VOLUME 26, nUMBER 6
BacK to schooL with FringehiGh, P. 20
aUGUST 14-aUGUST 27, 2013
sUccess charter LooKs to oPen at mUrrY h.s. BY Ka i T Lyn ME a d E & J O SH R O G E R S uccess Academy is hoping to open a new charter elementary school in Murry Bergtraum High School’s building next year, and opposition Downtown is beginning to form. “We’re going to try to organize and fight it.” City Councilmember Margaret Chin told Downtown Express Aug. 2. Chin said she first heard a few weeks ago that Success was hoping to open a K-4 in the building at 411 Pearl St. in Sept. 2014. She said the clock is ticking for the Bloomberg administration, which has fueled the expansion of charters like Success Academy, founded by Eva Mosowitz, the former chairperson of the City Council’s Education Committee. “The whole thing is she gets a lot of support from this administration,” Chin said. “So we’re going to push it back to the next administration [taking power in 2014] and it’ll be a little different scenario.” Success Academy plans to open six new locations across the city this fall, including one in Washington Irving High School near Union Square. “A K–4 in a high school,” Chin said incredulously, “that has so much… issues, you know, cops have to escort kids to subways.”
Continued on page 15
Downtown Express photo by Yoon Seo Nam
City Comptroller John Liu campaigned Monday at Chinatown’s East Broadway subway stop.
Excerpts from the mayor’s race B Y JOSH ROGERS ill Thompson still wants to reopen Park Row to most traffic but he’s more cautious about changing World Trade Center security, Anthony Weiner would close the Battery Park City Authority, and Christine Quinn thinks St. Vincent’s “slit its own throat” before it closed.
CATS For MAYOR
Those were just a few of the revelations some of the Democratic mayoral candidates made to the editorial board of Downtown Express and its sister NYC Community Media publications in recent weeks. Two months ago, the editors met with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and the Express published an article on the
meeting, June 12, which is available at DowntownExpress.com What follows are a few excepts of the more interesting comments made in our recent interviews with John Liu, Quinn, Thompson and Weiner. Continued on page 6
JOHN CATSIMATIDIS FOR MAYOR A New Yorker for all New Yorkers
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August 14 - August 27, 2013 tecture has been “re-envisioned with state of the art design” into 66 units, which start at 835 square-foot one bedrooms to four-bedroom penthouses with private terraces. Their main selling point seems to be its location in Tribeca, which Bizzi & Partners call “the quintessential, authentic New York neighborhood” on the building’s website alongside a bevy of cute, kitschy photos, though not too many of the building itself. The renderings show a light, open floor plan and modern, stainless steel fixtures that make it look rather like an upscale Swedish hotel, which is fitting as Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has come onboard as a big investor in the project. The interior design does boast elevated 10.5foot ceilings though. T h e b u i l d i n g ’s m o s t e x p e n s i v e unit currently on the market is listed for an asking price of $5.5 million for a 2,666-square-foot penthouse — and this one does not even have a terrace (the other two penthouse suites will). While the developer lists Penthouse B as a three-bedroom and four-bath, the sales office seems to have listed it as four bedrooms. A press representative said the three bedroom floor plan on the building’s website is correct. But if you think that size does matter, opening a few months later is The
They’re no $45 million “loft mansions” like the one recently sold at 144 Duane St., but two new Tribeca buildings have opened sales for spacious condos that are set to be finished by about this time next year. Douglas Elliman Development and Marketing has recently been seen flashing shiny sales pitches around the neighborhood for the first units of these swanky new buildings at 101 Leonard St. and 71 Laight St. Bizzi and Partners Development, founded by Italian real estate mogul Davide Bizzi, announced that the first units of the “The Leonard” are on the market. According to the developers, the neoclassical archi-
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Sterling Mason, with twice the square footage and half the units. The developer, Taconic Investment Partners, wanted to expand the space without tearing down the original warehouse building to create a fullblock project that offers condos with up to five bedrooms. So they brought in noted architect Morris Adjmi to build a mirror image of the original brick structure. This one, however, has a metallic finish on its exterior — hence the “Sterling” to the original building’s “Mason”. Only 33 units will be going into this turn-of-the-century brick warehouse turned “boutique” condominium. The largest of the seven units currently listed is the two-level Penthouse C — with a gargantuan 4,986 square feet of interior space, not to mention the 1,065 feet of private rooftop access, and a staggering $20 million price tag. The Sterling Mason is set to open in fall of 2014, but according to a July update by real estate blog C u r b e d N Y, t h e y ’ v e g o t a w a y s t o g o and a lot of bare dirt. The Leonard is expected to be complete in summer 2014.
Spurred by a slew of recent mailings by the real estate industry endorsing Margaret Chin for reelection, a local political club went postal — as in, firing back with a spoof mailing. Sean Sweeney of the Downtown Independent Democrats recently created the anti-Chin piece while on vacation in Wisconsin, with the help of Penelope Grill, a friend from Soho. D.I.D. has endorsed Jenifer Rajkumar, Chin’s opponent. He said last week he would send the mailing to 15,000 people in Lower Manhattan’s First Council District, and it reached many people’s homes on Monday. The design piece cost the group $6,500. But that doesn’t come close to the nearly $80,000 that the new Jobs for New York PAC has spent on proChin mailings in the past month and a half. In late June and early July, the new PAC sent out at least eight mailings
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A real and parody flier featuring Margaret Chin
backing Chin’s re-election, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board. The mass mailings cost about $12,500 per batch to send out. One of the Jobs for New York pieces touts her record on creating new schools and reducing class size. In a surprise, Chin told us it overstates her role — making it seem like she singlehandedly got new schools built, when it fact it was a unified effort Downtown. The mailings highlight her endorsements from the likes of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Councilmember Rosie Mendez and Congressmember Nydia Velazquez. H o w e v e r, m a n y D o w n t o w n r e s i dents including Rajkumar are outraged that Chin has not rejected the support — and prolific mailings — of Jobs for New York, since one of the PAC’s leading members, the Real Estate Board of New York, has consistently fought to weaken rentregulation protections. Chin said, “Probably, I have already said that this kind of expenditure is not good. We can send them a stronger message, but it’s an independent expenditure.” She quipped that she wished the mailings had better photos of her. Chin, in turn, lashed back at Rajkumar, taking exception with the district leader’s support, saying, “You should ask my opponent — why are a lot of her constituents from out of state? And what about her contributions from wealthy South-Asian friends?” Rajkumar pulled no punches when asked about Chin and the Jobs for New York mailings. “This is an attempt to buy the Council seat — just as the Council seat has been up for sale the last four years,” she charged. “She couldn’t stop N.Y.U., she couldn’t stop the Seaport plan, she couldn’t stop the [Jobs for New York] PAC…” A s p o k e s p e r s o n f o r t h e PA C said the city “needs to create jobs, strengthen the local housing market and create more affordable housing options in order to make the local economy grow. Margaret Chin’s time in public service makes it clear that she shares this view.”
August 14 - August 27, 2013
Downtown Express photo composition by Scott Surbeck
Four in one Not quadruplets, but just one happy visitor had his run of the area near Battery Park Cityâ€™s North Cove last week. The image is a composite of four photos by Scott Surbeck.
August 14 - August 27, 2013 The victim could not provide a description of the two men.
neWsstand roBBed at Gunpoint
A Seaport newsstand was robbed for over $1,000 last week, police reported. According to police, The Khandaker News Stand at 50 Fulton St. was the site of a robbery Thurs., August 8 from 1:10 to 1:15 a.m. The robber, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, went up to an employee, 33, pointed a black firearm in his face and said, “Give me the money.” No one was injured, police said, but about $1,500 was stolen. The robber was described as a man in his early 40’s with a medium build, about 5’6”.
Another robbery took place the next day at a cigar shop in FiDi, according to the N.Y.P.D. On Fri., August 9, at 11 a.m., a robber entered the store and went up to an employee behind the register, police stated. The employee, 23, said that she thought it was a customer because the man asked, “Do you have this kind of cigar here?” while passing her a note. The note read, “This is a robbery, give me all the money you have.” He told her she would be hurt if she tried to sound the alarm, police said. She gave the robber $70 in cash. The man was described
as 5’9” and 160 pounds. Video surveillance of the crime was available, police said.
teen roBBed in triBeCa
A teenager was robbed another teen who told his victim that he was carrying a gun. The 16-year-old victim reported to police that he was walking down Franklin St., on Fri., August 9 at about 10 a.m. He said he was approached in front of 179 Franklin St. by a stranger who told him “Give me your money and cell phone” and “I have a gun in my pocket.” The victim handed over his $300 Galaxy Android smartphone, and the robber ran westbound on Franklin St. No injuries were reported, police said. Cameras were available in the area but no tracking software was on the phone. Police are seeking a male about 17 years old, 6-foot, 150 pounds with tattoos on his arms.
Police reported that a man was assaulted on the northeast corner of Varick and Vandam Sts. as he was on his way home. The 36-year-old man told police he was walking to his car on Sat., Aug. 10 just before 11 p.m. Police said that he was slashed multiple times on the arm and abdomen during a confrontation with two other men.
A motorcycle was stolen from Battery Park City when its owner left it parked for a few hours. The owner, a 40-year-old man, said he parked his 2013 gray Yamaha motorcycle in front of Tribeca Green, 325 N. End Ave., on Tues., August 6 and left it from 1 p.m. to 5:40 p.m. When he returned to his parking spot, the bike was no longer there. The motorcycle was valued at $15,000 and had New York plates, police said.
An employee of John Allan’s Tribeca department store reported that his bag full of pricey designer gear was stolen from the location’s lounge room while he was at work. The employee, 27, stated that he left his bag on the couch in the company’s lounge at 1:30 p.m. on Mon., August 5. When he returned to the room at 3 p.m., the bag was gone. He told police that it contained two debit cards and a wealth of designer goods including a $400 Sony VAIO laptop, a $200 Red Stripe wallet from Bloomingdale’s, a pair of black Daddy B sunglasses by designer Oliver Peoples valued at $400, $100 Zara shoes, a $140 bottle of Bleu de Chanel cologne, $300 tote bag, $70 green Urbanears headphone covers and two $20 shirts.
yoGa studio tHeft
A Financial District yoga studio was not as calm as usual after a weekend robbery
that resulted in a $1,698 loss. An employee of Bikram Yoga Downtown NY, on the third floor of 121 Fulton St., reported to police that someone entered the studio between midnight on Fri., Aug. 9 and 6 a.m. on Sat., Aug. 10 and left with the business’s operating cash. The thief took a $75 Sentry safe containing $500 in night deposit cash and $1,123 in petty cash. There was no sign of forced entry. Police were informed that six employees have keys to the business and four more former employees had not turned their keys back in to the owner.
poCket poaCHer naBBed
A man was arrested on the subway when he was observed by a police officer cutting open the pocket of a sleeping passenger on the A train, police said. The train was near the Chambers St. station at 4:20 a.m. on Sun., Aug. 11 when police say Jamar Croom, 20, was spotted by an officer who reported that Croom pulled a cellphone from a dozing commuter’s front pants pocket. Police say he then took a razor blade out and cut the passenger’s right rear pocket in order to get at the man’s wallet. The victim, 54, was able to recover his stolen phone and wallet, containing credit cards and cash, which was found in Croom’s pocket along with the razor blade, according to police.
