VoLume 25, number 17
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JAnuAry 23-februAry 5, 2013
chIn chaLLenGer raIses $37K For coUncIL race By Josh rogers emocratic District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar hasn’t announced her plans yet to unseat City Councilmember Margaret Chin later this year, but she has already raised more than $37,000 for her campaign. Rajkumar said last week that she is “exploring” a possible run, and would wait until a formal announcement before discussing the campaign’s issues. She and Chin submitted their fundraising numbers to the city Campaign Finance Board last week. Rajkumar said she has been raising money for only two weeks. “I am very pleased and moved and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support right in the beginning,” she said. Rajkumar trails Chin, who has raised almost $97,000 from slightly more than 800 donors, but it is not hard for challengers to raise enough money to run a credible campaign. Under the city’s generous public finance system, donations up to $175 are matched at a 6-to-1 ratio. Rajkumar, 30, a Battery Park City resident and an attorney,
Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority
It may take three years to repair the South Ferry subway station at a cost of $600 million — about the same amount spent in 2009 to expand and repair the stop.
Once again, $600 million needed to ﬁx up South Ferry
Continued on page 23
By Terese Loeb kreuzer he Metropolitan Transportation Authority is now saying that it will take one to three years to repair Superstorm Sandy damage to the South Ferry subway station at the southern end of Manhattan. “Right now, it’s still too early to tell how long the repairs will take,” said Kevin Ortiz, a spokesperson for the M.T.A. “We’re still in the process of assessing the damage and deciding what the scope of the project to mitigate the station would entail.” He said that the M.T.A. plans to put the project out to bid “at some point this year.” According to Ortiz, the M.T.A. is considering whether to move some infrastructure
higher and whether to modify the design of the station in order to make it more resistant to damage from future storms. In-house architects and engineers are doing the assessment. As a preliminary estimate, the M.T.A. believes that repairs would cost $600 million, and hopes to recoup this money from the federal government. Malcolm Bowman, professor of oceanography and a distinguished service professor at the Marine Sciences Research Center at Stony Brook University, said that the M.T.A. should not have been surprised at what happened. Bowman has been warning of potential storm surge problems for years. At a recent meeting of Community Board
5 15 CANAL ST RE ET • N YC 10 013 • C OPYRIG HT © 2013 N YC COMMU N ITY MED IA , LLC
2’s Environmental Committee, he recalled that several years ago he was involved in a documentary for a TV station at the South Ferry subway station while it was being renovated and expanded. “The station wasn’t yet finished,” he said. “It was just a concrete box, and I was down there with a film crew and the chief engineer of the M.T.A. and we were looking up these concrete steps to the blue sky and I said, ‘How far above sea level is that entrance?’ And he said, ‘11 feet.’ I said, ‘That sounds awfully low to me.’ He said not to worry. ‘It’s built to the building code and it’s safe against the 100-year storm.’ And I said that Continued on page 12
January 23 - February 5, 2013
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Bill Thompson told us he will not take back authority of the Battery Park City Authority if he is elected mayor this year. “Battery Park City functions very well right now, it’s a special community and I don’t think the structure needs to be changed, ” Thompson, who left as chairperson of the B.P.C.A. last year to run for mayor, said as he was leaving last week’s meeting of Downtown Independent Democrats. Both Mike Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani seriously considered taking control of the neighborhood from the governor for $1, as mayors are permitted to do, but apparently decided against because of questions regarding the neighborhood’s bonds. Thompson also called the long delay in reopening the $4.1 million ballfields “tragic.” During his club pitch to D.I.D., he said he chose not to run for reelection as city comptroller four years ago because he thought it would have been wrong — in an unstated but obvious dig at opponent Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who backed Bloomberg’s push to extend term limits on city officials.
One of the frequently listed occupations of donors to Councilmember Margaret Chin’s reelection campaign is “housewife,” a term we suppose is either quaint, dated, or sexist depending on your outlook. Catherine McVay Hughes, best known as being the chairperson of Community Board 1, an unpaid position, opted for “homemaker’ instead. We were also struck to see seamstress and street vendor on Chin’s donor list. Liz Abzug, who has flirted in the past with running for the seat and who is the daughter of late feminist icon, Bella Abzug, also gave to Chin. As for Chin’s almost certain opponent, Jenifer Rajkumar, we’ve been curious why she spells her name with only one “N.” She told us that when she was born, her brother Rahul, then 4, wanted his sister to have an American name and he picked Jennifer. Her ever practical mother didn’t want too long a name and saw no phonetic reason for two N’s. You know, Mother Rajkumar, you’re right: the second N is just for show.
We finally had a chance last weekend to catch up with Bill Love, the sweet sounding southern native and former southern Battery Park City resident who moved down to Charlottesville, Va. in 2011 to be closer to his elderly mother. Love popped up to New York at the
end of December and got a few ovations from his former colleagues on Community Board 1, but we did not have a chance to converse then. He said he sympathized with his former neighbors who endured the Occupy Wall Street drumming, and on this trip “it was nice to see Zuccotti Park open for everyone. There were no barriers.” He saw the 9/11 Memorial for the first time and found it to be “very impressive. After all the turmoil and political fighting, it seems to have come out fairly well.” Love, the first leader of Lower Manhattan Democrats, said his successor, Robin Forst, is “a better schmoozer than I am,” and has done well to get people like C.B. 1 chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes more involved. Love is still in politics and was elected to be counsel to the Albemarle County Democratic Committee. “There are a lot of Tea Party Republicans down here in control of everything ,” he said. Had Barack Obama and Joe Biden needed a recount to carry battleground Virginia, they would have probably turned to Love for legal help.
An appreciative Susan Henshaw Jones said her “new favorite 4-letter word” was FEMA for all the help the federal agency gave to helping reopen the South Street Seaport Museum, which Jones directs. Sounds like the agency is finally doing a “heckuva job” after its much-maligned postKatrina days under Brownie. Jones spoke last week at a jam-packed museum event where there had been 8 feet of water not too long ago. Mayor Bloomberg came armed with a numbing number of sea “jokes” including praise for “Admiral Kate Levin,” the city’s Cultural Affairs commish, and “Commodore Seth Pinsky,” who runs the Economic Development Corp.
We hear HarperCollins is getting close to signing a deal to move into 195 Broadway, according to a source familiar with the discussions. Crain’s reported the book giant is looking for about 200,000 square feet of space. With Condé Nast slated to go to 1 World Trade Center, it may not yet be a publishers’ clearinghouse out of Midtown, but Lower Manhattan is getting on the map.
We bid a sad farewell to Harold Reed, a gentleman passionate about the arts and the Seaport. Harold was indeed the community activist he’s been described as, but we can’t recall another one who was more charming and warm than him. He was a good friend and source to UnderCover and we wish we had attended more of his fun holiday parties where the famous and not were all treated with grace. We never heard him raise his voice to anyone including us even if perhaps we deserved it. For better or worse, we’ve heard many things said about noteworthy people in Lower Manhattan, but in all these years no one ever had an unkind word about Harold. There was none to be said.
January 23 - February 5, 2013
Derelict Canal building and two others to be renovated By lincoln anderSon A day after a metal roll-down gate partially fell off a long-vacant building near the western end of Canal St., contractors were at the site constructing a plywood fence around the building in preparation for its renovation. John Mele, property manager for the Pontes, the owners of 502 Canal St. and the two buildings immediately to its west, 504 and 506 Canal St., was at the scene and said that the plan is to fix up all three of the buildings, all three-story structures dating from the 1800s. “Landmarks wants these all renovated,” he said, referring to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. Dennis Healy, who was also at the scene, noted sadly that the renovation would mean he’d have to close up his discount bike shop, which is in the ground floor of 504 Canal St. “That’s the end of the bike store for me,” he said. Healy said it was his understanding that all three buildings would be demolished and that he and his family members would have to vacate. However, Mele said, the buildings are landmarks and thus cannot be razed, and instead will be renovated and restored in a historically sensitive manner. Mele said it was true, the bike shop probably would not be allowed to return. Asked
Downtown Express photo by Lincoln Anderson
The three buildings stretching west from the southwest corner of Canal and Greenwich Sts. are all being renovated. The corner building has been uninhabited for years and is in dangerously dilapidated condition.
about the fate of the residential tenants in 504 and 506 Canal St., he said he didn’t have an immediate answer. Mele said that Healy’s father, mother, aunt and two cousins live in 506 Canal St. Healy’s father, Frank Healy, 87, a former
Teamster, grew up on Renwick St., and remembers when the first building on the block got steam heat. A contractor wearing a yellow hard hat at the site on Thursday, who said he would be “overseeing” the renovation job for the three
buildings, said a report by some news outlets that an interior wall of 502 Canal St. had collapsed on Wednesday was not true. “No, I don’t know where [they] got that,” he said. “Trust me, if a wall fell down inside, the building would be on the ground.” Indeed, the building at the southwest corner of Canal and Greenwich Sts. has been uninhabited and in deteriorating condition for years. One local resident from around the corner on West St. who was passing by and stopped to speak briefly to the contractor, said the building had been ringed by a protective sidewalk shed for, she figured, at least eight years. The contractor said another local woman told him the corner building used to house a liquor store long ago. The contractor, who declined to give his name, said the renovation work was being done for the “new owner who has leased the property,” and said that referred to all three of the buildings. As for the buildings’ future use, he said, “It’ll be residential, it’ll have to be residential.” He said the renovation job on the corner building would take about a year, while the next-door buildings won’t need as much work. “It’s the one building,” he said. “It’s a minor renovation next door — they’re in Continued on page 8
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A man was forced into his Spring St. apartment’s elevator and robbed at gunpoint late at night on Wednesday. The victim, 23, told police that he was entering his apartment building at 106 Spring St. at about 1:30 a.m. on Wed., Jan. 16 when a man approached him from behind. As he reached the elevator, the stranger pointed something into his back and said, “Let’s make this very simple.” They both entered the elevator where the victim handed over his wallet. The robber took the cash out and then asked if there was any more. He searched the victim, taking more cash and his black iPhone 4S. When the doors opened on the second floor the victim ran to his apartment. The robber attempted to follow him inside as his father was shutting the door, but the victim kicked him and managed to close it. The robber reportedly fled down the stairs and turned westbound on Spring, where he got into a yellow cab. The robber was described as male, Hispanic, 6’2”, with a goatee, wearing baggy jeans, a black puffy hooded coat and red brimmed baseball cap. He displayed a black semi-automatic pistol on surveillance video.
grANd theFt motorCyCle
There were two grand theft auto cases of motorcycles parked overnight on Friday and Saturday. A blue 2009 Kawasaki motorcycle was stolen from outside the owner’s workplace on Fri., Jan. 18. The 28-year-old man said he had driven the motorcycle to work and parked it outside 89 Reade St. at 5:15 p.m. and then went in for an overnight shift. At 4:15 a.m., he emerged to find it had been stolen. The victim said he had removed the New York registration prior to the theft. A police canvas turned up no results on the $7,500 motorcycle. The next day, a black 2011 Husqvarna motorcycle was reported stolen after being parked outside 68 Warren St. on Saturday. The motorcycle’s owner, 55, stated that he parked it on the public sidewalk at 10:30 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 19, but when he returned for it at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, it was gone. He told police he did not owe any summonses. The motorcycle, worth $6,000, had New Hampshire plates.
A young man was punched on his way into his girlfriend’s apartment building by two men on bicycles.
