VOLUME 26, NUMBER 3
JULY 3-JULY 16, 2013
Seaport Museum Loses an Anchor P. 14
Principals learn hard lessons in risk management By J os h R o g ers t all seemed settled. After months of parent anxiety, school officials said they had found kindergarten seats in Lower Manhattan for the last of the 148 stranded children. The feeling of relief may have lasted five seconds. That’s when the Downtown principals, who stepped up to solve the waitlist problem, shared the budget risks and pressures that came attached to the solution. Ronnie Najjar, principal of P.S. 89 in Battery Park City, said she feared the pending “day of reckoning,” namely Oct. 31 when her school budget could
Continued on page 23
Is the park tax dead or alive? BY L I N CO L N A N D E R S O N eports of the Hudson River Park NID’s death have been greatly exaggerated — at least according to one well-placed source. Scott Lawin, vice chairperson of the Friends of Hudson River Park, said on Tuesday that the effort to create the Neighborhood Improvement District for the park is still alive and kicking. “Very much so,” he said. “We’re redoubling our efforts.” But in an interview July 1, developer Douglas Durst, the former chairperson of Friends who had been one of the NID’s strongest backers, said
Continued on page 3
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
Pride & Independence This year’s LGBT Pride Parade was capped off in Tribeca with fireworks and a Cher concert, Sun., June 30, a few days short of Independence Day. It was a particularly joyous day as hundreds of thousands of revelers celebrated last week’s Supreme Court decision granting same-sex couples federal marriage benefits.
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July 3 - July 16, 2013
July 3 - July 16, 2013
Big bucks, little discussion on park bill
Where there’s a will, Will it be Barry’s Way?
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Once upon a time, namely 2005, there was a governor, George Pataki, and he had an authority he controlled (actually many hundreds including the Battery Park City Authority), and he had a wife, Libby, who was on the board of the Women’s Museum, which had its sights on Site 2B in Battery Park City. But it was not 2B, because a lone backbencher on Community Board 1, Barry Skolnick, raised his voice and said a school was needed more. Many scoffed at Skolnick including the Battery Park City Authority, but he got Board 1 on board, led by Julie Menin, and eventually, Pataki’s successor, one Eliot Spitzer (who later ran into different problems concerning women), nixed the museum and signed on to the school that became P.S./I.S. 276. C.B. 1 member Tom Goodkind is hoping to co-name the block on First Place in front of the school after Skolnick, now retired in not so balmy Rochester, Minn. “Hey — it’s a long shot — but so was the school,” Goodkind told us. Skolnick said he is proud to have started something that few thought was possible at first. He’s never been a fan of street co-naming, but he is flattered and “I wouldn’t be against putting up a plaque.” Coincidentally, he was in town for a visit last week and told us he misses the “spunkiness” of civic meetings here. He’s known in Rochester as the “outspoken New Yorker” and said he wishes there was more “drive to try and change things” there. But he likes his neighbors and he also enjoys living so close to ducks and other wildlife even though he’s in the middle of downtown.
Councilmember Margaret Chin picked up two pretty good endorsements in the last week or so and another one we’re not surprised we haven’t seen her brag about. The powerful United Federation of Teachers backed her with union leader Michael Mulgrew saying in a prepared statement he had “no doubt” about Chin’s commitment to working families. State Sen. Daniel Squadron also endorsed her over the weekend. (The back scratching went both ways as Chin announced her support for Squadron’s bid to be Public Advocate.) And the one we didn’t get a press
release about? Chin was in the first group endorsed by Jobs for New York, a political action committee funded in large part by the Real Estate Board of New York, Crain’s Insider reported. Presumably the PAC liked Chin’s support for development projects by Howard Hughes Corp. in the Seaport and N.Y.U. in the Village. Chin’s opponent, Jenifer Rajkumar, only said, “I was not surprised,” when asked about the PAC nod.
Edie Windsor, the lovable lesbian litigation plaintiff who doomed DOMA, is an undeniable unifying force Downtown, if not the world. The day the Supreme Court ruled that the feds wrongly taxed her inheritance from her wife, Windsor appeared at a Stonewall Inn rally to celebrate, and to endorse Chris Quinn for mayor. A few days later, one of Quinn’s fiercest critics, Yetta Kurland, who challenged Quinn four years ago and who is running again for City Council, posted a Facebook picture standing next to Windsor, who was holding an “I Love Yetta” t-shirt. This is unlikely to lead to a QuinnKurland rapprochement, but if Windsor can bring enemies to common ground that easily, then maybe she should head to the Middle East to help out John Kerry.
Follow us, LeBron
We like to think we hold all of our 3,000+ followers on Twitter in special esteem, but we have to admit we felt a little star struck this week when none other than LeBron James, a.k.a. @KingJames with a quarter of a million followers, started following @DowntownExpress. Is King James thinking of buying a Lower Manhattan home? Hoping his youngest will get a seat in P.S. 234? We’re not sure what got him interested in our tweets or how long he’ll stay — particularly since we’re not following him. (Tweet about Downtown, LeBron and we’re there.) We probably shouldn’t mention that we still have not forgiven the King for forsaking his team and hometown on live TV a few years ago. Would we have done so if the NBA’s best player chose or — let’s dream — someday chooses the Knicks? Well, yeah.
BY LI NCOLN ANDERSON As the State Legislature’s session drew to a close last month, a sweeping bill which would allow the Hudson River Park to transfer its unused air rights, was quietly passed by both the Assembly and the State Senate. “Radio silence” was how one stunned park watchdog described how the bill suddenly popped up in the session’s final days, seemingly without anyone — other than local affected politicians, the Hudson River Park Trust and, no doubt, key stake holders — having heard a peep about it until then. The bill was approved by the Assembly 96-5 June 20, then, after a marathon State Senate session it passed unanimously 57-0 at around 5 a.m., Sat. June 22. The governor’s signature is still required, though his approval is expected. The bill was sponsored by Richard Gottfried and Deborah Glick in the Assembly, but had no named sponsor in the Senate. The bill will allow the Hudson River Park to sell its unused air rights for development up to one block inland of the West Side Highway — with the proceeds from Pier 40’s air rights specifically earmarked for sorely needed repairs to the West Houston St. pier’s roof deck and support pilings. The bill also extends the lease terms for commercial uses in the park to 49 years, and in some cases, for larger developments, up to 99 years. However, on Pier 40, the lease
term remains 30 years. Potential Pier 40 developers have, in the past, argued their plans wouldn’t work without a longer lease. Also, under the new bill, the city is required to give Pier 76, at W. 36th St., fully to the Trust, once the tow pound is removed from the pier. Fifty percent of this pier’s footprint will be designated for park use, with the remainder of the pier slated for park / commercial use. The Trust would get all the revenue generated by the pier. In addition, the bill calls for the imposition of a surcharge of up to $2 on tickets for all commercial vessels (entertainment, sightseeing, day or dinner cruises) that embark or disembark within the park, with this tax paid directly to the Trust. Furthermore, the bill expands allowable revenue-generating uses at the park’s designated commercial piers to include restaurants, media and film studio facilities, commercial amusements — such as carousels — performing arts, schools and educational facilities. Finally, the bill allows Pier 54, at W. 13th St., the park’s main event pier, to be rebuilt wider than its original footprint. Neither Glick nor Gottfried — whose districts each include part of the park — got everything they wanted in the bill. The bill doesn’t allow things at Pier 76 that Gottfried favored, such as hotel and residential use and possibly a large Ferris wheel. It doesn’t permit something Glick wanted at Pier 40,
commercial office use, which is needed to allow Douglas Durst’s adaptive reuse proposal to convert the pier’s three-story shed structure into a high-tech office campus. The area’s local youth sports leagues last year put on a major push to change the park’s legislation to allow residential use on or next to Pier 40 — feeling it was the best way to ensure funding to fix up the crumbling “sports pier.” However, lack of political support sunk that idea. “The bill is certainly a compromise,” Assemblymember Gottfried said. “It does several important things for the financial viability of the park…. However, most of the provisions relating particularly to Pier 40 or Pier 76 were deleted [from the bill’s final version]. We will hopefully take up issues relating to those piers next year. I felt it was better to do that than enact some very inadequate provisions that would then be very difficult to change in the future.” For State Sen. Brad Hoylman, satisfaction at the bill’s passage was tempered by what he criticized as a lack of transparency in the process. “I am disappointed by some of the provisions, and particularly by the lack of transparency or opportunity for public consultation on major portions of the bill,” he said. Hoylman said he worked to achieve what he could, including ensuring that the air rights transfers would undergo public review.
Downtown Express photo by Lincoln Anderson
Hudson River Park.
“I am particularly happy,” Hoylman added, “that the legislation facilitates the preservation of Pier 40 and its sports fields Continued on page 7
Hudson River Park’s NID, dead or alive? Continued from page 1
the State Legislature’s recent approval of air-rights transfers from the park was effectively the nail in the NID’s coffin, at least for now. “It’s not going to happen this year,” he said, “so that means you’re going to have a whole new administration to take the temperature of…. Now you have to factor in the new development, and you have to overcome a lot more opposition — which I don’t see happening.” The air-rights transfers change the equation of the development in the district, so all the plan’s financials have to be recalculated. And resistance to the NID had already been ratcheting up among local residents, some of whom object to being forced to pay a tax to fund the park, and disagree with the siting of its eastern border, calling it arbitrary. “There was building opposition,” Durst noted. “And based on what just happened, it will be very hard to defend” asking people to pay into a special taxing district. “They’ve given them tremendous ammunition to fight with.”
Similarly, Michael Levine, Community Board 1’s land use director, said last week that the NID application had been pushed to next year, which meant it would be up to the next mayor to see it to fruition.
‘It’s not going to happen this year, so that means you’re going to have a whole new administration to take the temperature of.’ Last year, Durst resigned from the Friends over differences with the Hudson River Park Trust on how to redevelop Pier 40. Nevertheless, Durst had continued spearheading the Friends’ effort to create the special-tax district. The taxing district’s boundaries would
include the Hudson River Park and several blocks inland, stretching the length of the park from 59th St. to Chambers St. Durst’s hope of transforming Pier 40’s massive three-story, pier-shed structure with an adaptive reuse plan for a high-tech commercial office campus, has been stymied at least for now. In another significant change to the park act, the Trust can now start selling off the park’s 1.6 million square feet of unused air rights. Under one possible scenario, part of Pier 40’s existing “donut”-shaped shed could even be torn down, freeing up air rights that could then, in turn, also be sold across the highway — making it even more unlikely that Durst, or anyone else for that matter, would be able to redevelop the air rights-depleted pier. “Now, the only thing that can happen to it is to be torn down,” Durst said fatalistically of the Pier 40 shed, “which is, I suppose, the goal of the Trust — because they did so little to fix the pier.” Speaking this week, Durst gave the impression he was interested in Pier 40 more out of a sense of duty to the park than anything else. He mentioned his development of One World Trade Center, and other big city projects, “so, working on a reconstruction of
Pier 40 is not really something I wanted to do — but if the pier is to be saved, it’s the only solution I saw.” Arthur Schwartz, vice chairperson of the Hudson River Park Advisory Council, said “Durst is pissed, major-pissed.” A.J. Pietrantone, who stepped down as Friends of Hudson River Park’s executive director a few months ago, but had, like Durst, stayed active in the Friends’ effort to push the NID, said “until development [from the sale of the park’s air rights] is quantified, you can’t ask people to pay into a NID.” How much money the development rights could actually generate for the park has not been estimated. However, David Reck, former chairperson of Community Board 2’s Land Use and Zoning Committee, said that as recently as just a few years ago, the going rate for air rights was $600 per square foot, which could mean almost $1 billion for the Trust. But Reck was extremely leery of the air rights transfer plan. “This is Westway,” Reck said, recalling the controversial highway-in-a-tunnel megaproject with accompanying development and park space. “This is what they always wanted, and now they’ve got it.”
