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

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?

on film

Raising Victor Vargas (+)
The excellent trailer for this movie is better than the flick deserves. It’s a good but limited film because it’s a one-trick pony.

The story is about the sexual development of the young characters. Sixteen-year-old Victor (Victor Rasuk) is first seen in the bed of Fat Donna who lives in the apartment above his. He is embarrassed when it becomes public knowledge, because she would go to bed with anyone who asked. Later, at the neighborhood municipal pool, Victor sees a stunning girl, Judy Ramirez (Judy Marte), and he attempts to land a new conquest, which turns into puppy love.

Victor lives on the Lower East Side with his Dominican grandmother (Altagracia Guzman) who is a wonderful character actor. She is also raising Victor’s brother, Nino (Silvestre Rasuk), and their couch potato sister, Vicki (Krystal Rodriguez). The film gives an insight into the relationship between the grandchildren and their religious grandmother coping with poverty and the impact of inner-city problems on the children. Nino, envying his brother and dealing with his own raging hormones, is caught masturbating in the bathroom by Grandma. Her distress and bewilderment are wonderful to behold.

Critics have noted that this film is different, because there are no references to crimes or gangs which usually dominate black and Hispanic film settings. The film would have benefited if additional subplots had been introduced, since the puppy love theme gets a little tiresome. Nevertheless, it is worth seeing. It is being shown at the Sunshine Theater located on East Houston at First Avenue, which was once a great Yiddish theater and now houses four movie screens.

Lilya 4-Ever (+)

This movie was filmed in Estonia. No indication is made designating that area of the former Soviet Union as the setting, but it is clearly the Baltics.

Lilya (Oksana Akinshina) is a 16-year-old attractive young woman living in a depressed area of town with her mother (Ljubov Agapova). Her mother informs her that she is leaving for America with a Russian-American who advertised in the Soviet Union for a wife. Lilya is to stay behind and will be sent for later.

Lilya is left in the custody of her Aunt Anna (Lilia Shinkareva) who is sickly, mean and poor, and her mother soon sends word that she does not want Lilya to join her in America. Not having rent money, Lilya is forced by her aunt to leave her apartment and live alone in a decrepit hole in the wall, even more depressing than her current digs. Her one constant friend is a 14-year-old boy, Volodya (Artiom Bogucharskij), who is abused by his father. Lilya is further betrayed when she travels to Sweden and is unknowingly recruited by Andrei (Pavel Ponomarev), an organized prostitution ring member. She is rented on an hourly basis to older men in need of sexual services or, sometimes worse, wanting to act out a sexual fantasy. How she copes with this hellish life is very gripping.

Lilya is both child and adult woman — the latter because of the vile and tough experiences she endures. She carries with her a print of a child holding the hand of an angel to whom she prays in her bleakest hours until, in anger at God, she throws it and breaks the glass and frame. Her strength, which keeps her going and ultimately enables her to seek an escape, kept me on tender hooks until the very end.

As I watched the film, I felt as though I was privy to a documentary unfolding before my eyes, except for some very primitive surreal fantasy effects. This was especially true because of the brilliant acting of Oksana Akinshina.

Cinema Village, where I saw this flick, is an art house for offbeat, very independent movies. The theater was full, and when the lights went up a number of people in the audience had tears streaming down their cheeks, undoubtedly in pain for the many abused children of the world.

—Ed Koch


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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.


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
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


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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