Under Cover, Week of Oct. 23, 2013

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer Standing to the left of Mayor Bloomberg at last week’s Pier 17 groundbreaking are Councilmember Margaret Chin and Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1. To his right, is David Weinreb, C.E.O. of Howard Hughes Corp.

Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Standing to the left of Mayor Bloomberg at last week’s Pier 17 groundbreaking are Councilmember Margaret Chin and Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1. To his right, is David Weinreb, C.E.O. of Howard Hughes Corp.

Notes by the Seaport
The main point of Thursday’s event on Pier 17 was to dig up some dirt, so how could UnderCover stay away?

Downtown Express was well represented at the Seaport event and our team picked up much grist for the column.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his administration has been tight with Howard Hughes Corp. and its predecessors for years, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a tiny bit of tension between the two as they celebrated the beginning of the redevelopment of the pier.

“We are the owner and developer of the South Street Seaport,” David Weinreb, C.E.O. of Hughes, incorrectly said, apparently prompting Bloomberg to raise a figurative eyebrow.

“The city is the owner of Pier 17,” the mayor declared when he took the mic. Hughes is in fact the largest leaseholder at South Street Seaport.

If the corporation wanted to assure residents it would be an able steward of the historic district, perhaps hiring leggy hostesses in tight dresses as part of its glitzy presentation were not wise choices.

One person with local ties said she thought she was going to a fashion show.

When it came time to shovel the dirt piled near, but decidedly away from where the construction will actually occur, we couldn’t help but notice that there were 10 white males in drab business suits.

Before the money shots were taken, it seemed like people connected to Hughes noticed as well, and they helped get Councilmember Margaret Chin to the front.

“You got to get some women in here,” agreed Chin, whose bright red jacket added literal color to the picture.

Chin made sure to be joined by an entirely different Hughes, Catherine McVay Hughes that is, chairperson of Community Board 1, and two of the men drifted away.

We’re not sure, but we also heard that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver purposefully stayed away from the event.

Viva Sophie
We got a chance to look at the write-in candidates for last month’s First District City Council primary and by far, the most interesting name on the list was the late Sofia Gerson, the former school board president and local Democratic leader.

We were certain the vote for Sophie, as everyone called her. had to have been cast by her son,  Alan Gerson, the former councilmember who was defeated four years ago, by this year’s winner, Councilmember Margaret Chin.

After all, Gerson refused to take a position in the race between Chin and Jenifer Rajkumar, and the vote for Sophie Gerson was cast in his Assembly district.

But after speaking with the loving son, we no longer think he cast the vote.

“Officially no comment,” he told us about the tributary vote. Hearing about it did put a smile on his face.

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