VOLUME 25, NUMBER 11
NOVEMBER 3-NOVEMBER 13, 2012
DOWNTOWN HIT HARD, STARTS TO RECOVER
urricane Sandy was only a storm by Oct. 29 when it smacked Downtown but it still caused record floods of 13.9 feet. Thousands evacuated the area and subways are still not running. Most of the city had electricity throughout the storm, but Downtown is not expected to get power back until Saturday. The storm also flooded our offices, which is why the hard copy edition is being printed a few days late. We will continue to update DowntownExpress.com as well as our Twitter (@DowntownExpress) and Facebook (Downtown Express) pages.
NATIONAL GUARD SENDS TAKEOUT TO CHINATOWN Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
SANDY THE AXE
The storm knocked down a tree blocking the esplanade. See more on page 3.
Damage Overlooked: Seaport Area Businesses Get Little Attention B Y A L I N E RE YN O LD S & K A IT LY N M E A D E Battery Park City has received most of the city’s media attention following Hurricane Sandy. But, of all the neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan, the South Street Seaport suffered the most damage, having experienced an eightfoot water surge that destroyed the interiors of many area businesses. Front Street business owners, whose restaurants and shops took the hardest blow, were emptying out their storefronts a couple of blocks away from the East River in the days and hours after the storm. While some are optimis-
tic about re-opening in the coming weeks, most of the entrepreneurs are leaving future business plans up in the air until they have a clearer picture of the extent of damage and expenses. Fernando Dallorso, the owner of Stella Manhattan Bistro on Front Street, lost nearly all the furniture and equipment inside his sevenyear-old restaurant to water damage. “We don’t foresee any opening in the next month or so,” he said, distraught. “Ninety-nine percent of the stuff is going to be thrown away. Everything is useless.” Keg 229 and Bin 220, both on Front Street,
BY SAM SPOKONY n a shaky yet mainly successful start to the National Guard’s increased presence in Downtown Manhattan following the impact of Hurricane Sandy, on Thursday night hundreds of desperate residents welcomed a massive delivery of food and water outside a Lower East Side public housing complex. The Guardsmen were originally scheduled to arrive to deliver the rations at 1 p.m. that day outside Smith Houses on Catherine St., near Cherry St. — but the people lined up waiting for hours for the drop-off became increasingly agi-
also saw extensive losses, according to co-owner Calli Lerner. “It’s devastating — I don’t even know where to begin. These are our babies, these businesses,” she said. “We have to throw everything away…the tables, the chairs, the refrigeration that might have gotten damaged from the water, the computer systems and most of the technology.” Lerner continued, “We’re hoping that FEMA helps us out, we’re hoping that insurance comes through…and we can start to rebuild.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency has Continued on page 28
O N E MET ROT E CH CE NT E R NORT H, 10TH FLR • BROOKLYN , N Y 112013 • COPYRIG HT © 2012 N YC COMM U N ITY M ED IA , LLC
Continued on page 30
MORE STORM COVERAGE INSIDE
November 3 - November 13, 2012
Battery Park City residents brave Hurricane Sandy BY T E RE SE L O E B K R E U Z E R In Sandy’s wake, after the carnage and terror of the night before, by Tuesday morning, Oct. 29, there was relative calm and silence in Manhattan. By then, most Battery Park City residents had heeded Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s mandatory evacuation order and had fled to other parts of the city or even to other states. They would have heard that on Monday evening, under a full moon that spurred tides on the Hudson River to greater heights than usual, the river had crested at a record of almost 14 feet and had surged over the sea wall. Beyond that, they were hungry for information. By the next day, those who had power and email turned to the Internet to communicate with their neighbors. “It is my understanding that people are staying safe where they are at this point and not returning. Has anyone heard about schools being open?” Gateway Plaza resident Tom Goodkind asked. “I’ve seen people coming back to Gateway Plaza. Parking spaces are being taken on the street but the garage isn’t open,” Pat Gray replied. The dispersed Battery Park City residents wanted to know which buildings had power, how much food there was in the stores, which stores were open, how difficult it was to navigate the roads, whether the buildings were flooded, whether there
was telephone and Internet service. In addition to emails, they communicated on Facebook. Honey Berk, a technology specialist at the CUNY Building Performance Lab, started disseminating information via the Battery Park City Block Party website at http://www.bpcblockparty.com and via her Twitter account. Goodkind was the first to point out that although most of the complex’s six buildings and 1,710 apartments had power, the 400 building did not. The basement had been flooded, shutting off the electricity. Gateway Plaza management had indicated that it would take three to five days to restore power in that building. Rosalie Joseph, who also lives in Gateway Plaza, responded that she had just heard that, too. She said she was, “Getting out word to CERT [the Community Emergency Response Team], B.P.C. CARES, and Gateway Tenants to organize. If anyone on this email list is able to help, let me know.” Six people heeded Joseph’s S.O.S. and met at noon on Wednesday, Oct. 31, to try to help their stranded neighbors. They went to the dark lobby of 400 Gateway Plaza, where they talked to residents. How many people had stayed behind, they inquired. How many were elderly? How many needed help for other reasons? Among other things,
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
Much of Battery Park City had power through the storm so Downtown residents used a charging station in the Conrad Hotel.
they learned that someone who had just had major surgery was on the 20th floor of the 35-story building. They also discovered that tenants from the 400 building were sitting in the lobby of one of Gateway’s other towers to charge their laptop computers and their cellphones. In response to concern from tenants about the conditions in the 400 building, management opened three vacant apartments in the 500 and 100 buildings so that tenants in the building without power could use toilets and take showers. On Wednesday afternoon, Rosalie Joseph and Robin Forst drove to Costco on 117th Street to buy food, bottled water and batteries. That evening, assisted by other Gateway Plaza residents, they set out a spread of lasagna, chips, salsa, cheese and crudités and invited the residents of the 400 building to a hot meal. They also had Halloween candy for the kids. Some neighbors brought additional food — pasta, sandwiches, wine and even a bottle of whiskey.
Around 30 people came for dinner that night. The next morning, when the rescue group put out a breakfast of coffee, muffins and croissants, around 50 people showed up. The group said it would serve dinner again that evening and another round of breakfast the next day. The funds to pay for this came from the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association, B.P.C. Cares, the Battery Park City Dog Association, the B.P.C. Community Network and B.P.C. CERT. Elsewhere in Battery Park City, businesses tried to help their neighbors. The Conrad hotel at 102 North End Ave. evacuated its guests on Oct. 27 but never lost power. It allowed residents to come in to recharge their computers and their cellphones and dispensed bottled water. The hotel reopened on Oct. 31 with limited food, beverage and phone service until further notice. Continued on page 25
November 3 - November 13, 2012
B.P.C. photographer who stayed
Downtown Express photos by Jay Fine 2012
Battery Park City photographer Jay Fine took shots of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel entrance floods on the morning of Tues., Oct. 30, and during the surge that evening. Fine, 60, said his building on West Street had power throughout. In the face of public calls to follow evacuation orders from the mayor, governor and president, he stayed behind with his wife and poodle to take care of his father, 88, with Parkinson’s disease. He thought it was smart for most people to evacuate, but “people who knew the outcome of evacuation would be worse,” like his family, stayed. He said his father would not have done well with the move. He estimated that three times as many people stayed in his building as during Hurricane Irene last year – roughly 75 families – but nevertheless a large majority left.
November 3 - November 13, 2012
Pub owner ‘saw surge coming,’ Moving voting sites for though he didn’t actually see it Nov. 6 Election Day BY L I N CO L N A ND E R S O N “The most amazing thing is, it went from there to here in about 30 seconds -- then it came back, went back, in its time.” As a diesel generator thrummed loudly and gave off fumes outside the Ear Inn bar near the western end of Spring St. Wednesday morning around 10 a.m., owner Martin Sheridan described experiencing the storm surge Monday evening during Hurricane Sandy. He didn’t actually see the surge, though, until he and his bar were in the middle of it. He had walked over toward the river to check out the storm conditions, and then when he was returning to the Ear Inn with his back turned to the river, the 3-foot-high wall of water suddenly came rushing. The sound was just an enormous “whoooosh!” he said. Anticipating the surge, he had turned off all power at the bar beforehand, hoping to save his electrical equipment from more serious damage from the corrosive salt water. The water swept into the bar about 1 foot high, then went down into the basement, then came popping up through hatches in the floor, trying to find any way out. Sheridan had wisely kicked everyone out of the place a half hour before the surge hit,
though many had resisted exiting into the 50-mile-per-hour wind gusts and lashing rain. “People didn’t want to get out. They were afraid to go home,” he said. “The women were frightened,” he said, adding, “Don’t be offended -- if you want to put that a little better.” The bar had beer stored in two large walk-in freezers in the basement and food in another. Of the three, the solid 1920s freezer was the one that fared the best in the deluge. “The old things held up!” he said with a grin. The bar has 40 beer taps and Sheridan said they’ll have to test each one to see if they’re salvageable. Despite the basement having up to 7 feet of water in the rear, as well as 4 feet in the front, the historic building’s foundations are fine, he said. People from the community pitched in to help, and it was inspiring for the bar owner. “There was a lot of camaraderie around,” he said, “people coming in and helping, helping out with buckets. I haven’t seen it since 9/11 -- people just want to help.” As he turned back to tend to pumping out the bar’s waterlogged basement, Sheridan said, “We’re all alive. The good news around here is no one got hurt. We can start again.”