With reporting by Josh Rogers
July 3 - July 16, 2013
July 3 - July 16, 2013
Candidates for borough president say position still matters Cat stolen with car
One unlucky, black and white cat was stolen from a Soho street along with its owner’s vehicle two weeks ago, police reported. The owner, a 37-year-old Hoboken woman, told police that her five-year-old, three-legged Tuxedo cat was curled up inside her parked car when it was stolen Thurs., June 20. She parked her 1999 green Dodge Caravan wagon at 68 Thompson St. at about 3:45 p.m. When she returned for it 15 minutes later, the car was gone, along with her pet, some of her clothing and a five-year-old Toshiba laptop. Police noted that there was a camera at the scene, on the corner of Watts and Thompson Sts., but they have not found the cat or the vehicle.
A man reported that his BMW parked in Hudson Square was stolen in the middle of the afternoon last week. The 35-year-old told police that he had parked his black 2006 BMW X5 midsize luxury SUV in front of 487 Greenwich St., between Canal and Spring Sts. on Mon., June 24. He said he left it from about noon to 3 p.m. that day, but when he returned, it was no longer at the curb. There was no broken glass at the scene and the man stated he did not owe a summons. Police checked for the $16,500 vehicle in the tow pound, but were unable to locate it.
The office building, located at 503 Broadway, is home to Limited Brands Inc., whose fifth floor premises were burgled while the business was closed. An employee of the company told police that an unknown person stole three laptop computers sometime between 10:15 p.m. on Tues., June 25, and 8:45 a.m. on Wed., June 26. Police said the thief, a male wearing a black ski cap, used the elevator to gain access to the fifth floor, pulled on the door handles several times and entered the premises. He then walked through the offices, picking up three Dell laptops and putting them into a black bag. The three laptops were each worth $1,281. The burglar left the building the same way he entered it. Police said that one of the building’s cleaning ladies may have witnessed the crime. Video of the incident was also available.
One woman without a lock was also left without her wallet at a New York Sports Club, police reported. The woman, 26, stated that she had an exercise session at the 503-511 Broadway N.Y.S.C. on Sun., June 16. She said she left her belongings in an unlocked locker between 5:30 and 6:15 p.m., but had not secured it because she did not have a lock. When she returned to the locker room, her wallet was no longer with the rest of her property. She said that her wallet contained her debit cards, credit cards and her New York State driver’s license.
Snooze, you lose
A German visitor had his suitcase snatched out from under him while he dozed on a Hudson Square park bench. The incident occurred from 3:00 to 4:30 a.m. on Wed., June 26, according to police. The 41-year-old man said he fell asleep on a bench in front of a deli on the southwest corner of Spring and Hudson Sts., with his silver suitcase between his legs. When he woke up, the $50 suitcase was gone, along with his credit cards, debit cards, clothing, medical documents and 500 Euros in cash. No unauthorized usage was reported on the cards.
Video footage from a Soho boutique shows a woman walking away with a bag worth $1,800, according to police. An employee of Saint Laurent Paris at 80 Greene St. reported that a woman walked into his store on Tues., June 25, and out again with an expensive snag from the shop’s shelf. He said that the woman, about 30 years old, took a $1,795 black Saint Laurent Y Ligne shoulder bag down from the shelf at 4:22 p.m. and exited the store three minutes later. She was described as about 5’7” tall, 180 lbs, wearing white jeans and a green tank top.
— Kaitlyn Meade
An office in Soho was broken into overnight last week, police reported, resulting in a total loss of $3,843 in stolen equipment.
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Soho manager sentenced to prison A former employee of a Danish furniture manufacturer was sentenced to state prison for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from his company’s Soho headquarters, the Manhattan District Attorney announced. Sean Thomas, 36, was convicted in New York State Supreme Court on June 11 for stealing from Fritz Hansen, a high-end Danish furniture company with U.S. headquarters at 22 Wooster St. On June 26, Thomas was sentenced to between one and three years in prison and ordered to pay back the $229,000 he stole over a twoyear period. Thomas was hired as an office manager at Fritz Hansen’s Downtown location in 2007, the New York District Attorney’s office reported. In September 2009, he opened a bank account under his middle name Judson, claiming that he still worked for his former employer
BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER Three City Council members and one former community board chair want to be the next Manhattan borough president. At a forum convened by the Lower Manhattan Marketing Association on June 27, they told the audience why they are running for this office, summarizing their credentials and indicating what they would like to do as borough president if elected. Councilmember Gale Brewer said that she has been working 40 years — as a teacher at Barnard and CUNY colleges, in the private sector and in government. She has been on the City Council since 2002. She said that these experiences have taught her how to create new jobs and foster development that works for the community. She also said that she had “learned how to strengthen community boards” and make them “incredibly important to the neighborhood.” Julie Menin cited her seven years as chairperson of Community Board 1, her background as a small business owner and the founder of a major not-for-profit in Lower Manhattan and her experience as a regulatory attorney as the calling cards for her borough president aspirations. “I have taken on the tough battles and won,” she said, “whether it was winning a $200 million victory against Con
Edison for this community or whether it was getting the 9/11 terror trials moved out of the neighborhood, which no one thought was possible.” She said that her vision for the Borough President’s office is “to do a comprehensive, borough-wide master plan, which cities all across the United States have. We are one of the few major American cities that does not have a master plan” that would provide a blueprint for building more affordable housing, school seats and open space. Councilmember Jessica Lappin introduced herself as a lifelong New Yorker and a lifelong Democrat, raised by a single mom. She mentioned that she had graduated from Stuyvesant High School and is raising two boys in the city. “I understand many of the concerns and challenges that middle class families are facing,” she said. “I’m running for borough president because we need a fighter for middle class and working people in this city — somebody who understands that we need to be focusing on housing, on public education, on creating jobs — and I intend to use the borough president’s office, if I’m fortunate enough to be elected, to tackle those issues.” Councilmember Robert Jackson said that he had been born and raised in
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Julie Menin, left and Jessica Lappin, were two of the Democratic candidates for borough president to appear last week at a forum at New York Law School.
Manhattan. “I’ve been an advocate for our children and a fighter for our community. I want to continue to be an energetic leader on behalf of Manhattanites and all New Yorkers,” he said. The candidates agreed that the bor-
ough president’s office was important because of its ability to affect land use and its role in appointing community board members and members of other Continued on page 23
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Gucci. Over the next two years, Thomas falsified Fritz Hansen’s records to indicate he was paying funds to legitimate vendors when he was actually depositing money into his own account. He was caught in 2011 by an employee of the company’s Denmark office, who pointed out several bills that seemed to have been paid twice. “Embezzlement by insiders against Manhattan businesses is unacceptable,” Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan D.A., said in a statement. “Sean Thomas stole from his employer 39 times over a two-year period, and even used stolen money to pay for personal expenses ranging from a vacation to Aruba to an SUV to his child’s first birthday. It appears that he only stopped because he was caught.”
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July 3 - July 16, 2013
July 3 - July 16, 2013
New Amsterdam Market opens, closes & vows to fight
Lady Liberty to reopen with new security tent
BY T E RE SE L O E B K R E U Z E R By all measures, the New Amsterdam Market held on Sunday, June 23 was a resounding success. More than 6,000 people came to the blocks between Beekman St. and Peck Slip on South St. to buy food from the market’s 72 vendors. Among many other offerings, there were bread bakers using flour from upstate New York and a dairy section showcasing cheese, yogurt and ice cream manufacturers using milk from small dairies. Maggie Nesciur of Flying Fox brought her hand-picked cherries. The owners of the Pie Corps of Greenpoint brought flaky sweet and savory pies. Scott Bridi of Brooklyn Cured was there with his spiced meats. Laena McCarthy, founder of Anarchy in a Jar, came with her jams, made with local produce. The market opened at 11 a.m. but by early afternoon, many of the vendors had sold all that they had brought with them. “It was one of the largest attendances we ever had,” said New Amsterdam Market’s founder, Robert LaValva. “It gave me a real boost of encouragement to see that despite the upheavals of the last couple of months, people came from all over the city.” The “upheavals” center around a City Council vote on March 20 that granted Howard Hughes Corporation, which has a long-term lease on parts of the Seaport, the right to dismantle the existing mall on Pier 17 and replace it with a new one. Nine days after that vote, a document came to light showing that Howard Hughes’ letter of intent with the New York City Economic Development Corp. gives the firm the option to erect high-rise hotels, apartment buildings and retail on land formerly occupied by the Fulton Fish Market, including the landmarked Tin Building and the New Market building, which is outside the protected area. Should Howard Hughes exercise that option, it would have to go through another ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure). LaValva, who held the first New Amsterdam Market in 2005, has been campaigning for years to have the Seaport area recognized as a historic market district and
By Kaitlyn M eade The Statue of Liberty’s security screening will remain in Battery Park City for the foreseeable future, according to officials, as the screening tent is pitched in Battery Park to accommodate Lady Liberty’s July 4 re-opening date. Manhattan Borough Parks Commissioner William Castro came before Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee on July 1 to give an update on security measures for the Statue of Liberty, which will welcome tourists back to its shores this week for the first time since Sandy rolled through the harbor in October 2012. “As most of you know, the screening tent where we were screening along the promenade in the Battery was basically destroyed in Sandy and, in fact, the whole Statue of Liberty complex had to be worked on...” said Castro. “We have been working with the Parks Department and a number of city agencies to get the tent erected and everything set up, electrical and fiber optic.” Castro said that the checkpoint at Battery Park will be “basically the same thing that was there before” and will include screening passengers and bags with x-ray scanners and magnetometers. In June, the National Park Service abandoned a plan to relocate the Statue’s security checkpoint to Ellis Island after criticism by Senator Charles Schumer and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who were concerned that admitting passengers onto the ferry without screen-
Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
The New Amsterdam Market opened for a day, June 23. Robert LaValva, above, the market’s founder, said he is continuing his campaign to preserve the Seaport’s historic buildings.
to have it preserved as such. He envisioned using the Tin and New Market buildings as the cornerstones of a large market similar to the Pike Place Market in Seattle or the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, that would be open daily with hundreds of vendors. City Council’s new plan does include two small food markets, but the developments of March and April punctured LaValva’s dream. The June 23 New Amsterdam Market will be the only one of the summer. LaValva plans to resume in the fall with monthly markets — a step backward from what he had been doing in the previous two years, when he held markets every week from late spring to December. “Right now, we’re going to focus all of our energies over the next couple of months on a political campaign to save the Fulton Fish Market,” he said. “People see the [New Amsterdam Market] and they don’t understand why we’re fighting. They think of our market as a done deal. But as much as I’ve
ing them ahead of time could allow terrorists to smuggle weapons onboard. Instead, they opted to temporarily reinstate the security measures put into place after Sept. 11, 2001, in which visitors were screened in a tent in Battery Park before departing for the monument. The plan has garnered criticism in Downtown circles because it clogged the park with tourists and litter. While the tent is a temporary structure, it will have to last until a permanent location is found and adapted, Castro said. When Ro Sheffe, chairperson of the Board 1 committee asked if a permanent location had been found yet, he replied, “There’s no set place right now...” He noted that the Parks Department was looking at several options, including a suggested location at Pier A, but that none of them had been found suitable yet. One location endorsed by several local politicians is a Coast Guard facility in the Battery. A letter from U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Sen. Daniel Squadron and City Councilmember Margaret Chin asked Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to consider the location and to arrange a meeting to discuss the impacts of the screening tent on Battery Park. In the meantime, Castro said that more screening machines will be set up this summer to keep the lines moving more quickly than in previous years.
Downtown Express photo by Yoon Seo Nam
The security tent for the Statue of Liberty cruises was almost ready to go, July 2nd.
Castro also said, in response to a question from committee member Pat Moore, that they are implementing a similar ticket system to the 9/11 Memorial in which visitors buy a ticket for a specific reservation time in advance, cutting down on long lines for tickets and allowing traffic to flow more evenly throughout the day. “The percentage of people buying timed tickets has increased,” he said.
