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DOWNTOWN EXPRESS, March 12, 2010

DOWNTOWN EXPRESS, March 12, 2010

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Downtown Express photo by Corky Lee

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’s economic engine.
The Lower Manhattan
Development Corp. offered
a rare peek into its finances
this week, revealing an esti-
mated $295 million pot of
money that is not formally
committed to any specific
The L.M.D.C. could
wind up with even more
money left over as other
projects finish 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 final number may
not be as high as it looks.
“There are small amounts
of money which are left,
which can be swept up and,
in theory, reallocated by
the board,” said L.M.D.C.
President David Emil.
Emil gave few other spe-
cifics and no timeline in his
presentation to Community
Board 1 Monday night.
But based on Emil’s com-
ments and documents on the
L.M.D.C.’s Web site, it looks
like the city-state agency still
has about $1 billion in the
Most of that money is
earmarked for major proj-
ects underway — like $140
Times have changed for the
Unbearables, a loose group of
writers, poets and artists that
have been a fixture in the
underground New York City
literary scene since the mid-
1980’s. Back then they would
gather in bars for “collating”
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 “The Unbearables
Assembly Magazine.”
Today they exchange discs,
or simply e-mail each other,
and while much is different,
much has also stayed the same
for the self-proclaimed “beer
mystics” 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 “The
Worst Book I Ever Read,”
and have been doing read-
L.M.D.C.’s books
show it may have
$300 million more
Literary rebels,
the Unbearables
rewrite the rules
Gov. David Paterson ignored his
difficulties 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’s 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 testified 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’s speech was over whether he
could still govern or should he resign,
but she was not surprised that no one
asked him about it.
“I think people are stunned by the
developments of what’s happened in
Albany,” she said. “Normally there are
actually a lot of questions at something
like this.”
The one audience question came
from C.B. 1’s 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’s
offer to the Port Authority several
months ago, said “I think all sides
have put real and tangible offers on the
table. So how do you describe that —
Paterson to Wall St.: I’m your
friend; W.T.C. talks look good
Continued on page 8
Continued on page 17 Continued on page 9
March 12 - 18, 2010 2
downtown express
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’s spokesperson said the Port’s leader has “innova-
tive ways to invest in regional infrastructure.”
Actually, Bud Perrone, a top Rubenstein Communications
exec who sends out most of Silverstein’s press statements,
was not emailing on behalf of Silverstein when he heaped
praise on Chris Ward, the Port’s executive director. Perrone,
who also reps the New York Building Congress, was sending
out an advisory about Ward’s appearance before the builders
group this week.
Ironically, Ward’s commitment to investing in regional
transportation is one of the reasons he has resisted giving
Silverstein more help building the W.T.C. towers.
It’s not always easy being the city’s largest P.R. firm —
clients’ paths are bound to cross sometimes.
Gov. David Paterson gave props to Robert Douglass
at the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association meeting
Wednesday. Paterson said before he appointed Richard
Ravitch to be lieutenant governor last year, Douglass
was one of the few outside attorneys who told him that it
would be permitted under New York’s constitution. Many
legal observers at the time said the appointment would
not be held up, but the state’s 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’s chief of staff.
In an “American Idol” 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 five
categories. The only Downtown group that’s made the cut
is the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which
is one of 10 nominated organizations across the country in
the “Arts and Culture” category. Members of the public can
vote as often as once a week between now and March 24 at
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 figure 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 find a new spot.
“They’re just buying time,” 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’t 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.
Cristina Obleada, manager at the Burger King, confirmed
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’s, but given Fulton St.’s recent penchant for
attracting discount and closeout shops, we’re thinking that
could be a hard sell.
In a sign that Tribeca’s 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’ daughters, now ages 6 and 8, and
Adams decided the name and mission ought to keep growing
up as well: She’s 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’ names,
Tori and Carly — Adams thought it would be better to lose
the “baby” in the shop’s name now that she’s trying to woo
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Transit Sam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
EDITORIAL PAGES . . . . . . . . . . . 18 - 19
YOUTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 - 22
ARTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 - 26
Listings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
CLASSIFIEDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

C.B. 1
The upcoming week’s schedule of Community Board
1 committee meetings is below. Unless otherwise noted,
all committee meetings are held at the board office,
located at 49-51 Chambers St., room 709 at 6 p.m.
ON MON., MARCH 15: The Waterfront Committee
will meet.
ON TUES., MARCH 16: The Youth & Education
Committee will meet.
ON THURS., MARCH 18: The Quality of Life
Committee will meet.
Read the Archives
to the Editor
downtown express
March 12 - 18, 2010 3
Silver: All is not safe on the West St. traffic front
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.
“It is critical to the school and critical generally,”
Silver said.
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
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’s 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
“It’s something that certainly needs to be done, but
if it’s not done tomorrow, it’s not going to be a prob-
lem,” Cavanaugh said after Silver’s meeting. “No 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].”
Silver’s 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’s 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-
“We’re going to work with the board to identify
potential funds,” L.M.D.C. Chairperson Avi Schick told
Silver at last week’s meeting. “We understand the impor-
The N.Y.P.D. already has traffic agents at many inter-
sections on West St., but residents often say that they
don’t do enough to help pedestrians cross.
“All they’re worried about is cars,” said Linda Belfer,
a Battery Park City resident who uses a wheelchair. “We
need to have someone on board who is responsible for
“It’s dangerous,” agreed Maria Smith, another B.P.C.
leader. “We need supplemental expertise.”
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
median, said Joe Brown, the project director.
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.
Maps and photo courtesy of Sam Schwartz Engineering.
Lower Manhattan Development Corp. chairperson Avi Schick said he hopes to find the money to pay for crossing
guards at these key intersections of the West Side Highway identified 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.
March 12 - 18, 2010 4
downtown express
Mob shakedown at W.T.C.
Eight members of the Colombo crime
family were indicted by a Brooklyn federal
grand jury on Tues., March 9 for offering
kickbacks to a foreman on the Freedom
Tower project at the World Trade Center
to get a subcontract for a Colombo-family
carting firm. Prosecutors charged that
Michael Persico, 53, with James Bombino
and others, offered a kickback to the
construction site foreman to insure that
Testa Corp., a Boston-based excavation
company, subcontract with All Around
Trucking, a Colombo dominated carter, to
remove debris.
The defendants are also charged with
threatening to shut down the One W.T.C.
construction site and threatening Testa
with violence for falling behind in pay-
ments to the carting company.
Persico, whose only police record is a
drunk driving arrest, pleaded not guilty
at his arraignment on Tuesday. The other
defendants also pleaded not guilty.
The charges include testimony from
undercover informants who submitted
conversations among Persico, Bombino,
and another defendant, Theodore Persico,
a cousin of Michael Persico who is on
Ex NYC-TV boss
Trevor Scotland, 39, former chief oper-
ating officer of NYC-TV, the city-owned
television station with headquarters in the
Municipal Building, 1 Centre St., was sen-
tenced last week to 15 months in prison for
stealing more than $60,000 from the station.
Scotland pleaded guilty Oct. 9 to a federal
wire fraud charge involving VRT Multimedia,
Inc., and its owner, Vincent R. Taylor.
The offense occurred between March
2007 and April 2008 when Scotland direct-
ed that VRT be paid for commercials that
NYC-TV aired even though VRT did no
work on them, according to the complaint.
Taylor then paid Scotland about 80 percent
of the money and keep about 20 percent,
according to the charge.
In addition to the prison term, Federal
Judge Paul Crotty imposed a three-year pro-
bation sentence and ordered Scotland to pay
$65,317 restitution.
Taylor was indicted separately and plead-
ed guilty Nov. 9. He is to be sentenced
March 25.
Sentence date and retrial
James Jimenez, 37, charged with grand
larceny and burglary in connection with an
August 2007 burglary of a penthouse suite in
the Soho Grand hotel on W. Broadway near
Grand St., will be sentenced on April 9 for
larceny, of which he was convicted last month,
according to a spokesperson for the Manhattan
District Attorney. The jury was unable to reach
a verdict on the burglary charge and Jimenez is
to be retried on that charge at a date to be set
later, the spokesperson said.
Chauffeur’s scam plea
A former limo driver who ran a hedge
fund with a Wall St. office, pleaded guilty to
securities fraud in Manhattan federal court
on March 5 for stealing nearly $20 million
from investors.
Alan Fishman, 50, a Ukrainian-born
immigrant, chauffeured Wall St. lawyers and
bankers around until 2001 when he joined
his cousin Gary Gelman and two other con-
spirators to form A.R. Capital Global Fund
with offices at 39 Broadway.
Fishman, who had no securities experi-
ence, became president of the company,
according to the complaint.
The conspirators told about 70 investors
that their money would go into overseas
real estate, currency trades, oil and gas and
other commodities, according to the charges.
Instead the money went into three Ukrainian
stocks, a Ukrainian money market fund, and
to bank accounts in Lithuania, including one
held by a company in the West Indies.
Fishman was responsible for investment
decision and administration while continu-
ing to work at the limousine company. When
one client came to New York to check on
his investment, Fishman said the office was
being renovated and met him at a deli in the
Financial District, the complaint says.
Two colleagues, Daniel Ledven and
Edward Veisman also pleaded guilty last
week. Gelman is a fugitive and is believed to
be in the Ukraine.
Fishman has agreed to pay a $160,000
penalty and is to be sentenced June 18. He
faces up to five years in prison.
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A worker at One World Trade Center
fell 14 feet onto a plywood floor Monday
afternoon and suffered head, neck and back
The worker, Jose Jerez, 28, of the
Bronx, was taken to Bellevue Hospital
in serious condition. He was working on
the Freedom Tower’s concrete about 100
feet off the ground when he fell, accord-
ing to press reports. The Port Authority,
which owns the World Trade Center site,
reached Jerez quickly but initially barred
the F.D.N.Y. responders from entering the
site. The Occupational Safety and Health
Administration is investigating the acci-
W.T.C. worker injured
downtown express
March 12 - 18, 2010 5
State agency hits I.P.N. with a ‘punch in the stomach’
In a blow to Independence Plaza North tenants, the
state Division of Housing and Community Renewal
decided last week that the Tribeca complex should not
be rent-stabilized.
The D.H.C.R. issued the advisory opinion to State
Supreme Court Justice Marcy Friedman, who has been
hearing the battle between I.P.N.’s tenants and owner
for the past five years. Last year, rather than decide the
case herself, Friedman asked the D.H.C.R. for advice.
She can now either affirm or contradict the D.H.C.R.’s
pro-landlord recommendation.
Diane Lapson, president of the I.P.N. tenant associa-
tion, said the state’s decision felt “like a punch in the
“It’s a big disappointment,” Lapson said. “But I
believe we’re correct and we will fight for it.”
The central issue is whether Independence Plaza’s
1,339 units should have become rent-stabilized when
I.P.N. owner Laurence Gluck removed the complex from
the Mitchell-Lama affordability program in 2004. For
two years after Gluck took the building private, he con-
tinued to receive a J-51 tax break from the city, which
generally requires apartments to be rent-stabilized. But
Gluck argues that he only continued receiving the tax
break by mistake, and since he discontinued the benefit
and repaid his taxes, he does not owe the tenants any-
In her March 5 decision, D.H.C.R. Deputy
Commissioner Leslie Torres did not examine the ques-
tion of whether the city Dept. of Housing Preservation
and Development should have allowed Gluck to repay
the tax benefit.
“It is not within the purview of D.H.C.R. to second
guess or overrule that decision,” Torres wrote.
Torres appeared particularly cautious about offering
any interpretation of the laws, saying that was the pur-
view of judges, not state agencies.
Instead, Torres said that given H.P.D.’s decision to
allow Gluck to repay the tax break, it was as though he
had never received it. And that, in turn, means that I.P.N.
is not subject to rent-stabilization, she said.
“I am gratified that the D.H.C.R. made the correct
decision — ruling that Independence Plaza is not rent
stabilized,” Stephen Meister, Gluck’s lawyer, said in a
statement. “In the end, this is a win for the tenants as
Meister said the tenants are already benefiting from
the 2004 agreement they negotiated with Gluck before
he removed the building from Mitchell-Lama, which
offers them some rent protections. Meister has said that
the tenants would lose those protections if they won their
case, though the tenants dispute that.
Lapson, the tenant association president, said it is
worth fighting for rent-stabilization, because the 2004
agreement provides fewer benefits than rent-stabilization
would, and she knows of many people who have been
forced to leave I.P.N. because their rent got too high.
Seth Miller, the tenants’ lawyer, said the D.H.C.R.’s
decision “does not stand the test of logic.” He thinks
H.P.D. should not have allowed Gluck to repay the tax
benefit a few years ago, and even though Gluck repaid it,
I.P.N. should still be rent-stabilized, Miller said.
It is unclear how soon Justice Friedman could take
up the I.P.N. case again and issue her decision. Even
after that decision, the losing side will likely appeal to
the state’s Appellate Division. After that, either side
could petition the state’s Court of Appeals to consider
the case.
“A quick decision would be in everybody’s interest,”
Miller said. “As time goes on, the stakes get higher and
The U.S. Attorney in Manhattan last year concluded
that I.P.N. should have been rent-stabilized and filed suit
seeking millions the federal government says it overpaid
Gluck in rent subsidies.
Lapson just found out about the D.H.C.R.’s decision
on Tuesday, and on Wednesday she was busy preparing
flyers to plaster the apartment complex. The bold-faced
headline on the notice reads “DHCR PASSES THE
BUCK,” and the text below asks tenants for help in pay-
ing for the continued legal expenses.
In a phone interview Wednesday, Lapson said she and
others are still adjusting to D.H.C.R.’s decision.
“The reason I was stunned is because I’m usually a
very optimistic person, and I always think that in the end
truth and righteousness will come forward,” Lapson said.
“And I just don’t see it yet.”
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March 12 - 18, 2010 6
downtown express
Authority open to renegotiating
B.P.C. condo hikes
Relief could be on the way for Battery Park
City homeowners facing steep tax hikes.
Over the next two years, residents at 11
B.P.C. buildings are slated to pay up to $300
more each month in ground rent. Worried that
the spike will force people out of the neighbor-
hood, the 11 buildings recently drafted a pro-
posal to mitigate the increase.
As recently as a year ago, Battery Park City
Authority President Jim Cavanaugh said there
was no need to alter ground rents in the 11
buildings. But this week Cavanaugh called the
planned increases “a problem.”
“We are determined to work cooperatively
for a solution,” Cavanaugh told Downtown
Express Monday. He added, “Affordability is
important to us.”
Bill Thompson, who just became Gov.
Paterson’s first appointee to the authority
board, also cited the importance of neighbor-
hood affordability in his confirmation hearing
two weeks ago.
The 11 buildings in the deal under discus-
sion are: the Soundings, Liberty Court, Hudson
Tower, Hudson View East, Hudson View West,
Liberty House, Liberty Terrace, Battery Pointe
and Cove Club, plus two buildings being con-
verted to condos, Parc Place and River Rose.