B Y K A I T LY N M E A D E The Board of Elections will probably have to move some polling sites on Nov. 6, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at a press conference on the morning of Nov. 1. In answer to a question on how Sandy will affect the voting process in the city, Bloomberg replied that while power was expected to be restored to all voting sites by Election Day, some of the locations, particularly in schools, had problems with the transformers which may not be repaired in time for voters. In a statement released online, the city Board of Elections commissioners Maria Guastella and Frederic Umane said that poll workers’ training had resumed and that the board was working with the Department of Education to assess damage to voting sites. B.O.E. is also working with private entities to review damage sustained at the other voting sites. “Our trucks are loaded and ready for delivery of all voting materials and equipment once we know that sites have not been damaged. B.O.E. will be working around the clock and through the weekend to make sure that all voting sites receive everything they need to be up and running on Election Day,” the statement said. Meanwhile, absentee ballots have been delayed by the disruption to the U.S. Postal
Service. The B.O.E. will be distributing absentee ballots via U.S.P.S. overnight mail. The absentee ballot application deadline for New York State was extended from Tues., Oct. 30 to Fri., Nov. 2. The deadline remains Mon., Nov. 5 for all applications to be completed in person at the Manhattan Voting Machine Facility 450 W. 33rd St., 10th floor. The receipt deadline was also extended to 13 days after Election Day. Ballots must still be postmarked Nov. 5, but have until Nov. 19 to reach the resident’s local B.O.E. office to account for delays in the postal service. The processing of absentee ballot applications has also been delayed by the storm. Other city agencies have assigned some of their workers to the B.O.E. with the absentee ballot process. The Manhattan Borough office of the B.O.E. is closed due to loss of power. Operations have been temporarily relocated to W. 33rd St. Their hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Sun., Nov. 4, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the following Monday. The office reminded residents that their vote is only valid at their assigned location which can be found on their poll site locator online at vote.nyc.ny.us. The latest information can also be found at this website.
November 3 - November 13, 2012
Downtown Will Have Power by Saturday, says Con Ed BY A L I N E R E Y N O LD S More than 200,000 residents and businesses in Lower Manhattan remained without power Wednesday, as New York began picking up the pieces from the record-breaking destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy. It will take until Friday or Saturday for power to be restored in Downtown and the Lower East Side, according to John McAvoy, senior vice president for central operations at Consolidated Edison, who gave a tour to reporters on Tuesday of the utility’s East 14th Street power plant. The Cortlandt network — which funnels power to the area south of the World Trade Center and along West Street to the tip of Manhattan — was restored at 2 p.m. Wednesday. “The restoration process is well underway,” said John Miksad, senior vice president of electric operations for the utility at a press conference earlier today. Con Ed has yet to come up with a time frame for restoring steam service in Manhattan south of 42nd Street, according to Jeff Simmons, a spokesperson for the Alliance for Downtown New York, the area’s business improvement district. The storm surge caused by Sandy, the greatest the city has ever experienced in almost 200 years of tidal records, caused large amounts of salt water from the harbor to incapacitate electrical equipment, noted McAvoy.
“The amount of outages we’re experiencing are literally unprecedented in the company’s history,” said McAvoy. Up to 7,000 of its employees are working 12- to 16-hour shifts to expedite restoration. “We have hundreds of contractors that’re working for us, and we’re bringing mutual aid crews that are as far away as California so we can expedite recovery as quickly as possible.” Despite heavy floods, much of Battery Park City was spared of power loss
But elsewhere, high tides reached levels of 13.9 feet, more than a foot higher than the highest previously recorded level of 11.2 feet in 1821, said McAvoy. When the water from the East River crossed the F.D.R. Drive at about 3.5 feet high, it covered the electrical equipment and contaminated it. As a result, 100s of Downtown vaults became out of service. Con Ed successfully protected the majority of its machinery by preemptively shutting down service in the Bowling Green and
The lights stayed on in some of Battery Park City because its transmission substation based is in Brooklyn. because its electricity is supplied by a Con Ed transmission substation based in Brooklyn, according to McAvoy. Also, since the neighborhood is slightly elevated compared to other parts of Lower Manhattan, B.P.C. did not experience the same degree of flooding from the high tide Monday night as did other parts of Lower Manhattan, he noted.
Fulton networks. McAvoy explained the process of restoring electricity for the 225,000 affected customers in Lower Manhattan: “The first thing you have to do is to remove salt water…it can be a very time-consuming process because there’s extreme flooding that affected not only our underground vaults but the customers’ premises as
well,” he said. He continued, “The equipment that’s damaged that is affecting most of Lower Manhattan actually did not fail, we really just have to remove it, clean it, inspect it and test it.” Lower Manhattan is divided into 14 different networks, each of which will restore power at a different time this week as equipment and supplies related to the network are tested and reactivated. Traffic lights, he said, will operate again as each of the networks is restored. Asked about a more specific time frame, “There is no specific mapping,” he said. “We’re working on them all in parallel.” McAvoy also showed reporters around the plant’s relay rooms, which were submerged in water earlier this week. “The relay protections are monitored constantly, and if they identify a fault, they’ll shut down a piece of electrical equipment, just like a fuse shuts off an outlet in your house,” he explained. “[The water was] about a foot-and-a-half above what our system and our station is designed for. So what we’re doing now to help support the restoration is literally going to every one of these relays, removing them, cleaning, inspecting and testing them, and restoring service. That’s a big part of what’s going to be done to support the restoration of Lower Manhattan.”
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November 3 - November 13, 2012
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B Y AL IN E REY NOLDS After receiving much praise from locals, developer Howard Hughes Corporation’s plan for the overhaul of Pier 17 is now getting a wave of negative feedback about the view obstructions the plan would cause at the Seaport. In its application to the city, Howard Hughes has requested a waiver of requirements concerning waterfront view corridors in order to be able to build a permanent performance stage on Fulton Plaza and attach several new signs to the pier’s future mall. But officials representing the South Street Seaport Museum oppose the plan, asserting that the stage will block crucial views of the harbor and will interfere with the museum’s planned educational programming. Susan Henshaw Jones, director of the Museum of the City of New York, which runs the maritime museum, is calling on the city to issue a restrictive declaration that would mandate the continuation of existing view regulations and therefore prohibit the stage. In its Uniform Land Use Review Procedure application, Howard Hughes argues that a mandate is unnecessary because all development rules would be spelled out in the written lease agreement between the developer and the city. The developer wrote that “Views of the water will be provided from several alternate locations on the zoning lot, and views of the water will be significantly enhanced overall by the proposed project.” But Henshaw Jones said, “We believe the view corridor should be completely unimpeded going all the way to the waterfront.” Additionally, the proposed performance stage for Fulton Plaza would infringe on the South Street Seaport Museum’s right to the Pier 16 apron, which the museum plans to use for educational workshops and other museum-related events in the coming months, according to Henshaw
Jones. Trapeze training, maritime classes and other such programming could bring more money to the struggling museum, she noted. “This is the line between [Piers] 17 and 16,” she told Community Board 1 members during a tour of the area Oct. 23. “This [proposal] is such a clash of uses. You can’t teach kids there when it’s going to be obliterated with noise.” C.B. 1 member Una Perkins, a resident of the nearby Southbridge Towers apartment complex, said the noise already emanating from the waterfront often prevents her and her neighbors from getting a full night’s sleep. “It’s like a big circus — it’s so commercial, it’s not indicative of the Seaport,” she said. Perkins told the museum director, “I’m with you about this — this is a disgrace.” Henshaw Jones is also fighting for rights to the water between the two piers, which she said is desperately needed to berth the Ambrose and some of the museum’s other historic ships. “Everybody says that we have control over Pier 16 and the north side of Pier 16, but what we’ve been told is that Howard Hughes has the water space, so in effect we can’t berth the Ambrose there,” she said. “If it’s not clarified in our favor, they presumably have the ability to say, ‘Move the Ambrose.’” Alex Howe, a spokesperson for Howard Hughes, affirmed that, while the city technically owns the water between Piers 16 and 17, “per our lease, we have control of most of that water.” C.B. 1 chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes envisioned a shifting of the performance stage’s location to the Link Building in order to protect the views from the upland. She would also like Fulton Plaza to be available for community-specific events. “One of the things C.B. 1 doesn’t have are open places for assemblies or groups Continued on page 14
November 3 - November 13, 2012
Su makes peace oﬀering to displaced Hester tenants BY SA M S P O K O NY The owners of Chinatown’s new Wyndham Garden Hotel, which will open for business next week, are attempting to end years of controversy by offering compensation to the former tenants of 128 Hester St., whom they allegedly wronged when the building was demolished in 2009. For the first time since demonstrations against the Wyndham began earlier this year, co-owner William Su — the primary subject of virulent protests led by the Chinatown advocacy group Asian Americans for Equality — is attempting to clear a path toward a more peaceful opening for the hotel, situated at the corner of Hester Street and the Bowery. Though his presence was certainly notable, Su sat silently at a press conference the hotel owner convened on Fri., Oct. 19 at Ling Sing Association’s Mott Street offices as his associates gave statements and fielded questions. A letter recently mailed to the Hester Street tenants provides the contact information of Su’s spokesperson Vincent Wong and implores the tenants to call him in order to schedule face-to-face meetings. “In good faith, the owners are extending their hands,” said Wong. “We encourage the tenants [of 128 Hester St.] to contact us so we can offer them appropriate compensation.”
