Gov. David Paterson got a warm embrace from World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein March 10 after
saying the state and the Port Authority should offer more to rebuild the towers. The governor also said he would
stick by Wall St., the state\u2019s economic engine.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. offered a rare peek into its \ufb01nances this week, revealing an esti- mated $295 million pot of money that is not formally committed to any speci\ufb01c project.
The L.M.D.C. could wind up with even more money left over as other projects \ufb01nish over the next few years, and the corpora- tion is beginning to consider what to do with the extra cash, although it is suggest- ing the \ufb01nal number may not be as high as it looks.
\u201cThere are small amounts of money which are left, which can be swept up and, in theory, reallocated by the board,\u201d said L.M.D.C. President David Emil.
Emil gave few other spe- ci\ufb01cs and no timeline in his presentation to Community Board 1 Monday night. But based on Emil\u2019s com- ments and documents on the L.M.D.C.\u2019s Web site, it looks like the city-state agency still has about $1 billion in the bank.
Most of that money is earmarked for major proj- ects underway \u2014 like $140
Times have changed for the Unbearables, a loose group of writers, poets and artists that have been a \ufb01 xture in the underground New York City literary scene since the mid- 1980\u2019s. Back then they would gather in bars for \u201ccollating\u201d parties, where each person would bring 100 or so Xerox copies of a single work and they would spend the night binding them all into a maga- zine called \u201cThe Unbearables Assembly Magazine.\u201d
or simply e-mail each other, and while much is different, much has also stayed the same for the self-proclaimed \u201cbeer mystics\u201d of the Lower East Side. They have managed to hold on to their ideals, one of which is that writers should not be worshipped, and to their purpose: to drink heav- ily and to discuss their love, or as it were, their hatred for contemporary literature.
Most recently the group published the anthology \u201cThe Worst Book I Ever Read,\u201d and have been doing read-
show it may have
$300 million more
rewrite the rules
Gov. David Paterson ignored his dif\ufb01 culties in a speech to a Wall St. group Wednesday but he did play pub- lic peacemaker in the long-running World Trade Center dispute, saying he was optimistic a deal would be made.
He offered no defense of his actions, but he had a strong one for Wall Streeters whom he said have been hurt by lots of negative publicity.
Almost no one in the audience at Bayard\u2019s stood up to ask a question, and the governor did not even hint at the time he is spending defending accusations in the criminal investiga-
tion into his intervention in a domestic violence case, or regarding a state eth- ics ruling that he testi\ufb01ed falsely under oath about his intention to pay for Yankee World Series tickets.
Julie Menin, chairperson of Community Board 1 and a member of the Wall St. group, the Downtown- Lower Manhattan Association, said much of the talk in the room before the governor\u2019s speech was over whether he could still govern or should he resign, but she was not surprised that no one asked him about it.
Albany,\u201d she said. \u201cNormally there are actually a lot of questions at something like this.\u201d
The one audience question came from C.B. 1\u2019s vice chairperson, Catherine McVay Hughes, who wanted to know what Paterson was doing to resolve the W.T.C. dispute.
Paterson, who had been highly criti- cal of developer Larry Silverstein\u2019s offer to the Port Authority several months ago, said \u201cI think all sides have put real and tangible offers on the table. So how do you describe that \u2014
Word is the current year-long World Trade Center slugfest between developer Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority may be approaching a compromised truce, but we were still surprised to hear things had cooled down so much that Silverstein\u2019s spokesperson said the Port\u2019s leader has \u201cinnova- tive ways to invest in regional infrastructure.\u201d
Actually, Bud Perrone, a top Rubenstein Communications exec who sends out most of Silverstein\u2019s press statements, was not emailing on behalf of Silverstein when he heaped praise on Chris Ward, the Port\u2019s executive director. Perrone, who also reps the New York Building Congress, was sending out an advisory about Ward\u2019s appearance before the builders group this week.
Ironically, Ward\u2019s commitment to investing in regional transportation is one of the reasons he has resisted giving Silverstein more help building the W.T.C. towers.