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August 14 - August 27, 2013
Obituary Liz Berger, 53, Downtown leader passionate about Downtown, dies BY T E RE SE L O E B K R E U Z E R Elizabeth Berger, president and C.E.O. of the Alliance for Downtown New York, died on Aug. 5 of pancreatic cancer. She had turned 53 just two days before her death. She became president of the Downtown Alliance in November 2007. Under her direction, the Alliance championed the Fulton Street Transit Center, the reconstruction of the Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Fiterman Hall and the enactment of post-9/11 commercial leasing incentives. There were many other accomplishments, big and small. She saw to it that the route of the free Downtown Connection bus service was expanded, she supervised the establishment of Hive at 55, a co-working facility for freelancers and entrepreneurs and directed three comprehensive planning studies of Lower Manhattan. “Liz lived down here with her family for 30 years,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1, who knew Berger as a friend and neighbor. “She lived through Sept. 11th and Sandy. She adored Lower Manhattan and was passionate about it.“ In a November 2010 column published in Downtown Express, Berger explained why she loved Lower Manhattan. “The happy truth is that Lower Manhattan, home to some of the world’s biggest businesses and tallest buildings, is also a little village,” she wrote, “a place where neighbors know each other, shopkeepers wave and everyone gets together on the ball fields.” In a November 2012 interview, she explained what had brought her to Lower Manhattan and why she stayed. “I didn’t have to be convinced to move to Lower Manhattan,” she said. “I did it on my own 30 years ago. It has what every New Yorker wants — the ability to walk to work, doormen and value in terms of rent. I stayed because of the tremendous sense of community, the beauty, the architecture, the proximity to the water, the ability to get anywhere in
the region via public transportation and the profound sense of history.” Berger looked at the big picture, but also at the small things that the community needed to make it more hospitable and attractive, said Hughes. “This last spring there was a planting down on Wall St. because the park down there had been damaged by the surge [from Sandy},” she recalled. “Liz was out there, planting things herself.” Elizabeth Harrie Berger was born on August 3, 1960 in New York City. She grew up in New York City, Buffalo and Providence, Rhode Island. She graduated from Yale University. She packed an enormous amount into her 53 years. Prior to her time with the Alliance she established and built government relations practices at the law firms Lord Day & Lord Barrett Smith and LeBoeuf, Lamb Greene & MacRae and the law offices of Claudia Wagner. She is also credited with creating the Department of Government and External Affairs at Lincoln Center. She served as an assistant mayoral representative to the New York City Council during the Koch administration. She was at various times a board director of The Municipal Art Society, Film Forum, Second Stage Theatre, American Museum of Natural History Planetarium Authority, the New York Building Congress, and, from 1999 to 2005, a member of C.B. 1. She was also a mayoral appointee to the board of the Trust for Governors Island. “She was more than an advocate for Lower Manhattan, she was a partner in building its future,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. “As new transit hubs, skyscrapers, full access to our waterfront and a fresh vitality emerge Downtown, Liz’s influences are everywhere to be seen.” New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver mourned Berger as one of Lower Manhattan’s “great champions.” “I have lost a true friend,” he said in a
Downtown Express file photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Downtown Alliance president Liz Berger announcing a small business grant program last fall, three weeks after Hurricane Sandy.
statement. “Liz was one of the smartest, most dynamic and most dedicated community leaders that we have ever had here in Lower Manhattan and she will be sorely missed. She helped guide our community through our critical rebuilding, working closely with businesses and residents to establish this neighborhood as one of our city’s finest. Those of us who knew Liz will never forget her warm and generous nature and her unwavering commitment to her Lower Manhattan neighbors.” Borough of Manhattan President Scott Stringer, in a statement, lauded Berger’s “dedication, vision and innovative spirit” and said she was “directly responsible for some of the great additions to Downtown life.” He specifically mentioned “Manhattan’s first co-working facility for entrepreneurs and most recently, the $1.5 million grant
program for local businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy” — the first major grant program for that community after the storm and for many, the first glimmer of hope. “Her accomplishments … are too many to mention,” said Stringer, “but what those of us who knew Liz will remember most is her friendship, loyalty and deep commitment to her community. I consider myself lucky to have counted Liz among my friends and colleagues. “ She is survived by her husband Frederick Kaufman, daughter Phoebe, son Julian, her mother Anita, and brother Gideon. There will be a memorial service for Berger in the fall. “It’s a great loss,” said Hughes, who has lived in Lower Manhattan for 25 years. “We used to joke with each other about how much we loved Downtown. ‘If you’ll stay, I’ll stay!’ she would say.”
Obituary A fighter for Southbridge Towers, Geraldine Lipschutz, 101 By Ka i tly n Me a d e In a classroom in 1921, Geraldine Lipschutz worried about the two girls excluded by a society not nearly as openminded as she was — a trait that continued to the end of her long and full life, which came to a close on Thursday, August 1. “She was 101 years old and one and a quarter months,” said her friend of 30 years and fellow Southbridge Towers resident Larry Vide. Friends recalled her persistent health problems in the centenarian’s later years, but Vide said he preferred to remember Lipschutz as she was on a trip to Europe
that they shared, “Oh, many years ago.” Born in Brockton, Massachusetts on June 10, 1912, Lipschutz was nonetheless a New Yorker through and through. She was an original tenant of the Southbridge Towers middle class co-op and helped found the first anti-privatization group there in 1983. She remained a staunch advocate for affordable housing and spoke out in favor of keeping the complex in the Mitchell-Lama program. And while she may have stepped on some toes in pursuit of her goal, she is remembered for her “tenacity and extreme
intelligence,” according to a statement from Victor Papa, President of Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, who served as her power of attorney. She gave many years to the 92Y’s Education Department during the 1940s as a music producer. “She loved music and dance and was at one time the program director at the 92nd Street Y,” said Barry Cohen in an email to Downtown Express. “So we always talked about classical music and she actually served as a contributor to the magazine I founded, New Music Connoisseur, as a research assis-
tant, who kept up with all of the new music concerts for us.” Cohen said he met “Gerry” over 10 years ago and they formed a pleasant relationship. He remembers her as a strong woman, despite her failing health, who counted prominent New Yorkers among her circle such as Rupert Murdoch — who looked in on her from time to time when she wrote movie listings for the New York Post — and Chelsea poet and painter Ben-Zion, whose work she was proud to display in her home. Continued on page 9
August 14 - August 27, 2013
Excerpts from the mayor’s race St. Vincent’s closing She said St. Vincent’s made it difficult to keep open when it cut its residency program, which acts as a revenue generator for hospitals. “At that point the management of St. Vincent’s decided to slit its own throat and let themselves bleed out because there was no way anyone was going to take over that hospital as challenged as it was without the money to get the staff you need…. “We found out they hadn’t been billing insurance regularly. They hadn’t been billing Medicare and Medicaid regularly.”
Anthony Weiner Former U.S. Rep.
Downtown Express photo by Donna Aceto
Battery Park City Authority He said he would close the Battery Park City Authority and take full jurisdiction of the neighborhood as the mayor is empowered to do. “We created these authorities to remove accountability from elected officials…. Albany has to get out of our way so we have more governance of ourselves, and that includes these authorities.”
Continued from page 1
The People profile and had he ‘changed’ “I don’t know — when did I tell People I was a changed man? When I announced for mayor I said that these things were in my background. “Should I have said to People Magazine, ‘oh when the cameras turned off after I resigned, the problems continued, my personal problems continued, the problems in my marriage continued, etc., and extended to this date or this person or this date or that time?’ Maybe.... The entire process — when I resigned from Congress — I was a changed man. ”
Bill Thompson Former City Comptroller Downtown Security When he ran for mayor four years ago, Bill Thompson said he would reopen Park Row near One Police Plaza to most traffic. Thompson said he still holds that view but he’d be reluctant to loosen the proposed security barriers around the World Trade Center. He also thinks the N.Y.P.D. should give the Port Authority more input into the security operation. “Park Row is very different in the connection between Downtown and Chinatown. I am still in favor of restoring that connection. In the World Trade Center, I don’t want to generalize. We realized that that is a target, and we want to be very careful…. I’d wanna have my police commissioner take a look at that…. “Then also, just in the way the security plan has been laid out, it doesn’t have to be all N.Y.P.D. … Can we create a better mix so that at the very least, it does create an opportunity for New York City?”
Christine Quinn City Council Speaker Storm protection Quinn said she “potentially” could go further than the mayor in terms of backing storm surge barriers out in the water. “We need a network of barriers to harden the exterior of New York City. Now that means the comprehensive network of manmade and natural barriers… “Some of the Lower Manhattan potential sites [for river barriers] have negative repercussions for Staten Island so you have to be careful about where and how we place them.”
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Seaport City “We’re looking at that. I have some questions about that to put it mildly.” Pier 17 deal at the Seaport “I worked very closely with [Councilmember] Margaret Chin on efforts to make sure community concerns were raised and addressed in the South Street Seaport issue…. “There were a lot of concerns that went down to the wire about the businesses there… Also a lot of work went into the indoor food market issue. The food market…I think is going to be a really important addition to Lower Manhattan and to the city’s food economy and tourism.”
Downtown Express photo by Lincoln Anderson
Charter schools Unlike some of his opponents he has not ruled out co-locating charter schools in existing schools saying he is “agnostic” on the subject. “I won’t have the same zealotry about charters that I think this administration does so I think I’ll have a much more honest conversation about where space does and does not exist. “
John Liu City Comptroller Storm Protections “I give Mayor Bloomberg general kudos for coming up with those ideas. Some of them are more realistic than others, and we’re talking about huge amounts of capital outlays…. “What I would like to do is to get a better handle on the FEMA reimbursement that we are truly entitled to as well as the private insurance plan; and see how the city government can better coordinate the reinvestment of those funds…. “There are sea walls right at the edge of the water. There are tidal marshes that I actually think make long-term sense, and then there are the gates — kind of like garage doors that open. I would not rule out the gates. I think we have to approach it with a tiered approach. First tier is — we’ve got to use whatever money we can to shore up infrastructure.” On Seaport City Maybe there’s gonna be a movie about that. But I think there are more immediate priorities that we have to deal with… electrical communication, transportation infrastructure. Stop & Frisk Prior to this week’s federal ruling against the N.Y.P.D.’s Stop & Frisk policy, the Democratic candidates had for the most part, pledged to substantially reduce the number of stops to ones where police had reasonable suspicion of a crime. Liu had often said he would end the practice, but he suggested two weeks ago that he only considers unjustified stops to be a part of the policy and he insisted his stance was different than his opponents: “You’re walking alone minding your own business, you could be with your mom, could be with your girlfriend, and you are asked to put your hands up against the wall or over the hood of the car for no apparent reason. And that, I think, is what people refer to as Stop & Frisk, not the technical issue of stop, question and frisk…. “I don’t think it’s simply a matter of semantics. I think it’s an understanding of what’s happening.”
August 14 - August 27, 2013
Seaport firm’s plan for boats at the new Pier 17 BY T E RE SE L O E B K R E U Z E R The Howard Hughes Corp., has submitted a plan for the maritime usage of Pier 17 to City Councilmember Margaret Chin and to City Council’s Land Use Division. On March 8, 2012, when Hughes first showed its plans for a new shopping mall on Pier 17 to Community Board 1’s Seaport Committee, the renderings depicted a flatroofed, glass-enclosed structure with no boats in sight. “Amanda Burden of the Department of City Planning required H.H.C. to amend its plan to show maritime-friendly elements,” said Michael Kramer, a member of the steering committee of Save Our Seaport, a neighborhood group trying to preserve the historic South Street Seaport. “There would have been no maritime activity at all at Pier 17 under the original Howard Hughes Corp. ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure] plan.” On March 20, 2013, Howard Hughes, which has a long-term lease at the Seaport, went before City Council with its plan, the last stage in the ULURP process. By then, ships had been included. “The pier will be designed to accommodate maritime uses,” said Christopher Curry, senior executive vice president of Hughes, “including the installation of appropriate infrastructure such as cleats and bollards and gates to permit safe access to maritime
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TRINITY CHURCH Broadway at Wall Street 74 TRINITY PLACE is located in the office building behind Trinity Church
ST. PAUL’S CHAPEL Broadway and Fulton Street CHARLOTTE’S PLACE 107 Greenwich Street btwn Rector & Carlisle Streets The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, Rector The Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee, Vicar
New York Water Taxi docked at Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport. Under the maritime usage plan for the pier proposed by The Howard Hughes Corp., which is about to tear down the existing shopping mall on the pier and replace it with a new one, there would be room for New York Water Taxi to dock at the newly configured pier, and for one other boat.
programs on the south and east sides of the pier. Howard Hughes will continue to allow the [South Street Seaport] Museum to use the water beside Pier 16 for the docking of its vessels.”