AAFE and other community groups previously condemned Su for what they deemed to be his repeated refusal to provide housing or compensation to the eight families — a total of 29 tenants — who were displaced when the city Department of Buildings ordered 128 Hester St. to be demolished in August 2009. AAFE asserts that Su’s intentional neglect of the building after he purchased it in 2007 led to its eventual deterioration and demolition. Citing comments reportedly made by the D.O.B., AAFE has also claimed that Su’s construction of the Wyndham, adjacent at 93 Bowery, was so disruptive that it played a part in the structural deterioration of 128 Hester St. by causing cracks in the building’s walls and foundation. But attorney Stuart Klein went on the offensive at the press conference by rebuking AAFE and presenting city and state documents aimed at casting doubt on its claims that the owner neglected the building and refused to comply with orders to compensate the former tenants. “These rumors have been spread in a very unprofessional way, and in a very scandalous way, and they’re just not the truth,” he said. Among the pieces of evidence Klein presented was a D.O.B. document showing that in 2007 the owners of 128 Hester
St. did in fact invest in structural repairs to the building’s masonry. But while the attorney claimed that the owners spent “well in excess of a hundred thousand dollars” on building repairs, the document he produced only revealed about $15,000 worth of work. D.O.B. records indicate there were two other proposals for repairs in 2009, but the costs of the fixes are not specified in the files. The city records also reveal numerous complaints about structural problems with 128 Hester St. under the ownership of Su and his associates. Several of them described cracks in the walls of the building, while others of them noted that construction on the adjacent hotel was causing the apartment building to shake and buckle. A more compelling document was one Klein produced in order to refute AAFE’s repeated claims that Su is refusing to comply with a 2010 state order forcing him to fork over $1 million in relocation fees to the former tenants. Klein proved that the order never existed: According to a state Supreme Court disposition filed in February 2011, the court ruled that the matter should be settled at the administrative level rather than by a judge. Peter Gee, an AAFE spokesperson, declined to respond to specific questions about the accuracy of his group’s prior
claims, but insisted that they are still accurate. He also deflected questions about a rumor swirling around that AAFE has asked the former tenants of 128 Hester St. to sign contracts that would require them to give the organization a portion of the financial compensation they receive from the owner. Instead, Gee accused the Wyndham owners of perpetuating dishonesty that he believes has characterized all of their interactions with the former tenants. “There’s nothing new here,” he said, “because the reality is that they’re just stalling, and they’re not really serious about getting this resolved. It’s unfortunate, because the tenants have been waiting for three years for just and fair compensation.” AAFE has plans to hold another protest outside the Wyndham, which is scheduled to open on Thurs., Nov. 1. At 18 stories, the Wyndham will be the largest hotel in Chinatown. Klein asserted at the press conference that the hotel will be a “major boon” to the community and that it will provide jobs to approximately 60 area residents. A Wyndham spokesperson declined to comment directly on the ongoing controversy, saying that the company is not involved in any negotiations or dealings undertaken by the hotel’s owners.
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November 3 - November 13, 2012
Pathmark beats the Christmas rush and closes pharmacy BY SAM SPOKONY In an unexpected turn that left Lower Manhattan community leaders dismayed, the Pathmark pharmacy at 237-239 Cherry St. closed on Tues., Oct. 23, two months earlier than the company previously said it would. A spokesperson for A&P, which owns Pathmark, declined to answer why the pharmacy was closed prematurely and why the company gave no warning to the residents, most of whom are low-income senior citizens who have relied on its services for decades. Victor Papa, president of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, explained that, during a phone call last week, an attorney for A&P had told him that the pharmacy would be closing due to “practical and financial considerations.” The pharmacy had been located in a separate building from the Pathmark supermarket (at 227 Cherry St.), which is still scheduled to close on Dec. 28. While A&P relinquished the lease on the 30-yearold supermarket building last month to make way for a luxury residential development, the building that formerly housed the pharmacy is owned by the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council. But that apparently has no bearing on the outcome of the situation. Residents throughout the neighborhood, especially those from its heavily populated public housing projects, have rallied against Pathmark’s impending closure since A&P announced on Sept. 28 that it had sold the lease. But the pharmacy’s closed doors appear to have drained all community optimism, which grew after the area’s elected officials recently threw their support behind outraged and worried residents. On Mon., Oct. 22, the A&P spokesperson said in a statement that the company would attempt to assuage neighbor-
hood concerns by making all of the shuttered pharmacy’s prescription records available to customers at a nearby Rite Aid pharmacy, located at 408 Grand St., beginning later this week. Two Bridges has also engaged in its own contingency plan to help unprepared residents deal with the sudden loss of their pharmacy. The council enlisted the help of Mannings Pharmacy, located in Chinatown’s Confucius Plaza, which has begun delivering prescriptions to elderly tenants of 80 and 82 Rutgers Slip who are unable to walk to the Rite Aid or any other drugstore. “I feel that we’ve done the best we could,” Papa said over the phone. As the situation develops, he and Two Bridges hope to convince A&P executives to run a shuttle bus from their neighborhood to another Pathmark location — either in Harlem or Gowanus — in order to further aid residents who need access to medication or fresh, affordable groceries. During a conversation with A&P Chief Executive Officer Sam Martin on Mon., Oct. 22, Papa brought up the shuttle idea and the ongoing request for the company to ensure that any new development on the Cherry Street site will include a new supermarket-pharmacy combination that matches Pathmark’s affordability and quality. Papa said the C.E.O. did not give definite answers to any of the requests and said he would respond at a later date after consulting with his colleagues. It is now clear that initial hopes of a grassroots effort to stop Pathmark’s closure have deflated. But even as the end of the cherished supermarket looms, Papa explained that, in his opinion as a veteran community organizer, the time for angry protests is over.
NYC Community Media photo by Sam Spokony
Two Bridges neighborhood residents grappling with the loss of the Pathmark pharmacy on Cherry Street are now anticipating the closure of the supermarket itself on Dec. 28.
“We have to keep up pressure for an affordable supermarket in the new building, but we also have to develop a better relationship with [A&P],” he said. “There’s just no use in keeping up the rancor, when a constructive relationship might allow us to get back some of the valuable services we could otherwise lose forever.” Papa, who holds out hope, proposed to meet with Martin in person sometime before Thanksgiving in order to further discuss the future prospects for Two Bridges residents. Meanwhile, the five elected officials who sent a joint letter to Martin on Fri., Oct. 5, in which they expressed grave concern for residents who will struggle without their neighborhood Pathmark, have not yet received a reply.
