VOLUME 29, NUMBER 13
JUNE 30 – JULY 13, 2016
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June 30 - July 13, 2016
VOLUME 29, NUMBER 13
JUNE 30 – JULY 13, 2016
Playscape reshape Battery playground set for renovation, expansion
File photo by Aline Reynolds
Anthony Notaro, outgoing vice-chairman of CB1 and head of its Battery Park City Committee, was elected on June 28 to head the whole board.
New chair for CB1 BY YANNIC RACK There was a changing of the guard in Lower Manhattan this week. Community Board 1 chose a new leader on Tuesday, overwhelmingly electing former vice-chair Anthony Notaro to the top job after his only challenger unexpectedly dropped out of the race last month. Notaro is taking the reigns from Catherine McVay Hughes, who decided not to run for a customary third term as the unofficial — and unpaid — chief of the community. “It’s amazing, looking back on what Catherine and the board have achieved over the last few years,” said Notaro after a ceremonial vote at the board’s June 28 meeting. “It is a bittersweet night,” he told Hughes. “Thank you for all of your hard work. And don’t go far! We’re gonna need you.” Notaro, who is also head of the board’s Battery Park City Committee, unsuccessfully ran against former CB1 chairwoman Julie Menin in 2005. This time around, Notaro initially faced a challenge from Paul Hovitz, co-chair of the CB1 Youth and Education Committee, but Hovitz withdrew his application in May to run for vice chairman instead on a “unity ticket.” Though Notaro ran unopposed, Hovitz faced a challenge for the second-in-command slot from Tribeca Committee chairwoman Elizabeth Lewinsohn. Before his fellow members cast their ballots, the Southbridge Towers resident highlighted his record new chair Continued on page 8
The Battery Conservancy
“Adventure Bluffs” at the new-and-improved Battery Playscape will include shade, stone slides and lots of greenery when renovations are complete in 2020.
BY COLIN MIXSON Locals got a glimpse of the future of The Battery’s dilapidated “playscape” last week when the head of the park’s conservancy showed the community board its plans to replace the run-down fun zone with a massive, state-of-the-art piece of recreational engineering. After watching the Downtown play space decline for decades without any renovation and never quite recovering from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, area residents are looking forward to the new, expanded Battery Playscape. “The new playground can accommodate many, many people,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, outgoing chairwoman of Community Board 1. “One of the key components of the playground is it’s tri-
pling in size, and for an area that is starved for playgrounds, parents in the Financial District have been waiting very patiently for this to happen.” Battery Conservancy president Warrie Price presented the plans and several renderings of the proposed park being designed by Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and BKSK Architects — the firm that designed the acclaimed New York Hall of Science Kidpower! Playground in Queens — at CB1’s planning committee on June 13. The renderings showed off four separate components of the updated playscape, including the Jewel Box Puppet Theater, a jungle-gym-esque playhouse, the playground entrance, and Adventure Bluffs, a hillside flush with vegetation, stairs, and slides.
1 M e t r o t e c h • N YC 112 0 1 • C o p y r i g h t © 2 0 16 N YC C o mm u n i t y M e d i a , L L C
It wasn’t long before the playground plans received the committee’s endorsement by a unanimous vote. The conservancy will take the board’s blessing to the Public Design Commission, essentially the city’s aesthetic gatekeeper, which has to sign off on any major additions to city parks before work can commence. Once through the commission, the plans will be handed off to the Parks Department, which will then put the contract to build the new playground out to bid — potentially a year-long process — sometime in 2017, aiming for a late-2019–early-2020 completion. By the time it’s finished, the new playscape will cost the conservancy — which is funded by private donaplayscape Continued on page 27
Lowering the boom Tribeca residents vow to push city to adopt crane-safety panel reforms BY YANNIC RACK Tribeca residents scarred by the fatal crane collapse that shook Lower Manhattan in February are calling on the city to immediately implement safety reforms outlined in a new report commissioned to address the issue. A special panel convened by Mayor de Blasio to review policies around crane safety after a 565-foot crawler crane toppled over on Worth St. and killed an Upper West Side man on Feb. 5 recommended last week that the city phase out older cranes and replace them with newer machines equipped with a wide range of safety features, allowing them to be monitored more closely. But local residents, who were worried about an impending catastrophe just days before the crane collapsed, warn that it will take considerable pressure on City Hall to actually implement the reforms, which they expect will face considerable resistance from
developers and the construction industry. “Now the [crane] industry is going to get into this, and it’s going to be hard to get some of these regulations through, because they’ll cost money. There’s going to be some opposition to this,” said Jeff Ehrlich, who sits on Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee. “This is a great study, and we want this to be taken very seriously.” The Crane Safety Technical Working Group, made up of former city officials and engineers, issued its 56-page interim report last week. It will issue a final report once the city’s as-yet-unfinished investigation into the accident is complete, and locals want to maintain momentum for reform, lest the panel’s efforts go to waste. “It’s a nice academic document with good suggestions, but this report could be like other special blue ribbon commissions — it could just disappear altogether,” said fellow Tribeca Committee member Bruce Ehrmann,
File photo by Milo Hess
The falling crane killed one person, injured three, and crushed several cars parked along Worth St. on Feb. 5.
who lives across the street from 60 Hudson St., where the giant crane was being used to lift generators onto the roof. The panel’s recommendations so far include adopting a pending bill that would impose an age limit on cranes working in the city, and equipping all of them with anemometers — which measure wind speeds — as well as datalogging “black boxes” and GPS tracking technology.
“When enacted, these recommendations will strengthen the city’s already robust regulatory framework by applying emerging best practices with technological tools, crane engineering, and design enhancements, ensuring the operation of cranes in New York City remains the safest in the world,” the report states. The Worth St. crane collapse cranes Continued on page 16
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June 30 – July 13, 2016
Liberty Park opens at WTC BY YANNIC RACK Lower Manhattan now has its very own High Line. Liberty Park, the long-awaited elevated green space overlooking the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center, welcomed its first visitors this Wednesday. The one-acre park sits 25 feet high atop the WTC Vehicle Security Center on Liberty St. and includes more than 50 trees, ample seating and a “Living Wall” of greenery along the building’s north façade. “This is a site for reflection, lunch, passing the time — and it’s got a very unique perspective of the 9/11 Museum and the memorial pools,” said Pat Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, which owns the WTC site, shortly after the park was opened to the public at
11:45 a.m. on June 29. At the opening, many a visitor could be heard remarking on the similarity to the popular High Line further uptown — and even Foye couldn’t help but invoke the iconic park in his remarks. “As a matter of fact, if you leave here and walk up Greenwich Street, you’ll hit the High Line,” he said. Locals were glad to see the facility’s rooftop being put to good — and public — use. “It was almost just going to be the top of another garage. And with community input, it has become a wonderful green space,” said outgoing Community Board 1 chairwoman Catherine McVay Hughes. “We’re very grateful to have this here.” The $50-million plaza was designed by landscape architect Stephen E. Brown
Photo by Yannic Rack
Though filled with trees and flowers, Liberty Park also offers impressive urban vistas of Downtown.
Photo by Catherine McVay Hughes
The one-acre elevated park in the heart of Downtown includes 19 planters filled with more than 50 trees, as well as shrubs and perennial flowers, offering visitors an escape from the frenetic bustle of Lower Manhattan life.
of AECOM and offers views of the towering 1 WTC. It connects directly to the high-end Brookfield Place shopping center across West St. via the Liberty St. Pedestrian Bridge, which also opened on Wednesday. The park, which will be open 24 hours year-round, includes 19 planters filled with trees, shrubs and perennial flowers. Last month, a sapling grown from the original horse chestnut tree in Amsterdam that inspired Anne Frank as she hid from the Nazis was planted there. One of the park’s most striking features is the 336-foot long “Living Wall” — a vertical garden that runs along the north façade on Liberty St. to mask its driveways with 22,000 plants.
In addition, the park functions as a green roof for the vehicle security center and has several other sustainable features, including guardrails and benches made of reclaimed teakwood, as well as efficient LED lighting. Even though some have been anticipating the green space’s unveiling for quite some time, most of the park-goers who came on Wednesday seemed to have just stumbled across the elevated park by chance on its opening day. “It’s beautiful. It’s so nice that you can look down on everything,” said Sashi Racho, who was visiting the nearby memorial with her brother, liberty park Continued on page 19
WTC Sphere set to move to Liberty Park
The battered Fritz Koenig-designed sphere that famously survived the collapse of the World Trade Center, has spent the past 14 years exiled to a grove of trees in The Battery, but it may soon find a place in Liberty Park, overlooking the 9/11 memorial plaza — where many locals say the iconic sculpture really belongs.
June 30 - July 13, 2016
BY YANNIC RACK After 15 years in exile, the World Trade Center Sphere might be homebound at last — sort of. Officials at the Port Authority, which owns both the iconic sculpture and the WTC site, said this week that they were working to relocate the battered sphere that survived 9/11 to the new elevated park on Liberty St. that opened to the public on Wednesday. “My own personal view is that the Sphere belongs here, not in Battery Park and certainly not in an airport hangar,” said Pat Foye, the agency’s executive director, at the park’s official opening on June 29. “We’re working with the families to bring it to this site. I think it will be a fitting place.”