Parts of the deal would also apply to two
buildings that previously negotiated with the
authority, the Regatta and Liberty View.
The ground rents, a fee residents pay in
addition to the equivalent of property taxes,
were set decades ago based on negotiations
between developers and the authority. The
ground rents vary widely from building to build-
ing, but all have built-in increases after 25 and
40 years. Many buildings are about to hit the
25-year mark, and some residents who are pay-
ing only $30 a month will soon pay $300, while
others who are paying about $200 a month will
soon pay $450.
Then, in another 15 years, all of the ground
rents will go up to 6 percent of market value,
which would be well over $1,000 a month for
many homeowners based on today’s values.
“Some of the increases are absolutely stag-
gering,” said Anthony Notaro, one of the resi-
dents leading the negotiations. “It would liter-
ally destroy this neighborhood.”
Notaro and other residents worked with
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on their plan,
and Silver recently presented it to the B.P.C.
Authority on their behalf. The deal under
discussion would spread the imminent rent
spikes over 15 years rather than having them hit
residents all at once, Cavanaugh and Silver said.
The plan would also mitigate the next wave of
increases that will start around 2026.
“I remain confident that the Battery Park
City Authority will consider our suggestions
and that further discussion will yield a plan that
preserves and protects this healthy, produc-
tive community,” Silver said in a statement to
Downtown Express.
Cavanaugh said the authority has not taken
a position on the proposal. The authority’s real
estate consultants are almost finished review-
ing the proposal, and then Cavanaugh said he
would meet with Silver and the residents.
A key voice in the ground rent discussions
will likely be Thompson, the former comptrol-
ler and mayoral candidate who is expected to
become chairperson of the authority board on
March 29. In comments to a State Senate com-
mittee last month, Thompson suggested that he
is open to renegotiating the ground rents.
Thompson has declined interview requests
since being confirmed.
Last year, the authority agreed to spread
out planned ground rent increases at just the
Liberty View and the Regatta, where rents were
slated to go up to about $1,500 a month and
$2,200 a month, respectively. The Cove Club
participated in those discussions as well but
was dissatisfied with the authority’s solution, so
the Cove Club is one of the 11 buildings now
negotiating with the authority. Representatives
of the Regatta and Liberty View have also
returned to the table, because like the other
buildings, their rents would dramatically go up
in another 15 years.
At the time of last year’s deal, Cavanaugh
said the Liberty View and Regatta presented a
unique case because they were already paying
more rent than other buildings in the neighbor-
hood, even before the increase. Cavanaugh said
back then that the authority was not planning
on renegotiating ground rents at the other build-
ings in the neighborhood, where some residents
are now paying as little as $30 a month.
This week, though, Cavanaugh sounded
much more amenable to mitigating the increas-
es at the 11 buildings, especially the increases
that are scheduled for 2026 and 2027. Those
40-year rent resents will bring ground rents at
all the buildings to 6 percent of market value,
which “will be very significant,” Cavanaugh
“We want to deal not only with what might
happen in two years, but also what might hap-
pen in 17 years,” Cavanaugh said.
The residents’ plan would use a lower
percentage than 6 percent of market value
to calculate the rent resets that start in 2026,
Cavanaugh said.
While 2026 may sound far away, banks giv-
ing out 30-year mortgages are already taking
ground rents into account, and Notaro said
people might have trouble getting loans if the
authority doesn’t step in. Notaro is also wor-
ried that longtime residents won’t be able to
pay the higher fees and could have to leave the
Although all condo owners should have
known about the planned ground rent increases
when they bought their condos — and they like-
ly got a better price to make up for the ground
rent — many people were surprised by how
quickly property values have risen, with the
ground rents following behind, Notaro said.
Notaro lives in Liberty Terrace, where the
average ground rent would go from $34 a
month to $310 a month in 2012 on top of
the real estate taxes. In another 15 years, the
rent would jump to $1,500 a month based on
today’s values.
“We know we’re getting an increase,”
Notaro said. “The question is how do we make
the increase bearable, and how do we make
that fair.”
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March 12 - 18, 2010 8
downtown express
L.M.D.C. has many unspent millions
million for the city’s reconstruction of the
East River Waterfront or $23 million for the
construction of the Spruce Street School —
and will almost definitely be spent. But some
of this contractually obligated money — like
the $10 million that would build a new
home for the Drawing Center at an as-yet-
undecided location — appears unlikely to be
spent anytime soon, if ever.
“All of the funds have been allocated to
something,” Emil said. “Some of those some-
things are more detailed than others.”
And then there is the roughly $295
million that the L.M.D.C. board has never
formally assigned to any project via a subre-
cipient agreement, though the L.M.D.C. has
broad plans to spend all of it. Included in
that money is $14 million that the L.M.D.C.
set aside to pay for its future administra-
tive costs. If the agency ceased operations
quickly as Mayor Bloomberg wants, much of
that money could immediately be spent on
something else.
Bloomberg, who called the corporation a
“patronage mill” in a Downtown Express inter-
view last fall, has long been calling on Gov.
Paterson to agree to shutter it and transfer its
functions to the city and the Lower Manhattan
Construction Command Center, a subsidiary.
But Emil said a few weeks ago that he expects
the L.M.D.C. to stay open to finish demol-
ishing the Deutsche Bank building later this
year and complete its financial oversight role
before 2015. And on Wednesday morning, in
a speech at the Downtown-Lower Manhattan
Association, Paterson said the L.M.D.C. still
has an important role to play.
“We are still aware that there’s more to do,”
Paterson said. “Through the Lower Manhattan
Development Corporation, we are bringing
resources to the area.”
One of the most vocal advocates for the
closure of the L.M.D.C. has been Julie Menin,
chairperson of Community Board 1 and an
L.M.D.C. board member. But now that it is
clear that the L.M.D.C. has so much money
left, Menin said it might be worth continuing
the L.M.D.C. to ensure that the community has
a voice in how the money is spent.
“Since we do have a seat at table, it may
make sense to continue that,” Menin said after
Monday’s meeting. Avi Schick, corporation
chairperson, last month appointed Menin to a
subcommittee to oversee a fund for commu-
nity and cultural enhancements. Emil revealed
Monday that the fund has $10.5 million, and he
said Wednesday that the subcommittee hopes
to “pull together enough money that will be
The L.M.D.C. also has about $30 million
left in the $291 million housing fund that
was mostly used for the residential grant
program, which encouraged people to stay
or move to Lower Manhattan after 9/11.
Menin said one of the biggest needs
Downtown is a community center on the
East Side. The leftover money could also go
toward new school seats to ease overcrowd-
ing, she said.
At last month’s L.M.D.C. board meeting,
Menin wanted to know what the plan was
to sunset the agency. Emil said he would
present budget documents revealing how
the agency will wind down at the L.M.D.C.’s
next board meeting, April 8.
After 9/11, the federal government charged
a newly created group, the L.M.D.C., with
rebuilding Lower Manhattan using $2.783 bil-
lion in federal funds. Menin, city officials and
other community leaders have frequently asked
for an accounting of how much money the
L.M.D.C. really has spent, how much is com-
mitted, and how much is available for new
Emil provided the first taste of that infor-
mation at Monday night’s community board
meeting, but he did not give C.B. 1 members
the full data they wanted and would not release
the presentation he prepared for the public
meeting, saying some numbers may be slightly
out of date.
“It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever,”
Menin said afterward. “Why can’t we have a
copy of it?”
Menin said L.M.D.C. board members have
not received any more information about the
corporation’s finances than the community
The L.M.D.C. also declined to provide
a copy of their presentation to Downtown
Express and declined to answer financial
questions this week. Downtown Express
has submitted a freedom of information
Emil’s presentation to the community board
focused on the first $2 billion chunk of money
the L.M.D.C. received from the federal govern-
ment. Of that $2 billion, about $135 million has
not been formally allocated to a specific project
by the L.M.D.C. board, Emil said.
In addition to the $2 billion, the L.M.D.C.
also received an additional $783 million from
the federal government for utility repairs and
compensation to firms that lost a large number
of employees in the attack. Of that, about $159
million had not been formally allocated as of
last September, according to the L.M.D.C.’s
Web site.
In all, the L.M.D.C. has a total of about
$295 million that has not been committed to
a specific project via a subrecipient agreement.
The actual figure of leftover money could go
down, as previously uncertain projects come to
fruition and require money, or it could go up,
as projects that have been allocated money do
not use it.
One example of a group that may not need
its L.M.D.C. money is the Drawing Center.
Emil told Downtown Express Wednesday that
he had not heard from the Drawing Center in
months. At the C.B. 1 meeting Monday, he said
the L.M.D.C. would not wait forever for groups
like the Drawing Center to spend their grants.
“There may come a time at which our board
says, ‘Enough, we can’t wait anymore, we want
to spend it on something else,’” Emil said.
The Drawing Center left the W.T.C. site
plan in 2005 when former Gov. Pataki asked
them for guarantees not to offend 9/11 family
members with exhibits, and subsequently tried
unsuccessfully to move to South Street Seaport
with the L.M.D.C. money. The group did not
return a call for comment.
Until recently, L.M.D.C. board members
had not even considered spending the agency’s
leftover money because they wanted to reserve
it for the Deutsche Bank building, a project that
is far behind schedule and over budget.
But after a recent $102 million settlement
with the building’s prior insurers, Emil said he is
confident that the L.M.D.C. has all the money it
needs to finish the job. At the community board
meeting on Monday, he revealed that the total
cost to buy, clean and demolish the building
would likely be $400 million, about $100 mil-
lion higher than the most recently reported cost.
The corporation believes it has overpaid Bovis
Lend Lease for the cleanup and demolition and
hopes to recover some of the money when the
deconstruction is finished.
Community board members were pleased
Monday night to get some information about
the L.M.D.C.’s finances. Tom Goodkind, a C.B.
1 member and an accountant, had been asking
the L.M.D.C. for numbers nearly every time
they appeared before C.B. 1 in the past several
years. The breakthrough apparently came when
he asked the same question of the L.M.D.C.’s
leaders at a meeting held by Assembly Speaker
Sheldon Silver last Friday. Goodkind said that
with Silver at the table, Emil and Schick prom-
ised to give the information to the community
board on Monday.
Even after the L.M.D.C.’s presentation,
Goodkind said it was “not at all” clear how
much money the L.M.D.C. has left, but he
is glad the L.M.D.C. has started releasing
“They’ve given us half of what we’ve been
asking for the last five years,” Goodkind said
after the meeting. “We’re extremely happy
they’ve done this…. Their job is to be trans-
With reporting by Josh Rogers
Downtown Express photo by Julie Shapiro
David Emil, the Lower Manhattan
Development Corporation’s president,
right, speaking at Monday’s community
board meeting in Lower Manhattan’s
Assembly hearing room.
The L.M.D.C.’s $2 billion*
Cultural Programming 459,803,000 348,385,000 215,866,000
WTC Southern Site 300,117,000 299,750,000 299,750,000
Economic Development 422,700,000 421,100,000 354,480,000
Housing 291,500,000 290,061,000 260,446,000
Parks 282,175,000 281,464,000 87,035,000
Streets 64,704,000 64,263,000 27,805,000
Education 41,000,000 40,999,000 29,000
Transportation 35,200,000 34,904,000 4,295,000
Planning and
35,662,000 34,589,000 33,146,000
LMDC Administration
from Inception
67,139,000 52,980,000 52,980,000
Total 2,000,000,000 1,865,495,000 1,333,333,000
*In dollars, all figures rounded to the nearest thousand.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. still has much of the $2 billion it received from
the federal government after 9/11 as of Dec. 2009. While about $1.87 billion of that
money has been allocated to specific projects, only $1.33 billion has been spent, and
the L.M.D.C. has another $135 million that is not definitely committed to any purpose.
These numbers do not include the additional $783 million the L.M.D.C. later received
from the federal government, mostly for utility repairs. That utility fund contains another
$159 million that has not been formally committed to a specific purpose.
Continued from page 1
downtown express
March 12 - 18, 2010 9
cautiously optimistic — that’s where I’d say
we are. Would you say that Larry?”
“I’d say that,” said Silverstein who was
sitting a few feet away from the governor.
Paterson then got the same response from
Tim Gilchrist, who is representing the gov-
ernor in the negotiations.
“Maybe with the disinfectant of public
scrutiny we should just sit down right
here and work it out right now,” Paterson
said, drawing applause and laughs.
He said the state and the Port, which
owns the site, had to offer Silverstein more
assistance to reconstruct offices at the
site, but all sides are in a tough position
because of the economic downturn. The
Port and Silverstein are supposed to return
to the arbitration panel at the end of the
week with a framework of a compromise.
Silverstein was one of the first to
embrace Paterson after the speech. He
declined to comment as he left.
Chris Ward, who was tapped to lead
the Port by Paterson, said immediately
after the speech: “We are working around
the clock…We are talking and making
progress but it’s too soon to say there will
be a deal.”
Ward also chatted amicably Wednesday
with Janno Lieber, president of Silverstein’s
World Trade Center Properties. It looked
to be a sharp contrast to the heated
charges and countercharges the pair have
exchanged the last year.
Menin said Paterson hit the right notes
in the speech, but his troubles are clearly a
distraction to the W.T.C. impasse. Getting
everyone in the same room to solve things
has been tried unsuccessfully many times
before, she added.
“If I had a nickel for every single speech
or press conference or groundbreaking
that I’ve been to and someone has said
‘oh we gotta get the parties together, we
gotta do the right thing’ — we’ve got to
have action,” she said. “This is a national
disgrace. We are here eight years later with
this hole.”
Paterson’s short, 14-minute speech
touched on some Lower Manhattan issues
but he focused on the tough choices ahead
closing the state’s $9 billion deficit. He
said New York is not resorting to the
deeply painful cuts made in many other
states such as eliminating early childhood
and pre-K programs, shortening the school
week down to four days and closing librar-
Paterson said Wall St. excesses should
be dealt with, but investment firms provide
22 percent of the state’s tax revenue and
“the public relations battle” over bonuses
has prompted many firms to switch from
cash to stock options, costing the state
$600 million.
The D-L.M.A. was founded by David
Rockefeller and the Wall St. crowd of
about 125 gave Paterson its heartiest
applause after the governor’s passionate
defense of The Street:
“We are strongly in support of Wall
St….They don’t abandon automobiles in
Michigan. They don’t abandon grapes
in California, they don’t abandon oil in
Texas and we shouldn’t run away from the
engine in our economy.”
Ignoring his troubles, governor comes Downtown
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In a short speech to the Downtown-Lower
Manhattan Association March 10, Gov. David
Paterson said the World Trade Center Memorial
will open on time on Sept. 11, 2011.
Some of the memorial plaza is expected
to open on that date with the names of those
killed, waterfalls at the Twin Tower footprints
and some trees on the plaza, although the
underground portion of the memorial will take
at least an additional year and it remains an
open question how accessible the memorial will
be in the months following the tenth anniver-
sary ceremonies.
