Large Chinatown crowds celebrated the beginning of the Year of the Tiger Sunday with \ufb01 recrackers, lion and
dragon dancers and many cries of \u201cgung hay fat choy,\u201d or best wishes for a prosperous new year. The big parade
will be Sunday, Feb. 21. More Lunar New Year photos, Pages 14-15.
P.S. 234 has received 186 applications for 125 kinder- garten seats and will hold a lottery next month to decide who can attend school there in the fall.
A lottery is precise- ly what the city Dept. of Education was hoping to avoid when they rezoned Lower Manhattan\u2019s schools last month and shrunk the zone for P.S. 234. But far more students wound up zoned for P.S. 234 than the city expected.
\u201cI don\u2019t think anybody could have predicted it,\u201d said Elizabeth Rose, direc- tor of portfolio planning at the D.O.E.
student enrollment to pre- dict the size of next year\u2019s kindergarten class, but that method did not work: P.S. 234 has received 60 per- cent more applications than the D.O.E. was expecting, Rose said last Thursday after a meeting of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver\u2019s school overcrowding task- force.
Parents were skeptical the city could not have pre- dicted the problem sooner.
\u201cIt\u2019s hard to believe,\u201d said Mary Hoeveler, a north- west Tribeca resident whose son enters kindergarten in the fall. \u201cThese kids are 5. It\u2019s not like they just popped into existence last summer.\u201d
P.S. 234 still
crowded after all
these zoning \ufb01 ghts
Ever-expanding burger empire Shake Shack has met with stiff resis- tance in its bid to open a new res- taurant that would serve about 100 customers per hour on a calm stretch in Little Italy.
Celebrated restaurateur Danny Meyer \u2014 who took his popular fast- food eateries citywide and then nation- wide after opening the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park \u2014 has
planned as the site of his Downtown debut a vacant parking lot at the corner of Prince and Mulberry Sts.
Residents have claimed that the restaurant\u2019s layout, which provides for only 30 seasonal seats on the roof and just a few inside the space, will bring a crush of hungry patrons spilling out onto the otherwise subdued block.
\u201cResidents of the historic Little Italy neighborhood of Nolita have reacted with a mixture of shock, dread and hor-
ror as news spread of the hamburger chain Shake Shack\u2019s proposed location in the heart of the picturesque area,\u201d read a press release from concerned neighbors, including the Little Italy Neighborhood Association and the Little Italy Restoration Association.
According to residents, the pro- posed outdoor seating area above the sidewalk-level eatery poses overcrowd-
Our woman in Haiti, photographer Tequila Minsky, surprised us by strolling into our of\ufb01 ce on Tuesday; she had returned on Saturday, and she looked great, although a little tired. \u201cI ran out of money,\u201d the Soho lens woman said. A frequent visitor to Haiti, Minsky captured some of the \ufb01rst shots of the earthquake and had her photos published all over the world as well as in Downtown Express. She \ufb02ew back on a U.S. Air Force cargo plane since commercial \ufb02 ights are still not running out of Port-au-Prince. She\u2019s still catching her breath, downloading her last shots, and getting ready to write more about her experiences.
UnderCover is used to hearing parents complain about the city\u2019s penchant for opening up smaller, boutique high schools, but we were surprised to hear that a Dept. of Education administrator has some of the same concerns.
D.O.E., responded sympathetically when parents told her recently that the new boutique high schools don\u2019t offer the same variety of programs as larger high schools.
\u201cOne of the things that I \ufb01 nd dismaying is that it\u2019s going to be very hard for any school that isn\u2019t a very large school to offer A.P. Latin, because just how many kids are you going to get that want to take that class?\u201d
director for former Comptroller Bill Thompson, took a new job this week as vice president of communications for the Downtown Alliance.
The city\u2019s largest business improvement district appeared to be searching for a new public relations direction over the past year, and also hired a new director of public affairs,
stepping into government, Simmons reported for many local news outlets, including NY1, the New York Post and The Record of Hackensack, N.J.
maintain the online presence of Bruno, their Brussels Griffon. Bruno the Brussels has 500 fans on Facebook. (The Downtown Alliance Facebook page, by comparison, has 455 fans.)
UnderCover has to admit that we at Downtown Express are a little jealous of these high fan numbers, as we\u2019re still working at breaking the 100-fan mark on our page. To get our breaking news updates and join our discussions, search Facebook for \u201cDowntown Express\u201d and become a fan.
The Down Town Association will need to spend more money on its planned addition at 60 Pine St. in order to get the Landmarks Preservation Commission\u2019s approval.