The Fritz Koenig-designed sculpture, a 45,000-pound brass orb, formed the centerpiece of the old WTC plaza but has been tucked away in The Battery since 2002, even though the conservancy managing the park would like to see it gone. Efforts to relocate it to the site of the 9/11 memorial — most notably by Michael Burke, whose firefighter brother died in the Twin Tower’s collapse — have so far been thwarted by resistance from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, which argues it doesn’t fit in with the plaza’s sparse design. Foye noted that the St. Nicholas National Shrine, the Greek Orthodox church being built at the park’s eastern end, also supports the plan, and his announcement was supported by other
top brass at the agency. “I agree with Pat, and the board will be considering this within the next several months,” said Port Authority chairman John Degnan. “It’ll be here.” In the meantime, the Port Authority has already moved another sculpture to Liberty Park, where the horse soldier statue “De Oppresso Liber,” commemorating the Army Special Forces’ initial horseback forays into Afghanistan, now looks out over the memorial. Not everyone is happy about the prospect of putting the Sphere there as well, however, and some local residents think it would ruin the purpose of the green space altogether. WTC SPhere Continued on page 20
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Photos by Yannic Rack
Downtown Alliance president Jessica Lappin (inset) is declaring victory in her groupâ€™s controversial quest to allow developers to put retail space into the Water St. pedestrian arcades (left) in exchange for sprucing up the areaâ€™s public plazas (right), after the Council unanimously approved the measure on June 21.
Council unanimously approves plan swapping public arcades for retail
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BY YANNIC RACK The City Council unanimously passed a controversial zoning change last week that will hand two football fields worth of public space along Water St. to building developers. Downtownâ€™s councilmember Margaret Chin had successfully pushed for several changes to the text amendment to reflect community concerns, but the measureâ€™s chief critics â€” who decry it as a giveaway to developers that shortchanges the community â€” argue the zoning text change is still a bad deal for Lower Manhattan, and for public open spaces across the city. â€œItâ€™s depressing that this is going through. It just opens the door â€” it sets a precedent,â€? said Alice Blank, an architect and member of Community Board 1 who spearheaded local opposition to the plan, after an earlier vote before the Councilâ€™s Land Use Committee. â€œAny agreement of taking away public space is a bad idea.â€? At an initial hearing on the bill last month, several legislators expressed serious concerns about the deal, but once Chin came on board last week, opposition on the committees evaporated, since councilmembers usually defer to the local member when considering a measure that falls entirely within their district. The zoning text amendment, intro-
duced by the Downtown Alliance and the cityâ€™s Economic Development Corporation and Dept. of City Planning, will hand control over 110,000 square feet of covered arcades at 20 Downtown office towers around Water St. to building owners for retail development in exchange for upgrades to public plazas in the area. Both the covered walkways and plazas â€” which are privately owned public spaces, or POPS â€” were originally ceded to the city by landlords in exchange for permission to construct taller, bulkier buildings than zoning laws allow. The idea behind the text amendment, according to the Alliance, is to incentivize landlords to bring in more of the retail amenities so lacking along the Water St. corridor and make the area more attractive to its growing residential population. As originally written, the text amendment would have allowed landlords to develop the arcades any way they saw fit, barring a few restrictions, with only a sign-off by the City Planning Commission. Under the modifications secured by Chin, any retail infill at the six largest arcades will be subject to extensive public oversight through the cityâ€™s Uniform Land Use Review arcades Continued on page 14
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June 30 â€“ July 13, 2016
The 9/11 Tribute Center to expand BY JOSEPH M. CALISI It was created to fill a temporary void Downtown, but ten years later, it’s finding new purpose — and a new venue. The 9/11 Tribute Center, established a decade ago by victims’ families as America awaited a formal memorial to the 2001 terrorist attacks, recently announced plans to move to a new location at 88 Greenwich St. in order to expand its mission, exhibits and programs. The center has welcomed 4 million visitors in the ten years since it opened at its current location at 120 Liberty St., according to co-founder Lee Ielpi, president of the September 11th Families’ Association. The new 9/11 Tribute Center is expected to serve up to 1 million visitors every year. The expanded venue is intended to facilitate a larger mission for the center in the future — going beyond simply mourning the victims of the 9/11 attacks, to highlighting the inspiring national response to the catastrophe, and encouraging a new generation to join in the spirit of community service. “As we focus on tomorrow, we have to let young people know that through an understanding of 9/11 they can learn the importance of service and contributing to their communities,” said Ielpi, a former firefighter who lost his firefighter son in the World Trade Center collapse. “They can remember and honor those who were lost on 9/11 by participating in acts of service. The expanded exhibits and programs will allow people from around the world to understand and
then commit to acts of service to make a difference in their communities.” Since it opened in 2006, the center has offered visitors to the World Trade Center area a place to connect with people from the 9/11 community — survivors, family members of lost loved ones, first responders, and people who live and work in Lower Manhattan. The goal now is to perform this mission and deliver their message to a greater number of visitors so they can learn more about the events of 9/11, the identity of the 2,973 people killed in the attacks, the unprecedented rescue and recovery operations and the tremendous spirit of support and generosity that arose after the attacks. The expanded venue will allow for a bigger personal gallery and walking-tour experience for students and tour groups. Jennifer Adams, the CEO of the center, said the goal is to open the new space in the spring of 2017, but that depends on the foundation raising $7.5 million for construction and another $4 million for exhibition development. Adams explained that the planned exhibitions would be organized around three themes: the events of 9/11 and the immediate aftermath, the recovery and rebuilding of Downtown, and the outpouring of humanitarian activism in response laying the foundations for a legacy of community service. The latter themes would serve to broaden the center’s focus, according to Adams, to relate the recovery and activism that followed 9/11 to the healing that
new chair Continued from page 1
and the “institutional knowledge and connections” he has made during his long tenure on the board. “I’ve been doing this for almost 25 years now, and I think the record speaks for itself,” he said. Lewinsohn had appealed to her colleagues to elect a new voice as the board’s second-in-command, reaching out to board members before the meeting. “I have had the pleasure of speaking to as many of you as possible for the past few weeks,” she said before the vote. “I think that I bring a fresh perspective to the leadership of CB1. And I think that would very much balance Anthony’s institutional knowledge.” In the end, Hovitz was elected with 27 votes, and Lewinsohn received 13. Some on the board would have liked
June 30 - July 13, 2016
Photo by Yannic Rack
Catherine McVay Hughes, at podium, accepted a farewell gift at Community Board 1’s June board meeting — her last as chairwoman — at 4 World Trade Center on Tuesday night.
to see a similar contest for the top leadership position as well, with member Tom Goodkind voicing his displeasure at yet another uncontested race for chair, after Hughes had already run unopposed for
Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership
(Above) The 9/11 Tribute Center is moving to a new location at 88 Greenwich St. in order to expand its mission, exhibits and programs. (Below) The 9/11 Tribute Center’s plans for expansion will offer a multi-stage exhibit including New York’s history as a melting pot, the events of 9/11, the inspiring public response and community rebuilding, and a call to service in visitors’ own local communities.
follows other disasters — for example, an exchange program with Japanese who
suffered the twin catastrophes of the 2011 tsunami and nuclear meltdown.
both of her terms at the helm. “With Paul no longer running, a non-contested election is great for Anthony, but it’s terrible for the board,” he told Downtown Express when Hovitz dropped his challenge last month. In other election results, Tammy Meltzer took over as secretary from Adam Malitz, who remains on the board, and both Joel Kopel and Dennis Gault held on to their offices of treasurer and assistant secretary, respectively. The voting and results were sandwiched in between a long list of dignitaries paying their respects to Hughes, who announced two months ago that she wouldn’t seek reelection for a third term. Hughes, who is staying on as a regular board member, spent a tearful evening accepting proclamations
from Downtown’s elected officials, who praised her leadership and “fierce advocacy” on behalf of Downtowners on issues ranging from storm resiliency and construction coordination to school overcrowding and quality-of-life concerns. “It’s hard to say goodbye, because Catherine has just been a wonderful person to work with,” said Assemblymember Deborah Glick, who praised Hughes’ involvement with a litany of special task forces, committees and boards over the years. “We will never know how the hell she does all this,” Glick said. Hughes has been a member of the board for more than a decade, and served as vice chair for six years before she took over as leader four years ago. The newly elected officers will assume their positions on Friday, July 1. DowntownExpress.com
THE BIG RED DOG AND FRIENDS
June 30 â€“ July 13, 2016
Teaming up for Tunnel to Towers
After years of acrimony over permits, CB1 group to participate in annual run BY COLIN MIXSON If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. After years of giving Tunnel to Towers 5k organizer John Hodge the runaround when he sought permits, members of Community Board 1 have finally decided to form their own group to participate in what’s become the area’s premier charity event and memorial honoring the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller and the hundreds of other first responders who gave their lives during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. “The guy is a local hero,” said Community Board 1 member Tom Goodkind, who is organizing the Lower Manhattan Tunnel to Towers group. “This is the biggest event. It’s tremendous, and the party’s fantastic, and now we’re going to be a part of it, which is very cool.”