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The 29-year-old was about to enter the residential building at 34 Watts St. when he told police he was approached by two men, one on a white bicycle and the other on a smaller red bike, either a child’s model or a stunt bike. The victim said he was punched in the face by one of them, though he could not determine which, and his iPhone 5 was stolen. Police reported that the robbers then fled east on Broome St. A bartender next door at Circa Tabac witnessed the incident. A police stop was conducted at West Broadway and Canal but no arrests were made. AT&T turned cell his phone service off but there was no tracking software on the device.
T.J. Maxx’s shoe section in December, where video surveillance now shows it was picked up by a couple, whose decision to keep the device led to their arrest. The woman reported that she had dropped her $400 iPhone 4S at the department store, located at 14 Wall St. Police say video footage shows another woman pick up a cell phone in the same place the victim reportedly dropped hers. The woman gives the phone to a man, who uses it to make a call, which is verified by the victim’s phone records. The couple finishes their shopping and leaves the store, taking the phone with them. The couple was arrested on Jan. 15, police reported, and the iPhone recovered.
shopliFters swArm BoutiQue
There was no peace and relaxation for one student when she found her belongings stolen from the changing room of her yoga studio. Locker room larceny is an ongoing problem for Lower Manhattan, but it has been mostly reported in gyms. This time, the thief hit the Kula Yoga Project at 28 Warren St. The victim, 33, said she put her purse in the studio’s changing area at about 1:30 p.m. on Fri., Jan. 18. After class, she returned to find her property was gone. An employee of Kula Yoga reported that a man entered the studio during that time and was acting suspiciously. He filled out an application with his name but wrote no address, and left without attending a class. The victim cancelled her debit and credit cards. She also lost a $200 bag and $620 in property, cash and checks.
No fewer than 10 shoplifters hit a Soho clothing boutique, but only got away with two items when an employee sounded the alarm. Two employees of Runway Couture at 450 Broome St. told police that they witnessed a shoplifting gang make off with merchandise on Wed., Jan. 16. At about 7 p.m., one of the employees noticed the group of men and women, aged about 20-30, enter the store. The other employee observed that one woman had what appeared to be an empty shoulder bag. Not long after, he noticed that her shoulder bag was bulging and there was an empty hanger next to her. The employee yelled for help, causing the group to run for the exit. On the way out, a man jumped up and grabbed a Louis Vuitton purse from the top shelf. They all piled into a black SUV with New York plates and took off. Besides the $1,300 vintage Louis Vuitton bag, they also stole a $1,500 mink jacket.
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Love of shoes is a fine thing, but letting it make you careless may lead to replacing other things. A 23-year-old Norwegian woman reported that her bag had been taken while she went to pay for her merchandise in ALDO Shoes at 579 Broadway. The theft occurred at about 7:25 p.m. on Mon., Jan. 14. The Mulberry bag was worth $1,350 alone, and contained $40 Marc Jacobs perfume, $100 gloves, $50 L’Occitane soap and her $850 iPhone which was cancelled late due to the time difference between New York and Norway. Another woman, 34, lost her phone in
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An employee of My Suit clothing store was robbed by one of his “customers” who told him that he was waiting for his father. The employee, 30, told police that the thief entered the 30 Broad St. shop at about 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 17 and told him, “I’m waiting for my dad to get fitted.” When the employee went to help other customers, the thief entered the back office and took a Dell laptop, MetroCard, debit card, cash and attempted to take the Apple iPad that was bolted to the countertop. The employee stated that the thief then walked out carrying a black plastic bag. The employee also told police that his card had been charged for $9.78 at MacDonald’s.
January 23 - February 5, 2013
Woman dies in Nolita arson By L i n co l n A nd e r s o n a n d Sa m S p o k o ny In what police said was arson that stemmed from a domestic dispute, a fire tore through a five-story apartment building in Nolita on Thurs., Jan. 10, killing one person and leaving nine injured. Around 200 firefighters responded to the blaze at 41 Spring St., which began shortly after 6:30 p.m. and took nearly three hours to put out, officials said. Wei Chu Wu, 45, was arrested that night after allegedly starting the fire in the hallway outside his second-floor apartment, police said. According to police, Wu lit the lethal spark after an argument with his wife, who eventually escaped unharmed alongside with their child. Wu, who also reportedly tried to stop emergency personnel from entering the burning building, was charged with arson, murder, attempted assault of a police officer and resisting arrest. Lea Spivack perished in the fire, with the cause of death given as smoke inhalation and burns. Her body was found on a third-floor fire escape, charred beyond recognition. The fire had been set in several spots on the second floor. Spivack lived on the fourth floor. She was apparently trying to make her way down to escape the blaze. The fire gutted the building.
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SUNDAY, JANUARY 27 & FEBRUARY 3, 10am The Gospel, Times, Journal, and You Discuss the editorial pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the assigned gospel for the day. 74 Trinity Pl, 3rd Fl, Parish Library SUNDAY, JANUARY 27 & FEBRUARY 3, 10am Discovery Epiphany Series: A People’s History of the Episcopal Church A history of the Episcopal Church from the perspective of those who lived it. 74 Trinity Pl, 2nd Fl, Parish Hall
Downtown Express Photo by Sam Spokony
Paramedics carted out a resident of 41 Spring St. who needed oxygen after inhaling smoke from the massive blaze.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 29, 12-2pm Open Hours Origami Learn origami with interfaith minister Lisa Bellan-Boyer. Open to all skill levels. Charlotte’s Place WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 6pm Dancing with Marley Come out and let your body move to the reggae beats of Bob Marley. Charlotte’s Place
worship SUNDAY, 8am & 10am St. Paul’s Chapel · Holy Eucharist SUNDAY, 8pm St. Paul’s Chapel · Compline – Music & Prayers SUNDAY, 9am & 11:15am Trinity Church · Preaching, music, and Eucharist · Sunday school and child care available MONDAY – FRIDAY, 12:05pm Trinity Church · Holy Eucharist MONDAY – FRIDAY, 5:15pm All Saints’ Chapel, in Trinity Church Evening Prayer, Evensong (Thurs.)
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SUNDAY, JANUARY 27 & FEBRUARY 3, 1pm Writing God: Spiritual Journaling Come and further your own spiritual pilgrimage through this writing art. Meets every Sunday. 74 Trinity Pl, 3rd Fl, Room 2 SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 1:30-4:30pm Parish Poetry Reading Read your own work or a favorite poem by a favorite poet. To participate, contact 212.602.0800. St. Paul’s Chapel
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According to reports, her husband, Jimmy Spivack, 66, had gone to the store and returned with arms full of grocery bags to find the building ablaze. The New York Post reported that he frantically ran back and forth in front of the building screaming, “Lea! Lea!” Jimmy Spivack is a writer and longtime resident of the building. He and Lea had been together off and on for years, but only married just recently, and she moved into the Spring St. building with him. Lea was recalled by neighbors as quiet and athletic. Georgette Fleischer, founder of Friends of Petrosino Square, who lives nearby, said that, to her, Lea looked to be in her early 50s. Jimmy looks very young for his age, she added. “I’ve seen her with him for decades,” Fleischer said. “They were not married. The idea that these two would keep that skipping trajectory for so long. It’s crazy — these two people finally found happiness, and this happens? You don’t know what to make of it. I do find it existentially perverse.” Although it was an intense, quick-moving fire, Fleischer said traffic congestion and double-parking on Spring St. also contributed to the tragedy by slowing fire trucks from reaching the scene. She said she spoke to firefighters and was told this. For the past year, neighbors have been calling on elected officials and Community Board 2 to address this problem, she said.
January 23 - February 5, 2013
After the crash, ferry service back to normal BY K A I T LYN ME A DE Danielle Moir checked the news at her Battery Park City home on Wed., Jan 9, before leaving with her 6-year-old son for an appointment Uptown. It was a routine check for traffic delays, so she was not expecting to hear of a collision at nearby Pier 11. “All I heard was ‘hard landing.’ I thought it was the helicopter,” said Moir of the helipad also located at the piers. When they drove by at about 8:40 a.m., the boat looked undamaged and no one had yet exited onto the pier. “But as we drove Uptown, there were ambulances and police cars and fire trucks all heading Downtown.” It was not a helicopter, but rather a high speed ferry that missed its slip and crashed into Pier 11 at 10-12 knots, too fast for a craft that should have been slowing down to dock. The Seastreak ferry left Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey at 8 a.m. on Jan. 9 and barreled into the pier at about 8:45 a.m. causing damage to the ship and pitching people across the deck and down stairwells, injuring over 50 of them. Several passengers were rushed to nearby Bellevue and New York Downtown Hospital in neck braces. There have been no fatalities reported, but one passenger was in critical condition after the accident The next day, as Moir waited for the Ikea ferry on Pier 11, she gazed toward the notice posted on Slip D that read ‘Out of Service. Ask an attendant.’
Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel
The Seastreak ferry that crashed into Pier 11 Jan. 9.
Seastreak, conducts routine commutes across the Hudson to the Wall Street pier. Officials say there were 326 passengers and five crew members aboard the ship, operated by Senior Captain Jason Reimer, 36. Reimer, during a three hour interview, told National Transportation Safety Board investigators that he tried to reverse the vessel, but mechanical failures prevented him. “Something like that brings it home, how
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close we come every day to calamity,” said Sam Terrell, who has made the Hudson River commute on the Seastreak for 15 years. For him, it was one of several events that have forced him to “stop and think” recently. His town was flooded by Hurricane Sandy in October, though the water only came halfway up the driveway of his home. And in 2001, his office was located in the World Trade Center. He was slated to go up to a
conference on the top floor on September 11. But he skipped it that fateful morning, which very well could have saved his life. “My friends told me I should play the lottery,” he joked, but added that, “It gives you pause.” “I usually stand on the stairs by the door,” said another commuter, also named Sam, waiting for the ferry service at 3 p.m. on Jan. 10. He added that the next morning “everyone was far more cautious. Not many people were standing up or crowding the doors.” He said he had a friend who was on the out-of-control ferry, an emergency medical technician that was thankfully only “shaken up,” and was able to assist others who were injured that morning. The National Transportation Safety Board is in the midst of an ongoing investigation into what caused the crash. On Jan. 17, N.T.S.B. reported that they had conducted a series of tests on equipment, including tests of the steering and propeller systems. Interviews of the ship’s engineers and passengers are ongoing. This is not the first Seastreak ferry accident. The Associated Press reported that there was an incident in 2010 in which the Seastreak Wall Street damaged its hull when it smashed into fender piles while pulling up to the dock. There was also an incident in 2009, according to CBS New York, in which the ferry hit a pier at E. 35th St., gouging a hole in the hull.
• • • • • • PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE • • • • • • The Hudson River Park Neighborhood Improvement District Steering Committee in conjunction with Friends of Hudson River Park will be hosting 4 Public Meetings on the proposed Improvement District. We hope you can join us to get more information, ask questions, and show your support at one of the following meetings:
Monday Feb. 4th @ 6:30pm Little Red School House (272 Sixth Ave.)
Monday Feb. 11th @ 3:00pm Fulton Center Auditorium (119 Ninth Ave.)
Tuesday Feb. 5th @ 6:30pm Hartley House (413 West 46 St.)
Tuesday Feb. 12th @ 6:30pm Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center (120 Warren St.)
