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Downtown Express, May 22, 2009

Downtown Express, May 22, 2009



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Published by: COMMUNITYMEDIA on May 21, 2009
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Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess
 The fleet, the fleet!
Fireboats (and yes the planes) celebrated the arrival of military ships into New York Harbor Wednesday for FleetWeek. The ships will be docked through Memorial Day weekend.
Thinking of the WorldTrade Center impasse asa seesaw might be a goodguide to predicting how anegotiated agreement willend up.On opposite sides of the seesaw are two equal-ly weighted adversaries— W.T.C. developer LarrySilverstein and the PortAuthority, run by executivedirector Chris Ward. Bothsides have offered someinsights into their positionsin interviews over the lastfew weeks, but the final out-come is more likely to bedetermined by the balanceof power.Each needs heavy friendsto get more control andthe balancing will beginThursday afternoon, May21 at a meeting at GracieMansion.Perhaps the two heavi-est weights involved basedon their current politicalstanding — Mayor MikeBloomberg and AssemblySpeaker Sheldon Silveruncharacteristically areworking together, standing inroughly the same seesaw spotwith most of their weight onthe Silverstein side but witha lighter foot helping thePort. Silver called for a meet-ing of all of the parties twoweeks ago and Bloombergimmediately praised Silver’sideas while inviting everyoneto Gracie.The two other players,Governors David Patersonand Jon Corzine, share con-
 The ups and downs ofthe W.T.C. talks to come
The voices speaking from the wallsof Columbus Park are not audible, butthey are impossible to miss.The black letters stenciled on red-painted boards, which arrived earlierthis month, tell stories of Chinatown’spast and present. Nearly 80 in all,they dot the perimeter of a park thathas long been Chinatown’s livingroom, with local children scramblingover play equipment and middle-agedwomen stretching into tai chi poses.One board, written by a womannamed Joanne, reads, “I look at amagazine and for the thousandth timeI see no Asians in it…”On another are the words of ananonymous commenter: “I do not feeltrapped in my own community andhave chosen to live here. And yes, I doventure outside of Chinatown and have‘spoken to a white person.’”The boards comprise a new art proj-ect called America’s Chinatown Voices,sponsored by the Asian American ArtsCenter. The poems and brief vignetteson the boards come from Chinatownresidents and passersby, includingeverything from memories to politicalstatements. Many of the boards alsofeature black-and-gold portraits drawnfrom local scenes, family photographsand history books.
Discovering voicesin Columbus Park
Continued on
 page 3 
Continued on
 page 19 
MAY 22 - 28, 2009
Photo courtesy of www.boweryboogie.com
Chinatown blazedestroys supermarket
May 22 - 28, 2009
downtown express 
“I want you to get this right — because this is going tobe all over Streetsblog,”
Sean Sweeney
said, as he explainedto us on Sunday how he got the whopping shiner under hisleft eye. The Soho activist said he recently had been walkingon Greene St. when a young cyclist came barreling downthe sidewalk toward him. At a point where the pavementnarrowed, the two came face to face, with the rider stillracing at a rapid rate. Sweeney abruptly grabbed the bike’shandlebars, to which the cyclist responded, “Are you lookingfor trouble?”“Yeah!” Sweeney answered, though, he said, on secondthought maybe he shouldn’t have. Before Sweeney knew it,the cyclist — whom he said was “clean cut, like a yuppie”— had sucker punched him in the face. Some bystanders— “young citizens, his age,” he noted with satisfaction —grabbed the bike rider and held him. “They said, ‘What areyou punching the old guy for?” a remark Sweeney said actu-ally hurt more than the physical blow.The cyclist protested that Sweeney “started it,” but theactivist retorted, “No, you were on the sidewalk.” In the end,since he was late for a Downtown Independent Democratsmeeting, Sweeney decided not to call the police or presscharges, and they let the man go. It’s not Sweeney’s first runin with bikes. He’s been a vocal critic of the new Grand St.bike lane, which — along with his opposition to a proposedPrince St. pedestrian mall — led Streetsblog, not long ago,to dub him NIMBY of the Year.