Stephen Siller, Hodge’s cousin, heroically ran through the BrooklynBattery Tunnel in full gear on 9/11 to reach the burning World Trade Center towers, only to die in the collapse while saving his fellow New Yorkers. The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s annual 5k Run and Walk retracing his steps has raised millions of dollars for worthy charities since its inception in 2002. But before the event can happen each year, Hodge must go before CB1 to get its approval for the permits he needs to take over streets in Lower Manhattan. And every year, board members subject Hodge to a litany of demands — including restrictions on music, drinking, and alterations to planned routes that might interfere with local residents’ quality of life — which Goodkind called unreasonable. “You can’t have music, you can’t close
File photo by Milo Hess
The annual Tunnel to Towers 5k Run and Walk commemorates firefighter Stephen Siller, who heroically ran through the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel in full gear on 9/11 to reach the burning World Trade Center towers, only to die in the collapse while saving his fellow New Yorkers.
our streets, you have to clean up, no one’s allowed to drink — we absolutely brutalize this guy,” Goodkind recounted. “Imagine 30,000 firemen and no one’s allowed to drink. Nobody would come!” Hodge was diplomatic when asked to respond to Goodkind’s characterization of the board’s conduct, and instead referred to the panel as “very thorough” in its attempts to safeguard the community from the thousands of
GET YOUR SUMMER ON
runners and after-party revelers that take over local streets. Anthony Notaro, chairman of the board’s Battery Park City Committee, agreed that the board has given the event a hard time in the past, largely in response to the run’s after-party, in which beer was typically served on the streets to the thousands of revelers. tunnel to towers Continued on page 27
SUMMER BLOCK PARTIES
GAMES, MUSIC AND DRINKS
Check the website for featured DJs and programs. Games start on Wednesdays at 12 P.M. Drinks and music begin at 5 P.M.
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June 30 – July 13, 2016
Stabbing at Fidi cafe HAUS CALL A 55-year-old man was slashed in the neck outside a Tribeca nightclub last week, police say. The assailant came after his victim outside the Haus nightclub on West Broadway shortly after 3 a.m. on Friday June 24, and afterwards fled west on Canal St., cops say. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital in stable condition, according to the NYPD. Khaled Mahmoud, a worker at a halal cart parked outside the club, told WCBS2 that the slasher was following his victim and intended to rob him. “He came close to him, very close to him,” Mahmoud told the channel. “He said, ‘Please go back, what do you want from me?’ And then he slash him.” Police are now searching for the attacker, who is described as wearing a yellow winter jacket, a white t-shirt with black lettering, dark pants and a large backpack.
ANTI-SOCIAL MEDIA Police are looking for a 28-yearold man from Brooklyn after he stole more than $2,000 from an acquaintance and later boasted about the crime on Facebook, cops say. The victim, who lives in Pennsylvania but runs a business in Brooklyn, left the perp inside his car parked at the corner of Cortlandt St. and Broadway at 11 a.m. on Monday June 20 to “perform a customer work order,” according to a police report. When he came back, his friend had left — taking with him a briefcase containing $2,050 in cash, police say. The perp later posted on Facebook: “Lol, Nicca mad I booked him…2 bandz…all da way up. Im not playin. Ima get mines by any means. F--- emotions. I got them too. Nicca hungry tho…G’d da f--- up,” according to a report.
GRIFT CARDS An all-too-trusting woman was cheated out of $2,000 while trying to buy a car online with gift cards, police say. The victim, a 54-year-old from Tribeca, was trying to buy a 2007 Toyota Camry through eBay, but was tricked by a fraudster living in Virginia into sending her the codes to four iTunes gift cards worth $500 each as payment for the vehicle, cops say. Needless to say, the woman never received her car — and to top it off,
June 30 - July 13, 2016
the scheming trickster continues to ask her for more gift cards, according to a report.
PRET A VOLER A burglar who broke into a Tribeca eatery last week was likely left with a sinking feeling in his stomach when he discovered that the cash register he stole was empty. The hapless perp broke a window at the Pret A Manger at 319 Broadway around 10 p.m. on Friday June 24, and swiped the register, according to police. He didn’t seem to be too thrilled with his loot, however, since police found the register — valued at $325 — discarded on a Thomas St. sidewalk shortly after the crime was reported, according to a report.
HANDBAG HEIST Two middle-aged men were picked up by police after trying to steal a $4,000 handbag from a store in Soho, police say. The sticky-fingered shoplifters, aged 43 and 44, were arrested after trying to lift the bag from a Dior boutique on Greene St. around 4 p.m. on Tuesday June 21, according to police. They were caught even though they used a so-called booster bag — a container lined with aluminum foil to shield electronic security tags from detection — to pull off the theft, cops say.
TOUGH LESSON A despicable deviant stole a Citi bike from a boy in Battery Park City last week, cops say. The kid was riding the bike, which was rented by his dad, in the Pumphouse Park behind Brookfield Place at 8:50 p.m. on Friday June 24, according to police. When a man walked up to the boy and asked to borrow the $1,200 bike, the child obliged, allowing the perp to pedal away along on Vesey St., according to a report. The man is described as in his mid20s, 5-foot-8, wearing a tan sweater and tan hat, police say.
BPC BIKES BILKED A wave of motorcycle thefts has seen three bikes disappear from Battery Park City and Hudson Square within five days this month, police say. In the early morning of Sunday June 12, a man left his $7,500 Yamaha parked outside his workplace on Varick
BY YANNIC RACK A teenager from New Jersey was arrested and charged with attempted murder Monday after he allegedly stabbed his ex-girlfriend at her workplace in the Financial District, cops say. The 19-year-old showed up to the Koyzina Kafe, a counter-serve sandwich shop on William St., at 7:30 a.m. on June 27 and got into an argument with his 26-yearold former flame, then allegedly stabbed her in the stomach and arm with a knife, according to police. Police arrested the Jersey City teen at the scene and also charged him with assault in the second degree, according to the NYPD. The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The ex-couple seemed to have had a previous domestic altercation last Friday, according to police, and the Daily News reported that the woman showed up at her former boyfriend’s home that day to collect her belongings, which he threw out into the street instead. According to a criminal comSt. for 45 minutes shortly after midnight, only to find it had been stolen when he returned, according to police. Surveillance video shows two men in a white van pull up and swipe the bike, according to a report. Three days later, on Wednesday June 15, another man left his red-and-gray BMW bike outside his home on North End Ave., but the machine was stolen overnight, together with a set of tires and gloves — worth $23,000 altogether, police say. On Friday June 17, the third bike — a $20,000 blue-and-white BMW — was stolen between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. from its parking spot on Rector Pl., cops say. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the incidents were being treated as connected.
POCKET MONEY A construction company is missing $8,000 in cash that was taken from its offices in Tribeca, police say. The money was stolen from an unlocked drawer that held $11,000 in cash at the Thomas St. offices of construction firm OTL Enterprises sometime between Thursday June 9 and
Police say a New Jersey man stabbed his ex-girlfriend at the Fidi cafe where she works on Monday.
plaint, the ex-boyfriend asked to talk to his victim in private in the back of the café and told her, “I’m going to kill you,” before he drove the knife into her stomach. He was held on $400,000 bond or $100,000 cash on Tuesday. Tuesday June 14, according to a report.
TIMEPIECE TAKEN A man’s $25,000 watch was swiftly stolen out of a gym locker in Tribeca, cops say. The victim, a 45-year-old from Westchester, was at the Equinox gym on Murray St. where he secured his Patek Philippe timepiece in a locker and went downstairs to buy a pair of shorts at 4 p.m. on Thursday June 9, according to a report. He returned only 10 minutes later to find his combination lock gone and the watch missing from his bag, police say.
SERVED UP Thieves lifted a man’s phone and wallet while he was playing a round of tennis at Nelson A. Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City, according to a report. The 63-year-old Rector Pl. resident was swinging and smashing it at the park’s tennis courts around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday June 12, say police — then he discovered that his $600 iPhone and $300 in cash had been lifted from his racket case. — Yannic Rack DowntownExpress.com
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June 30 â€“ July 13, 2016
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City to shut down roadways across Downtown for one day in August
BY YANNIC RACK 20, streets will be closed off from 7 Downtowners, prepare to go pedes- a.m. until 1 p.m. All events are free and trian. nearly 300,000 people took advantage The city unveiled its 2016 Summer of the programs and activities last year, Streets schedule last week, and the pro- according to the city. gram includes a new “Shared Streets” This year’s programming will event that will limit car traffic through include dance, theatrical and musical 60 square blocks of Lower Manhattan for one Saturday in August. Between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Aug. 13, the second of three Summer Street Saturdays, Downtowners and visitors from all over the city will be able to walk, bike and explore the historic streets of New York’s oldest neighborhood from City Hall down to Bowling Green. The area, bounded by Broadway and Water and Fulton Sts., will be open to pedestrians, cyclists and a limited number of motorists, who can take in a range of cultural programNYC Department of Transportation ming — including walk- The city’s Shared Streets program will take traffic ing tours, performances off of Downtown streets on three days in August. and installations offered throughout neighborhood. performances; public art installations; Printed At theNone The citywide Summer Streets fes- historic walking tours; self-guided art tival will also shut down nearly seven and architecture tours; sports includmiles of streets elsewhere in the city ing handcycles, basketball and soc— from the Brooklyn Bridge along cer; an outdoor food court with free Lafayette St. and Park Ave. up to 72nd samples; a 165-foot long, 30-foot high St. — on three consecutive Saturdays zip line; a climbing wall; free bike and during the same month. But during roller-blade rentals; and a beach in the other days, the Downtown portion Foley Square, complete with a water will only close Lafayette St. from Foley slide. Square to Canal St. A full schedule will be announced On August 6, August 13 and August closer to the date.