For more information please contact Jeffrey Aser at 212-757-0981 (Jaser@fohrp.org) www.HRPNID.org
January 23 - February 5, 2013
Downtown Express photos by Sam Spokony
An early taste of Taste The 19th annual Taste of Tribeca event is still months away, but organizers and participants gathered on Tuesday morning at Edward’s restaurant, at 136 W. Broadway, for an open house to begin preparing for this year’s May 18 bash. Left, Taste’s co-chairperson Hope Flamm spoke to local business owners about the event. Founded by parents of children in Tribeca’s two public schools (P.S. 150 and P.S. 234) as a fundraiser for the schools’ arts and enrichment programs, the event brings together dozens of local restaurateurs for a full day of food and festivities. Upper right: Carmen Grau, owner of the Ward III cocktail bar/cafe on Reade St.; Edward Youkilis, owner of Edward’s; Odine Bonthrone, coordinator for Taste of Tribeca; and Jimmy Carbone, a board member and former co-chairperson of the event.
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January 23 - February 5, 2013
Canal Street buildings Continued from page 3
good shape.” David Reck, president of Friends of Hudson Square, lives up the block on Greenwich St. from the cluster of small Ponte buildings. He said the three buildings were individually landmarked sometime around 2000. He said the contractor’s stating that the buildings had been “leased” to a “new owner” actually made sense, given how the Pontes — major landlords in Tribeca and Hudson Square — do business. “The Pontes tend not to sell,” Reck explained. “They retain ownership of the land. Which presents issues: The buildings can be co-oped but not condoed.” Reck said that after Hurricane Sandy, pieces of 502 Canal St.’s exterior were strewn about, and that the Department of Buildings had noted that it was one of the buildings that was seriously damaged by the superstorm. Reck expressed relief to hear that the trio of low-rise houses — especially the one on the corner — will be fixed up. “Oh, absolutely,” he said. “Why do you want an eyesore in the neighborhood?” The sidewalk shed around 502 Canal St. seems like “it’s been around for an eternity,” he said, adding, “The buildings have been slowly rotting into the ground.” In general, right now, there’s a renewed
Fighting to make Lower Manhattan the greatest place to live, work, and raise a family.
surge of activity in Tribeca and Hudson Square, he noted. Three stalled projects on Renwick St. recently got back underway, he said. According to a construction worker at one of the sites, one of the projects reportedly may have had Madoff financing problems. A hotel project is under construction just north of Reck, and a block east on Hudson St. a rooftop extension has been added onto a huge old manufacturing building in preparation for Pearson publishing to move in. “All of this area is going to blossom in the next five to ten years,” he said. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said his group had been working for the past several months to try to get 502 Canal St. saved and restored. Apparently, it may have taken last week’s bad P.R. of the roll-down gate partially falling off the building — possibly combined with some inaccurate reports in other media that an interior wall had collapsed — to finally get the ball rolling. www.
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January 23 - February 5, 2013
Downtown still calling for answers from Verizon By Ka i tly n M e a d e Verizon plans to finish repairing most of the damaged phone lines in Lower Manhattan by the end of January, but the wounds from Superstorm Sandy are far from closed. When Sandy’s storm surge flooded areas of Lower Manhattan, deluging basements with saltwater, much of the communications network was destroyed. In the following days, many relied on mobile charging stations for cell phones to connect to the outside world. Twelve weeks after the storm, some people are still waiting on basic landlines. And with Verizon working to run fiber optic cables across Lower Manhattan, some worry that Verizon is not spending its time or money wisely, which could mean more delays and higher rates. Verizon, the phone and internet service provider to most of Lower Manhattan, recounted their progress before Community Board 1’s Executive Committee, as well as at a City Council hearing that focused on utilities and public services. “We took hundreds of millions of gallons of water into the subbasements of the Broad St. office and the West St. office,” said Chris Levendos, head of national operations and former chief engineer of the New York region at a meeting with Community Board 1 on Jan. 16.
Copper and fiber optic cables radiate from 18 office hubs in Manhattan. The 104 Broad St. office has cables that extend up to Maiden Lane, and the 140 West St. office at Barclay and Vesey Sts. supplies service up to Franklin and N. Moore and cuts over at Worth St. Verizon also reported that 95 percent of the copper cable infrastructure that aggre-
27 hours and Broad St. back online in 10 days. Immediately after that, the mostlyundamaged fiber optic network came back up along with those copper wires that had not been destroyed by seawater. “It became a very quick determination for us that the way to recover faster was to replace all of this with fiber optics as quickly as possible,” Levendos said of the
‘Customers are being told in Independence Plaza, if you want telephone service, point blank, you must have FIOS.’
gated back to Broad St. was destroyed, not only at the hub, but in the manhole and conduit systems and at the points where the network connects inside each building, which is often located in the basement. “The fact that they were damaged at all those locations just compounds the issues,” said Levendos. First they fixed the hubs, getting West St. running in just
damaged copper infrastructure. The advantages of fiber optics were explained as two-fold: First, the cables are more resilient to water damage, though the electronic equipment at either end is not. Second, the higher bandwidth means that the capabilities, especially for large commercial firms, are “almost limitless.” “The challenge is not the fiber optic
cables, we’ve actually run all of those,” he said, it’s the equipment that plugs into them. “We did not have 500 buildings worth of equipment sitting in a warehouse somewhere. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, we got on the phone around the world and told them what we needed. Some of the buildings that are working, their equipment did not exist before the storm.” Verizon says 95 percent of phone and data services would be online in Lower Manhattan by the end of January, the exception being those buildings that Verizon cannot gain access to. At the City Council’s Sandy hearing on Fri., Jan 21, Councilmember Margaret Chin expressed skepticism that Verizon was focusing its energy in the right place since it had filed a complaint when landlords denied them access to their buildings, several of which were severely damaged and were not in use, such as 2 Gold St. and 201 Pearl St. Chin asked Richard Windram, Verizon’s director of government and external affairs, if the priority to get large commercial buildings online was delaying their ability to get service to small business and residential customContinued on page 12
January 23 - February 5, 2013
B Y Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Silver protests plans for P.S. 276:
In a strongly worded letter to New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver asked that the Department of Education reconsider its plan to add more kindergarten classes at P.S. 276. “By increasing the number of kindergarten classes next year, the D.O.E. would force the school to take away classroom space now being used for art, music, science, middle school and pre-kindergarten,” Silver said in his letter, dated Jan. 18, 2013. He said that this would be “unfair” and constitute “a step back for our community.” Silver said that the neighborhood urgently needs more new schools. “It is unacceptable to pack students into schools that are not equipped to handle them and it is unacceptable to send our young students to schools outside the community,” he said in his letter. Silver said that he and his school overcrowding task force were prepared to work with the chancellor to find potential sites for new schools as they did not long ago when they facilitated a new school at Peck Slip. The Peck Slip School is slated to be finished in 2015.
South End Avenue traffic signals:
On Jan. 15, Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee revisited the recurring question of whether pedestrian hazards on South End Ave. at the Rector Pl. and West Thames St. crossings are sufficient to merit traffic lights or stop signs. Despite several accidents at these crossings, Jonathan Kraus of the New York City Department of Transportation said that a previous D.O.T. study in April 2011 had not shown enough traffic to merit intervention. For the D.O.T. to erect a traffic light or a stop sign, federal criteria have to be met, Kraus explained. Among other things, the D.O.T. looks at vehicle and pedestrian vol-
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Obie-Award-winning theatrical lighting designer Anne Militello has orchestrated a changing display of jewel-like lights for the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center. The light show, commissioned by Arts Brookfield, is visible from sunset to midnight through March 30.
ume, gaps in traffic, the presence or absence of a designated school crosswalk and speeding. Kraus said that if any one of these criteria exceeded the federally mandated threshold, it would trigger the need for a signal. He said that as a general rule, the D.O.T. doesn’t publicize the results of its surveys, but “South End and Rector is not at all close.” He said that the West Thames St. crossing was “closer but not all that close.” Considering that Battery Park City has been growing and changing, the D.O.T. proposed to do a new survey in the spring. However, D.O.T. surveys can only be done at 18-month intervals. With this in mind, the committee asked that the survey be done in the fall after a new pre-school near West Thames St. opens and after the city bikesharing program starts, which will entail bike racks on West Thames between South End Ave. and Battery Pl. Kraus suggested that even if the survey again indicated that there was no basis for stop signs or traffic signals at the Rector Place and West Thames St. intersections, traffic calming measures could be installed. He mentioned plantings in the existing medians, providing areas for pedestrian refuge and changing the roadway geometry on South End Ave. as ideas to be explored.
Winter Garden light show:
Andy Warhol started creating silkscreened images of Marilyn Monroe in 1962, around the time of her death. Under the auspices of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, art historian Dorothea Basile is giving free lectures about Warhol on Jan. 24 and Jan. 31 at 6 River Terrace in Battery Park City.
That prism in the middle of Battery Park City glowing in the winter darkness with jewel-like colors is the Winter Garden as transformed by Anne Militello. Her distinguished career as a lighting designer has included Broadway and off-Broadway shows and operas as well as four previous commissions in Manhattan to transform architectural exteriors with light. She was the resident lighting designer at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and worked extensively with playwright Sam Shepherd for two decades. Now, she heads the lighting design department at CalArts in Los Angeles.
For the Winter Garden, Militello used mirrored discs embedded with LED lights that have been hung in the window facing North Cove marina. Militello has programmed them in color sequences of approximately 20 minutes each — a different one for each day of the week. This project is not Militello’s first in Battery Park City. She designed the blue, cascading lights that were affixed to trees on the plaza next to North Cove marina before the current renovation of 2 World Financial Center began. Those lights were part of a more extensive lighting plan that Militello had proposed for the Winter Garden and the plaza outside it. Originally, she had wanted to light the entire steel frame of the Winter Garden with a wash of color. Because of budget issues, she was only able to do that with a small area, “but it makes such a difference,” she said. “You feel the majesty of the space at night.” She said that she wanted to “bring a little more life, a little more excitement, a little more warmth to the Winter Garden” — an objective with which Arts Brookfield, which commissioned the project, agreed. Militello started programming the light show around a week before it opened, working from a Winnebago trailer that had been parked on the World Financial Center plaza so that she could see what she was doing as she worked. “I’m so happy with it,” she said of the light show. “It’s more than I expected. I feared that the discs wouldn’t be bright enough or that the reflections on the mirrors would be distracting on the interior or this wouldn’t look like it filled the space at all. You never know until you put something up whether or not it really matched what you expected. This did and it’s so much more vivid and brighter than I imagined.” Militello’s “Light Cycles” will be in place until March 30, visible from sunset to midnight.
Dorothea Basile is giving two free lectures about Andy Warhol this month. In the past, Basile has lectured about art history topics for the Conservancy and in the warm months, frequently leads tours of Battery Park City’s extensive public art collection. “I chose Andy Warhol as the subject of my talk because I’m interested in the idea put forth in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s recent exhibition, “Regarding Warhol, Sixty Artists, Fifty Years”, that Warhol is the most impactful artist of the second half of the 20th century,” Basile said. “What I find most compelling about Andy Warhol is how broad and deep his influence is.” She views her talks as “a great opportunity to share Warhol’s groundbreaking work” and hopes that her B.P.C. audience will come away with a greater understanding of Warhol’s influence on contemporary art work. The lectures take place on Thurs., Jan. 24 and Thurs., Jan. 31 at 1 p.m. at 6 River Terrace.