THURSDAY, AUGUST 15 & 22, 10:30am-12pm Fellowship Gathering: Job Seekers’ Group Join others seeking to improve and effectively market their job skills. 74 Trinity Pl, 3rd Fl, Room 2 THURSDAY, AUGUST 15 & 22, 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 FRIDAY, AUGUST 16, 6-7:30pm Family Friday Pizza and Movie Night Relax with your kids and meet other downtown families for free pizza, children’s movies, and community. Charlotte’s Place TUESDAY, AUGUST 20, 1-3pm Open Hours Origami Led by interfaith minister Lisa Bellan-Boyer. No prior experience necessary. Charlotte’s Place
City Council approved the ULURP application, but required that Hughes submit a docking plan for the pier by June 30, 2013. It arrived on schedule. The new plan has a notch on the east side
of the pier, which the plan shows could contain one gangway for a boat. Vessels would not be permitted to enter the notch. Continued on page 9
SUNDAY, AUGUST 18 & 25, 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, AUGUST 18 & 25, 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, AUGUST 18, 10am Summer Sunday School: A Garden Project An interactive, Scripture-based instructional program where children and youth make sustainable gardens inside and outside while learning skills to be good stewards of God’s creation. Trinity Churchyard, North side
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 Watch online webcast
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 6pm Family Friday Yoga and Veggie Night Practice with your children in this familyfocused yoga class! Charlotte’s Place Leah Reddy
an Episcopal parish in the city of New York
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
August 14 - August 27, 2013
B.P. candidates square off at... and on N.Y.U. By KAIT LYN ME ADE Education, jobs, affordable housing was the mantra that the candidates for Manhattan borough president stuck to at debate last week on N.Y.U.’s campus. All four Democratic candidates appeared to be in a place of strength at the August 7 event, settling in for what one of the candidates called their 538th debate for the September 10 Democratic primary. Limiting development also seemed to be an underlying current throughout much of the debate. Councilmember Gale Brewer added building libraries and parks to the list of necessary amenities that should be included with schools to combat overcrowding. Brewer noted that she has been listed by the New York Times as one of the top five city officials championing parks in N.Y.C. Councilmember Robert Jackson, who co-chairs the City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, focused on job creation. As a representative of the upper reaches of Manhattan’s west side, which has some of the highest unemployment rates in the borough, Jackson said he was committed to ensuring “that Manhattan stays affordable”. “What I would like to do is very simple,” Councilmember Jessica Lappin said, “Fight for middle class and working people in this borough with a special emphasis on tenants and seniors.” Lappin mentioned using the 197-A process to employ “bottom-up planning” to look at things 10-15 years down the road to build necessary infrastructure to keep up with development. Former Community Board 1 chairperson Julie Menin continued to come back to her “comprehensive, borough-wide master plan” throughout the debate as a panacea for Manhattan’s troubles, as it would mandate specific infrastructure and funding contributions for all new development, including schools and affordable housing. “I am running for borough president because I believe we need to completely reform our land use review process,” Menin said in her opening statement, sparking the first spontaneous applause at the session. N.Y.U. expansion The most lively audience participation cropped up around the topic of N.Y.U. expansion and the Council’s 2012 vote to approve it during a question that encompassed the candidates’ views on both N.Y.U. and the fast-tracked proposal to develop skyscrapers in Midtown East. The debate, organized by Citizen’s Union, a government watchdog group, and NYC Community Media, the parent company of Downtown Express, took place at NYU’s Center for Spiritual Life in Greenwich Village. “We’re sitting in a neighborhood where the City Council and the Mayor approved rezoning,” said Citizen’s Union’s Dick Dadey, who co-chaired the debate with Paul Schindler, the Editor-in-Chief of Gay City News. The question prompted a round of finger-pointing as the City Council members attempted to distance themselves
Downtown Express photo by Kaitlyn Meade
Manhattan’s B.P. candidates went head-to-head at a recent debate at N.Y.U. From left to right, Gale Brewer, Robert Jackson, Jessica Lappin and Julie Menin.
from the final deal. Brewer reminded the assembly that everyone on the council but Charles Barron voted for the expansion in the end and then went on to say she did not agree with the terms set and would behave differently if she became borough president. “And you should know it’s not an open and transparent process because negotiations don’t take place in public, they happen in private...” said Jackson, who then squarely pointed his finger at fellow councilmember Margaret Chin, who acted as the Council’s negotiator for the N.Y.U. Proposal. Lappin also turned the blame on Chin, saying, “I was not the prime negotiator. I think I would have done a better job; I would’ve handled it differently, I would have worked with the local elected officials, for example. But in the end, I voted as the current borough president suggested, I voted in favor of the plan.” Menin spoke about lobbying N.Y.U. to expand into Tower 5 of the World Trade Center site, though the development would not have replaced the massive Bleecker St. tower. She also used the expansion as an example of why the land-use process needs to be reformed with her master plan. Questioning each other Candidates got to crank up the pressure another notch when they were given the opportunity to ask one question of a randomly selected opponent. Jackson was asked by Menin about the City Council’s vote to overturn term limits giving both himself and Mayor Bloomberg eligibility for a third term despite voter referendums that showed a majority against the amendment. But Jackson was quick to point out that in Manhattan, unlike the rest of the city, the initial vote showed that more people were in favor of the extension. He also cited the lack of voter turnout saying, “I didn’t cut the deal.
The people of New York voted, 1.5 million voted, out of 4 million. Those people that did not vote gave Mayor Bloomberg another term, not me.” Menin had the tables turned on her when Lappin asked why she “chose to become a Republican during George W. Bush’s term.” Menin, who changed political parties between 2001 and 2003, said that after 9/11, “I would do whatever I could to work for the community and make sure the community had a voice at the table,” adding that at the time, she was working closely with the Republican State administration. She said she has always been a progressive, however. Jackson was more lenient, perhaps unintentionally, when he asked Brewer about her position on small businesses, a question which she said she “loved” because of legislation passed in her Upper West Side Council district that restricts the store-front size of incoming banks in an effort to preserve space for Mom-and-Pop shops. Brewer passed on the love to Lappin, her seatmate in the City Council and also apparently her gossip buddy, who was simply
asked to elaborate on her experience. Lappin used it as an opportunity to talk about 15 years of experience in city government, the first half as a staff member of former Council Speaker Gifford Miller. “I made a decision when I graduated college, that making money was not as important as making a difference” Lappin said. Menin was the only one to advocate “absolutely” for a revision of the charters of the borough president and community boards. Jackson and Lappin both allowed that a charter revision commission was a good idea, though Jackson said, “But the bottom line is this is what we have,” Jackson said, “You have to follow the law, and within a certain time, you have to act.” Brewer noted that there have been many such commissions under Mayor Bloomberg, which yielded few results. Any change to the powers of the borough presidents will also likely be dependent on who is elected into the mayoral office alongside them. “The charter change must include the way the City Council, the community boards, and the borough president and the mayor all work together,” she said.
August 14 - August 27, 2013
Continued from page 5 Continued from page 7
She wrote a great many letters and talking points for Downtown Express which resounded with her passion and idealism. “It’s good that there will be something in the paper that she wrote so many letters to,” said Vide. A prolific contributor, Lipschutz decried the “real estate frenzy” post 9/11 that she warned could lead to “a hodgepodge and labyrinth of concrete, brick and mortar, not a carefully planned metropolis.” Another letter on longevity’s downside, written when she was at 96, took up the cause of the elderly of Lower Manhattan who would find more and more difficulty remaining in their homes as financial and social pressures mounted. In one talking point, she described her school days in 1921, and how she empathized with two ostracized little girls in her class that Lipschutz still wondered about years later. One of them was the only black girl in the school and a victim of the teacher’s prejudice. The other was Ines Sacco, whose father Nicola was one half of the infamous Sacco and Vanzetti trial in that year. Both, she said “illustrated what America was like then and how America has changed during the past century.” Lipschutz looked forward as well as back. After the Haitian earthquake in 2010, she
Geraldine Lipschutz at age 10.
recalled a 1929 earthquake in Attica, N.Y. that she and her mother could feel from their apartment in Brooklyn. Her response also foreshadowed a disaster that struck two years later on October 29, when she wrote somewhat presciently, “Can you envision such an event here in New York? A magnitude of such proportions is beyond our imagination. We are all at the mercy of nature, especially when there is no way to prepare for it.” Though she never married, she is survived by her friends and neighbors who will commemorate her in a private funeral ceremony.
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On the south side of the pier, the plan shows a floating dock for New York Water Taxi, like the one now there. Tom Berton, whose company, Manhattan By Sail, owns the 158-footlong Clipper City, now berthed at Pier 17, likes the plan. “It looks like [Howard Hughes] listened to our earlier comments and provided an interesting solution that could work for Clipper City,” he said. He said that he had some questions about the fendering system, which protects boats from slamming against the pier when they dock, but was satisfied with the plan. Berton hopes to bring Clipper City back to Pier 17 after the new shopping mall has been constructed, in about two years. Save Our Seaport was less satisfied. “The only apparent positive items are the increased space allowed for line handlers, the inclusion of some additional mooring devices, and a limited number of access gates,” said Capt. Robert Rustchak, speaking on behalf of the group. Rustchak has 28 years of experience as a Tall Ship and commercial mariner, including eight operating from the South Street Seaport.
“The amount of usable dock space is still less than one third of what is available now,” he said. “There is still limited flexibility in mooring options. Were there to be a need to evacuate Lower Manhattan again, the new berthing options are restrictive. It seems that no adjustments have been made to the pedestrian pathway around the pier since the original plan.” Rustchak said that having a gangway in the pier’s notch was “a novel concept,” but that an additional gangway from a vessel through the notch may be legally required for emergency use. He also noted that were there to be a fire on the pier, as there was on July 14, 2012, this notch could create “confusion and danger for people on the pier.” Rustchak wondered whether there would any seating near the fencing. “It was previously suggested that seating close to the fence puts the public in danger from the line handling involved in berthing vessels,” he said. SHoP Architects, which designed the new Pier 17 shopping mall for Howard Hughes, did not comment on the revised plan. It is now being considered by City Council’s Land Use Division, which will submit its comments to The Howard Hughes Corp. and to the City Planning Commission, which must approve the proposal.