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June 30 - July 13, 2016
arcades Continued from page 6
Procedure, or ULURP. Other changes include limiting banks and drug stores to 30 and 50 feet of retail frontage, respectively, and restoring some compliance and reporting provisions that the original proposal would have eliminated, leading Chin to throw her support behind the plan. “This wasn’t an easy decision to make,” Chin said in a statement. “The
modified proposal seeks to strike a balance of community input and public oversight with regard to the infill of arcades while providing flexibility to achieve the desired goals of improved public space, neighborhood retail, and pedestrian experience.” Landlords that do infill will be obliged to spruce up the nearby public plazas, to bring the 1960s-era spaces into compliance with new standards instituted in 2007 and 2009 that require more plantings and greenery. DowntownExpress.com
DROWSY DRIVING CAN BE AS DANGEROUS AS DRIVING IMPAIRED The public is well educated about the dangers of driving while impaired by medication, alcohol or illegal drugs. But drivers may not be aware that driving while tired can be just as dangerous. Driving when tired can be a fatal mistake. Just as alcohol or drugs can slow down reaction time, impair judgment and increase the risk of accident, so, too, can being tired behind the wheel. Drowsy driving is reportedly what caused the fatal crash in June 2014 between a limousine and a Walmart truck that ended the life of comic
James McNair and seriously injured fellow comedian Tracy Morgan. The driver, Kevin Roper, was going 20 miles over the speed limit and was almost at his drive time limit, according to preliminary reports by the National Transportation Safety Board. According to the U.S. National Highway Trafﬁc Safety Administration, about 100,000 car crashes in the United States each year occur as the result of an overly tired driver. Various studies demonstrate that drivers who have remained awake for 18 hours prior to driving
mimic the driving performance of intoxicated motorists. In fact, drowsy driving can be confused with driving with a high blood alcohol content. Sleepiness can arise relatively quickly, and according to Thomas Balkin, PhD, director of the behavioral biology program at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and a leading expert on sleep and fatigue, it’s difﬁcult for drivers to assess just how sleepy they are. “Sleepiness affects the part of the brain responsible for judgment and self-awareness,”
he says. “When you’ve reached the stage where you are ﬁghting sleep, the effect of any method of reviving yourself can be very short-lived.” Furthermore, people do not have to be in a deep sleep to actually be asleep behind the wheel. Micro-sleeps occur when certain brain cells temporarily shut down for a few seconds. A person is not completely asleep but in a sort of fog as if they are asleep. When sleepiness sets in, the best course of action is to pull off the road. Opening the window, turning on the radio
or blasting cold air is, at best, only a temporary solution. If driving with passengers and feelings of sleepiness appear, hand the keys over to a passenger and have them take over driving, if possible. Otherwise, a short nap and a cup of coffee can be used in combination to increase alertness. It’s also a good idea to avoid beginning a long road trip in mid-afternoon around the hours of two or three o’clock. While alertness generally dips in the evening hours, due to the circadian rhythm, alertness also dips in the late after-
noon, prompting drowsiness. A 2010 study by the American Automobile Association Foundation for Trafﬁc Safety found that as many drivers reported falling asleep at the wheel in the afternoon hours as reported falling asleep late at night. Driving in a warm, quiet car also may spur drowsiness, as would driving after a heavy meal. Driving tired is just as dangerous as other impaired driving. Slow reaction times and unawareness of surroundings can contribute to accidents that are otherwise avoidable..
June 30 – July 13, 2016
Tuning out Hornblower mutes music at Pier 15 after locals complain, city demands
BY COLIN MIXSON Hornblower’s fleet of ritzy cruise boats will cease blasting pop songs while docked at Pier 15, effective this week. The change comes amid pressure from the city and local community members who were sick and tired of having to scream just to be heard over the ear-splitting tunes at the otherwise peaceful seaside recreation area. “This is very good news,” said Pier 15 patron and Community Board 1 member Paul Hovitz. “The music was so loud that you could not have a conversation without raising your voice. I’d get calls on my cellphone, and people would ask me if I was in a nightclub.” Until this week, Hornblower’s small armada of classy cruise ships pumped up the volume while loading and unloading passengers at Pier 15, a process that takes between 20 minutes to half an hour. And after one ship leaves, it usually isn’t long before another comes to take its place, a process that guaranteed a
near-constant drum of amplified music on the public pier, according to Hovitz. “When one pulls out, the next pulls in, so there is veritably no time when we’re not barraged by this music,” Hovitz said. To curb the noise, CB1 reached out to the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which manages Hornblower’s lease to use Pier 15, but the agency failed to respond to local concerns until the board’s Seaport Committee meeting on June 21, when EDC’s director of operations, Richard Cote, assured the board that the agency would clamp down on the cruise operator’s dock-side jamfests. But Hornblower continued to blast tunes for another week until Downtown Express called up EDC to check the status of issue on Tuesday. An EDC spokesman called back later to say that the agency had actually reached out to Hornblower that very day to tell the company to turn down the tunes. “EDC met with Hornblower today,” said spokesman Anthony Hogrebe on
cranes Continued from page 2
involved a crawler crane with a 565-ft-long boom and jib that collapsed when its operator tried to secure it amid strong winds, while crews on the ground were clearing the street of pedestrians. The falling crane seriously injured three people and killed 38-year old mathematician David Wichs, whose widow is now suing the city for $600 million. Three days after the accident, Mayor de Blasio announced new safety regulations lowering the maximum wind speed at which cranes can operate to a sustained 20 mph or gusts of 30 mph — significantly lower than the previous guidelines of steady wind speeds at 30 mph or gusts of 40 mph. But in March, the city once again updated its regulations after the working group recommended returning to the previous rule, outraging locals. “The city regulations are terrible, to my mind. I’m kind of stunned by it,” Ehrlich said of the reversal. “[But] the new recommendations are great, they really nailed a lot of stuff.” Ehrlich said equipping all cranes with anemometers made sense, especially considering that Downtown’s narrow canyons are often much more windy than other areas where wind measurements are currently taken for the city as a whole. “The way the wind speed is measured through the
June 30 - July 13, 2016
Hornblower Cruises & Events
The Hornblower Hybrid already reduces air pollution, but from now on it will also reduce noise pollution when it docks at Pier 15, along with the other boats in the Hornblower fleet now that the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which holds the lease for Pier 15, told the company to cut the music when its boats return to the Seaport, after locals complained about the noise.
Tuesday. “They will be directing their employees to turn off external music when docked or idling.” Hornblower acknowledged the change of policy on Wednesday, with a spokesman saying that music will be maintained at the level of background noise while docked, and that the protocol is currently being implemented, with captains and crew being notified of the change. The Hornblower spokesman did not characterize the change as a result of
National Weather Bureau, which is taken in Central Park — that has nothing to do with Worth Street,” he said. “It could be 15 mph in Central Park, [but] Worth Street is always windy.” CB1’s Tribeca Committee unanimously approved a resolution last week calling on the city to implement the suggestions outlined in the report. “We’re commending the members of the working group, and we urge the mayor’s office to move as quickly as possible,” said CB1 District Manager Noah Pfefferblit. A spokesperson for the city’s Dept. of Buildings said the agency was currently reviewing the recommendations. Ehrmann, who had sounded the alarm with local elected officials on the night before the collapse after he saw the crane swaying dangerously in the wind, said he was encouraged by some of the new rules — including a required safety zone that would need to be cordoned off for particularly large cranes, and would effectively ban any such machine from being used on streets as narrow as Worth St. He also said it shouldn’t be up to locals to pressure the city into doing the right thing, but Tribeca residents wouldn’t shrink from the task. “This document should be studied very closely, taken very seriously, and be moved upon,” Ehrmann said. “This community, which suffered because of the collapse, will stay on top of it.”
pressure from the city, instead saying that the company was responding to the community’s wishes. Hornblower made news in March after Mayor de Blasio announced that the cruise business would be awarded the city’s coveted contract to operate the Citywide Ferry Service, a heavily subsidized transit alternative offering commuters trips across the East River for the cost of a subway ride. The Citywide Ferry Service is expected to launch in 2018.
File photo by Milo Hess
The crawler crane at 60 Hudson St. toppled over on Feb. 5. and fell across two blocks along Worth St.
Go forth on July Fourth
Downtown bustles over the Independence Day weekend The Independence Day weekend has a special place Downtown, in New York’s oldest neighborhood. Five days after the original July Fourth, on July 9, 1776, a copy of the newly signed Declaration of Independence reached New York City and inspired local patriots to famously topple the statue of King George III at Bowling Green. And it was in Downtown where the Revolutionary War truly came to an end — a full two years after Britain’s official surrender — when the last redcoats finally set sail for home on Evacuation Day, Nov. 25, 1783. Federal Hall at 26 Wall St. was the new nation’s first seat of government, and George Washington was sworn in as president on its front steps. So it is right and proper to celebrate July Fourth in the city’s most historic neighborhood — and Downtown doesn’t disappoint, offering a plethora of patriotic programing over the long weekend, from the educational to the entertaining. Saturday, July 2: Downtown gets a head start of the holiday on Saturday with street fairs and a parade. Community Board 1 will host its Great July Fourth Fair along Fulton St. between Water and Gold Sts. from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. And another July Fourth block party is slated for Cliff St. between John and Fulton Sts. from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Lower Manhattan Independence Day Parade also steps off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, starting at the Irish Hunger memorial in Battery Park City, then moving down the BPC promenade before heading east along Rector St. to Broadway, then turning south to
File photo by Tequila Minsky
Lower Manhattan hosted its first Independence Day parade in almost four decades last year. This year’s reprise will kick off from the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City at 11 a.m. on July 2.
National Park Service
Historical reenactor Mike Grillo will portray George Washington at Federal Hall on July 4.