He said there was also good progress being
made on One and Four Trade Center, being
developed respectively by the Port Authority
and developer Larry Silverstein. The financial
impasse between the two sides is over how to
finance the rest of the construction of Tower 4
and one other dormant Silverstein tower sites.
On other Downtown issues, Paterson also
• There will be more money coming
Downtown. “We are still aware that there’s more
to do,” he said. “Through the [federally-funded]
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation,
we are bringing resources to the area.”
• Demolition of the former Deutsche Bank
building is proceeding steadily, but slowly with
one floor being taken down about every two
weeks because of the “severe environmental
limitations that disable us from completing that
demolition earlier.” He did not mention the
two firefighters killed in 2007 battling a fire in
the 9/11-damaged building.
• He will try within budget constraints “to
help those who unfortunately became ill after
Sept. 11 when we were misadvised by the
Environmental Protection Agency that it was
safe to live and work in the area of Downtown
New York.”
• He also said he was sticking with his pro-
posal to take $200 million out of the Battery
Park City fund to help close the budget deficit.
The fund, which the mayor and city comptroller
also control, had been set aside in the past for
city affordable housing, and has never before
been taken by the state.
Downtown Express photos by Corky Lee
Chris Ward, left, executive director of the Port Authority, spoke with Janno Lieber, president of World Trade Center Properties,
before Gov. Paterson’s speech Wednesday.
Continued from page 1
Paterson on Lower Manhattan
March 12 - 18, 2010 10
downtown express
A few W.T.C. bus ideas, even more problems
Buses, buses everywhere — and not a
place to park.
That’s the problem the city is facing
Downtown, where 200 commuter buses stop
daily in the Financial District and dozens of
tour buses visit the South Street Seaport and
Battery Park. Residents say the buses clog
Lower Manhattan’s narrow streets and idle in
no-standing zones while waiting for passen-
gers. And starting next year, the problem will
worsen as the city estimates that an additional
200 tour buses will chug down to the 9/11
memorial at the World Trade Center site. The
memorial is scheduled to open on the tenth
anniversary of the attacks.
“We’re looking under every rock for park-
ing,” said Luis Sanchez, Lower Manhattan
borough commissioner for the city Dept. of
Transportation. “We’re exploring every pos-
sibility. It may not be one thing. It may be a
Sanchez presented some of those possibili-
ties, ranging from the practical to the unlikely,
to Community Board 1 last week. The first
idea Sanchez mentioned, and the only one
he called “promising,” was to convert half of
the parking garage near the Brooklyn-Battery
Tunnel entrance for buses. For $80 million to
$100 million, the garage could be rebuilt to
house 80 to 120 buses, Sanchez said. The con-
version would require new ramps over West
St. and down to Greenwich St., he said.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corp.
had been pushing the idea of a bus garage
there for years and was once expected to fund
it, but last year the L.M.D.C. said it had no
money for the garage. The L.M.D.C. would
also have to negotiate an agreement with the
Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which
owns the garage.
Sanchez said the air rights above the garage
could be sold to recoup some of the costs.
Although Community Board 1 strongly
advocated a bus garage near the Brooklyn-
Battery Tunnel entrance in the past, many
board members have changed their minds.
“Most of us think it’s a bad idea,” said Jeff
Galloway, chairperson of C.B. 1’s Planning
Committee. “We view the Greenwich St. South
area as the next big thing. To put a garage in
the middle of that area…would take out a
chunk of the neighborhood.”
Sanchez agreed that “No one wants to have
a bus garage in their neighborhood,” but he
said the buses have to go somewhere.
The true solution will come when the vehi-
cle security center at the W.T.C. opens, adding
80 parking spaces for tour buses. Those spaces
should be enough to accommodate the roughly
200 tour buses expected at the W.T.C. site
each day, Sanchez said.
But the vehicle security center is several
years behind schedule and likely won’t open
until 2013, while tourists will begin flooding
the 9/11 memorial as soon as 2011, Sanchez
In addition to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel
bus garage, the city is looking at several other
solutions to the bus problem. One is to park
buses remotely, in New Jersey or Red Hook,
and have tourists take ferries or PATH trains
to reach the World Trade Center. Another is to
park the buses in a lot in Midtown — the city
found an available one on 57
St. — and run
environmentally friendly shuttle buses down
to the W.T.C.
Sanchez also said the city could use stalled
Lower Manhattan construction sites, like
Silverstein Properties’ 99 Church St., as park-
ing lots for buses. Or the buses could share
space in FedEx and UPS garages, since the
trucks leave during the day and the garages
often sit empty. Or the city could put barges
along Manhattan’s waterfront and park the
buses there.
“Every one has some kind of flaw,” Sanchez
said of the ideas. The biggest flaw is that all of
them cost money, and it’s unclear who will pay
for the infrastructure and the enforcement.
The city has been holding regular meetings on
the bus issue with the Port Authority and the
National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
Local residents are concerned that they’ll
be the ones who pay — if not in dollars, then
in the pollution, noise and traffic from idling
“People are coming to visit us because we
suffered, so why make us suffer even more?”
said Diane Lapson, a Tribeca resident and C.B.
1 member.
Galloway said the city should look to
Europe for models on handling buses. Many
European cities force tour buses to use remote
drop-off points and provide shuttles or public
transportation, Galloway said.
But John Foss, another board member,
said the tour buses will keep coming whether
residents like it or not, so the city should
provide a place for them to park Downtown.
Paul Goldstein, director of Assembly Speaker
Sheldon Silver’s district office, spoke up for
the tunnel garage site and reminded the board
that few of the other options on the table are
Galloway, though, feared that a new
garage could draw even more buses
Downtown, and he continued to press for
remote-site solutions.
“I’m not ready to throw in the towel just
yet,” he said.
‘We’re looking under every
rock for parking.’
downtown express
March 12 - 18, 2010 11
In a neighborhood where classroom
space is a top priority, Grace Church
School plans to open a new high school,
one grade at a time, starting in 2012 in
a four-story building where New York
University now has classrooms on the
west side of Cooper Square.
Community Board 2 last month unani-
mously approved the Board of Standards
and Appeals application by the owner of
38-50 Cooper Square and Grace Church
School, as lessee, for a use change to
allow for the high school.
“We’ve had constant population growth
in this part of Manhattan without much
school infrastructure, either public or pri-
vate,” said George Davison, headmaster
of the pre-kindergarten-to-eighth-grade
Grace Church School. “Look at P.S. 234
[in Tribeca] and P.S. 41 [in Greenwich
Village] where they’ve had lotteries last
year. Those kids will be going to high
school someday. We hope to draw families
from public elementary schools who come
to us for high school, as well as our own
students graduating from the eighth grade
into the new upper school.”
Founded in 1894 by Grace Church
as a boys’ choir boarding school, G.C.S.
became coed in 1947 and has been gov-
erned by an independent board of trustees
since 1972. It has a current enrollment of
413 students.
The target for the new high school is
80 students per grade, which will mean
more students per grade than the current
pre-K-to-eighth-grade school.
“Kids in high school need [to see] new
faces and you need a critical number for
extracurricular programs, like theater,
band and sports — important high school
experiences,” he said.
The plan for the high school envi-
sions seminar-style courses and a “March
Madness” program where ninth- and 10th-
grade students may designate a personal
area of study with outside institutions.
High school options include a foreign
exchange with schools in Japan, China
or India.
“We have a relationship with two
schools in Japan, one in Shanghai and one
in Delhi, India,” Davison said.
G.C.S. has an endowment of about
$20 million and plans to raise an esti-
mated total of $20 million to $25 million
more by the time the new high school’s
construction is complete around 2017,
Davison said. The rough cost estimate is
in un-inflated dollars.
“We can’t be more specific until we
are closer to a construction schedule,”
he added.
“Our first phase will be classrooms on
the first and second floors. A lot of the
infrastructure is there already because it’s
been used as N.Y.U. classrooms,” Davison
said. The first phase will also include a
cafeteria and library.
“Libraries today are not just book stor-
age,” Davison noted. “They have books
but they’re more like student centers,
with Internet technology and writing cen-
ters. The library is expected to occupy
a third of the ground-floor space, with
Grace Church plans to start new high school in 2012
for a world of good Trinity Wall Street
an Episcopal parish
in the city of New York
For more information, visit
or call 212.602.0800
Trinity Church
Broadway at Wall Street
St. Paul’s Chapel
Broadway and Fulton Street
music & the arts
MONDAY, MAR. 15, 7:30PM
Trinity Choir: Johannes-Passion
Johann Sebastian Bach
Andrew Parrot, guest conductor
Trinity Church
For tickets gemsny.org
Feast and Flourish
Organist Robert Ridgell
St. Paul’s Chapel
Concerts at One: Cadillac Moon
Trinity Church
The Bible on Wall Street: Timeless
Stories for Troubling Times
Deacon Bob Zito
74 Trinity Place, 3rd floor
Labyrinth Walk
St. Paul’s Chapel
Christian Discernment during
Crisis and Rapid Change
Dr. Elisabeth Koenig
74 Trinity Place, 2nd floor
Lenten Movie Series:
Oh God! Book II
74 Trinity Place, 2nd Floor Parlor
Ordinary People Called to
Extraordinary Work
With author Sarah Eagle Heart
74 Trinity Place
2nd Floor Seminar Room
St. Paul’s Chapel
An energetic celebration of
Communion in the round.

Trinity Church
Worship, preaching, and ceremony in
the best Anglican/Episcopal tradition.
Trinity Church
Holy Eucharist
All Saints’ Chapel
(inside Trinity Church)
* Sunday school and child care available.
Watch online at trinitywallstreet.org
March 12–18
The Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, Rector
The Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee, Vicar
Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel
The building at 38-50 Cooper Square, between E. Sixth and Seventh Sts., in which
Grace Church plans to open a high school.
Continued on page 14
March 12 - 18, 2010 12
downtown express
The M.T.A.’s Manhattan hearing last week
went on for six hours, and took testimony
from 99 speakers, including angry high school
students, transit workers, local elected officials
and residents, who denounced the agency for
proposing wide-ranging service cuts.
Students filled many of the 600 seats in
the Haft Auditorium at Fashion Institute of
Technology on Thurs., March 4, and railed
against eliminating free student MetroCards.
Transit workers — whose fellow union mem-
bers demonstrated more than 1,000 strong
at times on Seventh Ave. while the hearing
was in progress — protested cutting token
booth attendants. Residents from Battery
Park City to Washington Heights pleaded
against proposed reductions in Access-A-
Ride and bus service.
One high school student, Adolfo Abreu,
called on the Metropolitan Transportation
Authority’s board to meet with students
on the MetroCard issue on March 17, and
demanded that the board chairperson, Jay
Walder, answer immediately.
Walder replied, “You’ve got your meet-
ing,” after students in the audience chanted,
“Answer now.”
The M.T.A., the state agency that runs the
city transit, express bus and suburban train
system, is proposing a broad range of cuts in
all five boroughs to make up for an operat-
ing shortfall estimated at more than $700
million due to state funding cuts attributed
to the economic decline.
City Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and
Margaret Chin appeared in person to urge
the M.T.A. board to find alternatives to the
deep service cuts to manage the fiscal prob-
lem. Manhattan Borough President Scott
Stringer and Chin’s Council predecessor,
Alan Gerson, also spoke, saying that cutting
free student MetroCards should be taken
off the table. Reducing Access-A-Ride ser-
vice from door-to-door to providing service
between existing bus and train stations was
another bad decision, they said.
“Access-A-Ride at bus stops?” asked
Anita Romm, a senior advocate. “Most
riders can’t use buses. If they could, they
wouldn’t need Access-A-Ride.”
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio warned that
MetroCards were vital to ensure public school
“If we lose [bus and train] service now, the
loss could become permanent,” de Blasio said.
Stringer charged that the M.T.A. board
was proposing service cuts because it is
easier to go after students and riders rather
than politicians.
“You haven’t taken the fight to Albany,”
Stringer said. “You need to get the federal
government involved. You can’t stand by
while Albany is burning and take it out on
kids and seniors. Take the lead in Albany,
they need it now more than ever,” said
Stringer, who served many years as member
of the New York State Assembly before he
was elected Manhattan borough president.
Chin made a special plea for keeping full
service on the M9, M20 and M22 bus lines,
as well as the M21, the Houston St. cross-
town route.
“They provide the few cross-town bus
lines in Lower Manhattan,” Chin said.
“Eliminating or drastically reducing service
on those lines would be devastating, espe-
cially to seniors. This is also true of service
in the Village on the M5 line.”
Mendez said the proposal to eliminate night
and weekend service on the M8 bus, which
crosses river to river on Eighth, Ninth and 10th
Sts., would negatively impact communities in
the East and West Village.
“This route provides the only cross-town
service between Houston and 14th Sts. and
connects with two PATH stations, the No. 6
train at Astor Place, the Eighth St. station on
Broadway and the Christopher St. station on
the No. 1 line,” she said, adding that the bus
route serves the densely populated housing
developments on Avenue D.
Doris Howie, who came to the hearing
with fellow residents of 505 LaGuardia Place,
pleaded with the M.T.A. board to maintain
Houston St. bus service because the line allows
seniors to transfer at First Ave. for bus service
to Bellevue Hospital and New York University
Medical Center.
“The real story is outside,” said Susan
Stetzer, district manager of Community Board
3, which covers the East Village and Lower
East Side between 14th St. and the Brooklyn
Bridge. Stetzer referred to the demonstration
on Seventh Ave. between 27th and 30th Sts. by
transit workers and students while the hearing
was in progress. “Who ever heard of a hear-
ing when people can’t even get on the block?”
Stetzer said.
Mendez also said that, at one point, the
F.I.T. auditorium was not accessible because of
crowds outside.
Stetzer claimed that 80 percent of resi-
dents in the C.B. 3 district don’t have cars
and that the district thus clearly needs the
bus service. Residents of the east end of
Grand St. are especially cut off from the rest
of Manhattan, she said.
“There is a perfect bus route, but the bus
never comes,” said Stetzer, referring to the
M9. “Longer waits mean fewer people will
take the bus.”
George Haikalis, a transit advocate, also said
service cuts would shift riders away from public
transit. He suggested that private transport
should be discouraged by enacting significant
tolls at the East River bridges, and that the
M.T.A. itself should be disbanded and its func-
tion transferred to a general government body
directly accountable to the public.
The testimony took radical and vindictive
turns before long.
“Something phony is going on here. Where
is Chancellor Klein?” said Joseph Morris,
referring to the city’s schools chancellor, Joel
Klein. Morris said the M.T.A. was only 55
percent of the problem. Student MetroCards
should be provided by the Department of
Education, Morris said.
Seth Rosenberg, a transit worker who iden-
tified himself as a socialist, said the M.T.A. pays
20 percent of its revenue to service its debts.
“The money goes to Wall St. and bankers,
and the cuts come out of us,” he said.