Andy Warhol lectures:
To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb10@ gmail.com
Under the auspices of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, art historian
Breakfast at SouthWest NY:
“Battery Park City lacks places for fullservice breakfast,” said Abraham Merchant, of Merchants Hospitality in an email. “Hence Southwest NY will be opening for breakfast starting Mon., Feb. 4.” The breakfast menu features such items as quiche Florentine (pastry with eggs, spinach, ham and mixed greens, $13.50), scrambled eggs with lox, toasted bagel and sliced tomatoes ($15.50), eggs Benedict ($14) and huevos rancheros (three fried eggs with tomato salsa, a corn tortilla and refried black beans, $12.50). French toast is $12, buttermilk pancakes with caramelized bananas and dark rum syrup, $11.50. The hours for breakfast are 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Monday to Friday, and 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Saturday and Sunday brunch.
January 23 - February 5, 2013
Community gathers for tributes to slain Baruch teen B Y S A M SPOKONY Community members continued to grieve last week over the loss of Raphael Ward, 16, who was shot and killed near his apartment building in Baruch Houses on Jan. 4. The Grand Street Settlement, the community center at Pitt and Grand Sts. where Ward had been enrolled in recreational programs, held a tribute event last Friday night, which included two basketball games in Ward’s honor and a candlelight vigil at the makeshift memorial on Columbia St. After the games were over, several friends and relatives of Ward’s performed a song through tears, and his cousin from Ghana — a rapper who goes by the name of King Shabadey — also gave a brief performance. The settlement house also took donations from attendees that night and presented Ward’s mother, Ali Delgado, with $400 as a token of the community’s support. “We all took a loss, and I’m just so frustrated by all this,” Delgado told the crowd. “But your love, prayers and support have been astounding. Now, please don’t let his name die in vain. We’re killing each out there, and let’s try to make a change.” During the vigil later that night, friends and family members stood for a moment of silence before a local pastor gave a rousing sermon that once again implored the neighborhood’s youth and adults to make the changes Delgado was talking about. Some people also took a moment to write notes of remembrance on the wall behind the memorial, either sharing a fond memory or simply telling Ward that they love and miss him. Shaheeda Abdush-Shaheed Smith, 33, a Grand Street Settlement employee who led one of the programs Ward had been involved in, said that she wanted people to leave the tribute event feeling a “sense of unity.” Smith also recalled Ward’s presence in the neighborhood, and was quick to respond when asked what she thinks of while remembering him. “I think of his smile,” she said.
Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony
January 23 - February 5, 2013
South Ferry is years away from reopening Continued from page 1
100-year storm could come next week. And he said, ‘No no no, it won’t come for 100 years.’ I said, ‘Why don’t you build some steps where the people come in?’ He said, ‘We can’t do that. People don’t like walking up and down.’” Bowman went on to say that because of climate change, “the ground under our feet is shifting” and that 100-year-storm benchmark needs to be modified. “We’re playing Russian roulette as a city,” he said. The $600 million repair estimate exceeds the $545 million spent to expand and reno-
vate the station only four years ago. “We prepared as best we could,” said Ortiz. “The station was designed to withstand some flooding in Lower Manhattan but not a 14-foot storm surge, which we encountered during Hurricane Sandy.” On Oct. 29, 2012, an estimated 14 million gallons of water surged into the South Ferry station, flooding it from 80 feet below ground to the mezzanine. Now the M.T.A. is looking at $350 million for physical repairs; $200 million for signal replacement; $30 million for third-rail equipment and $20 million for line equipment. Ortiz said that the M.T.A. would not “tie Sandy-related costs to any potential fare increases” should the federal government not come through with sufficient funds to fix the damage. However, he said that even if the M.T.A. gets everything that “we’re supposed to get from the feds, there still will be money that we will have to cover.” He said that Sandy-related costs would oblige the M.T.A. to incur an additional $900 million in debt service. This money would be used not just to repair the South Ferry station but for repairs throughout the M.T.A. system. The No. 1 IRT train formerly terminated at South Ferry. In 2009, the station expansion was financed primarily with federal money earmarked for the rehabili-
Photos by Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Wynton Habersham, chief electrical officer for the M.T.A.’s New York City Transit’s subway system, offered a look at the South Ferry station Jan. 17.
tation of Lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. At the time, Community Board 1 and the Downtown Alliance opposed the renovation because they felt that that there were other transportation investments that could have ben-
efited Lower Manhattan more. Ortiz said that it was possible that the South Ferry station might be able to offer modified service even before being fully restored, but it is too early to know that for sure.
Downtown questions for Verizon Continued from page 9
ers. Windram replied that they were talking to those building owners, and that the plan to get service restored as quickly as possible meant that they were simply trying to plan ahead, not giving priority to anyone. Levendos noted that residential services will take “a little more time” but alternative wireless services will be offered until they can get the fiber optics connected or copper repaired. These free wireless alternatives include call forwarding, cell service and wireless broadband and are free of charge until the buildings are deemed to be back on the network. But being back on the network in Verizon’s book does not necessarily mean that service has been restored to a customer. Independence Plaza North resident Donald Jenner’s building, 310 Greenwich, is officially listed as “service restored” but he and several of his neighbors still do not have phone service. The reason is simple: he does not want fiber optic cables to replace the copper wires currently installed in his apartment. “Customers are being told in
Independence Plaza, if you want telephone service, point blank, you must have FIOS,” he said. Jenner gets his Internet from EarthLink, which has an agreement with Verizon to use the copper wire network to resell internet service. In fact, Verizon must share the copper wire infrastructure with other companies to deliver phone and internet service. They do not have to share access to their fiber optic network. “That’s my biggest problem with Verizon. If they replace the copper, [my internet service] goes away instantly,” he said. In the meantime, he said he was being charged for service because he refused to have them complete the switch-over. “I paid the bill in November thinking it was for October, but it was actually for November — when I did not have service,” Jenner said. But he was told that, “We consider this building to be restored, because FIOS is available” in his building, though not his apartment. He plans to dispute that claim in civil court in the coming weeks. The advertisements going out to customers in areas equipped with fiber optics, said Jenner, is for a FIOS bundle, which means a phone line, Internet and
a cable television connection for about $75-90 per month for the first year. Which is not a bad deal considering the costs of each line on its own. Jenner said he pays about $65 at the moment for two phone numbers, one of which is long distance. But that amount is regulated by the Public Services Commission, whose mandated rates Levendos claimed will not change for “plain old telephone service.” A Verizon spokesperson later qualified that assertion, saying rates will be “very similar” to existing prices for phone and internet. There are no such guarantees for Verizon’s FIOS bundles — after a year, the rates may get significantly higher. It’s a public policy issue that has made Assemblymember Deborah Glick cautious, according to a letter sent out to her constituents in December. The letter detailed a lot of questions, but one of the more pointed ones concerns the “monopolistic aspects” of Verizon’s stated goal to put FIOS into every block and every home in New York City. “It is my understanding that the phone companies are not required to lease space on its fiber optic network to competitors. Therefore, by removing copper lines it will be impossible for customers in those
areas to have any choice about their phone service. This is a damaging change that creates a monopoly without public review,” Glick wrote. While Verizon had mobile units and tents set up immediately following Hurricane Sandy, grassroots outreach has since died down, something that Verizon has since committed to addressing. But perhaps the most agreed-upon criticism of the communication firm was also the most ironic. At both the City Council and Community Board level, Verizon was asked to keep people better informed about the changes taking place in their neighborhoods. Community Board 1 suggested that Verizon set up booths in large housing complexes to make information more available to the average customer. “There are these conspiracy theories going around. I think a lot of it happens to be the fact that people are calling up Verizon or calling up their officials, people that might not be as well versed as you,” Adam Malitz said at the C.B. 1 meeting. “If they had you there to answer their questions, they won’t go, ‘Well this is Verizon trying to screw me over.’”
January 23 - February 5, 2013
Mets pitch in as Silver notches a save for Little League By J o s h R o g e r s Play ball! The Downtown Little League will be able to play this season on the stormdamaged fields in Battery Park City, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, announced in a statement to Downtown Express Fri., Jan.18. He said after getting help from the New York Mets, the Battery Park City Authority has expedited its schedule to allow about 1,000 Downtowners to play this season. League president Bill Martino was “very excited” to hear the news, first reported on DowntownExpress.com Jan. 18. “I’m elated that Battery Park City changed course,” he said this week, adding that Silver is “our hero.” The season has been in jeopardy since Superstorm Sandy flooded the turf fields in October. A Silver aide said the speaker called Jeff Wilpon, the Mets’ chief operating officer, merely to ask for advice to reopen the neighborhood fields more quickly, and was surprised and grateful when Wilpon sent an advisor who worked on restoring the team’s storm-damaged minor league stadium in Coney Island, now known as MCU Park. Matthew Monahan, the authority’s spokesperson, said the authority was “very appreciative and encouraged by the advice and insights of the Mets’ top turf people.”
He said Dennis Mehiel, the authority’s chairperson, has directed the staff to remove the turf and inspect the drainage system before a contract is awarded to replace the fields. The authority is expecting bids to repair the fields by Feb. 4 and had originally asked the contractor to do these first two steps after winning the job. It’s not yet clear exactly how many days or weeks this will save, and the authority is not yet saying the fields will be open for the season. Silver said he has been working “to ensure that the Little League fields are open in time for the upcoming season. The B.P.C.A. has assured me that it has expedited the process of replacing the fields, which will be open sooner than initially estimated. “I am also extremely pleased that… Jeff Wilpon and the ownership of the New York Mets have graciously offered to provide valuable technical advice to help move this process forward as quickly as possible. I want to thank the Wilpon and New York Mets family for their commitment to the children of Lower Manhattan.” It’s not yet clear if the fields will be ready to play on Opening Day, Sun., April 7, but whenever the season starts, the opening ceremony now seems likely to be on a Sunday rather than the traditional Saturday to allow the first pitch to go to Silver, who observes the Jewish Sabbath.
Ellis Island collection moved to Maryland BY T ERESE LOEB KREUZER Ellis and Liberty Islands have remained closed to the public since Superstorm Sandy surged into them on Oct. 29, 2012. Now the National Park Service, which administers both islands, has announced that the Ellis Island collection of more than one million objects has been moved to the N.P.S. Museum Resources Center in Landover, Maryland for safekeeping. The collection, which chronicles the nation’s immigration history with archival documents and historical artifacts, wasn’t harmed by Superstorm Sandy, but it was impossible to maintain the climatecontrolled environment needed for conservation. The Museum Resources Center already holds collections from several N.P.S. sites in the Washington, D.C. area, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. On a limited basis, researchers can access the Ellis Island collection at its temporary location. Neither Ellis nor Liberty Islands has electrical power, so the Ellis Island collection had to be moved by hand down three flights of stairs.
Exhibits in the Ferry Building documenting Ellis Island’s significance as the world’s first public health facility, had previously been moved to the Harpers Ferry Conservation Center for assessment and treatment. Statue Cruises, the official concessioner to the National Park Service, which had formerly transported visitors to and from Ellis and Liberty Islands, had to lay off 300 employees when the islands closed to the public. Since then, Statue Cruises has been offering harbor tours. As of the beginning of January, there are 100 narrated tours a week, each lasting an hour and departing daily from Battery Park at 30-minute intervals between 10 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. Uniformed National Park Service rangers are on board to answer visitors’ questions, much as they had done when visitors were actually able to set foot on Liberty and Ellis Islands. Tickets are $24 for adults, $17 for seniors and $12 for children. They can be purchased online at ww.statuecruises.com, by calling 201-604-2800 or at the seawall in Battery Park.
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
The Battery Park City Authority has sped up its timetable for reopening the neighborhood fields.
Martino said if the season is delayed, 7-year-old players will be able to play for 8 hours in Columbus Park, but even with the restoration of the fields in Battery Park City, the oldest division, teens from 13 to 16, will still be scrambling for space, since they need a larger diamond.