Bowling Green for flag raising ceremony. Sunday, July 3: The Seaport District kicks off its two-day “Festival of Independence” at 1 p.m. on Sunday in cooperation with Smorgasburg and Vice’s Noisey music channel, featuring food stalls, independent art and fashion vendors and live music on a stage at Fulton St. until 9 p.m. For the historically minded, the Lower Manhattan Historical Society will gather at Federal Hall at 1:30 p.m. to bestow its inaugural Alexander Hamilton Immigrant Achievement Award to three honorees: • Rick Rescolar, the English-born security director of Morgan Stanley credited with saving the lives of more than 2,600 colleagues at the World Trade Center on 9/11 (the posthumous award will be accepted by his wife). • Margaret Chin, the councilmember for Lower Manhattan, the first Asian American to be elected to the Council and a community leader active in rebuilding Chinatown after 9/11. • Dr. Matthew Eugene, a medical doctor born in Haiti and a Councilmember representing a district in Brooklyn. Monday, July 4: July Fourth itself is jam-packed, with Federal Hall hosting a day of historical programing from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. featuring reenactors portraying George Washington and Ben Franklin, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence.
At 11 a.m. at Castle Clinton, the Veteran Corps of Artillery — founded in 1790 at Downtown’s Fraunces Tavern by Revolutionary War veterans — will fire a traditional 50-round Salute to the Nation with a battery of four 75mm pack howitzers, calling out between blasts the names of the 50 states in the order they were admitted into the Union. The museum at Fraunces Tavern at 54 Pearl St. — where George Washington famously bid farewell to his troops after the war — will offer $1 admission from noon to 5 p.m. The Seaport’s “Festival of Independence” continues on Monday, with more live music on the Fulton St. stage from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., and familyoriented performances at a stage on Peck Slip from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. And just like every year, Downtown’s eastern streets will start to fill in the evening as folks await the Macy’s East River fireworks display at 9 p.m.
File photo by Tequila Minsky
Of course, the big event Downtown on July Fourth will be the 40th-annual Macy’s fireworks display on the East River, starting at 9 p.m.
Photo by Tequila Minsky
L ove won Downtown residents flocked to Brookfield Place over Pride Week to participate in the upscale shopping center’s “Love Wins” art installation, a novel exhibit that gave locals an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity with their LGBT brothers and sisters. The exhibit consisted of transparent, three-dimensional letters spelling out “Love Wins” atop the Winter Garden’s central staircase. Passersby were encouraged to write notes of encouragement and support for the LGBT community on colored paper provided by Brookfield in shades spanning the rainbow, and drop them into the letters making up the installation. “You are beautiful!!! You are amazing!!! You are Special!!! You are better than normal!!! You are loved!!!” read one letter, signed Gary and addressed to LGBTQ youth.
June 30 – July 13, 2016
E D ITO R IAL
Hosting an exchange student its own reward
ONE METROTECH CENTER New york, NY 11201 Phone: (212) 229-1890 Fax: (212) 229-2790 www.downtownexpress.com email@example.com
BY LENORE SKENAZY What is it like to have two teenage boys you never met before move in and stay for the whole school year? Funny you should ask, as the two boys we’ve had living with us for the past 10 months are leaving today. I am hoping the goodbye will not be as hard as I worry it will be. The young men were our exchange students, one from Germany, one from China. Or, as I liked to say: If your country has been at war with America — or may be some day — our home is your home! Why? Well, two years ago, when our older son was heading off to college, I jokingly-not-jokingly told my husband that we should replace him with another kid about his age. Then I started Googling around and found out that the American Field Service, the same exchange student program that was around when I was growing up, is still going strong. In fact, AFS has been around for more than 70 years, sending kids to and from more than 40 countries. Back in my day, four international kids attended my high school and it was like they were from Planet Maturity. Simply by braving life in a foreign country, they were so much more sophisticated (read: cool) than the rest of us. So I called the AFS New York office, and immediately an outreach coordinator was telling me how much I’d love being a host. It is a volunteer position. All we really needed to qualify was an empty bed and a desk. Bingo! Since it was already late in the application process, we had just two kids for us to choose from: A “German boy who loves movies” or an “Italian
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June 30 - July 13, 2016
Watershed moment: Controversial Water St. arcade plan gets Council committee green light (6/16) Once again, Chin sells out the community to the big real estate interests! FiDi Resident YAY! The silent majority spoke up
boy who loves basketball.” “Get the Italian,” said my husband. Thus did Giovanni come to live with us for a year. He moved right into our older son’s now-empty bedroom, and went right off to public high school with our younger son. They were both juniors. They were both everything: They both played basketball, watched basketball, talked basketball. But they also explored the city — my son said he’d never seen half as many neighborhoods as he did once Gio arrived — and cracked up at in-jokes and remained SnapChat friends when Gio went home last June. But once your AFS kid leaves, you’re back at the square one, if you don’t like being lonely. (Did I mention I work from home? Just me and my computer.) So this year we decided to plunge in again and chose Eric from China, and Matteo from Germany. Why two? Why not? The exchange kids shared a room and dinners were lively. Did you know that in China 13 is bad luck, but so is 14 — so some Chinese buildings have three 12th floors? Or how about this German fact: Instead of “Happy Birthday” when the cake comes out, they blast some obscure ’80s American pop song. Our German kid was shocked to find this was not also the practice in America when we celebrated my husband’s birthday. Meantime, the boys made him a cake and wrote “Happy Birthday” in Chinese characters along with, “Alles
and we were heard! The voices of reason prevailed! Many of my followers on FiDi Fan Page sent letters to the Council to approve the text amendment and finally address the abject failure of the Water Street arcades. It’s time for this vital thoroughfare to join the rest of the Financial District in its rebirth. This is a long overdue first step. Luis Vazquez
Gute zum Geburtstag.” That’s a lot to write in blue icing. But of course, there were some downsides, starting with the fact that neither of the boys loved my cooking, except for barbecue chicken. So I made a lot of chicken. I also bought truckloads of Chips Ahoy! cookies. There was also extra laundry, of course. And at school, one of them slacked off and we had to deal with the teachers and the principal and a bit of hookey. But the upside? Hearing German and Chinese music around the apartment. Talking to them about everything from Donald Trump to Chairman Mao. Listening to the changes in their vocabulary, from “We are seldom winning the game” to “Our team sucks.” Feeling a swell of pride as they got to know the city, deal with the subway, discover “South Park” and grow — literally. Yes, they are going home skinny, but taller. Just a few days ago, I got up very early and was sitting in our living room at 5 am when the front door opened and our German student walked in. His had been unable to sleep as thoughts swirled about going home, and how changed he felt. So he had taken a long walk through our Queens neighborhood, which is now his Queens neighborhood. By tomorrow, he will be back home with his real parents. But for a year, he was our boy — they both were — in homesickness and health, school work and skateboarding, and the daily doings that turn a stranger into a son. I hope I can hold it together when we say goodbye. Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker and author and founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids.
Liberty Park opens this Wednesday (6/26) Now Downtowners should be given the opportunity to weigh in: where should the WTC Sphere go? Should it be added to “Downtown’s High Line?” Or should it be restored to the WTC as an integral part of the National September 11 WTC memorial? Michael Burke DowntownExpress.com
Looking back on 15 eventful years BY CATHERINE MCVAY HUGHES As we approach the 15-year anniversary of September 11th, 2001, the World Trade Center has finally been reincorporated into the fabric of our community. In the first six months of this year, there have been many openings including creating several acres of new public space. The Port Authority opened the elevated, one-acre Liberty Park and its Living Wall, a vertical green garden, and along with it the Liberty Street Bridge. Through community engagement, we turned what could have been a drab garage rooftop into Liberty Park, a gorgeous public amenity. Meanwhile, the lush two-acre lawn of The Battery’s Oval replaced what had been cracked pavement. Additionally the WTC Oculus Hub opened in March, followed by the Dey Street corridor connecting it to Fulton Center, and finally, the WTC Transportation Hub. With the opening of the new entrance at the corner of Vesey and Church Streets linking the Oculus and the PATH this past Tuesday and the permanent closing of the PATH’s temporary entrance on Vesey Street last Sunday, demolition of the temporary PATH station can begin, and the Performing Arts Center (PAC) at the World Trade Center may finally get underway. Looking forward, I trust CB 1 will continue to reiterate its strong support
Catherine McVay Hughes, outgoing chairwoman of Community Board 1, will step down on July 1.