HUDSON RIVER PARK TRUST - Contract No. C4188 - Category: 03 C4188 - Segment 3 - Hubert to Laight Street - Stone Materials Construction Description: The Hudson River Park Trust ("HRPT") is seeking proposals from qualified site contracting firms (“Bidders”) interested in performing landscape, irrigation, and site construction within the Hudson River Park. Typical construction operations would include but not be limited to: Protection of existing structures to remain; Temporary facilities, controls, and site protection; Excavation, earthwork, and grading; Field survey and layout; Site/soil preparation and the furnishing and installation of soil mixes; Furnishing and installation of all new lawns, trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, ground cover, bulbs and annuals; Site irrigation supply and installation including piping, fittings, sleeves, valves and valve boxes, swing joints, sprinkler heads, drip line and emitters, quick coupler valves, filters, etc; Maintenance of all landscape materials until Substantial Completion acceptance by Owner; and Guarantee of installed plant materials for one-year after final acceptance; Testing and adjusting of irrigation equipment and distribution system; Demonstration and training for the Owner’s personnel; and other miscellaneous finished work as required. Work located along the Hudson River from Hubert to Laight Streets. Price for bid documents $200.00 per set. All payments must be made by check, and must be payable to the Hudson River Park Trust and must include the contractor’s Federal Identification Number. Document availability date Friday October 19th, 2012. Documents including required submission materials for this solicitation may be obtained by the following means: Mail: Mail your requests and a check to the Hudson River Park Trust – Project Management Office, 353 West Street, Pier 40 – 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10014. In Person: Directly from the Hudson River Park Trust located at Pier 40. Hours 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday, except holidays. Overnight delivery via Fed Ex is available by providing your account information. Criteria for determining the lowest qualified bidder will include but is not limited to an analysis of: 1. Bidder’s site construction experience (minimum 5 years) on similar projects, including the name, location, and construction cost of the projects (include projects within the NYC metropolitan area); 2. Any NYS DOL, OSHA, ACOE, or NYS DEC violations issued to Bidder or any of its principals in the last five years; 3. Bidder’s complete team (prime contractor or joint venture partners and/or sub contractors) that it would commit to the project, including an analysis of the percentage of subcontracting; 4. Bidder’s proposed scheduling consultant, land surveyor, agricultural chemist, soils testing laboratory, and other specialty contractors required by the contract; 5. Bidder’s proposed location of soil material sources and certified test reports for the proposed soil materials; 6. Bidder’s proposed landscape materials sub contractor incl. analysis of landscape materials construction experience (minimum 5 years) on similar projects, including the name, location, and construction cost of the projects (include projects within the NYC metropolitan area wherever possible); 7. An analysis of the proposer’s sod and plant material nursery source listing(s); 8. Bidder’s proposed site irrigation sub contractor analysis of irrigation construction experience (minimum 5 years) on similar projects, including the name, location, and construction cost of the projects (include projects within the NYC metropolitan area wherever possible); 9. Qualifications of the personnel to be utilized for this project; 10. Detailed financial statements of Bidder or, in the case of a joint venture, the detailed financial statements of the joint venture partners; 11. Any debarments, litigation, and/or bankruptcy filings by Bidder or its principals in the last five years; 12. Completed and certified “Vendex” and New York State Vendor Responsibility questionnaires completed within the last three years; and 13. Bidder’s EEO policy statement and an M/WBE Utilization Plan. Submissions will be evaluated to assess the proposer’s responsibility, project specific and general site construction, landscape, and irrigation construction experience, project management personnel, percentage of subcontracting, and financial stability. HRPT is an equal opportunity contracting agency. Any resulting contracts will include provisions mandating compliance with Executive Law Article 15A and the regulations promulgated there under. Proposal Due:
11/15/2012, 1:00 p.m.
Lupe Frattini Hudson River Park Trust - Project Management Field Office 353 West Street, Pier 40 – 2PndP Floor, New York, NY 10014 (917) 661 8740 phone, (917) 661 8787 fax
Same As Above
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November 3 - November 13, 2012
New agreement reached between B.P.C.A. & Asphalt Green BY T E RE SE LO E B K R E U Z E R More than a year later than planned, a 52,000-square-foot community center may soon be opening in Battery Park City under the management of Asphalt Green. The opening was delayed in part by permitting problems but largely by a contract inked early in 2009 during the Battery Park City Authority administration of chairman James Gill and president James Cavanaugh that subsequent B.P.C.A. management found unacceptable. The B.P.C.A. has paid nearly $60 million to build the shell of the center at 212 North End Ave. and furnish it with exercise equipment. Asphalt Green, a nonprofit fitness organization with a location at 555 E. 90th St., was hired to manage the community center under a 10-year contract. At the B.P.C.A. board of directors meeting on Tues., Oct. 23, B.P.C.A. chairman Dennis Mehiel announced that a new contract with Asphalt Green had been proposed and tentatively agreed upon. Subject to approval by the B.P.C.A. board and a signoff by Asphalt Green, the community center may open on Sat., Dec. 1. Mehiel, who became B.P.C.A. chairman last July, said that the previous contract was untenable because it put the B.P.C.A. in a position of placing taxpayer dollars in the hands of a private enterprise without adequate transparency and supervision. That contract called for an “unending, no-cap commitment to subsidize any and all operating losses at the community center,” he said. “If the community center made money, there would be a division of those profits — 60 percent to the Authority, 40 percent to the operator. That didn’t make any financial sense to me and it didn’t make any financial sense to the members of this board.” In addition to the financial issues, the two parties had to reach an agreement on the terms of access to the community center facilities and to the B.P.C. ball fields. Asphalt Green runs a summer camp that is essential to its profitability and would need to use the ball fields for that purpose. But historically, during the summer, the Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center, based at 120 Warren St., has used the ball fields for its programming. The B.P.C.A. previously considered simply defaulting on its contract with Asphalt Green, issuing a new Request for Proposals (R.F.P.) and bringing in a private commercial operator to run a health club, according to Mehiel. But that plan was ultimately deemed impractical. Converting the center into a health club would have required millions more dollars and would have delayed the opening of the community center until the early part of 2014, at best. Mehiel also noted that the $900,000 of unused exercise equipment purchased by the Authority would have begun to deteriorate. Moreover, the B.P.C.A. was advised by legal counsel that if it defaulted, it would lose in court, incur millions of dollars of legal fees and end up with a fine of somewhere between $3.5 million and $13 million. Asphalt Green could have enforced the
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Demonstrators gathered next to the Battery Park City ball fields on Thurs., Oct. 18 called for the B.P.C.A. to work out a new contract with Asphalt Green to preserve community access to the neighborhood ball fields.
existing contract and thereby forced the B.P.C.A. to pay up, but it chose not to. “I just want to say publicly that I found the Asphalt Green chairman and the senior management of that group to be excellent people to work with,” said Mehiel. “They spent a day or two to think it over. They came back and said, ‘Let’s make a deal that’s fair.’” The new contract, which is still in draft form and has to be reviewed and approved by the B.P.C.A. board before it goes to Asphalt Green, stipulates that Asphalt Green can spend its revenues from the community center as it sees fit without accounting to the B.P.C.A. “We have no oversight as to what they spend, why they spend it or how they spend it,” said Mehiel. “It’s none of our business. It’s not public money. They get their revenue stream. They have to run their operation.” The B.P.C.A. will receive a portion of the center’s revenue starting in year six of the contract, he noted, and if Asphalt Green’s revenue projections should turn out to be less than 90 percent of what is anticipated, Asphalt Green would have to write a check to make up the difference. “If they cannot or do not write their check, their lease will be terminated,” said Mehiel, “so the risk for the Authority has been eliminated.” He also said that anticipated costs for the B.P.C.A. under the new contract constitute a cash outlay during the first five years of the contract amounting to less than half of what had been envisioned under the original contract. Also, the B.P.C.A.’s expenditures for utilities have been reduced, and an estimated $225,000 a year to replace and refurbish equipment, originally for the life of the contract, has now been capped at three years. No one who has publicly commented on the proposed deal is displeased that the community center finally seems to be on the verge of opening. B.P.C. residents will get a discount on community center membership fees, because the B.P.C.A.’s subsidies for the facility are derived from residents’ rents and common charges. However, some in the B.P.C.
community have expressed reservations and concerns about certain aspects of the deal. The managers of Downtown Little League and Downtown Soccer League, both low-cost sports programs, are worried that Asphalt Green’s usage of the ball fields will force their programs off the fields. Bill
Martino, president of the Downtown Little League, said that he was concerned about the organization’s business model. “What happened uptown was that they ended up taking over a few sports operations that were Continued on page 21
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November 3 - November 13, 2012
Lady Libertyâ€™s Crown Freed Just Before Sandy BY T E RE SE LO E B K R E U Z E R With the imminent arrival of Hurricane Sandy contributing glowering skies to the festivities, the interior of the Statue of Liberty reopened on Sunday following a year of renovations. The reopening ceremony took place the day before the subways shut down. It was the 126th anniversary of the statueâ€™s dedication, with West Point cadets, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and David Luchsinger, the superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island participating. Salazar and several cadets were the first to ascend to the crown. They were followed by 200 members of the public who had snagged tickets for the opening day. Access to the interior of the statue much less the crown has been intermittent for more than a decade. After the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Liberty Island was completely closed to the public. Access to the island resumed on Dec. 20 but both the statue and the pedestal remained closed. In 2004, the public was allowed inside the pedestal but not to the statueâ€™s crown. On July 4, 2009, the crown reopened to the public. Last year, on Oct. 28, the 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty was celebrated with great fanfare. The next day, the interior of the statue was closed to the public in order to begin a $30 million, yearlong renovation to enhance safety and accessibility. The Princeton, N.J. firm of Mills +
Schnoering Architects, which had previously worked on the crown, was commissioned to come up with a design for the installation of three elevators and two fire-code-compliant stairs. For the first time, an elevator now enables people with mobility impairments to go the observation deck on the sixth level of the pedestal. A separate elevator big enough for two people now goes from that level to the shoulder of the statue in case of a medical emergency that would require evacuation. The renovation also includes air conditioning in the crown and improved bathroom facilities. The open, double-helix stairs that lead to the crown were originally only for the very adventurous. Now they have been equipped with high bannisters to give people something to hold onto as they climb. Michael Mills, the chief architect for the renovation, remembered his first trip to the statueâ€™s crown when he was in high school. â€œI was kind of awed by it and scared by it,â€? he recalled. â€œI didnâ€™t feel safe but I enjoyed it and I felt a sense of accomplishment that I actually did it.â€? Now, he said the 315 people a day who go up to the crown will feel a lot safer. Mills said that the contractor for the renovation, the firm of Joseph A. Natoli Construction Corporation, faced the challenge of building a project of this magnitude on an island in New York harbor. In addition to getting materials out to the island, â€œThere were security issues,â€?
