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hUDsON PaRK aiR RiGhts UP FOR DEBatE By LI nCoLn anDERSon our months ago, a bill allowing the transfer of unused development rights from Hudson River Park one block inland of the West Side Highway was suddenly and quietly introduced at the end of the Albany legislative session. The Assembly passed the bill on June 15 by a vote of 96 to 5. Then, after a marathon allnight session, the State Senate brought the bill up for a vote on Sat., June 17, and passed it unanimously at 5:18 a.m. by a vote of 57 to 0.


Continued on page 26

Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony

Bill de Blasio greeted jubilant supporters as he took the stage to declare victory on Tuesday night.

“Today you spoke out loudly and clearly for a new direction for our city, united by a belief that our city could leave no New Yorker behind,” said de Blasio, who is currently the city’s public advocate. “The challenges we face have been decades in the making, and the

By TERESE LoEb kREUZER he day that Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee met to discuss the fate of the Stuyvesant High School Community Center, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was on the phone with Battery Park City Authority Chairperson Dennis Mehiel to talk about that very matter. “The Speaker made very clear that he wants this facility, which

Continued on page 6

Continued on page 10

Landslide victory for de Blasio By Sa m Spo ko ny a n D J o S h R o G E R S


ill de Blasio trounced Republican Joe Lhota in the race for mayor and will be taking over City Hall in January. With virtually all election precincts reporting, de Blasio, who will be the first Democratic mayor in 20 years, won with over

73 percent of the vote. In his victory speech to a crowd of around 2,000 supporters in Brooklyn, de Blasio drilled home the points he made throughout his campaign — all of which were fundamentally based on a left-leaning, progressive approach to tackling the city’s problem of social and economic inequality.


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Dark humor in District 1

After Chin’s unopposed victory on Tuesday, we also heard a somewhat disturbing anecdote from a Downtown political insider, regarding a ballot cast in the election. Apparently, a disgruntled voter chose to rebuke Chin by casting a write-in vote that referenced Alan Gerson, the former District 1 Councilmember whom Chin defeated in the 2009 Democratic primary. But it wasn’t Alan Gerson’s name that was written on the ballot — it was Sophie Gerson, Alan’s mother. The problem here is that, as many Downtown residents know, Sophie Gerson died almost a year ago, at the age of 88. She was a beloved Greenwich Village resident and Democratic party activist. We’re not sure what point this apparently shameless voter was trying to make — but we do know that it wasn’t a very funny joke.

Sweet Quinn

City Council Speaker Chris Quinn no doubt had once envisioned Tuesday as the day she would vote to help make herself mayor. But whatever sadness she might have felt inside, we saw no signs of it as we bumped into her at the P.S. 33 bake sale, just after she voted in Chelsea. Her spirits were no doubt lifted by longtime supporters who said they were disappointed her name was not on the ballot. It was not something Quinn could readily agree to since she had endorsed Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio. “My response is, let’s buy some sugar,” said Quinn.

Message received?

Councilmember Margaret Chin had no opposition on Tuesday, but she was nevertheless out talking to voters in Chinatown

Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers

City Council Speaker Quinn just after voting.

and Tribeca before celebrating back in C’Town. She made no predictions as to whether Chin the Democrat would beat Chin the Working Families Party nominee. W.F.P. voters sometimes say they want to send a message to candidates to stay progressive, but Chin said she doesn’t see it that way since both the Dems and the


The first piece of Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center train station received mostly praise when it opened two weeks ago, but one observer was thinking ahead to how well the pristine concourse would hold up. “I’m curious who will get the cleaning contract,” he told us. “It’s a white station.”

Smart money’s on maybe

You’re going to have to gamble if you want to know how Assemblymember

Dick Gottfried feels about the referendum which would allow seven casinos to open in New York. Gottfried was greeting voters and passing out fliers on the referendums on Election Day, but on that one he was undecided. For the record, Gottfried backed four of the other ballot measures, but opposed the one that would allow mining companies to do test drilling in the Adirondack forest. Voters ended up approving the casino amendment, with about 57 percent voting in favor.

Stringer’s former liaison has a new gig

Many community board members and tenant leaders across the Downtown area have had the pleasure of working with David Czyzyk, who spent time as a community liaison for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. But now that Stringer is moving on up to become the city’s next comptroller, Czyzyk has also found himself a sweet new job. We bumped into Czyzyk while stopping in at the West Village’s LGBT Center on the night of the election, and he told us that, a few weeks ago, he was hired as Assemblymember Gottfried’s deputy chief of staff. Czyzyk said he’ll be based mainly in Gottfried’s district office in Chelsea, and we wish him all the best for the new gig.



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November 7 - November 19, 2013

Opposition grows against plan for John St. criminal court By T E RE SE Lo E b k R E U Z E R Cas Holloway, the city’s deputy mayor for operations, came to Community Board 1’s full board meeting on Oct. 22 to defend the city’s plans to move the Summons Arraignment part of the Criminal Court now housed at 346 Broadway to 71 Thomas St. However, in explaining the rationale for that move, Holloway inadvertently opened an even bigger “can of worms,” as board member Joel Kopel put it. Almost casually, Holloway mentioned that another proposed move from 346 Broadway would place the Criminal Court’s Probation Division at 66 John St. After he let that drop, an uproar ensued. “That’s in the Financial District,” Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of C.B. 1, cried out. “We didn’t know about that.” By that time, Holloway had repeatedly said in defense of the 71 Thomas St. plan that, “All that you’re going to be left with in this neighborhood is the minor infractions court function between the hours of 9 and 5, Monday through Friday.” It turned out that Holloway’s definition of “this neighborhood” was confined to Tribeca, as opposed to all of Community Board 1. The Probation Division services people who have criminal records and who have previously been incarcerated. Fearing that people with criminal records were about to flood their neighborhood, more

than 1,100 people had signed a petition against the 71 Thomas St. move. Prior to Holloway’s arrival at the C.B. 1 meeting, around 100 people had stood up to speak against it. Before Holloway arrived, most of these people had left, not knowing that he was coming. The 346 Broadway building, scheduled to be sold, now houses divisions that deal with summons arraignments, probation case management and an alternative court for dispute resolution — all part of the Criminal Court. “This is not just about taking one function out of 346 Broadway and moving it to 71 Thomas St.,” Holloway said. “The overall context of this is a massive real estate reorganization. It’s part of a reduction in the size of the city’s footprint in the Lower Manhattan area by 1.2 million square feet.” He said the reduction requires “a series of more than 140 transactions — leases and sales. It’s mind-boggingly complicated.” Holloway said the sale of 346 Broadway and 49-51 Chambers St. would generate significant revenues for the city. In addition, he said repeatedly that as part of this transaction, there would be a new $20 million community facility at 346 Broadway. “I think overall this proposal is a significant improvement in the community based on what’s here now,” he said. “I really can’t think of a good reason why you wouldn’t want to help us move this along as quickly as possible.”

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway at the C.B. 1 full board meeting on Oct. 22.

This remark elicited jeering laughter. Attempting to quell fears that the Summons Arraignment Court would bring people with a criminal record into what is a fast-growing residential neighborhood, Holloway repeatedly stated that people who appear for Summons Arraignment are there for “minor infractions” such as open container violations, biking on the sidewalk and obstructing traffic. He mentioned “significant queuing of people outside of 346 Broadway” and said that would no longer be the case at 71 Thomas,

where 250 people would be able to line up inside the building. Moreover, he said, “There’s already a Civil Court that has been operating at 71 Thomas St. for 20 years.” He went on to say that, “If you look at the whole picture here — the overall impact of court activities including the activities involved with people who have committed or who have been charged with committing crimes, is reducing dramatically. All of those functions are moving out of the neighborhood.” Continued on page 27

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November 7 - November 19, 2013

Student reScued froM Shaft

A New York University student was saved from a lifethreatening jam on the evening of Nov. 3, when firefighters pulled him out of the narrow shaft between his Tribeca dormitory and an adjacent building. Asher Vongtau, 19, had fallen into the one foot-wide shaft next to the 80 Lafayette St. dorm, and was trapped there for nearly 36 hours, Fire Department officials said. A Fire Department battalion chief later told the New

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York Times that he had never seen a situation quite like it before, and that he “doesn’t know how [Vongtau] lasted.” Firefighters arrived on the scene shortly after 5 p.m. and had to break through the adjoining building’s cinder block wall to pull Vongtau out of the gap, in a process that took about 90 minutes, officials said. Vongtau was immediately transported to Bellevue Hospital, where he was in serious condition and received treatment for a fractured skull, a broken arm and a collapsed lung, according to a Fire Department spokesperson. It is still unclear how Vongtau fell out of the dorm and became trapped in the tiny space.

bowling green beating

A Brooklyn public housing resident was beaten and robbed by four men just outside Battery Park early on Nov. 2, police said. A witness told cops that he saw the man — whose age was not released — walking out of the Bowling Green subway station around 2 a.m., when four men wearing baseball caps ambushed him, knocked him down and began kicking and punching him. Police said the aggressors stole the fallen man’s cell phone, as well as $40 in cash from his wallet, before fleeing the scene. The muggers were gone by the time police arrived. The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital and treated for minor injuries. Police said that he was intoxicated at the time of the incident, and could not clearly explain what had happened or provide an accurate description of his attackers.