Eric Josephson, a trackwalker who said he
was a supporter of the Revolutionary Transit
Workers, also denounced interest payments
to lenders, and called for a general strike of
all workers.
“Just like Greece!” came a shout from the
“Just like Greece, but we should strike until
we win,” said Josephson, referring to recent
demonstrations in Greece.
One woman said that Walder, previous head
of London Transport and drafter of London’s
bid for the 2006 Olympics, was an expert at
firing people.
“This board does not represent anybody,”
she said, adding, “The M.T.A. was created to
get around the state cap on the amount of
money that can be paid to the banks.”
Witnesses at the hearing also suggested
that the proposed No. 7 line extension from
Times Square to 10th Ave. and down to
34th St. be dropped and the capital funds be
devoted to maintaining full service on existing
train and bus lines.
Hundreds ride the M.T.A. board, try to derail cuts
Photo by William Alatriste/NYC Council
M.T.A. board members looked at a loss at last Thursday’s Manhattan hearing.
Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel
At the M.T.A.’s Manhattan hearing last Thursday, Village residents advocated for
maintaining full service on the M8, the Eighth St. cross-town bus.
downtown express
March 12 - 18, 2010 13
St. Peter’s Chelsea
Episcopal Church
346 West 20
Street (between 8
& 9
2 1 2 . 9 2 9 . 2 3 9 0
Palm Sunday, March 28, 10 a.m.
Blessing of Palms & Holy Eucharist
Maundy Thursday, April 1, 7 p.m.
Holy Eucharist
and Watch through the night
Good Friday, April 2, 12 Noon
Liturgy of the Passion
Sunday, April 4, 10 a.m.
Sung Holy Eucharist
In Celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection
& Children’s Easter Egg Hunt
The developer building two condo towers
next to the Battery Park City ballfields still
does not know why a piece of plywood fell
off the buildings earlier this year.
No one was hurt in the Jan. 28 accident,
but the 3-inch-by-8-inch plywood landed
near P.S. 150 children who were skating
on the B.P.C. ice rink adjacent to Milstein
Properties’ new buildings.
“We don’t know how it came out,”
Maria Rosenfeld, a development adviser for
Milstein, told Community Board 1 last week.
“It was a total shock to us.”
“That’s what’s disturbing to us,” replied
Linda Belfer, chairperson of C.B. 1’s B.P.C.
Rosenfeld said the city Dept. of
Buildings had just inspected the construc-
tion site earlier in the day of the accident
and did not note any problems. The con-
tractor scoured the building after the ply-
wood fell but could not determine where
exactly it came from or what caused the
accident, though wind may have played a
role, Rosenfeld said.
The only change Milstein has made since
Jan. 28 is to hire one additional site safety
coordinator. Milstein’s safety plan already
exceeds city codes and includes full-height
vertical netting wrapped around the building
and extra netting around the exterior eleva-
tors, called hoists.
Board members were particularly con-
cerned about the safety of the ballfields once
Downtown Little League’s season begins in
early April.
The Little League is pleased that contrac-
tor Plaza Construction Corp. will not work
on the east side of the building, facing the
fields, while players are practicing. However,
the league is unhappy that Plaza plans to
request weekend variances, allowing con-
struction on Saturdays while children are
playing on the field.
“We just flat-out hate those variances,”
said Mark Costello, a director of Downtown
Little League. “Weekend work is a real sore
spot. It should be looked at very, very skepti-
Thomas D’Ercole, Plaza’s senior project
manager, said it’s physically impossible to
get all of the needed materials in the build-
ing working five days a week.
Milstein plans to open a sales office this
spring for the 32-story Liberty Luxe and
22-story Liberty Green. An Asphalt Green
community center in the base of the building
is slated to open in 2012.
— Julie Shapiro
Rink accident still a mystery
March 12 - 18, 2010 14
downtown express
David Nolan, the longtime sound man
and deejay at Tribeca’s Wetlands and the
host of WBAI radio’s “Morning Dew” show,
died Thurs., Feb. 25. He was just 48.
According to his wife, Joy Linscheid,
Nolan was on his way home from his
archivist’s job at the 92nd St. Y, and was
in the Lexington Ave. subway, heading
first to pick up his daughter, Alison, 8,
from the 14th St. Y after-school program,
when he suffered a massive heart attack.
His wife said the coroner’s report found
major heart disease.
About 250 friends and colleagues gath-
ered at St. Mark’s Church on E. 10th
St. last Thursday to pay their respects
to Nolan. They remembered him for his
vibrant love of life, passion for “jam
band” music, dedication to the craft of
audio recording and his enjoyment of
exotic teas.
Reverend Winnie Varghese, pastor at
St. Mark’s, presided over the service.
Nolan grew up in Queens and Jericho,
Long Island. Early on, he became a
devotee of the Grateful Dead, and would
turn his lifelong passion for music into
his career. He graduated high school at
16, and, shortly after, moved to the East
Nolan was an early member of 534 E.
11th St., a homesteader building; under a city
program, he and others fixed up the aban-
doned tenement with their “sweat equity.”
Lisa Ramaci, one of the original ten-
ants, remembered meeting Nolan 30 years
ago when he was “a brash teen” of 18.
The building had no running water, heat,
windows or roof — but did have three
heroin shooting galleries. The homestead-
ers were in their 20s, the oldest 31. They
thought Nolan too young.
“With deep misgivings, we let him in,”
she said, “but we gave him the smallest
Nolan, though, pitched in right away
doing repairs, and became a vital part of
the building’s “quilt,” she said.
“There was not a single moment or a
single day, that I regretted voting him in,”
Ramaci said. “His contribution to house
meetings were always fair and thoughtful.
... Our quilt has been weakened and sun-
dered,” she said, her voice breaking with
emotion. “It will never be the same.”
Turning to Nolan’s coffin, draped
under a light tan cloth, Ramaci said, “Go
see Jerry Garcia and Pigpen in heaven.
Maybe someday we can drink tea again.”
Rabbi Yossi Pollack, formerly of the
Stanton St. Shul, now of Westport, Conn.,
met Nolan through the jam-band scene as
a seminary student.
“We shared many shows, including a
few road trips,” Pollak said.
“Dave didn’t have a mean bone in
his body; he always smiled, grinned and
enjoyed life,” the rabbi continued. “I
struggled with how in this world this
beautiful soul could have been taken away
from us so early.”
Pete Shapiro, who took over Wetlands,
the Tribeca music club, in the 1990s after
it had been operating for seven years, said
Nolan made him feel right at home.
“He was in the deejay booth,” recalled
Shapiro, then 23. “He just turned around
and gave me a big hug and a firm hand-
shake, and said, ‘Welcome.’ He really was
the soul of that place.” The club closed
in 2001.
Jake Szufnarowski, who put on music
shows at Wetlands, said he recalled Nolan
in his booth, “with a Maglite in his
mouth,” intensely flipping over tapes to
continue recording music sets without
missing more than “three-quarters of a
“He probably has the biggest collec-
tion of live music in New York City, and
the world — and he made it all himself,”
Szufnarowski said.
Nolan also worked on recordings with
the Gotham Radio Players, achieving just
the perfect sounds for a car crash or car
door slam.
Starting in 2002, he was chief engineer
for “Newsweek On Air.” The show’s co-
host, David Alpern, said, “David improved
the music, made the editing tighter.”
As a volunteer, Nolan recorded the
annual marathon poetry readings of the
St. Mark’s Poetry Project. He also did
poetry recordings at the Bowery Poetry
Club and Poets House.
In his most recent job, he was the audio
archivist at the 92nd St. Y. He had given
notice, and was set to start a new job doing
audio archiving at WNYC radio.
To WBAI listeners, Nolan was known
as a founding host of “Morning Dew,”
which started as a Grateful Dead show,
but has branched out to other music.
Bob O’Donnell, a co-host, said, “Before
there was an Internet, Dave’s ‘Dead Air’
and ‘Live Air’ [precursors of ‘Morning
Dew’] were our chat rooms, they were our
jukebox.” People would listen to the show
to get rides to concerts, he said.
Nolan was a part of an on-air com-
munity that included the aforementioned
“Rabbi Yossi,” as well as the likes of
“Taper Todd” and “Concert Joe,” said
O’Donnell, a.k.a. “Bonnaroo Bob.”
Seth Winner said Nolan was the force
behind establishing a New York chapter
of the Association for Recorded Sound
Collections; they now have a room at the
92nd St. Y to which they invite top classi-
cal and jazz recording engineers.
“He was the glue that held it all togeth-
er,” Winner said.
Ed Haber, of WNYC, said Nolan
recently recorded the Tuli Kupferberg
benefit concert in Brooklyn.
“He wanted to plug in. They told him
he couldn’t do that — but he did it any-
way, and broadcast it,” Haber said, as the
audience laughed warmly.
Nolan also participated in the annual
Rainbow Gathering, an event for world
peace held in a national park to avoid
the need for permits. Andy Morse, a.k.a.
“Andy The Music Man,” who met Nolan
at the 1999 gathering, played the Grateful
Dead’s “Ripple,” inviting the audience to
sing along, as his daughter Willow sat in
the crook of his arm.
“This is actually Dave’s guitar,” he
said, before taking a deep breath and
pausing. “Moments of silence are good,
As for his choice of song, he said, “I
think it’s perfect, because David is like a
stone that creates that ripple effect in the
lives of people he touched.”
During the service, speakers praised
his parents, Judy and Walter Nolan, for
raising such a wonderful person.
Asked afterward if they did anything
special, his mother said, “It was him. He
was a free spirit. ... He was even more
amazing than I realized.”
Afterward, at the reception, Rachel
Abbie Kay, daughter of Aron Kay, a.k.a.
the “Yippie Pie Man,” said Nolan used to
babysit her.
“He recorded me for WBAI when I
was 7,” she said. “He had me say, ‘You’re
listening to ‘Live Air’ on WBAI.’”
His friends said the two nights before
he died, Nolan had enjoyed the music
he loved so much, attending shows by
Furthur, with the Dead’s Bob Weir and
Phil Lesh, at Radio City Music Hall.
Said “Concert Joe,” “When you look
for ‘Dead Head,’ it should be his picture
— it doesn’t, but it should.”
David Nolan, 48, ‘the soul of Wetlands,’ dies
David Nolan enjoying the Jam Cruise — a weeklong cruise with jam-band music —
two years ago.
Grace Church
stairs down to the cafeteria in the base-
The big expense of the second phase
will be a full-size gym on the fourth floor.
Until the second phase is completed,
students will use Chelsea Piers and East
River Park for sports.
“We’ll have to raise the roof a little
for the gym, so we’ll have to go to the
Landmarks Preservation Commission for
approval,” Davison said, noting that the
site is just within the Noho Historic
Located across from Cooper Union, the
site is indeed historic. Astor Place, nearby,
was where partisans of rival actors — the
American Edwin Forrest and the English
actor William Macready — engaged in a
deadly riot in 1849.
Before construction on the high
school’s first phase begins, the plan needs
the approval of the Board of Standards
and Appeals for a use-group change. Since
there were no objections at Community
Board 2 last month, Davison expects the
review and approval to be a breeze.
Meanwhile, a group of parents who
have been trying to organize another
private high school in the neighborhood
have not given up, even though their first
choice of a site on Pier 40, at W. Houston
St., fell through and the option on anoth-
er proposed site on Vandam St. lapsed.
“We’re still working on it and we’ll be
meeting again later this year,” said Aimee
Bell, a parent organizer for the Greenwich
Village High School.
Continued from page 11
downtown express
March 12 - 18, 2010 15
Distraught over the archdiocese’s plan
to close two Lower Manhattan Catholic
schools, students and their parents prayed
and rallied on the steps of St. Patrick’s
Cathedral in Midtown on Sunday.
The families came from St. Patrick’s Old
Cathedral School on Mott St. and St. James
School on St. James Pl., both of which the
archdiocese plans to close at the end of the
school year because of low enrollment. At
the rally, dozens of children waved colorful
homemade signs reading “Please Save Our
School” and “Pray for Our School.”
“We are not giving up,” said Stephanie
Pinto, a trustee and graduate of St. James,
who helped organize the rally.
Both the St. James and the St. Patrick’s
parents met with the archdiocese about the
closures recently. The St. James parents are
still waiting for a response, and it’s possible
the school could stay open in some form, but
a spokesperson for the archdiocese said St.
Patrick’s would definitely close.
St. Patrick’s opened in 1822 as the city’s
first Catholic school, several years after
the founding of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral
church nearby. The church split from the
school a couple years ago, and relations grew
tense, with St. Patrick’s students barred from
taking their first communion at the church,
parents said. Sandra Dupal, a St. Patrick’s
parent, said the split could be one reason
the school’s enrollment recently shrunk to
129 students.
Fran Davies, spokesperson for the arch-
diocese, declined to address the split. Dupal
and others heard the archdiocese planned
either to convert the building to condos or
to make it into a basilica, a place the pope
can stay on his New York visits. Davies said
no final decision has been made about the
Dupal said she was shocked and sad
when she heard St. Patrick’s was closing and
she would have to find a new school for her
first-grade son and sixth-grade daughter.
“The whole atmosphere of St. Patrick’s
is very nurturing,” Dupal said. When her
son started school there, “He became like a
budded flower — he just opened up,” Dupal
said. She was so pleased that she recently
moved her daughter from NEST to St.
Patrick’s, a decision she is now questioning.
Dupal is not sure where her children will
attend school next year. Some of the other
Catholic schools she has looked at don’t
have gyms or outdoor play spaces, and she
is concerned about the large class sizes in
public schools.
Although the archdiocese has made it
clear that St. Patrick’s is closing, Pinto, the
St. James trustee, is leading an effort that
she hopes will save both St. James and St.
Patrick’s. She has submitted several pro-
posals to the archdiocese that would allow
the schools to stay open by using the St.
Patrick’s building or other convent and rec-
tory space nearby.
The archdiocese has not yet responded to
Pinto’s ideas. The archdiocese’s stated plan
is to merge St. James with St. Joseph School
on Monroe St. and allow the overcrowded
Transfiguration School to expand into the St.
James building.
But St. Joseph’s does not have enough
room for all 213 St. James children, so par-
ents say the purported merger amounts to a
closure of St. James, which opened in 1854
and boasts such notable alumni as Gov.
Alfred E. Smith, the first Catholic to run for
president on a major party line.
Another obstacle to the merger is that
the St. James preschool cannot move to St.
Joseph’s, because St. Joseph’s is located up
several flights of stairs, which would be a
fire safety violation for such young children,
Pinto said.
Pinto said an ideal solution would be to
truly merge St. James and St. Joseph’s, by
putting a lower school of younger children
in the St. James building and an upper
school in the St. Joseph’s building. The
Transfiguration School would still need a
place to go, but perhaps they could take the
St. Patrick’s building on Mott St., if the arch-
diocese changes its mind about the future
use of that building, Pinto said.
Pinto expects the archdiocese to respond
to her suggestions and possibly offer a
clearer plan for the St. James children within
a week.