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August 14 - August 27, 2013
Educational Alliance’s new center will have it all By H e ather Dub in The old and new are coming together at the Educational Alliance, as the former Lower East Side settlement house is moving toward completion of a $59 million renovation of its historic flagship building. The project by the community-based nonprofit organization preserves the facade of its 197 East Broadway building, which — once the two-year-long gut rehab is finished — will house the Manny Cantor Center. The center will include a reception space for community events, a fitness floor, expanded senior and teen centers, an art school with light-filled studios, and ample room for early childhood education. The new community center is slated to open early this winter. Joanna Samuels, executive director of the Manny Cantor Center, spoke about the endeavor and its origins in a recent phone interview. The center is named for Manny Cantor, who is the late father of Richard Cantor, an Educational Alliance board of trustees member. “Manny Cantor came in 1921, at the age of 16, to New York,” Samuels said. “Like stories of immigration, he came here with nothing, started a business, became successful, and his son did too.” The younger Cantor, she said, wanted to “honor the courage of his father of coming
here and making a life.” In tribute to the memory of his dad, who died in 1952 at the young age of 47, Richard Cantor has been “an early and very robust, generous supporter of the project,” Samuels said. She added that the project has also been fortunate to receive “a wonderful combination” of funds from the government, foundations
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The Manny Cantor Center’s new rooftop space, offering sweeping views, will be available for community events and rentals.
and private philanthropy. “It’s an amazing building,” Samuels said. “Part of it is 123 years old, and part of it is 90 years old. The two buildings have been put together.” While the East Broadway building and the other one, which backs onto Henry St. — where the Educational Alliance’s early childhood program is located — have always belonged to the organization, now they will be connected internally by hallways. “As you can imagine,” Samuel said, “at that age, lots of things in the buildings are not working as you would want them to be working.” But the facade will remain intact. “It’s magnificent,” she said. “It fits beautifully into the neighborhood, with incredible windows.” Inside, however, it will be a modern and “very state-of-the-art building,” she noted. “It will be much more amenable to the work we’re doing.” Samuels started at the Educational Alliance a year ago while construction was already underway. “I feel blessed to have walked into this,” she said. The center’s top floor will feature a glassed-in space with open terraces for community gatherings and rentals. “You can see the entire neighborhood and bridges. It’s beautiful,” Samuel said of the renovated rooftop space. There will also be a catering kitchen with amenities. A 12,000-square-foot fitness floor will have two group exercise rooms, equipment and indoor cycling. Presale for fitness center memberships has already begun. A floor will be devoted to the senior center, which Samuels described as “a vital piece of work we do in the community for older adults.” Two floors will house early child-
hood education, including a private preschool and Head Start. There will be babysitting on another floor for those at the fitness center, and a centralized art school, which will attract teaching artists. The basement will be for the teen center, with college preparation courses, after-school activities and recreation for teenagers in the neighborhood. There is also a College Access and Success program, with 222 people currently enrolled, where parents of children in Head Start can go to college on-site in the center while the kids are in class all day. “It’s a dual-generation model,” Samuels explained. “Participants can take English classes, get their General Educational Development [G.E.D.], and then enroll in classes on-site with partnership Borough of Manhattan Community College.” A large industrial kitchen will produce 300 to 400 kosher and vegetarian meals daily for the children and seniors, with a seating capacity of about 200 in a 3,500-square-foot dining space. In the tradition and vision of the settlement house, Samuels wants the center to continue to serve and uplift its surrounding neighborhood in all its diversity — to help more “Manny Cantors” achieve their own American Dream. “In a way, it’s how unremarkable his story is that makes it so worthy,” Richard Cantor said of his father. “It is not a story of great academic or professional accomplishment, but rather a lesson of how much can be achieved in a short period of time by setting a clear example of how life is to be lived, and passing it on from generation to generation.”
August 14 - August 27, 2013
Silver jumps onboard Grand St. ferry stop idea By Cl a r i ssa -J a n Lim Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver expressed his support for a new ferry stop at Grand St. to Kyle Kimball, executive director of the city’s Economic Development Corporation. E.D.C. is currently considering expanding the East River ferry service. A ferry stop at Grand St. would serve as a “faster and more accessible commute to the Financial District and Midtown,” as well as bringing in people to Lower East Side from other parts of the city, Silver wrote in his letter to Kimball. He also noted that it would provide a link to Williamsburg and “other parts of Brooklyn that are home to their own burgeoning neighborhoods.” Joseph Hanania, an advocate for the new ferry stop who collected signatures petitioning E.D.C. to put a ferry stop at the existing dock on Grand St., said it would help bring in new passenger traffic from Brooklyn and Queens, revive the street, and “relieve congestion near the renewed East River Park athletic fields, and for heavily attended concerts/events at the East River bandshell.” The petition now has close to 600 signatures. The renovation of the East River esplanade and bikeway could also benefit from a Grand St. ferry stop, Silver
said in his letter. The influx of new residents along Grand St. — which runs from Soho through Chinatown, Little Italy and the Lower East Side, to the East River — as well as new commercial and retail development in recent years, means many would benefit from a Grand St. ferry stop, he added. Last week, Hanania said, “I am thrilled that the Assembly speaker is backing the proposed ferry stop at Grand St. His backing may well be the decisive turning point in bringing this about. “I also hope that the new proposed stop, coupled with a possible cafe at the ferry stop, which would be the only one yet in East River Park, will help feed a revival of the far Lower East Side by bringing in additional foot and bicycle traffic. I also hope that the additional passengers coming here will feed the existing bus lines — the 14th St. crosstown, the Houston St. crosstown and the No. 22 to Battery Park City, helping us get more frequent bus service.” “Most importantly,” Hanania said, “we still need a subway stop that is closer to our area. Right now, it is about a 12-minute walk from Grand St. and the F.D.R. to the nearest subway station. I discussed several weeks ago with one of Mr. Silver’s assistants the desirability of a stop on the M line at either Pitt St.
Hipsters and young people going back and forth from Brooklyn to the Lower East Side is just one demographic the ferry service would serve.
or at Clinton St. and Delancey. “Other areas of the city are getting entirely new lines,” Hanania noted, “including the Second A ve. subway and the subway line going into the
Hudson Yards. We are asking only for an additional needed stop on an existing line. I hope the additional activity generated by the ferry stop will help bring all this about.”
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August 14 - August 27, 2013
Downtown Express photos by Yoon Seo Nam
Go, Dog Go! Big dogs and little dogs, black and white dogs, all are welcome at Hudson River Parkâ€™s brand new dog run in Tribeca which opened its gates to eager canines and owners on August 5. The dog run, located between Hubert and N. Moore Sts., is made of brightly-painted concrete and asphalt, surrounded by shade trees and umbrellas, and is equipped with paw-activated water fountains for summertime fun. The pooches (and their people) seemed pretty thrilled opening day as they gamboled through the fountains and made use of the parkâ€™s elongated shape to run full out. It also has a separate area specifically for small dogs under twentythree pounds, a first for Hudson River Park. While the park receives most of its funding from New York City and State, Madelyn Wils, the president and C.E.O. of the parkâ€™s Trust, thanked Congressmember Jerrold Nadler for securing $4.8 million in additional funding for the Tribeca improvements. In addition to the dog run, the new esplanade opens a path for joggers and bicyclists to travel from Pier 25 to Pier 40 and the northern sections of the park.
August 14 - August 27, 2013
Brooklyn Bridge Beach, Downtown’s next ‘stay-cation’ spot? BY T E RE SE L O E B K R E U Z E R Despite a steady rain, Borough of Manhattan President Scott Stringer and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn were upbeat. On Aug. 1, they stood on the esplanade under the Brooklyn Bridge and announced that the small, garbage-filled stretch of beach behind them was about to be upgraded. Stringer’s office had already allocated $3.5 million to fix up the 11,000-square-foot beach, which is a natural formation in the East River. He and Quinn announced that City Council was kicking in another $3.5 million to augment and transform the beach into an amenity that could be used for fishing, human-powered boating and wading. “Isn’t it beautiful,” Stringer said enthusiastically, as he showed off a rendering of the proposed beach. “This is going to be an amazing part of Manhattan that people will flock to. “I’m going to spend my retirement years right here, reading about all the politicians,” he said jokingly — not that he hopes to be retiring any time soon. He is running against Eliot Spitzer to become the city’s next comptroller. The Brooklyn Bridge Beach announcement gave Stringer and mayoral candidate Quinn a good-news opportunity to stand in front of the cameras with the primary election less than six weeks away. Stringer described the beach as the “first
project of the proposed East River Blueway Plan.” This plan for the East River waterfront from 38th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge was developed by his office starting in 2010. The final report was published in March 2013. “As the community and our stakeholders were working on the plan, we raised the issue of storm mitigation,” Stringer said. “Even some years ago, we realized that if we did not create access to the waterfront and at the same time put in protection against possible storm surge, we would have serious trouble.” He said that a lot of the recommendations in the plan “will go a long way toward keeping this community safe.” The beach itself should be protective as well as plantings that will border it. Quinn said that, “Brooklyn Bridge Beach will transform what has often been an unused and forgotten stretch of waterfront into a premiere ‘stay-cation’ as well as a tourist destination. We know this will help spur economic growth in Lower Manhattan which is something that, post-Sandy, is incredibly important.” She said that part of New York’s historic greatness comes from “our reality as a river city but at some point, we literally and figuratively turned our back on the river. This project is part of our ongoing efforts in the Council and in the Manhattan Borough President’s office to reclaim our waterfront and its potential.”
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Borough President Scott Stringer announced last week that there is $7 million in the budget to upgrade this beach area near the Brooklyn Bridge.
Other attendees at the press conference near the bridge included Councilmember Margaret Chin and Catherine McVay Hughes, Community Board 1’s chairperson. Stringer and Quinn were vague as to when Brooklyn Bridge Beach would be ready for use. “As soon as possible,” said Stringer. “We’re working on it. We have to get funding. This is a long-term project.” “When you’ve got a pot of money to do one part of the park – do it,” said Quinn,
“because when that part gets done, like this park, people will flock here and that attention and energy create momentum which brings more money and gets you on to the next stage.” Asked whether the impending change in administration might affect the beach development plans, mayoral candidate Quinn replied jocularly, “We’re good. No worries about the beach in the future administration. We’re good.”
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August 14 - August 27, 2013
By J a n el B l a d o w Summer fun is rampant. Even our neighbors who don’t disappear every August are enjoying the scene (and pleasant weather) on our newly cobbled streets (or most of them)! Which brings up the exciting news that Water St. is nearly all repaved, Front is nearing completion but Peck Slip will be ongoing for months, and while the street jackhammering is slowing, we still have the nightly bursts from work on the Brooklyn Bridge. Sleepus interruptus is the neighborhood disease of the moment.
They all want a piece of us…
The Seaport area has been all the news this summer. First, the debate rages about the renovation of Pier 17. Then, there’s the proposed Seaport City. And, finally grasping for more headline glory are all the politicos coming up with designs for development of the little strip of sand under the Brooklyn Bridge. What’s important is that all of these ideas overlap on some of the same stretch of the East River waterfront. This is key to all of the development plans now circulating… it’s almost as if everyone is grabbing for a chunk of our ‘hood which was unnoticed and ignored after Giuliani ran out the fishmongers. The grandstanding has everyone from neighbors, local businesses and barkeepers to S.O.S. (Save Our Seaport) members freaking out. Let’s look at the plans:
1. Pier 17…
bigger, better, higher and wider. “The South Street Seaport Renovation Project” application before Community Board 1, calls for not only a bigger building on the current pier footprint but also “waterfront special permits, authorizations and a certification” and rezoning! Not just of the pier location but a rezoning from C2-8 to a C4-6 zoning district of the “Special Lower Manhattan District,” along the waterfront area generally bounded by Maiden Lane, the Brooklyn Bridge, South Street, and the U.S. Pierhead Line (all the tax lots, adjacent street, wharf or place areas — meaning property between South Street and the river). The application is from the South Street Seaport Limited Partnership and the New York City Department of Small Business Services. And some of the retail spaces will be greater than 20,000 square feet. The 1939 New Market Building, the only piece of the Fulton Fish Market’s history left out of the city-designated South Street Seaport Historic District, is at risk. With the big plans to develop the pier and surrounding area, this could mean demolition of this piece of rare W.P.A. modern municipal architecture unless it gains protection by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
2. Seaport City…
Come on now! Come up with a new name for goodness sake if you are going to redevelop the East Side of Lower Manhattan! Our little neck of the island already owns Seaport! Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pulling out the stops to get the
Rendering courtesy of the NYC Mayor’s office.