Gov. David Paterson gave props to Robert Douglass at the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association meeting Wednesday. Paterson said before he appointedR i c h a r d
was one of the few outside attorneys who told him that it would be permitted under New York\u2019s constitution. Many legal observers at the time said the appointment would not be held up, but the state\u2019s Court of Appeals proved them wrong.
Douglass, now chairperson of the D-L.M.A. and the Downtown Alliance, still knows his way around Albany. Years ago, he was Gov. Nelson Rockefeller\u2019s chief of staff.
In an \u201cAmerican Idol\u201d of worthy causes, American Express and TakePart are giving out $200,000 grants to the charities that get the most online votes in each of \ufb01 ve categories. The only Downtown group that\u2019s made the cut is the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which is one of 10 nominated organizations across the country in the \u201cArts and Culture\u201d category. Members of the public can vote as often as once a week between now and March 24 at takepart.com/membersproject.
Speaking of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, they just hired a new executive vice president of operations, James Connors. Connors will oversee the design and construction departments, and he will be responsible for making sure the memorial opens on the 10-year anniver- sary of 9/11. Connors will also \ufb01gure out how much of the memorial can remain open after the anniversary.
Connors most recently managed the Empire State Building, so he is familiar with both skyscrapers and tourist attractions. He also has more than a decade of experience at the Port Authority and led some of the early discussions on how to rebuild the Trade Center site after 9/11.
The lease of the Fulton St. Burger King ran out at the beginning of February, but the fast-food chain decided to stick around until they can \ufb01nd a new spot.
\u201cThey\u2019re just buying time,\u201d said Wally Dimson, president of the Southbridge Towers board of directors, which con- trols the space at Fulton and Gold.
Dimson tells us that Southbridge can\u2019t wait for Burger King to leave. Residents frequently complain about the rowdy students from the nearby Murry Bergtraum High School who hang out in front of the Burger King.
that the restaurant was looking for another location farther west on Fulton St. and planned to stay in its current place until the new one opened.
Southbridge is also looking for a tenant for the former Foot Locker space next to the Burger King, which is already vacant. Residents would like to see a high-end grocery store like Trader Joe\u2019s, but given Fulton St.\u2019s recent penchant for attracting discount and closeout shops, we\u2019re thinking that could be a hard sell.
In a sign that Tribeca\u2019s baby boom is starting to age, local mom Carol Adams is relaunching her Babylicious boutique this week as Torly Kid.
The six-year-old clothing and toy shop on Hudson St. has grown with Adams\u2019 daughters, now ages 6 and 8, and Adams decided the name and mission ought to keep growing up as well: She\u2019s keeping all her unique birth-to-age-7 offer- ings but is now expanding to serve tweens. The name Torly Kids comes from a combination of her daughters\u2019 names, Tori and Carly \u2014 Adams thought it would be better to lose the \u201cbaby\u201d in the shop\u2019s name now that she\u2019s trying to woo 9-to-12-year-olds.
88 Fulton Street
(Corner of 33 Gold St.)
New York, NY 10038
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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.
A new bridge, traffic changes and crossing guards for people of all ages might all be on the way to improve safety on West St.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver pressed state and city agencies to commit to those safety changes at a West St. stakeholders meeting last Friday. Local residents have long complained that crossing the highway south of Chambers St. is dangerous, because of short signal times and frequently shifting traffic patterns. Last year, a 26-year-old woman was killed crossing West St. at Albany St.
Silver said last week that it is especially important to make the safety improvements before P.S./I.S. 276, the new K-8 school, opens in southern Battery Park City this fall.
In particular, Silver is pushing city and state agencies to find a way to build a new $21 million bridge over West St. at W. Thames St., to replace the temporary one at Rector St. The Battery Park City Authority had planned to fund the bridge and hired SHoP Architects to design it. But the city, which has jurisdiction over major Battery Park City expenditures, nixed the pro- posal last year because it was too costly in tight budget times.
