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VOLUME 29, NUMBER 18

SEPTEMBER 08 – SEPTEMBER 21, 2016

better than ever 15

Years of

Resilience &

Resurgence Sept. 11, 2001 BY BILL EGBERT When the 9/11 attacks brought down the World Trade Center fifteen years ago, the collapsing towers almost resembled a pair of knives plunging into the heart of the city. The otherworldly clouds of smoke and dust that billowed out from the site settled over everything Downtown, as if it meant to burry the neighborhood alive. Immediately afterwards, it seemed far-fetched to imagine restoring Lower Manhattan to how it was before the attacks. The frantic imperative was simply to haul away the smouldering wreckage, shovel the toxic dust out homes

and offices, and somehow persuade residents and business not to flee the disaster area for good. For a heartsick moment, it seemed possible that New York’s First Neighborhood might well become a vacant urban ruin. What a difference 15 years can make. Today, Downtown has one of the most dynamic, fastest growing economies in the city, and a still-booming residential population already double what it was before 9/11 — and the number of children has tripled, attesting that a neighborhood long considered a sterile office district has become a true family community.

Sept. 11, 2016

The feared exodus from post-9/11 Lower Manhattan was halted and reversed not only by a swift cleanup and hastily arranged government incentives, but more importantly by a resilient community determined not to be driven from the neighborhood where they lived and worked. It was these survivors — in every sense of the word — who initially set the example by returning individually to their devastated homes and shops to dig out of the rubble, and then joining together at the grassroots to cooperate and build a sense of community that many concede was absent before the attacks. The casual

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networks the formed among Downtown’s survivors evolved into tenacious groups that began setting and steering the agenda for rebuilding Lower Manhatan, even as powerful forces in Albany, Trenton, Washington, and City Hall wrestled for control of the greatest urban renewal project in history. The hard work of these dedicated Downtown stakeholders helped assure that the slow, gruelling and often chaotic process of rebuilding Lower Manhattan culminated in the livable, attractive, multiuse neighborhood that has since resilience Continued on page 2


resilience Continued from page 1

experienced a renaissance few would ever have thought possible. This has attracted an ongoing residential boom that is driving a development frenzy. Dozens of office buildings areeconverting to high-end apartments, such as One Wall Street and 70 Pine St. And long roster of proposed new supertall towers seeke to join the 870-foot-tall Gehry-designed, tower that opened at 8 Spruce in 2011. And behind the influx of well-todo Financial District homesteaders has come a wave of new amenities the neighborhood never had before — from foodie playgrounds such as French food hall Le District at Brooklfield Place and the Eataly that just opened at 4 WTC to upcoming high-end restaurants from Jean George and Momofuko’s David Chang coming to Pier 17, and Wolfgang Puck place opening at The Four Seasons. Downtown is also joining the ranks of the likes of Fifth Avenue as a posh shopping destination, with the luxe shopping center at Brookfield Place welcoming Saks Fifth Avenue this month, and the iconic Oculus transit hub opening last month with Lower Manhattan’s first Apple store. Long-neglected public spaces have received new interest and support, with

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Associated Press

Associated Press / Mark Lennihan

Aside from the obvious changes in the skyline, the new Downtown is profoundly different — and better — than the Downtown area in the years before the 9/11 terrrist attacks.

the most spectacular example being The Battery, Downtown’s largest green space. For most of the end of the last century it languished as an empty and gray patch of asphalt paths and patchy grass at the wind-swept tip of Manhattan. But now, in no small part because to the funding and momentum to rebuild Downtown after 9/11, The Battery is an inviting showcase of lush lawns, colorful flower beds, and attractive amenities such as the Seaglass Carousel. And now that Downtown has established itself as a destination in its own right, new hotels have proliferated, adding 27 hotels since 2001, with 5,230 new rooms, and even more to come.

An even more fundamental transformation of Lower Manhattan has unfolded over the past 15 years which has made its economy even stronger than before. Before the devastation of 9/11, Downtown’s economy was almost wholly dependent on Wall street and the financial sector, its fortunes rising and falling at the mercy of the boom-bust business cycle. But after a great restructuring — helped along, ironically, by the financial crisis — Downtown now relies on a much wider range of industry sectors, including a growing number of media companies and tech startups, making Lower Manhattan’s economy more recession-proofed than anyone

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could have imagined 15 years ago. The heartache caused by the horrific loss of life in the 9/11 terrorist attacks will never ease or be forgotten. But the material devastation of Lower Manhattan has now been wiped away. Ironically, that creative destruction allowed for the emergence of a re-imagined Downtown exceeding what the most ambitious urban planners would have ever thought possible. Downtown’s experience of the 9/11 attack was a tragedy nearly beyond comprehension, but its response in the months and years that followed — its resilience, its recovery, and its resurgence — is a triumph nearly beyond belief.

DowntownExpress.com


Reflections on the recovery Locals recall the destruction and resurrection of Downtown

Associated Press / Jennifer Brown

The powerful spotlights of the annual Tribute in Light have been a tradition since 2002.

BY BILL EGBERT, ALEX ELLEFSON AND COLIN MIXSON We all recall the vaunted heroes of 9/11 — the first responders who rushed to the burning towers and gave their lives saving thousands from certain death, and their compatriots who toiled for weeks on the smoldering pile to retrieve the remains of those who never made it out. But it was the residents who lived Downtown when the attacks tore a hole in Lower Manhattan, and who remained through the cleanup and rebuilding that followed, who are the heroes of Downtown’s eventual resurgence. The local business people who struggled to keep their shops and restaurants open, and the companies that returned to their Downtown offices when the dust settled, are the heroes of Lower Manhattan’s economic revitalization. After the most devastating foreign attack on U.S. soil in history laid waste to the heart of America’s greatest city and traumatized the nation, it was the people closest to the destruction who defied despair and resolved DowntownExpress.com

to remain and rebuild. Downtown Express spoke to several of these individuals who took leadership in the aftermath to repair the community, in ways large and small, and helped rebuild Downtown even better than before.

Associated Press / Jerry Torrens

The North Tower collapsed first, followed minutes later by the South Tower, taking 2,973 souls with them.

‘It was bedlam’ Pat Moore and her husband were in their third-floor apartment directly across from the Twin Towers when the first plane struck. She remembers looking out the window at the horror unfolding outside her home. “Fire came raining down from all this paper flying out the hole where the plane hit. People were pouring from the World Trade Center. They were screaming and their faces were black with soot. It was bedlam,” she recalled. Moore — who stayed home on September 11, 2001 to vote in the primaries — fled with her husband to a friend’s apartment near City Hall. They were huddled around the television watching the news when both towers crashed to the ground. The later collapse of WTC 7, which pushed clouds of smoke around their friend’s home, forced them to another apartment on Canal St. “I’ll forever be grateful I was with my husband when it happened. I didn’t have to worry about where he was,” she

SEPTEMBER 11 SPECIAL SECTION

said. “But we lost everything — pretty much everything, except for what we had when we ran out the doorway.” When Moore and her husband returned home four days later — after a sympathetic police officer snuck them past security — they found that almost two tons of debris had crashed through their windows and buried the apartment. “Everything that was in the World Trade Center came into our apartment,” she said. “There were huge boulders and a computer from one of the towers. There was stuff everywhere.” Moore said her neighborhood, where she has lived since 1977, was unrecognizable in the days immediately after the attacks. “It looked like Dresden after the war,” she said. “Everything was blown out, everything was gray, cars were crushed in. Think of a disaster movie.” It took almost two years to move back into their apartment. Cleaning out the debris from the Twin Towers Reflections Continued on page 4

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“I’ve celebrated every milestone of One World Trade Center. From when it first popped out of the ground to when they put the spire on top,” she said. “To me, rebuilding has sent a message that we have been reborn and come back stronger than ever.”

‘It was a really tough place to stay’

Associated Press / Greg Semendinger

The dust cloud from the collapse if the World Trade Center engulfed Downtown — and everyone in it.

Reflections Continued from page 3

was made even more difficult, Moore said, because a broken pipe flooded her apartment when her landlord turned the water back on — turning most of the toxic dust into cement. The challenges that accompanied the recovery drove Moore to become a member of Community Board 1, where she is now chairwoman of the Quality of Life Committee. She remembers long stretches with pounding construction work taking place at all hours. “I would call the Port Authority

director’s office at 2 a.m. and stick the phone up to the window and say ‘Do you hear this?’ That’s when you really understand insanity,” she said. But as tough as it has been, Moore said she’s pleased to see how her neighborhood has bounced back in ways she never expected. “It used to feel like a tiny little neighborhood. The workers would leave at five, and that’s when a lot of businesses would close,” she said. “Now the population has tripled. It’s completely different than how it was before the attacks 15 years ago.”

Associated Press / Alexandre Fuchs

The eerily smoking ruins of the World Trade Center made for an unpleasent neighbor for Downtowners in the weeks that the cleanup dragged on.

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‘Our community was devastated’ Joan Mastropaolo was at her office in Jersey City when she watched the first plane crash into the North Tower — a block away from her home in Battery Park City. “I saw it come roaring down and get swallowed up into the tower,” she said. “I knew it was an attack. The plane made no attempt to go around the tower. There’s no way a pilot couldn’t miss the damn building.” She called her husband, who was at home in the shower when the first plane struck. However, he was near the window when the other plane crashed into the South Tower. “He was frantic when he called me,” she said. “He told me there was another explosion. It felt like an earthquake.” Her husband evacuated the building and it would be six days before they returned home to find their apartment swallowed by debris. They found another apartment in Gateway Plaza to live and returned to the neighborhood six months after the attacks. Mastropaolo now volunteers at the 9/11 Tribute Center, where she tells visitors what is was like to be a Downtown resident after the attacks. “Our community was devastated by 9/11. But this community has proved to be very strong and resilient. Those who returned are very proud of what is has become,” she said. For Mastropaolo, the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site has had particular symbolic power.

SEPTEMBER 11 SPECIAL SECTION

In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Downtown’s recovery wasn’t at all the inevitable triumph it may now seem in retrospect. At the time, angst and confusion reigned, and residents felt at the mercy of powerful forces beyond their control. Caught between grandstanding politicians, faceless bureaucracies, competing agendas, an information blackout, and the ubiquitous dust that permeated their homes, many neighbors turned to Madelyn Wils — then the chairwoman of CB1 — to unite the residents and stand up for them. “I watched the neighborhood go from a thriving, growing area to being completely obliterated,” Wils recalled. “And it started an extremely long process where I felt like my role was to solidify the community and represent it as best I could.” Wils and other community leaders immediately organized ad hoc meetings for the residents to share information — the first at a basketball court on Canal St. just a few days after the attacks. “Hundreds of people showed up because they didn’t know where else to go,” she said. “People were in shock and trying to get answers to very basic questions.” While government agencies were focused on cleanup and recovery efforts at Ground Zero, Wils had to fight to make sure the people who lived around it weren’t forgotten. Her advocacy sometimes put her at loggerheads with then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, forcing “America’s Mayor” to pay attention to the needs of the Downtown community. Wils became the lone local on the board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and played a crucial role in making sure that Downtown residents had a strong voice in the rebuilding of their neighborhood. But Wils said it took a long time before life started to feel normal again. “Fires at the World Trade Center burned for months, the cars on the street were crushed, there were men with guns guarding security checkpoints. Everything was a reminder of all the people who died that day,” she said. Reflections Continued on page 5

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Reflections Continued from page 4

“It was a really tough place to stay.” Not everyone did, Wils noted. “Most of the community didn’t return home for months, and almost one-third never returned,” she said. Wils was able to use her position on CB1 and the LMDC, as well as a later appointment to the city’s Economic Development Corporation, to steer funds towards new schools and parks aimed at making the neighborhood more livable. Under her leadership, CB1 raised $12 million for the construction of Millennium High School, which opened barely two years after the 9/11 attacks. Downtown has since resoundingly rebounded — adding three more public schools to accommodate a residential population that’s now more that double what it was before the attacks. And as new residents have flocked to an area that many once fled, retail development has followed, with an ongoing influx of culinary landmarks and shopping destinations turning what had previously been a somewhat sterile office district into one of Manhattan’s hottest neighborhoods. “It took a very long time,” Wils said, “but Lower Manhattan has become what we always thought it could be.”

Staying was ‘heroism’ Anthony Notaro, the new chairman of Community Board 1, was in Denver on a business trip when the airplanes struck the Twin Towers. The longtime Battery Park City resident — stranded more than 1,700 miles from his home — watched live television broadcasts show the collapsing towers blanket his neighborhood in rubble. Notaro went to stay with family in New Jersey when he returned to the East Coast. Like many Downtowners, he was not able to live in his home for more than two months. “You couldn’t come back because the whole neighborhood was a crime scene,” he said. “Three thousand people were murdered and more than 1 million square feet of commercial space was destroyed in a few hours. That’s what happened here.” The neighborhood has since clawed it way out of the devastation — and in many ways has returned stronger and more vibrant than before the attacks. New residents are flocking to the community, which has one of the fastest growing populations in the city. However, Notaro explained that while the neighborhood was buried in debris during the weeks after 9/11, the commitment of many residents to return DowntownExpress.com

home felt like an act of defiance. “The neighborhood was devastated. The people who came back to their apartments and kept going to work were part of a small but important act of heroism,” he said. The resolve of Downtown residents to stay on their community laid the foundation for the area to rebound, Notaro said. And while the recovery brought unexpected challenges — such as overcrowded schools, traffic congestion, and a spike in residential garbage — he said it has also been gratifying to see the neighborhood become livable again. Notaro, who has been a CB1 member for more than 15 years, listed the opening of new schools and neighborhood parks as some of the biggest victories during the rebuilding effort. “It’s taken 10 to 15 years, but it’s amazing to see the community come back from such a devastating tragedy,” he said. “There have certainly been a lot of unexpected problems caused by the rebuilding, but if we are able to come back from what happened on September 11, I think everything else is solvable.”

