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Gov. David Paterson loosened his grip somewhat on the Battery Park City Authority\u2019s money this week, at the urging of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Last month, the governor demanded $300 million from the authority to \ufb01ll the state\u2019s budget gaps, most of it borrowed and paid back over the next 30 years.
Silver, whose district includes B.P.C., talked the governor down to only
$200 million, according to a source familiar with the discussions. Silver, who did not mention a speci\ufb01c amount, said he got the governor to agree to take money in cash from the B.P.C. Authority\u2019s surplus, rather than borrowing it.
Authority is already deeply in debt, and I strongly believe we simply cannot afford to take out what is essentially a 30-year mortgage on our community in order to balance this year\u2019s state budget,\u201d Silver said in a statement to Downtown Express Wednesday. \u201cI spoke to the governor about my concerns last week and I\u2019m pleased to report that he has agreed to amend his de\ufb01cit reduction plan to eliminate the need for Battery Park City to take on new debt.\u201d
Borrowing $250 million, as the governor initially demanded, would have saddled Battery Park City with annual repayments of $17 million for the next 30 years, Silver said.
A spokesperson for the governor did not con\ufb01 rm the deal or comment on
Despite outrage among many New Yorkers over last year\u2019s extension of term limits and the fact that he spent a jaw-dropping $90 million on his re-election campaign, Mayor Mike Bloomberg squeaked out a victory
on Tuesday against Bill Thompson. With more than 1 million votes cast, Bloomberg got almost 51 percent of the total and Thompson, 46 percent.
In local races, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmember Rosie Mendez easily won re-election, while Margaret Chin became the \ufb01rst Chinese American to represent
Chinatown in the City Council. All three faced token Republican opposition in their overwhelmingly Democratic districts, with each getting more than 80 percent of the vote.
UnderCover got the \ufb01rst word this week on a new theater venue coming to the northwest corner of Tribeca.
in a building he owns at 508 Canal St. The playhouse will have a 55-seat theater and a 19-seat cabaret, hosting everything from music and plays to circus and classic vaudeville acts.
Osborne, who has lived in Tribeca since 1980, is eyeing a late-February or early-March opening for the playhouse, and he promised to reveal more details soon. For now, Sara Murphy, the playhouse\u2019s managing director, told us the playhouse will showcase young playwrights and artists, and it will also host at least two theater companies in residence. The average ticket price will be $18 a show.
The theater will show \u201cthe work of high quality, early career artists in a sophisticated surrounding,\u201d Murphy said.
The 1826 building, landmarked about 10 years ago, is on Canal St. near Greenwich St., close to Canal Park. The ground \ufb02oor used to be home to a furniture business Osborne co-owned, called Osborne and Osborne, and before that it was Sweeney\u2019s Bar and Grill.
The new theater will include a snack bar with pretzels, cakes, hot dogs, craft beer and wine, along with $2 popcorn made with real butter, assuming Osborne gets a beer and wine license.
The tea has barely stopped pouring at Yaffa\u2019s Mediterranean restaurant and teahouse, and already there are new plans for the Greenwich St. space.
As soon as this spring, Mary Ann\u2019s Mexican restaurant will move a few blocks from W. Broadway over to Yaffa\u2019s old space at 353 Greenwich St. The spot went vacant when
The closure turned out to be convenient for Mary Ann\u2019s, which had to \ufb01nd a new home because its squat building next to the Cosmopolitan Hotel is going to be knocked down as part of the hotel\u2019s expansion. After getting landmarks approval for the project this fall, the Cosmo\u2019s owners said construction \u2014 including the demo of Mary Ann\u2019s \u2014 could begin in spring 2010.
Two workers at Mary Ann\u2019s con\ufb01 rmed the move over to Greenwich St., though they said they did not know when it would happen. The owners of the small restaurant chain, which started in Chelsea, did not respond to requests for comment.
With dreams of \u201cSlumdog Millionaire\u201d multi-millions, a new Indian indie, \u201cWhen Harry tries to Marry,\u201d has been shooting at Pace in Lower Manhattan. Grant Kretchik, a faculty member and graduate of the school\u2019s Actors Studio Drama, has shot a few scenes with his students and will be \ufb02ying to India to \ufb01lm some more. The story centers around a 22-year-old college student who surprises his assimilated Indian family by seeking an arranged marriage.