Shirt Snatcher

An employee at Anthropologie, at 375 West Broadway, said that she caught a glimpse of the suspect — she apparently couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman — as the thief walked into the store shortly before noon that day. She said the thief grabbed 24 lace shirts, each priced at around $90, off a rack and immediately bolted out the door.

PurSe theft

A purse thief struck at a McDonald’s in the Civic Center on Nov. 4, police said. A 50-year-old woman told cops that she walked into the fast food joint at 317 Broadway shortly before noon on Monday, and placed her bag on a table after sitting down. When she walked back to the counter to pick up her food, she looked back and saw an unknown man grabbing the purse and running out the door. The woman cancelled her credit cards, but said that the bag had unfortunately contained both her driver’s license and $400 in cash. Police conducted a canvass that day to search for the alleged thief, but said it was unsuccessful.

wallet woeS

A man got a rude awakening on Oct. 26 after forgetfully leaving his wallet at a clothing shop near the South Street Seaport. The 19-year-old told police that he bought some items in Abercrombie & Fitch, at 199 Water St. around 9:30 p.m., and realized several minutes after leaving the store that he had left his wallet sitting on the counter. Upon returning to the scene the wallet was nowhere to be found, and on the following day the unfortunate man learned that a $200 purchase had been made on his credit card. The man didn’t report the incident until Nov. 4, and police have no description of the thief.

An unknown shoplifter stole over $2,000 worth of clothing from a trendy Tribeca outlet on Nov. 2, police said.

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November 7 - November 19, 2013

W.T.C. concourse connects to Battery Park City By J o S h R o G E R S The 12-year effort to rebuilding the underground connection between the World Trade Center PATH station and Battery Park City ended Oct. 24, conveniently enough on perhaps the first brisk day of the fall. Commuters and residents could carry, rather than wear, their overcoats. The reopening was celebrated by community leaders who attended the ceremony. The walk from the W.T.C. trains to Battery Park City was never convenient, even before 9/11. “It was just messy and the route was changing all the time,” said Martha Gallo, a resident and member of the B.P.C. Authority board. Pat Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, which rebuilt the underground concourse, said it was late in 2001 that the Port started imagining a better way to connect people to Downtown neighborhoods, commuter lines, subways and ferries. “Our staff firmly believed that 9/11 gave us all a chance at a do-over from how their predecessors first designed the site more than 30 years before,” he said. The bright white concourse with high ceilings leads directly to the Winter Garden and its new front entrance, passing safely under the state roadway, West St. The connector will eventually be lined with stores, but those look to be at least a year away from opening. The storefronts are now covered with oversized photos of people with quotes to “portray the essence and the spirit of New Yorkers,” said Greg Miles, the C.O.O. of the American division of Westfield Group, the Australian-based mall operator looking to fill 365,000 square feet of retail space at the W.T.C. Miles said the mall will reopen in full in 2015 when the Santiago Calatravadesigned train station opens. He also said the stores along the connector could open sooner, but there’s no plan yet to do that. “It might open in stages, but it has yet to be determined,” he told Downtown Express. The design by Calatrava, who did not attend the ceremony, was described with words like “stunning,” “iconic,” and “spectacular” by speakers and attendees at the event, though the famed Spanish architect’s name was only mentioned once during the formal ceremony. That may be related to his falling regard Downtown. When Calatrava unveiled his wing-shaped design ten years ago at the Winter Garden, he received a standing ovation, but over the last decade his name has inspired grumbles as the price tag doubled to $4 billion, and the intricate design made

Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers

The new underground connection from the World Trade Center transit center to Battery Park City.

Downtown Express photo by Don Mathisen

Rafael Pelli, architect of the new entrance to the Winter Garden.

construction of the 9/11 memorial and adjacent office towers more complicated. Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1, a first-hand witness to the design changes over the years, said the concourse is “architecturally incredible with the Calatrava ribs, the arches, downstairs. It’s absolutely spectacular. “This is a lot more airy and light,” she added of the Winter Garden’s new entrance, designed by Rafael Pelli. George Calderaro, co-chairperson of C.B. 1’s Battery Park City Committee, said he now feels more connected to the rest of Lower Manhattan. “The West Side Highway has always been a big dividing line, and the access all the way through to the transportation center on Fulton St.— it’s just going to be incredible,” he said. Over the next year or so the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expected to finish its narrower, underground connection from the Fulton Transit Center west into the Calatrava concourse. West of the W.T.C. station, Pelli was thrilled to see people walk t h o u g h t h e Wi n t e r G a r d e n ’s n e w front entrance. “This is the moment that you live for as an architect,” he told Downtown Express, saying he first sketched drawings of the new Winter Garden in 2004 — three years after the collapsing trade center towers destroyed much of his father Cesar’s original design. He said the new walkway will be noticed even more in the coming months. “I know from experience being here in February, it’s really welcome having a climate-controlled walkway from the subways directly into the buildings,” he said. “It makes a huge difference.” Pelli said he consulted with his father, now 87, on the new Winter Garden, owned by Brookfield Office Properties. “A very open, grand public space was always at the heart of his idea,” Pelli said. “Even though there are private offices which make up most of this complex, he really wanted a sense of a public experience through this connection to the water.” Pelli said the new World Trade Center design literally puts the Winter Garden and the rest of Brookfield Place (formerly the World Financial Center) in a new light. “Before it was hidden behind the plinth of the World Trade Center, and now it’s right on the front of this very active area of a new reimagined Downtown Manhattan — for all the wrong reasons,” he said, “but in many ways it’s created a stronger and a more vibrant city in the place of what used to be here.”


November 7 - November 19, 2013

Victory for de Blasio Continued from page 1

problems we’ve set out to address will not be solved overnight. But make no mistake, the people of this city have chosen a progressive path. “I’ve spoken throughout this campaign about a tale of two cities,” de Blasio continued. “That inequality, that feeling of a few doing very well while so many slip further behind — that is the defining challenge of our time, because inequality in New York is not something that only threatens those who are struggling. The stakes are so high for every New Yorker. And making sure no son or daughter of New York falls behind defines the very promise of our city.” The mayor-elect’s strong showing was matched Downtown, where interviews with a handful of voters indicated strong support. “I think de Blasio is more in touch with the real population of New York, not just wealthy business people,” said Yvette Velez, 40, a Tribeca resident, who added that she likes current Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but believes that he has focused far too much on the city’s affluent community. Downtowners also said they liked de

Blasio’s emphasis on expanding pre-K programs and taxing the wealthy to pay for it. John Scott, a Democratic district leader from Independence Plaza, said he thinks the tax plan has a good chance to pass in Albany despite what others have said. “I remember that Gov. Cuomo was originally against raising the millionaires tax, but he changed after people put a lot of pressure on him,” Scott said. In an interview with Downtown Express back in May, de Blasio said he would be inclined to keep the proposed security protections around the World Trade Center and Police Plaza. As for protecting Lower Manhattan from future storms, he said he liked Mayor Bloomberg’s ideas about temporary barriers, but “I feel more sureness on [changing] building codes, on incentives to get folks out of the areas below sea level, and on wetlands restoration or creation.” During the second mayoral debate, he praised Bloomberg’s comprehensive report on protecting the city from storms, including the “Seaport City” notion of building something akin to Battery Park City on the East River.

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Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony

Bill de Blasio high-fived supporters after declaring victory.

Amid voter gripes on small-print ballots, E. Village pol has a solution B y Sam Sp okony Aside from their choice in the mayor’s race, there was one thing t h a t m o s t N e w Yo r k e r s a g r e e d about on Election Day — they could barely read the ballots. The six-point font used by the city’s Board of Elections caused both figurative headaches and literal eye strain throughout the day, as many voters took to social media to gripe about the tiny print. But State Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh replied with a t w e e t o f h i s o w n o n Tu e s d a y, reminding New Yorkers that he sponsors legislation that would require the B.O.E. to use the largest possible print size on ballots — up to 12-point font for candidates’ names, and up to 11-point font for all other words. “Poll workers have told me that up to half of all voters are saying that they can’t read the ballots,” Kavanagh told this newspaper in a phone interview on Tuesday evening. “That’s just unacceptable.” The East Village Assemblymember asserted his belief that if the bill were to become law, the B.O.E. would in fact use a more reasonable font size, allowing voters to see their ballots without squinting. Kavanagh’s bill was passed by the Assembly in both 2012 and 2013, but has yet to make it through the State Senate — some-

Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh

thing that Kavanagh chalked up to “some minor differences in language.” But he remained optimistic about the future of the legislation, e s p e c i a l l y s i n c e Tu e s d a y ’s v o t e r complaints will bring plenty of buzz back to the issue. “I think the Senate will work with us on it,” said Kavanagh.