for the PAC as an integral component to the success of the new WTC site and Lower Manhattan as a whole. It is time for a seamless transition from demolition of the temporary entrance to the completion of a “global center for the creation and exchange of art, ideas, and culture that will welcome audiences, artists, residents, workers and visitors alike.” We understand that there is an imminent announcement of a naming donor for the PAC, and we look forward to the realization of this vital component to our mixed-
Liberty park Continued from page 4
in town for a visit from Perth, Australia. “And you can hear the pools, the waterfalls, but not see them. It’s so pretty.” “Everything looks so beautiful. I had no idea it was opening today,” said Battery Park City resident Sarah Maznavi, who was pushing her 3-week-old son through the park in a stroller. “And it will be even more impressive once they open the Orthodox Church.” While the park is largely complete, construction continues on its eastern end, where the St. Nicholas National Shrine is being built. The Greek Orthodox shrine, a Santiago Calatravadesigned reincarnation of St. Nicholas Church, which was destroyed during 9/11, is scheduled to open in 2018. Miranda Darcy, who lives in New Jersey but is training for her job in the city, was busy taking pictures of the park as it filled with visitors. “It’s not every day you get to see something like this in NYC on its very first day,” she said, adding that the park felt like nice gesture to a community still shaped by 9/11. “The people down here really deserve it, after what they’ve been through,” she said. DowntownExpress.com
use community in early 2020. There are several additional key milestones ahead, which include: Governors Island’s Hills opening July 19, 500,000-square feet of retail opening throughout the WTC Transportation Hub in August, the return of the South Street Seaport Museum’s tall ship Wavertree, the start of construction on the West Thames Street Bridge in September, and doors opening at 75 Morton School Middle School in fall 2017. We have even more open space coming — including The Battery’s three-acre Playscape in 2019, and Liz Berger Plaza and Pier 26 coming sometime soon. It’s imperative to secure funding for a pedestrian and vehicular study for Lower Manhattan. Lower Manhattan’s street grid has changed little since the 17th century, while the density has increased dramatically. It is time to follow what other great historic city centers have done and manage our narrow streets more effectively. Hardening our waterfront is also critical to Lower Manhattan’s future. The city will finally kick off community engagement for resiliency projects in the Manhattan Tip this summer with a task force of CB 1 stakeholders. But a huge funding gap remains, and there is no completion date. Six years ago, Downtown residents
banded together to promote a more positive image of the neighborhood through a campaign called Celebrate Downtown. Now we’re bursting at the seams with residents, workers and tourists. A long time Tribeca resident said, “We’ve all gone through 9/11, and things are looking so much brighter and what better thing to celebrate?” She and others were particularly encouraged by recent progress at the World Trade Center site, and they wanted to draw attention to the fact that Downtown is moving forward. There was a time when we weren’t sure if we’d ever recover — but despite 9/11, and despite Sandy, we’ve made tremendous strides, and spirits in Lower Manhattan are soaring higher than ever today. My heartfelt thanks go to everyone who helped build back our community. We have shown our resilience. We did good work, and we did it by working together. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with you all to renew our beloved community. Thank you. Catherine McVay Hughes, a Downtown resident for nearly three decades, has served as chairwoman of Community Board 1 for the past four years. She will step down as chairwoman on July 1, but was persuaded to remain on the board as a regular member going forward.
Oval opens as Downtown’s new backyard BY TEQUIL A MINSK Y After two years of renovations, the Battery Oval was finally open for business over the weekend — literally. The long-awaited lawn celebrated its June 25 opening day with the Battery Fair, where 90 small-batch purveyors of food, flowers, crafts ond other twee goods drew locals out onto Downtown’s new backyard. Stalls lined the walkway encircling the Oval, vending locally produced food stuffs from vinegar and olive oil to cheeses, baked goods, sauces and sweets. Various libations — alcoholic and not — from beers to ciders to teas, were also for sale, as were items including heirloom seeds, flowers, ceramics, essential oils, and fabrics. Nate and Debby Harris approvingly sipped a vinegar sample.
Photo by Tequila Minsky
The two-acre Battery Oval was fenced off for two years to give the lush Kentucky bluegrass time to take root among the lawn’s 38 shade trees, but it finally opened on June 25.
Having taken the train from New Haven, they arrived at the Fair around noon and were enthusiastically making their way around the Oval. The couple watch the Food Channel, are admitted foodies and both cook. Debby commented on how much they enjoyed talking to the vendors as well as other foodies who, like
themselves, were checking out artisanal wares. “It’s nice to be outside in this beautiful weather,” Debby said. Other visitors relaxed on the specially designed lawn chairs while others read or napped on the two-acre expanse of Kentucky bluegrass between Battery Pl. and State St. under its 38 shade trees. June 30 – July 13, 2016
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ALTERNATE SIDE PARKING RULES ARE SUSPENDED MONDAY, TUESDAY, AND WEDNESDAY Happy Independence Day! The big getaway will be on Thursday and Friday afternoons (Thursday may be worse) as many take advantage of the long weekend ahead, but don’t be surprised if you see a surge on Wednesday afternoon as well. Expect a crunch at every bridge and tunnel out of Lower Manhattan. The FDR and West St. will be jammed with drivers heading to the Holland and Battery tunnels as well as the East River bridges. On Monday evening, drivers will take the Holland and Battery tunnels back into the city, as well as the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges. Follow me on Twitter @GridlockSam to stay aware of any unexpected closures or slowdowns across the city. Your best bet to leave the city will be after 9 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, the Community Board 1 Great July Fourth Fair will close Fulton St. between Water and Gold Sts. from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. And a July Fourth block party on Saturday will close Cliff St. between John and Fulton Sts. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Lower Manhattan Independence Day Parade also steps off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, moving from Battery Park City along Rector St. to Broadway, then heading south to Bowling Green.
WTC Sphere Continued from page 4
“I don’t think it belongs here. I think it belongs downstairs in the memorial,” said Tammy Meltzer, who lives in Battery Park City and worked at the World Trade Center before the attack. “This is a park restored for the community, and it should be a park — not another memorial,” she said. “This is an amazing amenity, and it’s perfect the way it is.” Joe Daniels, the president of the memorial and museum, announced recently that he is stepping down by the end of the year, and Meltzer said the news gave her hope that the door wasn’t entirely closed on further discussions about the Sphere’s future. Burke, who started a petition to move the sculpture to the memorial plaza, has somewhat come around to the idea of relocating it to the park — although if he had his choice, he would still put the
The parade is supposed to stay on the sidewalk, but last year, police allowed the procession to take over the streets as well. Both meter and alternate side parking rules are suspended on Monday. Parking signs that say “No parking” or “No standing” on certain days — in this case Monday — are also suspended, but signs with the word “ANYTIME” are still in effect. Fireworks over East River again this Fourth! In addition to the entire Brooklyn Bridge, the Macy’s show will also close streets in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn near the river on Monday afternoon into the evening. In Manhattan, the FDR will close between the Battery Park Underpass and Houston St. beginning around 6 p.m. Streets in the area bounded by Grand St., the Brooklyn Bridge, the FDR, and East Broadway will gradually close, beginning with the streets closest to the river. This means more traffic on the avenues west of First and on the West Side Highway. The Manhattan Bridge will stay open in both directions during the fireworks, but beware that traffic will be very slow. Not only will all the Brooklyn Bridge traffic divert to the Manhattan, but drivers will slow down to get a view of the fireworks. Avoid driving between Brooklyn and Manhattan during the show. Additionally, the pedestrian and bike paths on the Manhattan Bridge will close.
orb back where it once stood, between the memorial pools now filling the footprints of the fallen Twin Towers. “If it was one or the other, I guess it would have to be the memorial,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s going to happen. So I would like to work with the powers that be, to make sure it is done as well as it can be done.” Burke said he was looking forward to discussing the relocation with the Port Authority, but also sympathized with residents like Meltzer who want the park preserved as a neutral space for locals. “It strikes me as a place where it’s going to be a problem. Downtowners want it to be their park and not another tourist attraction,” he said. “But if it’s not going to be on the site — and it doesn’t look like it — this is better than any other option. Between a rock and a hard place, you gotta do the best you can.” DowntownExpress.com
An Outsider’s Remote View ‘Psychic spy’ Ingo Swann was also an artist of vision
BY SCOTT STIFFLER A prolific visionary held in high regard by peers from the realms of art, psychic phenomena, gay erotica, and Cold War counterprogramming, the multiplicity of paths blazed by Ingo Swann (1933-2013) are remarkable not simply because they are the achievements of a man ahead of his time, but also because he did not regard his abilities as exceptional gifts. We are all capable of tapping the cosmic consciousness, Swann insisted, if properly motivated to learn how. For Swann, that spark of desire was ignited in a Lower East Side apartment, when a recently acquired pet chinchilla became evasive before each night’s return trip to its cage. If this furry little creature could sense the plan well in advance of the action, then why, Swann wondered, did that same ability elude him? Within a few years, by the early ’70s, the self-taught artist had secured his legacy as a founding father of “remote viewing” — a phrase he coined to describe the practice of being given coordinates distant from one’s physical body, then describing the location in seven stages of progressively greater detail. Honed while at the Stanford Research Institute, Swann’s abilities and developmental techniques led to his employment at various clandestine agencies, where he became a valued member of the US government’s remote viewing program. Spurred by Soviet efforts to militarize extrasensory perception, the Star Gate project (original name, “Gondola Wish”) ran from 1977 to 1995. In later years, Swann would express regret for his time as a “psychic spy.” But by all accounts, he never disavowed his firmly held belief that a penis — extracted from the pages of a men’s skin magazine — can never be too big, when recruited for use as the focal point of a multi-layered collage. Colorful and compelling and epic as all of this might seem, it merely scratches the surface of the tidbits, testimonials, insights, and aesthetic observations shared with a curious and receptive audience during June 19’s panel discussion. DowntownExpress.com
Image courtesy La MaMa La Galleria.
Ingo Swann: “Proto Adam” (1988-89; 52 x 61.75 inches).