The Murry Bergtraum field near the Manhattan Bridge will not be restored in time for the season. The league has asked the Hudson River Park Trust to try and find field time on Pier 40, and is also hoping for another high-demand area, Central Park.
January 23 - February 5, 2013
Board 2 hears ideas from storm surge prophets By T e re se Lo e b k r e u z e r Facing a room packed with Village residents, David Gmach, director of public relations for Con Edison, had the task of explaining to them why the power went off in most of Lower Manhattan during Superstorm Sandy and why it stayed off for days thereafter. During Hurricane Irene, there were around 200,000 power outages, he said, out of around 3.1 million customers in the five boroughs and Westchester County. Before Sandy, this was the worst situation that Con Edison had ever encountered. During Sandy, there were 1.1 million customer outages. Gmach, addressing a meeting of Community Board 2’s Environmental Committee, told his audience that out of the 1.1 million Con Ed customers who lost service, around 230,000 were in Manhattan. Most were south of 40th St. on the East Side and south of 30th St. on the West Side. That would have included most of the people in the room. Gmach said that Con Ed had prepared for flooding but not for the height and power of Sandy. “The prior record for a storm surge was in the 1820s at around 11 feet hitting New York Harbor,” he said. “The forecast that everyone was talking about up until just before [Sandy] hit was maybe reaching that level, maybe exceeding it slightly at about 12 feet.” The surge from Sandy was 14 feet — “two to three feet higher than anything that had happened before and two feet higher than what anyone had forecast,” Gmach stated. “So this was flooding on a level that had not been predicted and was much worse than anything we had seen.” Actually, a storm surge as devastating as Sandy had been predicted, and by some of the people who were in the room that night. Since 2009, Robert Trentlyon, former publisher of Downtown Express, The Westsider and Chelsea Clinton News, had been talking about just such a possible storm surge, but few people were listening. Contemplating the effect of global warm-
ing, Trentlyon had come to the conclusion that a massive flood in New York City was inevitable. Along with Malcolm Bowman, chairperson of the Oceanic and Atmospheric Department at Stony Brook University, and Douglas Hill, an engineer with expertise in oceanography, Trentlyon went to numerous political and city planning meetings, expounding on the problem and recommending storm surge barriers in New York Harbor as a possible solution. “I spoke out,” said Trentlyon, “but got minimal positive response.” However, gradually that began to change. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn got onboard. So did U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, New York State Senators Daniel Squadron, Thomas Duane, Brad Holyman and other elected officials. “Now,” said Trentlyon, “New York City has hired Jeroen Aerts of the University of Amsterdam to give an appraisal of our entire waterfront, which should be completed this summer.” He also said that Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Chuck Schumer and Speaker Christine Quinn had spoken in favor of having the Army Corps of Engineers study storm surge barriers, among other proposals for protecting New York City. “Not bad,” said Trentlyon wryly, “for three years of work against a recalcitrant city government. We should not forget Irene and Sandy, which unfortunately gave this effort a muchneeded push.” Professor Bowman, who has been talking about storm surges and what they could do to New York City even longer than Trentlyon, also addressed the Community Board 2 audience. He said that in 2005, he had written an op-ed piece for The New York Times that he had wanted to call, “New Orleans has just drowned. Is New York City next?” The New York Times editors told him that title was too provocative, he said. “They told me, ‘You can’t say things like that!’” Bowman said, “The bottom line was it’s not a question of if, but a question of when New
An image from Malcolm Bowman’s presentation on storm surge barriers, showing a view of a segment of the Delta Project, in the Netherlands. The system is composed of a mixture of elevated natural sand dunes, tidal gates (normally open), elevated highways and shipping gates. The photo was taken during ﬂooding (incoming) tides. During storm surges, gates are lowered from the highway for protection.
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Malcolm Bowman addressing a recent meeting of C.B. 2’s Environmental Committee.
York City is going to get flooded.” He described watching Hurricane Irene approach New York City, and measuring the water levels of that storm against a nor’easter in 1992 that had flooded the Hoboken train terminal and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. As the water level from Irene began to rise, he thought the flooding was about to happen again. “It came within an inch and a half of what it was the night Hoboken flooded,” but then receded, he said. “When I talked to city officials they said, ‘We dodged that bullet, life goes on, stop worrying about it.’ ” Now everyone is worrying and looking for solutions. Bowman pointed to storm surge barriers that have been successfully installed in other countries — most notably in London, St. Petersburg, Russia, and in the Netherlands. He explained that these barriers allowed for
commercial shipping and for the flow of tides necessary to flush out their respective harbors, but had gates that could be closed in case of an emergency. For New York City, Bowman said, one proposal would be to build an elevated highway similar to the one that protects St. Petersburg and extends into the Baltic Sea, with storm surge gates that could be lowered from the highway when needed. “There are various ideas as to where the gates should be positioned and what they would look like,” Bowman said. He emphasized that at this point, this and other ideas are just exploratory. “No one suggests that anyone is going to start pouring concrete next week,” he said. “These designs are in the conceptual stage. If the state got serious about regional protection — not instead of, but in addition to the resilience strengthening we have to do — then the Army Corps would have to be brought in to do a major study. It might take five years looking at all the pros and cons of barriers if we’re going to build them. Where would they have to be? How high would they have to be? What would be the construction materials? What would be the effect on the tidal circulation, the flushing, the fisheries, the water quality? And then there are legal questions, social justice questions. The list goes on and on.” Bowman said that in Europe, it took 20 to 25 years of study before the barriers were built. However, he added, “We do have barriers already. We have a set in Stamford, Connecticut, that were used during Sandy and the city had no damage whatsoever. We have them in Providence, Rhode Island and in New Bedford, Massachusetts.” Do we have any idea how much these barriers would cost to install in New York Harbor? one member of the audience wanted to know. “Yes,” said Bowman. “Around $26 billion, including the cost of shoring up the areas on the sides of the barriers — far less than the cost of the damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy.”
Another image from Bowman’s report showing a different style of surge protection in the Netherlands. Twin sector gate barriers (Tainter gates) protect the port of Rotterdam, the world’s largest, against North Sea storm surges. The gates are shown closed in the storm surge position. Normally, the gates are kept open, rotated back into their parking areas. The New York Harbor concept plan calls for a combination of drop-down gates and Tainter gates.
January 23 - February 5, 2013
Riverside community uses after Superstorm Sandy By Sa m S p o k o ny As many city activists and officials continue to call for the construction of storm barriers or new seawalls in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, urban planning experts gathered at The Cooper Union last week to discuss ideas for community and infrastructure-based solutions to the problems that the city’s coastal areas must now confront. The Jan. 10 panel discussion, which drew a full-house audience to the Great Hall of Cooper’s Foundation Building, was jointly organized by the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council, the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design and the Architectural League of New York. The forum’s title, “The Future of Zone A: New York Neighborhoods on the Frontline of Climate Change,” referred to the primary flood zones identified by the Mayor’s Office that were under mandatory evacuation orders before Hurricane Sandy. In terms of the tangible design responses, Susannah Drake, a founding principal of the dlandstudio and senior associate of the Cooper Union Institute for Sustainable Design, discussed ideas for more water-permeable streetscapes within Lower Manhattan. Drake said that she’s currently working on a project, sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art, that would create wetlands around coastal areas. She explained such adjustments could help prevent flooding by complementing potential plans for green infrastructure and new gardens, in order to allow flood waters to flow in and out of Zone A streets without causing destruction. In addition, Drake explained that the city might have to re-evaluate its own restrictions on infrastructure planning in order to facilitate those types of designs. “We need an overall strategy for managing storm water, and maybe that will have to includes changes to jurisdiction and regula-
tions currently in place for the Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Planning,” she said. Those current restrictions were also highlighted by Claire Weisz, a principal at WXY Architecture and Urban Design, who pointed out the inherent difficulty of trying to incorporate more natural flood barriers and wetlands into the city’s already crowded environment. “There’s a tension between doing these natural edges and ceding space, because you can’t go out in the water due to current regulations,” she said. “There’s an urge to use every inch space [for development], but that’s not always a good thing now, considering the impact of climate change.” The forthcoming redevelopment of Pier 42 — the currently vacant 8-acre space that sits along the East River waterfront, just past the intersection of Montgomery and South Sts. — was mentioned several times during the Cooper Union panel discussion. Culhane has argued that the pier’s eventual park could be an important starting point for implementing the aforementioned green infrastructure tools for flood management purposes. In particular, she said, any ecological designs on that small scale could become a model for the city’s other coastal areas that are seeking answers to the questions raised by Sandy. Pier 42 had undergone two failed attempts at redevelopment, in 2005 and 2009, but around $16 million in new capital funding has allowed the city to try turning the pier into a park once again. Mathews Nielsen, the landscape architect firm hired by the city’s Parks Department to design the project, has said that it hopes to have a master plan in place for the pier by March. And after several delays, a second community forum, in collaboration with Community
Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony
The East River’s Pier 42 can still be redeveloped for community uses, says the lead architect, Signe Nielsen.
Board 3, will be held on Wed., Jan. 23, to allow local residents to provide input on what they’d like to see in the pier’s redevelopment. The first forum was held in October — just weeks before Sandy struck — and was not very well attended by community members. That could change this time around, given newfound concerns about waterfront development. But in an interview with this newspaper several weeks after Sandy’s flooding devastated the area, Signe Nielsen, principal of Mathews Nielsen, said that she hopes residents don’t become reluctant to suggest ideas regarding new structures on the pier, since the proper planning should allow for sustainable construction. “I just don’t want people to become too cautious, because we always design for flood resiliency, and we know that will be particularly important in this case,” Nielsen said.
“We can design something that won’t be destroyed, but focusing on elevating the site and making sure that water can flow through a structure without crippling it.” She also highlighted the neighborhoodcentric aspect that was later stressed at the Cooper Union panel, explaining that community input on the project remains vital, and could have added, intangible benefits. “I’m glad that this is becoming a larger conversation, and I hope it’s a wake-up call, that we need to think more seriously about what our shorelines can or can’t do,” Nielsen said. “And I would love this [Pier 42] project to be therapeutic, to help the community work through the ordeal and understand that if we design it right, this park won’t be subject to the kind of problems that so many homes and other buildings faced during the storm.”