Hudson River Park bill passes in Albany Continued from page 3
tried to explain it, most people can’t envision that we’re talking about something much bigger….Anyone passing by might think, this is a great thing! Why don’t you just keep it in this parking lot?” LaValva is urging Downtowners “to make it very clear to their elected officials and everyone who’s running for office that they will not accept handing over the Fulton Fish Market to Howard Hughes in any way, shape or form.” On June 23, in the midst of the market’s usual bustle, LaValva held a brief rally to impart this message. No elected officials were there, but Jenifer Rajkumar, who is running for City Council, did attend and asked the crowd, “Do you want a shopping mall or do you want a seaport?” LaValva said, “We are also going to be very strongly advocating that the Seaport
Museum has to remain. None of those properties can be handed over to Howard Hughes.” He believes that the city has shown by its actions that it doesn’t appreciate or grasp the historic and urban significance of the Seaport. “The key to understanding the South Street Seaport is to understand that it is a district and it’s not just 10 blocks of particular charm with a dotted line around them,” he said. “Everything is interconnected. The Landmarks documents from the 1970s when they designated the Seaport talk about the incredible cohesiveness of the urban fabric here — how everything is interrelated with each other…. “This is it. The writing is on the wall. It’s very clear that the city supports handing over the fish market and the museum to Howard Hughes and we have to mobilize and say that is not acceptable.”
and ensures the entirety of Pier 76 will be incorporated into the park.” The idea for a surcharge on commercial vessels using the park was originally Assemblymember Glick’s, and she said it could bring in $1.5 million for the Trust annually. Before the vote on the legislation, Madelyn Wils, the Trust’s president, sent out a letter to politicians and park advocates, stating, in part, that the bill “provides many significant and important additional rights [for the Trust], plus some language clarifications that will allow us to improve our bottom line and help support the park’s viability into the future.” It’s been rumored that Barry Diller, chairperson of IAC which is headquartered near the park, will make a multimillion-dollar matching grant toward Pier 54’s renovation. Widening the pier would make it easier and safer for people to enter and exit it at big public events, according to the Trust. However, while politicians are hailing the Legislature’s latest modifications to the park act, the Village’s leading preservationist, for one, is up in arms. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said the public should have been consulted about the bill’s most dramatic change — allowing the Trust to transfer the park’s unused development rights one block inland. “The speed with which this moved —
and with lack of consultation and lack of information about its impacts — is frankly quite disturbing,” he said. “There should have been hearings. There should have been consultations with affected communities…. “We understand that there is an imperative to find new ways to find revenue for the park, but this was so sudden and dramatic.” Gottfried said he didn’t think a full study of the revenue potential had been done, and also that he couldn’t really give a dollar amount since development is always “speculative,” based on the real estate market. In an interview, Glick said, “I’m totally thrilled that we prevented the Trust from permitting any residential or hotel use in the park. That was something that they kept pressing for right until the end. And they wanted long-term leases at Pier 40 — they didn’t get that. “I had a goal, and the goal was to preserve Pier 40 for the playing fields and to prevent major hotel and residential development in the park — and these were accomplished.” In fact, she remarked, of the air rights transfer provision, “I would have rather not seen it done, but I wasn’t the only one in the Assembly majority.” She wouldn’t clarify if she was referring only to Gottfried, or perhaps also to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who over the years has worked closely with the Trust’s current president, dating back to Wils’ days as chairperson of Community Board 1. In a statement on the bill, Silver said, “Parks and ball fields are such precious commodities in Manhattan and this agreement
enables us to maintain and expand those resources to thousands of local residents, workers and visitors. I applaud the many community stakeholders who have worked with us to arrive at this landmark agreement that ensures this great park will continue to serve us for many decades to come.” As for why there were no public hearings on the park act changes, Glick said, “We don’t have hearings on everything. We didn’t have hearings on speed cameras. It’s not required. And the circumstances were what they were: The city pushed hard, the Trust pushed hard — and yet we were successful in blocking the inappropriate development that they were desperate to include.” Arthur Schwartz, vice chairperson of the Hudson River Park Advisory Council, said Trust President Wils was at the advisory council’s meeting June 24 and discussed the air rights transfer provision. There are about 1.6 million square feet of unused air rights in the park available for sale right now, according to Wils. The park’s upland portion — the part on land — has no air rights. It’s only the piers designated for commercial use that have air rights, namely, the Chelsea Piers, and Piers 40, 57, 76, 81, 83 and 98. Once piers are designated as public space they apparently lose their air rights. Schwartz said the bill should have more restrictions on the development rights transfers, such as how much F.A.R. (floor air ratio) can be transferred to certain sites and height caps on development. “It was not well thought-out and there
should have been a lot of public comment on it,” he said. Indeed, the reason hearings were held on the Pier 40 residential idea last year was largely because Glick demanded them. However, Tobi Bergman, president of P3, a Pier 40-based youth sports organization, saw the bill’s passage as a win-win. The 15-acre pier has become the Lower West Side’s equivalent to Central Park and a youth sports mecca, due to its huge courtyard artificial-turf sports field. “I was happy to see that Pier 40 remains protected from the worst kind of development, large-scale retail and entertainment projects, because the lease term there will remain 30 years,” Bergman said. “The best new opportunity will be the potential sale of air rights, creating the possibility of income for Pier 40 without new buildings at the pier. The ability to sell air rights may create the possibility of removing parts of the existing mammoth [pier shed] structure to open the park to the river.” Bergman led the local youth leagues coalition, Pier 40 Champions, in their failed push last year for a pair of residential towers to be built next to the pier, to provide revenue to fix up and maintain Pier 40. As for the public having been kept in the dark until the bill was O.K.’d last week, Bergman downplayed it. “Everyone loves transparency,” he said, “but the legislative process isn’t usually that way, and in the end we need to rely on the people we elect to legislate, for better or for worse.”
July 3 - July 16, 2013
transit sam SUNDAY PARKING RULES IN EFFECT THURSDAY, JULY 4 Happy Fourth of July! With the holiday falling on a Thursday, the big getaway will be Wednesday afternoon. For Downtown, this means that the Holland Tunnel will be packed, and things will also be slow-going in the Battery Tunnel. Inbound traffic on Sunday will be a bear as well. The Macy’s Annual Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration on Thursday will slow things down on the Far West Side, with effects reaching into Lower Manhattan. Staggered street closures will begin around 4:30 p.m., and end well into the wee hours in the area bounded by Tenth Ave., the West Side Highway, W. 14th St., and W. 59th St. Expect significant delays at the Battery and Holland tunnels with the fireworks expected to run from 9:20 p.m. to 9:50 p.m. The Great 4th of July Festival will fully close Water St. between Fulton and Broad Sts. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. The 4th of July Pig Roast will fully close Cliff St. between Fulton and John Sts. 12 p.m. noon to 9 p.m. Thursday. The 11th Annual Arab-American and North-African Cultural Street Festival will close Great Jones St. between
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TRINITY ChURCh Broadway at Wall Street 74 TRINITY PlACe is located in the office building behind Trinity Church
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From the mailbag: Dear Transit Sam,
Broadway and Lafayette St. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The N.Y.C. Unfolds Street Fair will close Broadway between Houston and Grand Sts. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. In the Battery Park Underpass, one lane in each direction (between the F.D.R. and West St./Route 9A) will close 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. One tube of the underpass will close 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, as well as 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. Saturday. All Manhattan-bound lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge will close 11 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday, so watch out for extra traffic at the Manhattan Bridge and Battery Tunnel. All lanes of the Manhattan-bound Lincoln Tunnel ‘helix’ (the spiral approach road to the tunnel) will close 10:30 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday. This means a lot of the inbound traffic will be diverted to the Holland Tunnel, and onto Varick, West, and Canal Sts. Rector St. will close between West and Greenwich Sts. 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Thursday nights, through Wednesday, July 17. For more street closure news, follow me on Twitter @gridlocksam.
ThURsDAY, JUlY 11, 10:30am-12pm Fellowship Gathering: Job Seekers’ Group Join others seeking to improve and effectively market their job skills. 74 Trinity Pl, 23rd Fl ThURsDAY, JUlY 11, 6:30pm Fellowship Gathering: Summer Dance Aerobics Stay cool and feel great as you dance away the stress of the day in this low-impact dance aerobics class. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Parlor TUesDAY, JUlY 9 & 16, 6:30-8:30pm Fellowship Gathering: The Blessing Group Learn how to bless your way through every day and bless others you meet along the way through a combination of prayer, meditation and contemplation. 74 Trinity Pl, 3rd Fl, Library TUesDAY, JUlY 9 & 16, 1-3pm Open Hours Origami Learn origami with interfaith minister Lisa Bellan-Boyer. Charlotte’s Place
If I am making a right turn and there is a bike lane to the right of me, who has the right of way? What if the bike rider has a red light when I have a green one? It’s very difficult to see if a bike is coming, especially at night. What’s the correct answer? Gary, New Jersey Dear Gary, If there is no special signal for the
bike rider or no signal at all, then the bike rider has the right-of-way. If the bike rider has a red light and you a green then you have the right-of-way. That being said, if this is in N.Y.C., few bike riders obey red lights so you shouldn’t assume you can go safely (for the cyclist especially) just because you have the ROW. Transit Sam Send me your traffic, transit, and biking questions: email@example.com.