‘Yeah, we’re back’ Doug Van Horn was there in Battery Park City on that terrible day fifteen years ago. As the senior manager of education and nature programs for BPC Parks, he was getting ready for the Preschool Play program that Tuesday morning when the towers came down. “After the second tower fell, the dust cleared enough to see a bit,” he said. “I was amazed to see all the boats coming across the harbor towards us.” The hundreds of mostly civilian vessels that converged on Lower Manhattan on 9/11 helped evacuate as many as half a million people from the area that day, and Van Horn spent much of his morning helping terrified BPC residents onto the boats before finally boarding one himself and heading for New Jersey. There he ran into a family he knew who was actually on their way to he Preschool Play session that morning. “In the months that followed, our focus was getting the programs back for the community,” van Horn said. It was tough going in the early days, with so many BPC residents exiled from their homes, but it was only a mater of weeks before he had the programs running again and families started trickling back — including the family he ran into in New Jersey. “I’d see them,” he said, “but there was only a handful of people at first.” Doing his part to help restore a sense of ease and normalcy to the community,

NYPD

Commuter ferries pulled directly up to the Battery Park City esplanade to load up panicked survivors for transport across the Hudson.

Van Horn even took to toting baseball gear out to Wagner Park and inviting passing kids and families to play catch. It was the well-attended Preschool Play program on the one-year anniversary of the attacks that finally felt like turning a page. “It was another beautiful day in September,” he said, “and seeing so many kids there having fun, it was enough to feel like, ‘yeah, we’re back.’” Since then, Van Horn, who has been with BPC Parks since 1999, has seen Downtown and the BPC community more than just recover, but also improve. “This is a better place in a lot of ways,” he said, citing the heightened participation in the expended parks programs. There were about 500 events this summer with 40,000 participants, according to Van Horn. “Those numbers are beyond what we use to have before the attacks,” he said.

‘Inspiring to see’ Captain Patrick Harris was among that armada that came to the rescue of stranded Downtowners on 9/11. The captain of the historic sailboat Ventura, who operates out of Battery Park City’s North Cove Marina, recalled the sight of the ad hoc flotilla coming across the harbor. “I saw this V-shaped formation of about a half a dozen or so tugboats charging up in our direction,” Harris said. “It was actually very inspiring to see that, knowing those guys were going in there and that’s where all the trouble was.” Harris took a few boatloads of survivors to safety on the Ventura, before he docked the nearly century-old sailboat to help crew the larger, more powerful Royal Princess, a party boat that was filled beyond capacity over and over

SEPTEMBER 11 SPECIAL SECTION

that day, ferrying about 300 people each trip. His most poignant memory of that day, however, came when he was still aboard the Ventura, ferrying his first mate’s family across the Hudson as the Twin Towers still burned. Their mother had been on a bus heading to Newark Airport when news broke of the attack, and she immediately disembarked. She knew her whole family was near the World Trade Center, and she made her way to the coast in a panic. There, as she helplessly watched the towers burn, she saw an approaching boat that she recognized — the Ventura — and on the deck was her family. “That’s something I’ll never forget,” said Harris. “It was one of those acts of God, where she just happened to be there and was standing aghast and suddenly saw the Ventura and all of her family safe.” The waterborne evacuation of Lower Manhattan was one of the largest of its kind in history, rescuing as many as half a million souls, and it was carried out largely by civilian vessels spontaneously volunteering to help, according to a recent book on the effort, “American Dunkirk.” And the bravery of the rescuers was matched by the gratitude of the rescued, according to Harris. “We were unloading people off the Royal Princess, standing at the gangway helping them off, these disoriented New Yorkers, not knowing where they were, and about a third of them stopped and touched my arm and said, ‘Thanks for helping out,’” Harris recalled. “It made me reflect that this is a culture we can be proud of. They took a big shot, they got back up, and they kept their manners.”

‘I wanted to do some-

Reflections Continued on page 6

September 08 - 21, 2016

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9/11 Tribute Center

Jennifer Adams-Webb co-founded the 9/11 Tribute Center in 2006 with former firefighter Lee Ielpi, who lost his firefighter son in the attacks. Reflections Continued from page 5

thing to help’ Before she took a leading role in establishing the 9/11 Tribute Center, Jennifer Adams-Webb went Downtown in the days after the attacks because she just wanted to help. Though she had worked in the World Trade Center before the attacks, and still had people she knew there, Adams-Webb was on the Upper West Side when the towers collapsed, taking the life of one of her friends. As rescue workers swarmed over the smoking pile, she went down to the site to do what she could for them. “Like many New Yorkers, I wanted to do something to help,” she said, “so I went down there and started handing out food to the first responders.” As she got to know the firefighters,

police officers and construction workers picking through the debris, and particularly the distraught family members waiting in vigil hoping their loved ones would be found, Adams-Webb bonded with the people most affected by the calamity. So when she saw how difficult it was for family members of 9/11 victims not working for the city to get information about the recovery mission, she put her management skills to work in February 2002 creating a network to keep them informed — the seed that eventually grew into the September 11th Families’ Association, which she now serves as CEO. Working with former firefighter Lee Ielpi, who lost his firefighter son, Jonathan, in the towers’ collapse, Adams-Webb helped turn the loose netReflections Continued on page 10

Lee H. Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership

The 9/11 Tribute Center is moving to a new location at 88 Greenwich Street in order to expand its mission, exhibits and programs.

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SEPTEMBER 11 SPECIAL SECTION

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VOLUME 29, NUMBER 18

SEPTEMBER 08 – SEPTEMBER 21, 2016

Tax broken Locals to BPCA:

Pols push for 421-g rent regs

BY ALEX ELLEFSON Dozens of elected officials — led by Public Advocate Letitia James — have thrown their support behind a group of tenants challenging a loophole in a controversial tax break that has reduced affordable housing Downtown. The lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 40 tenants of 90 West St. could return thousands of Downtown units to rent-stabilization rolls if the court rules apartments created through the 421-g program were wrongfully deregulated. James last month filed an amicus brief signed by 37 other elected officials — including state Sen. Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Councilmember Margaret Chin — arguing that apartments should remain rent-stabilized for as long as the landlord receives the tax benefit, contrary to the current interpretation of the 1995 law. “We will not sit idly by as unscrupulous landlords cheat the system to make millions while tenants struggle with skyrocketing rents,” James said in a statement. “In order to curb the impacts of our unprecedented housing crisis, it is essential that we preserve our existing affordable housing.” State legislators created the 421-g program in 1995 to revitalize Lower Manhattan. At the time, close to a quarter of the area had vacant office space and the legislation hoped to encourage developers to convert commercial buildings for residential use. Apartments created under the program were supposed to be rent-stabilized, which limits how much the rent can go up when a lease is renewed. However, backroom maneuvers by Republicans ahead of the bill’s passing watered down protections for tenants, according to affordable-housing advocates. A letter sent by then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to then-Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno stated the city intended apartments created through 421-g to be removed from rent-stabilization once they reached the deregulation threshold — currently $2,700 per month. Government agencies, as well as developers, have since used Giuliani letter to interpret the law. As a result, landlords benefiting from the lucrative tax break have been able to hike rents dramatically amidst a residential boom in Lower Manhattan. Taylor West, one of the 90 West St. tenants rent regs Continued on page 16

‘Can the plan’

CB1 says South End Ave. plan is an end run BY ALEX ELLEFSON Community Board 1 members tore into the Battery Park City Authority Tuesday, accusing it of disregarding the board’s work on a 2013 South End Ave. traffic safety plan in order to advance a more costly and ambitious overhaul of the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare this summer. “This took years of planning. The entire community was involved,” said Tom Goodkind, a member of the CB1’s Battery Park

City Committee at its Sept. 6 meeting. “And what we are doing now is scrapping the whole darn thing and saying: ‘Oh, let’s have the authority do it all over again.’ It just seems very, very wasteful.” On Tuesday, the committee hosted a well-attended presentation of the board’s proposals to improve pedestrian safety and traffic flow on South End Ave. that it created in partnership with the Department of Transportation back in 2013 — three years before the BPCA

launched its initiative to remake the development’s main street. Board member Tammy Meltzer said the board started working with the DOT back then at the community’s behest after 14 crashes occurred in the area between 2007 and 2011. “There had been several accidents along South End Avenue and we were trying to be on the proactive side and see what DOT could south end Ave. Continued on page 12

Photo by David Wender

Rock y hor r or showgirls

The spunky Sky Rink All Stars, who operate out of nearby Chelsea Piers, won the bronze medal for their “Rocky Horror Picture Show”-themed artistic skating routine and the 2016 United States Figure Skating’s National Showcase in August. Congraulations girls!

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Squirreled away

What happened to BPC’s squirrels? BY COLIN MIXSON There’s something missing from Battery Park City’s parks — the squirrels. The once-ubiquitous bushy-tailed critters have all but vanished over the past few months from many parts of the otherwise verdant neighborhood. “We used to see a lot of squirrels, and enjoy just watching them interact, but I haven’t seen any in months,” said Dennis Gault, who lives in BPC near Tear Drop Park. The squirrels’ disappearance from the neighborhood’s numerous natural areas, including Rector, Pump House, Tear Drop, and Rockefeller parks, was not especially conspicuous. In fact, many locals don’t realize the fuzzy nut hoarders are gone — until asked when they last saw one. “You’re right,” said Rose Horowitz, a N. Moore Street resident who’s made a daily habit of visiting Pump House Park near Brookfield Place. “I haven’t seen any.” Squirrel numbers in Battery Park City aren’t easy to track. The Battery Park City Conservancy does not con-

duct a regular squirrel census, and information regarding their disappearance is entirely anecdotal. And when it comes to squirrel anecdotes, there’s nobody better to ask than Ira “The Squirrel Man” Rosen, an octogenarian Chelsea resident who travels to Pump House Park nearly every morning. And when Rosen comes, he comes with nuts. He brings peanuts, pecans, almonds, and hazelnuts to be specific — because squirrels, it seems, can be rather picky. “Fluffy Tail’s the female. She only likes hazelnuts.” Rosen said, as he fed a more-or-less tamed squirrel her preferred variety with a pair of forceps. Rosen started feeding squirrels in The Battery after he retired in 1991. Of the nut-loving rodents, he says, “There were a lot those days.” He moved his squirrel-feeding hobby to BPC’s Pump House Park in 2011, after massive construction kicked off in The Battery and the racket of heavy machinery drove him — and most of the squirrels — away from the green space at the island’s tip, and up into BPC.

Photo by Milo Hess

Ira “The Squirrel Man” Rosen has been feeding the fuzzy-tailed denizens of BPC’s Pump House Park for years, but he has seen the local squirrel population plummet over the past few months.

But times have changed. Rosen used to hand out $15 worth of nuts a day, but now that amount that lasts him the better part of a week.

In Pump House Park, where Rosen communed with at least nine squirrels Squirreled away Continued on page 8

THE DOWNTOWN CONNECTION IS YOUR FREE RIDE AROUND LOWER MANHATTAN!

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Now our outpatient imaging center is open for business, utilizing the most advanced techniques and equipment available. And there’s much more to come. We will be introducing additional medical services in the facility and continuing to raise the standard of healthcare in your neighborhood. Visit us on Seventh Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets. Emergency center (646) 665-6911 Imaging (646) 665-6700 Administration (646) 665-6000 Lenoxhealth.com

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Lust for the crust Soho eatery’s romantic new pizzas BY BILL EGBERT Two words: chocolate pizza. Okay, wait, hear this out. Adoro Lei, a swank Italian eatery in Soho, teamed up with world-renowned chocolatier Jacques Torres to create a pair of new pizzas — one savory, one sweet — named after the legendary lovers Giacomo Casanova and the great love of his life, Henriette. Collaborating with Adoro Lei chef Mario Gentile, Torres helped create a crust infused with his trademark cocoa power, that forms the base of both the fig-and-bacon-topped “Giacomo” and — when dusted with powdered sugar and fried — the chocolate-ice-creamtopped “Henriette.” The savory “Giacomo” is saltysweet, topped with a combination of fig puree, bacon, Gorgonzola, caramelized onions, and Adoro Lei’s milky, house-made mozzarella. The smaller desert pizza, “Henriette,” tops a zeppole crust with Jacques Torres chocolate ice cream, berries, cream, and chocolate drizzle. Beyond the two new additions,

Borough of Manhattan Community College

Photos by Yeonji Wu

(Right) The savory “Giacomo” is saltysweet, topped with a combination of fig puree, bacon, Gorgonzola, caramelized onions, and Adoro Lei’s milky, house-made mozzarella. (Above) The desert pizza, “Henriette,” tops a zeppole crust with Jacques Torres chocolate ice cream, berries, cream, and chocolate drizzle.