Brainstorming ways to get the city ready B y Kaitly n M e a d e Hundreds of people gathered in the New School’s auditorium on Saturday morning armed with notebooks and laptops, but there was no school to attend or test to be taken, unless it comes years in the future, in the event of another disaster like Hurricane Sandy. Entitled, “Charting the Road to Resilience: From the Ground Up,” the conference was an all-day event on Jan. 12, organized by the Municipal Art Society of New York. Resilience is a term used by scientists for ecosystems that can absorb natural and manmade disruptions and can evolve to fit changing dynamics, but the word has also evolved to mean the ability to withstand disruptions in many disciplines, including cultural communities, political structures, urban planning and infrastructure. One panel was Resilience Planning Process, led by moderators from related organizations and universities, including Lower Manhattan organizer Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Manhattan’s Community Board 1. Hughes, also an engineer with a hydro-geological background, said: “This is an issue where the technical engineers and the policy makers have to work together. That’s the bottom line.” Many community members, from Occupy Sandy leader Andy Smith to Pat Simon (whose Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation suddenly became a disaster-recov-
Photo by Giles Ashford
Hundreds crowded into The New School to hear “What’s at Stake?” from climate change.
ery program) spoke of the need for “decentralized” power structures and recognizing the community as the first on-theground responders. “It hinges on the fact that community organizations can be far more efficient, nimble and successful if they are given material support,” said Occupy’s Andy Smith, because they are on the ground at grassroots levels and have a better understanding of what is needed and where. “In the context of long-term planning, it’s about bringing
large government forces into conversation with community groups,” said Raju Mann, director of policy and planning at the Art Society. “For example, if there are certain parts of the city that can’t be rebuilt because the mitigation is too expensive, that’s a case where the community needs to be not just at the table, but leading. It’s a very sensitive and delicate subject.” Both Hughes and Mann were very much impressed by the opening speakers, geologists Klaus Jacob from Columbia University, and William Fritz from the College of Staten Island, who put out a call for New York City to reconcile itself to all the adaptations that the city must consider when rebuilding for future disasters — because with rising sea levels, the likelihood of another flood-inducing storm is increasing. To ignore that warning would be “unconscionable,” said Hughes. “It was a major disruption and some people are still getting back to where they were — Sandy happened on October 29 — some people are still struggling to get to October 28.” Hughes is serving on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s new task force for building resilience. “They’re putting it together now,” she said, as there has only been a preliminary meeting so far. “We look forward to working closely with the city to make Lower Manhattan as resilient as possible.” The task force plans to publish a report by May of 2013.
January 23 - February 5, 2013
Jennifer Goodstein Publisher EMERITUS
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Learning the stormy lessons from South Ferry — hopefully As the governor and mayor put
together their own plans to protect New York City and State from future storms, they would be wise to visit the case of South Ferry — if not the storm-damaged subway station itself. The station is a few years from reopening and it will cost a jaw-dropping $600 million to repair, according to the initial estimate. If South Ferry were one of those stations that had not been renovated much the last century or so, there would be considerably less sticker shock. But the fact that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority spent $545 million in federal money to expand and reopen the station a mere four years ago, should hopefully be the wake up call that finally wakes government up. As we report in this issue, Marine Sciences Professor Malcolm Bowman of Stony Brook University recalls being down at South Ferry with a film crew when the renovation project was just beginning. Bowman warned the M.T.A. then that they were not prepared for the floods that were likely to come.
“We’re playing Russian roulette as a city,” he said recently. Scientists have been warning for some time that the “100-year flood” models are rapidly becoming out of date. Al Gore talked about the dangers to Lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center memorial-to-be in the 2006 film, “An Inconvenient Truth”. Many others have voiced similar warnings, including this paper, which has been reporting on it for years. The point is that one bad storm can easily cost many tens of billions of dollars in damage and lost business, particularly when subway service is lost. As Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg consider the staggering costs of better protections, they must factor in the even more staggering cost of cutting corners when it comes to storm protection. As for South Ferry, it does add insult to injury that the first renovation project was
initially opposed by Community Board 1, the Downtown Alliance and this paper because there was a consensus in Lower Manhattan that there were higher transportation priorities to help Downtown recover economically after 9/11. But that said, the old South Ferry, with its cramped platform too short to accommodate all subway cars, was in need of capital money. The new station was in fact a welcome improvement for over three years and we certainly are as dismayed as anyone to see its long term closure. We share the M.T.A.’s hope that federal money will be able to cover the damage to South Ferry, and we are relieved that officials have at last begun to give more serious thought to protecting it from future storms. It costs too much to skimp on protection. “One hundred years” comes a lot quicker than government likes to think.
YOU STAND SO TALL NOW By Victor J. Papa
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Michael Shirey Graphic Designer
Arnold Rozon Contributors
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You stand so tall now, rising up, emerging discernibly. But why appear so reticent? Is it mournful memories of the perished? Those sorrowfully wrenched from us. Those ordinary souls, intending only an ordinary day, instead enduring a vile holocaust, or Perhaps reticence is really reverence. Peerless were those silver towers that so marked our famous city. And within her walls beloved souls who suffered God-less, cowardly evil. They, cherished in our hearts, they too stand tall, venerated and palpable in our memories. Or perhaps reticence is really prudence. Borne as you were from a nation’s great tragedy, you were conceived to embody a nation’s memory, exemplifying honor and virtue. You stand so tall now, rising up, emerging discernibly. You are ascending, assuming your esteemed place among the luminaries. You will soar, still higher among other noble, timeless pinnacles alongside you. They shall adorn and shall still pierce the sky above the harbor’s river, but obsequious beneath your heights and your shadow. You are not reticent, nor do you appear vindictive. Your graceful form, which eschews cold, piercing lines, poises a gentle presence. You are not reticent, nor do you appear strident. Your blue elegance conveys a humble triumph for a city to claim. You rise so tall now. Robust! Prominent! A serene recompense for a mournful city. You will become eminent in history, exuding resilience and hope, a sure symbol of progress. And a perpetual cenotaph of a great tragedy that once shook the world and broke our hearts. You are a sapphire; graceful, tranquil, with a lovely robe to behold. Your crown will pronounce you regal. Victor J. Papa is a resident of Southbridge Towers located a few blocks from One World Trade Center.
January 23 - February 5, 2013
Remembering Harold Reed, advocate for the arts & Downtown By Janel Bladow Just before Christmas, I ran into my Water St. neighbor Harold Reed carrying a paper bag of assorted goodies from Fresh Daily. A smile glowed across his face. He was so happy that another of the shops destroyed by Hurricane Sandy had reopened in the neighborhood he (and I) love – the South Street Seaport. I often saw him busily going about the cobbled or construction-filled streets, heading to a community meeting, a board meeting, an opening, a business lunch, another fabulous party or a smart gathering. He would fill me in with details, bring me up-to-date on important doings, tell me excitedly about a developing project to look into, or suggest that I meet someone he thought I should know. He would describe a trip he recently took to, say, India, or another he was planning to some other exotic locale, or remind me to save a date for his annual Holiday party or a summer party on his terrace. So it was with great shock and sadness to hear that Harold Reed, 75, a true enthusiast for everything he enjoyed, passed away unexpectedly of complications from a previous surgery on Jan. 5, en route to Hong Kong to visit his son Bradford, a musician. A cremation ceremony was held there on Friday, Jan. 11, (Jan. 10 here), the same day he would have turned 76. Reed was born in Newark, N.J., where he graduated from Weequahic High School before heading to Stanford University. He settled in New York City in the mid-1960s, beginning a colorful career first as a theatrical agent for MCA and later with the David Hocker Agency. Early in the next decade as his interests grew to include contemporary art and he
Photo courtesy of Bradford Reed
Harold Reed was active in the South Street Seaport community and a member of Community Board 1.
founded the Mobile Art Gallery – a specially redesigned station wagon he used to bring his art works to clients. Soon after, he opened the Harold Reed Gallery in a more permanent location on East 78th Street. He exhibited prominent artists such as Fernando Botero, Alex Katz, Alice Neel and the debut show of Hunt Slonem. He was a member of the Art Dealers Association of America. Throughout this time, he continued his interest in the theater, as a producer. Among his credits are “Burn This”, “A Common Pursuit”, “Never the Sinner”, the first play by award-winning playwright Joshua Logan,
based on the infamous 1924 murder trial of Leopold and Loeb. For more than 20 years, Reed was a benefactor and volunteer with The Corporation of Yaddo, an artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He first served on the group’s President’s Council in the mid-90s, then was elected a member of the corporation 1997, and was an avid organizer of Yaddo’s annual New York City Benefit gala. As a community leader, Reed became an active member of the Manhattan Community Board 1 in 2001. He was the chairperson of C.B. 1’s Arts & Entertainment Task Force and a strong
advocate for several proposed projects: the WTC Performing Arts Center, “Broadway: 1,000 Steps”, a public art project by Mary Miss, and Tom Otterness’s sculptures for the entrance of the Battery Park City Library. He supported building a Performing Arts Center on Pier 17 when it is renovated to ensure year round activities. Reed also strongly supported the South Street Seaport Museum, serving on the previous Board of Trustees and was expected to take a seat on the board again following its reorganization. Susan Henshaw Jones, President of the South Street Seaport Museum, wrote in an email to Downtown Express: “Like everyone else, I was shocked to hear of Harold’s death — in an airplane on his way to visit his son. His good deeds were many Downtown, and he welcomed me as president of the South Street Seaport with a party at his apartment and followed that up with support and generosity. He had served as a trustee of the Seaport Museum, and, as anyone who had met him knows, he was unfailingly gracious and kind in all his dealings, always focused on making his community better. This is a real loss!” C.B. 1 District Manager Noah Pfefferblit said: “I was very saddened to learn the news as was everyone here at C.B. 1. It is a great loss for us.” Speaking of his father, Bradford Reed said: “My dad was a fantastic guy, extremely good fun, the closest person in the world to me and we couldn’t have had a better relationship.” Reed was divorced. His son has asked that donations in his memory be made to the South Street Seaport Museum, which is hosting a private memorial service is to be held in February.
transit sam ALT ERNAT E SIDE PA RKING REM A INS IN EFFEC T A LL WEEK
will affect the Battery Tunnel and the Manhattan Bridge. Chinatown’s Community Youth Parade The traffic dominos will fall this week, will close sidewalks and curb lanes 11 affecting streets in lower Manhattan. a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday on Canal St. Construction at the Lincoln Tunnel will between Baxter and Mott Sts. and Bowery send droves of drivers to the Holland between Division and Madison Sts. Also Tunnel. All New York-bound lanes of the avoid Mott, Elizabeth, Mulberry and Pell Lincoln Tunnel helix (the spiral approach Sts. that day. On West St., Route 9A, the left northroad to the tunnel) will be closed overnight 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday evening bound lane will be closed between Canal through Friday morning. All Jersey-bound and Barrow Sts. overnight 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. lanes of the helix will be closed 10:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Due to ongoing construction, Leonard Wednesday evening to 4:30 a.m. Thursday. On the Brooklyn Bridge, all Manhattan- St. between Church St. and West Broadway bound lanes are closed overnight 11 p.m. will be closed 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and to 6 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday. This 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Westbound drivers
should take White St. two blocks north of Leonard St. Also, Broad St. will be closed between South William and Beaver Sts. from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Follow detour signs. Ann St. will be closed between Park Row and Nassau St. from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sat., Jan. 26 and Sun., Jan. 27. Eastbound drivers can use Spruce, John or Liberty Sts. East 5th St. between Avenues A and B will also be closed 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Questions about parking or traffic? Email me at email@example.com. My 2013 parking calendar with Gridlock Alert Days and Summons Alert Days is available at www.gridlocksam.com.
Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be emailed to letters@downtownexpress. com or can be mailed to 515 Canal St., New York, NY, 10013.
January 23 - February 5, 2013
POETS HOUSE The Poets House Children’s Room gives children and their parents a gateway to enter the world of rhyme through readings, group activities and interactive performances. For children ages 1-3, the Children’s Room offers “Tiny Poets Time” readings on Thursdays at 10am; for those ages 4-10, weekly poetry readings take place every Sat. at 11am. Filled with poetry books, oldfashioned typewriters and a card catalogue packed with poetic objects to trigger inspiration, the Children’s Room is open Thurs.- Sat., 11am-5pm. Free admission. At 10 River Terrace. Call 212-431-7920 or visit poetshouse.org.
istration is required. Call 212-945-6324 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. At 39 Battery Place (btw. First Place & Little West St.). Regular museum hours are Wed.-Sun., 12-6pm. Admission is $5 ($2.50 for students/seniors). THE SCHOLASTIC STORE Held every Saturday at 3pm, Scholastic’s in-store activities are designed to get kids reading, thinking, talking, creating and moving. At 11am every Tues., Wed. and Thurs., the Scholastic Storyteller brings tales to life at Daily Storytime. At 557 Broadway (btw. Prince & Spring Sts.). Store hours: Mon.-Sat., 10am7pm and Sun., 11am-6pm. For info, call 212-343-6166 or visit scholastic.com/sohostore.
