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THE VILLAGER 1-13-11

THE VILLAGER 1-13-11

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Published by: COMMUNITYMEDIA on Jan 13, 2011
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01/13/2011

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BY ALBERT AMATEAU
Members of the Astor Place TaskForce were appalled last week atthe city’s proposal to include public,24-hour seating in the redesign of the busy Astor Place / Cooper Squareintersection.The redesign presented at the Jan.6 meeting of the joint task force of Community Boards 2 and 3 calls forbenches outside the gates of PeterCooper Park and seating areas in a newpublic open space to be created in thetriangular roadbed area just south of the park.But what designers and agency offi-cials called “an extraordinary oppor-tunity to green, soften and beautify” aharsh intersection, East Village mem-bers of Community Board 3 said is aninvitation to crowds of noisy drunksfrom neighboring nightlife venues tohang out until the early hours.“Benches in public areas will encour-age drunken hooligans to congregate inan area that already has a lot of barsand hotels and will be getting more,”said David Crane, chairperson of Community Board 3’s Transportationand Public Safety / EnvironmentCommittee, who conducted the meet-ing last week.“People already congregate on thesidewalks at night,” said AlexandraMilitano, a task force member andchairperson of the C.B. 3 State LiquorAuthority and Department of ConsumerAffairs Licensing Committee. “Wedon’t have a dearth of sidewalk cafes,”Militano added.“You have a very beautiful design,but you’re creating problems for peo-ple living here,” Susan Stetzer, C.B. 3district manager, told the city repre-sentatives. “We have two major issues— noise and rats,” she said, suggestingthat the innovative and extensive greenareas proposed for the redesign couldharbor rats. “Bars across the streethave been a constant problem — thesource of drunken loudness. We wantthe park locked at night and placesnot locked to have no seating,” Stetzersaid.“You’re not here at night,” MartinTessler, a former C.B. 2 member wholives just north of Cooper Square, toldthe city officials at the meeting. “It’slike Disneyland with alcohol,” he said.Encouraging noisy nighttime crowdswould especially impact JASA Green,the 14-story residence at 200 E. FifthSt. with 150 apartments for seniors,Stetzer said.Nevertheless, many task force mem-bers acknowledged the aesthetic andenvironmental benefits of the redesign,which would transform Cooper Squareat the intersections of Bowery, Fourth
Task force cries Astor planwill draw ‘drunk hooligans’
Photo by J.B. Nicholas
On Wednesday, pedestrians navigated the slush around curbs on AstorPlace between Lafayette St. and Fourth Ave. There won’t be as many slushpuddles there in the future, however, if the city succeeds in its plan to closethis short segment of Astor Place to cars and make it part of a pedestrianplaza.
Continued on page 23 
145 SIXTH AVENUE • NYC 10013 • COPYRIGHT © 2011 COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC
BY ALINE REYNOLDS
Amid leftover snow andice from the recent snow-storms, joggers and dogwalkers on a recent week-day made their way up anddown the East River Park’snew promenade, which isnearly fully complete.Structural renovationsto the park, which beganin mid-2005, are slated forcompletion by early spring,according to John Natoli,chief engineer of the city’sParks Department. Workers are now finish-ing the final 600 feet of thenew, 6,600-foot riverfrontwalkway, the key componentof the construction project.Joggers, walkers and skate-boarders will soon haveuse of the esplanade’s fulllength. The project’s land-scaping will be completedby early summer, in time forthe park’s peak-usage sum-mer months.The $84 million in refur-
Five years later,East River Park work almost done 
BY ALBERT AMATEAU
New York Universitywill begin excavation forthe cleanup of the Dec. 6,2009, oil leak at WashingtonSquare Village — with con-tinued monitoring of airquality and groundwater— in the next week or so,university officials told resi-dents and Community Board2 representatives on Jan. 5. While about 5,000 gal-lons of the leaked No. 6heating oil was removedsoon after the leak was dis-covered from two tanks inthe boiler room and under-ground areas in front of 3and 4 Washington SquareVillage, about 11,000 gal-lons of congealed oil in thesoil must be removed as partof a deeper remediation.Beth Morningstar, N.Y.U.assistant vice president forstrategic initiatives in theuniversity operations divi-sion, promised anxious Washington Square Villageresidents that she wouldrespond to calls around the
N.Y.U. to start oil-spill cleanup on Bleecker St.
Continued on page 5 Continued on page 4
Volume 80, Number 33
$1.00 
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Hudson Square, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side,
Since 1933 
January 13 - 19, 2011
EDITORIAL,LETTERS
PAGE 10
FAREWELL TO FA-Q
PAGE 9
HarlemRenaissancecomes toE. 4th,
 
p. 13
 
2
January 13 - 19, 2011
Photos by Robert Kreizel 
Mulch ado about old trees
East Villagers dropped off dried-out Christmas trees at Tompkins Square Park onSaturday and Sunday at the Parks Department’s annual MulchFest. The park wasone of 35 chipping sites around the city. There were an additional 35 drop-off sites.Biodegradable bags were provided for people to take home some free mulch.
 