Adoro Lei’s menu of gourmet pizzas features eight different red option and eight white, plus a fried pizza called the Lucrezia. “We want to elevate the experience of the pizza party,” said Adoro Lei creative director Michael DiBugnara.

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plant topped with creamy dollop of burrata cheese and half a cherry tomato, all drizzled with a remarkably potent dash of truffle honey. Adoro Lei, which means “I adore her” in Italian, is located at 287 Hudson St. near Spring St.

Start Here. Go Anywhere.

Borough of Manhattan Community College

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Pro-tip: be sure to order one of mixology maestro Jose Tapia’s “Fire Been Brought” cocktails, which features a home-brewed jalapeño-infused tequila with spiced salt on the rim. Another not-to-miss item is Adoro Lei’s Burrata Divine — a slice of egg-

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BPCA reform an issue in Assembly race BY ALEX ELLEFSON There’s at least one thing that all the candidates in the hotly contested Democratic primary for the 65th Assembly District seat agree on: the state-run Battery Park City Authority must give residents more of a voice in running their community. The BPCA’s board, which is appointed by the governor, has come under fire for a series of unpopular decisions taken without community input — including hiring private security guards with no enforcement power to replace the city’s Parks Enforcement Patrol, and removing longtime leaders of the North Cove Marina and Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. And the latest example is a push by the authority to remake South End Ave., in which an outside consultant was brought in to come up with an array of proposals that are now being presented to residents. Several of the candidates say the plans shouldn’t go forward unless residents are given a more decisive role in determining what changes are made to the neighborhood’s main street. “We need to take a step back and think about how we can give residents more input,” said Assembly candidate Gigi Li, the former chairwoman of Community Board 4, who held a rally at the corner of South End Ave. in early August to demand BPCA reform. The project, which could involve replacing the covered pedestrian arcades along South End Ave. with retail space, is being pushed by the BPCA as a way to improve traffic safety improvements, but candidate Don Lee, a longtime Battery Park City resident and community activist, called the effort a subversive attempt to create more commercial space to generate revenue for the authority. “If they want to redesign the neighborhood, that should be a separate conversation,” he said. “Let’s not comingle it with traffic safety because no one is going to say they don’t want traffic improvements to the area.” Residents have taken issue with the small sample size of a survey the BPCA used to determine what changes to propose for the thoroughfare, and complain that the authority is holding community meetings on the plans at a time when many neighbors are out for summer vacations — concerns shared by Assembly candidate and Battery Park City resident Jenifer Rajkumar. DowntownExpress.com

Photo by Lincoln Anderson

The six candidates contesting the Sept. 13 Democratic primary for the 65th-District Assembly seat — from left, Alice Cancel, Don Lee, Gigi Li, Paul Newell, Yuh-Line Niou, and Jenifer Rajkumar — can all agree on one thing: that the Battery Park City Authority needs to give residents a greater voice.

“There have been a number of important decisions where the community has been shut out,” said Rajkumar, adding that she is concerned about the BPCA’s proposal to replace the arcades with storefronts. “This is space the community treasures,” she said. Paul Newell, a longtime Democratic district leader now running for the assembly seat, said the BPCA’s track record demonstrates why residents should be given every opportunity to give input on the South End Ave. proposal. “We have seen a string of decisions by the Battery Park City Authority that have been at odds with residents’ concerns,” he said. “There must be an ongoing conversation to make sure residents have a role in determining the specifics of the project.” Candidate Yuh-Line Niou, former chief of staff for Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim, also said Battery Park City residents are justified in their concerns the BPCA will steamroll over their interests. “I think a lot of residents are complaining they are not being heard,” she said. “I think it’s always an improvement to give the public more input because these are the folks who live there and their ideas need to be taken into account.” Assemblymember Alice Cancel, who

won the April special election to replace disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and is now fending off five challengers during the district’s first competitive primary in decades, said the South End Ave. project “has not been brought to [her] attention.” However, she has sponsored legislation, introduced earlier this year by state Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Deborah Glick, requiring a majority of the authority’s board be BPC residents. Currently, only one board member, Martha Gallo, lives in the neighborhood. “The people who live and work in Battery Park City should be the ones making the decisions,” Cancel said. At her August rally, Li said the seven-member BPCA board should include at least three residents. “Clearly, the residents here care very much about their neighborhood,” she said. “They want to be involved and I think it’s important we make every effort so they can be.” Niou also agreed the BPCA is in need of reform. “There a have been a lot of follies in the decision making process by the BPCA,” she said. “We must work to make sure residents have full and adequate representation in their community.” Earlier this year, Rajkumar helped a

local group called Democracy4BPC collect signatures for a petition calling for the governor to fill five of the authority’s board seats with community stakeholders “Allowing the community to have more of a voice and putting more residents on the board is crucial to redefining the relationship between the community and the Battery Park City Authority,” Rajkumar said. Lee said he wasn’t as concerned about how many board members live in the neighborhood as he was in making the BPCA’s decision-making process more democratic. “What we need is more transparency and accountability,” he said. “The process needs to be more democratic, where the stakeholders have more of a say. That’s more important than who runs the authority.” Newell argued that the BPCA’s board must be reformed, or it should be scrapped altogether. “The BPCA has outlived its usefulness. It did tremendous good developing the neighborhood, but now it’s a question of governance,” he said. “We either need to have real, meaningful representation on the board or move to the city-control model proposed by Senator Squadron.” BPCA AD65 Continued on page 18

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BY JANEL BL ADOW Where did summer go? Just seems like we broke out the flip-flops… Peking ducks out… The four-masted barque Peking was set to sail to Caddell Drydock in Staten Island on Tuesday morning after 40 years at the Seaport, but the remains of Hermine got in her way. So she got to stay with us at Pier 16 another day and sailed away on Wednesday, Sept. 7, with a spectacular send off, as Seaport Museum volunteers, neighbors and visitors waved their farewells from the upper level of Pier 15. She’ll remain at Caddell several months while her masts are stepped down and she’s made seaworthy for her momentous trip home across the Atlantic. In the spring, she’ll journey to Europe and her new home at the Stiftung Hamburg Maritim, the maritime museum of Hamburg, Germany. Built there in 1911, Peking was one of the “Flying P Liners,” that made voyages from Europe to the west coast of South America with general cargo and came back filled with seabird guano to make fertilizer and explosives. Peking has had her taste of celebrity. Her story was told in the film “Around Cape Horn,” which detailed her 1929 trip around South America in a hurricane. One other bit of trivia, she was saved by the South Street Seaport Museum from the scrap heap in 1974. Y’all come... Though the Peking has made her grand departure, the South Street Seaport Museum still wants you to visit. Join them for “Free-Fridays” when the last Friday of the month is free from 3–7 p.m. — Sept. 30 and Oct. 28 are the last two dates. The free admis-

sion gets you into its exhibit “Street of Ships: The Port and its People” and a host of other activities, including special tours, artist demos, talks and lectures and hands-on fun for the family. Each Friday has a different theme. But reservations are necessary: https://southstreetseaportmuseum.org/free-fridays/. On with the show… Who doesn’t like a carnival — and fashion? Combine the two and you have showman extraordinaire Tommy Hilfiger. Collaborating with model Gigi Hadid on his Fashion Week show “Tommy X Gigi Capsule Collection,” Hilfiger turns Pier 16 into “Tommy Pier” for his industry show on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m., then reopens it on Sept. 10, from noon to 10 p.m. for a rebroadcast of the show from the night before on huge LED screens. Tommy Pier will be a full-on fairground, complete with a 40-foot Ferris wheel, carnival rides, games, and classic carney fun foods like corn dogs and cotton candy. The space also features to Tommy X Gigi pop up shops, a vintage Tommy Hilfiger shop and a record store. Gigi says that their capsule collection “celebrates the iconic Tommy lifestyle and mixes a bit of everything: there are styles that are really hippie-chic, styles that are sporty streetwear and styles that are tomboy but girly. Everyone’s is going to love a different part of it.” See you at the movies… iPic Theater Fulton Street opens next month in the Fulton Market building and we can’t wait. Not only will you be able to watch a film from a pod of your own with a cozy blanket if you wish, but also have unlimited popcorn, a cocktail, even dinner — all with the tap of your smart-

Tommy Hilfiger

Gigi Hadid and Tommy Hilfiger will show Tommy X Gigi at Pier 16 in South Street Seaport for Fashion Week on Friday, Sept. 9.

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September 08 - 21, 2016

Photo by Milo Hess

After 40 years at the South Street Seaport, the century-old barque Peking left Prier 15 on Sept. 7 on the first leg of its last transatlantic journey to its home port in Hamburg, Germany.

phone. Using its iPic Theaters app, guests can buy tickets, order food and drinks ahead to be ready by show time. There’s “Premium Plus Seating Pods,” and “Premium Chaise Lounge” seating for your viewing comfort and pleasure. Besides reclining in super comfy oversized leather chairs, you can dine on dishes created by three-time James Beard Award winner Chef Sherry Yard, who worked with Wolfgang Puck for almost 20 years. Drinks are designed by sommelier and executive bartender Adam Seger, who also had a hand in designing The Tuck Room, housed inside the theater on the third floor of the Fulton Street Market and featuring a rotating beverage program. Not only that, his 40-minute film, BarTales, which explores the history of cocktails and the colorful barmen who make them, will premiere at the iPic theater on Oct. 11. Down on the farm, Seaport style… Join the farm-to-table movement with the first Farm Fresh Festival for Kids on Saturday, Sept. 17, from noon to 4 p.m.

This community event intends to connect kids and families to “a wholesome and magical farm experience in NYC.” Kids learn where food comes from, and how to eat healthy while having fun. Games and crafts are part of teaching new eating habits. The event, held on Fulton and Front Sts., is presented by Fresh Kids — a women-owned snack company — the Generation Fresh Foundation, and Howard Hughes Corp. The event is free but you must register first at http://farmfreshfestival.org/.

Fresh Kids

Kids can get up close and personal with farm animals that the Farm Fresh Festival for Kids on Sept. 17 at the Seaport.

DowntownExpress.com


DowntownExpress.com

September 08 - 21, 2016

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to Pump House Park five years ago has largely stopped, it’s possible that the rodents are simply migrating to The Battery and its greener pastures, Connell said. “There’s so much food between the gardens and the tourists, and we have wrapped up a lot of construction that would have scared them off,” said Connell. There’s one other theory, and it’s not pretty. For five years, Brookfield Place, which leases Pump House Park, has filled the green space with rattraps disguised as rocks and containing tasty poisoned bait. Neither the rattraps not their bait have been altered in the past five years, according Brookfield spokesman Andrew Brent, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that Rosen ever noticed a squirrel feeding from a trap. “These traps have been here a long time, but I’ve never seen a squirrel eat from one until earlier this year,” Rosen said. “He died from the inside.” And even before that, in April, Rosen said that Brookfield gardeners told him they found four dead squirrels in the park, lending further credence to the possibility that the wrong rodents had recently begun indulging in the appetizing rat poisons. Brookfield’s Brent said the luxury shopping mall operator is investigating. “We will continue to look into it,” he said. Whatever is happening, Battery Park City and the green spaces therein have gotten a little more empty and little less active, and that, said Rosen, is a shame. “Just trees don’t make a park, or grass or flowers,” he said. “Then you’d call Macy’s a park when they do the flower show. For me, a park needs animals. Any place without animals, it’s too quite, it’s too dead, there’s no life.”

Squirreled away Continued from page 2

each day earlier this year, only two remain. Rosen calls them Fluffy Tail and Straight Tail — they don’t get along, he said. “There’s only two squirrels left and all they do is fight!” Rosen quipped. Meanwhile, back in Tear Drop Park, that area’s resident squirrel — affectionately dubbed Oscar for his affinity for the trash can — has gone missing, according to Gault. “We haven’t seen Oscar in a while,” Gault said. It’s not easy finding a champion for squirrels in Battery Park City, and about the only resident who’s made issue of their disappearance is Community Board 1 member Tom Goodkind, who brought the matter up before the board at a meeting earlier this year. The board largely disregarded his appeal as frivolous, said Goodkind, who was admittedly acting on behalf of his dog, a fan of chasing squirrels. “They actually chuckled,” Goodkind said of the board. “My dog hasn’t been the same!” Goodkind theorizes that Hurricane Sandy is to blame for the sudden squirrel drought. The superstorm’s flood waters killed many costal trees throughout the city, several of which had to be felled by the Battery Park City Conservancy for fear of falling branches crushing unwary tourists. He thinks it’s possible that a good number of squirrel nests were destroyed in the process. But the neighborhood is hardly lacking for trees, and Goodkind’s isn’t the only theory floating around. Unlike the parks of BPC, The Battery is now lousy with squirrels, who loot The Battery Conservancy’s care-

This artist’s interpretation depicts one possible explanation for the mysterious disappearance of squirrels from Battery Park City.

fully tended gardens for perennial seed heads and gorge themselves on food handed out by the thousands of tourists who pass through the newly renovated green space, according to the conservancy’s chief agriculturalist. “We always have a ton [of squirrels] throughout the park,” said Josie Connell. Now that the construction work that drove Rosen

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CUTTING THE CORD A thief absconded with a bike left outside the Comodo restaurant on Macdougal St. around 2 p.m. Monday, police said. Authorities determined the crook cut the chain that bound the bike to a signpost at the corner with King St. The victim, a 29-year-old woman, found the chain discarded in the spot where she left her $1,800 ride, according to the NYPD.