November 7 - November 19, 2013

Landlord & tenants agree: Thanks, feds, for Sandy aid By Sa m S p o k o ny Knickerbocker Village, a Lower East Side affordable housing complex, will receive nearly $1.5 million to repair damage caused last year by Hurricane Sandy, officials announced on Oct 30. That money is part of the federal disaster relief funding that was approved three months after Sandy struck last October, and is now being allocated to Knickerbocker through the NYC Build it Back program, which is administered by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. “Today, we celebrate the beginning of the next phase of life for Knickerbocker Village,” H.P.D. Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said during a press conference at the 12-building, 1,600-unit complex on Monroe St. The funding, which Visnauskas said would be made available a day or two after the Oct. 30 announcement, will go directly towards repairing storm damage to the development’s 12 elevator banks. Flooding from Sandy completely disabled Knickerbocker’s elevators for weeks, leaving many residents in dire straits as they struggled without electricity or hot water. While temporary repairs were made at that time, the elevators are still in poor shape, requiring new cables, switches, wiring and other equipment. The H.P.D. chief also said that, at a point yet to be determined, the Build it Back pro-

Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony

Knickerbocker Village tenant Bob Wilson, right, had a laugh with Speaker Sheldon Silver during the announcement of post-Sandy repair funding on Wednesday.

gram will also provide some of the funding for a second phase of repairs, which will focus on strengthening the development’s entire electrical and heating systems, and is estimated to cost more than $5 million. “I’m grateful and relieved to see progress being made and promises being kept,” said longtime Knickerbocker tenant leader Bob Wilson, who has lived in the complex since the 1940s. “Sandy changed the way we need to look at how we maintain Knickerbocker, and keep something like this from happening again.” During his remarks, Wilson also gave a somewhat joking — yet deeply heartfelt

— salute to Vincent Callagy, the longtime manager of Knickerbocker, and his staff for their actions to maintain the complex in the aftermath of the storm. Tenants and management have clashed at times in the past. “I want to strongly show my appreciation for Vince Callagy, which is rare, because he and I have certainly had our times,” said Wilson, “but he and his employees, I can’t compliment them enough for what they do to operate this place day in and day out, even when we all thought it was going down.” And four local elected officials who joined in supporting Knickerbocker tenants through their toughest moments after the storm — Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Councilmember Margaret Chin — stood side-by-side again last week, one year later, to celebrate the allocation of funding for repairs. “This issue wasn’t going to go away in months — it’s going to take years,” said Stringer, a few days before he was elected to be city comptroller. “But today the city has taken a critically important step … This was a difficult place to be after the storm… but the seniors, the parents, the children and everybody pulled together to get us through that difficult time. And we have an obligation in government to continue that effort, to make sure that we’re whole again.” And in a related issue, on Oct. 31 the City Council voted to pass legislation, sponsored by

Chin, that would require the city to provide property protection and resiliency information — including the creation of emergency preparedness guidelines — to residential and commercial building owners, and would put the responsibility on owners to post emergency information to prepare tenants for extreme weather situations.

STILL WAITING FOR REBATES Amid the positive atmosphere that surrounded the Oct. 30 announcement, the fact remains that Knickerbocker tenants have still not received the rent rebates they were promised a year ago. Last November, after tenants spent weeks without electricity or hot water, a representative of Ares Management (formerly called AREA Property Partners), which owns Knickerbocker, said the company would ensure that “not a penny of rent will be paid for the days on which [residents] didn’t have essential services.” But management recently confirmed that none of that money has yet been paid out. “We’re still trying to make it happen, said Edwin Maltzman, the development’s controller, said in a phone interview. Knickerbocker Village is a Mitchell-Lama development, so although it is owned by Continued on page 20

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November 7 - November 19, 2013

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

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New H.P.D. boss plans meeting with Congress on Section 8 cuts B y Sam Spokony The new head of the city agency that runs the Section 8 housing program is planning a trip to Washington, where she will tell lawmakers about the devastating impact the federal budget crisis has had on the low-income housing subsidies. Huge cuts to Section 8 came as a result of the federal sequester, which went into effect earlier this year and chopped around $85 billion off the nation’s budget. A representative of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development told this newspaper on Oct. 31 that H.P.D. Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas, who was appointed in September, will travel to the nation’s capital sometime within the next several weeks, and that Section 8 will be a major part of her discussions there. The sequester forced H.P.D. to take a budget cut of around $35 million for 2013, and the department estimates that it will face a budget deficit of around $40 million in 2014 if Congress doesn’t agree on a way to solve the budget crisis. So starting in July, H.P.D. scaled down the Section 8 voucher program, which provides money for housing to around 30,000 lowincome residents across the city. The agency asked some voucher holders to either pay a greater share of their rent or agree to relocate

to a smaller apartment. Matthew Wambua, the previous H.P.D. boss, called that policy change “the best option in a bad situation,” following its implementation. He said the department would have had to terminate nearly 3,000 vouchers — and 3,300 more in 2014 — if no cash-saving changes were made to the program. During an Oct. 30 press conference at which she announced an allocation of federal disaster relief funding to a Lower East Side housing complex that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, Visnauskas alluded to her focus on the problems associated with sequester cuts. “We’re going to need the support of [members of Congress] as we work our way through this ongoing federal budget crisis that’s affected so many of our federal housing programs and social services,” she said. Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, who has consistently condemned the social services cuts brought on by the sequester, while also urging H.P.D. to consider other option besides its current policy changes, said he “looks forward to” Visnauskas’ visit. Around 10 percent of Manhattan residents who receive Section 8 subsidies live in the East Village or Lower East Side, according to statistics provided by an H.P.D. official and data published on the agency’s Web site.


November 7 - November 19, 2013


Veterans, service members and families, we’re here to help.

From the mailbag: Dear Transit Sam, I am a limo driver and we get hit with lots of tickets. This time I was sitting in the car when traffic enforcement came over and wrote a ticket. I took three pictures of this action while I was sitting in the car. I was not asked for my license or registration. I thought I saw in your column that this was a reason for dismissal. I plan on sending in the three copies of the pictures and pleading not guilty. Would this work or should I just give up?


Happy Veteran’s Day! I salute all of our courageous veterans. The Veteran’s Day Festival will close Broadway between Morris and Beaver Sts., as well as between Liberty St. and Battery Pl., plus Whitehall St. between Stone and Water Sts. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. The Veteran’s Day Parade in Midtown will close Fifth Ave. between 26th and 56th Sts., and runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, veterans will start assembling an hour earlier so please show respect and avoid driving in the area. Lower Manhattan gets affected as drivers heading crosstown take 14th St. and Houston St. as they switch from the Lincoln Tunnel to the Holland. Tough going over and under the East River this weekend! The Brooklyn Bridge and Brookyn-Battery (Hugh L. Carey) Tunnel will both get hit, meaning more traffic on the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, and on Canal and Delancey Sts. On the Brooklyn Bridge, all Manhattanbound lanes will close midnight Friday to 6 a.m. Monday. The same closure will repeat 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Monday, and Tuesday nights. One tube of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel will close 9 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. The remaining tube will carry one lane of traffic in each direction. Expect slowdowns on West St. and on the Manhattan and outbound Brooklyn bridges. This closure will repeat two more weekends this month. In the south tube of the Battery Park Underpass (from West St./Route 9A to the F.D.R.), one of two lanes will close 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays through the end of the month. The Giants go for win number 3 (in a row!) against the Raiders 1 p.m. Sunday at MetLife Stadium, so the Holland

Tunnel will get hit with traffic avoiding the Lincoln. 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. Wednesday and Thursday nights, and 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. Rector St. will close intermittently between West and Greenwich Sts. daily through Nov. 15, with occasional 24-hour closures. Nassau St. will periodically close between Ann and Beekman Sts. through Nov. 15. While the block is closed, northbound traffic will be detoured to William St.


Ken, New York Dear Ken, You’re right – this is a reason for dismissal, and your pictures will help you make the case. The ticket qualifies for an automatic dismissal since the officer did not include required info about your registration (state of registration, expiration date) nor did he request your ID or note your refusal to show it. Present this column along with the ticket showing the missing info at your hearing. Write back if it isn’t dismissed.

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Transit Sam Readers, send me your traffic and parking questions at transitsam@downtownexpress. com and follow me on Twitter @gridlocksam.