sUNDAY, JUlY 7 & 14, 10am The Gospel, Times, Journal, and You A discussion group that reads the editorial pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the assigned gospel for the day. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl
sUNDAY, JUlY 7 & 14, 10am Community Bible Study Whether you’re a Bible scholar, opening the book for the first time, or anywhere in between, your voice is welcome. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl
MONDAY—FRIDAY, 12:05pm Trinity Church · Holy Eucharist
sUNDAY, 8am & 10am St. Paul’s Chapel · Holy Eucharist sUNDAY, 9am & 11:15am Trinity Church · Preaching, music, and Eucharist · Sunday school and child care available
MONDAY—FRIDAY, 5:15pm All Saints’ Chapel, in Trinity Church Evening Prayer, Evensong (Thursday) Watch online webcast
MONDAY, JUlY 15, 1pm The Broad Way An informal Bible study focusing on the Gospels. Bring your lunch for lively discussion and fellowship. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Parlor
an Episcopal parish in the city of New York
TUesDAY, JUlY 9 & 16, 6pm Mark’s Gospel Uncovered Bible Study Dig deeper into this Gospel’s essence through a close examination of Mark’s writing style. 74 Trinity Pl, 3rd Fl, Room 1
July 3 - July 16, 2013
Never retiring, sometimes retired Michael Levine BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER Michael Levine, Community Board 1’s director of land use and planning, first retired in 1998 at the age of 55 after having worked for the City Planning Commission for 30 years. Then he went to work for the American Planning Association for eight years until 2006, when he accepted a part-time position at Community Board 1. Levine, in addition to his job at C.B. 1, also teaches undergraduates at Pace University and coordinates the Community Planning Fellowship Program for the Fund for the City of New York. Now that he’s 70 years old, Levine is about to retire again — sort of. He will remain on the C.B. 1 payroll until July 5, 2013 to receive all the unused vacation time he has accrued and will be replaced as director of land use and planning by one of his former students, Diana Switaj, who came to the community board as an Urban Fellow three years ago and has been serving as Levine’s assistant. But Levine hopes to return to C.B. 1 in the fall as a consultant. “How many times a day can I walk the dog,” he said. Levine, who was born and brought up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, remembers that as a kid, he and his friends would take the subway to Greenwich Village to go to coffeehouses and jazz clubs. “We always loved coming into the city,” he said. “To me, it was the big time and Brooklyn was a suburb of Manhattan.” He thought of being an architect and enrolled in Pratt Institute — but that didn’t work out. “After a year, they told me, you’re not an architect,” he recalled. “You think about the city and the excitement of the city and what makes the city work. You’re a city planner.” Levine was in Hunter College’s first class of urban planners, getting his masters degree in 1968. He then got a job immediately with City Planning. He was given small jobs to work on, before he got an assignment that he still recalls with wonder and delight. In the fall of 1969, artists who were living illegally in Soho’s former manufacturing buildings applied to live in the buildings legally. “I was terribly excited,” Levine said of the assignment. “Wow! What am I going to do with it? Am I going to run out and interview all the people living there? It took a long time to gain their trust because they were living illegally in their units and doing their artwork.” He said that it took him two years of negotiating with agencies, with the community and with the Board of Estimate — the original legislative body of New York City — to reach a solution. “They were ultimately responsible for approving any zoning text changes,” he recalled. “And it was the greatest fun I had in my whole career — 1971 — three
years out of school, and I’m negotiating with borough presidents to adopt a major zoning change for Lower Manhattan that had the longest-term effect imaginable. It’s Soho today! The district would have been demolished by Robert Moses had it not been for the zoning change and the historic district designation. “That, to me, has been the most important thing I ever did… I saw the change on the streets immediately. Forty years later, we can see that it increased the cultural life of the city. It increased land values. I invented it 40 years ago. It’s a good feeling to know that it happened.” Though he will soon be officially retired from C.B. 1, he hopes to continue to work as a consultant on the Howard Hughes developments at the South Street Seaport, the Civic Center plan, which entails selling the buildings at 346 Broadway and at 49-51 Chambers St., and the issues involved with funding Hudson River Park. About Howard Hughes and the Seaport, he said that he expects Hughes to make a proposal for developing the Tin and the New Market Buildings, which lie just north of Pier 17. “To me, that’s an exciting project,” said Levine. “They would have to come back to us for a ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure] action to dispose of city property and to enter into a longterm lease — and they would need a long-term lease because they do not have leasehold rights on that property. We’re talking about new development. I don’t know what it will be — residential, hotel, mixed? I don’t know.” He said that he hopes to work on this project with Switaj. “It’s a continuation of what we’ve worked on,” he said. “To me, to see the Seaport alive and thriving is the most important thing.” Regarding the Civic Center plan, he said that he agrees with the sale of the buildings. “They’re antiquated,” he said. “They don’t work anymore.” However, the community board is on record as opposing the sale unless it is accompanied by more school seats. The third project on which Levine has been working is how to fund Hudson River Park. He has been serving as a representative of C.B.1 on the steering committee, which is reaching out to the public to guarantee a public review process. “My job as a representative of C.B. 1 is to make sure that the public participation process happens and that everyone has a chance to speak,” he said. “I personally favor a Neighborhood Improvement District as a Greenwich Village resident, but I have to remain neutral. We’ve had opinions all over the place.” “I’ve had a lot of fun,” he said of his work as a city planner. Considering his previous track record as a retiree, it seems likely that the fun isn’t finished.
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Michael Levine, Community Board 1’s urban planner, helped craft the 1971 law to allow Soho artists to live in former industrial buildings.
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July 3 - July 16, 2013
July 3 - July 16, 2013
Board 3 approves Danny Chen street co-naming
I.S. 276 students make history with first graduation
By Clarissa-J an Lim Community Board 3 voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a resolution to co-name a block of Elizabeth St., Danny Chen Way. Private Danny Chen committed suicide in 2011 in Afghanistan after being subjected to incessant racial taunting and abuse by fellow soldiers. Chen grew up in Chinatown the only child of Chinese immigrants and joined the army at age 19. The only Asian in his platoon, Chen became the target of ethnic slurs and physical torment. Hours before his death on Oct. 3, 2011, he was allegedly made to crawl some 100 meters over gravel while carrying Army equipment and being pelted with rocks by his superior officers. Eight officers were subsequently found guilty in connection with the incident and handed light sentences. Chen’s death sparked uproar in the AsianAmerican community and brought about reform campaigns to address the hazing culture in the military. It led to President Obama signing into law a bill designed to combat military hazing earlier this year. The approval of the Danny Chen Way conaming — for Elizabeth St. between Canal and Bayard Sts. — will serve as a reminder of Chen’s ordeal and a way to honor his memory. Elizabeth R. OuYang, president of OCA-NY, the organization that has been
By KAI TLYN M EADE When parents enrolled their sixth graders in the brand new school at 55 Battery Place, they acknowledged that they were taking a gamble — one which undoubtedly paid off, if the warmth of the graduation ceremony was anything to go by. Cameras flashed and words of wisdom were dispensed, in the time-honored tradition of all graduations, as the first eighth grade class walked across the stage of I.S. 276 on June 21. The Battery Park City School opened its doors in 2010, one year after the first kindergarten class started at Tweed Courthouse. The K-8 was built in response to a desperate need for Downtown school seats, but it quickly grew into one of Lower Manhattan’s most beloved schools. “Three years ago, most of us came together for a journey,” said Principal Terri Ruyter. “Some of you joined us en route.” She reminded the gathered assembly that the best journeys are not always easy, but they are challenging and inspiring. “We took a risk coming to an unknown, half finished school…” said Jack Sarmiento, one of the two student speakers at the ceremony. The other student speaker, Sophia Penney, said that she had been anticipating a terrible first day, when her parents moved Downtown midway through her sixth grade year. “OK, I’ll admit it, I’ve only been here for two and a half years,” she joked. “But honestly, I feel like I’ve been here forever… I am so proud to be graduating from this school…. “Terri knew how awkward my first day could have been and so she had a welcoming party set up for me,” she said. “I think that’s why this place is so great. We all had wel-
among the fiercest advocates of justice for Chen, said at the meeting that the street sign will “represent the ongoing struggle for equality in the armed forces for minorities, women and gays and lesbians.” “While Danny’s passing is tragic, it will not be in vain,” she said. “It has united the Chinatown community around the issue of military hazing and to encourage greater respect for diversity in the armed forces.” The resolution passed to cheers and resounding applause in the audience as Chen’s family hugged and shed tears of joy. His mother, choked up with emotion, embraced OuYang. Outside the auditorium, she tearfully thanked supporters: “That sign — Danny Chen Way — will make me feel some comfort. But the memory of my son, the pain, will never go away.” OuYang also thanked the “thousands of people across the world and around the country” for their support. She said they received a measure of justice on Tuesday evening. “I hope when you walk past Danny Chen Way,” she said, “you will hold your head up high and remember the sacrifice that Danny made so that all our lives can be treated with dignity and respect.” OuYang promised a “huge victory celebration” after the City Council’s expected authorization of the street co-naming. “We will never forget Danny,” she said.
Downtown Express Photo by Clarissa-Jan Lim
After winning the community board’s approval for a street co-naming sign for her son, Danny Chen’s mother, Su Zhen Chen, right, with her husband, Yan Tao Chen, center, tearfully thanked supporters, but said the pain of losing her only child will never go away.
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Downtown Express photos by Yoon Seo Nam
Principal Terri Ruyter greets one of the first graduates of I.S. 276.
Cameras were aplenty at the commencement ceremony June 21.
Downtown girls take 2nd in Long Island tourney FINANCIAL
Assemblyman Shelly Silver
coming parties, even if we didn’t know it.” Penney will be attending The Beacon School in the fall. Several of the 62 graduates made it into one of the city’s top schools such as Stuyvesant High School in B.P.C., and many of them will be attending the Financial District’s Millennium High School. “They kept saying you’re taking a big chance on a new school like this, but look at it… This was our first choice,” said Kate Gyllenhaal, whose daughter Ajda is an I.S. 276 grad and will be attending Millennium in September. Ajda’s father, Umit Celebi, said, “We used to drive by, going, ‘Will it be finished in time?’” He also said it was amazing how quickly the school had put itself on the map in athletics, despite starting out with teams composed only of sixth graders and a coach, Jon Carey, who noted that the school’s first year was also his own first year teaching. From basketball games against “bearded eighth graders” to the entire grade taking a trip to the Frost Valley YMCA camp in the Catskills, many students and teachers spoke fondly of the unity of being a small school, just starting out. “The thing I learned about this school is that it is one of the few places in the city where you’re a part of a family, no matter who you are, inside and out,” said Gabriel Gonzales, standing with his beaming parents, Yelitza and Antonio, at the reception. Gabriel will be attending Brooklyn Tech next year, bolstered by I.S. 276’s use of technology and computers in classrooms. “I think everyone loves this school,” said Yelitza. “Terri is the best… The school is a big family, more than a regular one.”
After a string of spring losses, six games, two days and one tournament, Pier 40’s first fast-pitch softball league, Manhattan Mayhem, won an astounding second place in the United States Specialized Sports A s s o c i a t i o n ’s S u m m e r K i c k O f f Softball Tournament on Long Island June 23. Manhattan Mayhem is the borough’s first competitive girls travel softball team, run by coach Renae Beauchman, who also teaches at Pier 40’s after school and summer softball programs. Her 14U division (ages 14 and under), entered the Summer KickOff Tournament in Huntington, Long Island, as a relatively new team. Beauchman started the travel team eight months ago, recruiting some of the girls she had coached at Pier 40.
They practiced mostly at Pier 40 and the Battery Park City ballfields, but soon after they began, Superstorm Sandy crashed in, leaving their fields damaged for months. “We got some work in, but it was hard. Power was out for so long,” Beauchman said. The team lost twice and tied on the tournament’s first day, June 22, but Beauchman wrote in an email, “Our second game on Saturday we came back from a 7-0 deficit to tie the team 7-7 in the last inning with the winning run getting tagged out at home!” But, she added, “We were rolling over them on Sunday,” winning two games, before falling to the Long Island Nitros in the championship.
Photo by Scott Thode
Manhattan Mayhem posing with their second place trophy.
July 3 - July 16, 2013
BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER
New PEP office:
Battery Park City’s Parks Enforcement Patrol now has a command station at 212 North End Ave. to supplement the headquarters station at 21 West Thames St. The new office, which opened on July 1, is staffed from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. There are about 35 PEP officers in Battery Park City, patrolling its 36 acres of parks and gardens. They are employees of the city’s Dept. of Parks, but the Battery Park City Authority pays their salaries. Though PEP officers are unarmed except for mace and batons, some of them, designated as “Peace Officers,” are empowered to issue summonses and make arrests, if necessary. All PEP officers provide information and first aid, address park conditions, summon emergency medical services and respond to other emergencies. Having a command station on the north side of Battery Park City will enhance response times. The new office, located in the Verdesian building, opens onto North End Avenue and Teardrop Park. The PEP headquarters office on West Thames Street near the esplanade is staffed 24 hours a day. The telephone number is 212-417-3100.
South Cove repair work:
Superstorm Sandy took a bite out of South Cove, which is now largely fenced in so that the damage can be repaired. The Battery Park City Authority has hired FGI Construction Group to replace electric feeder cables, conduits, electrical boxes and wiring, all of which were submerged by the storm surge. Sections of wood deck planking and wood rail have to be replaced. Some of the granite on the north
Swedes celebrate summer solstice Downtown
end of the quay was loosened in the storm. The stones are being taken down, numbered and will be reinstalled. The work is scheduled to be completed in early September. The cost of approximately $500,000 may be covered by FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and by insurance. The B.P.C.A. has submitted claims to both.
B.B. King at Lowdown Blues Festival:
The legendary B.B. King will perform on July 10 at the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival to be held on the Brookfield Place Waterfront Plaza facing North Cove marina. Now 87 years old, B.B. King, who was born in a small cabin on a cotton plantation in Mississippi, has been repeatedly ranked as among the greatest guitarists of all time. He has received 15 Grammy Awards and was honored with a National Medal of the Arts. In 1987, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is known for his precise, vocallike string bends and left hand vibrato, which have influenced thousands of other musicians. He still gives around 100 concerts a year. He will be joined on the July 10 program by the James Hunter Six, On July 11, the festival will feature the three-time Grammy Award-winning band, Los Lobos. Their music is an amalgamation of rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues, and traditional Spanish and Mexican music. Also on the July 11 program, Los Lonely Boys will play “Texican rock ‘n’ roll.” They have been nominated numerous times for Grammy Awards and have sold millions of records. Both concerts begin at 6 p.m. and both are free.