Held in conjunction with the exhibit “Ingo Swann: A Remote View” (through July 3 at La MaMa La Galleria), the well-informed panelists were every bit as eclectic and probing as the scope of their subject’s output during his 80 years on this particular plane of existence. To panelist Elly Flippen, Swann was a “cigar-chomping enigma.” Despite having lived with her uncle for a number of years over three separate periods, Flippen couldn’t say for sure if Swann had sustained romantic relationships, or explain with certainty why his decades of artistic output stopped a full 13 years before his death — but she did speak of him with great fondness, and a glint in her eye that recalls the mischievous humor present
in Swann’s most sexually charged visual compositions (such as the ’90s-era collage, “The Demonstration Showing How It’s Done: Social Comment Series,” in which a bearded leatherman straddles his male partner, while a phalanx of straightlaced ballroom debutantes witness the act of anal penetration from their background vantage point). Asked by this publication to what extent Swann lived as an out gay man, Flippen recalled, “Well, he dressed as a nun and went to Studio 54” — a jarring, but not necessarily contradictory, detail, when one brings that knowledge to a viewing of “Madre Doloroso.” Evocative on many levels, the 1986 painting conveys Swann’s adoration of the Virgin
Mary (arms folded, she looks downward in a state of compassionate contemplation), his merging of the sacred and the cosmic (a cross-shaped constellation), and his concern for the fate of man (an atomic mushroom cloud, just beneath the Virgin’s torso). That painting, which graces the cover of Swann’s 1996 book, “Great Apparitions of Mary: An Examination of Twenty-Two Supranormal Appearances,” almost didn’t make it into the current exhibit. Panelist Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, Founder and Director of Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM), told SWANN continued on p. 22 June 30 - July 13, 2016
REP continued from p. 21
the story of attempting to secure the painting: “Swann was particularly fond of the work, which he reluctantly sold,” Hoffberger noted. When the buyer passed away (followed by her husband a short time later), “nobody knew where that painting was.” With the search at a standstill, Hoffberger placed a copy of “Great Apparitions of Mary” under her pillow. The next day, the new owner contacted AVAM, expressing his willingness to sell. The asking price was beyond their reach — but Hoffberger kept the work, and Ingo, on her mind. Unbeknownst to her, the owner independently contacted Harrison Tenzer, curator of “A Remote View,” and moderator of the panel. Ultimately, the piece found its way back to Swann’s family, who will gift it to AVAM — where it will join five other paintings by Swann, as well a huge triptych that appears in the museum’s three-story central stairwell. Hoffberger does not regard this narrative as meaningless serendipity, nor does she view Swann’s art as “just a flight of imagination.” Citing frequent invocation of auras, spirit animals, gender fluidity, and swirling galaxies in his work, Hoffberger asserts Swann’s organization of subject matter and technical mastery of any given expressive medium are the work of a man who is “tapping into something more” than wishful thinking and whimsy. “A remote viewer has to be in touch with reality, in order to project to a coordinate,” she said, praising Swann’s ability to execute the intangible act of creation, while also functioning as “a precise reporter, not an imaginative one” in his role as a remote viewer, and, later, an equally gifted teacher of that skill. Also marveling at the scope of Swann’s self-taught accomplishments was fellow panelist Hunter O’Hanian. As Director of Soho’s Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, O’Hanian described a common occurrence: leading museum tours, where Photoshop-savvy Millennials marvel at the discipline and resourcefulness of Swann’s collage work. This was an era, O’Hanian noted, when “cut and paste” meant the use of an X-Acto knife and rubber cement (whose strong fumes, Flippen recalled, left the uncle and niece feeling “really happy” as they toiled in his dark, congested basement studio — where, one surmises, good air circulation was not among the amenities). O’Hanian asked the audience to rise from their seats and join him to discuss six 8×10 collages, on loan from Leslie-
June 30 - July 13, 2016
Image courtesy La MaMa La Galleria.
Installation view: “Ingo Swann: A Remote View.”
Lohman’s permanent collection (which boasts 200 of those works, along with 16 paintings by Swann). The gallery’s rear alcove was a fitting location; tucked away from the large works of cosmic themes and import, an air conditioner situated mere feet away served to cool down the hot and bothered. “He was 36 in 1969, the year of Stonewall,” O’Hanian noted, taking those assembled through the gay imagery that Swann had access to, when building collages (eight layers deep in some cases) around naked men cut from the pages of gay skin mags like “Honcho” and “Drummer.” This technique necessitated other visual elements, such as the background environment, to be taken from art, historical, or decorative publications of the time; chosen not only for the mood they conveyed, but in a manner that complemented how Swann’s dirty magazine denizens were lit — as with “Awaiting Reincarnation and the Ecstasy of Re-Embodiment,” in which a disproportionately small farmer in overalls looks upon a naked young man, who sports a welcoming grin and a throbbing erection. “Who is he making these for?” O’Hanian wondered. It was one of many unanswered questions that, for all of their scholarship and insider knowledge, the panel was at a loss to fully explain. This seemed a fitting testimony; not so much to Swann’s enigmatic nature, as to what Flippen described as a “compartmentalized” existence in his latter decades, when artists, celebrities, clairvoyants, Manhattan socialites, and students from his remote viewing days were drawn to the building he owned on Bowery and East Fourth Street — the same space where, years before, a chinchilla who preferred not to be caged set his owner on a journey of sexual and
Image courtesy La MaMa La Galleria.
An installation view of Ingo Swann’s “Madre Doloroso” (1986, 50 x 42 inches).
spiritual freedom. “From an early age,” Flippen said of her uncle’s extrasensory instincts, “he was taught to suppress it, that it’s evil; like being gay.” “Ingo Swann: A Remote View” can be seen through July 3 at La MaMa
La Galleria (47 Great Jones St., btw. Bowery & Lafayette). Free admission. Gallery Hours: Wed.–Sun., 1–7pm or by appointment. Artist info, and e-Books available for purchase, at ingoswann. com. Also visitlamama.org/lagalleria, leslielohman.org, and avam.org. DowntownExpress.com
Photo courtesy TADA! Youth Theater
Members of the TADA! Resident Youth Ensemble.
Youth Theater is an Old Hat at Helping Kids Hone Skills
TADA! programs prompt kids to be present, onstage and off BY LAUREN VESPOLI With a Drama Desk Award under its belt and a roster of famous alumni that includes actress Kerry Washington (“Scandal”) and comedian Jordan Peele (“Key & Peele”), Chelsea’s TADA! Youth Theater offers one of the most prestigious musical theater programs for young people in New York City —and most of its performers aren’t even old
enough to drive a car. Founded by Janine Nina Trevens and Linda Reiff in 1984, TADA! reaches more than 50,000 children and families each year through its mainstage productions, in addition to its classes, camps, birthday parties, and signature Resident Youth Ensemble (a free pre-professional theater training program for kids ages 8–18).
A creative menu brought to you by Chef Franco Barrio with locally sourced produce serving New York style food in the heart of the West Village.
In addition to sparking a passion for the performing arts in young performers and honing their skills onstage, a large part of TADA!’s mission is helping the children who participate in its programs learn and develop holistically. “Kids are learning how to just perform in school to please a teacher or to get a good grade on a test — rather than learning about collaboration and
creative play and really strengthening their brains to think outside of the box, to think for themselves, to be responsible, to have a feeling of success based on their own work,” said Trevens, who serves as the company’s Executive and Artistic Director, and has a background in psychology, education, and stage manTADA! continued on p. 24
Proudly Congratulates the Class of 2016 The graduates were awarded over $25 million in college scholarships and grants and have been accepted into schools such as Barnard College, Brandeis University, College of William and Mary and New York University.
“Empowering Young Women through Education” 350 East 56th Street ~ New York, NY 10022 (212) 989-3155 | thebespokekitchen.com (212) 688-1545 ~ www.cathedralhs.org 615 ½ Hudson St, New York, New York 10014 DowntownExpress.com
June 30 - July 13, 2016
Photo by Paul Martinka Photography
Members of the TADA! Resident Youth Ensemble performed at the theater’s 30th anniversary gala in May.
Photo courtesy TADA! Youth Theater
A scene from “Adventures from Ezra Jack Keats: Skates! & Maggie and the Pirate.”