Rendering of the mayor’s proposal for Seaport City, which will be just south of the Brooklyn Bridge.
project to protect Lower Manhattan from future Hurricane Sandys launched before his term ends. The idea is for a massive levee running along the 1.5 mile waterfront, which could then one day support this imaginary city. The study area runs from the Battery north to the Manhattan Bridge. Bloomberg called for ideas from the great minds that come up with these Big Ideas by August 22.
3. Brooklyn Bridge Beach…
Meanwhile, last week, Aug. 1, the politicians and press gathered on a wisp of sand under the Brooklyn Bridge to announce a $7-million beach! Yep, where there are now rotting pilings and washed up debris, a beach will bloom! The 11,000 square foot sand spot is just a small part of the East River Blueway Plan — “a scheme to increase waterfront access and storm protection,” as Heather Dubin wrote in our sister newspaper, The Villager. Now, don’t get me wrong, it will be nicer to have pretty sand bars and rustling reeds by the boardwalk — along with the proposed sunbathers, kayakers and other sun lovers. But really, concession stands? Canoe launches? And where are these water-lovers going to, say, park the car that brought that canoe?
Express reported, and a huge shopping mall with big anchor stores and outdoor entertainment spaces for music and mayhem. Wow, if we weren’t sinking into the sea before, the water line is sure to rise with all this displacement!
A really cool gym/ physical therapy/spa took a particularly hard hit from Sandy. But Complete Body Downtown, 10 Hanover Square, is bouncing back. The 30,000-square foot center in the former Goldman Sachs corporate fitness club, opened only a few months before the storm and had to rebuild from scratch, according to Alex Reznik, president and C.E.O. One of the most luxu-
rious gyms Downtown, with oversized locker rooms, a two-floor rock climbing wall and four classrooms, the club is rebuilding as fast as it can. The juice bar on the ground floor is up and running, he reports, and the physical therapy department on the mid-level is available to members and non-members. Reznik plans a soft reopening on Sept. 15 with most of the gym in operation. That includes sauna and steams, shower rooms, cardio and strength areas. The official Oct. 1 opening date will see classes resuming, including spinning, yoga, pilates, rebounding and sculpt, for a few. Stop by or check them out at www.completebody.com.
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Okay… let me see if I have this straight —
in the small stretch between the Brooklyn Bridge and Pier 17 we will have a massive city rising on manmade levees, a manmade beach and protected waterfront for sunning and “stay-cations,” as Downtown
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August 14 - August 27, 2013
Charter elementary proposed for Bertraum building Continued from page 1
Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers, an at-risk school with an overall D.O.E. grade of “D” for the 2011-12 school year, is already going through a downsizing process which will reduce its numbers by about 450 students by 2018. However, a new school, Mather High School which focuses on building and craftsmanship in cooperation with the National Parks Service, is set to open in the building this fall. The co-location is projected to bring the total “utilization” of the school up to 88-92 percent between 2013 and 2017, according to the D.O.E.’s school portfolio report. How that 8-12 percent of space would be able to accommodate a separate elementary school that would in all likelihood need entirely different facilities is not yet clear. Chin did not know if the city had a plan yet as to how to expand Success Academy to a full elementary school after the school opened. The announcement is not yet official but a meeting has already taken place with some of the Murry Bergtraum’s staff, to discuss a proposal to site a K-4 grade school on the large high school’s premises. according to Chin’s aide, Yume Kitasei, and another source who declined to be named. While the school building does have “underutilized space” and the need for elementary school seats is a continual worry for Downtown parents, some question that installing an elementary school charter is the best option in that location. “The D.O.E. is reserving space for a school that doesn’t exist,” said Shino Tanikawa, president of School District2’s Community Education Council. There is currently no letter of intent on the SUNY Charter School Institute’s public archives to open a Success Academy in District 2, though six are being considered for 2014 in Districts 1, 3, 7, 12 or 30. SUNY is responsible for reviewing and approving the applications for New York State charter schools, though not for siting them. The final requests for proposals for the charters, however, are not due until September 2013. The C.E.C. announced the plan’s existence at their Aug. 6 calendar meeting but was told to “stay tuned” for an Educational Impact Statement, probably in September that will provide more information on the logistics of collocating a school. However, “By the time an E.I.S. comes out, it’s pretty much a done deal,” Tanikawa noted, as the city Panel for Education policy has a majority of its members appointed by the mayor and has a record of generally approving administration proposals. She also mentioned that the local C.E.C. had passed several resolutions pertaining to charter schools in the last few
Downtown Express photos by Yonn Seo Nam
Summer school students outside Murry Bergtraum.
years, including one last year to put a moratorium on charter schools in the district “until we can figure out how to work with them,” she said. Tanikawa said the most concerning thing about the wave of charter schools over the last decade has been a surprising disparity between co-located schools. “It has tended to segregate schools into students who are given amenities and students who have nothing,” she said. While she acknowledged that she had not seen it herself, she said that colleagues had walked through co-located schools and could immediately tell which part of the building a school was occupied by the traditional schools and which part by the charter. “The level of inequity for students is really unhealthy,” she added. One of the main arguments against charter schools is that they take away resources from traditional schools. Though charters often receive less government funding per student than traditional schools, they also receive more private support. Success Academy and the Dept. of Education did not respond to requests for comment for this article. The Academy, which started in Harlem, has fought to open schools all around the city including the Upper West Side and now Union Square. Critics, including the United Federation of Teachers, charge the school with taking over school buildings and pushing out low-performing and special education students. Moskowitz has vigorously disputed
Murry Bergtraum High School, where Success Academy is looking to open an elementary school.
the accusations saying the school’s high performing students are a product of more teacher prep time, longer school days and small reading groups based on ability. The overall class size is usually larger than traditional public schools. In the past, the Academy has said the attrition rates are lower at Success than at traditional schools, and that statistically, special needs students are more
likely to stay at the school than general education children. Chin, who was recently endorsed by the U.F.T, in her reelection campaign said that she didn’t like charters’ “business model” approach to education. “It doesn’t sound right,” she said. “It’s a private enterprise and it’s a public responsibility to really educate all the children.”
August 14 - August 27, 2013
transit sam ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING IS SUSPENDED T HURSDAY FOR THE FEAST OF THE ASSUMPTION NFL pre-season action at the New Met Life Stadium means more traffic congestion for Lower Manhattan. The Jets play Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. while the Giants play Sunday at 7 p.m. While the Lincoln Tunnel picks up much of the traffic, the old domino theory means as that jams up, more people head to the Holland. Hardest hit will be Downtown, from 7th Ave. into Varick St. Brooklyn Bridge Alert! A 29-hour closure of all the Manhattan-bound lanes from 12:01 a.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday will make for heavier traffic at the inbound Battery Tunnel and Manhattan Bridge, and on West and Canal Sts., respectively. A 36-hour closure of the inbound Brooklyn Bridge 12:01 a.m. Saturday, August 24 through 12 p.m. noon Sunday, August 25 means the whole thing will repeat next weekend. This Saturday is the last Summer Streets event, closing Centre St. between the Brooklyn Bridge and Foley Square, and Lafayette St. between Foley Square and Astor Pl. 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Drivers taking the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan can use the F.D.R. Drive or Park Row South exits. Several crosstown streets will remain open to cars during the event: Chambers, Reade, Worth, Canal, Broome, and Houston Sts. A vegetarian street fair will close 13th St. between Seventh and Greenwich Aves. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. The Waverly Place Festival will close
Waverly Pl. between Broadway and Fifth Ave. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The Mulberry Street Pedestrian Mall will close Mulberry St. between Canal and Broome Sts., and Hester St. between Mott and Baxter Sts. 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through September 9. Orchard St. will close between Canal and Division Sts. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. In Tribeca, Franklin St. will close between Hudson and Varick Sts. 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. On West St./Route 9A, one lane will close in both directions between West Thames and Vesey Sts. 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday. In the Battery Park Underpass, one northbound lane will close between the F.D.R. and Route 9A 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and one southbound lane will close between Route 9A and the F.D.R. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. From the mailbag: Dear Transit Sam, On two Fridays in the past month at 5 p.m. I tried to exit West Street at Canal St. for the Holland Tunnel, and both times the exit was blocked by a cop and traffic cones. So I have to drive up a block and circle back as part of a horrific traffic jam that takes about
Transit Sam: When street parking and surveillance collide: a trickster, no not Snowden, installed this unofficial sign at Mercer and Prince Sts. Still, I’d think twice before parking illegally on Mercer. Anyone with more history on this sign, please write me.
45 minutes to get to the tunnel entrance. Is the marked Holland Tunnel exit always blocked on Friday evenings? What time is it blocked? What is an alternate route to the Holland Tunnel from West St.? Lynda, New York Dear Lynda, Yes, West St.’s Canal St. exit for the Holland Tunnel is nearly always closed on Friday evenings by the N.Y.P.D. Traffic officers divert cars from that exit when the tunnel gets
backed up, so it will likely be blocked most rush hours, and during the weekend exodus Friday afternoons. Spring St. to Varick St. is the alternate route for northbound traffic, Watt St. for southbound traffic. Transit Sam Readers, email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and subscribe to the Gridlock Sam e-Newsletter at samschwartz.com, which is now released on Fridays with all the weekend subway service changes and much more!
Downtown Express Photo by Tequila Minsky
Kids keep cool with help from Vesuvio’s mini-pool Local youth have their own V.I.P. outdoor pool in Vesuvio Playground at Thompson and Spring Sts. The mini-pool is only for children and teens up to the age of 16. Parents or adults must accompany young children. The pool will be open daily through Sept. 2, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
August 14 - August 27, 2013
BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER
Asian tiger mosquitoes invade BPC
The doormen at 377 Rector Place are used to swatting mosquitoes in the summer time, but this year, two of them mentioned that they are getting bitten by a particularly nasty mosquito with a striking black and white pattern on its body. It’s the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and it is a nasty one. It is aggressive and is a vector for several viral diseases including West Nile virus, yellow fever, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue fever and Chikungunya fever, whose symptoms include fever, severe joint pain, achiness, headaches, nausea and fatigue. Sometimes this fever is fatal, but mostly it produces severe and persistent pain in the small joints of the hands and feet. Although the Asian tiger mosquito has transmitted these diseases elsewhere in the world, thus far this mosquito has not caused the diseases to crop up in N.Y.C. But health officials and scientists say it could happen, and they are concerned. The Asian tiger mosquito is native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia. It was introduced into the United States in a shipment of tires that arrived in Houston, Texas in 1985. Since then, it has been making its way northward, abetted by climate change, which produces the warmer temperatures that it prefers. For around a decade, it has been common in New Jersey. Now it has crossed the Hudson River into New York City, and has also been discovered in 26 states. Because of its location, Battery Park City would be one of its first stops. “I have noticed them in my neighborhood as well [as Battery Park City],” said Tessa Huxley, the executive director of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy and a Lower East Side resident. The Asian tiger mosquito thrives in urban settings and is difficult to eradicate because it can breed in even the smallest amount of standing water — as small as a bottle cap. Unlike
many other mosquitoes, which are mainly active at dawn and dusk, this mosquito feeds during the day. Only the females suck blood, which they need to nourish their developing eggs. Once they find a host, they are likely to bite again and again before they are finished. “The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy staff has instructions to remove any standing water they find in the parks and open spaces that we maintain,” said Huxley. “As you can imagine, there are depressions in the pavement in any number of places and our staff, both horticulture and maintenance, are asked to sweep the water out of those places in order to reduce opportunities for any type of mosquito to breed. They are reminded to do so on a regular basis.” Huxley said that it was also essential for building staffs to keep after all standing water. “I am afraid that there are probably multiple puddles in the rooftops of all the buildings,” Huxley said, “and ‘out of sight is out of mind.’ In addition, I am sure that some building courtyards experience the same problems as we have with small depressions in the paving.” Asian tiger mosquitoes do not fly very well. In fact, they will not travel more than 200 yards from where they breed. However, people and birds do travel long distances. If an Asian tiger mosquito bites an infected person or bird, it can transmit viruses to the next person it bites. A study published by Cornell University in estimated that “there is a high probability of a Chikungunya outbreak if a single infected person arrives in New York in July or August and is bitten by an Asian tiger mosquito.” There is no vaccine for this disease and no cure. The Asian tiger mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing and typically bite legs and feet. Insect repellents containing DEET are said to be helpful in keeping the mosquitoes away.