Common Terns in South Cove:
Despite their name, “Common Terns” are not all that common in Lower
Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
A pair of Common Terns rested in South Cove on Saturday morning in between fishing expeditions on the Hudson River. Though Common Terns are the most abundant terns in New York State, they didn’t live in or around Battery Park City until recently, when a colony settled on Governors Island. Because of increased human use of beaches, competition with herring and Geat Black-backed Gulls, flooding and predation, the species is considered “threatened.”
Manhattan. Two years ago, a nesting colony of them with about 35 pairs was sighted on a Governors Island pier. Now there are around 80 pairs on Governors Island. Two of them have migrated to South Cove, where they have been seen resting quietly between fishing expeditions on the Hudson River. The small, dainty birds with long, pointed wings and a deeply forked tail lay their eggs on scrapes in sand or gravel. They abound along the beaches of New York City and Long Island, but have been threatened by habitat disturbances and pollution. In the last 40 years, the Common Tern population in North America has declined by more than 70 percent. Common Terns migrate long distances. The South Cove and Governors Island terns are likely to have spent their winters along the coast of Central and South America, perhaps as far south as Argentina. They eat by plunge-diving for fish from heights of one to 18 feet. An interesting adaptation enables them to do this. They have red oil droplets in the cone cells of their retinas, enhancing their distance vision. Also, they can drink in flight, ingesting seawater and excreting the salt through a specialized gland in their bills. All of this is packed into a tiny package. The adult birds are about a foot long, including their tails.
B.P.C. Cares raises money for Oklahoma:
Capt. Edwin Falcon addressed the Parks Enforcement Patrol officers who have been assigned to the new Battery Park City North Command Center at 212 North End Ave.
July 3 - July 16, 2013
Many Battery Park City residents have not forgotten the people from all over the world who helped them after 9/11. With this memory still fresh, they founded Battery Park City Cares in September 2005 to raise
money for disaster victims elsewhere. On June 27, B.P.C. Cares organized a party at Miramar restaurant (facing South Cove) to help the Oklahoma tornado victims. The two-hour party netted around $700 to go to Oklahoma — possibly to one family that B.P.C. Cares will “adopt.” Other sponsors of that evening’s fundraiser included Miramar restaurant, the Battery Park City Neighbors Network, T. Edward Wines, Le Pet Spa, AmsterDog, and MYNY Cookies. Since 2005, B.P.C. Cares has sent bicycles to a village in Sri Lanka, contributed money to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and to Haiti after the earthquake that devastated the country in January 2010. Money was sent to help tsunami victims in Japan and to help educate girls in India. B.P.C. Cares did have 501(c)(3) tax status, which is being renewed, according to Anthony Notaro, one of the organization’s founders. He said that contributions are tax deductible.
I n N e w Yo r k C i t y, t h e l o n g e s t daylight of the year is a mere 15 hours and six minutes long. In Sweden, on June 21 — the summer solstice — the sun never sets and i t ’s a n a l l - n i g h t p a r t y. F o r 1 7 y e a r s , N e w Yo r k C i t y ’s Swedes have been holding their communal midsummer party in B a t t e r y P a r k C i t y. E v e r y o n e i s i n v i t e d . T h i s y e a r, a n e s t i m a t e d 6,000 people showed up to dance around the flower-bedecked mayp o l e i n Wa g n e r P a r k , l i s t e n t o t r a ditional Swedish music, watch folk dancers in traditional costumes and whoop it up. Paul Dahlin and fiddlers from the Swedish Institute in Minneapolis provided the music. They have played at the National Folk Festival and have received numerous awards for preserving Swedish folk traditions. “ We h a v e h a d f o u r g e n e r a t i o n s of a family at the festival,” said Abby Ehrlich, director of programming for the Battery Park City
P a r k s C o n s e r v a n c y, w h i c h s p o n s o r s the festival along with the Consul G e n e r a l o f S w e d e n i n N e w Yo r k . The midsummer festival has ancient origins incorporating pagan traditions having to do with fertili t y a n d r e b i r t h . Yo u n g w o m e n a r e supposed to weave wreaths made of seven different kinds of flowers and to place these under their pillows o n m i d s u m m e r’s e v e s o t h e y w i l l dream of their future husbands. Subsequently the festival acquired an overlay of Christian meaning and is sometimes known a s “ S t . J o h n ’s D a y, ” c e l e b r a t i n g t h e birth of St. John the Baptist. The weather was perfect this y e a r. T h e r e v e l e r s w a t c h e d t h e s u n g o d o w n o v e r N e w Yo r k h a r b o r a s a glistening, full moon rose in the e a s t . To o s o o n , t h e p a r t y w a s o v e r. Still wearing their wreaths, they dispersed along the esplanade as the stars came out.
Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
There were an estimated 6,000 people at this year’s Swedish Midsummer Festival in Wagner Park.
— Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Battery Park City block party:
Battery Park City had its first block party in 2002 as the neighborhood struggled to pick up the pieces after 9/11. Anthony Notaro was there for the first one and is now organizing what will be B.P.C.’s 12th block party, scheduled for September. The first full committee meeting will be July 11 at 6:30 p.m. aboard the Manhattan Sailing Club’s Arabella in North Cove marina. Anyone who wants to help with the block party is welcome to attend. To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb10@gmail.com.
Downtown Express photos by Milo Hess
Drones in B.P.C. hover in a ‘magical way’ Famed musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson had model drone planes buzzing over Battery Park City’s Rockefeller Park June 19. “They’re really toys, and they move in a very weird and beautiful way,” Anderson told The New York Times. “And because people think of drones as killing machines, generally, I’m interested in finding ways to use them in a different, magical way.” She reportedly told the cheering crowd, “Let’s hear it for the whistle-blowers. What’s going on in America?” Anderson, a Downtowner, was performing as part of Lower Manhattan’s annual River to River Festival.
July 3 - July 16, 2013
July 3 - July 16, 2013
Anchors aweigh, Seaport Museum loses its operator BY T E RE SE LO E B K reuzer The Museum of the City of New York, which had been managing the South Street Seaport Museum since the fall of 2011, will end its relationship with the museum headquartered at 12 Fulton St., effective July 5. After years of financial hardship, the Seaport Museum, consisting of property on Fulton St. and Water St. and historic ships moored on Pier 16, was on its way back to financial and curatorial health when Superstorm Sandy struck, creating an estimated $22 million worth of damage. “Sandy ravaged our building systems and more,” said Susan Henshaw Jones, director of the Museum of the City of New York and president of the South Street Seaport Museum. “FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] considers the South Street Seaport Museum a ‘nonessential nonprofit. There is no clear path to receiving ‘mitigation’ funding. At the same time, funding from FEMA will take years to receive.” After struggling to reopen following Sandy, the museum finally had to close its galleries at 12 Fulton St. on April 7 and move its collection to its conjoined building facing John St., which still had adequate air conditioning and climate control to keep the collection safe. It also kept its auxiliary shop, Bowne & Co. Stationers, open at 211 Water St. along with Bowne Printers, also on Water St. The museum’s 1885 schooner Pioneer embarked on harbor sails this season. Danai Pointer, a spokesperson for the Department of Cultural Affairs, said that the Pioneer will continue to sail through the summer season and that Bowne & Co. will remain open. “We are working with the Museum of the City of New York on the transition,” she said. An article in The New York Times about the South Street Seaport Museum’s situation quoted Kate D. Levin, the cultural affairs commissioner, as saying that the D.C.A. is working to find another entity that could manage the South Street Seaport Museum. In the last 21 months, under the Museum of the City of New York’s direction, the South Street Seaport Museum mounted 18 exhibitions and initiated an ambitious array of children’s programming. It spent $200,000 to replace the hull on its historic lightship, Ambrose, and raised $400,000 to replace it’s deck. In addition, the Museum of the City of New York raised the $250,000 needed to rebuild the South Street Seaport Museum’s 1883 schooner, Lettie G. Howard. It also obtained a capital grant of $2.5 million from the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs to stabilize the hull on the Wavertree, built in 1885 and one of the last large sailing ships with an iron hull. “I believe that the City of New York has a commitment and responsibility to our community to insure the continued existence and viability of the South Street Seaport Museum,” said Paul Hovitz, a member of Community Board 1’s South Street Seaport Committee. ”The programs, exhibits and
By Janel Blado w Summer has kicked off in grand style. From the sidewalk cafes filled with suppin’ patrons to the street rocking with music lovin’ hipsters at the 4Knots Music Festival with Kurt Vile & The Violators to The Babies and Fat Tony…the nabe was alive and thriving once again.
Feeling the progress…
With the cobblestones laid on Front St. and a few people moving into the buildings between Beekman St. and Peck Slip, we see signs of recovery around us more and more. Repair work continues all the way to Dover St. now, so while driving and walking our neighborhood streets still suck, at least we know it’s only a matter of time.
New dining spot…
Four neighbors have banded together to open a new hangout restaurant, The Trading Post, at 170 John St., where the old Yankee Clipper once lived. Partners Deirdre Stone, Sam O’Connor, John Higgins and Richard Sheridan live in the area. They are striving for something clasically American, with a neighborhood vibe.
scrubbing and scouring The Paris Café on South St. The stalwart establishment which survived a night with the notorious outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid — not to overlook that Thomas Edison conducted business there — can’t be defeated by a little storm called Sandy. The electricity is being rewired, the mold scrubbed off and the doors expect to open to patrons before August. Yippee!
Rumor has it…
I’m working on a confirmation, but I hear the Bridge Café may no longer be with us unless it can get some grand patrons with very deep pockets. Workers were there last week assessing the damages. I hear it will take between $250,000 and $500,000 to bring the wooden building built in 1794 back to code.
Jose Rivera, a long-standing staffer of Jeremy’s Ale House, lost his beloved sister Nancy McDowell last week. The wake was held Thursday at Provenzano Lanza Funeral Home on Second Ave. A group of Seaporters and Ale House staff attended to pay their respects to the family. Our thoughts are with you!
Restaurant reincarnation… Pick up please… Jeremy’s and Meade’s
Employees were out in force this week
are both getting a dog waste disposal system
and will be supplying local dog owners with bags to keep our streets clean. According to Jeremy Holin, this has become a hot topic at local community meetings, so he decided to take action. The bag dispensers should be installed within the month.
Giving peace a chance…
Thursday night, a fundraiser was held at Fish Market, 111 South St., for the Tayshana “Chicken” Murphy Foundation and it drew quite a crowd. In case you don’t remember this horrific story, Tayshana, or Chicken as she was nicknamed, was gunned down in her Harlem building on Sept. 11, 2011, the tragic victim of a rivalry between the young men of two public housing projects. The promising 18-year-old senior at Murry Bergtraum High School, 411 Pearl St., was ranked number 16 in the nation as a rising basketball star. She had offers and scholarships and a bright future ahead. Her father, Taylonn, who is instrumental in running the foundation, is anxious to stop the senseless violence that is taking the city’s kids. He spoke about the goals of the organization: to educate, motivate, build self-esteem and offer mediation. “We want them to learn there is an
alternative to violence to deal with their anger, to give them a chance at entrepreneurship and education,” he said. They have 49 kids in a poetry class and several designing their own fashion lines, he offered as examples. He is also trying to mediate a peace between the two groups street fighting in Morningside Heights. “More love out there takes away the hate.” (Oh and P.S., the kitchen at Fish Market is up and running again. Mama Lynn is back with her incredible dumplings and scallion pancakes.)