Catholic school parents rally to save schools
Students of St. James and St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral School in Lower Manhattan
rallied outside St. Patrick’s in Midtown Sunday in an effort to keep the schools open.
Hoping to prevent the school over-
crowding that has plagued Lower
Manhattan for years, State Sen. Daniel
Squadron introduced legislation this
week to increase the Dept. of Education’s
“We’ve all seen the effects of what hap-
pens when the process is off,” Squadron
told Downtown Express. “Better data,
more transparency and a stronger voice
for the community would go a long way
toward improving the process.”
Squadron was particularly concerned
about the city’s recent rezoning of
Downtown’s schools, a divisive process
that did not come close to solving the
overcrowding problem at P.S. 234 in
Tribeca. The D.O.E. did not use any
population data or projections to draft
the new school zone lines, but rather
just looked at current kindergarten and
first-grade numbers. That method did
not work, and far more children wound
up zoned for P.S. 234 than the school
could fit. As of last month, P.S. 234 had
received 186 applications for 125 kinder-
garten seats.
Squadron’s legislation would require
the D.O.E. to use birth-rate data from the
city Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene
and population projections from the
Dept. of City Planning for all rezonings
and five-year capital plans. The D.O.E.
would also have to make those population
numbers public and explain how the city’s
plans would meet the demand for seats.
Finally, under Squadron’s legislation, the
D.O.E. would have to publish all com-
ments received on zoning proposals and
five-year capital plans and would have to
respond to those comments. The D.O.E.
currently only has to do that in relation to
school sitings.
“It’s a great first step,” said Tricia
Joyce, a P.S. 234 parent and activist.
During the recent rezoning, Joyce consis-
tently called for the D.O.E. to release its
population data, and she said Squadron’s
legislation would be helpful.
But Joyce said she was concerned
about how the new measures would be
enforced. She said the D.O.E. has a his-
tory of not providing information and
not including the Community Education
Councils in zoning and school closing
“Even though they’re required [by law]
to divulge it, you have to sue them to get
it,” Joyce said, referring to the lawsuit the
District 2 Community Education Council
filed against the D.O.E.
Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld, D.O.E. spokes-
person, said the office would review the
bill, but he implied he didn’t think a
change was needed. He added that the
School Construction Authority already
works closely with the Depts. of Health
and City Planning to review data and
make sure new school seats are built in
the neighborhoods that need them.
“The S.C.A. is proud of the robust,
transparent process in place,” Zarin-
Rosenfeld said in an e-mail to Downtown
Squadron’s legislation partly came out
of meetings he held with local parent
activists in the wake of the mayoral con-
trol debate last year. Some parents see the
current school system as irreparable and
were upset that Squadron sponsored the
bill to renew the mayor’s control of the
city’s schools. Squadron said this week
that his new legislation would add more
transparency and parental input.
Squadron introduced the legislation
into the Senate on Monday, one day
after announcing his proposals at a press
conference in front of P.S. 234 with
Borough President Scott Stringer and
Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh. The
bill does not yet have a sponsor in the
Bill introduced to prevent school overcrowding
‘Better data, more
transparency and a
stronger voice for the
community would go a
long way toward improving
the process.’
March 12 - 18, 2010 16
downtown express
Dear Transit Sam,
Do you have any update on the
M.T.A./N.Y.C. Transit’s calibration of its
systems so that PATH will recognize Easy
Pay Express MetroCards? I just recent-
ly signed up for the Easy Pay Express
MetroCard and after calling twice to
find out why my card wasn’t working, I
was told today by an M.T.A. supervisor
that the card does not work on PATH
trains. They also told me that the M.T.A.
has no plans to calibrate its systems
so that PATH will recognize Easy Pay
Express MetroCards. I just cancelled
my new account, because I live in Lower
Manhattan and work in Jersey City. I need
a card that works on all turnstiles.

Bryan, Lower Manhattan
Dear Bryan,
Easy Pay Express is the best! For those
of you who don’t know about it, it’s a
MetroCard that automatically refills by
itself, similar to E-ZPass. But, while the
regular MetroCard works on both N.Y.C.
Transit and PATH, the Easy Pay Express
MetroCard only works on N.Y.C. Transit.
The M.T.A. had promised me in respond-
ing to a September letter to Transit Sam
that this glitch would be corrected by
December, 2009. Here’s an update: a
spokesperson tells me they decided to
“switch tracks” and roll out Easy Pay
Express with Air Train JFK (only pay-per-
ride MetroCards work now), which will be
linked by the second quarter of this year.
The M.T.A.’s reasoning is that its JFK
ridership base is smaller than PATH, allow-
ing them to work out any kinks while incon-
veniencing fewer customers. After the pilot
with Air Train JFK, they’ll work to sync it
with PATH on a date still to be determined.
I know we both had hoped Easy Pay Express
would work on PATH by now, but I’ll stay
on top of this and let you know when a
firm date’s been set for implementation on
Transit Sam
Dear Transit Sam,
I recently received a ticket for park-
ing at a hydrant, which I believe was
unwarranted. I couldn’t find a legal spot,
so I pulled into an open space right by a
hydrant. I had my son run down the block
to pick something up. Minutes later, a
traffic agent ticketed me for parking at a
hydrant. I was always under the impres-
sion you could park at a hydrant as long as
someone was behind the wheel.
Rick, Tribeca
Dear Rick,
Your impression was correct. The traffic
agent should not have issued you a summons
so plead not guilty. New York City Traffic
Rule 4-08 (e) (2) states that one may stand
a vehicle “within 15 feet of a fire hydrant”
unless otherwise prohibited “from sunrise to
sunset” if the driver of the vehicle remains
in the driver’s seat ready to move the vehicle
if instructed to do so by fire, police or other
municipal department acting in his or her
official capacity. A notarized statement from
your son, attesting to the fact that you were
behind the wheel ready to move, may also
Transit Sam
Sam Schwartz, a former first deputy com-
missioner of city transportation, is president
and C.E.O. of Sam Schwartz Engineering,
a traffic engineering consulting firm to pri-
vate and public entities including the Port
Authority at the World Trade Center site.
Email TransitSam@downtownexpress.com
for all your transportation needs.
Assemblyman Shelly Silver
If you need assistance, please contact my ofce at
(212) 312-1420 or email silver@assembly.state.ny.us.
Fighting to make
Lower Manhattan
the greatest place
to live, work, and
raise a family.
Moving Visions’ Murray Street Studio
A Wise Choice for your child’s dance education!
Dance for Children and Teens
• Modern Ballet (ages 5-18) • Choreography (ages 8 & up)
• Creative Movement/Pre-Ballet (ages 3-5)
19 Murray St., 3rd Fl.
(Bet. Broadway and Church)
212-608-7681 (day)
ADULT CLASSES Yoga - Tai Chi • Chi/Dance/Exercise for Women
Transit Sam
The Answer man
The crane company charged this week
with manslaughter and criminally neg-
ligent homicide in a 2008 crane col-
lapse still operates three tower cranes
in New York City, all of them in Lower
The three tower cranes, named for their
size, are at the World Trade Center site,
the former Deutsche Bank building and
Milstein Properties’ Liberty Luxe condo
in Battery Park City, according to news
reports. The city Dept. of Buildings said
those cranes are inspected regularly and
are different from the one that collapsed
on E. 91
St. on May 30, 2008, killing two
people and seriously injuring a third.
On Monday, Manhattan District
Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced
the indictment of New York Crane &
Equipment Corp., J.F. Lomma Inc., owner
James Lomma and former mechanic Tibor
Varganyi in the 2008 deaths. Vance said
New York Crane’s leaders were greedy
and reckless, skirting safety measures
to save time and money. The defendants
pleaded not guilty on Monday.
The new Battery Park City Library will
hold a grand opening ceremony next Thurs.,
March 18 at 10 a.m., followed by a tour of
the building’s environmentally friendly fea-
tures at 11 a.m. and an open house with
free programs for all ages from 11:30 a.m.
to 4 p.m. The library at 175 N. End Ave.
will open its doors for the first time a few
days earlier, on Mon., March 15 at 10 a.m.
and will be open Mondays and Wednesdays
from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and
Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m. and Fridays
and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The
$6.7 million, 10,000-square-foot library
has more than 15,300 books and more than
7,400 non-print items like CDs and DVDs.
For more on the B.P.C. Library, read our
article in last week’s issue at downtown-
express.com or visit nypl.org/locations/
Indicted crane company still Downtown
Library opening Monday
downtown express
March 12 - 18, 2010 17
Literary rebels, the Unbearables rewrite the rules
ings around the city to promote it. It’s a collection of no-holds-
barred thrashings of classics like Joyce’s “Ulysses,” hot-shot
contemporary writers like David Sedaris and even the Bible.
It is by far and away the most successful of the Unbearables’
books, and can be found in bookstores, sharing shelf space
with the very authors they bash or claim to disdain.
It’s not the first time the Unbearables have launched an
attack like this. They’ve published previous anthologies,
like “Crimes of the Beats,” which calls out the entire gang
and busts many of the myths that define the Beat move-
ment, and they slaughtered the entire genre of self-help
books in “Help Yourself!”
On a recent Sunday afternoon in a bar in the East
Village, two Unbearables, Ron Kolm and Susan Scutti,
discussed the origins of the group.
“There’s only a core of three people,” said Scutti, who
made her name as part of another group of poets and writ-
ers, the Nuyoricans. “And I’m not one of them.”
“No, I’d define you as being in the core,” said Kolm,
who noted that today all one has to do to be an Unbearable
is hang out with them.
It all started at a now-defunct bar on the Lower East
Side called Tin Pan Alley.
“It was a pimp’s bar,” said Kolm. “They had the front
and we had the back. There were blood stains on the pool
Kolm and others gathered to throw a few back, talk
about literature and generally groan over how devoid
their country was of culture. From there, they managed
to cull together a few readings under the moniker “The
Unbearable Beatniks of Light,” and the collective was
They would continue to make bars their preferred venue
for discussion and literary antics. Another was Rudy’s on
Ninth Ave., in Hell’s Kitchen.
“Rudy’s was a total Unbearable bar,” said Scutti. “We
would meet at this place and just hang out and talk. Then
someone would say, ‘Can you read our manuscript?’ and
there would be a formal exchange.”
“I think it’s a Wendy’s now,” lamented Kolm. “Or
maybe that’s Shandon’s Star I’m thinking about.”
Kolm is without a doubt the heartbeat that is keeping
the Unbearbles alive today, though he certainly would
not describe himself as such. He’s a book person’s book
person. He has worked in every aspect of the business, as
publisher and promoter, writer and editor and bookseller.
He said he first thought about a literary collective when
he was in college working at a bookstore and stumbled
upon the Dadaists.
“I thought that was the coolest [stuff] in the world.”
“Ron shaped us, like it or not,” said Scutti. “He looked
at what was around him and sculpted it into this insanity
— that’s the truth.”
But more recently it’s the notion of a “Temporary
Autonomous Zone,” as set forth by the anarchist writer
Hakim Bey in his 1991 book “TAZ,” which has come to
define the group. Currently there is a woman in Belgium
researching both the Unbearables and how the TAZ they
created morphed into a literary collective. Boiled down, it’s
the idea that the only way to avoid a hierarchal system — in
this case, one where certain writers are placed on pedestals
and held in higher esteem — is to live in the moment, free
of constraint, and crack the formal, accepted structure.
By gathering in bars instead of bookstores and discuss-
ing literature and drinking heavily, the Unbearbles were
more concerned about being a part of a scene as opposed
to documenting it in an attempt to be remembered.
“Ron would say, ‘The Unbearables are a group of
friends moving through time together,’ and that’s what
kept me around whenever things got nutty,” said Scutti.
And things were always getting “nutty” when it came to
the Unbearables. Their readings were often themed, such
as the “Big Cigars” reading, or the “Endangered Species”
readings. They spent consecutive years in the late ’90’s
“liberating” the Brooklyn Bridge, when on every Sept. 13
they would stand at strategic points along the bridge and
read erotic poetry to passersby.
“It was tough yelling over the cars,” said Scutti. “But
you’d get great reactions. You were the freak of the
moment. There were helicopters hovering over us even
before 9/11.”
The group decided to stop the annual event after 9/11.
They had already been called “poetic terrorists” in a local
Other “nutty” moments include, but are by no means
limited to, picketing the 42nd St. offices of The New
Yorker, protesting the mundane, academic poetry the
magazine published and handing out their translations
of the poems into “English.” But without a doubt, the
Unbearables are most notorious for their battles with
the Beats.
In the early ’90’s, New York University hosted back-
to-back conferences, one on the Beat movement itself
and then, the next year, one dedicated to Jack Kerouac.
During the first conference, the Unbearables, who by then
had dropped the “Beatniks of Light” from their moniker,
chose simply to protest by doing their own reading, at an
East Village tavern. The Unbearables already were on the
Beats’ radar as troublemakers. Kolm recalled a young man
walking into the bar for the reading.
“I approached him and asked him why he was here,”
said Kolm.
“Mr. Ginsberg asked me to come over and keep an eye
on things,” the young man replied.
The next year was the three-day Kerouac conference,
and the Unbearbales were ready. On the first night, N.Y.U.
sponsored a Kerouac walking tour. So the Unbearables
decided to hold their own walking tour, right across the
street from N.Y.U.’s.
“We were having so much fun,” said Kolm. “People who
had paid money to go on the N.Y.U. tour were crossing the
street and following us.”
On the final night, the Unbearables picketed the
conference, holding up signs that read, “The Beats Are
“[Gregory] Corso thought it was funny,” recalled Kolm.
“The one who was really pissed and angry was Ginsberg.”
Kolm said years later, the person who wrote the article
about the conference in The New York Times told him
Ginsberg was backstage and was overheard saying, “[The
Unbearables] are nowhere as sophisticated as we are.”
“I don’t hate the Beats,” said Kolm. “I hate the execu-
tors of the estates, I hate the myth.”
Today the Unbearbles continue to “move through
time together.” Kolm still walks around with bags of
Unbearables books to give to the right people. They are
not writing for a mainstream audience. They don’t desire
to go on cross-country author tours and read for people
holding Starbucks coffee at 20 different Barnes & Nobles.
They read and they write because they can and because it’s
what they’ve always done together.
“If it weren’t for literature, I’d still be [screwed] up,”
said Kolm. “My ideal audience is that kid in Pennsylvania
who can read something and say, ‘I don’t have to be an
Updike or a Roth. I don’t have to be an a--hole.’ ”
Continued from page 1
Downtown Express photo by John Bayles
Unbearables at a recent art opening for Shalom Neuman at FusionArts Museum on Stanton St. From left, Michael
Carter, Carl Watson, Julius Klein, Steve Dalachinsky, Bonny Finberg, Ron Kolm and Susan Scutti.