Spencer Bazzano making out in City Hall Park for the movie? Or is it student Ginger Graham\u2019s performance as \u201cStripper # 1?\u201d On a Pace blog, Graham said she was not nude and did not wear anything \u201csuper revealing\u201d for the role. The character \u201cis nothing more than a humorous, outspoken girl who knows how to party,\u201d Graham added.
Chinatown activist Jan Lee tells us he\u2019s closing his Mott St. furniture shop as soon as this week and moving the business to DUMBO.
Even though Lee\u2019s family owns the shop\u2019s building, \u201cThe pressure has gotten too great for me,\u201d Lee said. \u201cIt\u2019s a very bittersweet end of one chapter and opening of another.\u201d
Lee expects to lease the ground-\ufb02 oor space this week to Touchstone Health, an insurance company that he said is getting a deal at 10 to 15 percent below market. To \ufb01 nd a tenant who would pay market rents or higher, Lee said he would have had to cut a deal with the illegal handbag dealers that swarm Chinatown.
Lee has long maintained a furniture workshop in DUMBO at 70 John St. and this summer opened an art gallery there. Now, in the space that is as close to Chinatown as you can get and still be in Brooklyn, Lee will reopen his furniture showroom.
City Councilmember-elect Margaret Chin proved in September that an Asian could win in a majority white district, but that of course doesn\u2019t mean she will be free from bias incidents. At a campaign rally this week in Chinatown the day before Election Day, a man wearing fatigues and claiming to be a homeless veteran heckled her saying \u201cyou\u2019re not American,\u201d while accusing her Chinese supporters of being racists. Chin, a good 10 inches shorter than the vet, stood her ground before a few of her supporters guided the man away. He shoved several of her supporters as he was leaving. The event was held in Chatham Square, ironically at the memorial to Chinese-American vets who were killed serving in the U.S. military.
Is a medium with a 140-character limit a threat to books and libraries? We might have thought so, but the Battery Park City library branch has just set up a Twitter account in advance of its expected opening in the spring. Those tech-savvy bibliophiles scarfed up a primo Twitter name, BatteryParkCity, which surprisingly, was still available. Wonder what the Battery Park City Authority thinks about that?
We were \ufb02 attered that \u201cDowntownExpress\u201d was among the library\u2019s \ufb01 rst followees and we of course responded in kind. BTW, if you like Facebook and believe Twitter is tearing away the essence of our society\u2019s fabric (or you just don\u2019t use it), you can read our tweets w/o ever giving Twitter the satisfaction by becoming a fan of Downtown Express on Facebook.
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The upcoming week\u2019s schedule of Community Board 1 committee meetings is below. Unless otherwise noted, all committee meetings are held at the board of\ufb01ce, located at 49-51 Chambers St., room 709 at 6 p.m.
Force will meet at 6:00 p.m. in Room 715 and the Landmarks Committee will meet at 6:00 p.m. in Room 709
A small crowd gathered on the Battery Park City esplanade near North Cove Monday morning to watch the U.S.S. New York chug up the Hudson River. The warship, fashioned with 7\u00bd tons of steel from the collapsed World Trade Center, paused near ground zero around 8 a.m. Monday and fired a 21-gun salute. First responders, 9/11 victims\u2019 family members, mili- tary veterans and local residents and workers then watched as the ship continued up the river to Pier 88, where it will remain docked through the middle of next week before heading for the deeper waters of the Persian Gulf.
The demolition of the former Deutsche Bank building began in earnest Wednesday, as crews started knocking down the top of the 26-story tower. The Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which owns the building, has not predicted when the demolition will finish, but it will likely take until at least mid-spring.
the 9/11-damaged building stopped Aug. 18, 2007, when two firefighters were killed battling a blaze there. In the interim, officials have been working on developing a safer demolition plan and have cleaned the building of potentially toxic material.
Drivers, cyclists and straphangers will all be affected by construction on the Manhattan Bridge over the next four years, the city Dept. of Transportation said last week.
The 100-year-old bridge will get $150 million of repairs starting early next year, including the replacement of all the vertical suspension cables and the strings of lights and the reinforcement of the bridge\u2019s main
The bridge\u2019s bikeway will close for up to eight months at some point during the project, and cyclists will have to share the pedestrian walkway for that time. The work will also require some lane closures and subway disruptions on the B, D, N and Q lines, though the D.O.T. said train service would never be shut down entirely.
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