Watch your children… With sum-
mer here and kids out of school and many families visiting the Seaport or just wandering the hood, we want to offer a word of warning: please watch your kids and teach them to speak up. On Tuesday, June 25, a 12-year-old boy was sexually assaulted in a Pier 17 bathroom as he visited with his grandmother. About an hour later, he told his grandmother that a man lured him into a bathroom stall. Cops responded but there’s an unsatisfactory outcome: police said the video cameras on the pier were never replaced after being damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Really?
Downtown Express photo by Yoon Seo Nam
The Museum of the City of New York invested $600,000 in the Seaport Museum’s Ambrose before announcing it could no longer afford to run the museum.
ships are a vital part of our heritage. Letting them die would be like leveling the Alamo to build a shopping mall.” Catherine McVay Hughes, C.B. 1’s chairperson, said that she is scheduled to go to a meeting July 3rd with city and other officials to discuss the museum’s fate. The topic will also be discussed at Board 1’s Seaport Committee meeting July 16. A spokesperson for the city’s Economic Development Corp., the Seaport Museum’s landlord, declined to comment. “I thank the Museum of the City of New York for its fruitful stewardship of the South Street Seaport Museum,” City Councilmember Margaret Chin said in a statement. “For many months, I have worked with the Department of Cultural Affairs, Community Board 1, the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the Howard Hughes Corporation, and the South Street Seaport Museum to ensure the museum’s continued presence in the Seaport, and I look forward to together finding an organization that will assume stewardship of the museum, its collections and its legacy.” Jenifer Rajkumar, who is running for City Council against Chin, said: “Back in March, thousands of community members asked the City Council to negotiate protections for the Seaport Museum as part of Howard Hughes Corporation’s…proposal for the Seaport. The City Council failed to do so. This was an incredible missed opportunity to save the Seaport Museum. We must not miss another
Downtown Express file photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Susan Henshaw Jones was president of the Seaport Museum for nearly two years.
opportunity now.” All of the parties must come “to the negotiating table to find the stream of revenue that will ensure the survival of the Seaport Museum,” she added. Spokespersons for Chin’s office and campaign declined to comment on Rajkumar’s criticism of the Council action. Jones sent a farewell letter to museum
friends last week saying in part, “Certainly, we hope that work on Ambrose and Wavertree will continue. In closing, I thank you for believing in our cause, as evidenced by your support, and I am so very sorry to disappoint! Come visit many of us at the City Museum.”
With Reporting by Josh Rogers
Barbarini finds higher ground After Sandy swept into the South Street Seaport, flooding many of its businesses, Claudio Marini told Downtown Express while cleaning out the wreckage of his Front St. restaurant Barbarini, “What are we going to do? We are dealing with it. You have to have faith.” Claudio and his wife Linda’s faith, though tested to the utmost, was rewarded last week when they announced that they had signed a lease for a space in the Financial District. Their restaurant, Da Claudio NYC Ristorante e Salumeria, will open at 21 Ann St. on the corner of Theatre Alley in early 2014, they said in an email newsletter. “It’s almost been eight months, so it’s been quite a journey since the flood,” Linda said in a phone interview. “We weren’t really sure of our options initially, so we got out of the lease.” At the same time, she said, the two other business partners went their separate ways, which made financing the project more difficult. In addition, many of the financial grants and loans to the area were conditional upon rebuilding in the business’s original location. The couple decided to look for a new spot after Sandy’s surge left the restaurant with about $1 million in losses. “One of the things that was very important to us
was to be on higher ground,” Linda said. The couple turned to “crowdfunding” platforms to raise money. One such place, Lucky Aunt, raised money for the “United Front on Historic Front Street” — nine businesses located on the heavily-flooded Seaport street. Linda said the campaign raised just under $3,000. A separate effort on gofundme.com raised nearly $16,000. “If it wasn’t for our neighbors and our customers, we wouldn’t have gotten very far,” she said. She and her husband turned to the Financial District, hoping to find somewhere further above sea level but not too far from their old neighborhood. She said they entered negotiations for several places before finding the space on Ann St. Da Claudio has a 15-year lease for the space. The menu will be similar to Barbarini’s seasonal Italian dishes and local fare, but will also include new elements. “You know, during this whole battle, we got closer to our neighbors. Of course we miss the Seaport, but we’re all in touch — however we can help or they can help — just because we’re a few blocks out, we’re still a part of the Seaport,” Linda said.
— Kaitlyn Meade
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July 3 - July 16, 2013
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July 3 - July 16, 2013
A park bill out of thin air
Jimmy Gandolfini, a friend and neighbor
Everyone, or almost everyone, was
taken off guard two weeks ago, when the State Legislature approved a series of major changes to the 1998 Hudson River Park Act. The most significant of these allows the park to sell its unused air rights for development one block inland. According to the Hudson River Park Trust, the park — on its commercial piers — has about 1.6 million square feet of unused air rights. The Empire State Building has 2.77 million square feet of floor area, and the Trump Soho condo-hotel 300,000 square feet. So the park’s air rights equal more than half an Empire State Building, or more than five Trump Soho’s. In short, 1.6 million square feet is a whole lot of air rights. What’s good about this is that any air rights sold from the park are, by definition, no longer in the park — meaning this limits large-scale development in the park. It could even happen that part of Pier 40’s pier shed could be razed and those now newly unused air rights then sold across the highway — thus, opening up the West Houston St. pier to views of the river. Moving air rights out of the park is definitely a good thing. But what will it mean for the surrounding neighborhoods? How much of the park’s air rights will be able to be stacked at any
one site? Will there be designated sites? Will Pier 40’s air rights have to transfer directly across the highway to the St. John’s Building, or can — and should — they go elsewhere? No one seems to have any clear answers yet. Noreen Doyle, the Trust’s vice president, explained that the air rights transfers will all be done according to city zoning, and that it will likely be at least two years from now before anyone can actually start buying and using the park’s air rights. She said any project involving the transferred air rights would undergo the standard environmental reviews, meaning they would be subject to the usual level of scrutiny. “The city’s going to have to figure out with us how this will work,” she said. That there has been no comprehensive study of all of this to date is concerning. The way the bill’s language is crafted, Pier 40 — by which we also mean the youth leagues and other athletes that use it — is the big winner. Any proceeds from sale of the 15-acre pier’s copious air rights must go back into repair of its dilapidated infrastructure. The secrecy with which the bill was passed was also troubling. The Trust maintains the air rights idea was periodically mentioned at community board meetings and in the media in the past year, but that’s different than notifying the
community that there is definitely a pending bill and that it’s moving full-steam ahead. Public hearings would have allayed people’s concerns and also, no doubt, helped strategize on what to do with all these air rights and where to put them and what the impact will be. “No legislation would happen overall in New York State if everything required a public hearing,” Doyle responded. Sorry, but we just don’t buy that. The public should have been more involved on such an important change. Allowing air rights has had another consequence: Douglas Durst, former chairperson of the Friends of Hudson River Park who has been spearheading the plan for a Hudson River Park Neighborhood Improvement District, has pulled his support from the NID effort. As one NID supporter, A.J. Pietrantone, told us, “Until development [from the air rights] is quantified, you can’t ask people to pay into a NID.” The NID special-tax district was already on the ropes. Now, we’re told, it’s on hold, and could be shelved. The park desperately needs funds to complete and maintain it. Selling air rights certainly has the potential to be part of a good solution, but good ideas can withstand some sunlight. In fact, they often get better when they’re allowed to grow out in the open.
BY WI CKHAM BOYLE Yes, New Jersey is where actor and icon James Gandolfini was born and the state he made infamous in his long run as Tony Soprano in the eponymous HBO series. But Tribeca was where Gandolfini, Jimmy, to everyone he met, lived and thrived. I first met Jimmy around 2001 when Tribeca was less chic; less densely populated with strollers and their toddler parents. Many theater, movie and art types lived down here and we all seemed to nod and acknowledge that we were toiling in similar fields. Even if a hit show on HBO was not the same slog as running the experimental theater La MaMa, we knew we were often in the same leaky boat. After meeting Jimmy with Michael Imperioli, another Tribeca native and Soprano bigwig, Gandolfini was very sweet to me. His big bear demeanor really belied the fierce, almost bi-polar character he portrayed for years on “The Sopranos.” In person, Gandolfini was sweet, and downright humble. It seemed as if he adjusted his height and his bulk and his big voice to be a person that all of us could be very friendly with. I saw him play chase in the parks with kids, cheer at Little League games, and cer-
tainly I saw him eat his share of great food at Bubby’s. I spied him with his first wife and his son walking the streets of Downtown and savoring the great grub joints and the fancy upscale bistros. And then of late, I saw him often with his infant daughter, second wife and their dog. He seemed content the last time we chatted on the corner of North Moore St. and Hudson. Gandolfini was window shopping in the Brown Harris Stevens real-estate office on the corner where an array of pricey lofts sparkled in photographs. “Hey Jimmy, I thought you already had a place down here. So what’s up?” “Always looking, Wick, always lookin’.” Of course, the life of an actor in such hit movies as “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Lonely Hearts” or voicing characters in “Where the Wild Things Are” meant that Gandolfini spent much of his time in Hollywood, but
neighborhood folks knew him as the man who asked about their kids, or inquired “How you doin’” even when you were trying to give him space. Gandolfini was beloved by doormen, waitresses and his neighbors, but he could be prickly with the paparazzi when they pursued him and his wife Deborah, whom he married in 2008, and their infant daughter Liliana, now just eight months old. There is a well known picture of Gandolfini at the Tribeca Grill calmly sitting enjoying a glass of wine and giving the finger to someone he’d call an “idgit” for snapping away at him and disturbing his solitude. But to the folks in his circle, and really that meant all of us living in Tribeca, he was the most generous and friendly fella.
Gandolfini was known for his parties featuring massive arrays of Italian dishes and he always invited the doormen up for a champagne toast on New Years Eve. This is the real Jimmy Gandolfini and the man who we espied in his great acting range. He was cast in the Broadway hit “God of Carnage” in 2009 and was nominated for a Tony Award, an amusing name for a man who made the name Tony a household moniker. Tackling a Broadway show as one of only four in a cast required great concentration and massive skill. Very few movie actors who are known for their character portrayals make the transition to Broadway as it requires the ability to recreate a character, faithfully, eight times a week and to be an artful part of a team. On the night I saw “God of Carnage”, I ran into Jimmy outside the theater. Of course I had my trusty three-speed bike. He joked and asked if I would be riding him back Downtown. I demurred, but laughed myself silly at the notion of “the big man” astride my rickety bike most probably bellowing greetings to everyone as we rode home down Seventh Ave.