Winter Garden gets new trees
The palm trees in the Winter Garden have grown too tall for the space and have to be replaced. Workmen began to remove the old trees on Aug. 12 and expect to be finished with that part of the job by the end of the week. The trees (Washingtonia robusta) are around 60 feet tall. They have grown spindly and show signs of curvature and twisting.
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Tiger lilies are blooming on the Battery Park City esplanade.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Asian mosquito has been spotted in Battery Park City as well as other places in New York City.
They were planted in the Winter Garden in September 2002, when it reopened after having been destroyed on 9/11. Along with the Winter Garden’s grand, marble stairway, the palm trees epitomized resurgence after the World Trade Center attack. For Battery Park City residents and workers, the Winter Garden became a favored place to meet and rest. Sixteen new trees, which will be planted between Aug. 19 and 23, are the same species as the old ones, but will be around 35 feet tall. The work will be done during the evening hours and should be completely finished by Saturday, Aug. 24. “When palm trees are outside, wind makes the trunks strong,” said Melissa Coley, a spokesperson for Brookfield Office Properties, owner of the Winter Garden. The Winter Garden palm trees lacked this advantage, of course. The replaced trees will be mulched and sent to local hospitals for use in serenity gardens.
East Indian family dance and storytelling
Two distinguished performers will present Indian music and storytelling in Battery Park City on Saturday, Aug. 17. “We have a delightful day planned,” said Abby Ehrlich, director of programming for the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, which is sponsoring both events. Sunita S. Mukhi will tell Indian stories in Teardrop Park at 11 a.m. Her recitation, called “Monkeys, Mangoes and Magic,” is for all ages. Mukhi produces Asian-American programming at SUNY Stony Brook’s Charles B. Wang Center. She is also a performer, director, choreographer and poet. She is of South Asian background, although she was born and raised in Manila, the Philippines. Teardrop Park is between Warren and Murray Streets, off River Terrace. Esplanade Plaza on the south side of North Cove Marina will be the place to be from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., when DJ Rekha accompanied by drummers and dancers shows what East Indian bhangra is all about. This lively music, a combination of tradi-
tional music of the Punjab region of India and western music, originated in London in the 1980s, where Rekha was born. Rekha has performed at SOB’s on Varick St., at Central Park’s SummerStage and at Prospect Park’s Celebrate Brooklyn. She has lectured on South Asian-American pop culture at New York University. This will be the last of this season’s family dances sponsored by the Parks Conservancy. Each one showcases a different ethnic music tradition, with leaders who demonstrate the dance steps. Everyone can dance, with or without partners. For those who just wish to watch and listen, the music is always great. Both events are free.
Battery Park City in bloom
Many kinds of lilies are now blooming in Battery Park City. Among the most flamboyant are tiger lilies (Lilium flore pleno) displaying speckled orange flowers near Albany Street on the esplanade. These lilies are native to eastern Guam, China, Korea and Japan. In China, they were cultivated for food. The great 18th-century botanist Carl Linnaeus came up with the name “Lilium” for this genus of flowers. The Latin name has a distinguished linguistic pedigree. It was derived from a Greek word, “leírion,” which, in turn, emanated from a word for “flower” used in ancient Egypt. Both the Greek and Egyptian words may be the remainders of a language once used in the Eastern Mediterranean and now forgotten. Lilies figure prominently in the Bible (“I am the Rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley” and “like a lily among the thorns” in the “Song of Solomon”), but it’s probable that the lily to which the Old Testament refers is not the same as the flowers now known by that name. In the New Testament, they were associated with the Virgin Mary and her purity. To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb10@gmail.com
August 14 - August 27, 2013
Remembering one of Downtown’s greatest champions
Jennifer Goodstein Publisher EMERITUS
John W. Sutter Editor
Josh Rogers NYC RECONNECTS ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Terese Loeb Kreuzer Arts Editor
Scott Stiffler Reporters
Lincoln Anderson Editorial ASsistant
Sr. V.P. of Sales & Marketing
Francesco Regini Retail ad manager
There might be people who love
Lower Manhattan as much as Liz Berger did, but we doubt anyone loved it more. Berger had an enthusiasm for Downtown that was infectious, and her dedication to our community made it a better place to live and work. Like many others, we were saddened to learn of her death from cancer last week at the far too young age of 53. Berger was the president of the Downtown Alliance for the last six years. She had been a Community Board 1 member prior to that, and also served the city in many other capacities over the years. A hard-working woman of great intelligence, she and her work live on in the many people she led, touched or inspired to do more for our neighborhood and for the world. Last fall after Hurricane Sandy ravaged parts of our community, the Alliance, led by Berger, rushed in with help to small businesses, a mere three weeks after the storm hit, and long before any other financial help came. She had so many great ideas or projects
she championed. One of our favorites is “Re:Construction.” It typifies what we admired most about Berger, her ability to take a negative — Lower Manhattan’s pervasive construction sheds and scaffolding post-9/11 — and make something better of it, namely art to hide the eyesores so as to brighten the day for hundreds of thousands of workers and residents. Her accomplishments are particularly remarkable considering her ten-year battle against pancreatic cancer. We are also grateful to another leader in the community, Madelyn Wils, for sharing her insights into her friend Lizzie’s inspiring attitude in the face of death — making every moment count for her husband and children, her friends and for Lower Manhattan. We offer our condolences to her family and friends. Berger was not the first to move to the Financial District, but she came Downtown a decade or two before most residents and long before it was called “FiDi.” She was often writ-
ing and commenting in these pages about important developments, and we close with some of her words from columns she wrote in 2010: “I moved to Lower Manhattan almost three decades ago. It was the frontier, and only my banker friends knew how to get here, but I loved living Downtown. Fred [her husband] followed the next year. It was an adventure. We loved living off the (street) grid, the huge buildings on the tiny streets, being close to the water and, back in the day when walking across the Brooklyn Bridge was a novel experience, knowing in some powerful, visceral way that Manhattan was an island. We loved the views, how all the subway and bus lines came together and the feeling that we were at the center and beginning of everything…. “The happy truth is that Lower Manhattan, home to some of the world’s biggest businesses and tallest buildings, is also a little village, a place where neighbors know each other, shopkeepers wave and everyone gets together on the ball fields.”
Allison Greaker Julius Harrison Alex Morris Rebecca Rosenthal Julio Tumbaco
Letters to the Editor
Art / Production Director
Noise is not art
Troy Masters Senior Designer
Michael Shirey Graphic Designer
Arnold Rozon Contributors
Albert Amateau Jerry Tallmer
To The Editor: Thank you for covering the reaction of Tribeca residents to Pier 26 noisy events (news article, July 31 – Aug. 13, “Is Tribeca pier too alive with the sound of music?”). Though fortunately less frequent, in Battery Park City a similar problem exists with the Brookfield Arts & Events summer program. As Ms. Wils acknowledges, “the river carries
noise,” and sound bounces off the water and directly into my apartment above the 20th floor at Gateway Plaza. I hear the words and every groan — and pornographic whine and grunt — that these “artists” offer as I arrive home after a long day at work. In what kind of narcissistic bubble do the planners of these events live? Would they tolerate such disturbance outside the windows at their own residential addresses? From your piece, I gather that in these events two values preclude all others: (1) money, and (2) the addictive need
in our culture to be entertained (Are we having fun yet?) The absence of any effort on the part of these professional planners to consider, or engage, the needs of residents displays the same myopia as the de rigueur noise a k a “concerts.” Noise is harmful to public health and is an environmental pollutant. Calling these programs “concerts” doesn’t change that fact. What is it that these planners don’t get?
“Success charter school proposed for Bergtraum building”(news article, posted August 7): The problem is not that it’s a charter school, the problem is that Eva Moskowitz’s school moves into a public school building and immediately begins to take all the space for themselves, because the chancellor is a political appointee and the mayor favors… charters so Eva gets what she wants and the public school kids get zilch, pretty soon the mayor announces that the public school is a failure and must be closed.
tinue their funding? This sounds like an ego issue and not one of truly wanting what’s going to elevate the educational experience of our children. ele
Milo Hess Jefferson Siegel
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“Liz Berger, a life worth living: Carpe diem” (Notebook by Madelyn Wils, posted August 6): From the day I met her she was a ball of energy and worked tirelessly to improve the community. I was greatly impressed with her enthusiasm and willingness to not shy away from digging in on hard issues. There is no doubt Lower Manhattan is a better place today as a result of her advocacy & efforts. My sincerest condolences to her family and friends. Michael McNaughton Thank you for the warm remembrance of her recent life. For those of us who were fortunate enough to know her solely as a professional, the word that comes immediately to mind is courage. After reading your revealing, fitting tribute the word is evidently defined by how she lived. Michael Piazzola
Max555 Or is the real problem that government is defending government, even when it isn’t performing and operating to the tax-payers’ standards? How can [Councilmember] Chin criticize charter schools, who are not seeking profit and only aim to reach organizational goals to be able to con-
The problem is the uncontrollable “kids” that are there now. They should be removed and the school should be turned over to the K-8th graders downtown that really need the space. Or better yet, given to Lower Manhattan kids that need a local high school for local kids, not troubled kids brought in from all over that harass residents, beat up neighbors and threaten the safety of our area. The school is practically attached to police headquarters and the police do not even want to go in there. Where is our community board when it comes to demanding back space from the city? Karen Continued on page 19
August 14 - August 27, 2013
Liz Berger, a life worth living: Carpe Diem B Y M AD E LYN WI L S On Mon., Aug. 5, two days after her 53rd birthday, my friend Lizzie died. Such a simple statement, yet in my life and others, an irreplaceable loss. Liz Berger was a relentless champion of Lower Manhattan, a loving mother, best friend to her husband Fred and a woman with grace, enormous intelligence, passion and a playful sense of humor, who embraced all within her sphere. Yet Liz was so much more. Ten years ago she was afflicted with pancreatic cancer; a terminal disease with no mercy. After extreme intervention and a month in a coma, Lizzie miraculously came through and began the most extraordinary journey — one all of her friends, family and those she touched found to be incredibly courageous and inspiring. Liz managed to fight the demons of cancer into remission successfully over many years, while living a most productive and vital life. As a result, she taught us life’s most important lessons: cherish and make the most of each day, hour and minute; never take advantage of anything or anyone and love all those around you unconditionally.