LUCKY SWIPE An opportunistic robber raided an unlocked van parked at the corner of Broadway and Beaver St. Friday evening, cops said. The thief allegedly looted the vehicle — taking the victim’s credit cards, driver license, MetroCard and $400 in cash. The driver, a 44-year-old woman, found the items missing when she returned to her grey 2003 Ford van around 7 p.m. — about an hour after she parked her car, according to police.

WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS A thief made off with close to $5,000 worth of DJ equipment stolen from a car Sunday morning while the owner was at a Houston St. club, police said. The victim returned to his 2004 Nissan Pathfinder parked in front of 37 King St. around 4:30 a.m. — after spending several hours at the nearby S.O.B.’s club — to find his driver-side window smashed, according to the NYPD. The marauder stole two Yamaha speakers, valued at $2,250, as well as DJ controllers, a mixer, cables and other electronics. Police did not provide a description of the suspect, but they said officers recovered surveillance footage after canvassing the area.

WANDERING CITI BIKE Cops said a crafty crook somehow got hold of a Swedish tourist’s Citi Bike pass code last week and used it to go joyriding with one of the $1,300 rides. The victim tried to get a bike from the dock at the corner of Centre and Chambers St. just after 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 30. A Citi Bike agent confirmed a bike removed using the passcode was not docked and was still in use, according to police. Police did not have a description of DowntownExpress.com

the suspect. The victim, a 33-year-old man, left New York the next day.

HELLO-GOODBYE A 28-year-old woman’s purse was snatched from under her feet while she stood at the corner of W. Broadway and Chambers St. around 3 p.m. on Monday, Aug 29. She was promoting the food company “HelloFresh” and placed her bag on the sidewalk to talk to another person, according to the NYPD. When she looked down, the bag was gone. The victim, who did not see who took her property, cancelled her credit cards before they could be used, cops said.

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CHILD’S PLAY A man who parked his 2016 BMW motorcycle across the street from the Children’s Museum of the Arts on Tuesday, Aug. 30, returned the next morning to find his ride missing, according to the NYPD. The victim checked to see if his motorcycle had been towed before reporting it stolen, police said.

MID-DAY MUGGING A brute mugged a 52-year-old woman at the corner of Wooster and Prince Sts. just after 4 p.m. on Friday, according to the NYPD. The victim and her daughter were shopping when the attacker allegedly shoved her to the ground and tried to wrestle away her purse. Witnesses described the mugger as a black man with straight hair.

MOBILE THIEF A pedal-powered thief snatched a woman’s cellphone out of her hand in front of 64 South St. Friday night. The 47-year-old victim was walking down the street just after 8 p.m. when the bandit whizzed by on a black bicycle and grabbed her device, authorities said. The woman was unharmed, according to the NYPD.

BICYCLE BANDITS Two bike-mounted bandits snatched a man’s cellphone out of his hand Friday night at the corner of Grand and Thompson Sts., police said. The high-speed heist occurred just before 9:30 p.m., according to police. Authorities described both suspects as 20-year-old black men. Cops said the phone is an Samsung valued at $700. — Alex Ellefson

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Downtown Abbey? Busy Citi Bike rack in Battery Park City now offers swank ‘Bike Valet’ service BY COLIN MIXSON Finally! Battery Park City residents can start living like civilized human beings. Starting Monday, local cyclists needn’t bother parking their Citi Bikes themselves, and can instead hand them off to paid bike valets at the cycle-swapping program’s docking station at West and Chambers Sts., according to a very excited neighborhood honcho. “We’re thrilled to launch Citi Bike Valet Service,” said Shari Hyman, president of the Battery Park City Authority. The bike-sharing program allows cyclists to rent bikes at stations located throughout the city and park them at others, relieving commuters of the hassle of locking up their rides and fretting about their security. Certain bustling docking destinations can, on occasion, fill up, forcing riders to either wait for a space to open, or to find some other Citi Bike dock where they can deposit their rental, essentially defeating the purpose of the

otherwise sensible travel option. Stationing valets at well-trafficked stations, however, makes finding a spot a non-issue. The paid employees instead simply take the rides from cyclists and hold them until docking space is available. The valets will also allow extra bikes to be on hand, covering commuters in the event the station runs dry. The Battery Park City station was identified as the second-busiest in the Citi Bike system, second only to a Pershing Square station near Grand Central Terminal, according to authority spokesman Nick Sbordone. Photo by Milo Hess As evidence, Sbordone presented Battery Park City residents will no longer have to trouble themselves with the figures that showed the Chambers St. menial task of parking their own Citi Bikes, now that the docking station at docking station saw more than 27,000 West and Chambers Sts. offers a new bike valet service. riders in July. The valets will be out on Chambers St. weekdays from 7:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m., Sbordone said. “I am hopeful that the program starting Aug. 29 as part of a pilot proLocal stakeholders can only hope the goes well and that it’s expanded as T:8.75” gram scheduled to run through Oct. 7. program succeeds, and said the neigh- needed.” said Jeff Mihok, who co-chairs If the service proves popular, the borhood needs as many bike valets as Community Board 1’s Battery Park City valets will be kept on until Nov. 4, it can get. Committee.

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Astor Alive! Performing Arts Festival Sept. 16ŹŹ )ZIRXWLIPHEX%WXSV4PEGIŹ andŹCooper Square 5–8pm Fri, 1–6pm Sat More info at astorplace.nyc and @AstorPlaceNYC Astor Alive! Is a free outdoor cultural festival taking place in the new Astor Place and Cooper Square public plazas. Astor Alive! showcases the vibrant neighborhood art scene with performances from leading theater, dance, music and educational institutions in the area.

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September 08 - 21, 2016

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south end AVE. Continued from page 1

come up with,” she said. Meltzer said the DOT, after receiving further recommendations from the board, was prepared to move forward on the project — and in 2014 did implement some of the changes deemed necessary for traffic safety, such as new crosswalks, stop signs, and a pedestrian island at W. Thames St. But the rest of the proposals — such as adding pedestrian islands and building out the sidewalk at the Liberty St. to slow traffic — stalled, she said, because the BPCA wouldn’t cooperate. Committee chairwoman Ninfa Segarra said board members wanted to ensure that residents had a “historical perspective” about traffic safety issues and the planning that has already been done before the BPCA moves forward on new the plans for South End Ave. the authority floated over the summer. Speakers at Tuesday’s meeting — attended by dozens of residents as well as local Assembly candidates Gigi Li and Yuh-Line Niou — pilloried the BPCA’s proposal as unnecessary and expensive. They particularly faulted the survey the authority’s proposals were based on, which the consulting group Stantec was awarded a $272,000 contract in part to conduct, complaining that its small sample size and poorly framed questions could have yielded unreliable or misleading results on questions with very high stakes for the community. “We have a $272,000 study that leads us into, if we adopt any of these measures, a multimillion dollar expenditure. It’s going to disrupt the whole commu-

Photo by Franz Lino

The BPCA’s plans for South End Ave. could include converting its pedestrian arcades to retail space, which has residents — and politicians — crying foul.

nity,” said Battery Pointe board president Pat Smith. “The arrogance and the ignorance behind this borders on the criminal.” The BPCA recently introduced three design concepts based on results of a neighborhood survey that polled 568 of BPC’s 13,386 — about 4 percent — plus South End Avenue business owners and tourists. The

proposals include traffic calming measures as well as changes to the covered arcades intended to increase storefront visibility. One concept proposes filling in the arcades with retail space. Residents were then invited to give feedback at SOUTH end AVE. Continued on page 17

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Gang green Assembly candidates debate enviro issues BY LINCOLN ANDERSON The Democratic candidates running for Lower Manhattan’s 65th Assembly District seat have been vying to raise the most green, as in cash, for their campaigns. Last Thursday, they competed at a forum for the title of who is the “most green” — as in, best on the environment on the sustainability. The event, held in the Southbridge Towers community room, was sponsored by the New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and moderated by its president, Marcia Bystryn. The candidates were asked where they stand on a range of issues, such as resiliency, clean energy, parks and open space, sustainable transportation, and access to fresh and local foods. Questions were asked by representatives of the Waterfront Alliance, Transportation Alternatives, New Yorkers for Parks and the Lower East Side Ecology Center, as well as by audience members. The area’s building boom was a major concern of the candidates. Don Lee said he supports a moratorium on luxury high-rise construction in the district. Alice Cancel — who has held the seat since winning a special election in April — said the neighborhood’s problem with mounting garbage must be addressed. Asked where they stand on congestion pricing, District Leader Paul Newell said he supports the Move NY plan, which would toll the East River bridges. However, Cancel said, “The people coming into New York should not be taxed — but the big-box stores that come into Manhattan should be.” Lee said he supports congestion pricing “because it works.” “Uber has 40,000 more trips per day,” he said, adding that the Verrazano Bridge one-way toll remains an ongoing problem, creating excessive traffic Downtown, and that Park Row must be reopened to traffic. Gigi Li, a former chairperson of Community Board 3, said, “I support congestion pricing, in its concept.” But she added that there are concerns that the measure could raise the cost of delivery of goods and services in Lower Manhattan. Also, she added, “A lot of people really rely on personal cars in DowntownExpress.com

parts of the district — so we need carveouts [in the plan].” District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar said she supports congestion pricing, adding that the $1.25 billion in annual funds raised by the initiative should be funneled into improving the local bus system, such as in the East Village and on Grand St. on the Lower East Side. Yuh-Line Niou, former chief of staff of Queens Assemblymember Ron Kim, said she supports congestion pricing — but that the revenue from it would have to be safeguarded from being siphoned off into other budgets in Albany. Asked if they supported saving the Elizabeth St. Garden, Lee, who is a Chinatown businessman and activist, said, “There are 13 lots in the district that are available for affordable housing — so I am in favor of keeping all green space.” Li, however, said, “I do support building affordable housing on that lot, with the caveat that some open space is preserved — plus, creating other open space.” Li’s biggest political supporter, Councilmember Margaret Chin, is the local politician most actively pushing the plan to build housing on the Nolita lot. Li stated that her position was actually similar to Lee’s on this issue, but Lee quickly retorted, clarifying, “I am for keeping it open space — she’s not.” Newell said, “I think we can keep our affordable housing stock without building on parks and gardens.” Niou stated, “I know Community Board 2 has identified two other spaces for affordable housing. Green spaces and affordable housing should not be pitted against each other. I also have basil and carrots growing there, so I would like to protect them,” she said of the Elizabeth St. Garden. Rajkumar said she was “an early advocate” of the embattled garden, adding, “I have fought for open space in the South Village which was threatened by the N.Y.U. plan.” On questions about resiliency and responding to another storm on the level of Sandy, Cancel took a shot at Niou, who has only lived in the city a few years. “I was there, on that forefront, to

September is National Preparedness Month! Join NYC Emergency Management to learn how to prepare for all types of emergencies. Activities throughout September: Free preparedness fairs, events and workshops throughout the five boroughs Family day at the Bronx Zoo on Sunday, Sept. 18 Family day at the Staten Island Children’s Museum on Saturday, Sept. 24 and much more!

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NYC.gov/EmergencyManagement or call 311.

green Continued on page 16

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One World Trading Port Authority to put 1 WTC on the block BY ALEX ELLEFSON One World Trade Center — the symbol of New York’s resiliency following the 9/11 attacks — is on the auction block, and could fetch a record-setting sum if the Port Authority finds a buyer. A spokesman for the Port Authority, which poured $3.8 billion into the tower’s construction, confirmed that the agency plans to sell the 1,776-foot-tall structure. “One World Trade Center is an iconic, 21st Century Class A-plus office tower with universal brand recognition and strong leasing momentum,” the agency said in a statement. “Its substantial and growing Net Operating Income will, when the time is right for the Port Authority to monetize all or part of its ownership in the building, support a premium, world-class valuation.” Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman emphasized the statement calls for the sale to occur “when the time is right” and added that “the building is not up for sale now.” Coleman said One World Trade Center is one of many real estate assets from which the authority is seeking to divest. He pointed to a 2014 mandate by governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, who have dual

control of the agency, to shed its real estate holdings in order to focus on its original mission — developing and maintaining transportation infrastructure. Crain’s New York reports the iconic building could sell for as much as $5 billion, which would be the most ever paid for an office building in the United States. However, there are numerous challenges to finding a buyer. First of all, the property is in the red. It is only 70 percent leased and brought in just $13 million in revenue last year — a 0.35 percent return on the Port Authority’s investment, according to Crain’s. Public scrutiny of the sale could also scare away deep-pocketed foreign investors, as would the property’s high security costs. Crain’s also reports the Durst Organization, which owns a $100 million interest in the property, has the right to block any deal made before its investment becomes an ownership stake in 2019 — meaning any buyer might have to buy out the Durst Organization before it can claim the property. Coleman said selling One World Trade Center is at T:8.75” most a “possible, future transaction.”