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Letters to the Editor Security devastation To The Editor: While I have great appreciation for the work done by the average police officer, I respectfully disagree with mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio’s stated approach to continue to treat Lower Manhattan like an occupied third world nation (“De Blasio backs Downtown’s anti-terror barriers,” news article, June 12 - 18). The current closure of Park Row to regular traffic, ostensibly for the “security” of police headquarters, continues to devastate our neighborhood with traffic and the concurrent noise and air pollution it brings. The Southbridge Towers board of directors, on which I serve, along with Chatham Green and Chatham Towers actually had to sue both the city and the N.Y.P.D. to secure some mitigation. Despite the support of our elected officials, we were only minimally successful. For a mayoral candidate, whose office as Public Advocate is across the street from One Police Plaza, to suggest continuance of this level of security a full 12 years after Sept. 11th, is beyond the pale. John Ost
Save our Seaport To The Editor: When are the people who elect the officials who run New York City going to wake up to the imminent threat to the survival (again) of our last major historical site reminding and enlightening us of our original roots in N.Y.C., the South Street Seaport? The Museum of the City of New York jumped in to rescue our local and national portside treasure, the South Street Seaport Museum, when Mayor Bloomberg essentially said earlier that it should be self-supporting (as a C.E.O. billionaire owner of a large media company would). The city museum now has withdrawn from that support leaving the Seaport Museum leaking and listing for any greedy salvager (“BREAKING: Seaport Museum’s operator pulls out,” news article, posted to downtownexpress.com, June 24). This mercenary kind of thinking ignores what made New York a great city, comes from our early seaport, seagoing roots, and is what people who visit and live here want to relive and share when they visit Schermerhorn Row and the tall ships. Why not throw away all the history books if we can only value the present? The South Street Seaport is a cultural, national and historical treasure, and should be publicly supported as is done in other cities in the world. The cold, ultra-modern glass cube that will replace
Pier 17 is a glaring example of what has and will happen to this rare site when commercial interests are in control. We have to demand that the representatives we elect and pay protect the people’s interests in supporting and preserving the South Street Seaport. To avoid the fate of everything that has needlessly become extinct as a result of ignorant, self-interested myopia, everyone has to shout “ahoy” and “avast, save our South Street Seaport.” Seymour Schleimer
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Money’s no object at the 9/11 Memorial By David Stanke Various 9/11 activists are protesting plans by the W.T.C. Memorial foundation to charge $20 to enter the memorial museum. Complaints emanate largely from the same sources who have been complaining about the memorial for over a decade. The predominant philosophy of these activists till now has been: “Too much is never enough.” For the 9/11 Memorial, there can never be too much land, too many levels, or too many artifacts. Sacred Ground, after all, tolerates no limits. After 10 years, the “public” process has indeed implemented “too much” and someone has to pay for these extravagances. Ironically, now the activists feel that paying anything is too much. Of course, people will have to pay for the massive costs of building and maintaining this memorial. The question is, who? The activists are experts in demanding and criticizing, not paying. The preservationists and art societies of New York are not paying. But the citizens of New York and New Jersey are already pay-
ing — every time we hit a toll at Port Authority bridges and tunnels. Every taxpayer in the U.S. is paying to provide the federal funds spent on rebuilding. The New York political system has paid as Mayor Bloomberg used the strong arm of city government to squeeze local corporations and real estate developers for contributions, a not so subtle form of the “pay to play” environment that has corrupted local politics in the U.S. for over a century. But still, the costs have not been covered, so to keep the museum afloat, visitors will pay $20 per visit. They should pay this and more. Every visitor should recognize the real cost of this memorial. In the U.S., we too often demand benefits (health care), services, and wars (Afghanistan) but complain bitterly about taxes to pay for them. The W.T.C. Memorial is truly a U.S. memorial, a dream without a foundation. The country needs to realize that somehow, somewhere, someone has to pay. The principle for designing the memorial and the entire site, was “Listen to
the People,” and presumably, give them what they want. Of course, the people who were heard were the most vocal and extreme, a small fraction of friends and family of the deceased who made memorial design their primary occupation. They were driven by the core philosophy that bigger was better and that this memorial had to “out memorialize” anything else in existence. The first sign of trouble might have been when family members were invited on tours of memorials around the world, a memorial shopping spree. One attack on one day on 16 acres in Lower Manhattan suddenly became the equivalent of Hiroshima, Vietnam, World War II and the Holocaust. The early battle cries demanded 16 acres from bedrock to the sky. Compromise was intolerable. There may never be a true accounting of the W.T.C. Memorial’s cost. The Memorial Foundation paid nothing for the land. Further, the memorial is a wedge driven into the site, pushing the transportation hub and the commercial redevelopment to the side.
The memorial has forced expensive design changes to other components of the W.T.C. One of the most obvious added costs was the excavation of a new infrastructure bathtub down to bedrock. These costs have fallen onto the owners of the site, the Port Authority, which has been the financial backstop for failed political decisions. A dogmatic interpretation of historical preservation dominated the process. Everything at the site was historic, therefore everything was worthy of preservation. The Port Authority hired preservation experts immediately after 9/11 to scour the site and remove the most compelling and significant artifacts that could reasonably be saved. W.T.C. activist groups and outside preservation experts then scoured what was left, intent on making their own mark. Everything suddenly became meaningful: the parking structure, the bathtub wall, burn marks on walls, the Survivors’ Staircase. This last example Continued on page 23
July 3 - July 16, 2013
Washington Sq. Music Fest brings fresh eclecticism to 55th season
BY MAEVE GATELY & SCOTT STIFFLER TRINITY CHURCH PRESENTS FAMILY FRIDAY PIZZA & MOVIE NIGHT Trinity Wall Street hosts this third-Friday-ofthe-month event for kids who are hungry (for food and entertainment) and adults who are too pooped to cook (or even order delivery!). On July 19, there’s no need to hoof it to Broadway if you want to see “Matilda.” You won’t find any singing or dancing in this version, but the Danny DeVito-directed 1996 film does offer an appropriately dark (but safe for kids) take on the Roald Dahl book. The series rounds out its summer calendar on August 16, with “The Secret of Kells.” Free. From 6-7:30pm, at Charlotte’s Place (107 Greenwich St., rear of 74 Trinity Place, btw. Rector & Carlisle Sts.). For info, call 212602-0800 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 readings and music for toddlers. At 10 River Terrace (at Murray St.). Hours: Children’s Room
Eternally experimental spirit fosters a kaleidoscope of unusual compositions
open Thurs.-Sat., 11am-5pm. Admission: Free. For info, call 212431-7920 or visit poetshouse.org. LAWN TIME FOR LITTLE ONES, ON THE HIGH LINE Babies and toddlers will love this morning of sing-alongs and readings, full of bubbles and the wonder of storytelling. Come to the 23rd St. lawn (weather permitting) and enjoy an hour and a half of storytelling, blocks and sing-alongs with neighborhood performers. You might even find yourself singing “The Wheels on the Bus,” while your little one basks contentedly in the summer air! Open to all ages. Thursdays 10-11:30am. Rain location: Chelsea Market 14th St. passage. When the 23rd St. lawn is closed for restoration, Lawn Time will take place on the 10th Ave. Square at 17th St . For more info, or to find out the location that day, call 212-206-9922 or check @Highlinenyc on Twitter on Thursdays by 8am. THE SCHOLASTIC STORE Held every Saturday at 3pm, Scholastic’s in-store activities are designed to get kids reading, thinking, talking, creating and moving. At 11am every Tues., Wed. and Thurs., the Scholastic Storyteller brings tales to life at Daily Storytime. At 557 Broadway (btw. Prince & Spring Sts.). Store hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm and Sun., 11am-6pm. For info, call 212-343-6166 or visit scholastic.com/sohostore.
July 3 - July 16, 2013
Photo courtesy of Sonja Spies Photography
COME OUT AND PLAY Take the kids — and bring along your inner child — to see the streets and parks of New York transformed into a giant playground! Come Out and Play (part of Lower Manhattan’s River To River Festival) is a nationwide organization that provides games, activities and teamwork challenges. In the past, Come Out and Play has taken families on a city-wide scavenger hunt, taught them how to make paper-mâché pigeons and showed them the finer points of whiffle ball. This year, on July 13, Field Day will fill the Governor’s Island Parade Ground with games and events (some of which were suggested by the public). Then on July 14, Come Out and Play After Dark will fill South Street Seaport with real life re-inactions of video games and multiplayer activities to keep you playing until the clock strikes midnight! Free. Field Day takes place Sat., July 13, 10am-5pm, at the Governor’s Island Parade Ground. Come Out and Play After Dark happens Sun., July 14, 7pm-12am, at South Street Seaport, Cannon’s Walk. For more info, visit comeoutandplay.org. For more family-friendly River To River activities, visit rivertorivernyc.com.
Image courtesy of the artist and T.A.G
Amelia Nierenberg’s “Splash” (oil on canvas).
T.A.G. (TEEN ART GALLERY) PRESENTS “FULL SPECTRUM” Determined to overcome “the limiting environment assigned to us because of our age,” the members of T.A.G. (Teen Art Gallery) make their own opportunities by helping young artists navigate the process of showing in a gallery setting. Their latest exhibition is the group’s sixth since its inception in 2010. “Full Spectrum” features the work of 24 fine artists from across the country, as well as a selection of creative writing and four films exhibited via the new T.A.G. YouTube channel. July 10-19, at chashama (303 10th Ave., btw. 27th & 28th Sts.).Gallery Hours: 12-5pm, Tues.-Sat. The opening reception (July 10, 6-8pm) features an acoustic performance from N YC’s The Jacobins. For info, visit teenartgallery.org (which is regularly updated with new works).
THE WASHINGTON SQUARE MUSIC FESTIVAL Free Tuesday: July 9, 16, 23, 30 8pm In Washington Square Park Rainspace: St. Joseph’s Church (371 Sixth Ave.) Info: 212-252-3621 or washingtonsquaremusicfestival.org
BY SAM SPOKONY Whenever Lutz Rath talks about his programming for the Washington Square Music Festival, which is about to enter its 55th season, he inevitably begins using words like “unusual,” “rarely performed” or, quite simply, “odd” — and it’s not because the myriad stresses of putting together a low-budget concert series have made him lose his mind… yet. On the contrary, that eternally experimental spirit has been the guiding force behind a festival — one with a unique blend of pre-20th century classical works, contemporary avant-garde pieces and jazz or world-based improvisation — that continues to be one of the city’s top summer highlights for those with a love of serious art music, while also remaining accessible to casual listeners and anyone with an intellectually savvy sense of humor. The ability to sustain a collective sense of historical interest and modern urgency is no small feat for New York’s second oldest free, outdoor classical music series (founded in 1953 by violinist Alexander Schneider and the Washington Square Association). For Rath, who has been the festival’s music director since the death of Henry
Photo by Sally J. Bair
The Washington Square Music Festival Ensemble (here, at 2012’s festival) will perform Verdi and Wagner & Spohr & Rheinberger on July 23.
Schuman in 2001, the approach to this year’s month-long program of four concerts has been characteristically far out — with a smattering of strange instruments, unexpected performance selections and even an homage piece that was designed to be played poorly. The 2013 Washington Square Music Festival (which, as always, takes place near the center of the park and is free of charge) will begin on Tuesday, July 9 at 8pm, with “The Judgment of Paris” — a Baroque opera by British composer John Eccles, the libretto of which retells one of the many Roman myths involving Paris, a simple shepherd tasked with choosing which one of three powerful goddesses is most worthy of receiving the Golden Apple of Discord. In addition to featuring five vocal soloists, the opera’s chamber orchestra
will be conducted by renowned harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper (who, along with being a frequent contributor to this festival, is one of the world’s leading specialists in 18th century music). And after the opera — which Rath noted is a relatively short one — the evening will close with a performance of “Concerto in D Major,” for three trumpets, two oboes and strings, by German baroque composer George Telemann. The next concert, on Tuesday, July 16 at 8pm, is aptly titled “A Musical Adventure,” as it features Margaret Leng Tan, a toy piano virtuoso. Yes, you read that correctly. Tan brings world-class skill and a huge, engaging sound to her tiny instrument, and will be performing an exciting variety of new and old avant-garde pieces. Her program includes two U.S. premieres:
“Toy Symphony,” by Mexican composer Jorge Torres Sáenz and “Coney Island sous L’eau,” by British composer Michael Wookey — as well as works by John Cage, Phyllis Chen and Jed Distler. Rath pointed out that he chose to include Tan in this year’s festival in part because of her penchant for performing on other unusual instruments in addition to the toy piano. “She always brings something else along for a performance,” said Rath, “and it’s always a bit of a secret, and a welcome surprise.” In addition, Tan’s featured program will be bookended by ensemble performances of works by two Romantic composers, Adolphe Blanc and Richard Strauss. Continued on page 20
July 3 - July 16, 2013
Classical, avant-garde and world jazz in Washington Sq. Continued from page 19
On Tuesday, July 23 at 8pm, Rath and his ensembles will happily celebrate 2013 as the 200th anniversary of the births of famed composers Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner (for trivia buffs, Verdi was born on October 10, 1813, and Wagner on May 22). The program will include Verdi’s String Quartet in E minor — but, in an unorthodox twist, Wagner will be represented by a piece by Paul Hindemith, which is a parody of the overture to Wagner’s famous opera, “The Flying Dutchman.” In fact, Hindemith’s piece — whose full title is “Overture of ‘The Flying Dutchman’ as played at sight by a bad spa orchestra at the well at 7 in the morning” — strictly requires its performers to make intentional rhythmic mistakes, poor interpretive choices and even to play out of tune. It all combines to form what Rath termed “a really humorous piece” — but the music director added that he’ll be sure to explain it to the audience before beginning the performance, “so they don’t think we’re crazy.” And along with the homages to Verdi and Wagner, the festival’s third evening will include works
by German composers Louis Spohr and Josef Rheinberger. In keeping with the Washington Square Music Festival’s eclectic mindset under Rath’s direction, the final evening of this year’s series — Tuesday, July 30 at 8pm — will feature an ensemble led by African-born composer/singer/guitarist Nepo Soteri. A survivor of the Rwandan Civil War, Soteri and his music draw strength from the traditional sounds of Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia, while also blending contemporary funk, R&B and world jazz sensibilities. In addition, the main performance by Soteri and his band will be preceded that afternoon by an interactive rhythm workshop for children, led by members of the African ensemble. As always, Rath pointed out that there really is no defined beginning, middle and end to his programming for the festival. “It’s more like a kaleidoscope of unusual compositions, because that’s just what I like to do,” he said, with a laugh. “The audiences will definitely be a little bit different each night, especially between the first three concerts and the last one. But that variety is a really valuable and unique part of the concert series.”