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
The Statue of Liberty, which was not damaged by Hurricane Sandy, opened its crown to the public the day before the storm. It closed again for the storm and has not yet reopened.
he said. â€œEverything had to be checked by dogs and by the guards. It was just amazing how they managed to do it.â€? For his firm, he said the biggest challenge of the renovation was having to work in a tight space. The pedestal at its widest is 27 feet by 27 feet and is crisscrossed by a support structure designed in the 19th century
by Gustave Eiffel, the famed engineer who also designed the Eiffel tower in Paris. â€œWe had to figure out a way to get an elevator straight up through the Eiffel structure without touching it and get two independent stairs up through that crisscross of beams,â€? said Mills. He said that for the first time on any of its projects, his firm used threedimensional computer modeling. â€œThe model enabled us to see things that we wouldnâ€™t have seen,â€? he said. â€œThere was one location where Stair B coming down from the top had a conflict with Stair A at a landing. We didnâ€™t notice it in a floor plan or even in an elevation but in a model all of a sudden it appeared so we had to modify the design. To do something like that during construction is very expensive. You donâ€™t want to do that.â€? The new fire stairs are enclosed from each other but are also open so that visitors can appreciate the historic fabric of the pedestal. Eiffel used beams to support the statue reinforced by iron straps that run through the pedestal. â€œIt wasnâ€™t just the weight of the statue [that was a problem],â€? Mills said. â€œIt was the wind and the overturning potential that they had to resist.â€? On Oct. 29 Hurricane Sandy roared through New York harbor. Both Liberty and Ellis Islands suffered flood damage and are temporarily closed. However, the Statue of Liberty withstood the punishing winds, once again demonstrating Eiffelâ€™s genius.
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November 3 - November 13, 2012
On The Spot with
Jenifer Rajkumar Battery Park City resident Jenifer Rajkumar, 30, has just been named a “40 under 40” rising star by the political media outlet City & State. Rajkumar [RAHJ ko mar] became a Democratic district leader in 2011 for B.P.C., the Financial District and the South Street Seaport. A graduate of Stanford Law School, Rajkumar turned to politics after working in public policy at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C. She is the legal director of the New York State Young Democrats and the youngest board member of the Women’s Campaign Fund, a nonprofit that assists females who are running for office. In an interview with the Downtown Express, Rajkumar spoke about her journey toward becoming a local district leader and the issues she cares about most.
BY KAITLYN MEADE What did it take to be elected district leader? I have pursued social justice in many ways throughout the years as a civil rights litigator. I came to view government and politics as another important way to make a
difference and give a voice to the voiceless. I went all across Lower Manhattan, from the west side to the east side, and met all my neighbors — people from all different ethnic groups and income levels. This took me from public housing projects to the buildings of Wall Street. I discussed my candidacy with them and listened to their concerns. By the time I was elected, I was ready to act on those concerns. What does a district leader do? A district leader is a liaison between the people and the elected officials including ncluding Congress members, Assembly sembly members and city offi ficials. You also help select judges udges for the New York County ounty courts. I make sure to o go to local community board oard meetings and others hers around the district so o I can keep my pulse on the concerns of the dis-trict. For example, in Battery Park City, one of the major concerns of my neighbors was that we no longer had a bus route that con-nected our neighbor-hood to the Lower Eastt Side and Chinatown. I worked with Assembly ly
Member Sheldon Silver to bring the M9 bus back to the neighborhood. That is one of the ways that I helped as a liaison between the people and the government. As a representative of your community, what are your current goals? Reaching youth early and exposing them to political process has been a very exciting part of this job. We are also trying to register voters in Downtown and otherwise engage the locals fully in the political process. There has ha been a huge population migration to Downtown, and with the upcoming presidential election and the race to choose a new mayor next year, it’s very important to ye make sure everyone has a voice s in this process. Tell Te us about one of the most exciting projects you’ve worked work on. One thing I’ve been excited about is speaking to youths and working toward getting them involved in politics. I visited the Lower East Side Girls Club and spoke to girls ages eight to twelve about political leadership and government. I
had to find a way to communicate to them what it is about. I told them, “Politics is love. Politics is expressing love for your community, and I know you have that love inside of you.” By the end, one girl said she wants to be president, and one girl wants to be governor. How were you nominated a rising star by City & State and what does it mean to you? I was humbled and honored to be selected! It was a very competitive process — there were over 500 nominations. And it really allows me to be a positive example. My parents immigrated to this country from India with just one suitcase and $300, so if I can do it, you can do it. It is a way of recognizing that young people should be weighing in on the major decisions facing their generation, such as the environment, the future of the planet, how they are going to take care of their parents and grandparents, poverty and gun violence. It shows that young people have a place at the decision-making table. What do you like to do in your spare time? I like to sing karaoke. City Council Member Rosie Mendez and I do a mean rendition of “Empire State of Mind.” I sing the Alicia Keys part, and she does Jay-Z. I also like to sing Beyonce, Gwen Stefani and Broadway show tunes. “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” is a new favorite!
November 3 - November 13, 2012
Jennifer Goodstein PUBLISHER EMERITUS
John W. Sutter EDITOR
Josh Rogers ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Aline Reynolds ARTS EDITOR
Scott Stiﬄer REPORTERS
Lincoln Anderson Sam Spokony EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
SR. V.P. OF SALES & MARKETING
Francesco Regini RETAIL AD MANAGER
Allison Greaker Julius Harrison Gary Lacinski Alex Morris Julio Tumbaco BUSINESS MANAGER / CONTROLLER
ART / PRODUCTION DIRECTOR
Trying to See Clearly as the Lights Come on After Sandy DOWNTOWNERS ONCE AGAIN
are coming together, helping their neighbors -- so the comparisons between Hurricane Sandy and 9/11 are natural. The key difference is that the devastating and tragic loss of life this time does not approach the magnitude of the attack 11 years ago. That of course does not make it any easier for each grieving family. The scramble back to homes for evacuees, the frantic group emails, the search for information, for places to charge cell phones, has an all-too-familiar ring to many. Once again we are inspired by the stories we’ve seen and heard about people helping – offering everything from beds to showers to food to batteries. At the Seaport, devastated businesses are helping each other recover. In northern Chelsea we saw a small group of police officers Monday lifting heavy wood from the street clearing a dangerous situation rather than waiting for another agency to do it. In the Two Bridges area on the Lower East Side, residents banded together to help senior
To the Editor: Re “Rabbi Meyer Hager, spiritual compass of Downtown, dies at 76” (news article, Oct. 17):
Your reporter Helaina Hovitz captured the essence of the late Rabbi Hager, the leader of the Wall Street Synagogue. Truly, he was a man of kindness, compassion and sensitivity to young and old people alike. My two sons were always made so welcome and comfortable when we attended the temple’s Sabbath services, and he was always eager to have all members of the community attend the synagogue’s holiday services and parties. One more possibly unknown character trait of the rabbi: He had a genuine sense of humor, loved a good joke and his laughter was genuine and joyous. His abundant kindness and consideration toward others will be sorely missed by Jew and Christian alike.
Arnold Rozon CONTRIBUTORS
Terese Loeb Kreuzer PHOTOGRAPHERS
Milo Hess Terese Loeb Kreuzer Jeﬀerson Siegel PUBLISHED BY
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We’re riding in subway stations built over a century ago. Short-sighted politicians will scoff at spending hundreds of billions both to protect people living near the water as well as at least some of our transit system. If that’s what it costs, it would still pay when you consider the multi billions of dollars everyone loses when our lives and jobs are so disrupted. How many times a year will Lower Manhattan be asked to pack up and flee? In the meanwhile, we still stay on the Sandy aftermath story from our new temporary offices, updating our web sites as well as two most welcome post-9/11 advances – Facebook and Twitter. Lastly don’t forget to vote on Tuesday. For those with difficulty getting to the polls, you may still get an absentee ballot application Monday if you go to 450 W. 33rd St. 10th floor. It’s too late to get thendidates to promise better protection this year but you can still hold the winners accountable.
Take the deal! If people insist on 100 percent affordable, then where are the market-rate apartments that will subsidize the affordable apartments? Nothing would ever be built. It seems that the opponents would rather have zero affordable apartments and have vacant lots for the 20 more years than take the offer on the table. Why?
the city Landmarks Preservation Commission, yet a developer who knows “inside baseball” is able to build a post-modern monster. Needless to say, our school overcrowding situation will only get worse. I’d bet dollars to donuts that nobody at the Department of Education knows about it.
