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Voice of the W. 13th St. 100 Block Association, Inc., 143 W. 13th Street, Suite 105, New York, N.Y. 10011 Issue No. 8 February 2002
The Big Dig—how bad is it going to be?
Thurs., Feb. 21, 2002 7:30 P.M.
At the Markle Residence 123 W 13th Street 4th Floor Lounge
!Flags on 13th St., 9/16/01"
New School dorm—beer busts or Bolshevik dialectics? Also: election of officers
As we celebrate a new year on 13th Street, we must take time to reflect on the tragic events of September 11, acknowledge the grief we all feel, and keep in our hearts and in our thoughts the victims and heroes of that horrific occurrence. The officers of the Block Association wish you the strength and patience to get through these difficult times, and a prayer for peace in our lives and the lives of all humankind. —GARY TOMEI
Checks for the “P.O. James Leahy Memorial Fund” may be dropped off at or sent to the 6th Precinct at 233 W. 10th St., 10014. Leahy was a 10-year vet; proceeds will go to his family. Checks in memory of Det. Richards, who was a 20year veteran of the bomb squad, should be made out to “ESU—Bomb Squad Relief Fund.” They may also be delivered to the 6th Precinct. Our sympathies go out to the members of our local uniformed services, and to the families of the heroes.
Our Local Heroes
Fire Engine Squad 18 at 10th Street and Greenwich Ave. lost seven firefighters on Sept. 11. They are: Ff. Eric Allen Ff. Andy Fredericks Ff. Dave Halderman Ff. Timmy Haskell Lt. Billy McGinn Ff. Manny Molica Ff. Larry Virgillio A fund has been set up for their families. Checks may be made out to “Squad 18 Family Fund,” and dropped off at Fiddlesticks or World of Video, both on Greenwich Ave. south of 11th St. The Sixth Precinct also lost officers in the WTC disaster. They are: P.O. James Leahy Det. Claude (Dan) Richards
Big Dig on 13th Street: Over Three Years of Subway Vent Construction
The NYC Transit Authority will begin 39 months of construction this spring on two new “fan plants” to ventilate the subway. If the start date is this April, the projected end date will be July 2005. It will be the most disruptive project on our block since the mid-1960s, when the express tracks were dug underneath the 6th Avenue local. The project will rehabilitate and expand the plants that now vent out air from the subway, replacing the current 3 fans with 7 that can blow air in and draw air out. Four of these fans, comprising the west fan plant, will be on our side of 6th Ave. We will know that the project has begun when Page 1
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workers start exploratory drilling to see what’s down there. The schedule from that point will be: 1. First 6 months: excavation, building retaining structures at perimeter. 2. Second 6 months: contractor submits detailed plans for elements based upon excavation. 3. Second year: installation & rebuilding utilities. 4. Third year: installation of electrical and mechanical systems for new fan plant. At a community meeting on November 29, principals in the project handed out an information sheet about the project, including their phone numbers. They promised to do all that they can to make life bearable during construction.
Steve Strauss, NYC Transit Government & Community Relations, (718) 694-5135 Carlo Bergonzo, Construction Manager, (646) 252-4788 Sam Mukerji, Resident Engineer, (646) 252-4794
construction. The contractor is responsible for rat extermination. 4. Access. Our access to all buildings, shops, and garage is assured by the NYCTA. 5. Getting through. There will always be at least one car lane and one pedestrian lane available. The pedestrian lane will be suitable for wheelchairs. 6. Utilities will be shut down periodically--with notice to residents--during overnight hours. 7. GOOD NEWS: The rest of the block should get less traffic as cars, trucks, and buses turn away rather than squeeze through the funnel. Moreover, the subways will become safer. What Can We Do to Minimize Disruptions? The block associations (ours and the Upper W. 13th St. B.A., between 5th & 6th Aves.) and coop boards must work with the principals listed to the left. We must demand that Department of Transportation supply an officer to control traffic and deter vagrancy. In addition, everyone call the officials when they have problems because of the dig, and let the Block Association know about it.