SATURDAY FAMILY PROGRAMS AT THE SKYSCRAPER MUSEUM Dinosaurs aren’t the only big and tall creations to fascinate the very young and very short. Towering skyTHE PICCOLINI TRIO: “CIRCUS IN A TRUNK” After a twoscrapers also have a pull on the 7+ set — and there’s no month hiatus and extensive renovations due to Hurricane better place to see them than right here, in the world’s Sandy damage, Canal Park Playhouse is back — and so is foremost vertical metropolis. But why crane your neck The Piccolini Trio, whose third annual run at the theater looking upwards? Explore tall buildings as objects of combines contemporary big top hijinks with classic Eurodesign, products of technology, sites of construction and pean style clowning. When the three mischievous friends places of work and residence (and build one of your own!) arrive at the Playhouse and realize the circus they came to at The Skyscraper Museum. Their winter/spring “Saturday see isn’t going to show up, they decide to put on a show Family Program” series features workshops designed to — by using all the fun and fantastic things they find in a introduce children and their families to the principles of huge antique trunk. Music, acrobatics, physical comedy, architecture and engineering through hands-on activities. juggling and pantomime are all performed at a breathless On Feb. 9, the “Valentine’s Day Card Creations” workshop pace by the Trio, who cut their clown teeth (and earned lets you climb to the top of a loved one’s heart by making their big red noses) while studying with Circus Smirkus, them a homemade skyscraper card. All workshops ($52013-01-08 per the award-winning international youth circus. Brunch DDF DTEx ad 1 Jan 2012.pdf 1 1:32 PM family) are for ages 7+ and take place at 10:30am. Regat the theater’s Waffle Iron Café is available before and
after the show. The menu includes hot-off-the-waffle-iron frittatas, French toast, traditional Belgian Waffles and two famous house specialties: The Playhouse Pink Waffle (a pink waffle with strawberries and whipped cream) and the Decadent Dark Chocolate Waffle. Don’t have a sweet tooth? Really? Well, then, entree salads are also available! Through Jan. 27, 1pm & 4pm, Sat. & Sun. At Canal Park Playhouse (508 Canal St., btw. Greenwich & West Sts.). For tickets ($20), call 866-811-4111 or visit canalparkplayhouse.com. FANCY NANCY THE MUSICAL The Vital Theatre Company’s tuneful adaptation of the beloved book series finds the girl with a flair for fancy words, clothes and décor in the middle of a serious personal crisis. Along with good
friends Bree, Rhonda, Wanda and Lionel, Nancy has landed a role in the school play (“Deep Sea Dances”). That’s the good news. The bad news: Nancy won’t be a glamorous mermaid, just a dreary and dull tree. After the initial disappointment, our heroine resolves to use her trademark flair to make the small part into something as entertaining and unique as she is. Through July 13. Sat. at 1:30pm and Sun. at noon. At Culture Project, 45 Bleecker St. (btw. Mulberry & Mott Sts.) For tickets ($30), visit vitaltheatre.org, call 212-579-0528 or visit the Vital Theatre box office (2162 Broadway) Mon.-Fri., 9am-5pm (or the Culture Project box office one hour prior to show time). On Feb. 2, performances resume, every Sat. & Sun., at 3:30pm, at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre (2162 Broadway, at 76th St.).
PURIM FUN! This Jewish holiday creates a festive vibe through the wearing of masks and costumes, giving gifts of food and drink, reading the Book of Ester (aka The Megillah) and participating in a celebratory meal. Thank Queen Ester and Mordechai for the good times (they’re the ones who helped save the Jewish people from a plot by the wicked Haman).
Photo by Jennifer Weisbord Photography
Having fun at JCP’s Purim Carnival & Shipel is easy as pie.
PURIM BASH WITH THE MAMA DONI BAND C
BEST OF NEW YORK register now! winter-spring classes begin feb 6
birthday parties boys program
tap jazz lyrical year-end recital adult cardio/dance classes
broadway @ reade
Created with children of all ages in mind (but specifically for those ages 3-10), The Museum of Jewish Heritage’s Purim Bash offers you the chance to design holidaythemed crafts, march in a costume parade and enjoy the music of the Mama Doni Band — who’ve been described as “a zany musical chicken soup of reggae, rock, disco, Latin, klezmer and other styles.” If you dig their Purim tunes, check out their 2008 debut album, “I Love Herring” or visit them at mamdoni.com. Sun., Feb. 10. The concert takes place at 2pm, with holiday craft activities from 1-4pm. At the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (Edmond J. Safra Plaza, 36 Battery Place). $10 for adults, $7 for children 10 and under; Museum members: $7, $5 for children 10 and under. The craft activities are free with a concert ticket. For ticket purchase and more info, call 646-437-4202 or visit mjhnyc.org.
PURIM CARNIVAL & SHPIEL The Jewish Community Project Downtown’s family-focused Purim celebration features carnival games, prizes, crafts and a special musical performance of “Harry Potter and the Shpiel of Secrets.” Come dressed in your favorite Purim costume, and be ready to make and shake your grogger, feast on Hamantaschen and play the day away! Sun., Feb. 10, from 11am-2pm. At the Citigroup building (388 Greenwich St., btw. Beach & N. Moore Sts.). Tickets are $18 per person, $65 for 4 or more. Advanced reservations not required, tickets and registration at the door. For info, call the Jewish Community Project Downtown, at 212-334-3522 or visit jcpdowntown.org.
January 23 - February 5, 2013
From Boston to Battery Park
Founders Fest takes liberties, to plumb their depths THEATER METROPOLITAN PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS: THE FOUNDERS FESTIVAL Daily, through January 27 At the Metropolitan Playhouse 220 E. 4th St. (btw. Aves. A & B) For tickets ($18), call 800-838-3006 or visit metropolitanplayhouse.org
By Scott StiFFler More memorable (and intriguing) than 1,787 years’ worth of history lessons, the Founders Festival bills itself as a “Theatrical celebration of the work of the founding fathers...and mothers.” The eighth year of this Metropolitan Playhouse presentation offers eight works (most of them world premieres) by emerging artists — each one performed four times over the course of the festival. Several are complemented by readings of salient documents, and there’s a period-appropriate exhibition in the theater lobby featuring the work of six visual artists tasked with interpreting the American Dream. Drawing from historical facts both wellknown and largely forgotten — and inspired by their creator's own speculative insights — the festival’s one-acts, solo shows, fulllength adaptations, biographical fantasies and vignettes use the public and private lives of our founding fathers and mothers to question what it means to be civilized. Asked how that compelling (if somewhat vague) declaration is translated from an exercise in cerebral contemplation to a fully realized production on the Metropolitan Playhouse stage, artistic director Alex Roe recalls that while assembling his roster of performers, the notion (and nature) of civility kept coming up. “In contemporary culture,” Roe and his creative team pondered, “What passes for civilized behavior…and how do our judgments of civility find their roots, if not in the writings themselves, then in the norms established in our founding political documents?” Dan Evans’ play “The Parchment Copy”
tackles that question, by eavesdropping on the lives of eight leading patriots who gather at Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia home on the night before the Continental Congress reconvenes to sign the Declaration of Independence. Within that oft-quoted (and liberally interpreted) document, Roe notes, “there are codes of civil and social interaction, either assumed or advised. Of Zero Boy’s show,” he says, “there’s a direct confrontation of the political and social assumptions of the Tea Party…derived from, and flying in the face, of an original rebel.” “Revolt! Death! And Taxes!” takes you on a sonic journey from Boston to England — all in the service of peeling back the many layers of the man we modern Americans think of as a brand of beer (but who, the performer asserts, we should also know as a riot leader and a politician). Longtime East Village creative presence, cultural observer and “vocal cartoonist” Zero Boy gets more philosophical mileage out of a few sound effects than most writers can wring from 1,000 words — so it’ll be interesting to see
how he uses his talents as a human audio reservoir to shed some light on Sam Adams. Performed on the same bill as “The Parchment Copy,” the farcical melodrama “From Shore to Shore” has solo performer LuLu LoLo inhabiting the ghosts of Alexander Hamilton assassin Aaron Burr and his daughter, Theodosia Burr Alston, as they haunt the shorelines of Battery Park and South Carolina. Aaron Burr makes another festival appearance, in “Your Colonel” — this time, in a plot which sees the vilified founder romancing the 15-year-old daughter of a British Major and escalating his longstanding beef with George Washington. In “Civility,” The New York NeoFuturists present 15 new plays based on George Washington’s Rules of Civility (accompanied by readings of letters exchanged between John and Abigail Adams). Lest you think brevity is a recipe for big questions to get the short shrift, consider that every Fri. & Sat. at 10:30pm (at The Kraine Theater, 85 E. Fourth St.), the NeoFuturists’ long-running, ever-evolving cult hit “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” tears through 30 plays in 60 minutes with all the precision, intrigue and thematic depth one expects from a traditional three-act arc. “A Room in the Middle” concerns Shays’ Rebellion — a protest sparked by Massachusetts farmers who return from the Revolutionary War, only to find their homes in foreclosure. Pursued after their failed attempt to take the Springfield arsenal, three rebels are cornered in an abandoned farmhouse. A tea party (not that late night one in Boston) becomes a battle zone where race, class and gender issues boil over, in “My
First Lady” — featuring Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison and Thomas Jefferson’s daughters (all of whom exchange pleasantries, at least at first, when they converge at the newly-opened President’s House). “A Servant for Life” is another highly charged (and completely imagined) meeting of the minds, pitting conflicted slave owner Thomas Jefferson against Phillis Wheatley — a slave who earned her freedom though her poetry.
Photo by Victoria Lin Chong
“Revolt! Death! And Taxes!” ﬁnds solo performer Zero Boy plumbing the depths of Sam Adams, revealing him to be much more than a mere beer(maker).
THIRD STREET MUSIC SCHOOL SETTLEMENT
EXPLORE! GROW! DISCOVER!
Weekly music and dance instruction, for all ages and levels, after school and on Saturdays.
Photo by Megan Greenlee
In “From Shore to Shore,” LuLu LoLo plays Aaron Burr and daughter Theodosia, with a costume that divides her in half.
Third Street Preschool full- and halfday programs. Toddler/Baby & Me Music, Dance and Movement classes.
Beginner Group Classes and Individual or Partner Lessons. Ensemble activities such as jazz and rock bands, choirs, orchestras, dance, chamber music and more!
