Under Cover, Week of Feb. 26, 2015

Silver Speculation
With Shelly Silver out as Assembly speaker and under indictment, there naturally has been some scuttlebutt as to who might run for his Assembly seat if it opens up, but not nearly as much as we would have guessed.

Even if Silver beats the rap, he could very well decide not to run for reelection next year, and if he pleads or is convicted he would have no choice.

We’re not surprised Democratic district leader Paul Newell told the New York Post he is considering a run. In addition to challenging Silver in 2008, Newell told UnderCover two years ago he was ready to run for state senate if Sen. Daniel Squadron was successful in his run for public advocate. He also told us then that rather than a run for the City Council, Albany was the place he wanted to be.

Jenifer Rajkumar, the Democratic district leader who did run for the aforementioned City Council seat in 2013, has also been talked about as a Silver replacement, but we’re far less certain.

She didn’t comment, and Newell didn’t return our call — Paul, we’re wondering if it was something we said.

Lastly, there’s Julie Menin, the former Community Board 1 chairperson, but that’s another one we’re doubtful about.

As it turns out, Menin swung by our offices last week to talk about what she’s up to as the new commissioner of Consumer Affairs.

We felt sure she wouldn’t want to talk about the Silver seat although we appreciated our friend for asking anyway — you never know. We thought the old job interview question — where do you see yourself in 10 years — might get us something since she wouldn’t have to undercut her boss, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and could assume his reelection, but alas, she told us she was focused on her current job.

To be continued, perhaps.

Seaport talk
The City Council confirmed Wellington Chen to the Landmarks Preservation Commission two weeks ago, although it’s still not clear if he will be able to deliberate on the South Street Seaport development application when it reaches the commission.

Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corp., has taken a strong interest in the Seaport, and is friendly with some of the plan’s opponents, although it does not appear he has taken a position on the project.

Chen told us he’ll let lawyers with L.P.C. and the Conflict of Interest board determine what he should do.

We’re not sure when the Howard Hughes Corp. plan will get to Landmarks. The main reason for the holdup now appears to be that Hughes doesn’t know what the Pier 16 building for the South Street Seaport Museum will look like because the museum hasn’t told the firm what it wants.

Captain Jonathan Boulware, the museum’s interim president, told us the museum is close to finalizing a “conceptual design” for the building, but he wasn’t sure when that would be.

UnderCover UnderGround
If you’ve been wishing for an end to the constant reminders from subway conductors to move to the front of Downtown 1 trains, file this one under be careful what you wish for.

You see relief is in sight this year, but not the sort you probably were hoping for. You see the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to begin shutting down the 1 south of Chambers St. in 2015 so it can finally begin renovating the Cortlandt St. station under the World Trade Center.

This work is not connected to reopening the newer, South Ferry station platform which is long enough to allow all subway cars to open. That one was damaged almost three years ago as a result of Hurricane Sandy. It could reopen in 2017.

Cortlandt St., severely damaged on 9/11 — 14 years ago — has been held up by W.T.C. construction and a funding dispute between the M.T.A. and Port Authority.

This week the dispute was resolved and the M.T.A. tells us the 1 will have ”intermittent closures” starting this year, but the exact schedule is still to be determined.  The closures could last until 2018, when Cortlandt is expected to open.

We snark because we love — it’d be nice if something like the Move NY  tolling plan by  Gridlock Sam” Schwartz, a.k.a. our own Transit Sam, moved across the finish line so the M.T.A. would have money to do even better projects faster.

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