Under Cover, Week of Feb. 6, 2013

Defending Downtown
“We’ve had enough of the real disasters — when did Lower Manhattan become the standard unit of destruction measurement,” Downtowner and “Daily Show” host Jon  Stewart asked on his show last week after showing a news clip about North Korean nuclear weapons.  To illustrate how powerful the weapons were, she showed a map of Downtown covered in a red circle.

It’s nice to see that Stewart — who may have been the person most responsible for shaming Congress into passing the Zadroga Act in 2011 to help 9/11 health patients — is still defending Downtown.

Slums of B.P.C.?
Battery Park City has attracted the likes of Leonardo  DiCaprio, Andrew Cuomo and NYPD Commish Ray Kelly, but the Daily Mail headline in classic Fleet Street style was: “Fraudster Peter Madoff downsizes to a $3,200-a-month…Battery Park apartment (before he goes to even smaller quarters in jail).”

After pleading guilty, Madoff, the brother of the even more notorious Bernie Madoff, and his wife sold their large Park Ave. apartment to move down to a cozy Rector Pl. one bedroom.

All of the article’s comments were posted from from the U.S. Peter Sterling of Seattle seemed to have a better handle on the nabe than the Mail. “A come down for them, a step up for most people in NY,” he wrote.

BID-DING Farewell
We stopped by the Lower East Side Business Improvement District’s annual meeting on Monday night, which was held at the new Finale nightclub at 199 Bowery. By the way, that club has already become the source of some neighborhood complaints — we hear that residents are going to be storming next week’s C.B. 3 S.L.A. Committee meeting in attempt to have their liquor license revoked — but that’s a story for another day.

At Monday’s meeting, it was of course all about the BID’s successes of the past year, which notably included the establishment of a $10,000 grant fund for member businesses that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Nine L.E.S. businesses received the loot: Saxelby Cheesemongers, Goodfellas, Congee Village, Georgia’s Eastside BBQ, Melt Bakery, Boubouki, Heritage Meats, Delicate Raymond Jewelry Bar and The Living Room.

There was also a big “thank you” to Mark Miller, who owns 92 Orchard St. and who served as the BID’s president from 2008 until the end of this past year.

Miller’s work was rewarded with a proclamation from the office of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, as a well as a plaque and gift of an iPad from the BID, which was presented by Executive Director Bob Zuckerman and Vice President Michael Forrest.

Talking Tribeca
Everything you ever wanted to know about Tribeca’s historic districts but were afraid to ask will be discussed Feb. 24 by a truly expert panel put together by the Tribeca Trust.

Professor Andrew Dolkart, who drew the first proposed map of Tribeca’s historic district and who directs Columbia University’s historic preservation program, is one panelist. The other is Anthony Tung, a former city Landmarks commissioner who will be contrasting in-fill construction in Tribeca and Amsterdam.

The moderator is none other than Hal Bromm, the Tribeca gallery owner and former president of the Historic Districts Council who started the neighborhood committee for the Washington Market District.

The event will be Sun., Feb. 24, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. at New York Law School at W. Broadway and Leonard St.  It’s also old school Tribeca casual: pay as you wish with no RSVP needed.

No Run
So is Terri Cude going to run for City Council against incumbent Margaret Chin, as many have reportedly been urging her to do? Cude told us, “While I am truly honored that community members find my advocacy and energy beneficial, I am not running. I am, however, delighted that District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar is…Jenifer staunchly opposed the N.Y.U. 2031 plan.”

Shooting Straight on Koch
Two things struck us the most about the reaction to Hizzoner Ed Koch’s death. One, was how so many of his persistent critics like Wayne Barrett and Al Sharpton had some genuinely nice things to say about him.  It was a measure of the man that he could garner respect and warmth from many of his foes.

The other was the final hashing out of the “was he gay” issue. Although the Gray Lady at the New York Times declared definitively that there was “no proof,” Andy Humm laid out a convincing case going the other way on the web site of Gay City News, sister publication of Downtown Express.

Humm names a few people with knowledge that Koch was gay, and also cites numerous, unnamed members of Village Independent Democrats who were introduced to apparent boyfriends of Koch.

Some still cling to the idea that it was Koch’s right to keep it private even though he did discuss the matter publicly at least once. But given that he was in charge during the worst health crisis for the city’s gay population, his sexuality does have historical significance.

Regardless, nothing changes the fact that Koch did have a positive effect on the city and that there’ll never be another like him.

The Times got this right: He “is survived by New York itself.”

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