BRINGING THE ARTS TO LIFE SINCE 1894
2 3 5 E A S T 1 1 T H S T R E E T • N E W YO R K , N Y 1 0 0 0 3 2 1 2 -7 7 7 - 3 2 4 0 • w w w. t h i r d s t r e e t m u s i c s c h o o l . o r g
January 23 - February 5, 2013
Just Do Art! By Scott StiFFler
DANCE NEW AMSTERDAM: RAW DIRECTIONS
Dance New Amsterdam’s “Raw Directions” showcases the work of five post-emerging and mid-career choreographers. In the world premiere of “Charles” (by Netherlands native Pascal Rekoert), the Flexicurve company performs a fast-paced piece set to Beethoven and Mozart, inspired by Charlie Chaplin. David Appel’s untitled piece employs a series of short dances (and five dancers) to explore the way we structure our lives and how we engage with our environment. A live, original score by Galen Bremer accompanies “Light House” — Anne Zuerner’s work drawing from her years spent on the Rhode Island coast. In “This Is No Waltz,” by Megan Bascom (with a score by Cal Hawkins), the interplay of reciprocal and mutual action is seen in fleeting partnerships, both tender and reckless. In the New York premiere of Lane Gifford’s “land·scape,” the maddeningly intense pace of our lives is explored through consumption, convolution, sensory overload, self-image and accumulation — in an animated setting, through a dynamic dance narrative. Wed., Jan. 30 through Sat., Feb. 2 (Wed., Thurs., Fri at 7:30pm, Sat. at 3pm & 7:30pm). At 280 Broadway (entrance at 53 Chambers St.). For tickets ($17 general admission, $12 in advance), call 212-2279856 or visit dnadance.org.
Three concerts, from different drummers. The “Monk in Motion” series begins Feb. 2, with Jamison Ross.
MONk IN MOTION: THE NEXT FACE OF JAZZ
There will never be another Monk — but this concert series serves as a showcase for the best of those young artists who are building on his legacy of precision and innovation. A partnership between BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center and the Thelonious Monk Institute, “Monk in Motion: The Next Face of Jazz” pays tribute to the three winners of the annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition by giving them a stage to perform on and a chance to show New York audiences the breadth and depth of their talents. First up, it’s first place winner Jamison Ross — a 24-year-old drummer from Jacksonville, FL. Before the concert, Willard Jenkins moderates the panel
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Pascal Rekoert’s Chaplin-inspired “Charles” has its world premiere, as part of Dance New Amsterdam’s “Raw Directions.”
discussion, “21st Century Drummer’s Roundtable” (with Carl Allen, Allison Miller and more). The series continues Feb. 16 with second runner-up Colin Stranahan (a 26-year-drummer from Denver, CO), and concludes March 2 with the runner-up: 28-year-old Richmond, CA native Justin Brown (another drummer!). The concerts begin at 8:30pm on Sat.,
Feb. 2 & 16 and March 2 — preceded by the free panel or film screening at 7pm. In Theatre 2, at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center (on the Borough of Manhattan Community College campus; 199 Chambers St., btw. Greenwich & West Sts.).Concert tickets are $25 ($15 for students/seniors). For more info, visit tribecapac.org and monkinstitute.org.
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January 23 - February 5, 2013
Six to know, soon to go
Exhibitions offer a return to form in familiar settings BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN
Stefanie Gutheil Die Beobachter
In Gutheil’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, an array of fable creatures referred to as “Die Beobachter” (The Watchers) dominate the scenery and provide a somewhat Baroque sense of drama. These grotesque figures translate as surreal caricatures, whose narrative context remains consciously mysterious. Incorporating patterned fabrics, found objects and different paints, Gutheil establishes a wide range of textures and evokes depth. The physicality of her materials — which include feathers, foils, skulls and dripping paint — accentuate the eccentric nature of her creatures. Soon, they morph into contemporary relatives of some of the mythological monsters found in German folklore. Through Feb. 9, at Mike Weiss Gallery (520 W. 24th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10am6pm. Call 212-691-6899 or visit mikeweissgallery.com.
Ishmael Randall Weeks: Quoin
The artist’s second exhibition with the gallery features new collages and works on paper, objects and sculpture and a 16mm film in the gallery’s project room. The Peruvian-born Randall Weeks is known for using found and re-purposed materials (including tires, boat parts, construction fragments, magazines, books and printed pages) to create his installations and sculptures. In this exhibition, Randall Weeks intuitively responds to images on found film by manipulating, painting and cutting. His work addresses issues of urbanization, development, travel, mobility and migration.
Luc Tuymans: The Summer is Over
In 1994, the Belgian painter Luc Tuymans had his U.S. debut at David Zwirner’s original location in SoHo. Almost two decades later, he is considered one of the most influential figurative painters working today. “The Summer is Over” coincides with the publication of “Luc Tuymans: Exhibitions at David Zwirner, 1994-2012 (Ludion)” and pays homage to almost two decades’ worth of collaborative exhibitions. Tuymans’ signature palette — made of soft, de-saturated blues — shines as mysteriously as ever.
Image courtesy of the artist and Lori Bookstein Fine Art
Paul Resika’s “Night Song” (2012. Oil on canvas; 51 x 64 in).
as Milton Resnick. Nevertheless, his signature high-chroma palette makes for lyrical compositions clearly his own. Today, Resika’s career spans no less than six decades.
Image courtesy of the artist and Eleven Rivington
Ishmael Randall Weeks’ “Relave” (2012. Cut photographs, archival adhesive, linen mount; 34 x 44 1/4 inches; 86.4 x 112.4 cm).
Through Feb. 10, at Eleven Rivington’s 195 Chrystie St. location (btw. Rivington & Stanton Sts.). Hours: Wed.-Sun., 12-6pm. Visit elevenrivington.com or call 212-982-1930.
Paul Resika: 8 + 8 Eight Recent Works
Image courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York/ London
Luc Tuymans’ “Zoo” (2011. Oil on canvas; 108 5/8 x 84 1/8 inches; 276 x 213.6 cm).
Through Feb. 9, at David Zwirner (519 W. 19th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10am-6pm. Call 212727-2070 or visit: davidzwirner.com.
Resika’s latest series depicts abstracted floral forms that the artist observed at his pond in Provincetown, MA. His canvases range from dark and moody to joyously bright and saturated. As a group, they capture a rich vegetative life that seems both foreign and familiar. Rhythmic patterns of lily pads convey nostalgic sentiments. They seem to tell of home as much as they evoke a longing for exploring the greater world. Resika himself considers his recent immersion into nature a kind of “late baptism” whereby he was able to draw influence from such abstract expressionists
have been displaced within an abstract field of white walls. In BourqueLaFrance’s arrangements, objects are placed freely in space — referring to ways visual information is presented and circulated in retail displays (cinema montage and the home, for example). Paintings and sculptures made of common materials add to this vibrant remix of information. Through Feb. 9, at KANSAS (59 Franklin St., btw. Lafayette & Broadway). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 11am6pm. Visit kansasgallery.com or call 646-559-1423.
Nancy Spero: From Victimage to Liberation: Works from the 1980s & 1990s Image courtesy of the artist and KANSAS
Installation View, Strauss BourqueLaFrance: “In The The Spring.”
Through Feb. 9, at Lori Bookstein Fine Art (138 Tenth Ave., btw. 18th & 19th Sts.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10:30am6pm. Visit loribooksteinfineart.com or call 212-750-0949.
Strauss Bourque-LaFrance: In The The Spring
Bourque-LaFrance ponders how the mind affects what one sees and how expectation and imagination can eclipse reality. The exhibition translates as a mise-en-scène rich in scattered symbols of love and desire that
The career of Nancy Spero (1926-2009) spanned five decades. Renowned for her serious engagement with contemporary political, social and cultural concerns, Spero chronicled wars and apocalyptic destruction in her work, as well as the cycle of life. The role and identity of women in prehistoric times and the present remained a key focus of Spero’s oeuvre — and her paper collages and large-scale paintings continue to radiate a keen sense of timeless importance. Through Feb. 16, at Galerie Lelong (528 W. 26th St., btw. 10th & 11th Aves.). Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10am6pm. Call 212-315-0470 or visit galerielelong.com.
January 23 - February 5, 2013
Chin and Rajkumar likely to face oﬀ in Council Race Continued from page 1
defeated her Gateway Plaza neighbor, Linda Belfer, in last year’s district leader race. One of Chin’s donors, John Fratta, a former district leader and a longtime ally of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, said he expects to support Rajkumar someday for some office — just not this year’s Council race. “She’s very sharp,” Fratta said of Rajkumar, adding, “In politics one year you’re with me and the next you’re not. I do look forward to supporting Jenifer for something.” He said he admired her “youth and vibrancy” but that Chin deserves reelection. “Margaret has been a breath of fresh air,” he said. “She’s always fighting for what’s best for Lower Manhattan and Little Italy.” Similarly, Adam Malitz, a Rajkumar supporter and friend from Young Democrats of New York, pointed to her youth. “Jenifer would be a young voice in politics and does have some fresh ideas,” said Malitz, a Tribeca resident on the executive board of Community Board 1 and Downtown Independent Democrats. He did not have any criticisms of Chin and said it would be good for Lower
With matching funds, Chin is close to the $168,000 limit.
Manhattan to have a contested race. For her part, Chin, 58, said with the expected matching funds, she is close to having the $168,000 limit she could spend in 2013 for a primary. Only 19 of her donations were of $1,000 or more and none were over $2,000. Her bigger donors include Margery-Archie Gottesman of Edison Properties, whose big development proposal in Hudson Square, is facing a rezoning; Henry Buhl, a leader in the effort to create a business improvement district in Soho; and four members of the Gindi family, owners of the famed Century 21 department store across from the World Trade Center, who gave a combined $5,000. A look at Chin’s donor list shows many donations under $100 and many from people with Asian surnames — more than 100 are named Chen, for example.
She also has support from community leaders throughout the district, raking in small donations from people like Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1, and Tobi Bergman, who runs P3, a youth sports program on Pier 40. Harold Reed, a C.B. 1 member who died unexpectedly two weeks ago in Hong Kong, donated $500. By contrast, most of Rajkumar’s donations so far, nearly $30,000, have come from herself and eight others who have given at least $2,000. Rajkumar gave herself $8,250, the maximum allowed to participate in the public finance system. Others are limited to $2,750 donations to her campaign. She said four of her larger donors are family members, and the rest are friends and legal colleagues. Also included in her donors are Jeanne Wilcke, president of Downtown Independent Democrats, which has been searching for an opponent for Chin, and two of Rajkumar’s neighbors, Tom Goodkind, a D.I.D. member, and Michael Fortenbaugh, who also runs the marina near their Battery Park City homes. PJ Kim, who lost to Chin four years ago, and David Gruber, chairperson of C.B. 2, contributed as well. Rajkumar has also given a combined $210 to Julie Menin, the former C.B. 1 chairperson running for borough president; Yetta Kurland, running to succeed Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the neighboring district; Borough President Scott Stringer, now a candidate for city comptroller; and Michael Treybich, a Young Democrat running for Council in Coney Island. Chin and Rajkumar attended last week’s D.I.D. meeting at which Chin was one of the invited speakers. The club has always supported Chin’s opponents in her runs for the Council, although D.I.D. gave her glowing praise short of an endorsement in her successful run in 2009 to defeat Councilmember Alan Gerson. As Chin spoke, Rajkumar sat close by, paying close attention while taking a few notes. Other club members politely questioned Chin on issues like the proposed Soho BID and New York University’s development plans, which passed the Council last year. On the BID, she said she got organizers to exempt residential co-ops from the building owners’ tax and to do better outreach to neighbors. On N.Y.U., Chin said the Council got the university to provide space to allow building a public school, scale back development by 25 percent (“no, no, no,” a few in the audience said), ensure permanent rent protections at 505 LaGuardia Place and expand open space in the area. District Leader Paul Newell wondered if she got the best possible agreement. “If there was a better deal, Paul, we would have fought for it,” Chin replied.
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
Councilmember Margaret Chin at a tree mulching event two weeks ago in Bowling Green.
January 23 - February 5, 2013
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Published on Jan 23, 2013