TADA! continued from p. 1
agement. “TADA! really does that, especially [through] working on characters that are written for kids.” Earning a spot in TADA!’s resident ensemble is highly competitive. According to Trevens, 300–600 children typically audition for 10–25 spots each fall. And while prospective ensemble members must have passion and talent, ever since its conception, TADA! has also prioritized finding a diverse cross-section of city (and tri-state area) kids, making a special effort to include disadvantaged kids and families in the free program. In addition to high-level musical the-
June 30 - July 13, 2016
ater training, ensemble members receive access to personal and pre-professional development programs, including a job readiness apprenticeship program and college tours and admissions assistance. This year, the theater brought in a program called “Girls Talk, Guys Talk” to help the company learn more about body image, sexuality, and how media portrayals might affect them, Trevens said. “One of the things that we instill in our ensemble is really the fact that you are part of a community, and that you can make that a better place,” Trevens said. Children and families looking to get a taste of TADA! this summer can participate in the theater’s weeklong camps. Full-day camps, available for children
ages 6–14, take children through the entire creative process, from the conception to performance of a mini-musical in just one week, with guidance from professional teaching artists. Half-day “mini-camps” are also available this summer for ages 4–5. In addition to providing a safe, creative space for kids and teens, Trevens takes pride in the opportunities TADA! offers local artists. TADA! involves 20–40 artistic and production people with each of its three annual mainstage shows, and also employs nine full-time and five part-time artistic, administrative, and educational staff, Trevens said. “Employing the number of people we employ in New York, and allowing people to make money as an artist and stay in New York — that’s something I’m very proud of at TADA!” she noted. This season’s final show, “Adventures from Ezra Jack Keats: Skates! & Maggie and the Pirate,” opens July 9 and runs through August 4. The two-part show serves as the finale of TADA!’s two-yearlong 30th anniversary celebration. Both pieces are adaptations of the picture books by Ezra Jack Keats, in honor of the late author’s 100th birthday. “Skates!” is a dance piece that follows the adventures of a pair of dogs who teach themselves to roller skate. “[The kids] had to take a stab at learning how to roller skate and master the skill,” said Associate Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer Joanna Greer. “It’s a fun show for kids
and adults.” “Maggie and the Pirate” tells the whimsical story of a girl named Maggie who sets out to find her stolen pet cricket. This September, audiences can look forward to TADA!’s Banned Broadway Project, during which teens from the ensemble explore banned and censored musical works from Broadway and OffBroadway during Banned Books Week. The mainstage musical season will begin again at the start of 2017, and include productions of “Everything About A Day (Almost),” which Trevens described as “a musical review in the day of the life of a kid,” and “Odd Day Rain,” which takes place in the future and reckons with technology’s benefits and pitfalls. As for TADA!’s next 30 years, Trevens said she’d love to be able to purchase their building at 15 W. 28th St. and find an additional space to house classes and a workshop for kids interested in the behind-the-scenes aspects of theater. She hopes to eventually be able to produce five mainstage shows each year, allowing even more people to be involved with TADA! And, as the first youth theater program to win a Drama Desk Award, Trevens dreams of one day seeing TADA!’s work in children’s theater recognized with a Special Tony Award. Awards aside, when asked about her proudest moments from TADA!’s past three decades, Trevens cited the impact that the theater has made in the lives of the kids who sing, dance, and act their hearts out on the TADA! stage. “I think what’s happened over and over is knowing that we are actually giving kids a place where they do feel good about themselves, where they fit in, where they are successful, and where they really learn that they have a voice, and learn that they can do whatever it is they want to do in life,” she said. TADA! Youth Theater is located at 15 W. 28th St. (btw. Fifth Ave. & Broadway. “Adventures from Ezra Jack Keats: Skates & Maggie and the Pirate” will run on Tues.–Sat., July 9–Aug. 4, and is recommended for ages 3+. Tickets are $25 ($15 for children, with limited tickets at $15 general, $10 or children). Spaces are still available at TADA!’s weeklong camps for ages 6–14, running now through Sept. 2, and two-week mini-camps for ages 4–5, which begin July 11. One camp is $485 per camper deals available with multiple camp bookings). Visit tadatheater.com or call 212-252-1619. Find them on Facebook at facebook.com/TADAyouththeater and on Twitter at @TadaTheater. DowntownExpress.com
Yankee Doodle Deficit Disorder
Tap-happy ‘Cagney’ entertains, but dances around the truth BY TRAV S.D. In the roll calls of show biz immortals, the name “James Cagney” remains pre-eminent. Today, almost 30 years after his death, Cagney is still held up as the gold standard of realistic American movie acting. His most popular movies — “The Public Enemy” (1931), “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942), and “White Heat” (1949) — are still regularly watched by fans. His personal maxim, “Plant your feet, look ’em in the eye, and tell the truth,” has probably been quoted by every acting teacher on the planet. Since mid-March the Westside Theatre has been home to the musical show “Cagney,” which purports to tell the story of this small-statured (5’5”) giant. Much of what “Cagney” promises entertainment-wise, it delivers (eventually). The best thing about it is its star, Robert Creighton, who is close enough to a ringer that he doesn’t have to do a ridiculous Rich Littlestyle impression to achieve his illusion. Creighton’s voice register (which actually sounds more like comedian Bert Wheeler than Cagney) is high enough to remind us that the star’s first hurdle was to convince audiences he was no pipsqueak — a probable origin for his tough guy persona. Creighton is a solid actor, comfortable in his skin (and in suits with padded shoulders), and best of all, he’s a terrific tap dancer. The best moments of the show, and the ones audiences are probably paying to see, are the ones where Creighton does Cagney doing George M. Cohan — and to this practiced eye, he nails it. But (and this is no small thing) the show makes you wait for it — through Peter Colley’s leaden, shapeless, directionless, bloated book, and some forgettable original songs by Creighton and Christopher McGovern. If musicals are a near impossible art form to get right, historical musicals are even harder. For every “1776” and “Hamilton,” there are a thousand Thanksgiving turkeys. The main dilemma in adapting biographical material for the stage is that life and art have different shapes, and a show must pick one or the other in order to succeed. The latter is usually best: pick some discrete, finite aspect of the subject’s complicated life to tell. The DowntownExpress.com
Photo by Carol Rosegg
L to R: Bruce Sabath, Ellen Zolezzi, Jeremy Benton, Robert Creighton (as Cagney), Danette Holden and Josh Walden.
alternative, to try to cram every event in some guy’s life into 150 minutes, is seldom fortunate. Yet, that is the tack which “Cagney” takes. Then, ironically, it goes on to spoon-feed us an endless succession of facts that are either misleading or incorrect. “The Public Enemy” was Cagney’s fourth movie, not his first as this play tells us. In a scene taking place in 1919, we get the line “Mr. Keith says you’re going on the road” — but vaudeville impresario B.F. Keith had been dead for four years, and couldn’t have been bothered with a minor act like Cagney at the time, even if he were alive. There are glaring tonal misrepresentations: a big time vaudeville house is hosted by a terrible hack comedian whose repertoire consists of easily identifiable Henny Youngman jokes from 40 years in the future. At times it seems almost like the creators are attempting an homage to Hollywood biopics, a genre notorious for its disregard for truth. Several directorial choices by Bill Castellino lead
one to suspect as much. Actors are directed to be as broad as possible. The sensitive and intelligent Mae Clarke is presented as a gauche, gum-snapping chorus girl; director William Wellman as a swishy, limp-wristed queen from Central Casting. Producer Jack Warner, whose real name was Jakob Wonsal, is WASPified in the manner of Walter Pidgeon’s Flo Ziegfeld in “Funny Girl.” The otherwise inexplicable presence of Bob Hope telegraphs the inevitable, upcoming “Seven Little Foys” nod — but vastly exaggerates the role Hope played in Cagney’s life. That’s okay, though, as the actor playing him neither looks nor sounds like Bob Hope. So perhaps it’s secretly meant to be someone else. The biopic angle wouldn’t be bad if the script focused on it. But it also tries to tell another story, a potentially powerful one juxtaposing Cagney’s performance in the all-time most patriotic movie ever, “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” with public suspicions of his left wing politics.
And then there is the framing device of the 1979 SAG awards and a retrospective of his entire career, sometimes amounting to actors reading long lists and descriptions of the films. I kid you not. And then the show stops dead just when some sort of a plot should be heating up, and we get a World War II camp show featuring Cagney’s Cohan tribute. In short, the show has Attention Deficit Disorder. And unfortunately, the excellent Creighton-Cagney-Cohan dance numbers point to all the weaknesses of the rest of the show, leaving your correspondent to wish he were simply watching a production of “Little Johnny Jones” without all the interruptions. At The Westside Theatre (407 W. 43rd St., btw. Ninth & 10th Aves.). Through July 3: Thurs. & Fri. at 8pm, Sat. at 2pm & 8pm, Sun. at 3pm. As of July 5: Tues. at 7pm, Wed. & Sat. at 2pm & 8 pm, Thurs. at 2pm, Fri. at 8pm, Sun. at 3pm. For tickets ($89), visit telecharge.com or call 212-2396200. Also visit cagneythemusical.com. June 30 - July 13, 2016
June 30 - July 13, 2016
tunnel to towers Continued from page 10
The Battery Conservancy
The “Jewel Box Puppet Theater” will feature a mini-amphitheater on one side and a child-sized rock-climbing wall on the other. playscape Continued from page 1
tions — $2.5 million, with city taxpayers kicking in $14 million through the Parks Department, according to Price. Last week may have been the first time the public caught a glimpse of the new playground, but its design did not go uninfluenced by local parents, according to the conservancy president. Despite the playscape’s current state — which Hughes described as “forsaken” — parents who still frequented the playground reported that they enjoyed its large, open design, and single point of access that allowed parents to keep track of their tots, Price said.
“Many parents, even in it’s derelict condition, love the scale of openness of the playscape,” said Price. “Kids have the freedom to run and play in a secured area. We wanted to keep that open sense of freedom,” The current Battery Playscape predates the conservancy itself by about a half century, according to Price, who said that fixing it up has been on her to-do list for some time, but that extenuating factors — including Hurricane Sandy and work on other projects such as the Seaglass Carousel — caused the renovation to be delayed until the conservancy could line up adequate funding.
“What we beat them up on is there’s been a couple of years where the afterparty has had too much impact on the neighborhood,” Notaro said. “There were a couple of years where they were selling beers on Vesey Street, and when you have a couple thousand people, it gets pretty ugly. But they’ve been accommodating for the past few years.” After the 2014 event, the foundation agreed not to serve alcohol after last year’s run. Of course, it’s not exactly unusual for CB1 to give a large event like Tunnel to Towers a hard time — that’s what a community board is for, according to Notaro. “We give everybody a hard time. That’s our job, to make sure that the community’s quality of life is preserved,” he said. It wasn’t until last September, after more than a decade of community gripes, that Goodkind suggested forming a group of community members to join the thousands of first responders, family members, and runners who take part in the 5k. “At the end of the meeting I said, ‘Can I join this? I really like this,’ and everybody looked at me like I was
from outer space,” he said. And Goodkind was surprised when CB1 chairwoman Catherine McVay Hughes piped up to endorse his plan, saying that now, the 15-year anniversary of 9/11, was a great time to come together as a community and commemorate that fateful day in 2001. “As we approach the 15-year anniversary, it’s really important for everybody to get together and show our unification, and that we’re strong and more resilient than ever,” said Hughes. Goodkind said he was also inspired to join Tunnel to Towers after several failed attempts among community members to institute their own 9/11 memorial event, including a parade that fizzled out after three years, and an attempt to make a massive human chain that ultimately failed to pick up steam. “This is a really great thing, and we’ve been looking for a way to commemorate this for years, and everything else has failed,” he said. Anyone interested in joining Goodkind and his running team, called The Neighbors, can head over to https://www.crowdrise.com/theneighbors to register. Registration is $60 for adults and free for children. All donations go to the Fireman’s Fund.
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