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The Villager 12-2-10

The Villager 12-2-10

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Published by: COMMUNITYMEDIA on Dec 02, 2010
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The Children’s AidSociety is considering thesale of its buildings onSullivan St. where it hasbeen a part of the Village formore than a century.In a letter to familieswho take part in the soci-ety’s Arts and After-schoolProgram and the NewActing Company classes andproductions in the SullivanSt. complex, the center’sexecutives said the decisionwas not final but is under“serious consideration.”If the society decidesto sell the buildings at219 Sullivan St. and 175Sullivan St., it is likely thatits Arts and After-schoolProgram and the New ActingCompany would close afterJune 2012.“We are aware that thisnews will come as a shock tomany,” said a Nov. 28 lettersigned by Richard Buery, thesociety’s president and chief executive officer, and Bill Weisberg, chief operating
Citing less need,Children’s Aid may leave Sullivan St.
A civic association that wants tocreate a Chinatown business improve-ment district ran into some strongresistance at Community Board 3’s fullboard meeting on Tues., Nov. 23.Members of the ChinatownPartnership Local DevelopmentCorporation’s BID Steering Committeewere scheduled to appear at the board’s6:30 p.m. meeting at P.S. 20, 166 EssexSt., to elicit C.B. 3’s support for theplan.But before they even had an oppor-tunity to make their presentation,steering committee members foundthemselves under attack by a memberof C.B. 3’s Chinatown Working Groupand representatives of the CoalitionAgainst the Chinatown BID, a busi-ness and property-owners group thatdoes not believe Chinatown shouldhave a business improvement district— known as a BID, for short — of any kind.The Chinatown Partnership L.D.C.is seeking a BID designation because a$5.4 million government grant that haspaid for extra street cleaning and garbagepickup is about to expire. Communityleaders are concerned that Chinatownwould revert to the conditions that pre-vailed before the cleanup program began.The new BID would be a public-private partnership in which propertyowners would pay annual assessment feesfor extra cleanup of Chinatown’s streetsand for other business improvements. Itwould also advocate for a fair share of government services for the district.Landlords may pass on the assess-ment to their commercial tenants.Residential properties are assessed ata lower rate than commercial ones,and properties owned and occupied bynonprofit groups do not generally payan assessment. At least 50 percent of property owners must approve of theplan, though generally BID’s are onlystarted when there is much more sub-stantial support.The BID’s board would be responsiblefor developing the budget and determin-ing the rate of assessment needed tofund the services provided by the BID.Property owners would on average payan assessment of approximately 3 to 5percent of their annual property taxes.Members of the Coalition Againstthe Chinatown BID, however, contendthat hiring a private street-sweepingservice that would be paid for by BIDrevenues is not the sole solution forChinatown’s sanitation problems, and
In Chinatown, groups battleover a proposal for new BID
Continued on page 2 
Rose Padawer was feel-ing just fine three weeksago. At a gathering of fam-ily and neighbors in her E.Ninth St. apartment she tolda reporter, “I’m a healthyyoung girl of 105.”“On the first page!” sheexclaimed when she wastold that the reporter wasgoing to write an articleabout her Nov. 10 birthdaybash. “I can read big print,”she assured.Her son, Gerald Padawer,a retired nuclear physicistfrom Roslyn, L.I., one of herdaughters, Saralta (“call meSalty”) Loeb from Hartsdale,N.Y., and a granddaughter,Alisson Loeb, from Inwoodwere on hand for the event.Also at the party were GraceMain, who lives downstairs,and Linda Terry, fromupstairs, who both haveknown Rose for more than30 years.“Last year she asked me
A rose is a rose,but this Rose is 105 years young 
Continued on page 12 Continued on page 11
Volume 80, Number 27 
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Hudson Square, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side,
Since 1933 
December 2 - 8, 2010 
Magic momentin sports,p. 27
Photo by Tequila Minsky
Oil’s well that starts well
On Wednesday, the first evening of Hanukkah, youngsters at My Little School, a preschool at Gymboree, at 100Reade St. in Tribeca, had an olive oil-making and Hanukkah party. They used the oil they made to light the meno-rah, above. See Page 7 for more photos.