Associated Press

The Port Autthority, which owns the 1776-foot-tall One World Trade Center, wants to sell the symbolic replacement for the fallen Twin Towers — possibly for as much a $5 billion.

nyp.org/lowermanhattan

lower manhattan has many landmarks. but only one hospital.

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September 08 - 21, 2016

T:5.69”

NewYork-Presbyterian/ Lower Manhattan Hospital. Just two blocks southeast of City Hall at 170 William St.

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rent regs Continued from page 1

who signed onto the lawsuit, said his landlord unexpectedly hiked his rent by 33 percent last year, and gave him only two weeks to decide whether to renew his lease. “I was suddenly put in a situation where I felt like I had two weeks to decide whether to uproot my family,” said West. “It felt like we were being taken advantage of — and it was so greedy and over the top I started to take a look at the law and realized [the landlord was] double dipping.” Critics of 421-g’s implementation point out the law passed by the legislature makes no mention of rent limits or deregulation, and argue apartments created through the program should be rent-stabilized as long as the landlord receives the tax break. “The deal behind 421g was clear — tax breaks for housing in lower Manhattan must include more affordable housing for lower Manhattan,” Squadron said in a statement. “As this case makes clear, it is not acceptable to shortchange the tenants or the community. I’m proud to continue the push and join the Public Advocate in this effort to support rent-stabilized New Yorkers.” By signing the amicus brief, legislators hope to add more weight to the lawsuit’s claim that Giuliani’s letter does not have the force of law. However, Sherwin Belkin, an attorney for the landlord, said he plans to ask the court not to accept the Public Advocate’s amicus brief. “This is nothing more than political grandstanding and does not add any legal argument that is pertinent to the case,” he said. “[The amicus brief]

green Continued from page 13

make sure that every senior, every disabled person, was taken care of,” the incumbent assemblymember said. “Were you here for Hurricane Irene, 9/11...Sandy?” she asked of Niou. Li pointed out that radio proved to be one of the best ways to communicate when cell phones were knocked out by Sandy. “We know that now,” she noted. Rajkumar said she would work with local business improvement districts, BID’s, to help coordinate the response to disasters. As the candidates answered a question about how to make a proposed small “Brooklyn Bridge Beach” a reality, Lee went on a slight tangent to criticize Basketball City as an inacces-

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repeats and rehashes the same legal arguments already submitted to the court and only unnecessarily inflates the record.” Belkin also said the media wrongfully identified Kibel Companies as the defendant. He said the owner of the property, B.C.R.E.-90 West Street LLC, is owned by a group of investors and Kibel is only the property manager. Belkin declined to name the parties behind the LLC. However, a 2006 mortgage from the city’s Housing Development Corporation lists the Kibel Group, as well as Brack Capital Real Estate, Ltd. and The BD Group as principal parties for the LLC. Taylor said tenants at 90 West St. began being driven out of the building en masse around the time of his rent hike. He described seeing moving trucks parked outside almost every day. And while his family might have been able to afford the increased rent — they paid $5,300 per month — it would have meant cutting back on afterschool activities for his children, who attend P.S. 276. The uncertainty of knowing whether they would be hit with another spike in rent adds another layer of uncertainty to the family’s ability to stay in the neighborhood. “This affects anyone like us who wants to stay in the community longterm. And this is why the bill was created — to help establish a community Downtown,” he said. “I’ve realized over the course of this lawsuit that taking a stand is critical not just for the tenants at 90 West St., but for tenants all over Lower Manhattan where landlords are acting this way.” Indeed, at least two other Downtown

sible facility on the Lower East Side waterfront. “Basketball City — that is adding insult to injury,” he charged, “a slap in the face to people in the area who want to play.” In their closing statements, Cancel, a resident of Southbridge Towers, tailored her comment to the audience, which contained a fair amount of residents from the complex, located just south of the Brooklyn Bridge. She noted she had called City Hall that morning after a water pipe broke during construction, cutting off water to part of the complex. Her call got results, she noted: The water was quickly restored. Lee spoke of his community activism. “This is the work that I do,” he said,

Associated Press / Frank Franklin II

Public Advocate Letitia James and 37 other elected officials filed an amicus brief arguing that apartments created under the 421-g program should remain rent-stabilized for as long as the landlord receives the tax benefit.

properties, 85 John St. and 50 Murray St., are embroiled in legal flair-ups between tenants and landlords over the interpretation of 421-g, The Real Deal reports. And while lawyers for the landlords have held up Giuliani’s letter to argue their units can be deregulated, tenants say the program clearly requires apartments to be rent-stabilized for as long as the property owner receives the tax break — as intended by the legislators who wrote and passed the 421-g law. Tenants at 85 John St. obtained an affidavit from former Democratic State Sen. Martin Connor, the minority leader when 421-g was enacted, stating the law was not written to allow apartments to be deregulated.

Serge Joseph, the attorney representing tenants at 90 West St. and 85 John St., called relying on Giuliani’s letter to interpret the law “laughable.” “Giuliani’s letter should have no weight, especially in comparison to the interpretation of Martin Connor, who sponsored the legislation in the senate,” he said. Joseph said the amicus brief signed by legislators also reinforces the assertion that 421-g has been wrongly implemented since it was enacted and the court should consider it. “When you have so many elected officials taking a stand on how the law should be interpreted, that’s an inherent sign the tenants should be protected under rent stabilization,” he said.

“fight for the Grand St. subway [reopening when one of the lines was shut down for construction], get the funding; fight that the criminal justice system is fair to the street vendors in Chinatown — pay it forward, move forward.” Li said she is running on her track record of finding solutions to community issues, and referred people to her Web site for more information. “I’m asking for your support because this race will change the face of Lower Manhattan,” she said. Newell talked about climate change. “This year is already the hottest year on record,” he said. “We need to stop investing in pipelines and other fossil fuels and move to solar and offshore wind power. It’s putting Lower Manhattan at risk.” Niou, touting her Albany experience,

said, “Because we are all freshman, who ever comes in is going to have a very small budget — the person elected will need the experience and the ability to push things through.” Rajkumar cited her independence. In a bitter defeat, Newell beat her out for the endorsement of her home political club, Downtown Independent Democrats. “I’ve always been independent,” she told the audience. “I belong only to you. I am unbought and that’s what will make me an effective legislator. And I know how to fight.” Afterward, asked what he thought of the forum, one Southbridge resident, a retired print-shop worker, said he was voting for Niou. “My union is for her,” he said. “I belong to DC 37 and they support her.” DowntownExpress.com


south end AVE Continued from page 12

a series of presentations last month, which some residents complain were deliberately scheduled when many locals were away for the summer. The authority said it will use the responses provided this summer to whittle down the designs to two options and present them to the community again this fall. BPCA spokesman Nicholas Sbordone said in a statement that instead of disregarding the work of CB1 and DOT, the authority’s proposals build on those efforts. “Our South End Avenue / West Thames Street study, rather than replacing the Department of Transportation’s previous suggestions for South End Avenue improvements, seeks to optimize them — and minimize attendant construction time — by taking a comprehensive look at potential improvements to the streetscape. This includes traffic and parking concerns, public amenities, and street vitality and appeal.� But committee co-chair Jeffrey Mihok said that the BPCA’s track record of making unpopular decisions without regard to the views of the community does not bode well for the process of deciding what to do with South End Ave. “That we have to be telling the authority that is collecting millions of dollars from our community not to ruin it is very vexing,� he said. “No one wants the arcades gone. It’s just a terrible set of ideas from an organization that has proven themselves not to be trustworthy.� The future of the arcades has

emerged as one of the main flashpoints since the rollout of the BPCA’s effort to transform South End Ave., with some residents suspicious that the supposed traffic-safety project is merely cover for the real agenda of creating additional retail space that will generate more revenue for the authority. Goodkind worried that eliminating the arcades and hiking the commercial rents would not only destroy the character of the neighborhood, it could also turn the area into a retail desert. “Landlords are holding out for higher-end stores like they have been doing in Tribeca,� he said. “If the Battery Park City Authority is replacing these stores or building them out — I think that’s why they are trying to get rid of the underpasses — to have bigger names, I think we are going to have a lot of empty stores like Tribeca does.� Segarra said the committee plans to draft a resolution, based on Tuesday’s discussion, that will take a position on the BPCA’s South End Ave. proposals. She would not speculate about what the resolution will say because the other committee members must review it before the resolution is introduced at next month’s meeting. However, she had strong words during the meeting for the BPCA’s process for engaging the community on the South End Ave. plan. “The question is: what is the premise? The premise is faulty because the survey is faulty,� she said. “There was a robust amount of community engagement [for the DOT plan] and the authority chose not participate.� engagement [for the DOT plan] and the authority chose not participate.�

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This week features the biggest convergence of gridlock events of the fall — the U.N. General Assembly, as well as the 9/11 Ceremony, New York Fashion Week, the NYC Century Bike Tour, and the first day of school. Maybe we should call this New York Traffic Week. This Sunday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., New York City remembers the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks with the 9/11 Ceremony, which will close the area bounded by Barclay St. and Battery Pl. and West St. to Broadway. Since Lower Manhattan in this area will come to a standstill during this time, surrounding areas will carry heavy traffic. I strongly recommend drivers take the FDR, though transit may be the best option. You can take the 2,3,4,5,6,E,J, and R trains to and from stations in the area. Jets will play the Bengals at 1 p.m. on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, causing delays along the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels in the early afternoon and early evening for the homeward rush. Thursday marks the beginning of Fashion Week, with shows from 9 a.m. to roughly 11:30 p.m. daily until the 14th, causing delays mostly in Chelsea,

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Squadron has called for the city to take over BPC from the state — allowed through an agreement giving the city an option to take over the neighborhood by paying $1 and assuming the authority’s debts — and asked that the BPCA follow the lead of many other state authorities and allow the public to speak at the board’s meetings. He said he is pleased the candidates have taken an interest in the issue. “The Battery Park City Authority is a critical issue to anyone who represents this community. It’s critical that the local Senator and Assemblymembers work together to deliver results. It’s our obligation as elected officials to build

Soho, and the West Village. Look out for delays along 14th and 15th Sts. near Tenth Ave. and Washington St. during the week. There will also be closures from Spring to Clarkson Sts. and from West Side Highway to Greenwich St., where Skylight at Clarkson Square will host a large number of Fashion Week events. Closures near Moynihan Station will also coincide with closures due to the U.N. General Assembly, making for even worse delays all over Downtown. On Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the NYC Century Bike Tour will cause closures all over the five boroughs, as a procession of over 7,000 cyclists passes through. On the way from Manhattan the closures will begin on Hudson St. from 14th St. to Eighth Ave, south on Bleecker from Eighth Ave. to LaGuardia Pl., then south on W. Broadway from Bleecker to Grand St. They’ll then head east on Grand to Lafayette St, then head south toward Foley Square at Reade St., finally taking Centre St. toward the Brooklyn Bridge. Look for delays all the way from Chelsea to the Financial District. Drive carefully! New York schools begin Thursday all over the city, so look out for delays on the morning and the afternoon.

partnerships to make a difference for this community,” he said in a statement. Democracy4BPC founder Justine Cuccia, whose group has collected more than 2,200 signatures on its petition, said she’s encouraged that all of the Democratic Assembly candidates took a stand on the BPCA governance issue. And she agreed with Li that the South End Ave. project should be put on hold so the community can be more involved in the planning. “The South End Ave. proposal was ill conceived and [the BPCA] went about it backwards. The community should be involved at the beginning of the decision-making process — not in the middle or the end,” she said.

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BY LENORE SKENAZY To everything there is a season, especially if you’re a household pest: A time for mice, a time for ants. A time to eat wood, a time to suck blood. And a time for all those roaches under ovens. No one knows this better than the experienced exterminator. “There’s a different insect or problem every month,” says Sam Ramos, proprietor of Above and Beyond Pest Management in Rockaway Park, Queens, doing business citywide, but mostly in Brooklyn. If this is April, it must be termite season. May? Carpenter bees. And which pest pops inside in November? Hint: It is a creature that was much beloved by Walt Disney. Hint #2: It is not a duck. How do I know all this? I had a long, meandering conversation with Sam, my savior. Six months ago, when I could no longer convince myself it was my imagination that little brown things were running for cover every time I turned on the kitchen light, I sat down at my computer and did what any full-blooded New Yorker does at such a time. I vowed never to leave a single dish a single second in the sink ever again if only someone would come and make my home undepressing again. Then I called a couple of exterminators I found online, and one of them — Sam — sounded positively jubilant. “Roaches? Piece of cake!” he said. He told me they’re easy to get rid of, and guaranteed his work for six months. Since it is now six months later and I can still turn on the kitchen light without screaming, I wondered if he’d spill the beans (and then carefully clean them up) about the rest of New York and its infestations.