The Downtown Independent Democrats fundraiser lastSunday at D.I.D. President Sweeney’s Soho loft, drew quitea crowd, with the likes of Congressmembers
Jerrold Nadler
Carolyn Maloney
— whose senate aspirations took ahit last week when President
signaled his support forSen.
Kirsten Gillibrand
— and Council Speaker
. Civil Court Judge
Kathryn Freed
was there — andpointed out she had every right to be there.Rules bar judges from attending such political eventseven when as in this case, they are in the home of your ex-boyfriend — but not if they are candidates running for office,and Freed told us she has her eye on State Supreme Court.But she said, though it’s possible she might be on the ballotthis year, there are a bunch of candidates already approvedby the judicial screening panel who were “ahead” of her inline, so to speak, so she might have to run next year. SupremeCourt would mean $10,000 more a year, plus “more interest-ing cases,” Freed said.Last year she told us she was “fed up and disgusted” withbeing a judge but also spoke of possibly wanting to move upthe judicial ladder.
If you believe that in politics a win is a win, then justskip this item. City Council candidate
Pete Gleason
forceda runoff in the Village Reform Democratic Club’s endorse-ment vote Monday night. Councilmember
Alan Gerson
, whocame out of V.R.D.C. and who according to Gleason allies,won a unanimous Council endorsement vote in the 2001race when Gerson was one of seven Democrats running foran open seat, did go on to beat Gleason 16 - 12 in the finalvote Monday.“I’m ecstatic,” Gleason told UnderCover. “This is not onlyhis home club but the club meeting was in his home.”Indeed the meeting was in the lobby of Gerson’sLaGuardia Pl. building, also home to
Sophie Gerson
, whoco-founded the club as well as Alan the person (she’s hismother). Downtown political veterans will recall V.R.D.C.was formed almost three decades ago when a faction of Village Independent Democrats splintered to support
’s unsuccessful primary run for governor against
.Gerson the Younger did not return a call for comment.
Margaret Chin
, who got two votes Monday, was the onlyother candidate to get any V.R.D.C. support.Political eyes now turn to the Downtown IndependentDemocrats’ vote June 2. Club honcho Sean Sweeney, who isclearly leaning toward Gleason, put out a press release high-lighting Gleason’s strong showing, and UnderCover mustadmit we were a little flattered that Sweeney seemed to bewriting in our style (We or he didn’t pull a
Maureen Dowd
 though — these words and thoughts are ours).
A standoff between the city and the Battery Park CityCommunity Emergency Response Team kept the CERTfrom participating in last Sunday’s drill at the World TradeCenter.CERTs from around the city came to Lower Manhattanto help first responders with the drill, and
Anthony Notaro
,chief of the B.P.C. CERT, said he was embarrassed not to getan invitation to an event right in his team’s backyard. TheB.P.C. CERT is the largest in the city and one of the oldest,formed in 2003.“It’s been very frustrating and maddening,” Notaro said.The dispute with the city arose because the B.P.C. CERTformed before the city Office of Emergency Managementstarted overseeing the teams and credentialing them.
, spokesperson for O.E.M., said all the B.P.C. CERThas to do is fill out some paperwork and they would becomeofficial, but Notaro said the city had lost it. He said he didnot want to resubmit it because he is concerned about whathappened to sensitive info like social security numbers.