December 2 - 8, 2010
that the Chinatown Partnership L.D.C. isnot qualified to advocate for governmentservices. They also noted that since the1990’s, Chinatown-area property ownershave twice rejected BID’s.The fireworks started early at the C.B.3 meeting when the evening’s first speakerblasted the Chinatown Partnership fornot participating in the efforts of C.B.3’s Chinatown Working Group, a com-munity-based planning initiative for theChinatown area.Rob Hollander, a C.W.G. member,said that the Chinatown Partnership wasbeing “divisive” by not participating in thegroup’s efforts to form a comprehensivedevelopment plan for the area.“I’m concerned about this BID,”Hollander said. “We have, right now, aChinatown Working Group where all thedifferent voices in the area are comingtogether for the first time. Instead, they’rebypassing the Chinatown Working Groupand creating a division,” he said of thePartnership.Hollander was followed by severalspeakers from The Coalition Against theChinatown BID. Jan Lee, a coalition orga-nizer, charged the L.D.C. with misus-ing grant money in its quest to form aChinatown BID.He said that the Partnership hadreceived millions of dollars in post-9/11grant money from the Lower ManhattanDevelopment Corporation based on spe-cific tasks it would accomplish.“But instead of adhering to their orig-inal mission, [the L.D.C.] has squan-dered public funds in pursuit of forminga Chinatown BID, which is not what theirgrant money was for,” Lee charged.Lee added that more than 150 business-es — many of them along the critical MottSt. commercial corridor — have signed apetition opposing the BID.“We do not agree with this attemptto ‘unify’ Chinatown under a pay-to-playsystem of politics,” Lee asserted. “Thedubious track records of many BID’s inthe city stand as testimony against a BIDfor Chinatown.”Philip Grossman, an attorney for thecoalition, joined in the attack. He told C.B.3 board members that an analysis he madeof the Chinatown Partnership’s expendi-tures revealed that only 31 percent of its$5.4 million Clean Streets Program grantwas being used for sanitation purposes.“It’s outrageous and unreasonable,”Grossman said. “They’re going to wasteany BID grants they get. It’s a bad idea tolet the Chinatown Partnership go throughwith its plan.”A Chinatown Partnership spokespersonlater denied the charge. He said Grossmanhad failed to look at the records of thecity’s Economic Development Corporation,which, as part of an arrangement with theL.D.C., was “making payments directly tothe contractor” in charge of the cleanupeffort. “Those payments were not reflectedon the C.P.L.D.C.’s books,” the spokesper-son added.David Louie, a Chinatown Partnershipsteering committee member and chairper-son of the Chinese Chamber of Commerceof New York, also denied the charges, andsaid it was time for opponents of the BIDplan to “calm down.”“I’ve heard a lot of unkind and untrueremarks,” Louie told C.B. 3 board mem-bers. “A BID is the best way to improvethe quality of life in Chinatown. The BIDwould not be a dividing factor but a unify-ing one. It’s unkind and unfair to say wedon’t have a broad spectrum of support.”Louie added that in surveys taken onthe proposed BID, 97 percent of commu-nity property owners who voted declaredtheir support for a BID. Another 600business owners and residents wrote let-ters of support, he said, including longtimecommunity groups, such as the ChineseChamber of Commerce, the ChinatownAmerican Legion post and the Canal St.Jewelry Association.Louie was joined by Patrick Yau,executive director of the First AmericanInternational Bank, who said thePartnership had put together a “broadlybased group in support of this plan, andwe’ve submitted documents to show thesupport we have.”Yau said Chinatown’s top three commu-nity needs were sanitation, affordable hous-ing and jobs. In other surveys conducted bythe Chinatown Partnership, he said, “Theoverwhelming issue for all respondents wasimproving Chinatown’s sanitation.“That’s why clean streets will be ournumber one mission, along with advo-cating for more government money forChinatown,” he added. “We just want tokeep our community clean, somethingwe’re already doing successfully under agovernment grant that is about to expire.”Also supporting the BID plan was CityCouncilmember Margaret Chin.“For Chinatown, it’s a moment of self-determination,” she said. “I urgeCommunity Board 3 members to be sup-portive of the BID.”Chin later said charges that theChinatown Partnership L.D.C. was beingdivisive by not participating in meetings of C.B. 3’s Chinatown Working Group weresimply untrue.“This BID group has been working onthis for the past four years — long beforethe Chinatown Working Group was evenorganized,” she noted.Gigi Li, co-chairperson of the Chinatown Working Group, said the clash of opin-ions about the BID was not tearing theChinatown community apart.“There are very strong opinions on bothends,” Li said. “And I would welcome apresentation by them in front of the mem-bers of the Chinatown Working Group.That would show an additional level of outreach to the community.”Li added that she had already invited Wellington Chen, the Partnerhship’s exec-utive director, to attend the Chinatown Working Group’s next meeting.“He has an outstanding invitation tocome before us, but is not required to doso,” she said.Li said the whole issue will be discussedin greater depth at C.B. 3’s upcomingEconomic Development Committee meet-ing, when the committee will recommendwhat position the full board should takeon the matter.The current government grant award-ed to the Chinatown Partnership L.D.C.expires Dec. 31. The Partnership must notonly get approval for the BID plan fromCommunity Boards 1, 2, and 3, but alsofrom the City Council. The first-year BIDbudget would be $1.3 million, the vastmajority of which would be used for side-walk cleaning and trash removal.The boundaries of the BID district cur-rently under consideration are Broome St.on the north; Broadway on the west; Allenand Rutgers Sts. on the east; and White, Worth and Madison Sts. on the south.