That’s when I learned about the Seasons of the Pest. Right now, says Sam, we are in the midst of stinging season, which began in July. But because this summer has been so outrageously hot and humid, he has also been getting out-of-season calls about roaches. Not just ordinary roaches. “In 22 years I’ve only seen them fly once,” he told me. “That was maybe 15 year ago. And now they’re flying again.” Great. This summer may also be remembered, at least by Sam, for its millipede and centipede explosion. These leggy pests tend to be more of an issue in homes made of brick, he said, because bricks are porous, “and with humidity, they actually sweat.” Out come their inhabitants. For folks who live in brick houses, Sam recommends a dehumidifier. “It’s a small investment and it’ll save your home. Water is the enemy.” Once fall arrives, the stinging insects drop off and in many places, the ants do, too. “But what if you have a heat-radiant floor?” asks Sam. It’s nice and warm for ants, too. For an easy mnemonic think: Radi-ANT heat. In October and November, rodents come in from the cold. Waterbugs show up, too, because that’s when the heat goes on. “Once the pipes get hot they can’t nest in the walls, so they tend to come out around the radiators,” says Sam. And then everything that needs to stay toasty inside does — for the rest of the winter. (Unless Sam gets there.)

Come April, he says, “When one day it’s 40 and then one day it’s 70 and everybody puts their shorts on and heads to the park? That’s termite day,” says Sam. They swarm. This can be outside the house or — OMG — inside. In May the carpenter bees bore into the underside of decks, mating as they go. And pretty soon it’s summer with the stinging things again. The good news is that New Yorkers’ two biggest enemies — roaches and bedbugs – are no longer the intractable problems they were. A new poison embedded in delicious (to roaches) gel is doubly effective: It kills the roaches and then kills (put down your fork) the roaches that eat them. And after 15 or 20 years of trying to kill bedbugs, exterminators have finally come up with a poison that does the job without accidentally sending the bloodsuckers scattering. Since bedbugs are generally happy right there in the bed, targeted killing means that’s where they die, and people don’t have to throw out all their belongings anymore, because the bugs never scrambled away. I asked Sam how it feels to rid the city of pests. He answered with a story: Once, he was called in to treat a six-story building overrun by bedbugs because of an earlier mis-treatment (mis-treat the infestation and they just scatter), even in the walls. He did the job and then, he moved into an apartment there. “The neighbors love me,” he said. “It’s like having a doctor in the house.” Seasons come, seasons go. But a good exterminator surpasseth all understanding. Lenore Skenazy is the author and founder of the book and blog FreeRange Kids, and a contributor at Reason.com.

Posted To Squirreled away: What happened to Battery Park City’s squirrels? (Sept. 1) Funny, we locals (and kids) have been calling (and still are) “Pump House Park” the Oval Park and the Maze Park (where Mr. Rosen feeds squirrels). Jan David Thank you for bringing up an

important environment issue in an entertaining way. What I derived from the article is that Brookfield management needs to better communicate with our community. When Brookfield spreads “tasty poisoned bait” in their managed/our local park – they need to at least alert dog owners and parents. It appears likely that this at least killed off some of our squirrel population. Tom Goodkind

An important story as these squirrels may well be the canary in the coal mine. It’s a shame that someone raising the issue was “chuckled” off — poisons used irresponsibly may well end up killing the wrong animals -what a horrible way to go. If you read your history Manhattan was once teeming with wildlife, so what a shame to see the last vestiges posted Continued on page 21

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15 years on, Downtown is better than ever BY JESSICA L APPIN The renaissance of Downtown after the dark days following September 11th is a remarkable story. It’s a testament to all who live here, work here, invest here and have worked together to not only restore New York City’s First Neighborhood, but build an engine of growth and hope for the entire city. By any measure, Lower Manhattan is utterly transformed. From what was only a nascent 24/7 live-work community in 2000 — one that still largely emptied out after work hours and on weekends — every corner of the community is now teeming with activity at all hours of the day and evening. An extraordinary number of those who work here also live and play here: the census shows that 26.5% of the neighborhood’s employed residents walk to work, versus 10.1% for the city as a whole. That kind of intertwined and intimate relationship to place for Lower Manhattanites helps build the strength of our community fabric. With a residential population that has nearly tripled since 2000, tourism numbers cresting towards 15 million annual visitors, exponential growth in retail and restaurants — with now more than 1,200 stores and restaurants — and the rapid transformation of the area’s commercial tenancy from one dominated by financial services to

Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance

a robust and diverse mix of finance, law, media, technology and advertising, Lower Manhattan has built itself into a model of what a mixed used downtown can look like. While the opening of One World Trade Center in November of 2014 was an important symbolic achievement in post-9/11 recovery, another milestone this past year brought a different, perhaps more tangible kind of proof of the area’s renaissance: private sector employment in Lower Manhattan reached its highest level since the 9/11 attacks. This restoration of the local economy occurred despite the substantial contraction of the financial sector in 2008 and the blows dealt to us by Sandy in 2012. Lower Manhattan’s resilient economy

posted Continued from page 20

of that being ignored as they are slowly eradicated. Also, this appears to be another case where the city has “privatized” maintenance of a public space … wonder if the cost of more environmentally friendly means of dealing with pests has anything to do with the irresponsible use of poisons? Thanks for reporting this! History Guy You know how rats leave a sinking ship? Maybe it’s like that. Serge

now also employs New Yorkers of widely varying levels of skills and education who hail from every neighborhood of the city. And it’s only just begun. In 2015, the investment of billions of dollars of capital projects began coming online in the form of state-of-the-art office buildings, brand new places to shop and dine, new tourist attractions, hotels and apartment buildings. This investment and development will usher in the most significant and sustained period of job growth seen in Lower Manhattan in the last 30 years. Not only will the area outdo itself, but rates of job growth and GDP expansion in Lower Manhattan will outpace citywide estimates for the years ahead — establishing Downtown as one of the most important centers of economic activity in the ctiy and the state. Lower Manhattan today is a major center of employment for New York City residents, who make up some 70 percent of the area’s workforce. In fact, every neighborhood of New York City benefits from employment opportunities Downtown. On average, 3,436 people commute to work in Lower Manhattan every day from all neighborhoods across the city, and that’s not counting neighborhoods south of 96th St. in Manhattan. The diverse private sector economy provides employment opportunities for people of all levels of skill and education,

‘Citi Bike Valet Service’ comes to BPC (Aug. 26) Sorry, but there is something wrong when mass transit (bus and subway) fares go up and service and routes (major bus reduction in 2010) are reduced – but somehow there is money for Citi Bike Valet? And another example of more services for tourists and residents of an affluent neighborhood? jess Don’t forget, Citi Bike rates for annual membership increased from $99 to (now) $155 (almost $170 with sales tax). Presumably, the higher rates help pay for better, longer lasting bikes, more frequent mainte-

including approximately 100,000 people working in occupations that do not require a four-year college degree. Perhaps most excitingly, we anticipate a new surge of employment growth and economic activity in Lower Manhattan, with the expected addition of an estimated 40,000 new private sector payroll jobs between 2015 and 2020. Approximately two-thirds of these jobs are expected to be net new jobs to the city. This growth would transform Lower Manhattan into a powerhouse for the city and the state — as employment Downtown is expected to grow by an average annual rate almost twice that of the city as a whole. Fifteen years after our greatest icon became a symbol of tragedy for the nation, Downtown refused to be defined by it, and instead took the opportunity to remake itself even better than before — building new icons, and creating the most dynamic neighborhood in the greatest city in the world. Lower Manhattan now thrives in ways unimaginable immediately after that dark day. Together, this community has built an exciting present and a promising future. Together, we will face whatever challenges confront us. Together, we have proved Lower Manhattan can achieve amazing things. Jessica Lappin is president of the Alliance for Downtown New York.

nance, expansion. The rates incredibly pay for valets (not sure, yet, if these are ridiculous or not) and help subsidize NYCHA members. Jan David

Emerald idle: BPC’s Irish Hunger Memorial closes for months of repairs (Aug. 24) Now this is interesting: the Irish Memorial is an authentic recreation of the Irish country side, while a couple of blocks away the Sept. 11 WTC memorial eliminate abolishes all authenticity. Why is that? Michael Burke

SOU N D O F F!

W Write rite aa letter letter to to th thee editor! editor! editor@ editor@dow downtow ntownnex exppres resss.c .coom m DowntownExpress.com

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Greece honors John Catsimatidis with stamp BY PAUL SCHINDLER John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of the Gristedes chain of several dozen other Manhattan supermarkets, as well as Red Apple Group, with supermarket, convenience store, gas station, oil refining, and real estate holdings nationwide, was recognized by his nation of birth when Greece, on September 1, issued a postage stamp in his honor. Catsimatidis was one of five individuals of Greek heritage living abroad named by the International Foundation for Greece to receive acknowledgement by that nation with a stamp. IFG recognized him with its annual Entrepreneurship Award. Born on the Greek island of Nisyros 68 years ago this week, Catsimatidis immigrated to New York with his parents six months later. He opened up his first Red Apple supermarket while still an engineering student at New York University,

and within a decade had built the chain to dozens of stores in Manhattan and the Bronx and begun to diversify his business holdings. Catsimatidis said he had not known of the IFG honors prior to being notified of his selection earlier this summer –– and he even admitted he had second thoughts about “schlepping” all the way to Greece (“You know that Greek word ‘schlepping,’ he quipped to this reporter) for the ceremony. “But then I thought of my father and mother and grandparents and how they would be so proud,” he said. Accompanied by his wife, Margo, and two children, Andrea and John, Jr., Catsimatidis traveled to Athens for the splashy awards ceremony last week at the Auditorium of the Acropolis Museum. The trip was his third to his homeland in the past five years, one of them, he said, because a book about his mother had been published there.

Despite his 2013 run for the Republican mayoral nomination and his ownership of the Hellenic Times, a Manhattanbased Greek-American newspaper where his wife had been president at the time of their 1988 marriage, Catsimatidis said he has never taken a public stance on political questions back in Greece. In addition to his business life, Catsimatidis sponsors a scholarship fund at NYU’s Stern School of Business and is a supporter of the National Kidney Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, and the Ellis Island Awards Foundation. His fellow honorees were journalist George Stephanopoulos, Dr. Peter Diamandis, an engineer, physician, and entrepreneur who founded the XPRIZE Foundation, filmmaker CostaGavras, and Rita Wilson, the singer and actress who is also the wife of Tom Hanks.

Greek Post Office

NYC Grocery mogul John Catsimatidis was honored by Greece with a postage stamp on Sept. 1.

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DowntownExpress.com

September 08 - 21, 2016

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Film Force Four’s Fantastic Fall

What makes the cut at carefully curated cinemas BY SEAN EGAN With the last of summer’s bloated franchise films straggling out of theaters, the next few months will provide a welcome opportunity to wash the taste of undercooked sequels out of your mouth. Thankfully, there’s no better place on the island (or the globe for that matter) for film lovers to discover original new voices or revisit old favorites than Lower Manhattan. Programmers from four of the area’s premiere independent cinemas recently spoke with us, about their philosophies and what they’ll be presenting throughout the fall.

FILM FORUM For many New York film buffs, it might be easy to take Film Forum for granted — after all, the venue’s been operating for nearly 50 years, since it was founded in 1970. But according to premieres co-programmer Mike Maggiore, the theater is having one of its best summers ever — perhaps due to the fact that he and his co-programmers try to reach both film buffs and a wider audience of cinemagoers. “We’re really trying to find what is interesting and provocative and exciting in world cinema today; films that really move or excite us, or kind of expand our knowledge and really explore or expose something that we find novel,” Maggiore explained. To this end, Maggiore and his co-programmer Karen Cooper scour the world, through festivals and screener links alike, viewing upwards of 700 films yearly. About 30 are selected for theatrical runs, and the venue has a distinct commitment to documentary (which account for about 70% of premieres). Maggiore highlighted two soon-to bereleased docs in particular: “Tower” and “Do Not Resist.” The former is a mostly animated examination of the first mass school shooting (1966, at the University of Texas). The latter concerns the militarization of police. Both are prescient in

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© Peter Aaron/Esto

An exterior look at Film Forum, which has been in operation since 1970.

a way Maggiore couldn’t have planned. “There is a hunger for great documentaries, and audiences will come out to see something fascinating.” Fall highlights of Film Forum’s narrative programming include the based-ona-true-story “Christine” (Oct. 14), which, Maggiore noted, offers “a fantastic, electric performance by Rebecca Hall.” In December, Maggiore is looking forward to “Toni Erdmann,” a critics’ favorite at Cannes. “If you were to tell me that there was an 162-minute German cringe comedy, and that it was one of the best films of the year, I might be skeptical, but this one definitely won me over,” he said with a laugh. Bruce Goldstein, the director of Film Forum’s repertory programming, also knows a thing or two about long-game programming. “Basically I’m juggling, over many years, different projects that are always just floating, and we’re waiting for the opportune moment to do them,” he noted. As it stands however, his upcoming fall slate is pretty killer.

In the coming weeks, theatergoers will be treated to a Marx Brothers slate, a 3-D auteur program (featuring rare Hitchcock and Sirk prints), a Busby Berkeley retrospective, and, cheekily timed for election week, a series on “demagogues” (featuring titles like “Dr. Strangelove” and “The Great Dictator”). “I wouldn’t just do a thematic series about world events, unless it lent itself to a fun series — and I think it is a fun series,” Goldstein assured. “Serious subject, but the films are individually entertaining.” All this plays in conjunction with Goldstein’s regularly scheduled weekly Film Forum Jr. matinee program, designed to introduce kids to classics and foster a love of movies in a new generation. “I hope that [audiences] feel they’ve experienced something here that they couldn’t get anywhere else in New York, and that they’ve visited a theater that cares deeply about movies,” said Maggiore on his aspirations for the venue. “The big element that the theater

offers, that you can’t get at home, or on a device is the audience, and sharing it with an audience — and that’s very important,” echoed Goldstein. “Take a classic like ‘Psycho;’ I don’t think it could have the same impact [at home]. What’s happening? Most people are looking at their Facebook accounts or whatever; they’re looking at Instagram while they’re watching. All those distractions, it’s just not the same.” Film Forum is located at 209 W. Houston St. (btw. Varick St. & Sixth Ave.). Call 212-727-8110 or visit filmforum.org.

ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES Even amongst the unique world of independent theaters, Anthology Film Archives is kind of a different beast. That’s because Anthology, which was founded in 1970 by experimental and FILM continued on p. 26 DowntownExpress.com


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September 08 - 21, 2016

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FILM continued from p. 24

Courtesy Kino Lorber

Keith Maitland’s documentary “Tower” opens Oct. 12 at Film Forum.

Courtesy Anthology Film Archives

Anthology Film Archives’ Courthouse Theater.

Courtesy EYE Film Institute

A still from “The Latest Variety Sensation,” part of Anthology Film Archives’ “Woman With a Movie Camera” series.

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avant-garde pioneers including Jonas Mekas and Stan Brakhage, is exactly what it says it is. In addition to being a theater, it’s an institution that houses an archival collection and serves as a center for film and video preservation and restoration work, with theaters equipped to present all of their programming on their original formats, from 35mm to VHS (and everything in between). True to its roots, Anthology places a special focus on independent, experimental, and avant-garde films in their exhibition and preservation efforts (which often go hand in hand), especially ones that fly under the radar, or are in danger of being lost to time. It’s a philosophy that’s been in place since the early days of the theater, when the Essential Cinema — Anthology’s “foundational text,” according to programmer Jed Rapfogel — was drafted by its founders. Left unfinished in 1975, the 330-title list was “an attempt to define the art of cinema,” and included usual suspects like Chaplin and Welles, while also emphasizing avant-garde directors like Brakhage, Michael Snow, Hollis Frampton, and Maya Deren. It’s an unchanging document that helped define avant-garde cinema, and whose titles are still played on constant rotation at Anthology. “We add to the Essential Cinema in a philosophical sense by programming lots of other things,” Rapfogel noted. “But as far as the Essential Cinema goes, we don’t add to it.” Upcoming programming attests to this — most specifically, the “Re-Visions” series, which takes a look at experimental filmmakers from 1975 to about 1990. “Re-Visions,” Rapfogel noted, “is something that came out of a grant from the [Andy] Warhol Foundation, and it really just covers the preservation work we’ve been doing for about three or four years now. It basically funded a whole host of preservation projects, and the idea was to focus on the generation of avant-garde cinema after the Essential Cinema did take its final form,” said Rapfogel, who noted that he also tries to pair the restored films with modern work from the directors, as “most of these filmmakers are still alive, and most of them continue to make work.” In the month of September, the series will focus on the work of Lower East Side filmmaker Bradley Eros, with future programs (continuing through early 2017) highlighting the works of artists like the late Peter Hutton.

And starting on Sept. 15, Rapfogel’s scheduled another program that continues Anthology’s efforts to preserve and uncover important, overlooked works. “The ‘Woman With a Movie Camera’ series is something that is gonna be really kind of amazing, a pretty broad survey of female-directed films, pre-1950,” he explained, asserting that while the program features selections by bigger names like Alice Guy-Blaché, it more prominently includes little-known and international films from the early era of motion pictures. “I think there are a lot of discoveries to be made there.” Going forward, Rapfogel has lined up a program for the 50th anniversary of the London Filmmaker’s Co-op, and, in October, a variety of programs that focus on horror, including a retrospective of Italian gore master Lucio Fulci. “He’s best known as a horror filmmaker, but he made films in a crazy variety of genres,” said Rapfogel. “The idea is really to call attention to them.” He’s also letting the reins go for a bit, for a series called “Medium is the Massacre.” “John Dieringer, who runs Screen Slate, he’s guest-curating a series, [that’s] kind of a blast, that’s going focusing on horror films in which media — cinema, TV, the Internet — play a major role in terms of the plot,” he revealed, noting such cult titles as “Videodrome” and “Poltergeist” would be featured. Anthology Film Archives is located at 32 Second Ave. (at Second St.). Call 212515-5181 or visit anthologyfilmarchives. org.

METROGRAPH Having first opened its doors this past March, Metrograph is the new kid on the block (especially compared to stalwarts like Anthology and Film Forum), but the Downtown venue has already made a name for itself with its idiosyncratic programming and a bold sense of style. “I think the thing that sets Metrograph apart from other places that already exist in the city is just the personality that’s diffused throughout the entire identity of the cinema,” noted programmer Aliza Ma. “And by that, I mean the tangible aspects: the design, every element of the architecture, the aesthetics, all the way down to the programming.” Stepping into the venue, the sense of style can’t be denied, from its retrofuturist bar and concession (and upscale FILM continued on p. 27

DowntownExpress.com


Photo by Mirella Cheeseman

Courtesy Metrograph

The distinct retro-futurist style and architecture of Metrograph evokes 1920s New York theaters, and reflects the personality of the founders and staff.

Japanese horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Creepy” comes to Metrograph just in time for Halloween.

FILM continued from p. 26

dining room) to its wooden seats in the screening rooms. A quick glance at its schedule, which features a mind-boggling array of 35mm screenings, also confirms Ma’s claims. “I feel like within the last 10 years, film, it went from being the dominant industry format to almost becoming sort of a museum rarity,” Ma asserted. “There’s a certain connectivity between distribution, archiving and exhibition, and our hope is that drop by drop, our efforts to continue exhibiting film will affect some kind of change.” Nowhere is this commitment to 35mm more apparent than in the retrospective programs, which Ma conceives and executes with her co-programmer Jake Perlin. “[Our process is] pretty much what you might do if you just wanted to brainstorm a bunch of programs. We have a board where we write all these ideas that might be really cool,” she explained. The results have been wide-ranging and eclectic, from their Robert Aldrich retrospective (starting Sept. 15) to their “Queer

’90s” series (Oct. 5), which is “meant to survey a time when the visibility of queer characters became more prominent in every aspect of cinema,” and capitalize on the sense of ’90s nostalgia Ma has observed Downtown. The current programming centerpiece is “Welcome to Metrograph,” where the programmers select favorites in alphabetical order. Sept./Oct. find the alphabetized amalgamation hitting M and N for titles. “It’s a total extension of our personality,” Ma said, noting the only context for the films is the cinema they’re playing in. “With ‘Welcome to Metrograph,’ it’s almost like we thought of it so intuitively, and we thought of it because we didn’t want to establish a new canon or even an anti-canon. And I really dislike the listicle culture that is so pervasive now, so we were like, ‘What if we just listed films that we really like alphabetically?’ And now it’s like a joke that’s gone, like, so far that we have to carry it out completely.” The selections run the gamut from George Miller’s “Mad Max” to Chantal Ackerman’s “News From Home.” In addition to series, starting Sept. 8,

Theater for the New City • 155 1st Avenue at E. 10th St. Reservations & Info (212) 254-1109 For more info, please visit www.theaterforthenewcity.net

TNC’S AWARD-WINNING STREET THEATER COMPANY’S 2016 ANNUAL SUMMER STREET THEATER TOUR

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Dream Up Festival

19 Productions, 15 World Premieres! Musicals, Comedy, Drama, Experimental, International and more For a full listing of shows visit DreamUpFestival.org to purchase tickets visit smarttix.com or call (212) 868-4444

the theater is giving a full theatrical run to a new 35mm print of 1982’s “Chan is Missing.” “It’s such a landmark ChineseAmerican film, which is different from a Chinese film,” said Ma. “It’s as American as a John Ford western, but it’s made wholly of the Asian-American experience, and it’s this sort of interesting play on the legacy of film noir.” Nonetheless, Metrograph still has a

commitment to presenting adventurous new releases. Ma’s particularly excited about the release of “Little Sister,” a film about a present day 20-something nun visiting her family. “We thought it was such a really sweet film about family, it’s kind of playful and also very moving,” described Ma. Around Halloween a feature called “Creepy” will premiere, FILM continued on p. 28

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FILM continued from p. 27

hailing from Kiyoshi Kurosawa, “a veteran Japanese horror director” returning to his roots. “Hopefully people will trust us enough to take a chance on something they’ve never heard of before,” Ma said. “I’m hoping that the programming and the way that the cinema is laid out will open up the possibility of people associating really great filmgoing memories with Metrograph.” Metrograph is located at 7 Ludlow St. (btw. Canal & Hester Sts.). Call 212-6600312 or visit metrograph.com.

IFC CENTER Sitting somewhere between the fresh-faced eagerness of Metrograph and the elder statesmen of Film Forum and Anthology lies IFC Center, which has been drawing people in from the West 4 Street subway stop since it opened in 2005. “We’re in such a fortunate position in Downtown New York,” said John Vanco, general manager of IFC. “[The area] is so diverse and so dense that really outstanding cinema, even if it’s challenging, even if it seems to appeal to a narrow constituency, even if the cinema itself is kind of difficult and its rewards seem obscure and hard to pull out — quality is very much rewarded by audiences here. And so we are able to be ambitious with our programs.” Vanco credited their strength as a theater to the careful selection of new releases (often led by positive critical notices) and their select retrospective runs (such as their currently running program of Keilslowski’s epic “Dekalog”). A glance at the fall slate is something of a who’s who of working independent directors, including “Certain Women” by Kelly Reichardt, Ava DuVernay’s “The 13th,” Herzog’s “Into the Inferno,” and André Téchiné’s new film. Vanco’s particularly proud of their documentary slate — including DOC NYC. That November fest is the largest documentary showcase in the country, and will open this year with “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City,” about urban planning activist Jane Jacobs’ battle with NYC builder Robert Moses. The release Vanco is most excited about is “Fire at Sea,” and with good reason — the refugee doc took home the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival. “It puts such a human face on what

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Courtesy IFC Center

The marquee of IFC Center, which greets people stepping out of the West 4 Street subway station.

could otherwise seem like a dry, political debate, and instead this movie turns it into this very real kind of emotional set of stories about people who are trying to keep their children alive, and trying to just get from day to day,” he commented. While new releases are the theater’s forte, they do maintain the robust series “Weekend Classics” and “Waverly Midnights” for cult films. “[There’s] a repertory of movies that people just want to see time and time again on the big screen, so you know, that’s something that’s, I think, an important part of being a neighborhood cinema.” Another hallmark of IFC is their frequent Q&A sessions with directors, writers, and actors, as well as other assorted talks. “I think we do more in-person events than any other theater, and it’s really a priority for us,” Vanco explained. “It’s really kind of evolved into this core part of what we do, and it’s really a community-building project.” “In New York, the greatest and most creative and most curious and most ambitious film artists in America all come together here,” he elaborated. “It’s a real responsibility of ours to kind of be a place where they can gather and support each other.” However, Vanco was also sure to note that this sense of duty extends beyond just IFC, and is thankful that other independent cinemas exist in the

Courtesy IFC Center

A still from “Citizen Jane,” a selection of IFC’s DOC NYC fest, about urban activist Jane Jacobs.

area. “IFC needs those other theaters to help raise the bar for the New York cinema because we need a new crop every year of new people coming in, young people coming in to celebrate these cinemas,” Vanco observed. “I think New York needs a variety of different kinds of cinemas that are all ambitious in their kinds of areas, because what New York needs to be is a kind of an island,” he continued. “It’ll mean that when movie-mad 17, 18, 20, 25-year-olds come out from the rest of

the country trying to figure out how they can do something in video or film, we want them to keep being drawn to New York. I mean, that’s what drew me to New York, is seeing, like, ‘Wow, all these different movies are actually on the big screen in New York, this weekend? How is that possible?’ Because the rest of the country, there’s just no place else that has this.” IFC Center is located at 323 Sixth Ave. (at W. Third St.). Call 212-9247771 or visit ifccenter.com. DowntownExpress.com


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Reeding is Fundamental Oboe soloists featured in Chelsea concerts BY SCOTT STIFFLER September is turning out to be a very good month for fans of the oboe keen on consuming a double dose of that sopranorange woodwind instrument, whose roots can be traced back to the mid-17th century. That’s when — so goes the widely accepted but not completely uncontested origin tale — French musicians Jean Hotteterre and Michel Danican Philidor sought to create a softer-sounding 2.0 version of the shawm, the prevailing doublereed instrument of the day. Flash forward to 2016: Instantly recognizable but rarely a headliner, the oboe is being given ample opportunity to shine by a pair of Chelseabased cultural stalwarts.

Photo by Margaret Westreich

Rachel Seiden performs Strauss, at The Chelsea Symphony’s Sept. 9 and 10 concerts.