Letters to the Editor
citizens trapped in their high-rise apartments without access to food or water. There are so many more stories like these. As we look at what comes next, foremost in our minds is that low-lying Lower Manhattan is one of the most vulnerable areas to storms. We hope by now, you the reader, have your lights back. We also hope the subways return to Lower Manhattan as they the rest of the city. It did not seem that long ago when the trains could run rain or shine but that day has passed and will never return without the political will for large scale investment. The science is clear that these storms will continue with more frequency and ferocity going forward. We shouldn’t rush in with massive expenditures on storm protection, but on the other hand we can’t throw our hands up and wait for better environmental policies to reverse the tide. That’s what Mayor Bloomberg seemed to do the other day. While he has been a leader on climate issues he should not be so dismissive of costly measures that would likely help.
Walter Silverman To the Editor: Re “Chinatown coalition slams widely praised SPURA plan” (news article, Oct. 17): With regard to coalition’s opposition to the SPURA plan, a 50 percent proportion of affordable housing is nearly a miracle, and the opposition makes no sense. This ratio means that every market-rate apartment supports one affordable apartment, an incredibly progressive ratio which is the highest proportion achieved anywhere. It is a miracle that the real estate market is expected to support this ratio, and even more so that it is expected that a developer and a financier will be able to work with this ratio.
To the Editor: To the Editor: Re “Youths continue to battle anxiety caused by 9/11” (news article, Oct. 18): I want to congratulate Aline Reynolds on a thought-provoking article. She did research and discovered what we have been saying, which is that there are more than a few teens in the area who have post-traumatic stress symptoms. I have personally discovered this to be true as the executive director of Manhattan Youth, the largest community organization in Lower Manhattan. While different families react differently to events in their lives, it is clear that the events of 9/11/01 influence many of our teens’ present-day experiences. Bob Townley To the Editor: Re “‘Jenga’ building doesn’t fly with local residents” (news article, Oct. 17): Tribeca residents need to prevent future zoning disasters like this. As a resident of a landmarked area, we are unable to change anything with our own buildings without going through
Re. “‘Jenga’ building doesn’t fly with local residents” (news article, Oct. 17): This article is frankly silly. First, why do you assume that people don’t support this tower? Obviously if you ask the NIMBY “community activists”, they will be against any and all development. Most people I know support this development, as it will be a future landmark and is designed by one of the most respected architectural teams on earth. Second, all the arguments for why this tower should be built somewhere else are totally nonsensical. The building is not in any landmark district, therefore landmark rules are irrelevant. Paris does have plenty of high-rise towers, especially in recent years, so Paris would be a very poor argument against the tower. Finally, the accusations against Lend Lease are absurd, given that the company is active in almost every country on earth. I’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing. And it was Jon Galt, a totally unrelated firm, that was responsible for the Deutsche Bank debacle. Crawford
November 3 - November 13, 2012
An Editor Returns to Downtown Express “During his prior tenure with Downtown Express, Josh established a strong reputation for understanding the needs of the Downtown neighborhoods and the issues at hand,” said Jennifer Goodstein, publisher of Downtown Express and CEO of its parent company, NYC Community Media L.L.C . “We are fortunate to have him back, and I look forward to seeing how the paper will grow editorially.” Rogers first joined Downtown Express as a part-time reporter in 1995, and managed the paper’s coverage of the aftermath of Sept. 11th. The Express’ 9/11 reporting and its expansion to a weekly earned first place community leadership awards from the National Newspaper Association and the
New York Press Association. His editorials on topics ranging from World Trade Center memorial plans, the fatal Deutsche Bank fire and school rezoning battles were twice judged best in the state by NYPA. He left the paper in 2010 to take care of his newborn son, and more recently had been a columnist and contributing editor for Manhattan Media. “Thomas Wolfe was wrong — you can go home again,” Rogers said in a statement. “I’m so excited to be working with Jenn, Aline Reynolds, Therese Loeb Kreuzer and the rest of the team at the Express and NYC Community Media. I can’t wait to reconnect with the Downtown community, and meet the new leaders who
LAWSUIT OVER 1 W.T.C. ANTENNAE SETTLED One World Trade Center is back on track to becoming the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has settled its feud with A.D.F. Steel Corporation to get the steel needed to complete the 400-foot antenna. In recently issued statements, A.D.F. and the Port Authority said they had come to an agreement, though the terms were not disclosed. The Port Authority had accused A.D.F. Corp., a company based in Terrebonne, Quebec, of holding the custom-made steel pieces of antennae hostage until the Authority paid off a multi-million dollar debt for another project. In a suit brought to the New York State Supreme Court, the Port Authority said that A.D.F. was refusing to ship the steel for the tower’s $10 million spire until it received $6 million for materials of unrelated projects, but that under the terms of the contract for the antennae, the Port Authority was only required to pay for the spire itself — alleging that these payments were up to date. If the steel is not shipped soon, the Port Authority stressed that the St. Lawrence River could freeze and thereby delay construction at 1 W.T.C. until the spring. The tower, currently 104 stories high, will be raised to the symbolic height of 1,776 feet with the addition of the antennae. Construction of 1 W.T.C. is set to be completed by 2014.
NEW STUDY FINDS THAT DOWNTOWN IS EPICENTER FOR REGION’S YOUNG TALENT A new study by the Downtown Alliance Business Improvement District shows a monumental shift in the population of educated young professionals from out of the suburbs and into metropolitan areas that can be reached via public transit. According to the study, Lower Manhattan has lately drawn more and more high-value workers and is becoming the center of revitalized neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the cities along New Jersey’s Hudson River waterfront. “High-value workers” are young professionals and mid-career adults ages 18 to 44 that work in the fields of advertising, media, arts and entertainment, professional services, management, information technology, finance, insurance and real estate. This group includes a wide spectrum of households, from new college graduates to married couples and those raising children. The number of residents working in these fields that live within a 30-minute PATH or subway commute of Lower Manhattan rose by 67,000 in the last ten years, marking an increase of 14 percent. The remaining areas in the
have emerged in this ever-changing, exciting part of New York City.” Reynolds will remain the paper’s associate editor and Loeb Kreuzer will continue her coverage of Battery Park City and the rest of Lower Manhattan. “At the Express, we covered many Lower Manhattan families fighting to keep their school zone, and now as a Chelsea parent, I’ve gotten to know firsthand what it’s like when you are threatened with losing your first choice neighborhood school,” Rogers said. “It’s one of many vital issues we will continue to cover. In the coming months we’re going to build on the strengths of Downtown Express with wrinkles — a few old, and many new.”
30-county region gained only about 12,000 people, a one percent growth. With educated professionals increasingly opting for an urban lifestyle rather than a suburban one, Downtown is uniquely positioned as a hub of corporate activity, according to the Alliance. The report states that 360 companies have chosen to relocate south of Chambers Street since 2005 and that more are likely to move to the area to take advantage of this pool of workers. The Downtown Alliance compared data of the 2000 Decennial Census and the 2010 American Community Survey to find out who these workers are and where they live. Population counts in neighborhoods situated within a 30-minute commute of Downtown were measured against those taken in a 30-county region stretching from New York City, New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester and the Hudson Valley, Southern Connecticut and Pennsyl¬vania’s Pike County. The results show that young professionals are increasingly living within a 30-minute commute of Lower Manhattan. Nine of the ten fastest growing neighborhoods in the region are within this radius, including Park Slope, the Lower East Side and Jersey City’s Newport-Grove Street area. The suburbs outside this range, on the other hand, contribute far less to the region’s creative and professional workforce and in some cases lost a portion of workers in professional and creative fields.
CHEN TRIALS RESULT IN DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE, FACE MORE DELAYS Travis Carden, the fifth soldier to be tried in relation to Danny Chen’s suicide, will be dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army and will receive a $1,000 fine for attempting to impede the Chen investigations at Fort Bragg in August. He has also been sentenced to a prison term of 10 months. Carden, 25, pled guilty on Oct. 11 to a number of charges stemming from an altercation with members of his unit, including striking and pushing another soldier, threatening another soldier, negligently using a firearm and damaging government property, as well as negligently discharging a pistol in a government van and attempting to impede an investigation. Danny Chen, who grew up in Chinatown and was the only Asian-American in his military unit, was subjected to several weeks of hazing while deployed in Kandahar, Afghanistan last year. Eight soldiers in all were charged in connection to his death, but only Carden and one other, Specialist Ryan Offutt, have been ousted from the military. Carden had been found guilty on Aug. 22 of hazing
Josh Rogers, former editor of Downtown Express, has just been named the paper's new editor.
Community Board 1’s offices at 49-51 Chambers St. were closed this week due to area-wide power outages and have been working remotely. For updates and other information, please e-mail the board’s administrator, Lucy Acevedo, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Evan Lacher at email@example.com.
ON MON., NOV. 5: The Executive Committee will meet.
ON TUES., NOV. 6: The office will be closed for Election Day.
ON THURS., NOV. 8: The Executive, Planning, Seaport-Civic Center, Waterfront, Landmarks Committees — in addition to the Arts & Entertainment Task Force — will meet to discuss the Pier 17 Uniform Land Use Review Procedure application. The location of the meeting is yet to be determined.