‘It was a pimp’s bar, they had the
front and we had the back. There
were blood stains on the pool
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A cut too deep
To The Editor:
With reference to your article on
the cuts involving the M22 bus, it would
certainly be more than a terrible dis-
service to the community (news article,
March 5 – 11, “Bus cuts include cutting
B.P.C. out of M22 route”). First of all,
it is the only crosstown service below
8th St. (not including the very sporadic
Secondly, with the lack of affordable
supermarkets in Tribeca and Battery Park
City, many families take the M22 to travel
to Pathmark for their grocery shopping.
Next, let us not forget the hundreds of
students and their caregivers who travel
back and forth to school on a daily basis
during the school year to get to class,
and during the summer months to day
camp programs, as well as baseball and
soccer games in fields on the East River
or Hudson River. We fought long and
hard to get additional schools and sports
leagues for our children, now our trans-
portation is being taken away.
For those residing at the Hallmark,
how are they to get across town and
back? What about those in wheelchairs?
What next? Perhaps the M.T.A. should
research the impact on a community prior
to making harsh decisions. Or better yet,
engage the services of a financial advisor
to ascertain where their money is going
and how to better monitor and spend it.
Theresa O’Connor
Lithuanians built church
To The Editor:
Re “Keeping faith, Lithuanians pray
church will reopen” (news article, March
5 - 11):
Our Lady of Vilnius Church is a cher-
ished monument to Lithuanian immigrants
and an adornment to Manhattan. The hier-
archs did not build the church and should
not be allowed to sell it for financial gain.
Saulius Simoliunas
P.S. 150’s unsung hero
To The Editor:
Re “Barbara Schneider, 70, top educator
in District 2” (Obituary, March 5 – 11):
Barbara Schneider had an unsung, yet
major impact on the children of Tribeca. In
winter 2001 she stepped in during Principal
Alyssa Polack’s maternity leave to guide the
parents, faculty and children of what was
then the Early Childhood Center through a
merger with Bridges – to eventually become
P.S. 150. Barbara was compassionate, wise,
dedicated and savvy – all qualities we needed
to navigate the Board of Education’s directives
while keeping the essential core of our nurtur-
ing school environment. We owe a debt of
gratitude to Barbara that is a mile wide.
Judy Levine
Former School Leadership Team co-chair-
person, E.C.C. and P.S. 150
Column response
To The Editor:
Re “ Hateful column” (letter by Marlis
Momber, March 5 -11):
In Ms. Momber’s written diatribe of
distortions, her vitriolic response to my
notebook column, “Sidewalk swastika
solution; Trying to pave over hate” (Feb.
19 - 25) for her “rude Jews” insult,
nowhere did she deny her slur, nor offer an
apology. (Note that I did not use her name,
and I doubt that most readers knew who
she was until she outed herself.) It speaks
volumes that in defense of her thoughtless
remark, she has opted to go on the attack,
twist my words, call me names, victimize
the victim anew, and add further insult to
injury. How unfortunate and sad.
The fact that Ms. Momber is German
and a photographer is circumstantial and
incidental. She could have been blue and
a skydiver and I would have reacted the
same way and written the same story. But
precisely because of her nation’s history,
she should have checked her words at
the door. I can still feel their sting and
the look on her face as she thoughtlessly
uttered them. That she says she hardly
knows me is irrelevant. What is more
acceptable, to insult an acquaintance, a
stranger or a friend? For the record, Ms.
Momber and I have exhibited together,
and at her last group show (of which I
was not part), she came over to me and
greeted me warmly.
That she decided to drag her previ-
ous good works into light as some sort
of defense for hateful language is just
wrong. And to compare herself with Jacob
Riis, one of the nation’s greatest writers
of social reform and important photogra-
phers of life in the Lower East Side tene-
ments, well... . The clueless Ms. Momber
states that Riis “built his reputation doc-
umenting ‘poor Jews.’ ” (Her quotes
around “poor Jews”; what is she now
implying?) In his book, “How the Other
Half Lives,” a well-worn copy of which I
have on my bookshelf, he chronicled all
the destitute of the L.E.S., which includ-
ed Native Americans, Greeks, Italians,
Bohemians (Czechs), Germans, Chinese,
blacks, Irish, English and Jews, among
other nationalities. My putative elitist
roots are here.
My column has been read by people of
all backgrounds and in several countries,
and they have all told me how moved they
were by what I wrote. They get it. It is not
about one swastika or a person of a par-
March 12 - 18, 2010
downtown express
Taking care of
9/11 survivors
While the health care debate goes into what perhaps
will be the homestretch, an important but less monu-
mental health bill is quietly entering one of the smaller
halls of Congress where legislation is usually saved,
gutted or killed. The bill would provide health care to
first responders and survivors of the Sept. 11 attack on
America in Lower Manhattan.
This Tuesday the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act
begins a “markup” hearing in the health subcommittee
of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The
provision providing care to residents and workers suffer-
ing with respiratory ailments, cancer and other illnesses
believed to have been caused by the environmental fallout
from the attack is in danger of being struck from the bill.
The 9/11 health centers at Bellevue, Gouverneur and
Elmhurst hospitals provide care for over 4,000 people
whom doctors believe are sick from the terrorist attack.
The hospitals also are compiling invaluable tracking infor-
mation if new and even more severe complications surface
in the coming years. [Full disclosure: A member of our
editorial staff has made limited use of the program.]
The entire cost of the bill including health care for
first responders is capped at $5.1 billion, a tiny sum
by Washington standards particularly since the House
sponsors in New York already have a way to pay for it.
(They’re not making it public yet because of the justifi-
able fear it will be used for something else if their col-
leagues find out about it now.)
President Obama has put money in the budget to fund
the program next year, but the year-to-year budget battles
keep this vital program constantly on the chopping
block. U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey heads the
health subcommittee taking up the bill next week. Call
his office at 202-225-4671 and let him hear from some
of those most directly affected by this bill.
Celebrating a library
There are perhaps some uninformed and not-so-well
read people out there who think libraries are a thing of
the past with today’s technology. To that we say “OMG.”
After we posted our article last week about the opening
of the Battery Park City Library, we noticed quite a num-
ber of our readers were tweeting links to it even before
we had a chance to tweet about it ourselves. The point
is that even on a newer forum like Twitter, people get
excited about a library.
And in particular, this branch opening on Monday in
B.P.C. is something to be excited about. No disrespect
at all to the humbling philanthropic efforts of Andrew
Carnegie, who built so many of our city’s libraries, but
the Battery Park City branch has things rarely if ever seen
in an N.Y.C. library — lots of natural light, airiness and
even a river view!
There are many who deserve thanks for getting this
library built including the Battery Park City Authority,
which donated the space for 50 years, Goldman Sachs,
which provided almost half the money to build it, former
Councilmember Alan Gerson and Community Board
1. A special thank you goes to two neighbors, Percy
Corcoran and Marti Cohen-Wolf, who never gave up
fighting for it to be built.
So stop on by Monday, or head over to the celebra-
tion ceremonies March 18 or just go on over to North
End Ave. and Vesey St. anytime you want to get lost
anywhere in the universe.
John W. Sutter
Josh Rogers
Scott Stiffler
Albert Amateau
Lincoln Anderson
Julie Shapiro
Francesco Regini
Jason Sherwood
Allison Greaker
Robert Lucarelli
Julio Tumbaco
Danielle Zupanovich
Colin Gregory
Vera Musa
Troy Masters
Mark Hasselberger
Jamie Paakkonen
Cheryl Williamson
Frank R. Angelino
Wickham Boyle
Tim Lavin
David Stanke
Jerry Tallmer
Lorenzo Ciniglio
Milo Hess
Corky Lee
Elisabeth Robert
Jefferson Siegel
Continued on page 19
downtown express
March 12 - 18, 2010 19
ticular ethnicity. It’s about any person of
any background being verbally assaulted.
Instead of a rant directed at me, I think
the mensch course of action should have been
for Ms. Momber to have issued an immediate
mea culpa and apology to me and to all those
who she says e-mailed her, stopped her on
the street and phoned her, instead of enlisting
people to defend her and to slam me.
Bonnie Rosenstock
Letters policy
Downtown Express welcomes letters to
The Editor. They must include the writer’s
first and last name, a phone number
for confirmation purposes only, and any
affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s
subject matter. Letters should be less than
300 words. Downtown Express reserves
the right to edit letters for space, clarity,
civility or libel reasons. Letters should be
e-mailed to news@DowntownExpress.com
or can be mailed to 145 Sixth Ave., N.Y.,
N.Y. 10013.
“What gives you pleasure?” the state
unemployment counselor asked me as we
were wrapping up the meeting, which went
totally bust.
“Well, sex, but I’m not having any!”
Rewind: As par for the course of receiv-
ing unemployment benefits — was laid off
from my stint as a “story analyst” at an
independent publishing house — I went into
my required unemployment meeting with
at least an open attitude toward possibly
uncovering a new way to seek employment.
But after almost four and a half hours
of being shuffled around from counselor to
counselor, I am sorry to report that one of
these people was probably going to be fired
after today.
Talk about irony: My original assigned
counselor literally did not know how to
operate a computer, and could not deal
with my…strength. And first one, and then
a second, superior tried to get me to rat on
her — instead of putting their money where
their mouths were and giving this woman
the computer skills and leg up she obviously
needed to do her job properly.
Further, though my ultimate assigned
counselor was super cool, even she too
admitted that I probably wouldn’t find work
through the system. She called me a rebel
Joan Jett wannabe, and suggested I do some-
thing on my own — but not via the state-run,
20-hour program I was interested in, which
supposedly offers skills toward that effect.
Three counselors there confessed they did
not think it an effective enough program to
risk losing any possible benefit extension I
would then not be eligible for.
I tried to see if I could get a specific work-
training grant, courtesy of the stimulus pack-
age, but my field(s) of interest do not happen
to correspond with the list of professions
that are currently in demand. I mean, if I
want to be a truck driver, or medical techni-
cian, game on. Not!
I know change is constant, and I’ve got to
keep up with the times, but honestly, what is
up, people? The Olympics, for example, have
completely lost their cachet with the public
because at any time of the day or night, one
can watch regular Joes receive prizes, cash
and titles, all toward making their dreams
come true — once the unique beauty of the
Olympics. Further, the Olympic advertisers’
mandates are such that children can’t even
watch figure skating, or any of the once-
popular events, as programming keeps the
good stuff for last, at 11 o’clock at night.
Even “American Idol” starts at 8 p.m.
Am still waiting to hear my hiring status
on what I considered a low-level, hourly-
wage, part-time job, but how many people
does this restaurant have to try out before
they decide on a pastry assistant? My pie
crusts were perfect circles, for God’s sake!
Oh, right, it must be my Joan Jett wannabe
It’s not like I don’t have almost 20 years
experience in publishing, film, books, the-
ater and so forth. It’s not like I haven’t been
a Hollywood studio executive, or a writing
assistant for a Tony-nominated musical, or
even a cover copywriter for smut books,
either! I can definitely turn on a computer,
am known as the queen of the log line (a
synopsis of a TV show or movie), was in the
circus — twice, and even recently completed
a 100-hour baking/pastry program in antici-
pation of my firing. I have extensive experi-
ence, people!
First, though, I must attend a résumé-
writing workshop — apparently the format
of my C.V. sucks — and learn how to market
myself as, for example, a proofreader who
has never made a mistake! I mean, I do think
I’m darn good, and have proofread dozens
of genre fiction novels, but zero mistakes?
The Olympic champion/“American Idol” of
proofreading? Am not so sure. And who
would even believe that? What proofreader
is not going to write that? Aaaaaah!
I’m also signed up for three, consecu-
tive, hour-long “illumination” workshops,
courtesy of today’s meeting, supposedly run
by the former owners of Studio 54. O.K.,
game on.
As for the earlier sex reference, my
counselor was trying to encourage me to
have a support team filled with other in-
limbo types. Oh, joy. But seriously folks, this
unemployment thing would be hilarious, if it
weren’t so not funny. Would anybody like to
hire me? References available on request... .
Adventures in unemployment; References available
Continued from page 18
Photos by William Alatriste/New York City Council
Workers unite
Construction workers rallied outside 7 World Trade Center Monday calling for work
to begin on the vacant tower sites. World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein is
asking the Port Authority for financial backing to complete Tower 4 and begin con-
struction on Tower 3. Silverstein, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Julie Menin,
chairperson of Community Board 1, all spoke at the rally.
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March 12 - 18, 2010 20
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downtown express
March 12 - 18, 2010 21
Sunday was a heartbreaking day for
Downtown basketball as two undefeated
Lower Manhattan teams lost their champi-
onship games.
The undefeated I.S. 89 Cougar girls team
lost their last game of the season to Baruch
at Baruch and the Manhattan Academy of
Technology Dragon boys then took the same
court and also lost to Baruch, suffering their
first defeat of the season.
The Cougars were riding high coming
into the game having beaten the M.A.T. girls
Friday. The Dragons jumped ahead quickly on
a 14 - 2 run, and a shocked crowd thought
they were witnessing a huge upset in the mak-
ing. Instead, 89 fought back and went on to
win by one point, 19 - 18.
“I thought we had them in that game,” said
Dragon coach John DeMatteo said. “I
thought to myself, finally, this will be the
year where we beat them. It wasn’t to be,
though, as they played a tough second half
and came through in the end. It was an
unbelievably exciting game to watch!”
The Cougars were led all year by strong
play from Alexsa Ramos, Talulah Gilory,
Sonia Bloom and Anna Bernath.
The lady Dragons finished with a record
of 16 - 4, and defeated a tough Tompkins
Square Middle School team by 20 points to
reach the final four with I.S. 89.
The girl Dragons were led all year by 8th
grader Akiele Lewis, who averaged 15 points
a game and was one of the best players in
the league.
“Akiele was the M.V.P. of this league
without a doubt,” said DeMatteo. “Without
her, none of these games would be close at
all and she demonstrated just how much
she matured since the 6th grade when she
also led our school to a championship vs.
89. She’s going on to play high school ball
at Christ the King and I know she’ll do well
over there.”
The Dragons were also led by point guard
Gabby Wallach, who DeMatteo cited as
being the leader for next year’s team, center
Safiyah Riddle who came onto the team
late but still gave some great minutes and
forwards Elan Halpern, Amani Scott and
Shirley Dong.
The Cougar boys also had a strong sea-
son, but they lost to Wagner in the play-
offs last week. Ledell Robinson, Ayotunde
Summers, Noah Neacsu, Nicholas Chiu and
Jayson Brebnor all played well.
As for the M.A.T. boys, they were domi-
nant all year, drawing a No. 1 ranking in
Manhattan and finishing with a regular
season record of 18 - 0. Looking like they
were the team to beat, the M.A.T. boys ran
through schools in the playoffs like a hot
knife through butter.
And then came the championship game.
In a closely competed contest, the Baruch
Lions defeated the M.A.T. Dragons by a
slight margin in the last seconds, in a game
that saw 10 different lead changes.