The Borough of Manhattan Community College held itsannual fundraising dinner at Chelsea Piers complete withscholarship winners and their inspiring stories (one wespoke with,
Schewarma Pemberton
, is Cornell bound, andanother who spoke to the crowd,
Andrea Hall
, a former highschool dropout, turned down Smith and N.Y.U. to enroll atColumbia this fall.)Other notables who attended included
Dana Tyler
, M.C.and Channel 2 news anchor, honorees
Jane Rosenthal
,co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, and ChristineLarsen of JPMorgan Chase. College president
Elizabeth Butson
, gala co-chairperson and formerDowntown Express publisher, partied on the Hudson as did
Iris Weinshall
of City University of New York who are allno doubt pleased that the school’s long-awaited demolitionof damaged Fiterman Hall is expected to be done in a fewmonths.Speaking of 9/11-damaged buildings, we also spied a trimand fit
Charlie Maikish
, who looked like he no longer hadthe weight of the Deutsche Bank building on his shoulders.Maikish left as executive director of the Lower ManhattanConstruction Command Center a month before the fatal fireat the former bank building two years ago. The construc-tion czar who warned the community board about some of the building’s problems before the fire, has downplayed hisrole in the building’s demolition subsequent to the deadlyinferno, and District Attorney
Robert Morgenthau
appar-ently agreed.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-15  Mixed Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 
. . . . . . . . . . 16-17 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20-22 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 23-26 Listings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25-26 
 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26-27 
C.B. 1
The upcoming week’s schedule of CommunityBoard 1 committee meetings is below. Unless other-wise noted, all committee meetings are held at theboard office, located at 49-51 Chambers St., room709 at 6 p.m.
The Quality of LifeCommittee will meet, and the Landmarks Committeewill meet at 6 p.m. at 49-51 Chambers St., room 501.
Community Board 1 willhold its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. at the 3-LeggedDog Art and Technology Center at 80 Greenwich St.at Rector St.
Letter tothe Editor
145 S
, NYC, NY 10013P
downtown express 
May 22 - 28, 2009
 A seesaw as a window into the W.T.C. talks
trol of the P.A., and are highly unlikely to put more of theirweight on Silverstein’s side.New York governors traditionally select the Port execu-tive director and Paterson brought Ward in last year to figureout a realistic timeline to build most of the components of the World Trade Center (the Performing Arts Center andTower 5 are only long-term hopes). For Paterson to movesquarely to Silverstein’s side now, he would also have toacknowledge in effect that he thinks he made a mistake inputting Ward in charge.The New Jersey contingent of the Port has long resistedefforts to devote more resources to the W.T.C., favoring proj-ects that benefit the Garden State more directly like a newcommuter rail tunnel to Midtown. Corzine almost certainlywill stay closer to the Port than Silverstein. His spokespersondeclined to comment Wednesday.The Port, which is building One W.T.C., has offered tohelp Silverstein get $800 million in loans to finish Tower 4at the southeast corner of the site, which together would addabout 5 million square feet of office space to the market inabout five years. Those who have come down on the Port’sside of the issue have pointed out that Silverstein Propertiesrecouped most of its investment in the W.T.C. six years agoand assert the Port shouldn’t subsidize a private developer inorder to build an office building completely on spec.In an interview a few weeks ago, Ward said the Portwould only help Silverstein build 4 W.T.C.“We have to find a way to bridge this gap, but it can’t be asecond tower,” he said prior to Silver’s calling for a summit.He proposes building retail structures or podiums atTowers 2 and 3 (which neither side is trying to build now)that would allow stores to open at the site long before thosetowers would be built on top.On the other side, Janno Lieber, president of Silverstein’s World Trade Center Properties, said before the downturn,there were credible, long-term preditcions that the citywould need 60 million square feet of office space, and evenif those are overly optimistic by 20 or 30 million, there willstill not be nearly enough to meet the demand. He said therewill be practically no new green office space in 2013 whenLieber expects Tower 4 to open or in 2015 when Tower 2could be finished with Port help.