Jane Rosenthal, center, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, had a pre-festival party lat Friday at Bubble Lounge hosted by Rosenthal, Tribeca Organization and Tribeca Partnership. At left is Rick Davidman, owner of DFN Gallery and a T.O. member, and with him is Henry Buhl, founder of the Partnership. The festivals screenings of childrens films kicks off this weekend and the rest of the movies open May 6. For info or tickets go to www.tribecafilmfestival.org, call 866-265-TIXX, or check out next weeks issus of Downtown Express for a full rundown on the fest.
The Battery Park City Neighbors and Parents Association will hold its annual Springfest celebration this Saturday, May 3, from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at various locations throughout Battery Park City. The event will kick off with a picnic in Rockefeller Park from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., with food donated by FreshDirect and other sponsors, a childrens parade, face paintings, and more. From 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., there will be an afternoon volleyball tournament on the Esplanade Plaza, and from 5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m., there will be a cookout on Pier 25, with free entertainment and food and beverages available for purchase.
Water St. deals
Two of the largest real estate deals in Lower Manhattan since the World Trade Center attack were clinched in April when the owner of 55 Water St. leased a total of more than 640,000 Sq. ft. to Health Insurance Plan of New York and to the Teachers Retirement System of New York.
HIP signed a 20-year lease the second week in April for 485,000 sq. ft. the entire 13-story north building plus the 13th floor of the south building in a deal worth $400 million. HIP will make 55 Water St. its headquarters after consolidating operations from 132 W. 31st St. and 7 W. 34th St.
At the same time, Teachers Retirement System signed a 15-year lease for 157,000 sq. ft. the second, 16th and 17th floors of the south building in a deal worth nearly $100 million.
Retirement Systems of Alabama owns the $3.6-million-sq.-ft. complex, which is the second largest privately-held building in the nation after the Sears Tower in Chicago. The Downtown complex still has about 500,000 sq. ft. available, said Harry Bridgwater, manager of the building.
The two new tenants will bring about 1,700 additional employees Downtown, according to Howard Fiddle of Insignia/ESG, which negotiated the deal for the owner along with CB Richard Ellis. GVA Williams represented HIP and The Staurback Co. acted for Teachers Retirement System.
The owner is putting a food court in the main floor of 55 Water St. and has planned a redesign of the third level outdoor plaza. Bridgwater said last week that he was informing the City Planning Department about the plaza design by landscape architect Ken Smith and that demolition of the current space would begin in a few weeks. Weve been talking with Community Board 1 and intend to follow all the review procedures, Bridgwater said in regard to the plaza.
Tribeca teen discovered
The body of Max Guarino, the Tribeca youth who disappeared with three companions after setting out in a small boat from City Island on a cold night last January, was found on Fri. April 25 in City Island.
Barbara Dufty, Guarinos mother, said on Sunday that she was relieved that her sons body was found but she told a New York Times reporter, We hate the word closure because when you loose a child there is no closure, it is forever.
The recovery of Guarino spurred new efforts by police divers to find the three other youths, Charles Wertenbaker, 16, of City Island; Andrew Melnikov, 16 of the Upper East Side and Henry Badillo, 17, of the Bronx.
The boys were last seen about 9:30 p.m. Jan. 24, a very cold night, just before setting off. A 911 operator received a call an hour later from Badillos cell phone saying he was in a boat in Long Island Sound off City I. and was taking on water. A dispatcher concluded there was not enough information to start a search, so rescuers did not begin until 14 hours later.
The families of the boys have filed papers concerning their intention to file wrongful death lawsuits on the grounds that police mishandled the 911 phone call. Dufty and the other mothers have been lobbying Albany to take quick action to pinpoint the locations of all 911 calls from cell phones. A surcharge on all cell-phone calls is expected to pay for the proposed system, which has not yet been installed.
I just dont want this to ever happen to another mother knowing that help could have come but didnt, said Dufty.
The winning design for the $2.5 million British Memorial Garden will be presented to the public today, Aug. 29, in a Hanover Sq. ceremony with Princess Anne as the honored guest.
The design by Bannerman, a British landscape architect chosen last week from six submissions, features formal plantings, yew trees and pruned shrubbery.
The Friends of the British Memorial Garden along with the British Consulate and the St. George Society, an organization of British subjects in New York, are working with the city Department of Parks and Recreation to create the garden as a tribute to the years of friendship between the U.S. and the United Kingdom and as a memorial to the 67 British subjects who died in the World Trade Center attack.
At the Hanover Sq. ceremony at 2:30 p.m., Princess Ann will present the city with a gift of seeds from the gardens of the Royal Palaces.
Peking staying for now
The South Street Seaport Museum has no imminent plans to sell the tall ship, Peking, although three European maritime museums have expressed interest in the vessel, said Peter Neil, executive director of the museum.
A new museum in Hamburg, Germany, where the Peking was built and her homeport when she plied the nitrate trade between Chile and Europe in the early 20th century, is one of the institutions that expressed interest along with museums in Bilbao, Spain and Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
But there was no money and no offer, said Neil, who is scheduled to talk about the Peking at the Community Board 1 Seaport committee meeting on Tues. May 13.
Two years ago, the Seaport museum board of directors authorized Neil to explore finding an appropriate new home for the Peking in return for enough money to complete the restoration of the tall ship Wavertree and to maintain the other vessels in the museum.
We brought the Peking here 30 years ago to have a tall ship that people could visit while the Wavertree was being restored, said Neil. Weve restored her, and we could make her ready to sail Coast Guard certified with another $1.3 to $2 million. But that kind of money isnt available, especially in this economy.
Neil said it is hard to justify maintaining both tall ships, Wavertree and Peking. While the Wavertree could be made seaworthy, the Peking is not likely to ever sail again. Its essentially a 12-story building made of steel and wire and wood, Neil said. How much money does it take to maintain something like that? he added.
Gov. George Pataki last week reappointed James F. Gill to a new term as chairperson of the Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authority.
The governor first appointed Gill to lead the B.P.C.A. in 1996 and Gills reappointment expires on Dec. 31, 2008.
A graduate of Fordham Law School and a former Marine lieutenant, Gill has been an assistant district attorney, chairperson of a commission on integrity in city schools for Mayor Koch, and chairperson from 1995-6 of the Long Island Power Authority.