee of $105 a month for a single enrollment to $195 a month for families. On June 15 and thereafter, the fee ranges from $116 a month to $215 a month for Battery Park City residents as compared with a fee of $129 a month to $239 a month for non-residents. The membership desk is open from noon to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Call 212-2982980 for more information.

Photo courtesy of the Battery Park City Authority

Asphalt Green’s movable floor pool, above, which opens June 15 along with the rest of the center, is designed for wheelchair users and crawling babies. Below, the gym, and at bottom, the center’s flooded area last year, three days after Superstorm Sandy hit.

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer


June 12 - June 18, 2013

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Downtown Express, June 12, 2013