(Thanks to Bob McCarthy, Seth Medwick, and David Reck for their help in compiling this article.—aj)
Attendees at the meeting were most disheartened by the officials’ indications that, although the “work hours” section of the information sheet promises that work will occur from 8 A.M. to 3:30 P.M., and not on weekends or evenings, in fact the contractors will not be restricted to those hours. They may work until 8 P.M., and on weekends—both Saturdays and Sundays. (Overtime wage rules might save us from those horrors.) Big Dig Issues for Our Block 1. NOISE! (a) There will be a lot of jackhammering at various points during the project. Not continuous for 39 months, but intermittent. (b) To eliminate the “kerchunk kerchunk” if boards or steel plates were to replace the roadway, removable asphalt blocks, much less noisy, will be used instead. (c) Once installed, the fans will be tested, causing a big whoosh 20 minutes each month. 2. IT’S BIG! Our block will be excavated from north building line to south building line,
Site of the Dig
Real Estate Market After 9/11 Still Strong
Real estate sales for 2001 and particularly since 9/11 were at somewhat lower prices than in year 2000 all over town. However, the market for sales and rentals in New York and on our block is still strong. The Katherine House at 116-120 West 13th has been purchased by the New School. Informed sources tell us that it will be used as a dormitory. A two-bedroom, two-bath apartment at 143 W. 13 (the former church complex) sold for $929,000; a one bedroom in a townhouse sold for $425,000; and a studio in a doorman building sold for $280,000. Currently, two bedrooms with 1-1/2 or two baths range from $559,000 to $775,000, and studios are available at $215,000 and $199,000. Several townhouses on our block are currently for sale at prices ranging from $2.8 to $3.6 million. Rentals range from $1,550 to $1,900 monthly for studios, and up to $3,500 monthly for a parlor floor-through
(Above information provided by Block Association member Kitty Sorell, Corcoran Group, 539-4968.) Attn: HOMEOWNERS IN G.V. HISTORIC DISTRICT The National Architectural Trust affords homeowners in the G.V. Historic District the opportunity to register their homes with the Trust and obtain a significant charitable tax deduction amounting to about 11% of a homeowner’s taxable income. A seminar regarding this program will be held at 4 Wash. Sq. N. on Thurs., Jan. 31 at 7:30 P.M. For further info and to reserve a seat at the seminar, call 888-831-2107.
i starting just west of 6th Ave. and extending past the parking garage. 3. RATS! Rats will likely to be roused by the Page 2
Daffodils of Remembrance
In the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, a Dutch businessman and the city of Amsterdam sent New York a gift of one million daffodil bulbs. These were distributed throughout the city to be planted as a remembrance to those we lost. Our Block Association obtained over 500 of the bulbs from the NYC Department of Parks. Along with the students of City & Country School, many residents have planted them in our tree pits, planters, and gardens. This spring, the blooming daffodils will signify remembrance and renewal.
our corners. We have complained to the stores that distribute flyers, which quickly become litter. Most have been responsive to our requests. Lights vs. Crime: We’ve been successful in ridding our street of major crimes. One reason is that we keep the block well lit at night. Report any streetlamp malfunction and insist upon quick repair. [442-7070] Also, please maintain lights in front of your buildings and keep them on all night.
Garbage Can Enclosures
The garbage can enclosures at the corners of our block have been well-received. While they do overflow occasionally from heavy use, they hold much more than the smaller wire mesh cans, and they keep the contents out of sight. Our gratitude goes to the Galileo store at 13th St. and Seventh Ave. and the Spring Health Food store at 13th St. and Sixth Ave. for their constant vigilance in keeping their corners clean. Periodically the containers are cleaned, the graffiti and stickers removed, and the cans get a new coat of paint.