Continued from page 1
Chinatown groups battle over a proposal for a BID
Photo by Lesley Sussman
Saying clean streets reflect well on Chinatown, members of the Chinatown Part-nership Local Development Corporation turned out to back the BID plan at C.B. 3’sNov. 23 meeting.
‘I urge Community Board3 members to besupportive of the BID.’
Councilmember Margaret Chin
At its October full-board meeting,Community Board 3 considered a proposalfor the construction of a statue of Dr. SunYat-sen to be erected on the traffic island atCanal and Baxter Sts. in Chinatown to cel-ebrate the 100th anniversary of the ChineseRevolution in 1911.C.B. 3 gave its support to the resolutionthat called for the creation of the Dr. SunYat-sen statue. The measure was presentedby Gary Tai, assistant to the president of theChinese Consolidated Benevolent Association,at 62 Mott St., who said his civic group isawaiting city approval for the site.“We wish to honor one of the mostimportant figures in modern Chinese his-tory as soon as possible,” Tai said, “as nextyear is the 100th anniversary of the ChineseRevolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.“This statue, which would be erectedadjacent to the Chinatown information kiosk,would become another world-famous land-mark in New York City’s bustling Chinatowncommunity and, undoubtedly, a favorite withtourists,” Tai said.He added that the statue would bedesigned by the New York City architec-tural firm of T.C. Ho, at 33 Bowery, the firmwhich designed and engineered the statuesof Confucius and Lin Ze Xu in Chinatown.Ho is also the president of the New YorkViet-American Lions Club.Tai added that much of the memorial’sfunding would come from money donated bySun Yat-sen’s granddaughter.
C.C.B.A: ‘Need Sun Yat-sen soon’
December 2 - 8, 2010
With New York Universitypoised to publicly unveil the Provincetown Playhouse in itsnew School of Law building on MacDougal St., preserva-tionist
Andrew Berman
on Monday fired off an alarmede-mail blast, charging that the university has “broken yetanother promise” regarding the project, of which he hasbeen a strident critic. Specifically, the Greenwich VillageSociety for Historic Preservation director says, N.Y.U. hasflouted its commitment on the theater’s seats — and he isn’tabout to take it sitting down. Berman points to a Feb. 1,2010, letter that
Alicia Hurley
, N.Y.U.’s vice president of government affairs and community engagement, wrote toBorough President
Scott Stringer
in which she stated thatthe “end pieces of the chairs, which appear to be from the1940’s, are being preserved and fastened to the end of eachrow of seating.” But Berman told us he had it on the word of a source that the seat ends were, in fact, being sequestered ina “display area” somewhere inside the theater. He wrote
, N.Y.U.’s president, on Nov. 19, saying that, with thefailure to reuse the seat ends on the actual chairs in the reno-vated theater, the university had “broken this pledge,” not-ing that the seat ends, along with the space’s four walls, arevirtually all that’s left of the historic theater. Berman said henever heard back from N.Y.U. following his letter. However,Hurley explained to us that the seat ends have actually beeninstalled in the walls at the end of each row of seats. In theend (pun intended), Hurley said, “Attaching 1940-ish, metalends to what need to be new, functioning seats didn’t work.”After we subsequently informed him that the seat ends areactually set into the concrete walls near the seats, Bermanshot back he never expected they would be “entombed”this way. “That Poe House approach to preservation pleasesno one expect the spinmeisters of N.Y.U.,” he said. He wasreferring to what he derided as the “Home Depot-style”facsimile of the former Poe House in the School of Lawbuilding on W. Third St., for which the original Poe House
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Continued on page 13 
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Historic seat ends, at left, from the pre-renovationProvincetown Playhouse theater have been embeddedinto the walls at the end of the seat rows in therefurbished and reconstructed theater.

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