Private Chen by taunting the soldier with racial slurs and ordering him to do push-ups with water in his mouth. Carden was consequently sentenced with a reduced rank and a fine and avoided dishonorable discharge. The recent development in the Carden case is seen as a victory by City Council Member Margaret Chin and the New York Chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans (O.C.A.), who contend that all eight soldiers should be removed from the army. “During the previous summary court-martial, Specialist Carden was not punished for his crimes,” said Chin in a statement released to the press. “This time, I am relieved to see that the army has dishonorably discharged Specialist Carden.” The remaining three soldiers have yet to be tried by the courts-martial at the army’s Fort Bragg, South Carolina military base. The trial of First Lieutenant Daniel Schwartz, originally set for Oct. 24-26, has been delayed due to procedural motions by the government and the defense, according to army spokesperson Benjamin Abel. More time is required to prepare for the trial, he noted, and a new trial date has not been set. This news follows the previously announced delay of the final two trials in the Chen case of Sergeant Jeffrey Hurst and Staff Sergeant Andrew Van Bockel, whose trials were moved to Nov. 5-9 and Nov. 13-21, respectively.
November 3 - November 13, 2012
Two Bridges community rallies to help trapped seniors BY SA M S P O K O NY As people across the city worked to recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, a group of seniors trapped in a Lower East Side building — without electricity, water or adequate food supplies — were being saved from the brink of despair by community leaders, city workers and volunteers who came to their aid. The nearly 50 elderly tenants of 80 Rutgers Slip who didn’t leave the building — which is in Zone A, the area that was under mandatory evacuation orders before the storm hit — faced a dire situation when their lobby was flooded and power was lost on Monday night. Following the storm, the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council spearheaded a collaborative effort that provided a vital lifeline to the ailing seniors. “We’ve been extremely pleased with the turnout so far,” said Victor Papa, president of Two Bridges, speaking on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier that day, three meals for each of the 80 Rutgers tenants were delivered by the nonprofit organization Citymeals on Wheels, in an arrangement arranged and overseen by Two Bridges. And Papa explained that on Thursday, the seniors would be receiving 200 more meals from the city’s Department for the Aging.
He also said that, in an equally heroic effort, a local volunteer dropped off 60 gallons of water at 80 Rutgers Slip on Tuesday. The water was shared between that building and the adjacent 82 Rutgers Slip, which, like many other buildings in the area, was also without power and running water in the days following Sandy. The Two Bridges staff also bought dozens of flashlights on Wednesday for the elderly tenants, but Papa added that more were needed for that building and others in the area. He continued to encourage area residents to donate flashlights and other supplies to 80 Rutgers, since aid to the building was only immediate and didn’t constitute even a consistent short-term plan. The meal deliveries, Papa stressed, would not be continuous and were secured only for the days on which the food was delivered. Although Internet reception was spotty and keeping cell phones charged was a constant struggle, social media and other Internet resources helped the swift responses to the seniors’ desperate needs, as well as to other struggling buildings within Lower East Side communities. A new community-based volunteer Web site, lowereastside.recovers. org, went online on Tuesday morning.
The product of volunteer collaborations between Occupy Wall Street and 350. org (an environmental organization), the “recovers” site allowed local residents to communicate and organize in support of ailing neighbors, as well as allowing community organizations like Two Bridges to post requests for donations for specific buildings.
‘In the end, we have to rely on ourselves. We’re the ones have to live through this.’ — Victor Papa
Recovers.org is a for-profit operation that licenses its software to cities and major organizations that are preparing for disasters, and was founded last year by survivors of a tornado in Massachusetts. “I think the site will make things a lot easier during the big transition that’s
Pier 17 plan encounters festering opposition Continued from page 6
to meet,” she said. “Having that area open would be very helpful.” C.B. 1’s Landmarks Committee is objecting to another aspect of Howard Hughes’s Pier 17 proposal — its signage. The Howard Hughes plan calls for a nine-foot-high illuminated rooftop sign that reads “Seaport” and up to 18 other non-illuminated blade signs attached to both sides of the mall that would bear the names of the indoor shops. The committee has written seven resolutions in response to the plan, two of which ask the city Landmarks Preservation Commission to reject the developer’s request for a modification of existing regulations that would allow for the proposed signage. According to Howard Hughes, “these signs will be critical to the identification of the building and its tenants and will be appropriate to the scale and design of the building.” But C.B. 1 asserts that the blade signs
would detract from the future building’s overall design and contravene L.P.C. signage guidelines. “To have it in that location is totally inappropriate for the South Street Seaport Historic District, in our opinion,” said committee chairperson Roger Byrom. “The whole scale of the Seaport is low and small, and while there are precedents on [certain parts of] the waterfront for industrial signs, there was never anything like that in the Seaport.” Byrom continued, “We understand tenants rightfully need signage, but in many historic districts, you can limit the signage to simple lettering. That would be more appropriate than having lots of different logos swinging around the place.” The full board has until Tues., Nov. 13 to review the application, after which the redevelopment plan will be evaluated by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, the City Planning Commission and City Council. If approved, construction on the pier is slated to begin next summer.
going to take place between the immediate disaster response and planning for long term needs,” said Caitria O’Neill, co-founder and C.E.O. of recovers.org. Those who wish to donate specifically to Lower East Side buildings in need can visit lowereastside.recovers.org and contact community representatives by phone or e-mail. As of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the Web site also had requests for donations to 46 Hester St. in Chinatown, 242 E. Second St. in the East Village, and numerous other buildings in need. Nearly 250,000 people were still without electrical power in Manhattan as of Friday. On Wednesday at noon, Con Edison released a statement saying that people in Manhattan and Brooklyn who are served by underground equipment should have power back within three days. Papa acknowledged that Con Ed’s ability to restore power would be the most important part of recovering from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, but he stressed that, for the moment, it was up to Lower East Side residents to keep themselves going. “In the end, we can’t rely on the circumstances of crisis, and the predictions of the authorities,” Papa said. “We have to rely on ourselves. We’re the ones have to live through this.
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November 3 - November 13, 2012
Tribeca fared better but Manhattan Youth heavily damaged BY A L I N E R E Y N O LD S Most buildings in Tribeca survived the record-breaking Superstorm Sandy that ravaged the area — with the exception of Downtown’s largest youth community center. The Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center was completely submerged in water in the hours after the storm passed through the city, rendering its space kaput, according to executive director Bob Townley. Rebuilding the center will likely take months and cost several million dollars. Following the peak of the storm at around dawn on Tuesday, Townley wrote an e-mail describing the scene at Manhattan Youth. The exterior and interior of 120 Warren St. had been heavily damaged from 15 to 20 feet of floods. “Pipes have burst, ceilings have collapsed and the elevator is under water,” he wrote that morning. “I thought of the teen program due to start next week.” Starting on Monday, the community center will be running its after-school programs — in addition to basketball and other evening and weekend sports programs — at six neighborhood schools. But its swimming program and other activities previously housed at the center have been cancelled for now. Manhattan Youth staff and volunteers, who were staying at Townley’s apartment, spent most of the week pumping the water out of the community center — including several hours on line at gasoline stations to fuel up on gas for the pumps’ engines. As of Friday, they were two-thirds of the way done. The center has yet to receive donations for the extensive repairs that lie ahead. The desolate situation reminded Townley of the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2011, when sev-
eral neighborhood buildings were destroyed. “When 9/11 happened and parts of the Trade Center fell into our swimming pool [at 225 Rector Place], and when Sandy overflowed the banks and went into our swimming pool, both of those incidents made me feel the same way — like, ‘What am I going to do?’ he said. Townley continued, “What I learned is that rebuilding is possible when you stay focused and remain optimistic. Let’s take a breath and begin to do what we all do so well Downtown: help and rebuild.” “We’re going to need everybody’s help.” Pier 25, whose playground was uprooted, will remain closed until further notice. Staff and contractors of the Hudson River Park Trust are currently cleaning the site and are holding off on assessing the pier’s electrical system until the power is turned back on in the area and the wires dry out. Hudson River Park’s basketball courts were also flooded. And, over at Independence Plaza North on North Moore Street, many residents stayed put during the hurricane despite the evacuation notice, according to former Community Board 1 chairperson Julie Menin — who along with Council Member Margaret Chin and other local leaders stopped by the apartment complex to check on tenants this week. Following the storm, there were desperate searches for food and volunteers knocked on every I.P.N. door offering supplies and medical assistance to the residents, Menin noted. There was also a doctor on site. “People really needed food and water,” she said. “There are a lot of seniors that literally lacked mobility.” —With reporting by Josh Rogers
Photo courtesy of Manhattan Youth
The Downtown Community Center was heavily damaged by the storm.