The 150-year-old private club wants to put a three-story addition atop its landmarked six-story building, including new squash courts and bedrooms for members. The L.P.C. saw the plans for the \ufb01 rst time this week at a public hearing and com- missioners weren\u2019t impressed with the green-painted roof the Down Town Association planned to use to approximate cop- per\u2019s patina. Echoing Community Board 1\u2019s advisory opinion from November, the L.P.C. requested a roof material that would weather naturally instead. Back then, Down Town Association President Mark Altherr said he would look at using copper but was concerned about the expense.
said at Tuesday\u2019s L.P.C. hearing that the addition was too visible and bulky on the Cedar St. side, but the L.P.C. commissioners didn\u2019t share that concern, because 60 Pine sits between taller buildings. The commissioners did request a few other changes, involving materials and the shape of the roof.
New City Councilmember Margaret Chin chaired her \ufb01rst Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Committee meeting last week (well, co-chaired with Peter Vallone of the Public Safety Committee), and we hear she made quite an impres- sion by making opening remarks in Cantonese in addition to English. Chin is the \ufb01 rst Chinese Councilmember to repre- sent Chinatown, and many of her constituents turned out to the hearing, which was on the 9/11 trials.
Downtown\u2019s little drug store that grew into a corporate giant, Duane Reade, was acquired by Walgreens Wednesday in a $1 billion sale by Oak Hill Capital Partners. The Lower Manhattan pharmacy started in 1960 on Broadway between \u2026 but of course, Duane and Reade Sts. Walgreens plans to keep the Duane Reade name and don\u2019t worry those, bonus card points will still be good for the \u201cforeseeable future,\u201d according to the Duane Reade Web site.
Blotter. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Seaport Report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Mixed Use. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
EDITORIAL PAGES. . . . . . . . . .18-19 YOUTH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20-22 ARTS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23-26
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\ufb01 ce, located at 49-51 Chambers St., room 709 at 6 p.m.
The redevelopment of Pier A cleared one hurdle this week when the project won unanimous approval from city Landmarks Preservation Commission.
L.P.C.\u2019s vote will allow the Battery Park City Authority to \ufb01nish stabilizing and restoring the historic pier building so it can eventually open to the public.
\u201cThis is a wonderful project,\u201d said Frederick Bland, a Landmarks commissioner, before Tuesday\u2019s vote. \u201cIt\u2019s been stalled for so long.\u201d
Hoping to inject new energy into the long-delayed restoration of the 124-year-old building jutting out of Manhattan\u2019s southwestern tip, the city leased Pier A to the B.P.C. Authority two years ago and gave the authority $30 million to get Pier A ready for a commercial tenant.
The authority solicited plans for the pier last fall and many groups attended information sessions, including res- taurants, catering halls, arts nonpro\ufb01ts and educational institutions. Proposals were due back to the authority at the end of the day on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, the authority said it had received seven proposals from \u201cvery reputable teams.\u201d Authority staff had raised questions in the past about whether development at the pier could be pro\ufb01table, since it is tucked in a corner of Battery Park that gets little traf\ufb01 c in the winter.
When the authority took over Pier A, the building had been vacant for about 20 years. Surf splashed up through cracks in the \ufb02oor and rain poured in through poorly sealed windows. The pier\u2019s underwater supports were crumbling, and the entire three-story building leaned several degrees to the south.
\u201cIt truly is a miracle that the building is still standing,\u201d said Jack Martin, an architect with H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture.
H3 Hardy is now working for the B.P.C. Authority to complete restorations that Wings Point, a previous devel- oper, started in the 1990s and abandoned partway through. Most of that work had already been approved by the L.P.C., but H3 made a few changes that the commissioners needed to review on Tuesday.
The only controversial change was the color scheme for the building. The commissioners approved of H3\u2019s plan to keep the roof a pale green, similar to copper\u2019s patina, but they disliked the plan to paint the building dark beige with light cream trim. For most of Pier A\u2019s history, the shades were reversed: the building had a lighter base with darker trim. Bland and other commissioners said the lighter trim gave the building an inappropriate colonial look, when it should appear more Victorian.
Hugh Hardy, founder of H3, replied that he could switch the trim and base colors of the building. The architects returned to the L.P.C. several hours later with new render- ings showing a lighter base and a darker trim, and based on that, the L.P.C. approved the project.
Several members of Community Board 1\u2019s Landmarks Committee had also objected to the color scheme when H3 architects presented the project last week. Bruce Ehrmann, co-chairperson of the committee, said the colors reminded him of a \u201chistoric theme park.\u201d The committee gave an advisory vote in favor of the project, though Ehrmann and another board member voted against it.
With landmarks approval in hand, the Battery Park City Authority hopes to \ufb01nish restoring the pier by spring 2011, when it will be ready to turn over to a tenant. If the author- ity\u2019s public-private development plan succeeds, Pier A could open to the public for the \ufb01 rst time in its history.
Originally conceived as an outpost for the New York Harbor Police and the Dept. of Docks, Pier A opened in 1886 as a mixture of of\ufb01ces and spaces for boats to tie up and unload. The \u201cA\u201d in Pier A stands for \u201cadministrative,\u201d and as time passed the building slowly converted entirely to
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