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Fests, without rest By the river, atop the roof, on ice and in church — all summer long BY SCOTT STIFFLER Anyone can slap together a few thematically similar events, put out a press release and tell the world they’ve got a festival. Plenty have — but you won’t find any of those lazy posers in this roundup. Everything here is solid.
RIVER TO RIVER
Photo courtesy of the artist
July 16: Toy piano virtuoso Margaret Leng Tan will perform two U.S. premieres and works by John Cage, Phyllis Chen and Jed Distler.
Through July 14: This month-long, mostly outdoor (and completely free) annual event offers music, theater, art and family activities — all taking place at 28 iconic and unexpected sites throughout Lower Manhattan. Open rehearsals and studio visits allow visitors a glimpse into the ways in which a painting, sculpture or song is created. On Thurs., July 11, 12:30-1:30pm, Brooklyn’s Hungry March Band brass ensemble fills One New York Plaza with its pulsating sounds (dancing encouraged — they’ll be doing it, too). Weekdays from 8am6pm, through July 14, the “Fluid: Construct” exhibit at One Liberty Plaza features the work of four NYC-based artists who examine the city’s relationship with water. For a complete schedule, visit rivertorivernyc.com.
Photo by Hunter Canning
On July 31, Soomi Kim (pictured), Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai and Bora Yoon present “New Looks @ New Works” as part of the Women Center Stage Festival. Photo by Lee Sunday Evans
Skip the family reunion, and see Collaboration Town’s “Help Me To Make It” — part of the Ice Factory Festival.
THE BROOKLYN HIP-HOP FEST
From July 10-13, Hip-Hop culture’s legacy as an agent of artistic progression, community building and social change is explored and celebrated through panel discussions, exhibitions, parties, an awards show and plenty of live performances. July 11’s Show & Prove Super Bowl is a showcase of up-and-coming talent vying for the chance to perform at July 13’s Final Throwdown at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 Uplands. From 12-3pm, a “good old-fashioned, pop the sprinklers, speakers in the window” block party delivers kid-friendly music, demos and workshops. From 3-8pm, EPMD, Redman, Pusha T, Dizzy Wright and Soul Understate and others perform, along with local talent including F.Stokes, Danse of BKLYN STICKUP and Justo. The festival after-party takes place 9pm-2am, at SRB Brooklyn (177 2nd Ave.). For info, visit bkhiphopfestival.com.
CULTURE PROJECT’S WOMEN CENTER STAGE FESTIVAL
The Culture Project collaborates with advocacy organizations and performing artists in order to promote dialogue and inspire action surrounding various forms of injustice (“The Exonerated” was an in-their-own-words look at the lives of six innocent death row survivors). The Project’s recently renamed Lynn Redgrave Theater is the setting for the Women Center Stage Festival — their annual laboratory for new work. The Directors’ Weekend (July 13 and 14) challenges 10 directors to create 15-minute pieces considering the media’s role in writing history, how it crafts the personas of women in power and by what means the media narrative can be shifted. Presented in partnership with the Warrior Writers (warriorwriters. org), July 15’s “Smashing the Stigma” finds female veterans taking the stage to reflect on war, trauma, rape and motherhood in the mili-
of contemporary families as their personal moments of everyday existence add up to lifetimes of monumental compassion, devastating betrayal and inevitable transformation. Through Aug. 3, Wed.-Sat. at 7pm. At the New Ohio Theatre (154 Christopher St., btw. Greenwich & Washington Sts.). For tickets ($18, $15 for students/seniors), call 888596-1027. Schedule and tickets available at newohiotheatre.org.
ST. BART’S SUMMER FESTIVAL OF SACRED MUSIC
Photo by Dave Carroll
Rooftop Films screens the Coney Island strongman documentary “Bending Steel,” on July 8.
tary. The documentary “Girl Rising”(July 20) tells the stories of nine extraordinary girls from nine countries — and on July 31, race, culture and gender are considered by multidisciplinary theater artist Soomi Kim, spoken word poet Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai and musician Bora Yoon, in an evening of “New Looks @ New Works.” Through Aug. 3 (kick-off party from 7-9pm, Mon., July 8). All events at the Lynn Redgrave Theater (45 Bleecker St., btw. Mulberry & Mott Sts.). All shows $12 ($20 premium seats available with advance purchase). For info, call 866811-4111 or visit wcs.cultureproject.org.
LA MAMA MOVES! DANCE FESTIVAL
Featuring works designed to transcend politics and unify cultures, this month-long festival of emerging and seasoned chorographers (which began on June 7) is winding down — but you still have a chance to catch the NY Premiere of Irish director Luke Murphy’s “Drenched” (July 5-6 at
7:30pm & July 7 at 2:30pm). With visual splash provided by David Fischel’s multi-channel projection installation, it’s an intimate duet between Murphy and Carlye Eckert which examines the contrast between representations and realities of contemporary romance. At La Mama (74 E. Fourth St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave). For tickets and info, call 212-475-7710 or visit lamama.org.
ICE FACTORY FESTIVAL
The New Ohio Theatre provides a space where Downtown companies can take risks and try out new ideas — with an eye towards nurturing their works for Off-Broadway productions, commercial runs and national and international tours. This year’s six new productions include The Mad One’s “Untitled Biopic Project” (July 10-13), a trippy meditation on 1960s folk rock culture. From July 17-20, Collaboration Town’s ensemble-driven “Help Me To Make It” follows multiple generations
On Sundays throughout the summer, the St. Bartholomew’s Choir and the Boy and Girl Choristers present an array of mass music from the 15th century to the present (as part of the 11am service — the liturgical context for which it was composed). On July 14, the Choir is accompanied by an orchestra of period instruments, in a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Missa Brevis in G Minor.” Free. At St. Bart’s (325 Park Ave., at 51st St.). Call 212-378-0222 or visit starts.org for a complete schedule of upcoming events.
Cool breezes courtesy of the great outdoors trump multiplex air conditioning, as the 17th season of this series continues to promote the work of emerging and established independent filmmakers — with screenings on rooftops throughout the Lower East Side and Williamsburg. Two well-received documentaries from the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival deserve a look: “Bending Steel,” the story of an aspiring Coney Island strongman, unspools in that neighborhood on July 8 — and the painter-as-pugilist relationship saga “Cutie and the Boxer” shows atop Brooklyn’s Old American Can Factory on Aug. 3. Screenings are scheduled every weekend, through August. Tickets start at $13, and many screenings are free (donations welcome). For a complete schedule, visit rooftopfilms.com. For an expanded version of this article, visit downtownexpress.com.
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was a nondescript set of stairs far from the Twin Towers, left in place after demolition for technical reasons. The woman who led the charge to save it was exposed as a fraud who had never been at the site. She is the perfect symbol of the lack of credentials and constraint exhibited by both the public and preservation â€œprofessionals.â€? In one public discussion ses sion for the W.T.C. Memorial, I posed a question to which I never received an answer. â€œWho is going to pay for this?â€? How could enough money be raised to cover everything that was being committed? No one would answer. The truth was too painful to acknowledge and politically impos-
sible to deal with. Silence is the sound of trouble. When the sky is the limit, anything less is an insult. Activists still complain. The memorial is too short, artifacts should be above ground, the sacred ground at bedrock is unfit for unidentified human remains. The museum, which has to tell everything, should not mention the terrorists. All of these are distractions from the one question that we should all be asking, â€œHow did this ever get so out of control?â€? David Stanke lives near the World Tr a d e C e n t e r a n d w a s o n a P o r t Authority consultation committee to discuss historic preservation at the W.T.C. His email is destanke@ gmail.com.
Candidatesâ€™ forum Continued from page 5
influential boards. â€œThere is a lot of power in this office in particular to help people,â€? said Lappin. â€œYou have, through the land use process, a real, meaningful effect on what gets built in this city and where.â€? She said the borough president could â€œdemand and create more affordable housing and public school seats and daycare centers and senior centers and really make sure that we are growing and evolving in the right way. You also have the power to appoint community boards where a lot of the local interaction with government happens in this city.â€? Lappin, Brewer and Jackson mentioned legislation that they had sponsored or worked on in City Council, indicating what issues and positions might be important to them if they were elected Manhattan borough president. â€œI wrote a landmark law to regulate the state health clinics that are set up by anti-abortion extremists to deceive women into thinking that theyâ€™re getting medical care when theyâ€™re not,â€? said Lappin. â€œI chaired the aging committee in City Council and when the mayor wanted to close 100 senior centers and cut funding for programs like Meals on Wheels, I led the charge to keep those centers and those programs alive.â€? She said she was running â€œto continue to fight for tenants, for working families, to add classroom space, to protect our seniors.â€? Jackson talked about his lawsuit against New York State, filed because â€œwe felt that they were not providing our children with the opportunity for a sound, basic education. After 13 years of litigation, we won $16 billion for the children of New York City.â€? Brewer said that she had authored the groundbreaking New York City paid sick leave law, overriding the mayorâ€™s veto. â€œStarting in April 2014, one million workers who donâ€™t have a day off if theyâ€™re ill or if their child is ill, will get paid sick days,â€? she said. She said she had always been focused on schools and quality of life issues such as graffiti and getting rid of bedbugs. â€œI swear to God, Iâ€™m the one who did it,â€? she said. â€œI put in 28 agencies to meet on a regular basis and now we can go to the movies again.â€? The audience laughed. She also mentioned starting a composting program in the schools in her neighborhood that is now going citywide. When it came time for questions from the audience, Barry Skolnick, a former Community Board 1 member, asked about the development projects that have been approved by City Council over the years.
Downtown Express photos by Yoon Seo Nam
Councilmembers Gale Brewer, top, and Robert Jackson, candidates for borough president.
â€œI donâ€™t know that the City Council has ever rejected even one of them,â€? he said. â€œI wonder if you could comment on if that concerns you and what you could try to do to improve the Councilâ€™s backbone in dealing with some of these development projects?â€? Brewer replied that she hadnâ€™t voted for the recent South Street Seaport Pier 17 redevelopment and zoning change. â€œI was the only Council Member not to,â€? she said. Josh Rogers, editor of Downtown Express, moderated the forum. The Democratic primary election in which the four candidates will appear on the ballot takes place on Sept. 10.
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Downtown Express, July 3, 2013