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Good neighbors New neighborhood group to ease Fidi growing pains B Y KYL E CA M P B E LL ike any adolescent, the newly residential area of Downtown’s Financial District is getting taller by the day and experiencing new developments in unexpected places. Also like a teenager, the growing neighborhood is going through some changes it’s not quite ready to handle. To ease these growing pains, a group of Fidi residents have formed something unheard of in an area once exclusively filled with office buildings that emptied out and went dark every night: a neighborhood association. “The idea of the neighborhood association is to become a grassroots tool for the neighborhood,” said Patrick Kennell, one of the founding members of the group. “We want to come together and form a collective voice for the community.” The Financial District Neighborhood Association will hold its inaugural public meeting on Thursday, Feb. 11 at the Pine Street School at 25 Pine St. At the town hall-style meeting, which runs from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the half-dozen organizers will introduce themselves and outline the group’s goals before opening the floor for attendees to share their concerns and suggestions about improving the neighborhood. “What we don’t want it to be is just a place for people to complain,” said community activist Luis Vazquez. “That’s not what we want. We want people who really care about living in the neighborhood.” Likely topics of discussion include overcrowding in the schools, infrastructure, construction, and most notably, refuse on the streets. As new residential towers rise on the streets of the Financial District, so too do piles of household garbage. The problem is exacerbated by the trend of converting the area’s existing office buildings to residential use. Offices must hire private carting


JANUARY 28 – FEBRUARY 10, 2016

NEW FIGHT FOR NEW SCHOOL With site finally chosen for Greenwich St. school, locals say now the real fight begins to expand it

BY YAN N IC RACK he city has finally named a site for a long-awaited elementary school for the Financial District after a years-long fight for space, but Downtowners aren’t declaring total victory yet. In fact, they’re preparing for a


whole new battle over exactly what the new school will look like, aiming to maximize the rare opportunity to create Downtown classroom space, and make sure it will be enough. “We really need to get the most out of this,” said Tricia Joyce, a parent and the co-chair of Community

Photo by Milo Hess

Snow daze Downtowners made the most of the massive snowfall over the weekend by going sledding in Washington Market Park. The city got more than two feet of snow on Saturday, nearly beating the all-time record set in 2006. For more Downtown snow pictures, see page 12.

NEIGHBORS Continued on page 2


Board 1’s Youth and Education Committee. Days after a 476-seat school was announced for 77 Greenwich St., school advocates and local parents started drawing up their wish lists for more seats, larger facilities and even a middle-school expansion — all to satisfy Lower Manhattan’s staggering population growth, which they say the Dept. of Education is too slow to address. Paul Hovitz, co-chair of CB1’s Youth and Education Committee, said that in the earlier struggle to get Spruce Street School into the Gehry Building, the community learned too late that simply securing a site is not the end of the battle for school seats. “The mistake we made was being so happy we were getting the school there that we didn’t press for more floors and to have more than two classes in a grade — because two classes on a grade was so small,” he said. “By the time we realized, everything was set in stone.” Joyce agreed that the challenge now is to secure greater community participation in designing the new Greenwich St. school. “We have learned a lot since Spruce Street School was approved NEW SCHOOL Continued on page 14

Profile for Schneps Media

Downtown Express  

January 28, 2016

Downtown Express  

January 28, 2016