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November 7 - November 19, 2013

Pols, C.B. 1 want to keep Stuyvesant High School Community Center open Continued from page 1

we worked very hard on for this community, to continue to operate in some way, shape or form,” said Silver’s district office director, Paul Goldstein, at the Nov. 4 C.B. 1 meeting, which was held at the Asphalt Green community center. Toward the end of September, the B.P.C.A., which runs the Stuyvesant Community Center, notified members that the center at 345 Chambers St. would close in December after a 20-year run. The B.P.C.A. cited “the recent rise in the number of health and fitness center choices in the immediate area, combined with steadily declining membership” as the reason. Not so fast, said Silver and several other elected officials including City Councilmember Margaret Chin and Assemblymember Deborah Glick. In a letter to Robert Serpico, acting president of the Authority, Chin cited the “severe lack of recreational space” in the community as a reason to oppose the closing. “I also believe the B.P.C.A. has a binding commitment to provide a community benefit at the Stuyvesant High School space,” Chin wrote. This “binding commitment” dates back to 1987, Goldstein told the C.B. 1 committee. In exchange for putting Stuyvesant High School in Battery Park City, the community board and elected officials negotiated with the Board of Estimate (the City’s governing body that preceded the establishment of the current City Council), to make the facility available to the community from Monday to Friday, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and for eight hours a day on weekends. The agreement also mandated that time be set aside for youth organizations who would be charged “the lowest fees practical.” Finally the agreement stated that if the fees charged were insufficient to pay the entire cost of security and supervision services, and there were sufficient demand for the use of the facilities, the B.P.C.A. would provide funds or take other measures to secure the availability of the facilities for the community. “This was a milestone agreement,” said Goldstein. But the Board of Education balked. It said that students would take precedence, with the facilities only available to the community if students weren’t using them. It took a lawsuit from the Battery Park City Authority to get the Board of Ed to back down. “A judge ruled that we have an agreement here that they must comply with to give the community use of the facility,” Goldstein recalled. He said that four attorneys on the Assembly staff had recently looked at the agreement in the face of the B.P.C.A.’s

decision to close the community center. They concurred that the Authority couldn’t do that. “This is an ironclad agreement that doesn’t have a shutdown date or an opportunity under certain conditions for [the B.P.C.A.] to walk away,” Goldstein said. Anne Fenton, who represented the B.P.C.A. at the C.B. 1 meeting, said that the authority was losing $200,000 a year on the facility. Also, she said, the B.P.C.A. had made a major investment in the Asphalt Green community center. Committee members objected, claiming that was irrelevant in the face of a binding agreement. They also noted the huge difference in price between the two facilities. Asphalt Green has an initiation charge of several hundred dollars. Annual memberships for an adult cost approximately $1,500 a year, with a slight discount for Battery Park City residents and for seniors. Many classes entail additional fees, which can run to several hundred dollars per class. The Stuyvesant High School Community Center, on the other hand, was designed to be affordable. This was made possible because of B.P.C.A. subsidies. Stuyvesant’s Community Center offers gym facilities and low-cost classes, and, until 18 months ago, the use of a huge swimming pool that is now closed for renovation. Annual memberships range in cost from $70 a year for teens, to $450 a year for adults. Seniors pay $150 a year. Among those who attended the Nov. 4 C.B. 1 meeting were teenagers who believe the Stuyvesant High School Community Center is of vital importance. Robbie Martino, 17, a Millennium High School student who said that he and his peers have all played sports at the Community Center, read a statement on their behalf. “We ask that you don’t forget about us,” Martino said. “You, as a community, have worked so hard to provide for us in our younger years. Please don’t turn your back on us now. We understand that this new and beautiful athletic facility where we are does exist, and sure, some of my friends and their families do have a membership and I often see them and their parents on the treadmills or around the basketball court. But this facility, as wonderful as it is, is not for everyone. It isn’t for many families and many teenagers who can’t afford it. For them, for us, we are just outsiders looking in. We are not outsiders in our own community and never will be. Downtown Manhattan is our home. Please find a way to keep the Stuyvesant High School Community Center open for this group.” His remarks were followed by applause. In the committee’s discussion about the wording of a resolution to go to C.B. 1’s full Continued on page 24

November 7 - November 19, 2013


Saying it saved her, Abate brings holistic healthcare to L.E.S. By He at h er  D u b i n Alternative medicine is gaining increasing acceptance in the Western world. In the case of Catherine Abate, president and C.E.O. of Community Healthcare Network (C.H.N.), she not only accepts alternative medicine — she firmly believes it saved her life. Diagnosed with stage-four uterine cancer in May 2012, Abate’s positive experience with holistic medical practices prompted her to bring these same modalities to Community H e a l t h c a r e N e t w o r k ’s D o w n t o w n Health Center, at 150 Essex St. on the Lower East Side. The nonprofit C.H.N. provides medical care to underserved New Yorkers at 11 federally qualified healthcare centers. In an interview last week, Abate spoke about the new Essex St. integrative health center — which will incorporate alternative therapies with traditional medicine — as well as about her own personal journey dealing with her condition. Abate has always worked in public service, striving to help others. An attorney, she is a former New York state senator, and before that was the commissioner of New York City’s Department of Corrections. C.H.N.’s Essex St. center caters to

6,000 patients a year. According to Abate, this population has “a tremendous interest” in acupuncture, herbal supplements and medication, but lacks access to them. “Medicaid and private insurance doesn’t cover it, and there’s a great need,” she said. St ate, city and federal grants help cover the cost of medical services currently offered at the center. Wh i le t he re i s a sl id in g- fe e sc al e based on income, patients are never turned away. Abate noted that C.H.N. centers are sited in the poorest and most underserved areas of the city. They have sites in every borough except for Staten Island. The Essex St. center currently offers complete primary care, pediatrics, nutrition, social services and other basic medical care. While these services will continue, Abate wants to add holistic medicine as an integral component to improve patient health. The program is in the planning process, and Abate anticipates the new facility’s opening next February. “It’s the perfect site to do this,” she said. The demographic the center serves is mixed ages, with the majority of

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Catherine Abate and her son, Kyle Kliegerman, at the Oct. 22 fundraising cruise for the holistic healthcare clinic at 150 Essex St.

patients under age 50, while the ethnic breakdown is mostly Latino and Asian. Abate also noted that many patients suffer from chronic diseases, such as asthma, obesity, hypertension and diabetes. These patients are familiar with and eager to try alternative therapies that could potentially benefit them. Thanks to federal money, additional exam rooms have already been constructed to accommodate the expanding center. As part of the holistic approach, there will be more time focused on personal nutrition. Yoga, acupuncture, energy healing, reflexology and meditation will also be part of the new program. Abate wants patients to take ownership of their care, and she thinks these new modalities will help them do this.  “We want the patients to feel better about their care, and improve communication between them and their provider,” Abate said. Three years ago, she started a health literacy program. Results show patients, during an office visit, do not receive useful information that encourages them to go home and change their lifestyle, which is often essential for dealing Continued on page 24


November 7 - November 19, 2013

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Ambrose and Peking, two of the South Street Seaport Museum’s historic ships, are open to the public on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Thanksgiving. A suggested donation of $5 includes entry to both ships. “People are very enthusiastic about Peking and Ambrose being open,” said Jonathan Boulware, interim president of the South Street Seaport Museum. He said that on some days, more than 200 people have visited the ships. Peking, a 102-year-old barque built for the South American nitrate trade, began to receive visitors on a trial basis in late September. The ship is one of the famous Flying P-Liners built in Hamburg, Germany for a company called F. Laeisz. At the time it was built, engine-propelled ships had largely replaced sailing ships except for long journeys with heavy cargo where fuel costs made sail cost efficient. Peking traveled between Europe and the west coast of South America with general cargo and returned filled with guano for use in making fertilizer and explosives. A dramatic film by Irving Johnson

called “Around Cape Horn” documented the ship’s 1929 passage around the southern tip of South America in hurricane conditions. Ambrose — formally known as Lightship LV-87 — was built in 1907 as a floating lighthouse to guide ships from the Atlantic Ocean into the broad mouth of lower New York Bay between Coney Island, and Sandy Hook, N.J. Ambrose worked those waters from 1908 until 1932. In 1921 it became the first lightship to be fitted with a radio beacon, which greatly assisted navigation in poor visibility. The ship’s “radio shack” still works. The U.S. Coast Guard gave Ambrose to the South Street Seaport Museum in 1968. Boulware said that an unforeseen benefit of opening the ships to the public is that it has revived the museum’s volunteer program. “This is very important given our reduced staff,” he said. “In fact, the way that we’re getting our work done right now is through the hard work of our volunteers. We have a tiny paid staff and 6,000 tons of ship. It requires a great deal of work to keep them afloat.”

