Pataki commits to Downtown timeline
By Josh Rogers
Responding to criticisms that the Lower Manhattan rebuilding efforts are proceeding too slowly, Gov. George Pataki last week released an extensive timeline of short and long-term goals, such as a new Greenmarket, which will open across the street from the World Trade Center site this summer, and the last piece – a Downtown link to J.F.K. Airport and the Long Island Rail Road in 2013.

L.M.D.C. begins search for W.T.C. memorial ideas
By Josh Rogers
Any adult with $25 and an idea of how to remember the victims of the 2001 and 1993 terror attacks on America now has the chance to design the permanent memorial for the World Trade Center site.

Chinatown businesses battle SARS fears and rumors
By Elizabeth O’Brien
As rumor played tug-of-war with reality last week in Chinatown, community members voiced concern that an outbreak of the SARS virus—actual or perceived—could bring further economic damage to an area already struggling with fears of the illness.

Police clash with crowds rushing Chinatown banks
By Josh Rogers
Chinatown resembled Bedford Falls at its worst last week as an old-fashioned bank panic prompted over 1,000 immigrants to crowd two neighborhood banks in scenes reminiscent of the rush on the Bailey Building and Loan in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

12 new members join Community Board 1
By Elizabeth O’Brien
For the second year in a row, an unusually high number of new members will join Community Board 1. Retroactive as of April 1, 12 appointees began their two-year terms.

Fields finds a conflict of interest in Pier 40 vote
By Lincoln Anderson
Borough President C. Virginia Fields’ office has just ruled that one of the members of Community Board 2’s waterfront committee had a conflict of interest in voting on matters pertaining to the redevelopment of Pier 40 as part of the Hudson River Park.

Vesuvio, famed bread shop in Soho, is sold
By Albert Amateau
Vesuvio Bakery, at 160 Prince St., where Anthony Dapolito, unofficial Mayor of Greenwich Village, has presided for more than two generations, changed hands last month.

News Briefs
Downtown local

B.P.C. neighbors

Water St. deals

Tribeca teen discovered

Garden winner

Peking staying for now

Gill reappointed

Letters To The Editor

Editorials
Pataki timeline a welcome step
Gov. George Pataki last week began to do what we and others have been calling on him to do: start making decisions about Downtown’s future.

Downtown Notebooks
Krugman up close: ‘What went wrong?’
By John W. Sutter
Paul Krugman, one of the Bush administration’s most tenacious and effective critics arguing from no better perch than a bi-weekly column in the New York Times, addressed a New School University audience last week on the subject, “What went wrong?




Before the M.T.A., I remember Kalikow at The Post

By JERRY TALLMER

In late February or early March of 1988, I stood on the floor of the city room of the New York Post — then on South St., just north of the Brooklyn Bridge — and, with maybe a hundred other ink-stained (okay, computer-stained) wretches, survivors of close to a dozen near-death experiences of our beloved rag throughout the previous 10 years, listened to the new owner introduce himself.

He was quite a nice-looking man, and his name was Peter Kalikow. At the last minute, when it looked like Rupert Murdoch was going to close us down, here was our savior. Ted Kennedy, a frequent recipient of Murdoch-vilification, had, in the Senate, in the middle of the night, boxed Rupert into a corner, forcing him to dispose of either the newspaper or parallel TV interests — and Murdoch was hungry for TV. At that moment of capital punishment for the ancient and honorable journal Dorothy Schiff had sold to Rupert Murdoch, along had come millionaire realtor Kalikow, out of nowhere (more exactly, out of Queens), to tender us renewed life eternal.

Or so it sounded to the troops who had been rallied to the City Room to be addressed by the 45-year-old new publisher. I can only quote from memory, so I won’t use quotation marks, but the key sentences went pretty much like this:

My name is Peter Kalikow, and I don’t expect to die soon, but when I do die it isn’t going to say on my tombstone: He was a man who built a lot of big buildings in Queens. It’s going to say: Peter Kalikow was the publisher of The New York Post. And The Post isn’t going to die, either; you and I are going to be here a long time, and I just want you to know that.

Very inspiring. Of course we all at that moment forgot the day 10 years earlier that Rupert Murdoch had stood on the floor of that same city room and told the assembled troops: “Don’t believe anything you’ve read about me. I’m not going to change anything on this newspaper” — and the very next day, started to change everything, beginning with elimination of the folio (page number) on the back page, so nobody could tell at a glance how few pages there were. Not long after that came the total elimination from The Post of Pulitzer-Prize-winning political cartoonist Herblock, whose sardonic X-ray perceptions of good and evil Murdoch detested.

To the best of my memory, Kalikow didn’t do anything like that. In fact I can’t remember anything he did editorially, one way or the other; he didn’t seem to care, or know, about such matters — the skin, blood, bones, and muscle of a newspaper. The heartbeat.

I remember him walking the halls, a lean and hungry, grayish, handsome figure rather (I thought) like Jay Gatsby, always with a couple of henchmen pacing along at his shoulder — types you would some years later read about in exposés of the Kalikow-era’s “mob-linked newspaper circulation scam.”

Well, if it’s going to say on Peter Kalikow’s tombstone that he was publisher of The New York Post, it will have to add in parentheses (1988-1993), because by 1993 Kalikow was gone.

