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THE VILLAGER 1-6-11

THE VILLAGER 1-6-11

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BY LINCOLN ANDERSON
After a sometimes-tumultuous 10years leading The New School, BobKerrey has turned the page and is mov-ing on to the next chapter in his life.That new chapter may include writ-ing a book about American politics.It might also see him head a politicalinstitute connected to The New School.And, he hopes, it will see him reacquirehis “political voice,” which, he admit-ted, he had to stifle far more than heliked while university president.Kerrey — a former Nebraska gov-ernor and senator — stepped downas president of the iconic GreenwichVillage university at the end of December, and his replacement, DavidVan Zandt, took over at the start of this month.Kerrey, 67, sat down with TheVillager a few weeks ago for a wide-ranging conversation about his tenureat The New School, his own personalnarrative, the state of current politicsand what the future might hold forhim.Among the school’s biggest accom-plishments under Kerrey is the recentstart of construction of its newUniversity Center, on the east side of Fifth Ave. between 13th and 14th Sts.The $361 million project, sporting 16stories and 365,000 square feet, willhave a 620-bed student dormitory inits top half and an auditorium in itsbottom.The building’s design faced muchscrutiny from the community. But TheNew School hasn’t endured anythingnear the sort of angry backlash NewYork University has over its N.Y.U.2031 expansion plans, which call formillions of square feet of new spaceto be created in the Greenwich Villagearea.“We don’t have the ambition thatN.Y.U. does,” Kerrey stated. “N.Y.U.is in a very different situation than weare.”And yet, Kerrey said, in the last fiveyears, The New School may have hadthe largest increase in full-time fac-ulty of any academic institution in thecountry. The school now boasts 375full-time faculty and 1,200 adjuncts.Six years ago, he said, The New School— always known for its graduate pro-grams and continuing-education cours-es — decided to make undergraduateeducation its priority.In many ways, The New School,with its former emphasis on Ph.D. pro-grams, has developed “back-asswards,”
Kerrey pines for his politicalvoice post-school presidency
Photo courtesy of The New School 
At the end of December, Bob Kerrey ended his tenure as president of The New School.
Continued on page 8 
145 SIXTH AVENUE • NYC 10013 • COPYRIGHT © 2011 COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC
BY ALINE REYNOLDS
The city Department of Education and the federalEnvironmental ProtectionAgency are at odds con-cerning recent discussionsover eliminating possibleairborne toxins from publicschools.The E.P.A. releasedguidelines last Wednesdayfor the safe and immediateremoval of polychlorinatedbiphenyls, or PCB’s, fromelectrical lighting ballasts inschool buildings. The cityD.O.E., though, is not quiteready to jump onboard withthe program and is specifi-cally questioning the urgen-cy of the E.P.A.’s claims.In a recent letter toDennis Walcott, the city’sdeputy mayor for education,the E.P.A. recommendedthat all PCB-containinglighting fixtures be removedin a safe and “expedited”fashion. The E.P.A. hopes toschedule school inspections
Feds are charged up to chuck school PCB-packing lights 
BY ALBERT AMATEAU
The Hudson RiverPark Trust announced on Wednesday that ConnieFishman, president of thestate/city authority that isbuilding the 5-mile-longriverfront park, is leavingher post after 11 years withthe Trust, seven of them aspresident.Fishman — credited withshepherding the park to itscurrent 80 percent comple-tion — will leave the Trust inFebruary to become seniorvice president for real estateof the YMCA of GreaterNew York.“Everyone who lovesHudson River Park andcares about New York Cityowes a huge debt of grati-tude to Connie Fishman,”Diana Taylor, chairper-son of the Trust board of directors, said in the Jan.5 announcement. “As theTrust’s president for the pastseven years, she has steeredthe Trust through countlessminefields, building eight
Waterfront park president to set sail for new job 
Continued on page 5 Continued on page 2 
Volume 80, Number 32 
$1.00 
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Hudson Square, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side,
Since 1933 
January 6 - 12, 2011
EDITORIAL,LETTERS
PAGE 10
GAYNOR HELPSHAITI SURVIVE
PAGE 17
HOUDINIREAPPEARSON U.E.S.,P. 13
 