— Terese Loeb Kreuzer

W W W. D O W N T O W N E X P R E S S . C O M

November 7 - November 19, 2013


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November 7 - November 19, 2013

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B Y TERESE L OEB KREUZER Nine days after the groundbreaking for the demolition of the existing shopping mall on Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport, a guard and two policemen were stationed at the entrance to the building next to a sign that read, “Shops are closed except for ‘Simply Seafood.’ We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.” Inside on Sat., Oct. 26, the building was darkened and whistle clean except for another sign indicating that Simply Seafood was on the third floor, accessible by stairway. At the far end of what had been the food court, one light was burning. Joey Demane emerged from the kitchen of the modest restaurant where decades-old signs state (among other items) that a fried shrimp sandwich on a grilled bun costs $4.60 and a plate of fish and chips is $6.45. “Yes, we’re still open every day,” Demane said. But a few days later, Demane’s heat was turned off, according to his attorney, John O’Kelly, who thinks his client will be locked out sometime after Friday. John Demane, 69, Joey’s father and owner of Simply Seafood, has been selling food on Pier 17 since 1983 and says he has a lease that runs through 2020. The pier’s current landlord, The Howard Hughes Corporation, says that Demane’s lease has long expired and he needs to leave. Demane’s family had been selling fish in the Fulton Fish Market since 1947, even before the South Street Seaport existed. O’Kelly, said that in 2004, several Pier 17 tenants, including Demane, sued the Rouse Company, a predecessor of Hughes Corp. Judge Shlomo Hagler of the New York State Supreme Court had denied the Demanes’ request for a restraining order to delay the Pier 17 groundbreaking. O’Kelly expects Judge Hagler to rule on the question of damages by Nov. 8, and the lockout to occur sometime

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Joey Demane of Simply Seafood, the last place open in Pier 17.

around then. A Hughes spokesperson in a prepared statement last month said that since 2005, the restaurant “has been an illegal, hold-over tenant at the Seaport…. They owe a substantial amount of money.” In response, O’Kelly said that Demane “has paid all the rent that the court told the tenants to pay all these years.” The city’s Economic Development Corporation is the owner of Pier 17 and of other properties at the Seaport, and is the landlord for Hughes Corporation. Joey Demane, who has been working at the restaurant for 30 years, said at the end of last month that even though the rest of the pier was closed, there had been a steady stream of customers. Asked if he felt lonely in the building, especially at night, he said it was OK. “The people who work here have been very supportive,” he said. “I’ve known most of them for years. They say to me, ‘hang in there.’”

November 7 - November 19, 2013

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Taste of the Seaport On Oct. 27, the third annual Taste of the Seaport brought together businesses, foodies and families to celebrate the revitalization of the South Street Seaport and the surrounding neighborhood. The event was sponsored in part by Downtown Express, and ticket sales helped to raise money for the neighborhood’s Spruce Street School.







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Canstruction returns to Brookfield Place BY T E RE SE L O E B K R E U Z E R Surrounded by the ongoing construction at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City, hundreds of people stacked and taped food cans together on the night of Oct. 30 in an annual event called “Canstruction.” For the last 21 years, teams from New York City’s architecture and engineering firms have been using their skills to create imaginative sculptures out of canned food. More than 100,000 cans of food are used for the sculptures, after which the cans are donated to City Harvest shortly before Thanksgiving. The food goes to feed hungry New Yorkers. The nonprofit organization behind this competition — the organization is also called Canstruction — also holds design-and-build events in 140 cities around the world. This year, 27 teams competed in New York. In addition to large firms such as Skanska USA, Leslie E. Robertson and Associates, Dattner Architects, IBI Group Gruzen Samton and others who have designed and engineered buildings in Manhattan, a team from Eleanor Roosevelt High School on East 76th Street competed in the event. The Eleanor Roosevelt team utilized 4,000 cans of food for their entry called “Hunger Never Sleeps,” which depicts the New York City skyline.

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The sculptures are erected in one feverish night of work but it can take months to design them and to assemble the ingredients. Each sculpture is labeled with the name of the firm, the team that created it, the ingredients utilized, the number of cans and the estimated number of people that each structure could feed. An igloo from GACE Consulting Engineers, for instance, was made of more than 3,000 cans of beans, corn, mixed vegetables, beef and chicken broth, tomato sauce, pears and pumpkins — enough to feed nearly 2,500 people. Prizes are awarded for categories that include the “Best Meal,” “Best Use of Labels” and “Structural Ingenuity.” This year’s jury includes actress Rosie Perez; Tiffany Brooks of “The Most Embarrassing Rooms in America;” architect Bruce S. Fowle; Andrew Breslau, public relations director for the Alliance for Downtown New York; Ron Ben-Israel of Ron BenIsrael Cakes and Leah Suzanne Kaplan, director of admissions at the Ridgewood Montessori School and chairperson of Canstruction NY. The exhibition is on display through Nov. 13 at Brookfield Place in the Winter Garden and in the American Express lobby at 220 Vesey St. Visitors to the exhibit are invited to bring canned food to donate to City Harvest.

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The 21st annual Canstruction event in New York City brought teams from 26 architectural and engineering firms and one high school to Brookfield Place on Oct. 30.

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November 7 - November 19, 2013


Battery Park City surprises:

Anyone who has rambled around Battery Park City over the last year or so has probably come across a sinkhole. At the Battery Park City Authority Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 22, Gwen Dawson, senior vice president of asset management, confirmed that sinkholes “have been becoming more frequent over the past few years.” She mentioned “an area of significant settlement around the NYMEX building” for which the B.P.C.A. is responsible. She also mentioned settlement in West Thames Park. Other notable sinkholes in Battery Park City occurred within the last year in Wagner Park and in South Cove. As Dawson pointed out to the board, “Some of our infrastructure is up to 40 years old. In some cases, it has not been replaced or updated.” She said that the B.P.C.A. would be doing a study to determine areas “that may be vulnerable or may be at risk of failure so that we can come up with a plan for how to spend our monies for the next several years.” Dawson also said that the authority would be doing a survey of the entire landmass of Battery Park City. Over the years, she said, “there have been numerous transfers of parcels that have become layered upon each other, so in many instances, there are segments of Battery Park City that it’s not clear which document governs and who is the actual owner or the responsible party for certain spots.” She said that the B.P.C.A. would be doing a complete title investigation report and survey of Battery Park City. This has the potential for yielding some surprises if someone suddenly discovers that they don’t own what they thought they owned — or conversely, that they own something they didn’t think they owned, which hopefully, would not need any major repairs.

Gateway Plaza emergency safety:

With more than 1,700 apartments, Gateway Plaza is the largest residential complex in Battery Park City. The Gateway Plaza Tenants Association feels that its storm protection measures are not up to snuff. “Tenant safety is the top priority of any tenants association, “ said Glenn Plaskin, Tenants Association president, “and that’s why we’re concerned should another superstorm occur.” He said there was no power transfer switch that would allow management to tie in a generator in the event of a power failure. That would mean that there would be no way to power an elevator, emergency lighting and domestic water pumps. “We would find ourselves in a blackout once the emergency lights in the stairwells and hallways dim after six hours or so,” he said. “In a 35-story-building, how are elderly or disabled people going to evacuate the building? The stairwells don’t have lumines-

cent strips, and even if they did, it would be extremely difficult for such tenants to get down to the lobby.” He said that the restoration of power after four or five days just wouldn’t cut it and that a new generator system should be installed at once. “We have been informed that management is going to solve this problem longterm by installing new equipment by spring of 2014,” he said. “In the meantime, we do hope they will do whatever they can to protect tenants. One essential mandate would be to create a list of those tenants who are most physically vulnerable and have staff members knock on each of those doors, in conjunction with the Fire Department when possible, so that these tenants will get the help they need to evacuate the building.”

Halloween fundraiser:

Vince Smith’s hair salon at 300 Rector Place was abuzz on Halloween. Almost nonstop from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., kids, their families and several dogs came through the open door where boxes of cookies and bowls of candy awaited them along with apple cider and sangria. Some people came to have their hair and make-up done before they departed for Halloween parties. Others came to have their picture taken. For a donation of $25, a professional photographer created portraits in front of a backdrop of bats and skeletons arrayed against a red sky. The salon raised $1,000, all of which will be donated to Save The Children, a charity that aids children in 120 countries, including the United States. Sponsors adopt a specific child who corresponds with them, but the money goes to help that child’s entire village with food, education, and medical care. The money that Vince Smith raised on Halloween will be enough to help children in three villages. The entire staff was dressed in costume. Smith was unrecognizable except for his blue eyes behind a monster mask that he created — though he said he wasn’t a monster, just a “dark angel come to do God’s work in the world.” Jackie Paniagua, the salon’s senior stylist, was resplendent in a mermaid costume that she made. Others on the staff dressed as Superman, a harem girl, a Playboy bunny, a devil and a cat. Smith said that Oct. 29 marked not only the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, but the 23rd anniversary of his salon on South End Avenue in Battery Park City. He’s been through a lot in those 23 years — 9/11, when he lost many of his customers, something that still haunts him, as well as the most recent storm. “Perseverance,” he said, when asked to explain his longevity. His little salon has become an oasis of warmth in the neighborhood, where customers wave when they walk by and sometimes stop in just to say hello. He knew most of the people who streamed through his door on Halloween. Most were customers but many had also become friends. To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb10@

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Jackie Paniagua, a stylist at Vince Smith, was dressed as a mermaid at the hair salon’s fundraising event on Halloween.