Each year the 32 tree pits along our block are fertilized. In 2001, all the trees were trimmed and one was cabled. Some of the iron fence guards were replaced and some were repaired. If we have the permission of the homeowner, we plant flowers and maintain them over the summer.
Flags, Plants, Decorations Stolen; Graffiti & Litter; Lights Stop Crime
After the unprecedented WTC tragedy, many neighbors displayed American flags, some of which then were stolen. While we do not believe that our neighbors stole them, we also wonder whether any of these acts of desecration were seen but ignored by people living on the block. A more alert and cooperative Block Association membership can lessen these affronts to our peace, tranquility, and security. If you do see an act of vandalism, a crime or a violation occurring, please intervene, either personally or by calling the police. [911 or 741-4811] While the flag incidents are rare, there have also been thefts of plants, outdoor planters, holiday wreaths, and holiday lights. We have been reasonably successful keeping our block free from graffiti and litter. Periodically we remove graffiti and stickers from the Rite-Aid wall, lampposts, mailboxes and signs along the block and at
Officers of the Block Association: Gary Tomei, President; Nancy Deckinger, 1st Vice-President; Alan Jacobs, 2nd Vice-President; Robert Kittine, Secretary; Bill Borenstein, Treasurer. Steering committee includes: Officers plus Dorothy Graham (Beautification Committee chair); Larry Fruchter (Community Relations chair). Newsletter published by Alan Jacobs, 727-7462, or email@example.com. Contributors: Gary Tomei, Bill Borenstein, Nancy Deckinger, Kitty Sorell.
13th St.: Scorched in the Frozen Zone
We who were here, two miles from the attack, cannot forget those days of confusion, bravery, outrage, shock, and sadness. We were in the middle of it, trapped in the frozen zone, but beyond risk of bodily harm. When we left our houses, we drifted through horror. Wanderers prowled our streets searching for kin. The stench seeped through our paper masks. The stillness near our hospital confirmed what we did not want to know: there would be few survivors in the wreckage. Medical doctors were not much needed; this was a job for the cleric, the psychologist, the mortician, the Mayor, the neighbor. We consoled the searchers. Our senses scorched, our neighborhood survives.
The view from here.
The Markle: Always a Good Neighbor
The John and Mary Markle Memorial Evangeline Residence has been a positive presence on our block since it opened over 70 years ago. The dream of Salvation Army Commander
Dedication ceremony, 6/14/30 Evangeline Booth was to open a magnificent residence for young working women in our neighborhood. Evangeline Booth was the daughter of the founders of the Salvation Army, William and Catherine Booth, and one of only two women to attain the rank of General in the organization. The biography John Markle: Representative American tells us that when Commander Booth informed Mr. Markle, a coal magnate and philanthropist, of her dream, he asked how much it would cost. She answered “$500,000.” He instantly pledged the money, claiming, “I’ve got it right here in my jeans.” The prestigious architectural firm of Vorhees, Gmelin & Walker designed the building which, along with its counterpart Commander Evangeline Booth, on view in the Markle lobby Temple on 14th Page 4
St., is regarded as one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture. Originally, the building featured amenities such as a full gymnasium, Olympic size pool, and wood paneled library. Still in existence is the lovely roof garden, with magnificent 360° views. In the 1950s, Victoria Lanard, the Markle’s assistant administrator and lifetime Village resident, tells us that our predecessor block assoThe Mighty Markle ciation was the first to receive matching funds from the City to plant trees. She further tells us that many Markle residents helped in the planting, thereby creating our leafy urban haven. Following in the tradition of civic involvement, the Markle has been a member of our Block Association since its inception. At the outset, residence was limited to women no older than 35 making no more than $35 a week. The room rates varied from $8.50 to $13 a week. The Markle now accepts women of all ages as well as male senior citizens. Current weekly room rates vary from $235 for a private room to $143 to share a quad. For more The Roof Garden information, including numerous activities for senior citizens, call 242- 2400.
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