After Silver urged all the parties to put the bridge back on the table, the B.P.C. Authority decided to shift $7 million of the $15 million that was supposed to go toward repairing the neighborhood\u2019s seawall to build- ing the bridge instead. Then, the authority would only need the city to approve a $14 million allocation for the bridge. Silver said he would try to fill any gaps with some state money for the bridge as well.
Cavanaugh said delaying some of the seawall work would not pose any safety risks. The authority is in the process of repairing the thousands of underwater con- crete pilings supporting the esplanade, and as long as that happens in the next 10 years, there is no rush, he said.
\u201cIt\u2019s something that certainly needs to be done, but if it\u2019s not done tomorrow, it\u2019s not going to be a prob- lem,\u201d Cavanaugh said after Silver\u2019s meeting. \u201cNo one is in danger of the esplanade collapsing, but starting in September kids are going to be crossing West St. [to attend P.S./I.S. 276].\u201d
Silver\u2019s second proposal is to put crossing guards at five problem intersections: Chambers, Warren, Murray, Albany and W. Thames Sts. Sam Schwartz Engineering, the traffic consulting firm to the Port Authority, already provides the guards, called pedestrian managers, at some of the heavily traveled Church St. crossings and may pro- vide the managers for West St. as well.
At Silver\u2019s meeting, Rob Phillips, C.O.O. of Sam Schwartz, proposed a total of 28 pedestrian managers, two relievers and one supervisor for West St., working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. That would cost $2 million a year, and Silver is pushing the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. to pick up the tab for two years, totaling $4 mil- lion.
\u201cWe\u2019re going to work with the board to identify potential funds,\u201d L.M.D.C. Chairperson Avi Schick told Silver at last week\u2019s meeting. \u201cWe understand the impor- tance.\u201d
The N.Y.P.D. already has traffic agents at many inter- sections on West St., but residents often say that they don\u2019t do enough to help pedestrians cross.
\u201cAll they\u2019re worried about is cars,\u201d said Linda Belfer, a Battery Park City resident who uses a wheelchair. \u201cWe need to have someone on board who is responsible for pedestrians.\u201d
N.Y.P.D. Inspector Patrick McCarthy replied that the traffic agents have to focus on the cars, both for their own safety and the safety of pedestrians. He acknowl- edged that the Sam Schwartz pedestrian managers, who all have law enforcement experience, have been helpful on Church St. and would likely be a good addition to West St.
Phillips said West St. south of Chambers St. saw 170 vehicular accidents in 2009, nearly one every other day, based on data from the First Precinct. Over one third of them, 60, happened at Chambers and West Sts., where Phillips would station six pedestrian managers to help people cross.
McCarthy said accidents are down in 2010, with 33 in the first two months of the year compared to 40 in the same period last year.
The State Dept. of Transportation is still reconstruct- ing much of West St. below Chambers and will add some traffic-calming features as the project continues, includ- ing colored crosswalks and more than 500 trees in the
State D.O.T. is also considering giving pedestrians more time to cross, adding countdown signals and reduc- ing the oft-broken speed limit from 35 miles per hour to 30, Brown said.
Pat Moore, a Cedar St. resident, asked Brown about restoring a left-turn lane from southbound West St. onto Albany St., which would provide key access to the Greenwich St. South neighborhood.
Brown said S.D.O.T. and city agencies are studying the request, but it could cause traffic backups of cars exiting the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, especially during the next couple years of construction. West St. will even- tually have two left-turn lanes onto Liberty St., but those will not open until World Trade Center construction is much further along.
Silver expects to see more definite plans for the W. Thames St. bridge, the pedestrian managers and the other safety improvements at the next meeting of his taskforce on April 30.
Lower Manhattan Development Corp. chairperson Avi Schick said he hopes to \ufb01 nd the money to pay for crossing guards at these key intersections of the West Side Highway identi\ufb01 ed by Sam Schwartz Engineering, top. There were 170 accidents on West St. south of Chambers last year, and 60 of them were on Chambers St. alone, below.
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