“The boys played their best, but in the
end, it’s the little things that make games
and we didn’t take care of the basketball
down the stretch,” said DeMatteo. “We
were up by 2 points with the ball with one
minute left and we just gave it to them. It’s
tough to have the season we had and then
lose in the final seconds, but that’s the way
basketball goes. We got beat by a team with
tremendous heart who showed it when it
The Dragons were led by a monster
squad of 8th graders featuring LaRon Holt,
a 6’3” forward going to play next year at JFK
high school.
“LaRon has great ability and if he shows
more love for the game, he will excel at the
next level and beyond,” said DeMatteo.
Malik Crossdale, an 8th grader who is
also the second-ranked 400-meter runner
in the United States, played small forward
and excelled on defense. He’s headed to
Fordham Prep.
Jamar Easterling, an 8th grade point
guard, was crucial to M.A.T.’s comeback
down the stretch in the championship
Jason Montanez, an 8th grade shooting
guard, was the silent assasin for the boys all
year. LeSean Chatfield, an 8th grader, was
the other big man down low that M.A.T.
needed so badly and was exceptional all year
in the paint.
Next year, the Dragons return a strong
core of players, including guards Anthony
Peralta, Raleek Tanner and big man Xavier
St. John.
“I’m just blessed to have had the season
we did and I told the boys that there are
lessons to learn through losing, and most
of the time, you’re stronger in the long run
for the losses you take now,” DeMatteo
said. “They’ve learned that life can knock
you down, and it’s important to get back up
and not quit when things don’t go your way.
In the end, they’ll be better off for having
learned that now rather than winning and
believing life is just that easy, because it’s
not. I will miss this group with all of my
I.S. 89 Cougar Sonia Bloom skies for the opening tip in the championship game
against Baruch Sunday.
Downtown Express photos by Elisabeth Robert
M.A.T’s LeSean Chatfield and Jamar Easterling in Sunday’s championship game against Baruch.
Heartbreak for M.A.T.’s and I.S. 89’s ‘unbeatable’ teams
March 12 - 18, 2010 22
downtown express
THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD! This production of the
time-honored classic is made for children 3 and up—who no
doubt will thrill to the colorful life-sized toys, songs, dances and
one cute little engine who thinks he can, then knows he can. It’s
a great life lesson about the power of optimism and motivation.
Sunday, March 14, 3pm; at BMCC Tribeca PAC (199 Chambers
Street, between Greenwich Avenue & West Street). Tickets are
$25. For more information, visit www.tribecapac.org.
THE NYPD EXPLORERS This after-school program for youths
aged 14-20 years lets its participants (the “Explorers”) acquire
leadership skills while logging community service hours needed
for high school. Participants learn a how to perform outreach in
the community on crime prevention issues (by joining the Graffiti
clean-up program or performing skits on everything from Search
and Seizure procedures to Domestic Violence). For information,
visit www.1stprecinctcc.org.
THE LITTLE AIRPLANE STUDIO This tour gives kids an
insider’s look at how children’s television is made. Every aspect
of production — from writing to animation to voice-over record-
ing — will be explained to families by the Little Airplane creative
team. Tuesdays and Thursdays, at 11am and 3pm; at 207 Front
Street (South Street Seaport). $10 per person; reservations
required. Call 212-965-8999 or visit www.littleairplane.com.
GLOBAL STORY HOUR Through weekly stories, participants
learn about new countries and cultures, participate in interac-
tive activities, and learn how to make a difference. Every Tues at
3:30pm. Action Center to End World Hunger, 6 River Terrace, Bat-
tery Park City. Call 212-537-0511 or visit actioncenter.org.
DATE The “Drop-In” is a great place to bring toddlers.
While the children play together, parents can socialize in the
Parenting Center. The New Parent “Drop-In” gives new par-
ents the chance to discuss their concerns and ask questions.
Topics include feeding, sleeping, creating support networks.
Punch card for 10 sessions is $100. Playdate Drop-Ins are
Mon & Thurs, 10-11:30am and Tues 3-4:30pm. New Parent
Drop-Ins are Mon 1:30-3:30pm. Educational Alliance Down-
town Parenting Center,197 East Broadway (between Jeffer-
son & Clinton St). Visit edalliance.org.
TRIBECA CINEMAS KIDS CLUB This new series features
classic short and feature length films — appropriate for all
ages, and augmented by Q&A sessions, arts and crafts, live
music and (healthy) snacks! Tickets: $7 for under 14, $12 for
double feature. Adults (over 14): $10, $18 for double feature.
Purchase in advance at www.tribecafilm.com/kidsclub on
the day of event (btw 9am and 2pm) at the Tribeca Cinemas
Box Office, 54 Varick St. For info, call 212-941-2001. Sat,
March 20, “The Big Green Rabbit” takes the PBS sensation
from the small screen to the big one with some Emmy-award
winning episodes. Afterwards, it’s the 1973 animated film
“Charlotte’s Web.” Be prepared for some wet eyes at the end
of that one!
UM Just because they’re not in school doesn’t mean they have
to stay at home. This drop-off program teaches kids ages 6-12
the skills it takes to be a police officer (with each day featuring
a different theme: CSI chemistry, police vehicles, communication,
critical thinking and mystery solving). $10 per day. To register, call
212 480-3100 x 116. March 31 and April 1, 2, 5: “Spring Recess
— Junior Police Academy.” Same rates and hours apply. At The
New York City Police Museum (100 Old Slip). Visit www.nycpo-
licemuseum.org .
business — then do it for real. Your team will conduct industry
research, and work with the designer on product development
— sourcing, creating a marketing/sales strategy, then preparing
a presentation to retail buyers. Graduates emerge with a letter
of confirmation and an executed business plan that shows the
results of your efforts to perspective employers and investors.
Camp sessions run March 29-April 2 and April 5-9 (Mon-Fri,
10am-5pm). $429 for the 5-day workshop. In grades 8-12 and up
for the challenge? There are only 9 students per project. For more
information, visit www.teenentrepreneurbootcamp.org or contact
Pam at 212-227-7276.
Arts Centre, in collaboration with Asian Americans for Equality,
sponsors this series. Teacher Bei Wen Tan’s is designed to stimu-
late creativity explore artistic originality and cultural background.
Evelyn Yee, LCAT, Art Therapist, will serve as consultant to speak
and review the children’s work. Classes take place Sundays, from
11:30am to 4:30pm at 111 Norfolk St on the lower level; for chil-
dren from 4 1/2 to 14 years old. Parents can register Mon through
Fri, 10am to 5pm at 111 Norfolk. Speak to Jennie Lau. Tuition is
$225 and includes all supplies. Call 212 358 9922. Or Visit www.
moms and dads! This weekly event features maritime-themed
activities and stories, plus unstructured play. Wed, March 17,
24, 31; 11am-12:30pm. At South Street Seaport Museum (12
Fulton St.). $50 per month. Single day, $15. Member rate, $25
per month. Call 212-748-8786 or visit www.southstreetsea-
TOWN EXPRESS KIDS LISTINGS? Listings requests may
be e-mailed to scott@downtownexpress.com. Please provide the
date, time, location, price and a description of the event. Infor-
mation may also be mailed to 145 Avenue of the Americas, New
York, NY 10013-1548. Requests must be received two weeks
before the event is to be published. Questions? Call 646-452-
early registration discount until April 1
come play with us this
For catalogue:
74 Warren Street
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For an appointment, call 212-941-9095
19 Murray Street
Between Church & Broadway
General Dentistry & Cosmetic
Dentistry + Implants
Bleaching + Orthodontics
Dr. Martin Gottlieb
Dr. Raphael Santore
Dr. Reena Clarkson,
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Pediatric Dentists
Want to acquaint your children with the police?
Here’s one method that doesn’t involve juvenile
delinquency or property damage — in fact, it’s
designed to nip those doomsday scenarios in the
bud. Sponsored by the Police Athletic League, “Cops
& Kids” is a citywide program designed to foster
positive relations between Manhattan youth (ages
14-17) and the NYPD. The spring session (March/
April) features volleyball and soccer. The summer-
time edition (July) offers the chance to play softball.
To sign up, call PAL’s Field Operations Department at
212-477-9450, ext. 389. For more information, visit
Photo by Jerry Speier
From 2009’s Cops & Kids
Softball Tournament
Pick of the Week
downtown express
March 12 - 18, 2010 23
One of the more innovative — and certainly
the most esoteric — public program series in
the city has got to be “Brainwave.”
Now in its third year, “Brainwave” (present-
ed by the Rubin Museum of Art) pairs promi-
nent scientists with equally important artists
and educators to discuss issues of the human
mind and how it perceives the world.
The project is the brainchild, if you will,
of Tim McHenry — the Rubin’s director of
programming since the launch of the museum
in 2003. “[The series] comes out of the pro-
grammatic content of the museum,” explains
McHenry (the Rubin specializes in art from the
Himalayan region). “We have a lot of Buddhist
art. Buddhism is a practice that enables you to
reach enlightenment through absolute focus…
control of you own mind. When you train your
mind, it changes your brain. You can’t do it
unless you know what that is. For the rest of
us, it’s helpful to know how that works, which
is the premise of the series. And so, for the price
of admission everyone ends up enlightened!”
he jokes.
McHenry cites the work of researchers like
French author/biologist Mattheiu Ricard and
neuroscientist Richard Davidson with pioneer-
ing the study of meditation’s effects on the
brain. However, he appropriately credits him-
self for the idea of pairing such experts with
people from other fields.
“Brainwave” launched in 2006, though,
according to McHenry, not without some reser-
vations. “Some people had doubts,” he recalls.
“They wondered, ‘what’s it got to do with us?’
— meaning the [Rubin] museum. But if you
can’t take risks, you shouldn’t be in the busi-
ness. We were a young institution with nothing
to lose; and this museum itself is an experiment.
Every institution needs to constantly reinvent
itself on some level to stay ahead of the game.
This series makes people think, which is what
we’re here for.”
Of course, it doesn’t hurt the success of
your program if its ideas are being expressed by
nationally known writers, artists and entertain-
ers such as Paul Simon, Moby, Lewis Black, Tom
Wolfe, Julie Taymor, and R.L. Stine. McHenry,
who programmed the “New Yorker” Festival
during its first four years, clearly knows the box
office value of star power. Still, he insists, it’s the
opportunity for these people to hash out ideas
with important scientific thinkers that attracts
these participants.
“The chance to collaborate with people from
different disciplines doesn’t happen very often
[for them], says McHenry. “That’s what moti-
vates them. Experimentation is second nature
to these people.”
This year, the stars will be talking about…
stars. In conjunction with the Rubin’s exhibition
“Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean
to an Evolving Universe” (on view through May
10), the museum is supplementing its normal
menu of discussions with neuroscientists and
artists with visits by physicists and astronomers,
to, as McHenry puts it, “wrap our minds around
notions of infinity.”
The exhibition itself gathers together works
of Himalayan art representing its three principal
religions (Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism)
and their various cosmological myths. Alongside
these is an exhibition of Western theory on the
subject, stretching from Aristotle and Ptolemy
to a fascinating new film by the American
Museum of Natural History that illustrates the
earth’s place in the universe as derived from the
latest telescopic mapping.
The current “Brainwave” season launched
February with a dialogue between choreog-
rapher Mark Morris and neuroscientist Bevil
R. Conway. There have been programs every
weekend since then. I was lucky enough to catch
two of the more exciting pairings. Interestingly,
in both cases the scientists proved just as lively
and amusing as the artists, and the artists just as
intellectually inquisitive (if not as good at math)
as the scientists.
The first — “What Time Is It?” — matched
screenwriter/director Charlie Kaufman
(“Synecdoche, New York”, “Being John
Malkovich”) with physicist Brian Greene, host
of PBS’s “The Elegant Universe” and author
of the children’s book “Icarus at the Edge of
Kaufman has spoken at the Rubin before (on
the subject of Jung’s “Red Book”) — but in this
discussion, Green proved the more dominant
presenter; not just in the depth and breadth of
his ideas, but in the compelling, entertaining
manner in which he presented them. Not only
is Greene fast on the draw (“Could you repeat
the question?” was his quick witted reply to one
audience member’s interminable query), but he
has a knack for helping us digest astoundingly
complex notions like string theory, Quantum
mechanics and the idea of a “Multiverse.”
The principal concept one took away from
the talk was the idea that there may be no actual
flow or movement to time; that instead, it may
be structured much more like a grid of simul-
taneous, equally valid “nows”. It was thoughts
such as these that inspired the question “Do
you guys smoke a lot of pot?” from an audience
member — who turned out to be “New Yorker”
writer Susan Orlean, upon whose book (“The
Orchid Thief”) Kaufman’s film “Adaptation”
was based.
Equally heady was a colloquy called “How
Did the Universe Get Its Spots?” — between
Barnard College astrophysicist and author
Janna Levin, and performance artist Laurie
Anderson (the first — “and the last,” she quips
— artist-in-residence at NASA). As might be
expected, Anderson proved spacey in more
ways than one, although with humor and
charm to spare. She brought along a dog-eared
copy of Levin’s most recent book “How the
Universe Got Its Spots” — in which the author
expresses a new theory (shared by some) that
the universe, contrary to widespread belief,
may actually be finite; and constructed in a sort
of loop. The idea, Levin admits, is one that can
be expressed mathematically (but likely could
never be empirically proven).
The houses for both programs were
packed; not only with ordinary, inquisitive
New Yorkers, but also the likes of Lou Reed
and his entourage — which took up most
of an entire row (Reed himself is a former
presenter in the “Brainwave” series).
Presiding over both of these mind-
expanding conversations was McHenry him-
self — a charismatic, witty host who could
easily take his entertaining and polished act
to television or radio. Interestingly, he proves
to have to do very little interceding to keep
his discussions flowing. The speakers do
just fine on their own. However, McHenry’s
introductions and closing encapsulations
are as thought-provoking as the ideas of his
“Our brains are all we’ve got,” McHenry
gushes. “Its capabilities are limitless, so how
can there be any limit to the engagement
with that? And so we forge ahead.”
‘Brainwave’ fuses art, science, philosophy
N.Y.’s most contemplative museum considers the mind’s ‘limitless capabilities’
Photo by Michael J. Palma
Performance artist Laurie Anderson (left) and astrophysicist/author Janna Levin
Through April 19th
At the Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th Street, at Seventh Avenue
Call 212-620-5000
For a schedule of events, visit www.rmanyc.org
“Brainwave” pairs
prominent scientists with
equally important artists
and educators to discuss
issues of the human mind
and how it perceives the
March 12 - 18, 2010 24
downtown express
Before seeing this film, I had never heard
of Veit Harlan — who directed the 1940
movie “Jew Süss.” — which Manohla Dargis
of The New York Times described as “one
of the Nazis’ most notorious anti-Semitic
works.” Dargis also stated (in her review of
“Harlan”) that when “Jew Süss” was shown
at the 1940 Venice Film Festival, it was
“excitedly received.”