November 7 - November 19, 2013

Editorial pUbLIShER

Jennifer Goodstein pUbLIShER EmERITUS

John W. Sutter EDIToR

Josh Rogers nyC REConnECTS aSSoCIaTE EDIToR

Terese Loeb Kreuzer aRTS EDIToR

Scott Stiffler REpoRTERS

Sam Spokony Lincoln Anderson SR. V.p. oF SaLES & maRkETInG

Francesco Regini RETaIL aD manaGER

Colin Gregory


Allison Greaker Julius Harrison Alex Morris Rebecca Rosenthal Julio Tumbaco aRT / pRoDUCTIon DIRECToR

Troy Masters SEnIoR DESIGnER

Michael Shirey GRaphIC DESIGnERS

Arnold Rozon Chris Ortiz

Being prepared for the hurricane next time it’s HarD tO BELiEVE tHat a YEar aGO,

we were in the throes of the post-Superstorm Sandy blackout. There was no electricity or heat, many residents lacked elevator service and running water — even cold water — flushable toilets, and, just our luck, it was starting to get raw and cold. We survived, but it took a long time for things to return to normal. Things don’t just snap back like nothing happened after Avenue C is flooded waist-high and Westbeth’s basement is inundated by the Hudson River. Many merchants and restaurants still haven’t fully recovered from the financial hit they took. For our part, we unfortunately lost about 95 percent of The Villager’s archives when the surge poured into our Canal St. basement. (Luckily, New York University and the Public Library also have our old issues.) Our part of the city wasn’t physically slammed as hard by Sandy’s surge as places like Breezy Point or the Rockaways, where entire swaths of homes were obliterated by water and fire. But we were inundated in the flood zone, and the loss of electrical power was crippling and dangerous. We pulled together, as communities do. But when electricity and heat came back on around Friday night, we realized how deeply we depend on our utility services. For this part of the city, the most important thing was for Con Ed to harden its E.

14th St. plant against another abnormally large super-surge like Sandy’s. Sandy’s unexpectedly high waters had flooded the plant, and then Con Ed powered the facility down to keep from damaging it further, leaving us blacked-out south of the 30s. It’s reassuring to see — in a new video Con Ed posted on its Web site — that it has taken these steps. Important infrastructure has been raised higher off the ground, doors now have watertight seals, electrical conduit pipes have been filled with rubber sealant to waterproof them, and the complex’s walls have been raised. Another change Con Ed should consider, is making sure hospitals are on networks that don’t need to be shut down during emergencies. For example, Downtown Hospital was shut down when Con Ed powered down its E. 14th St. plant. Luckily, in the Village, New York University opened its doors to the community, letting people charge phones, use laptops, even sleep on cots in some of its buildings. But Sandy also showed the need for a Lower West Side hospital with its own generator, like St. Vincent’s. We think Mayor Bloomberg’s idea for removable storm barriers along Lower Manhattan’s edge is a good idea. These would be set up on land and basically work as a large fence against the waters. For now, it’s a much cheaper alternative to full-on

storm-surge barriers in the harbor. Great work is being done in the East Village and Lower East Side by the Longterm Recovery Group; GOLES and Two Bridges are organizing to ensure future storms don’t cripple and imperil residents of high-rise public housing and low-income housing, as in Sandy. By now, we’ve all learned how we should have “go bags” ready, just in case. We’re eager to hear more about the sustainable energy-powered WiFi-NY People’s Emergency Network that the Long-term Recovery Group is working on. During Sandy, only a few street corners had a signal — and everyone clustered there. In emergencies, communication is key. Our new understanding of flood zones is also affecting discussion about Hudson River Park, development on piers and the waterfront, and air-rights transfers from the park. Everything is being reassessed. When we interviewed Bill de Blasio before the primary election he showed an open mind on storm protection, but was more in favor of more affordable natural barriers, like wetlands and dunes. De Blasio’s a very intelligent man, and we’re confident he’ll make the right choices for the city’s protection. For now, we’re glad to see that, from Con Ed to community activists, people are doing their best to make sure, if another Sandy hits, we’ll be ready.


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Tribeca Trust is a non-profit organization in Tribeca, founded last September to promote the improvement of Tribeca’s remaining public spaces; education about Tribeca’s history; and the good stewardship of our historic districts. As of July 31, we have submitted a request to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for

expansion of the boundaries of Tribeca’s historic districts. Interested readers can look to our website,, to see a two-minute photo slide-show that makes a strong case for expansion. The slide show is “What Happens When You Under-designate a Historic District? The Case of Tribeca.” Readers can also see photos of all the buildings and blocks in Tribeca that currently have no protection and merit inclusion in our


W W W. D O W N T O W N E X P R E S S . C O M

historic districts. The Landmarks Conservancy, the Historic Districts Council, and Landmarks West! have all supported this cause. We invite residents to sign up for our newsletter on the website to stay abreast of our activities and to find ways to volunteer with us. Lynn Ellsworth Chairperson, Tribeca Trust

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

November 7 - November 19, 2013


Photo by Q. Sakamaki

Downtown Halloween parade showcased the city’s wildest costumes Whether they were intricate, imaginative or simply absurd, tens of thousands of New Yorkers gathered Downtown on Oct. 31 to show off their costumes at the 40th Annual Village Halloween Parade. Participants walked up Sixth Avenue, from Spring Street to 16th Street, flaunting their best — and often homemade — designs.

Photo by Milo Hess

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November 7 - November 19, 2013

Sandy money for Knickerbocker Continued from page 7

Ares, its cash flow is controlled by the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Maltzman said that management has been working alongside D.H.C.R. in an attempt to fund rent rebates through insurance claims, but acknowledged that it’s still a work in progress. Meanwhile, Wilson, the tenant leader, said in a phone interview prior to the Oct. 30 press conference that he believes the fight for rent rebates was unfeasible from the very beginning. Typically when D.H.C.R. approves rent rebates for a Mitchell-Lama complex, those deductions must be balanced out later by rent increases in order to balance the development’s cash flow. If that ends up being the case at Knickerbocker, the process would be self-defeating. “That’s the whole problem,” said Wilson. “They haven’t gotten the insurance companies to cover it, and if they can’t do that, then the money for rebates would eventually have to come out of the pockets of tenants.” Wilson added that he and other tenant leaders have tried to explain this to other residents who were clamoring for the rebates, but said that it’s simply difficult to educate them through weekly meetings, and that therefore many still don’t fully understand the process.

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He believes that management should reach out to residents in order to explain the difficulty of securing effective rent rebates. “[Management] would be helping themselves out if they did that,” said Wilson, “because right now, every time they walk outside, there are residents demanding the rebates.” But even amid all the technical difficulties, Speaker Silver and Councilmember Chin, alongside the other local elected officials, are still pushing equally hard to make sure that any rebates are not paid for through later rent increases. “I secured a promise from the owner of Knickerbocker that tenants would receive rent rebates for the time they were without essential services and that the cost of those rebates would not be passed on to the tenants,” Silver said in a statement to Downtown Express Oct. 29, the anniversary of Sandy. “I expect that promise to be kept.” But Maltzman’s response was, at best, tentative when asked if he believes it will actually be possible to fund rebates without eventual rent increases. “We’ll have to see about that,” he said. Silver reiterated the point about the rebates at the Oct. 30 press conference. Ares sent a representative — Stuart Koenig, a senior partner — to the press conference, but he declined to respond to a question about the rent rebates.

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November 7 - November 19, 2013

‘The Mutilated’ is a magical gumbo you won’t soon forget Arcade and Stole ‘sordidly symbiotic’ as two sides of the Tennessee coin THEATER THE MUTILATED

By Tennessee Williams Directed by Cosmin Chivu Original music by Jesse Selengut Music performed by Tin Pan Previews: Nov. 7–9 at 7:30pm, Nov. 9 at 3pm Regular Performances: Nov. 10 at 7pm, Nov. 12–16, 19–23, 26-30 at 7:30pm and Nov. 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 & Dec. 1 at 3pm At the New Ohio Theatre 154 Christopher St. (btw. Greenwich & Washington Sts.) For tickets ($35), call 888-596-1027 Visit Also visit and

BY TRAV S.D ( What a pleasant surprise! I went to the current revival of Tennessee Williams’ 1965 “The Mutilated” to watch two heavyweights slug it out and received that spectacle in spades, plus a good deal more. Mink Stole and Penny Arcade are both larger-than-life as Williams’ sordidly symbiotic odd couple, Trinket and Celeste, who bide their time at the down-at-theheels Silver Dollar Hotel in New Orleans. The two characters in some ways seem to embody the two sides of Williams the playwright (realism vs. expressionism). As directed by Cosmin Chivu, the actresses seem to play it in just that way. As Trinket, a lonely Texas oil heiress who has been “mutilated” by a mastectomy, Mink Stole is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking — and much in line with our expectations for a traditional interpretation. If there is a “way” to do Williams’

Photo by Scott Wynn

Mink Stole (left) and Penny Arcade are a spectacular study in realism vs. expressionism.

dramas, she is doing it the way we want it done. On the other hand, Penny Arcade as the manipulative low-life Celeste (who lives by sponging off Trinket) is a more Brechtian presence, working the crowd like a music hall mama (she reminded me a little of Martha Raye). This style of performance is well within Williams’ tradition too, though more in line with his lesser-known experimental works, which of course “The Mutilated” happens to be. The play is full of fourth-wall-smashing direct address and similar techniques (such as poetry and songs). Chivu amps up the theatricality with a Greek chorus

of seedy NOLA denizens, and lots and lots of terrific original music composed by Jesse Selengut and played by his jazz quartet Tin Pan. It all adds up to a magical gumbo and an evening of theatre you won’t soon forget. Trav S.D. has been producing the American Vaudeville Theatre since 1995, and periodically trots it out in new incarnations. Stay in the loop at, and also catch up with him at Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, et al. His books include “No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous” and “Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and its Legacies from Nickelodeons to YouTube.”