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
Statue Cruises’ B.P.C. entrance battered The Battery Park City entrance to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferry services took a beating during Hurricane Sandy’s brief but hardhitting visit to the New York area. Photo courtesy of Manhattan Youth
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November 3 - November 13, 2012
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B Y AL IN E REYNOLDS Though the World Trade Center didn’t incur significant damage, the complex had sizeable water accumulation in its basements that workers were still pumping out at press time on Friday. Some 200 million gallons of water from New York Harbor poured into the 16-acre site during the storm, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. As a result, the complex’s sub-grade levels were flooded by up to 30 feet of water that might have damaged equipment and electrical systems. The W.T.C. Transportation Hub is under 25 feet of water, while the chiller plant that ventilates the site is submerged by seven feet. By Friday, 30,000 gallons of water were eliminated from the sub-basements of the W.T.C. by the minute, according to spokesperson Steve Coleman. Ironically, the infrastructure of the underground Vehicle Security Center facilitated the flooding. “They’re pumping significant amounts of water out of the site,” he said. “Approximately 20 percent has been pumped out — they’re making good progress.” Drying out the towers’ sub-grade areas will take another few days, he noted.
Meanwhile, representatives of developer Larry Silverstein’s construction team and the devleoper’s contractors conducted a full inspection of the eastern portion of the World Trade Center site earlier this week. Following the inspection, the developer reported that all cranes are in working order and that the towers — including 4 W.T.C., which remains on schedule for completion next year — escaped damage. Seven W.T.C., which also survived the storm, will reopen once Consolidated Edison is able to restore power to Lower Manhattan, according to Bud Perrone, a spokesperson for Silverstein Properties. “No harm was detected to Silverstein’s major mechanical systems, including a major electrical room beneath the 2 W.T.C. construction site, which supplies power to each of Silverstein’s towers,” he said. “The only major services at present are water and restoration of electrical service. Neither problem is expected to significantly impact the overall construction schedule.” The National Sept. 11 Memorial Plaza Continued on page 17
November 3 - November 13, 2012
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Continued from page 16
also made it through okay. In preparation for Sandy, Memorial officials took several preventative steps, such as draining its pools and harvest tanks, according to president Joe Daniels. “The museum’s collection is largely stored offsite,” he said, “and we are reviewing the condition of these items to assess any impacts and
ensure their care.” The massive flooding, however, took a toll on the museum’s visitor center. “We will have a clearer picture of the extent of the damages as our dedicated response teams continue their assessments,” said Daniels. “We are working closely with the state, city and the Port Authority to reopen the memorial as soon as possible, as well as make any necessary repairs.”
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Beauty after the storm While Sandy wreaked havoc in many areas near Downtown’s rivers, somehow Battery Park City’s South Cove was sparkling last Wednesday.
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November 3 - November 13, 2012
Crumbling pier proves to be unsustainable B Y K A I T LY N M E A D E Despite widespread alarm when the Consolidated Edison Company of New York shut off power to protect Lower Manhattan from Hurricane Sandy, the Hudson River Park Trust could only breathe a sigh of relief. Pier 40, the deteriorating pier near Houston St., narrowly avoided catastrophe during the storm. Madelyn Wils, president of the Hudson River Park Trust (H.R.P.T.), said that while power could be shut off in most of Hudson River Park’s buildings, they were unable to do so at Pier 40 because the substation was very old. “We’re very lucky that Con Edison turned off power for the whole area,” Wils said Thursday in a phone interview. “If they hadn’t turned it off, the transformer would have exploded and that would have started a fire. It could have been a disaster.” The storm did extensive damage to the ball fields although the turf was already nearing its end. This is only one of many problems plaguing the structure of the pier, which turned 50 years old on Oct. 24. Long before Hurricane Sandy, the pier was in dire need of repair. At a recent tour of Pier 40 with Community Board 1, Madelyn Wils and Mark Conti, project manager of construction and design for the LiRo Group, a consultant for Pier 40, discussed the myriad problems
Downtown Express photo by Arnold Rozon
Pier 40 was already deteriorating.
facing the pier and the necessary measures to bring the building back into working order. When the H.R.P.T. inherited the building from the Department of Buildings and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2003, the roof was caving in and extensive water damage had occurred from rainwater pouring through the leaks.
HUDSON RIVER PARK TRUST - Contract No. C4189 - Category: 03 C4189 - Segment 3 - Hubert to Laight Street - Landscape Materials Construction Description: The Hudson River Park Trust ("HRPT") is seeking proposals from qualified site contracting firms (“Bidders”) interested in performing landscape, irrigation, and site construction within the Hudson River Park. Typical construction operations would include but not be limited to: Protection of existing structures to remain; Temporary facilities, controls, and site protection; Excavation, earthwork, and grading; Field survey and layout; Site/soil preparation and the furnishing and installation of soil mixes; Furnishing and installation of all new lawns, trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, ground cover, bulbs and annuals; Site irrigation supply and installation including piping, fittings, sleeves, valves and valve boxes, swing joints, sprinkler heads, drip line and emitters, quick coupler valves, filters, etc; Maintenance of all landscape materials until Substantial Completion acceptance by Owner; and Guarantee of installed plant materials for one-year after final acceptance; Testing and adjusting of irrigation equipment and distribution system; Demonstration and training for the Owner’s personnel; and other miscellaneous finished work as required. Work located along the Hudson River from Hubert to Laight Streets. Price for bid documents $200.00 per set. All payments must be made by check, and must be payable to the Hudson River Park Trust and must include the contractor’s Federal Identification Number. Document availability date Friday October 19th, 2012. Documents including required submission materials for this solicitation may be obtained by the following means: Mail: Mail your requests and a check to the Hudson River Park Trust – Project Management Office, 353 West Street, Pier 40 – 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10014. In Person: Directly from the Hudson River Park Trust located at Pier 40. Hours 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday, except holidays. Overnight delivery via Fed Ex is available by providing your account information. Criteria for determining the lowest qualified bidder will include but is not limited to an analysis of: 1. Bidder’s site construction experience (minimum 5 years) on similar projects, including the name, location, and construction cost of the projects (include projects within the NYC metropolitan area); 2. Any NYS DOL, OSHA, ACOE, or NYS DEC violations issued to Bidder or any of its principals in the last five years; 3. Bidder’s complete team (prime contractor or joint venture partners and/or sub contractors) that it would commit to the project, including an analysis of the percentage of subcontracting; 4. Bidder’s proposed scheduling consultant, land surveyor, agricultural chemist, soils testing laboratory, and other specialty contractors required by the contract; 5. Bidder’s proposed location of soil material sources and certified test reports for the proposed soil materials; 6. Bidder’s proposed landscape materials sub contractor incl. analysis of landscape materials construction experience (minimum 5 years) on similar projects, including the name, location, and construction cost of the projects (include projects within the NYC metropolitan area wherever possible); 7. An analysis of the proposer’s sod and plant material nursery source listing(s); 8. Bidder’s proposed site irrigation sub contractor analysis of irrigation construction experience (minimum 5 years) on similar projects, including the name, location, and construction cost of the projects (include projects within the NYC metropolitan area wherever possible); 9. Qualifications of the personnel to be utilized for this project; 10. Detailed financial statements of Bidder or, in the case of a joint venture, the detailed financial statements of the joint venture partners; 11. Any debarments, litigation, and/or bankruptcy filings by Bidder or its principals in the last five years; 12. Completed and certified “Vendex” and New York State Vendor Responsibility questionnaires completed within the last three years; and 13. Bidder’s EEO policy statement and an M/WBE Utilization Plan. Submissions will be evaluated to assess the proposer’s responsibility, project specific and general site construction, landscape, and irrigation construction experience, project management personnel, percentage of subcontracting, and financial stability. HRPT is an equal opportunity contracting agency. Any resulting contracts will include provisions mandating compliance with Executive Law Article 15A and the regulations promulgated there under. Proposal Due:
11/15/2012, 1:00 p.m.
Lupe Frattini Hudson River Park Trust - Project Management Field Office 353 West Street, Pier 40 – 2PndP Floor, New York, NY 10014 (917) 661 8740 phone, (917) 661 8787 fax
Same As Above
“Instead of fixing the ceilings, they actually built giant bathtubs for the rainwater,” said Conti. But even these contained asbestos in the lining that had to be removed. Meanwhile, the concrete ceiling panels have corroded. In fact, in certain parking sections, every car is given a plastic covering as protection from falling concrete.
Sometimes this is not enough and the vehicles incur cracked windshields from loose pieces of the garage’s ceiling. The sanitation system collapsed about a month ago. Inclement weather caused the river to snap the pipe that runs beneath the pier, adding a whole new set of worries to the already cash-strapped reconstruction project. A pump has been set up, but it is one of a long line of temporary fixes that must be implemented to keep the pier running in the short term. Another temporary solution is the external emergency stairway placed on the outside corner of the building in lieu of the internal staircases, all six of which are condemned. According to Wils, it is the basic structure that is in most need of immediate attention. “What we’re seeing is the deterioration of structures that are vital to the life and safety of the building,” she said regarding the 3,600 steel piles that make up the pier’s skeleton. “Steel is good if you take care of [the piles], but they didn’t.” Nearly a fifth of the roof has been repaired at a cost of $6.2 million, but the H.R.P.T. lacks the funds to finish the job. With a footprint of 15 acres, Pier 40 is the largest of the Hudson River Park’s piers by five to six times. and is the only large, commercial pier in the lower section of Hudson