January 13 - 19, 2011
3
STOP THE MADNESS:
Led by local activist Y
ettaKurland
, a group of about 40 people gathered at Union Squarein the frigid cold Tuesday evening for a vigil after the horrifyingshooting in Tucson on Sat., Jan. 8. They called for restrictionson high-capacity ammunition clips and also for greater vigilanceby caregivers, so that mentally ill individuals that also are dan-gerous don’t have access to weapons, and especially not suchhigh-powered ones.
Colin Weaver
, deputy executive directorof New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, spoke in support of Congressmember
Carolyn McCarthy
’s bill, which she plannedto introduce this week, to ban clips with more than 10 bullets.Saturday’s deranged shooter,
Jared Loughner
, had a clip with30 bullets — which was “hanging out 12 inches,” noted antigunactivist
Deanna Tilley
— and there was another bullet loaded,as well, allowing him to shoot 31 times in a minute. DistrictLeader
Paul Newell
spoke to the need for better mental healthservices to assure that mentally ill, potentially violent individu-als don’t “fall through the cracks.”
Dodge Landesman
, a youthadvocate and member of Community Board 6, said that, tohim, it was most tragic that Christina Green, a 9-year-old girlwho had come to meet Congressmember
Gabrielle Giffords
 at her constituents event, was among the fatalities. “This littlegirl was so excited about getting into politics,” Landesmansaid. “We’re not speaking out against the Tea Party,” he added,“we’re speaking out against the heated rhetoric.” Kurland saidit was natural to want to respond to hate with hate, but she saidthat impulse must be resisted, after which they held a momentof silence. Other speakers included Councilmember
RosieMendez
;
Jeanne Wilcke
, president of Downtown IndependentDemocrats; and
Natasha Dillon
of Queer Rising. … On a sidenote, this “candlelight vigil” had no candles. Kurland said whenshe applied for the permit, she was informed that the ParksDepartment has banned burning candles in the parks at suchevents. So, instead, Tuesday’s vigilers used purple, pink, greenor orange glow sticks. We asked Parks if the department really issnuffing out candlelight vigils. Spokesperson
Philip Abramson
 replied, “The concern about using actual candles stems fromsafety hazards involving dripping wax and open flames, to per-manent damages that can result from candles, including burntbench slats and char marks on statues. I wouldn’t characterizeit as a new policy, but it’s something we’ve been advising eventorganizers during the past few years — to employ other lightingdevices, such as glow sticks.”
M.T.A.-SIGNS HOSTAGE CRISIS:
 
Billy Leroy
told uslast week that his Billy’s Antiques and Props tent is at its11th hour. He was doing a brisk business in old subwaysigns at his tent on E. Houston St. and Bowery until theMetropolitan Transportation Authority filed a claim onmore than 100 signs and had the police seize them lastyear. The M.T.A. said that 19 of the signs were definitelystolen — but the agency claimed all of them. Billy said hebought them all from a contractor that the agency hiredto dispose of them. The criminal case was dismissed lastyear because prosecutors said they couldn’t prepare thecases within the legal deadline — but the M.T.A. still hasthe signs. Under state law, dismissal of criminal chargesdoesn’t automatically entitle a defendant to get propertyback unless the district attorney grants a waiver. The officeof D.A.
Cy Vance Jr.
has declined to sign off, saying thatownership of the signs is still unclear. “I’ve tried to contactthe D.A. because they won’t even give me back the 95 signsthat the M.T.A. has said are not stolen,” Billy said. “Theyclaimed only 19 were stolen.” His only recourse is to file anArticle 78 civil suit charging the agency with oversteppingits authority. But the cost of the lawsuit could exceed thevalue of the signs. Criminal Court Judge
Rita Mella
wassympathetic in her decision last week denying a motionto return the signs. She said the state Legislature ought tochange the law. Requiring a civil action is “a measure thatplaces a substantial financial burden on [Leroy] and contra-venes the due process rights the courts and the Legislaturehave sought to protect,” Mella said.
CYCLISTS BEWARE:
Bikers pedaling in the SixthPrecinct — between 14th and Houston Sts., west of Broadway— better keep on their toes. Sixth Precinct police are issuingwarnings to bicycle riders to obey the rules, such as the onesthat say, except for riders under the age of 12 on bikes withwheels less than 26 inches in diameter, cyclists must ride onthe street, in the direction of vehicular traffic, and not on side-walks. Yielding to pedestrians is also the rule. Cyclists mustalso obey all traffic signals, pavement markings and must usemarked bicycle lanes or bike paths when available.
 N 
 
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Photo by Scoopy
At Tuesday night’s “candlelight” vigil in Union Square,people held their glow sticks during a moment ofsilence.

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