November 7 - November 19, 2013



He wasn’t all swashbuckling and Sherwood Forest. Although his icon status comes from physically demanding roles in popcorn pleasers like 1940’s “The Sea Hawk” and 1938’s “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” the final phase of Hudson Park Library’s “Errol Flynn Blast” plunges the moral high road occupant into the murky, violent realm of World Wars I & II. Not to worry. This is Hollywood, after all — so fisticuffs and grit end up saving the day, no matter what genre or era our hero is navigating. On Nov. 7, 1943’s “Northern Pursuit” casts Flynn as a Mountie whose bad guy act is just that — a clever ruse meant to snare his Nazi quarry. On Nov. 21, 1945’s “Objective Burma” has Flynn as an Army paratrooper who must lead his decimated ranks through the Burmese jungle. The series’ final film, 1938’s “Dawn Patrol,” teams Flynn with David Niven and Basil Rathbone — as a trio of British World War I flying aces. That one unspools on Dec. 5. Free. All screenings are at 2pm. At the Hudson Park Library (66 Leroy St., btw. 7th Ave. South & Hudson St.). For more info, call 212-243-6876 or visit


Some 70 years after Buckminster Fuller literally redrew the map of mapmaking, Cooper Union brings together a group of contemporary designers, artists and cartographers for an exhibit featuring often liberal, sometimes lyrical interpretations of Fuller’s Dymaxion Map. Also known as The Fuller Projection Map, its at-the-time radical notion of viewing the world as a flat surface caused a game-changing shift in perspective by, exhibit organizers note, “revealing our planet as one island in one ocean, without any visually obvious distortion of the relative shapes and sizes of the land areas, and without splitting any continents.” The participants in “Dymax Redux” use Fuller’s original as a canvas onto which they project their own perspectives on deforestation, climate and atmospheric conditions, water use, urbanization, time zones and lunar topography. A selection of Fuller’s own maps, displayed alongside their contemporary versions, provide background and context for the project. Free. On view through Nov. 27. At The Cooper Union — Foundation Building (2nd floor of 7 E. 7th St., btw. 3rd & 4th Aves). Exhibit Hours: Mon.-Fri., 12-7pm and Sat.,

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12-5pm. For more info, visit Follow Cooper Union at and


Raised on South Dakota’s Rosebud Reservation, 24-year-old Chicago-based performer/producer Frank Waln grew up immersed in the surprisingly complimentary worlds Native American, electronica and Continued on page 23


November 7 - November 19, 2013

Just Do Art Continued from page 22

hip-hop music. The resulting performance style is a deft mix of traditional beats, dense rapping and looping mixes used to address the negative portrayal of Native Americans and overcome “the self-oppression that exists in many Lakota communities.” He’s currently teaching a workshop at Chen Dance Center, which culminates in two public performances. Dance Center associate director Dian Dong, who notes that “Hip-hop is not a long-standing tradition in our largely immigrant community,” calls Waln’s visit “a very special gift” meant to further the Center’s efforts to blend cultures and artistic styles. It seems to be working, according to Waln — who says that from the outset, his “happy connection” with the Chinatown dance institute felt “like I found a lost Tribe of mine!” “Hip Hop & Hoops” is performed on Fri., Nov. 8 & Sat., Nov. 9, at 7:30pm. At Chen Dance Center (70 Mulberry St., corner of Mulberry & Bayard Sts.). For tickets ($12, $10 for students/seniors), call 212-349-0126. Visit, and follow Waln at FrankWaln.


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November 7 - November 19, 2013

B.P.C. Committee: We need affordable center Continued from page 10

board for approval, Bob Townley, executive director of Manhattan Youth, said that it was essential that the Stuyvesant High School Community Center not only stay open, but that it continue to be affordable. “It is ludicrous to think that because the Battery Park City Authority is losing $200,000 a year, that they have to close this amenity,” he said. Tom Goodkind, a member of the Battery Park City Committee who participated in the negotiations that ended with Asphalt Green being selected to run a community center in Battery Park City, said that he and others who arranged that deal had been mistaken. “We all thought that this would be an affordable community center,” he said of the Asphalt Green facility. “It is not. We didn’t know that when we voted this in. And that, to me, is a kick in the teeth.” Referring to the students and to others who can’t afford Asphalt Green, he said that it would be great if they could use the center “instead of watching people through the window and saying, ‘I guess I’m not a part of that community.’ This community is low income, middle income and upper income…If they want to cut [the Stuyvesant

Community Center] down, then price something in so this gang could come here. [Asphalt Green] was supposed to be a community center. Make it a community center.” The committee approved a resolution that will go before the full board on Nov. 21, calling on the B.P.C.A. to continue operating the Stuyvesant High School Community Center at an affordable price as required by the legally binding agreement. In the discussion that preceded the vote, Mark Costello, a lawyer and former head of the Downtown Little League, said that the repercussions of breaking this agreement would go far beyond the Stuyvesant Community Center. “The set of documents that require the Authority to continue to operate this [center] are the strongest documents we’ve ever gotten in 25 years,” he said. “Similar agreements govern our dog run. They govern some aspects of our schools. If this agreement can be washed away, nothing is sacred. So in some ways, this battle goes beyond even keeping the community center open. It goes to whether we can negotiate agreements that bind. And if you can’t, then I think this place changes in fundamental ways. I think we have to hold the line here.”

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

At C.B. 1’s Battery Park City Committee meeting on Nov. 4, Robbie Martino, 17, a student at Millennium High School, read a plea to the committee to urge the B.P.C. Authority to keep the Stuyvesant High School Community Center open.

Making alternative therapies more available Continued from page 11

with their health problem. “ W h e t h e r i t ’s p o s i t i v e t h i n k i n g a b o u t t h e i r healing, stopping smoking or eating healthy, or cleaning up their home environment from mold, or whatever,” she said, “there has to be better communication to really make them a partner in their healthcare.” Abate feels this improved informational dialogue empowers patients, providing them with more balance and control, which will improve their overall health and well-being. She understands this firsthand. “I don’t think I’d be in the shape I am in today if I didn’t use the complementary and alternative-use therapies,” Abate said. Her initial diagnosis, following her first operation in June 2012, gave her 12 months to live. Abate, who is in her mid-60s, turned to Western medicine for surgeries and chemotherapy, and saw an immunologist, which is a field she wants to implement at the center. But she also went to a life coach and energy healer, who taught her the power of the mind. “Mind, body and spirit come together,” Abate said. “Everyone has the power to heal themselves. I had a lot of healing, and I’m not saying chemo didn’t have something to do with it. But even my oncologists would say, ‘It wasn’t just the chemo.’ ” One doctor told Abate that he thought her mind

was one of her most powerful weapons in her recovery. The healthcare C.E.O. believes visualization, diet and acupuncture all help effect a change of attitude toward life. “It adds up, I’m feeling strong,” she said. “I’m not totally cured yet, but I’m on the right path.” Abate still receives some low-dose chemo treatment, but she has spent many months playing tennis, and, as she put it, is doing “quite well.” She partially attributes her health status to alternative therapies. “I’m not suggesting people turn away from Western medicine,” she said. “I’m suggesting Western medicine becomes that more effective when you also utilize holistic and integrative approaches.” She used to receive holistic treatments weekly when she was sick, but now only goes every couple of weeks. Abate does practice daily visualization and takes herbal supplements. “I wake up with gratitude every day,” she said. “I see the beauty in things and in people, and the promise of the world.” To help foster this same hopefulness for others, Abate has submitted grants for the holistic program. She wants the therapies to be free or low-cost for patients. With that goal in mind, a boat cruise fundraiser around Manhattan was held on the evening of Tues., Oct. 22, with 240 people paying $250 per ticket. Demonstrations of alternative therapies were conducted onboard the boat.

Downtown Express photo by Bob Buchanan

Catherine Abate speaking at the Oct. 22 fundraising cruise for the holistic healthcare clinic at 150 Essex St.

