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There were still a few colored leaves in Soho last week, but some of the unmistakable signs of the coming winter,
such as Christmas tree stands, are popping up all over Downtown. The holiday season kicks off this week right
after Thanksgiving with the opening Seaport choral tree performance on Friday at 6 p.m. Next week there will be
free performances of \u201cThe Nutcracker\u201d at the World Financial Center\u2019s Winter Garden on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.
and 6 p.m. with a lighting ceremony in the evening.
A 15-story relic of 9/11 finally disappeared this week, as workers dismantled the last remaining pieces of Fiterman Hall.
The City University of New York classroom building, just north of the World Trade Center site and heavily damaged on 9/11, had stood shrouded in black netting for years, casting a figurative shad- ow on Downtown\u2019s recov- ery and a physical one on the rebuilt 7 World Trade Center. By the end of last week, little more than the plywood sidewalk shed remained.
\u201cIt\u2019s just so exciting,\u201d said Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1\u2019s W.T.C.
[Fiterman Hall] down indi- cates that redevelopment is really moving forward.\u201d
The last pieces of debris from Fiterman will be gone by Thanksgiving, clearing the way for a groundbreak- ing on the new Fiterman Hall next week. The rebuilt Fiterman, designed by Pei Cobb Freed, will have classrooms, student loung- es and faculty offices for the Borough of Manhattan Community College, along with a public cafe and art gallery on the ground floor. The new 14-story building is scheduled to open in spring 2012.
Possibly the happiest per- son to see Fiterman gone is Larry Silverstein, who made no secret of his distaste for his looming front-yard neighbor when he opened 7 W.T.C. in 2006 and was
No matter where the lines are drawn in the rezoning of Lower Manhattan\u2019s schools, one thing is certain: P.S. 234 will not be able to hold all of Tribeca.
This fact is shaping the debate over who will go to each of Downtown\u2019s four schools. Since the city presented two temporary zoning options last week, the Dept. of Education has heard only one kind of feedback.
conceptual responses\u201d about neighbor- hood boundaries, said Elizabeth Rose, director of portfolio planning at the D.O.E. \u201cThe only responses we are getting are, \u2018Is my address in the 234 zone? If yes, \ufb01ne. If no, I\u2019m unhappy and will let everybody know.\u2019\u201d
Many of those unhappy parents live at 89 Murray St., the half of the Whole Foods building that includes affordable rentals. Under one of the proposals, 89 Murray would be zoned not for P.S.
234, which is one block away, but for the Spruce Street School, which is half a mile away. Meanwhile, the other half of the Whole Foods building, which has luxury condos and an address at 101 Warren St., is zoned for P.S. 234 in both proposals.
\u201cTribeca is our neighborhood,\u201d said Ilya Mazur, who lives at 89 Murray and has a 2-year-old son. \u201cA lot of us can
\ue000Reduce Wrinkles and Fine Lines
\ue000Exfoliate Dead Skin Cells
\ue000Break the Cycle for Breakouts for Good
Thanks for welcoming
us to the neighborhood
& to all a Happy Thanksgiving
EDITORIAL PAGES. . . . . . . . . . . .14-15 YOUTH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16-17 ARTS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19-22 CLASSIFIEDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
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.
Lifelong bachelor and Downtown Independent Democrats President Sean Sweeney could barely stop laughing this week when we called him to \ufb01nd out if he\u2019d gotten married.
Exaggerated or not, the reports spread quickly through Downtown this week. A much-forwarded item on the blog celebgalz.com described Sweeney\u2019s wedding (toElizabeth
But Sweeney, a self-described \u201csexy sexagenarian\u201d who opposes marriage in principle, explained that there are a lot of Sean Sweeneys running around the political world. The one who got married last weekend is chief of staff to Emanuel (who in turn is chief of staff to PresidentObama).
The posting on Celebgalz.com, though, described the newlywed Sweeney as the president of D.I.D., not an Obama staffer, and the posting even cribbed directly from our report last week that Sweeney did not plan to run for reelection at D.I.D. (Usually we\u2019d be annoyed that Celebgalz ripped off our reporting without giving us credit, but since their whole item was inaccurate, we\u2019re just \ufb01ne.)
The false item gained more traction when local blog The Lo-Down picked it up as true on Monday. Amused, Sweeney \ufb01red off e-mails to many of his ex-girlfriends, linking to the Celebgalz item and telling them they missed their chance.
We asked whether former Sweeney \ufb02 ame (and former City Councilmember) Kathryn Freed got one of those e-mails. Sweeney replied that he hadn\u2019t sent one to Freed. \u201cI \ufb01gured it would be more fun to let her hear it through the grapevine, and then be really bewildered,\u201d Sweeney said in an e-mail. \u201cPractical jokes are fun, especially when no one can blame you for initiating it.\u201d
It\u2019s hard to \ufb01 nd a building more symbolic than the 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower, but the numerical symbol- ism of its height may be thrown into question. The Chicago Tribune reports that the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat decided last week to change how it measures the height of skyscrapers, which could change the of\ufb01 cial height of One World Trade Center.
Speci\ufb01 cally, the council decided to start measuring height not at the main entrance of the building but at \u201cthe level of the lowest, signi\ufb01 cant, open-air, pedestrian entrance.\u201d The Tribune says that since the Freedom Tower is built on a slightly sloping site, a secondary entrance that is lower than the main one could suddenly become the new measuring point, throwing off master planner Daniel Libeskind\u2019s patriotic allusion.