He left behind a debt of $4.5 million to the government in unpaid (or unforwarded) withholding taxes, and a declaration of bankruptcy — cooked up, I have always been convinced, with Murdoch. That bankruptcy ultimately enabled owner redux Murdoch to wipe out the paper’s contract with the New York Newspaper Guild, force the Post unit into a strike, break the unit, and fire all 287 Guild members — one of whom, chairperson Harry Leykis, a scrappy, ultra-loyal Post staffer for 25 years, died of a heart attack not long after. Harry, like all of us, had had many thousands of dollars in severance pay wiped out overnight, thanks to the corporate bankruptcy laws.

Kalikow, who had declared personal bankruptcy two years earlier, went back to his yacht (docked at its pier on his waterfront Montauk estate), and to the vintage automobiles lining his six-car (or was it eight-car?) garage. And I don’t know what else he put his hand to.

Until, lo and behold, in July 1994, Gov. George Pataki, to whose election campaign Kalikow and members of Kalikow’s family had made substantial contributions, appointed him a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. On March 13, 2001, Kalikow advanced to the position of chairperson of the authority.

He was, as was widely noted, almost nowhere to be seen during the nerve-wracking pre-New Year’s Eve days and nights at the Grand Hyatt four months ago when the whole city — 7 million bus and subway riders, and certainly all 34,000 transit workers — were sweating out a transit strike.

But guess who did show up at the Grand Hyatt one day. Rick Nasti, a vice-president in Kalikow’s real-estate firm and one of those honchos I used to see pacing through the corridors of The Post at Kalikow’s shoulder. Rick Nasti, who had pleaded guilty in that aforementioned 1992 circulation scam and had more recently been forced to quit the M.T.A. (where Kalikow had installed him) because of questions about procurement deals there.

This is the Peter S. Kalikow who sat stolidly and silently through the entire outrageous process by which this city’s transit fares have just now been jacked up by 33 percent without a public vote or, shall we say, a fare thee well; the same Peter S. Kalikow whose entire response to the state and city comptrollers’ thunderbolt charges of cooked books and double bookkeeping on the part of an M.T.A. that has “misled the public” was (to date) that Mr. Hevesi’s and Mr. Thompson’s charges are “outrageous . . . political grandstanding.”

And who then said no more, except, in answer to various questions from the press (as reported by Joyce Purnick in the Times), a tight-lipped “No . . . no . . . no.”Tonight as I go home I know I’ll see at least one very old lady or very old gentleman haul herself/himself painfully up the steps of a bus and wobble a senior citizen’s MetroCard slowly into the slot on the fare box. Or I’ll see an exhausted cleaning woman from Lower Manhattan collapsed in fury on the I.R.T. on the long voyage home to the Bronx. Or a fat mama with three kids, one of them in a stroller, cramming through a subway door that’s snapping at them like a crocodile. When the fare goes up for these people (also for me), I tell you what, Mr. Kalikow. Let’s help them out. Let’s let them sail to work on your yacht.

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IS. 89 film festival ahead of that Tribeca one
By Laura S. Greene
When you grow up in artsy Downtown, maybe you’re never too young to start making documentary and narrative shorts. In fact, you can take an afterschool class to teach you how.

Family Life

Well-played scrimmage
Many of the Downtown Little League games were canceled last weekend because of Saturday’s rain, but the Royals and Diamondbacks played a hard-fought scrimmage on Sunday in East River Park.

High school to open
Millennium High School will occupy its Downtown digs for the start of the school year this September, thanks in part to government funds earmarked for post-Sept. 11 revitalization.

Some parents concerned over new ferry terminal
By Jane Flanagan
A new, temporary ferry terminal, with diesel engine boats shuttling in and out, is set to open in May, across from Rockefeller Playground and Park. Its opening will coincide with the start of the summer season, the busiest time at the park and some neighborhood parents say they are worried.

Children

Resourceful babysitter is quite an icebreaker
By Jane Flanagan
At a preschool event some weeks ago, a woman I’d never met introduced herself and told me that my son Rusty, 41/2, was over at her place having dinner. She knew Rusty well, she said, and he and her 2-year-old daughter were good friends.

Children’s Activities
Everything you will need to plan play with your kid

Arts & Entertainment

Before the M.T.A., I remember Kalikow at The Post
By JERRY TALLMER
In late February or early March of 1988, I stood on the floor of the city room of the New York Post — then on South St., just north of the Brooklyn Bridge — and, with maybe a hundred other ink-stained (okay, computer-stained) wretches, survivors of close to a dozen near-death experiences of our beloved rag throughout the previous 10 years, listened to the new owner introduce himself.

Koch on film
Mayor Koch reviews Raising Victor Vargas and Lilya 4-Ever

Home

Room for Improvement
The best places to let there be light
By Beth Lee Segal
Whenever we turn the clocks ahead to signal spring’s arrival, I ask myself, “how did I live without the clear, pure light of this season?”

The Penny Post
Eulogy for a certain someone
By Andrei Codrescu
One day, a child who had been daydreaming under the big tree, was intercepted by an angry adult who looked at him with one hand on her hip and a ruler in her hand. “What, what?” mumbled the dreamer, who had just driven back an army of intruders and was about to make his victory speech before men in tophats who represented the best minds of all times in the fields of the sciences, arts, and diplomacy.\

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