Continued from page 18
Our current public education system is inefficient and broken, so why are politicians fighting to stop the spread of successful charter schools that cha llenge the status quo and promote education reform? Just another example of NY politicians pandering to the UFT instead of protecting high-performing schools. Truly sickening. James Priority in success academy s c h o o l s i s d e t e r m i n e d , i n o r d e r, English language learners in the district, followed by students with disabilities who are English language learners in the district, then by all non ELL students in the district, then if there are any seats left the rest of the city gets considered base on if they applied. Of course you can see the disparity in buildings where there are charters and non-charges colocating. Its called mismanagement of money! I n p u b l i c s c h o o l s l i k e Wa d l e i g h , where the budget last year was over $3 million, you have a librarian who makes over $100K and barely is in the build ing teaching but is politically connected so we keep him so we can leverage his connections when our underperformance
Facing each day knowing that bad news could be around the corner at any moment, Liz planned for her family’s future, exulted in her children’s lives and beamed with unbearable joy, when her daughter Phoebe, and three years later her son Julian, became a Bar Mitzvah. Each year that passed was a blessing, as she spent quality time with her family and friends — and in turn, it was a gift to be around her. During the last six years, Liz Berger gave her soul to her family, her friends and to the Downtown community. She brought new energy to the Downtown Alliance when the neighborhood was still struggling to regain its place after 9/11. Liz knew these struggles first hand living as she did across from the World Trade Center and having been displaced from her own home for months after that tragic day. Her own personal experiences made her so effective and the perfect person to lead the organization, fighting every day for the community she loved. Liz’s indomitable spirit was contagious and she played a huge part in transforming Lower Manhattan into the vibrant
gets brought to light. Meanwhile, the bathrooms look like prison cells, the paint is peeling off the walls, none of out middle schoolers passed the State math exam and only 2% passed the English State exam. Its a darn shame and it’s a top down problem. The minute I can get an answer from Success Academy, I’m leaving this tenured job behind. Who needs it when you are doing a serious disservice to kids and its frowned upon when you actually work hard to help kids excel. I’ve been reprimanded for making others look bad! Bureaucratic backwardsness! Disappointed Teacher “Is Tribeca pier too alive with the sound of music?” (news article, posted July 31): It is an amazing attribute of a s p r a w l i n g m e t r o p o l i s l i k e N e w Yo r k that these events are available to N e w Yo r k e r s a n d v i s i t o r s a l i k e . A f t e r attending the Specials, I can honestly say that Pier 26 is an incomparable venue with vistas of the Statue o f L i b e r t y, F r e e d o m To w e r, E m p i r e State and the Hudson. I hope these types of concerts continue to be available and that the naysayers reassess their ‘not in my backyard’ mentalities; you are living in the greatest city in the world, you can handle a few days of music out of 3 6 5 . Tr i b e c a m a y b e y o u r n e i g h b o r-
Downtown Express File Photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
neighborhood it is today. She succeeded in attracting new tech businesses Downtown and funding for transportation alternatives. In fact, up to the very last, Liz was advocating for the train to the plane from Newark to Lower Manhattan, a project she passionately believed in. Two weeks ago in the hospital, Liz said that the last ten years was the best years of her life. In some ways I was startled, given her long battle with cancer, yet also understood what she meant. She cherished every day, loving every moment at her job, taking enormous pleasure in watching her children grow and sharing precious moments with her friends and family. Liz lived a valiant life and for those of us who were lucky enough to be around her, she became our life coach. Through her illness and her fortitude, we learned life’s most important lessons and for that reason alone, we will never forget her. Madelyn Wils, the president and C.E.O. of the Hudson River Park Trust, is a longtime resident of Lower Manhattan.
hood, but the Hudson belongs to N e w Yo r k . Donna I guess you are not living in this neighborhood Donna. We live in a residential we go to work, raising family and have seniors that deserve their privacy w/out the hideous pounding going on for hours. If you like to look at the Statue of Liberty take a boat there no problem. Grazia Vita This NIMBY mentality is truly depressing. It’s amazing how upset people can get when others have fun for a few hours. If the noise is bothering you, there are ways to deal with it. Shut the window and turn the TV up, go for a walk or stroll during these couple of hours, run some errands. Instead a few complainers are going to ruin a lot of fun for thousands. The squeaky wheel gets the grease I guess. How unfortunate. I’m in my mid-forties now and live in Tribeca, and I’m glad that they have these type of events, even though I won’t be attending them. And once I’m a senior citizen, I’m sure I won’t be bothered by this either. If it was bothering me, then I’d move to Florida. There is a reason I choose to live in New York. Events like this, on a whole, increase the quality of life. Dan
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or can be mailed to: 515 Canal St., New York, NY, 10013.
August 14 - August 27, 2013
Bullies, Body Issues and Black Pride FringeHIGH speaks to teens, and lets them talk back ring. Less a revenge fantasy than a journey to peace of mind and empowerment, “Bully” revisits the pivotal moments, and people, in Kaplan’s life — allowing him to find out what it takes to grow up and deal with the demons of the past. Wed., Aug. 14 at 6pm (followed by a Talk-Back), Fri., Aug. 16 at 2:30pm, Sun., Aug. 18 at 1:45pm. At The Steve & Marie Sgouros Theatre (115 MacDougal St., btw. W. Third & Bleecker Sts.).
TWO genTLeMen OF VerOnA: A SWASHBUCKLing COMeDY
Photo by Chris Gill
Amontaine Aurore navigates the 1970s, in “Free Desiree.”
By sCoTT sTiFFler With back to school season upon us, it’s as good a time as any for high school students to lay off those “Walking Dead” marathons and start acclimating themselves to activities more suited for brain stimulation than digestion. But cerebral doesn’t have to be boring — and it certainly doesn’t have to take place within the confines a TV set’s twodimensional borders. As luck would have it, North America’s largest multi-arts festival offers the chance to get out of the house and broaden one’s horizons without having to give up air conditioning. FringeHIGH is a collection of boundary-stretching plays (drawn from the general roster of FringeNYC shows) that will resonate with young adults. Topics include confronting school violence, claiming your own identity, challenging sexual labels and stereotypes and negotiating the twists and turns of love. One performance of each FringeHIGH show will have a post-performance TalkBack — your chance to discuss the show
with members of the cast or creative team. Some of the Talk-Back opportunities have already happened by now, but we’ve noted those occurring after this paper’s run date. Tickets ($15 in advance, $18 at the door) can be purchased online (fringenyc.com), by phone (866-468-7619) or in person at FringeCENTRAL (27 Second Ave., btw. First & Second Sts., open 12-8pm daily). Check out fringenyc.org for more information on all 185 FringeNYC shows. The festival runs through Aug. 25.
Queens-based director and choreographer Michael Hagins took the text from one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, filled in some missing plot holes and then added swordfights, crazy chase scenes and random violence — while, he says, managing to keep the integrity of the language and the theme of love having the power to conquer all. Thurs., Aug. 22 at 7pm and Sat., Aug. 24 at 2:15pm (followed by a Talk-Back). At CSV Flamboyan (107 Suffolk St., btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.).
A slammin’ Seattle funk soundtrack accompanies the exploits of Desiree and Shauna — two rebellious 1970s sisters growing up in a blue collar suburb, searching for their identities amidst cultural revolution. That means navigating Black pride, the Funky Chicken and a personal challenge. Desiree is trying to make the move
from geek-girl to revolutionary. Meanwhile, Shauna is tempted to split from life as a professional cheerleader when Hollywood comes calling. Will Shauna become Blaxploitation star Pam Grier’s successor, and will Desiree get it together and resolve the crisis at her high school? Thurs., 8/15 at 7:45pm, Sun., 8/18 at 9:15pm, Thurs., 8/22 at 3pm & Sat., 8/24 at 7:15pm. At Jimmy’s No. 43 (43 E. Seventh St., btw. Second & Third Aves.). For more info, visit tenauras.com.
Choreographed by Svea Schneider, this two-part performance from KINEMATIK Dance Theater begins with a comedic and surreal comment on the representation of women in popular culture. “Perfect Prototype” explores our media-saturated society’s obsession with perfect body aesthetics, celebrity worship and plastic surgery. Six “fierce female” dancers combine their own limbs with those of display mannequins, to challenges existing notions about the fragmentation of beauty. The second dance piece, “Insekta,” was created in collaboration with technology artist ChengI-Wang. It fuses the movement vocabulary of breakdance, house and modern dance with motion detection projections in order to explore the bustling world of beetles, spiders, ants and fireflies. Sat., 8/17 at noon, Sat., 8/24 at 9:30pm & Sun., 8/25 at 1:45pm (followed by a Talk-Back). At The Theater at the 14th Street Y (344 E. 14th St., at First Ave.). Visit kinematikdance.com.
Fresh from its run at the Capital Fringe Festival in DC, Lee J. Kaplan’s multi-character solo show takes its inspiration from his sixth-grade journal entries — and takes the notion of confronting your tormenters to a highly theatrical, appropriately metaphorical, extreme. In an effort to rise above the damage inflicted by those who subjected him to unrelenting attacks, Kaplan calls his past and present-day bullies into the boxing
Third STreeT MuSic School SeTTleMenT 235 East 11th Street, New York, NY 10003 • www.thirdstreetmusicschool.org
e GROW! EXPLORE! q ROCK DISCOVER!
TAP x BALLET music
Weekly music and dance instruction, for all ages Beginner Group Classes and Individual or and levels, after school and on Saturdays. Partner Lessons. Third Street Preschool full- and half-day programs. Toddler/Baby & Me Music, Dance and Movement classes.
B r i n g i n g
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Ensemble activities such as jazz and rock bands, choirs, orchestras, dance, chamber music and more!
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Photo by Dixie Sheridan
KINEMATIC Dance Theater contemplates perfect body aesthetics — and insects.
August 14 - August 27, 2013
Of Snow and Shakespeare Common threads, among FringeNYC’s 185 shows THE NIGHTMARE ‘DREAM’ Rest assured, there will be blood. “No ruffled neck is safe,” the producers promise, in this hemoglobin-heavy mashup of “Dracula” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that plays Bram Stoker’s melodrama for laughs and puts a slasher film spin on Shakespeare’s puckish tale of the wrong people falling in love. Despite the assured carnage and “sexy vampires galore,” the Bloody Shakespeare creative team asserts their production will do very little long-term moral or psychological damage to theatergoers 13 and up. As for the 12 and under set…stay home or wear garlic (and earplugs)! At The Theater at the 14th Street Y (344 E. 14th St., at First Ave.). Thurs., 8/15 at 9:30pm, Fri., 8/16 at 3:45pm & Sun., 8/18 at 4:15pm.
THEATeR FringeNYC: THE NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL FRINGE FESTIVAL Through August 25 185 shows, at 20 Downtown venues Tickets: $15 in advance $18 at the door Call 866-468-7619 or visit fringenyc.org
BY SCOTT STIFFLER If history is any indication (which it almost always is), here’s a blanket review of the 17th Annual New York International Fringe Festival that you can take to the bank, cash and then buy one of those all-theshows-you-can-see “Lunatic” passes. Of the 185 dramatic, dance, musical, solo and cross-disciplinary shows that will be performed multiple times from August 9-25, many of them will be fantastic. Some of them will be horrendous. Most will be worthy of everything the “Fringe” name implies, offering charismatic performances and thoughtprovoking ideas. The presentation may be a little frayed at the edges — but that’s to be expected when you buy fringe, or buy into Fringe. Also true to form, a quick scan of this year’s roster reveals certain themes. Here are two of them, each sponsored by the letter “S.”
FringeNYC THEME #2: GO, PLAYS IN THE SNOW
Photo by Edward Elder
Slings, bards and arrows: Danny Ashkenasi and Bob Homeyer play all the parts, in “The Accidental Hamlet.”
of Beatrice and Benedick. Sparks (and barbs) fly, as sharp-tongued young ones navigate the teenage rituals of parties, pranks and first love. At the Connelly Theater (220 E. Fourth St., btw. Aves. A & B). Wed., 8/14 at 8:30pm, Thurs., 8/15 at 7pm & Sat., 8/17 at noon.
Who cares if he actually wrote everything that’s been attributed to him over the years? For theater companies and hungry actors looking to make their mark, the complete works of Shakespeare are an endless source of inspiration…and a challenge, when it comes to innovative presentation. These five productions benefit from wildly imaginative takes on oft-told tales. Let’s hope the execution matches the level of ambition.