One commenter on the Tribune blog posted a novel sug- gestion to preserve the 1776 \ufb01gure forever: \u201cThey should make the spire retractable,\u201d wrote the commenter, \u201cto keep up with future rule changes. :-)\u201d
The parents who comprise District 2 Community Education Council are not on particularly good terms with the Dept. of Education \u2014 the C.E.C. sued the city last year \u2014 but things could be looking up.
who reports to the C.E.C. about school zoning. After listen- ing to one of Rose\u2019s detailed and diplomatic explanations at a meeting last Wednesday, C.E.C. Vice President Mary Silver made an impromptu confession.
\u201cUsually about this point [in a meeting] I wanted to slap John White,\u201d Silver said. \u201cAnd I just want to say, Elizabeth, what a stark contrast\u2026. I really do appreciate the kind of drill-down that you\u2019ve done and the access you\u2019ve provided. Three cheers for Elizabeth Rose!\u201d
Around 3 p.m. on Nov. 25, northbound R/W trains will begin stopping at Cortlandt St. and three entrances to the uptown platform will open at street level. The southbound platform won\u2019t reopen for another two years.
The view from the top \ufb02 oor of the 76-story Beekman tower must be astounding \u2014 but Frank Gehry, the building\u2019s architect, has no interest in seeing it just yet.
\u201cI have height fright, so I\u2019m not going up,\u201d Gehry said during Beekman\u2019s topping out ceremony last Thursday. \u201cI\u2019ll wait \u2019til the real elevators are in.\u201d
At 867 feet, the city\u2019s tallest residential building is also the \ufb01 rst skyscraper designed by Gehry, a winner of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. The rippling stain- less steel cladding is only just beginning to rise, following a progression of bare concrete \ufb02oors that is now visible from all around Lower Manhattan and well beyond.
Gehry, who said his goal was to design \u201ca building that is New York,\u201d appeared a bit awestruck by the structure\u2019s height. His \ufb01 rst words to the crowd when he took the stage Thursday, after he paused to glance up at the tower, were, \u201cNo Viagra.\u201d
The mixed-use tower on Beekman St. between Nassau and William Sts. will have the Spruce Street School in its base, 903 market-rate apartments and an ambulatory care center for New York Downtown Hospital. The \ufb01 rst residents will begin moving in as soon as the summer of 2011, and the school could open that fall if the city determines that the building is safe.
Last Thursday\u2019s topping out was a celebratory event, \ufb01lled with handshakes and applause, but nearly every speak- er mentioned the sober reality of the economic turndown, which almost halted the project at 38 stories last spring.
\u201cWe had real doubts we\u2019d be able to do this,\u201d said devel- oper Bruce Ratner, C.E.O of Forest City Ratner. Only with concessions from the unions was the building able to rise to its full height, he said.
The centerpiece of the ceremony was a 10-ton bucket of wet concrete that was draped with an American \ufb02ag and hoisted to the top of the building to the booming of \u201cBorn in the U.S.A.\u201d Gehry tilted his head back and grinned as he watched the bucket getting smaller and smaller, \ufb01 nally disappearing out of sight as it reached its destination and
Ratner and Gehry appeared friendly during the ceremony, though they were recently at odds over the stalled Atlantic Yards development and split ways on that project earlier this year. On Thursday, Gehry referred to Ratner as \u201cmy partner in crime,\u201d and Ratner called Gehry \u201ca genius architect.\u201d
In between snapping photos of the tower and the cer- emony, Lerner paused to shake his head. \u201cIt\u2019s still too big,\u201d he said.
World Trade Center developer Silverstein Properties is moving toward selling Liberty Bonds to \ufb01 nance three Church St. of\ufb01ce towers.
Silverstein was not expected to try selling the $2.6 billion worth of tax-free bonds until the towers were closer to opening. But the Liberty Bonds, a fed- eral post-9/11 recovery measure, expire at the end of 2009. Although Congress is expected to extend the expiration date, Silverstein is looking to sell the bonds now just in case.
when the towers are so far from comple- tion (work on Towers 2 and 3 has not begun, and Tower 4 has not yet reached street level). The Liberty Bond financing does not change the current financing impasse between Silverstein and the Port Authority, or the uncertainty about W.T.C. redevelopment.
Silverstein\u2019s move on the Liberty Bonds came to light after the Empire State Development Corp. scheduled a public hearing on the bond authorization. The hearing will be held Thurs., Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place.
Scholastic Kids Press Corps, a group of student reporters ages 10-14 who cover cur- rent events, entertainment, and sports from across the country, just welcomed 37 new members. More than 250 students competed, and Battery Park City\u2019s own Cecilia Gault, 10, is one of the group\u2019s newest additions.
The new reporters were chosen based on the quality of their applications, which included an essay about their hometown, a brief biography, and a letter explaining why
\u201cMy essay was about what makes my com- munity special, so I talked about how Battery Park has wonderful schools, how we\u2019re eco- friendly, and how, in my building, we use solar panels and green technology,\u201d said Gault. \u201cIt\u2019s an important part of Battery Park City because many buildings now have eco-friendly parts.\u201d
\u201cThe Kid Reporter program helps increase students\u2019 awareness and interest about cur- rent events and the world around them,\u201d said
More than 1,000 homeless New Yorkers enjoyed a delicious three-course meal Monday at the Great Thanksgiving Banquet at New York City Rescue Mission, at Lafayette and White Sts. Miss America, Katie Stam, second from right, was hon- orary event chairperson. As well as handing out the hearty fare, Stam also signed autographs. A bevy of local politicos, of\ufb01cials and personalities also helped at the dinner, including Councilmember-elect Margaret Chin, former Mayor David Dinkins and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
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