THE CHELSEA SYMPHONY All roads lead to freedom of expression, expressed with idiosyncratic verve; when a local treasure, The Chelsea Symphony, draws upon a world’s worth of talent for their 2016/2017 “Flight Paths” series — devoted to the music of composers who have been inspired by, or have immigrated to, the United States of America. The September season-opener presents Chinese folk songs from Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Zhou Long, and NYC-based oboist Rachel Seiden, the featured soloist on Richard Strauss’ “Oboe Concerto in D major, TrV 292.” Reuben Blundell and Matthew Aubin conduct. Fri., Sept. 9, 8:30pm & Sat., Sept. 10, 7:30pm at St. Paul’s German Lutheran Church (315 W. 22nd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). For tickets ($25 premium reserved, $20 general admission suggested donation at the door), visit thechelseasymphony.eventbrite.com. Also visit chelseasymphony.org.

SUMMER MUSIC IN CHELSEA The time of music wafting on warm winds hasn’t quite come to a close, as the Summer Music in Chelsea series will demonstrate during their mid-month concert. Oboist Carolyn Pollak is the soloist, and Tong Chen conducts the New Amsterdam Summer Orchestra DowntownExpress.com

Photo by Rich Pollak

Carolyn Pollak, former principal oboist for the NJ Symphony Orchestra, is a featured soloist at Sept. 14’s Summer Music in Chelsea concert.

— whose selections include Mozart’s “Symphony No. 4 in D Major K. 19,” Vivaldi’s “Oboe Concerto RV454,” and, on the bicentennial of its composition, Schubert’s “Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major.” Brooklyn-based artist Maria Tsaguriya will be on hand to create works of art during the concert. Wed., Sept. 14, 7:30pm at St. Peter’s Church in Chelsea (346 W. 20th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.). Suggested donation of $10 ($5 for students/seniors) benefits the Food Pantry at St. Peter’s. September 08 - 21, 2016

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September 08 - 21, 2016

phone conversations. The use of a hands-free device does not lower distraction levels. The percentage of vehicle crashes and nearcrashes attributed to dialing is nearly identical to the number associated with talking or listening.

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DowntownExpress.com


‘Left in the dust’ Locals continue to fight for healthcare for Downtowners and first responders BY COLIN MIXSON In 2001, Kimberly Flynn spent her days poring over research for the Environmental Law and Justice Project at the organization’s Broadway office Downtown, about eight blocks from the World Trade Center, but on Sept. 11, her work took her to New Jersey, sparing her from the initial inundation of toxic dust that enveloped Lower Manhattan with the collapse of the Twin Towers. But Flynn soon found herself consumed by the deluge of noxious particles in a different way as she dedicated herself to exposing the harm it was doing to Downtown residents and Ground Zero workers in the months that followed the 9/11 attacks. “What happened was it became very clear to me that the residents of Lower Manhattan were — quite literally — being left in the dust,” said Flynn. When the dust settled after the terrorist attack, it settled everywhere — in homes, offices, and classrooms — carrying toxic levels of lead, asbestos, and a litany of heavy metals that have since claimed hundreds of lives through illness. “People were saying, ‘I tried to move back in to my apartment in Battery Park City and saw this dust glittering like eye shadow,’” said Flynn. But the Environmental Protection Agency, along with local health agencies, maintained that the dust was harmless, according to Flynn, and as first responders labored without respirators at Ground Zero, locals were encouraged back into their homes and shovel out the poisonous particulates by hand — with devastating consequences. “Everyday people who tried to clean their homes are among the people who are sick today,” said Flynn. Locals began to suspect that there was a deliberate cover up of the health risks ­of exposure to the ubiquitous dust — not DowntownExpress.com

least because the city government wanted to maintain strict control of all test result, according to Madelyn Wils, who was chairwoman of Community Board 1 at the time. “We had to sneak scientists past the barricades in the middle of the night to take samples from the apartments because the Giuliani administration would allow access if only his office got the results,” she said. Wils said the Health Department was also too slow in informing residents how to clear debris from their homes.

Associated Press / Stan Honda

Even a month after the 9/11 attacks, the still-smoldering wreckage at Ground Zero spewed noxious smoke and toxins into the air.

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Photo by Robert Spencer

Kimberly Flynn, co-founder of 9/11 Environmental Action, speaking at a 2008 rally pressing for Congress to pass the Zadroga Act to provide healthcare and monitoring for Downtowners and 9/11 first responders made ill by exposure to toxic dust.

“People were already cleaning their apartments by the time it became known you needed to hire a professional company to do something like that,” she said. Flynn went on to help found 9/11 Environmental Action, a group dedicated to bringing the dust’s harmful effects to light. By 2006 the group had succeeded in dispelling the official myth, as a Pace University poll revealed that virtually nobody believed the 9/11 dust was safe, dust Continued on page 9

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dust Continued from page 7

despite the EPA’s repeated assertions to the contrary. “What we accomplished was we raised awareness throughout the affected area that the smoke and dust from 9/11 did pose a health threat to people who were exposed.” said Flynn. “By 2006, nobody believed the EPA’s declaration that the air was safe.” That same year, NYPD detective James Zadroga died of respiratory disease, and an autopsy found glass particles in his lungs attributed to the dust he inhaled at Ground Zero. Flynn and others lobbied Washington for years to provide health care and compensation for first responders and Downtowners made ill by exposure to the toxic dust. Finally, in late 2010, Congress passed the Zadroga Act, providing health care for first responders and recovery workers, and reopening the Victim Compensation Fund for another five years with $5.2 billion in funding. Two years after that, the program was expanded to cover a range of cancers later linked to toxic exposure at Ground Zero. And just last year, after the initial funding ran out, Congress reauthorized the Zadroga Act with nearly $8 billion in additional money to keep the Victim Compensation Fund open for five more years and ensure that the WTC Health Program would operate for another 75 years. More recent research has found even more profound health effects linked to exposre to 9/11 dust. A paper published in the American Journal of Public Health found a link to low birth weight in babies bore to women affected by 9/11 event three years after the attacks. A study by Stony Brook University has found memory and cognitive

Zadroga Family

NYPD detective James Zadroga died of respiratory disease in January 2006, and an autopsy found glass particles in his lungs attributed to his work at Ground Zero.

problems in individuals exposed to Ground Zero toxins. And the New York Post recently reported a finding by the WTC Health Program that new cancer diagnoses among enrollees have nearly trippled in the past 2 and a half years. A portion of the renewed Zadroga funding was allocated to 9/11 Environmental Action to support continued outreach, so its work continues today, according Flynn, because many locals still don’t know their rights. Of the nearly 400,000 people Downtown who were exposed to 4.313” contaminants after 9/11 attacks, just 82,000 — only about 20 percent — have enrolled in the WTC Health Program, Flynn said. “What we’re doing now is we’re engaged pretty much full-time in outreach and education for the WTC Health Program,” she said. “We fought for the ounce of prevention, and now we’re fighting for the pound of cure.”

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On September 11, 2001 America was

attacked but it has been New York and particularly Lower Manhattan that continue to suffer. But we are resilient and our people are strong. Today I stand with Americans and New Yorkers everywhere to say we will never forget 9/11 and we will never ever surrender. United we stand and God bless America.

Assemblywoman Alice Cancel 65th AD DowntownExpress.com

The Open Center presents:

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SEPTEMBER 11 SPECIAL SECTION

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reflections Continued from page 6

work of victims’ families into a powerful force in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. “We worked to give the families a voice in what happened to the area,” she said, reminding the many players working to rebuild the WTC site that it wasn’t just a disaster zone to be rebuilt, but the final resting place of thousands of people. Adams-Webb got the idea for the 9/11 Tribute Center while working for the Families’ Association out of an office overlooking the fenced-off site that was still called Ground Zero nearl five years after the dust had settled and drew a steady stream of tourists. “Thousands came down there, but there was nowhere to go,” she said. “That’s when I got the idea for a place where people could learn about what happened.” Leading the Tribute Center gave Adams-Webb a front-row seat to watch Downtown transform from a sterile business district, to a bleak disaster area, to a churning construction site, to a bustling neighborhood. “When I worked in the towers, everybody left at night,” she said. “Now you see people 24/7. It wasn’t that way before.” Adams-Webb said that it was the residents — those who stayed and those who later came — who have remade Downtown even better than before. “You can build all the infrastructure, but without the people and the community, it doesn’t work.”

‘In the frozen zone’ The residents of Lower Manhattan suffered tremendously from 9/11, but local businesses struggled in the aftermath as well. The dust, the cleanup, the security barricades — not to mention the temporary exile of so many office workers and residents — made it nearly impossible to stay in business Downtown. “Businesses couldn’t receive deliveries, their employees couldn’t come to work and their customers were driven away. They were in the frozen zone,” said Julie Menin, who at the time owned the Vine Restaurant on Broad St. “A number of people counted us out.” But the same spirit that made residents resolved to stay and rebuild brought the local business community together to keep Downtown’s economy afloat. Two weeks after the attacks, Menin founded Wall Street Rising, a grassroots organization dedicated to revitalizing Lower Manhattan. The non-profit spearheaded numerous cultural and commercial projects aimed at bringing foot traffic back to the neighborhood and helping local businesses rebound. “It was really important after 9/11 to get that sense of community back and that meant bringing back our local businesses,” said Menin. “Wall Street Rising came out of a conversation among residents and local businesses who were all struggling and wanted to be involved in advocating for the neighborhood.” Support for the organization was enormous, and Wall Street Rising soon boasted 3,000 members, according to Menin. The group put together cultural events such as Art Downtown and Music Downtown, to draw people back to the area. Menin also created the “Do It Downtown!” discount card, which encouraged New Yorkers to patronize Lower Manhattan businesses. She said some restaurants saw their profits rebound by as much as 400 percent. “I believe all ships are carried by a rising tide,” said Menin. “We tried to bring more people to Lower

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Manhattan and promote the neighborhood as a whole. I think that made an enormous difference.” The organization’s efforts clearly bore fruit. Wall Street Rising was able to help more than 600 small businesses stay in or relocate to Lower Manhattan, according to Menin. The economic turnaround was accompanied by a boom in the residential population, creating a new set of challenges, with Downtown becoming something of a victim of its own success. In 2005, Menin was elected chairwoman of Community Board 1 and served for seven years, focusing on bringing more public resources to the growing community and pushing for population surveys to draw attention the need for more school seats, parks and affordable housing. “We felt it was important to have data to quantify and predict the population growth and show people were absolutely coming to stay in Lower Manhattan,” she said. Menin wanted to make sure that Lower Manhattan didn’t just rebuild, but led the city into the future, citing the opening in 2009 of the city’s first ever “green school,” P.S. 276, as a milestone in Downtown’s revitalization. Menin acknowledged that Downtown’s economy has come a long way forward in the last 15 years, but she said it was residents’ commitment to rebuild immediately after the attacks that established the foundation for area to rebound. “It’s incredible to see the progress that has occurred in Lower Manhattan, but it’s due in large part to those of us who lived and worked in the area and felt strongly that it would recover,” she said.

‘Better than we ever thought possible’ In the aftermath 9/11, Downtowners were driven to do more than simply sweep away the dust and carry on with their lives. Residents and local businesses shared an impulse to defy the destruction and rebuild their neighborhood into something even better than it was before. And nowhere did Lower Manhattan’s passion for resurgence manifest so beautifully in as it did in The Battery, according to its keeper. “I have always felt that The Battery is the counterbalance — a public space that is communicating how this city has come back,” said Warrie Price, founder of The Battery Conservancy. Price founded the conservancy in 1994 after she discovered that the Battery Park City Authority had drafted a master plan to renovate the park — which is actually a city park just outside the state-controlled development — but the city had made no effort to make the grand vision a reality, she said. Back then, the park was in rough shape. There was very little green space compared to today, and it was crisscrossed with asphalt and cobblestone paths, appearing barren and lifeless for a park. “It was in terrible shape,” said Price. But at that time, there wasn’t much interest in renovating the patchy public space at the tip of Manhattan, according to Price, and she struggled even to scrape together funding to repair The Battery’s upper promenade. In the aftermath of 9/11, however, everything changed. Public support for reinvigorating the park SEPTEMBER 11 SPECIAL SECTION

Photos by Warrie Price

An initial grant of $8 million from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation allowed The Battery Conservancy to rip up an acre of Belgian block pavement (above) and replace the drab expanse of gray stones with a garden of perennial flowers (below).

surged along with the overall momentum to rebuild Downtown, and the newly formed LMDC offered millions of dollars in grants. An initial $8 million grant allowed Price to transform The Bosque. An acre of Belgian block pavement was torn up and replaced with perennial gardens, turning the relatively gray space into a vast flowerbed bursting with color. The project so impressed the LMDC that it continued to provide funding for additional renovations over the years, and local government took a renewed interest in sprucing up the space as Downtown’s residential population boomed and tourists flooded the area on the pilgrimage to Ground Zero and later the 9/11 memorial. “The city and City Council all believed that The Battery was important to the revitalization of Downtown,” said Price. With support from the LMDC, the city, and from locals through the conservancy’s own fund-raising efforts, The Battery has become a world-class green space of fountains, gardens, playgrounds, and amenities. The park has since unveiled the popular Seaglass Carousel, the Labyrinth Maze, its Urban Farm, the Battery Oval, and become home to the largest collection of perennial gardens in the city, featuring nearly two-and-a-half football fields worth of flowering plants. Once gray, sterile and often empty, over the past 15 years The Battery has literally blossomed, and become vibrant, active, and full of life — much like Downtown itself. “It represents a grand revitalization,” said Price, “a sense that nothing will get us down, that we’re building better than we ever thought possible.”

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