THE ACCIDENTAL HAMLET The mounting problems of everyone’s favorite skull-cradling, ghost-conversating, uncle-hating melancholy Dane are played for laughs in a “honey-glazed, cheesedrenched” production that “puts the ham” in “Hamlet.” Danny Ashkenasi and Bob Homeyer star as two self-proclaimed thespians who bite off more than they can chew when they set out to play every part. Longtime Downtown director Lissa Moira helms the U.S. premiere of this vaudeville, slideshow, magic and burlesque-infused riff on the much-interpreted tale that makes your own family seem impressively functional by comparison. At the Connelly Theater (220 E. Fourth St., btw. Aves. A & B). Thurs., 8/15 at 8:45pm, Wed., 8/21 at 7:15pm, Fri., 8/23 at 5pm & Sat., 8/24 at 2:15pm.
DOUBLE HEART (THE COURTSHIP OF BEATRICE AND BENEDICK) David Hansen’s new romantic comedy verse play is an imagined prequel to “Much Ado About Nothing” that charts the early courtship
TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA: A SWASHBUCKLING COMEDY Queens-based director and choreographer Michael Hagins took the text from one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, filled in some
FringeNYC THEME #1: BOLD TAKES ON SHAKESPEARE
missing plot holes and then added swordfights, crazy chase scenes and random violence — while, he says, managing to keep the integrity of the language. “Two Gentlemen” is part of the FringeHIGH program, which means it’s highly recommended for teens. After the August 24 performance, there will be a Talk-Back at which you can discuss the show with members of the cast and/or creative team. At CSV Flamboyan (107 Suffolk St., btw. Rivington & Delancey Sts.). Thurs., 8/22 at 7pm & Sat., 8/24 at 2:15pm. ANTONY & CLEOPATRA: INFINITE LIVES First seen at the 2001 FringeNYC with their beautifully titled collection of one-acts (“Burt Reynolds Amazing Napalm Powered Oven”), the film and theater company known as The Porch Room returns with co-founder John Dowgin directing this politically charged adaptation — in which an Egyptian expat’s loyalties are divided between her activist fiancée (an American director working on a commissioned Shakespeare production) and her brother (an Egyptian nationalist recently arrived in America, having fled the violence of Tahrir Square). At The Lynn Redgrave Theater (45 Bleecker St., btw. Bleecker & Lafayette Sts.). Fri., 8/16 at 9:30pm, Sun., 8/18 at 4:45pm & Sun., 8/25 at noon.
Bring a sweater or dress in layers — because in addition to each Fringe venue’s promise of air conditioning, these three plays will chill you to the bone. Each offers a different spin on how cabin fever forces us to confront our true selves. BLIZZARD ’67 Four carpooling businessmen lost in the horrific 1967 Chicago blizzard happen upon a stranded car, and then must choose between assisting a stranger or saving themselves. That plot reads like an ill-advised, high-concept Hollywood pitch (“You’re gonna love it, Cecil. It’s “Mad Men” meets “Glengarry Glen Ross” meets “Survivor!”). Not to worry. Rave reviews from the windy city production of “Blizzard ’67” indicate that playwright Jon Steinhagen has brought exceptional depth to this study of morality and alpha male dynamics. As it starts to really come down out there, ruthlessly competitive rivals Lanfield, Henkin, Emery and Bell head to the burbs instead of riding out the storm in a company-sponsored hotel room. They should have stayed put. Soon stranded by whiteout conditions, the close quarters — plus simmering tension from a revelation that shakes up the pecking order — sets in motion a series of character-defining actions whose effects will linger long after the spring thaw. At Robert Moss Theater at 440 Studios (440 Lafayette St., third floor, btw. Astor Place & E. Fourth St.). Thurs., 8/15 at 8:30pm, Sat., 8/17 at 2:30pm, Tues., 8/20 at 8:45pm & Sat., 8/24 at 4:15pm. TRACK TWELVE Brooklyn’s own Emily Comisar, who edits the New York Burger Club blog and co-created the alternately droll and outrageous therapy parody web series “Group,” Continued on page 22
August 14 - August 27, 2013
A flurry of activity, at FringeNYC Continued from page 21
came up with the idea for her latest play while waiting out the 2009 blizzard inside Washington D.C.’s Union Station. It was either stare at the walls or brainstorm — and by the time she returned to New York, the basics of “Track Twelve” were in the percolator. Stranded in Penn Station during a storm that has shut down the railways, the holding pattern both stresses and liberates four travelers. Old relationships fold, new ones blossom and “emotional chaos ensues.” Above all, Comisar says, the play “is about not being able to connect when connection is what we need the most.” At Teatro Circulo (64 E. Fourth St., btw. Bowery & Second Ave.). Thurs., 8/15 at 8:45pm, Sun., 8/18 at 8:45pm, Wed., 8/21 at 5pm & Fri., 8/23 at 2pm. THE DRIFTS LIVE: THE NOVEL ONSTAGE Since 1996, author and actor Thom Vernon has made his home in Toronto, Canada. He won’t come in from the cold until his country of origin (the good old USA) allows him to sponsor his same-sex partner for immigration. Although federal policy continues to freeze him out, the Chicago-trained actor and “queer refugee” FINANCIAL
Photo by Ben Johnson
Mad men in survivor mode: Andrew David Rabensteine, Graham Halstead, John Pieza and William Franke navigate Chicago’s “Blizzard ‘67.”
does make occasional forays across the border. This stage adaptation of his 2010 debut novel comes to NYC after a run in the 2012 Hollywood Fringe. The one-hour solo show takes place in a small town and, says Vernon, “tackles the consequences of gender and the meanings applied to bodies.” Outside, the
snow falls hard — and inside, 46-year-old Julie finds herself with child and without the support of husband Charlie, whose affair with best friend Wilson is on the wane (because Wilson has fallen for trans dad, Dol). All these characters, and a calf, “fight their sex in a mean Arkansas blizzard.” It’s
the pulp you want from Southern Gothic, without the constant page turning. At The White Box at 440 Studios (440 Lafayette St., 3rd Floor, btw. Astor Place & E. Fourth St.). Thurs., 8/15 at 8:30pm, Sat., 8/17 at 7:15pm, Wed., 8/21 at 7pm & Thurs., 8/22 at 5pm.
August 14 - August 27, 2013
A story emerges through careful subtraction Edoga’s ‘Beyond’ is nuanced and complex FringeNYC review BY SERGEI BURBANK We are forever tweaking the checklist that determines how parents provide spotless childhoods in order to create perfectly well-adjusted adults. While opinions continue to change on how to feed, dress and otherwise protect children against this dangerous world, a constant ingredient is a loving and trusting relationship between parent and offspring. Yet even this basic ingredient is more complex and elusive than it first appears. “A Step Beyond the Rain,” written and performed by Miata Edoga, unfolds in the form of short vignettes as three women — a mother and her two daughters — reconcile themselves to one daughter’s severe illness and the reverberations that illness has across all of their lives. As we are brought deeper and deeper into each character’s inner world, a complex portrait emerges, and even seemingly straightforward questions have nuanced answers. Is a parent’s role to swaddle a child in unconditional love, or must a parent hold a child to strenuous — even painful — high standards in order to prepare them for an unforgiving world?
Photo by Adam Martin
Writer and performer Miata Edoga bravely examines why no one can be crueler than one’s own flesh and blood.
Edoga’s portrait of a childhood home steeped in fear of a mother who demands a strict adherence to work and achievement, and a demanding near-invalid sister broadens beyond an initial catalog of wrongs visited upon the healthy daughter. As she delves
into the minds and souls of each member of this triangle, she bravely examines exactly why no one can be crueler than one’s own flesh and blood. The script, quite astutely, never attempts a full reconciliation between these women, as Edoga’s purpose is far subtler: she broadens the frame of the hard-as-tacks mother’s portrayal just enough to allow a glimpse into the source of that resolve, complicating the portrait without fundamentally changing it (or its consequences). We may not agree with her actions, but we understand them far better. The audience shares a parallel journey to her daughter’s — not far enough to forget or forgive, but perhaps enough to move forward. This is a story that emerges through careful subtraction. Like the characters themselves, we learn more by what is not said than what is. One-person shows often devolve into a showcase of a given performer’s dexterity, prioritizing virtuosity over story. But under the able direction of Ashley Crow, this production veers away from strong delineation between characters, and presents a largely consistent tone. The point here is not to exhibit Edoga’s versatility as a performer, but rather to examine the tension between three powerfully driven women. A positive consequence is the lack of competition between the text and
performer. The sparse set, sound design and performance all work towards a shared goal to serve the text. This approach does have its shortcomings, as the plot unfolds without much emotional differentiation. For fraught scenes of despair in a hospital, this works. It is less successful for moments which are described as being experienced with near giddiness, but are communicated with a sense of barely suppressed rage. This restraint extends to all aspects of the overall production design. David Forest’s musical compositions help maintain a sense of continuity as the short scenes follow one upon the other, but otherwise sound is used only selectively (albeit effectively) to convey a sense of place. We are otherwise closely tied to this room and this woman as she struggles with her pain, her loss, and her hopes. At The Steve & Marie Sgouros Theatre (115 MacDougal St., 3rd floor, btw. W. Third & Bleecker Sts.). Fri., 8/16 at 6pm, Wed., 8/21 at 3:45pm & Sat., 8/24 at 4:15pm. Tickets: $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Call 866-468-7619 or visit fringenyc.org. Also visit astepbeyondtherain.com. Note: This review first appeared on nytheatre.com (founded by Martin Denton, this paper’s Downtown theatre columnist).
August 14 - August 27, 2013
Tune in, Turn up, Drop Beats By VonyX (soundcloud.com/mikawvawn)
MOOMBAHTOn MASSiVe: nADASTrOM & SABO
Being from DC you get a hefty dose of moombahton. High school parties are often catered to the music of high-pitched synth squeals and dudes howling along in snapbacks. If you go out dancing, the best club in DC, U Street Music Hall, is owned by Tittsworth — a moombahton heavyweight. While moombahton may not be my favorite, it’s not often that city exports much besides politicians and dysfunctional sports teams.
So big ups, DC. Nadastrom is a duo consisting of moombahton creator Dave Nada and his partner, Matt Nordstrom. Their scorchingly massive moombahton tracks are played all over festivals in the US and abroad. With releases on Diplo’s Mad Decent label, as well as Fool’s Gold, they’re the pioneers of moombahton’s commercial success. Well at home with the bangin’ sound system and just-the-music attitude of Output, this show should terrorize eardrums. Thurs., Aug. 24. At Output (74 Wythe Ave., btw. N. 11th & 12th Sts., Brooklyn). Doors at 10. Tickets are $18. Buy online at ticketfly.com. Info: outputclub.com.
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August 14 - August 27, 2013
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Tasked with creating a surface design dictated by the shape and size of a kimono, New York and Connecticut-based fiber artists (from the group FiberartNE) eagerly took the challenge of this unusual focus. “Kimono Inspirations” is the result — and its 25 works are on display now, at one
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August 14 - August 27, 2013
OUR POLICE! This Makes No Sense!
The Community Safety Act is nuts and should be called the Community UNSAFETY Act. If somebody robs a bank in your neighborhood, You can’t say if the suspect is ASIAN, BLACK, WHITE, or HISPANIC You can’t say if the person is MALE or FEMALE. You can’t say if the person is 20 OR 60 YEARS OLD. THIS MAKES NO COMMON SENSE. Leave Law Enforcement up to COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY and the professionals of the NYPD.” - John Catsimatidis
IMATIDIS FOR MAYOR
These Council Members Voted To Make Your Streets Unsafe! Call Speaker Quinn & These Members And Tell Them To Uphold Mayor Bloomberg’s Veto Of The Community Safety Act! Maria Del Carmen Arroyo Charles Barron Gale A. Brewer Fernando Cabrera Margaret Chin Leroy G. Comrie, Jr. Inez Dickens Daniel Dromm Mathieu Eugene Julissa Ferreras Helen D. Foster
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