2
January 6 - 12, 2011
new public piers and acres of spectacular landscapes, not tomention an enduring relationship with the public we serve,”Taylor said.Taylor did not indicate who might succeed Fishman, but aschairperson of the Trust, Taylor will probably be consulted inthe process, which will involve New York State’s newly inaugu-rated Governor Andrew Cuomo and also Mayor Bloomberg.“It will be an interesting search,” said Arthur Schwartz, aformer chairperson of the Hudson River Park Trust CommunityAdvisory Council and present chairperson of the WaterfrontCommittee of Community Board 2, which covers GreenwichVillage. Schwartz noted that former Governor Eliot Spitzer,a Democrat, appointed Republican Taylor, the girlfriend of Mayor Bloomberg, as chairperson of the Trust.“I don’t suppose Hudson River Park is at the top of Governor Cuomo’s agenda, but his administration will have amonth to figure it out,” Schwartz said.Fishman’s connection to the waterfront park dates backto when she was an aide to Deputy Mayor Fran Reiter underMayor Rudy Giuliani. In 1995, she was Reiter’s liaison to theHudson River Park Conservancy, the predecessor organiza-tion to the Trust. A year after the state Legislature passed theHudson River Park Act, creating Hudson River Park, Fishman,in 1999, was named executive vice president of the Trust, underRobert Balachandran, the Trust’s first president.Schwartz said that since Fishman became Trust presidentin 2003 she has been very good at bringing community boardsand advocacy organizations, like Friends of Hudson River Park,together.“She really listens — she doesn’t just go through themotions,” he said.“Since joining the Trust in 1999 Connie has been largelyresponsible for turning our dream of an accessible waterfrontpark into a reality for New York City,” said Douglas Durst, co-chairperson of Friends of Hudson River Park.“Connie has been wonderful to work with and alwaysappreciated the independent and supportive role of Friends inadvancing Trust plans,” said A.J. Pietrantone, executive directorof Friends.Fishman and the Friends formalized the relationship betweenthe Trust and the Friends this year, under which the Friendshave become a designated fundraising partner to help secureprivate funds needed to operate and maintain the park.“I’m sorry she’s leaving as president of the Trust,” said RossGraham, co-chairperson of the Friends, “She was a terrificleader. But I hope her new job will allow her to do more thingswith Friends of Hudson River Park. I spoke with her awhile agoand she said she wanted to be active in park advocacy.”“When she took the job as Trust president, she committedherself to completion of the park. I think it’s evident — 80percent of the park was completed in 2010 — that she fulfilledthat pledge,” said John Doswell, a member of the Friends andof Community Board 4, which covers Chelsea.“When you look at the Lower West Side of Manhattan, youcan see firsthand the beautiful park space, waterfront access,bike paths, piers and other recreational activities that all NewYorkers can enjoy, and that is a testament to the Trust and thecommunity who worked so had to make this a reality,” saidJulie Menin, chairperson of Community Board 1, which coversLower Manhattan south of Canal St. “Connie was able in veryarduous economic times to raise the money to ensure that thepark was 80 percent complete, and Community Board 1 thanksher for her years of service,” Menin said.In a letter to the Trust staff, Fishman said, “The past 11-plusyears working together to build Hudson River Park have beenthe most rewarding of my 23 years in public service. The Trustand its board have realized a remarkable achievement: the near-ly complete transformation of the far West Side of Manhattan.The process of creating the park was a once-in-a-lifetime oppor-tunity — one for which I will always be grateful.”
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Connie Fishman set to leave Hudson River Park Trust
Continued from page 1
File photo
Connie Fishman
 