No surprise when you recall that the
United States and most countries in Europe
at the time were grossly anti-Semitic. No
one rushed in to save the Jews from the
assaults by Nazis and fascists — which cul-
minated in the Final Solution: death camps.
Anti-Semitic acts and violence against Jews
were committed not only by the people of
Germany and Italy, but also those through-
out Eastern Europe in Poland, Hungary
and even in the Soviet Union as they had in
Czarist Russia.
It was Joseph Goebbels, minister of pro-
paganda under Hitler, who gave Harlan (then
the most lauded of German directors) the
assignment of creating a cinematic master-
piece designed to draw the European popu-
lace to great heights of anti-Semitic violence
and hatred. I thought that role had been
played by Leni Riefenstahl — who helped
the Nazis glorify their regime with her films
“Triumph of the Will” and “Olympia.”
Interestingly, after the defeat of Nazi
Germany in World War II, he was tried for
war crimes and acquitted. Why? I don’t
know; but if helping the Nazi cause were
sufficient basis for conviction, almost the
entire German nation would have been
found guilty. Very few people opposed
Hitler openly.
Today, things are totally different. Under
Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany is prob-
ably the most active nation in Europe in terms
of condemning anti-Semitism and prevent-
ing its recurrence. I met Ms. Merkel when
I went to Berlin in 2004 as Chairman of the
U.S. Delegation to the Conference on Anti-
Semitism (sponsored by the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe).
She welcomed my delegation with a mag-
nificent speech denouncing anti-Semitism
— clearly displaying her strong emotions on
the subject. She was shortly to become the
Chancellor of Germany.
The conference was extraordinarily suc-
cessful in binding the 55 member nations
in their resolve to combat and seek to
eliminate contemporary anti-Semitism by
enacting civil legislation and educating youth
throughout the world of the dangers of anti-
Now back to the film. This movie is
a one-trick pony. It depicts the efforts
of Harlan’s children and grandchildren —
many who appear in the film — to clear his
name from the taint of anti-Semitism. They
didn’t convince me. His films, the product
of his ability to produce “art,” added to his
reputation as he depicted Jews as threatening
to dominate the world and, in the case of
“Jew Süss,” adding the sexual ingredient of a
despoiler who was responsible for the death
of a German woman.
I went to see this film, hoping that it
would include more footage of “Jew Süss.”
Although that movie was used primarily
as the vehicle for Harlan’s descendants to
defend him in this documentary, only a few
snippets of the actual movie were displayed.
One exception in terms of his family’s defense
was his oldest son — who appeared to recog-
nize his father’s contribution to the deaths of
so many Jews (six million is the number, not
mentioned). In any event, I suggest that the
comments of Harlan’s family on a 70-year-
old movie do not make a film for today.
Henry Stern said: “The movie consisted
mostly of interviews with Harlan’s descendants
as to how their lives had been affected by
their ancestor’s fame and subsequent notori-
ety. Predictably, their reactions varied — with
Veit Harlan’s son making films to atone for his
father’s propaganda movies shot for Goebbels.
The film would have been stronger if it had
more of “Jew Süss” in it; although then it
might have been illegal to show it in Germany,
the country where it is likely to attract the
most interest. Holocaust movies remind us
of the horror of the events, and the roles that
ordinary people played in it. The film is not
a great contribution to its genre; but it is for-
tunate that it was made, so that the cinematic
aspect of the monstrous crimes committed by
Germany under Hitler is explored.”
Unrated; 99 minutes. In German, French
& Italian with English subtitles. Screening
through March 16th at Film Forum; 209
West Houston Street, between 6th Avenue
and Varick (7th Avenue). For the Box Office,
call 212-727-8110.
Veit Harlan
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Phone: 212.406.4551 Fax: 212.406.4699 www.tjbyrnes.com
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Corned Beef
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Broiled Salmon with Caper Lemon Sauce
Shepherds Pie
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Smoked Salmon Served on Brown Bread
with Capers & Red Onions
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downtown express
March 12 - 18, 2010 25
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admission with this ad
March comes in like a (sea?) lion at South
Street Seaport, with a slew of events. Fri,
March 19, 5-8pm: “Meet the Working
Waterfront.” Meet working captains,
maritime engineers, and other New York
waterfront workers in person to hear
their stories. March 13, 14, and 27, 28;
1 and 3pm: “Decodence” occurs at the
Schermerhorn Row Gallery and takes a
look at The Normandie — a fast, large,
long ocean liner packed with Art Deco
designs. Through March 31, “Monarchs
of the Sea” celebrates the era of the
ocean liner. Thurs-Sun, 10am-5pm at the
Walter Lord Gallery (209 Water Street).
South Street Seaport Museum is located
at 12 Fulton Street. Call 212-748-8786 or
visit www.southstreetseaportmuseum.
twice-monthly series created to feature
interesting, innovative and thought-
provoking documentary films. March 22,
7:30pm, “Nerdcore Rising” investigates
the newest wave of Hip-Hop. Tickets are
$10, $8 for students/seniors. Purchase
at the box office. At Tribeca Cinemas, 54
Varick Street (corner of Laight). For more
information, call 212-941-2001.
TERY POETS HOUSE Park City has a
50,000-volume poetry library, children’s
room, multimedia archive, programming
hall and reading room. At 10 River Ter-
race at Murray St. Call 212-431-7920 or
visit www.poetshouse.org. Tues, March
16, 7:00pm: “Lyric Persuasions: A Con-
versation with Rae Armantrout & Norman
Fischer” has poet Rae Armantrout and
Zen Buddhist priest and poet Norman Fis-
cher investigating new and old concepts
of the lyric, using their own poems as
jumping-off points. $10, $7 for students
and seniors.
JAZZ NIGHT EVERY Friday through
March, take the winter blues away with
this weekly event (free to members).
7-9pm, at the Downtown Community
Center (120 Warren Street). Call 212-766-
1104 or visit www.ManhattanYouth.org.
SWIM Seniors 65 and up who live
downtown can swim free in the Down-
town Community Center’s very warm,
very beautiful pool (after you fill out a
no-hassle registration form). Mondays
through Fridays Noon to 1:30pm. If swim-
ming on your own isn’t your cup of tea,
their Water Aerobics class is offered
Mon-Fri, 12:45-1:20pm. At the Downtown
Community Center, 120 Warren Street.
For more information, call 212-766-1104
or visit www.manhattanyouth.org.
CITY WINERY Every Sunday, the Klezmer
Brunch Series pairs top tier musicians with
top tier lox and bagels. At City Winery (155
Varick St at Vandam). Call 212-608-0555 or,
for a full schedule of upcoming events, visit
new series features classic short and
feature length films — appropriate for all
ages, and augmented by Q&A sessions,
arts and crafts, live music and (healthy)
snacks! Tickets: $7 for under 14, $12 for
double feature. Adults (over 14): $10, $18
for double feature. Purchase in advance
at www.tribecafilm.com/kidsclub on the
day of event (btw 9am and 2pm) at the
Tribeca Cinemas Box Office, 54 Varick St.
For info, call 212-941-2001. Sat, March
20, “The Big Green Rabbit” takes the PBS
sensation from the small screen to the big
one with some Emmy-award winning epi-
sodes. Afterwards, it’s the 1973 animated
film “Charlotte’s Web.” Be prepared for
some wet eyes at the end of that one!
ART IN GENERAL: “Anti-Prow.” The
works of Peter Rostovsky and Olav West-
phalen address fantasies of empowered
authorship and rational control in the
creative process. Through March 20 (79
Walker St., btw. Bowery and Lafayette
St.) Call 212-219-0473 or visit www.art-
CAN INDIAN: “Ramp It Up: Skateboard
Culture in Native America.” This exhibi-
tion celebrates the vibrancy, creativity,
and controversy of American Indian skate
culture. Through June 27 (George Gustav
Heye Center, 1 Bowling Green). Call 212-
514-3700 or visit www.nmai.si.edu.
Bowery Boys.” This exhibition of new
large-scale oil paintings explores the
history of “bad boys” in underground art.
Through March 27 (18 Wooster St., below
Grand St.). Call 212-343-7300 or visit
TEAM: “Gert & Uwe Tobias: Entitled
Come and See Before the Tourists Will
Do - The Mystery of Transylvania.” In
their new body of work, the identical twin
brothers provide us with graphic works on
paper that involve printmaking. Through
March 13 (83 Grand St., btw. Wooster
and Greene St.). Call 212-279-9219 or
visit www.teamgal.com.
Marks.” This exhibition is comprised of
works by Agnes Barley, Jerome Mar-
shak, and Peter Matthews, whose works
describe and interpret aspects of the sea.
Through April 5 (35 Wooster St., below
Broome St.). Call 212-219-2166 or visit
town Express may be mailed to Listings
Editor at 145 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10013 or e-mailed to
scott@downtownexpress.com. Please
include listings in the subject line of the
e-mail and provide the date, time, loca-
tion, price and a description of the event.
Information must be received two weeks
before the event is to be published. Ques-
tions? Call 646-452-2507.
Want to do something genuinely Irish for St. Patrick’s Day
(that doesn’t involve drinking or marching down Fifth
Avenue)? Irish servant Bridget Murphy invites you for a
back-stairs tour of the Merchant’s House Museum. See the
fourth-floor servants’ quarters (usually off limits to visitors),
and hear tales of the Irish women who lived and worked in
the house during the 1850s. Then, sample Bridget’s famous
green tea punch while tapping your feet to traditional harp
and bagpipe music. March 17th, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; tours
begin every 15 minutes. At Merchant’s House Museum (29
East Fourth St., btw. Lafayette & Bowery). Reservations
suggested. For tickets ($25), call 212-777-1089. Visit www.
Julie Linnard as an 1885
Pick of the Week
March 12 - 18, 2010 26
downtown express
If you don’t count the rock outcropping
in Central Park; or the waters encircling us;
or the sky above; or the Inwood Hill Park
caves — then I’m standing beside the oldest
tangible and enduring piece of our city.
As far as white civilization goes, this is
as far back as we can get on the island of
This small piece of earth — maybe a
quarter acre and at one time on the fur-
thest outskirts of New Amsterdam — has
never been built on, cleared, and built on
again. It’s enclosed by tenement walk-ups
and apartment complexes (except for its
Here is a very old four-foot high stone
wall ten yards long with an equally old,
paint-peeling iron spiked fence atop it. We
might miss it as we rush downtown, since
right ahead are the mighty ramps of the
Brooklyn Bridge.
If we’re heading uptown, then our eyes
are easily lured to the pastels and exotic
designs in Kimlau Square (once Confucius
Square, and Chatham Square before that).
But if we pause a moment and peer through
the bars above the wall, we’ll see National
Historic Landmark #80002689 — a small
cemetery populated by several sarcophagi
and a few dozen headstones with dates and
letters nearly invisible, most of the stones
white and worn — like the last shards of
melting snow. Somehow, this small yard
has remained this way for over three and a
quarter centuries.
The cemetery is just off one of those
brief streets in New York lasting some-
times for only a block. This one is St.
James Place — though it was known as
New Bowery until 1947 (the name was
changed to honor our beloved Al Smith
— once an altar boy at St. James Roman
Catholic Church around the corner).
We’re at one of those complicated entan-
glements before the Grid Plan straightened
all that out; but the Grid commenced
blocks uptown and years after these streets
wound through lower Manhattan. Down
here, streets and avenues converge. Park
Row turns to Bowery at East Broadway
and all of it uncoiling from deep in the
crowded neighborhoods of narrow streets
but — as Five Points once did — coming
together to form an opening, a square.
Amid this whole aggregation of concrete
and change is a preserved piece of the past,
just like those souls still interred in the
little patch of original Manhattan soil.
It’s fitting that white people’s oldest
remaining creation and artifact on the
island is a cemetery with the remains of
a few of our earliest citizens. I’ve always
liked those people who keep their dead
close by — to continually remind us we too
are mortal. There are a few other cemeter-
ies on Manhattan, but this one came first.
At Chatham Square, shaded and
In the shadow of the Bowery and
East Broadway,
Lies between narrow houses
Hidden from people’s eyes, strange
and faraway,
The first Jewish cemetery in the
In fact, it’s the second cemetery of the
city’s first Jewish congregation, the actual
first probably somewhere just north of
Wall Street but lost to time. Those bur-
ied here are the physical remains of the
earliest Jews to arrive in the New World,
exiles from the Spanish Inquisition; driven
from Europe to Brazil, but later expelled
from there too before sailing for that most
tolerant Dutch port of New Amsterdam
(which, despite Peter Stuyvesant’s objec-
tion, accepted the 23 refugees. That was
Persecuted, came over the deeps
To be able to start a life once more.
Within the earth of this new world, they
soon buried their dead — initially at the
first cemetery, and soon after in this one:
“The First Cemetery of the Spanish and
Portuguese Synagogue Shearith Israel in
the City of New York” reads the inscrip-
tion on the dim plaque along the fence.
Congregation Shearith Israel (which
means “Remnant of Israel” in Hebrew)
is New York’s oldest congregation, still
in town though now up on 70th just off
Central Park West. A century and a quarter
ago, Emma Lazarus sat in its sanctuary as
a member, well-aware that the doors may
not have always been golden but they were
always open. What began as a small trickle
into this Dutch town eventually became
wave after wave of Jewish people; squeez-
ing into the Lower East Side, learning the
language, and loving the city where they
would establish unprecedented influence
in custom and culture, spirit and survival.
This is Jesse Jackson’s “Hymie Town” and
what Hip-Hop poet Kevin Coval implied
when he wrote that in New York “even
Italians know how to make good bagels.”
Here, more than any place before the for-
mation of the State of Israel after World
War II, the wandering Jews found a home:
open, free…
For the people alien and homeless.
These words were written by Naftali
Gross. He was seventeen when he arrived
here in 1913 from Kolomea, a town in
that abused part of the Ukraine continually
invaded from east and west. He worked as a
typesetter at the Jewish Daily Forward just
a few blocks down on East Broadway and
did a Yiddish translation of the Bible. “The
effaced tombstones row by row,” he wrote,
Lie spread out…as though they
Deep underneath the times long
passed away…
The city isn’t exactly scurrying by the
cemetery. Few people drive and even fewer
walk St. James Place; and no one’s been
buried here for over a century and a half.
But that’s the way cemeteries should be;
quiet and remote from the rest of our lives.
Congregation Shearith Israel has received
bountiful offers for this small place. It
has refused and always will, for the land
preserves something more than market-
able real estate. Beneath that ancient
Manhattan earth, perhaps a necklace with
a Jewish star attached still dangles among
bones wherein lies the most fundamental
and enduring spirit of our city — a spirit
of tolerance, resiliency, and hope.
*Translated from Yiddish by Jehiel B.
Cooperman and Sarah A. Cooperman
The Oldest Spot in Town
Time stands still at First Cemetery (1656-1833)
Photo by davidjmartin.com
From the outside, looking in
downtown express
March 12 - 18, 2010 27
5ince 1985
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March 12 - 18, 2010 28
downtown express

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