“The idea that there won’t be any market [then], doesn’tmake any sense based on history,” Lieber told DowntownExpress.In a prepared statement, he said the financial help wouldbe a “backstop” to secure loans which the developer wouldrepay.Lieber said “the huge issue” is the infrastructure thatSilverstein Properties needs to finish building the towers — aVehicle Security Center and Greenwich Street itself, whichwill have office doorways to Towers 2 and 4.“Where is the infrastructure,” Lieber asked. “Will theinfrastructure be there in time for us to finish that building(Tower 4), open it and operate it…The schedule has fallenapart yet again.”The security center, which will be built by the Port, willbe needed in a year or two to run delivery trucks onto theconstruction site under the building in order to fit out theoffices, which will be important to attracting commercialtenants. Construction on the V.S.C. is stalled becauseof the long-delayed demolition of the former DeutscheBank Building, which is owned by the Lower ManhattanDevelopment Corp. Candace McAdams, a Port spokesper-son, said “we are in the process of developing workaroundsto ensure the V.S.C. stays on track.”The next piece to building Greenwich is constructing anunderpinning structure to support the No. 1 train, whichruns through the site. The Port recently completed the designfor the underpinning but the Metropolitan TransportationAuthority needs to sign off on it and it is still reviewing theplans.Outside of the Port, there appears to be increasing skep-ticism that the retail podium idea could be implementedeasily.McAdams, the Port spokesperson, said they are “develop-ing contingencies” for retail construction designs.But Seth Pinsky, a key Bloomberg official who sidedwith the Port three years ago during the last major W.T.C.impasse, said it would be difficult to design the podiums,assuming officials committed to leaving the store structuresalone for enough years to attract desirable tenants.“But even then, I think you’re going to find lower rents,and it’s an engineering challenge to develop somethinglike that,” Pinsky, now president of the city’s EconomicDevelopment Corp., told Downtown Express. “It can’t be allupside for Larry Silverstein and all downside for the Port,but we also don’t want to see something that’s bad from theperspective of planning in Lower Manhattan.”Pinsky prepared a 2006 report for the mayor outlining thefinancial problems Silverstein would have trying to rebuildfive towers at roughly the same time. The problems led to thePort and Silverstein renegotiating their 99-year lease for the W.T.C. Under the 2006 agreement, Silverstein relinquishedcontrol of the least viable towers, the Freedom Tower (nowcalled One W.T.C.) and Tower 5. Silverstein also agreed totransfer a proportional amount of his insurance money andtax-free Liberty Bonds to the Port so it could build two of the towers.The city and the Port committed to leasing 600,000square feet each in Tower 4. One factor that may be trou-bling the P.A. is that at the same time Silverstein is asking thePort to take on more risk, he is also not willing to exercisehis lease option with the city because he is expecting to gettenants to pay a lot more than the $59 per square foot renthe agreed to three years ago.Many civic groups and local residents following therecent developments have expressed wariness for usingpublic money to support a private developer, which could tipthe seesaw a little more the Port’s way. With little if any negotiations over the last two weeks,there is no expectation that a final deal could be reached ina meeting scheduled to last only an hour. The best that couldbe hoped for Thursday is a framework in which negotiationscan proceed, two of the parties to the summit said.And with Bloomberg and Silver allied and with their sup-port among their respective constituencies high, they shouldbe able to get the seesaw to balance close to where they wantit — a commitment to build Towers 2 and 4 as Silversteinwants, but with the developer putting more at risk. Patersonand Corzine may be able to ease the Port’s risk more than themayor and Silver would want, but they’ll be hard-pressed toput Tower 2 on hold if that’s their plan.
With reporting by Julie Shapiro 
Downtown Express illustration by Ira Blutreich
Governors Paterson and Corzine are expected to put more of their weight toward Chris Ward, far left, on thePort Authority side of the “seesaw,” but Mayor Bloomberg and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are alreadyleaning more toward World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein.
Continued from
page 1
‘It can’t be all upside for LarrySilverstein and all downside for the Port, but we also don’t want tosee something that’s bad from the perspective of planning in Lower Manhattan.’

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