January 6 - 12, 2011
3
KOCH GETS HIS DUE — AT LEAST FROM CUOMO:
 We were surprised that The New York Times’s “GovernorCuomo” lead editorial on Friday didn’t mention either
EdKoch
or his New York Uprising group. That is, since theeditorial was all about the need for reform in state govern-ment, and about half of the editorial was a discussion of thespecific reforms being pushed by Koch and Uprising — yetnot a single mention of Hizzoner or his group in the piece.The editorial even mentioned the reform pledge that Kochhas gotten a majority of both houses to sign. But Koch didn’ttake it personally. “That’s O.K. I’m a very modest person,” hetold us on Monday. “I’m not the only one who’s been for this,”he said of the reforms he’s backing: independent redistrict-ing, ethics reform and a GAAP balanced budget. “As longas the reforms take place, I’ll be happy,” Koch continued.“And my name doesn’t have to be mentioned — my friendsknow what I’ve done.” Well, in his State of the State addresson Wednesday afternoon, Governor
Andrew Cuomo
, forone, did see fit to publicly acknowledge Koch. Cuomo, whoinvited Koch up to Albany to be in the audience, said, duringhis remarks, “We’re going to listen to Ed Koch’s warnings,”adding that Koch has been “going all around the state,”campaigning for reform. “Congratulations, Mr. Mayor,” thegovernor told the longtime Villager, thanking him for hiswork. In his speech, Cuomo said Albany will absolutely haveethics reform — to disclose where legislators’ income iscoming from — and he also mentioned “independent redis-tricting.” But he didn’t specifically refer to GAAP — we’repretty sure we didn’t hear it as we were watching the stream-ing live video of his speech. In a novel twist, Cuomo let theleaders of the Assembly and state Senate give remarks, aswell. Facing a strong governor, for a change, unlike the pasttwo, Assembly Speaker
Sheldon Silver
made it clear he’sall for cooperating. “We can work together. We
will 
worktogether,” Silver stressed. Silver vowed Albany’s ethics willbe “strengthened,” and that the redistricting process willbe “reformed,” without getting into specifics. Interestingto note, he also said government must strive to make thestate “more affordable” for people. Will those words comeback to haunt the speaker if he decides to come out pub-licly against affordable housing in the latest redevelopmentplan for the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area? Silver alsotouched on the hot environmental issue of gas hydrofrack-ing, stating, “Hydrofracturing must not threaten the healthof our citizens.” In another new touch, Cuomo used visualaids, one of which showed little headshots of him, Silverand Senate Majority Leader
Dean Skelos
with captain’s hatson and commanding their own “passing ships in the night”during the budget process, as “special interest” attack jetsfired missiles at the S.S. Cuomo. A shot right then from thestreaming video showed Skelos laughing, but Silver appar-ently didn’t find it too funny.
HE
SHARE 
’S AN ADMISSION ON SPURA:
In ourarticle on the fraught issue of the Seward Park UrbanRenewal Area in last week’s issue,
Brett Leitner
, the founderof SHARE, had some pretty tough words for Silver, sayingthe speaker better support the emerging consensus plan forredeveloping the long-stagnant Lower East Side site — orelse! “If Sheldon Silver does manage to sink this, there willbe political ramifications,” the article quoted Leitner saying,as well as, “He’s not elected for life. He’s not king for life,”insinuating there could potentially be an election challenge.Leitner subsequently contacted us to say that, while hethought our article was “spot on,” he wanted to “clarify”what he said. In an e-mail, Leitner said, “One thing I wouldlike to clarify...is that my comments on Speaker Silver shouldhave been couched with my admission that I have voted forhim in every election that I’ve lived on the LES (almost 10years). So my strident attitude, which I admit sounded alittle harsh, is coming from someone who is one of his sup-porters.”
DIARY’S DAYS ARE NUMBERED:
 
Philip Van Aver
’s journal has frequently come in handy in elucidating local newsstories, as witnessed by his journal entry in this week’s lettersto the editor, on Page 10, in which he describes being the vic-tim of a random pit bull attack a few years ago. But Van Averconfessed to us that he plans to end the diary at the end of thisyear. “I started it in 1981,” he said. “Thirty years — I’m gettingolder all the time.” The journal has doubled as a scrapbook,featuring stickers and other notable collectibles from aroundthe East Village. At various times, he said, he’s shown particu-lar passages of interest to the likes of housing activist
FrancesGolden
and theater great
Judith Malina
. Van Aver, who is anartist, said, “I’ve always wanted to do some kind of literarywork, but it’s such a bitch getting published.”
ROSIE BATTLES THE BUGS:
Councilmember
RosieMendez
will be sponsoring two upcoming CommunityBed Bug Forums on how to prevent and combat infesta-tions by the dreaded, blood-hungry bugs. The first will beon Tues., Jan. 18, starting at 6 p.m., at Health ProfessionsHigh School, 345 E. 15th St. (between First and SecondAves.), in the auditorium; the hearing will be co-sponsoredby Community Boards 2, 3, 5 and 6. The second hearing,co-sponsored by the New York City Housing Authority, willbe Wed., Jan. 19, starting at 6:30 p.m., at P.S. 188, 442 EastHouston St. (between Avenue D and the F.D.R. Drive). Formore information, contact
Jessica Nepomiachi
at jnepo-miachi@council.nyc.gov or at 212-677-1077.
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