November 7 - November 19, 2013

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November 7 - November 19, 2013

Opposing views on future of park’s air rights Continued from page 1

Yet today, the bill — an amendment to the Hudson River Park Act of 1998 — still has not gone into effect because it hasn’t been signed by Governor Cuomo. Coincidentally or not, the legislation had not even been submitted to Cuomo’s desk until last week, after a version of this article was published in The Villager, a sister publication of Downtown Express. Cuomo’s press office did not respond to requests for comment, but Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, who co-sponsored the legislation, said that the governor had requested the bill and has not expressed any concerns with it. At the time the Legislature passed the bill, there were many unanswered questions about exactly how the transfer of development rights — also known as air rights — would work. For example, how many available air rights does the park actually have? Where can and can’t these air rights be transferred? For the most part, these questions still remain unanswered. About the only thing that was and is clear is that the 5-mile-long Hudson River Park — which is supposed to be financially self-sustaining — is facing a daunting financial crisis and needs to find ways to generate revenue. To that end, the air-rights scheme could be a lucrative solution for the Hudson River Park Trust, which operates the park. “The provision allowing the Trust to sell unused development rights of the park to adjoining properties can potentially provide considerable revenue for the park,” Gottfried said in June. Exactly how much that amount would be is still unclear, Gottfried said, since the real estate market is always fluctuating. About $250 million is still needed to complete the park’s construction. That amount doesn’t include Pier 40, for which the Trust has previously twice sought a private developer, the thinking being the developer would both foot the cost of the pier’s repairs and redevelop the huge, aging structure with some new commercial uses to help increase the park’s revenue flow. One thing the amendment passed in June does clearly state is that any profits from the sale of air rights specifically from Pier 40 be funneled back into maintenance of the massive, 14-acre W. Houston St. “sports pier,” which is in desperate need of repairs. According to Madelyn Wils, the Trust’s president, there are 1.6 million square feet of unused air rights in the park. The park’s upland portion — the part of the park on land — doesn’t have any air rights. And only piers that are designated for commercial use have air

rights, namely, Chelsea Piers, and Piers 40, 57 and 76. In July, developer Douglas Durst — who had pitched a plan to convert Pier 40’s existing pier shed into a high-tech office campus — said based on his own analysis. the pier has 600,000 square feet of unused air rights, while the pier’s current three-story shed structure encloses 740,000 square feet. So, according to Durst’s figures, if the pier shed were torn down, Pier 40 by itself would have more than 1.3 million square feet of unused air rights for potential sale across the highway.

Community organizes

Now, seeking to bring some clarity to the issue and also to strategize on how to protect the neighborhoods along the park’s eastern edge from overdevelopment due to the park air rights transfers, community groups plan to meet on Wed., Nov. 13, at Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Bernard’s Church, at 328 W. 14th St., starting at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is sponsored by more than a dozen groups, ranging from block associations to political clubs. Andrew Berman, executive director of Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, one of the meeting’s organizers, said he wants to know to what extent the air rights can be used to “make big sites even bigger.” This issue is no more clearly embodied than by the five-block-long St. John’s Center, located just east of Pier 40. “There’s obviously been a lot of discussion about the possibility of that site [receiving air-rights transfers],” Berman said. If, on the other hand, the St. John’s Center’s zoning is modified to allow residential use, perhaps only partially, Berman added, that is not a problem. What is a concern to him is whether this site becomes overdeveloped. “Allowing for a larger development on that site is pretty scary,” he said. Under current zoning, according to Berman, the St. John’s site has up to 1.5 million square feet of development rights, which could allow a structure up to 900 feet tall. By comparison, he noted, the Chrysler Building, enclosing 1.2 million square feet, stands slightly more than 1,000 feet tall, and has 77 floors. Tobi Bergman, a leading advocate for the youth sports leagues that make heavy use of Pier 40’s artificial-turf playing fields, said whatever happens at the St. John’s Center, it doesn’t have to be as massive as Berman fears. “I think the question of how air rights are transferred, there’s going to be a lot of discussion about that,” he said. “Whoever develops the St. John’s Center is going to want to develop it at least partially for residential purposes. There are ways to restrict the total amount of development that can hap-

Downtown Express photo by Lincoln Anderson

Trapeze swingers on top of Pier 40, just across from the St. John’s Center Building.

pen [there]. Andrew knows that — I think he’s sounding alarm bells.” So there won’t be a new tower the size of the Chrysler Building looming over Pier 40 across West St. someday? “That’s not going to happen,” stated Bergman, who also chairs C.B. 2’s Land Use Committee. “I don’t think anyone wants that to happen.” Last year, Bergman led the youth sports leagues, under the name Pier 40 Champions, in pitching their plan for two luxury towers to be built at the foot of Pier 40, which would generate revenue for the pier’s repair and maintenance. But their proposal, which would have required an amendment to the Hudson River Park Act to allow residential use in the park, failed due to lack of political support. “There’s only so many strikes when it comes to Pier 40,” Bergman noted. “There have been a number of swings. People need to ask themselves if they want to give up on the park and the pier.”

Green opposition

Meanwhile, environmental groups like Sierra Club’s New York chapter, NYPIRG, the Clean Air Campaign and Friends of the Earth are opposing the legislation. One provision they oppose allows for “entertainment barges” to be moored in the park for up to six months at a time. Another calls for the W. 30th St. heliport to be moved 1,000 feet away from shore out into the river. These environmental groups oppose the air-rights transfers, in general, since they are against development in coastal areas. “It’s awaiting his veto — we hope,” Marcy Benstock, executive director of the Clean Air Campaign, said of the governor. Benstock helped defeat Westway in the 1980s. Like these other environmental groups, she opposed the Continued on page 27


November 7 - November 19, 2013

Continued from page 26

Hudson River Park, except for its upland portion. “There are so many things wrong with it,” she said of building more structures on piers or even development one block inland. “The Hudson River estuary is a wild system with wind, tides and storm going every which way. The first priority for the next mayor should not be putting more people in harm’s way along the water.” As for why the current bill is still unsigned by Cuomo, Benstock said, she’s not sure, but suspects powerful real estate developers may well be fighting the airrights transfers. “They don’t want their views to the river blocked,” she noted. “The big developers own sites inland. The single biggest thing that increases real estate values is not park views, but river views. I’ve read it in the real estate sections of newspapers for decades.” Gottfried said, “Nothing will happen with the air rights until the city adopts a plan on what to do and how to do it. It all has to be done subject to local zoning. Because the air rights would have to cross a street, that would require special zoning by the city.” A special zoning district would need to be created to receive the air rights. Gottfried also dismissed Berman’s claim that a 900-foot-tall building could

be built at the St. John’s Center site, implying it was unrealistic. “I suppose you could build a 900-foot flagpole,” he said. Asked how much unused air rights the park currently has, Gottfried said, “It’s still imprecise,” but that it’s more than a million square feet. According to a spokesperson for Wils, it is actually the land use process known as ULURP that will determine how many air rights the park has that are available for sale. As for the environmental groups’ concerns, Gottfried said, anything involving barges or pier footprint expansion will need reviews by and permits from state and federal environmental agencies. “If an environmental review shows that putting a barge out in the river for six months is going to hurt the striped bass, then they’re not going to get a permit,” he noted. And what about the environmentalists saying there should be no more building in what, after Sandy, is clearly a proven flood zone? “Obviously, people who design buildings are going to have to design them to sustain future flooding,” Gottfried said, “maybe raise buildings one story on 11th Ave. Maybe some people would argue that the condos that have been built along the West Side Highway should all be evacuated. I haven’t heard that suggestion yet.”

Residents bash criminal court plan Continued from page 3

Then came the bombshell. “You kept on saying tonight over and over again that the other two infractions are going out of the community,” said C.B. 1 member John Fratta. “Is that out of the Tribeca community or out of Community Board 1? “That’s out of Tribeca,” said Holloway. “Do you know where it’s going?” Fratta asked. “Is it going to be going into another community in C.B. 1?” “One of the locations is 66 John St.,” Holloway said. Community Board members were angry. “You’re putting all these criminals in an educational environment where people are walking to and from school,” C.B. 1’s Kopel said. “That area is the fastest growing in Manhattan. Why would you want to put something this toxic in that area?” Holloway said he wasn’t prepared to talk about 66 John St. After the meeting, residents close to the building began to circulate a petition opposing the move. After a week, almost 1,100 people had signed it, according to Patrick

Kennell, a lawyer who created the petition. “John Street is ‘stroller alley,’” said Linda Garlick, one of the residents. “It has two Pace dorms and is a main thoroughfare for tourists to the World Financial Center and the Seaport. It is just a couple of hundred yards from the soon-to-open Fulton [Transit] Center.” According to Kennell, the Department of Probation supervises 24,000 people each year through its Adult Court, “which includes individuals with major felony convictions, registered sex offenders, Kendra’s Law psychiatric cases, confirmed major drug dealers and those with known major gang affiliations.” He said that in addition, the proposed move would “present traffic, parking and other logistical nightmares given the narrow and busy surrounding streets and sidewalks. At the very least, we think our community deserves more information.” On Sunday, Kennell and others opposed to the 66 John St. move began to circulate a flyer headed “Say ‘No!’ to NYC Department of Probation move to John St.!” “Hopefully over the next 24 hours, you won’t be able to walk down a Downtown street and not run into one,” Kennell said.

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November 7 - November 19, 2013

Downtown Express, Nov. 7, 2013  
Downtown Express, Nov. 7, 2013  

Downtown Express, Nov. 7, 2013