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?


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR



Park Row and the bridge

To The Editor:

Pedestrians on the Brooklyn Bridge are also inconvenienced by the closure of Park Row (news article, “Chinatown Searching for Answers on Park Row,” April 22-28, 2003), since the bridge stairway on Park Row has been barricaded since the street was closed. This forces pedestrians from the eastern part of the Financial District and the South Street Seaport to walk west to City Hall Park and then back east across Centre St. to reach the bridge walkway, rather than having a shortcut along Frankfort St. It also cuts off direct access between the bridge walkway and Chinatown. In addition, the barricades and chains around the staircase surely do not present a welcome entrance to the bridge promenade. The Police Department needs to show more regard for those affected by its self-serving actions.

Saul Blumenthal


Chinatown traffic

To The Editor:

Thank you Josh Rogers for your in-depth article on the Park Row closure in the April 22 issue of the Downtown Express. To the un-named city official who asked, “If Park Row were opened, would that mean the recession would be over in Chinatown?” I would only answer that, “Opening Park Row would allow Chinatown to participate in the same level of recession being enjoyed by the rest of the city.”

Questions of this type only illustrate how certain un-identified members of the administration have distanced themselves from the lower, middle, and even upper income, multi-ethnic residents of Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Somehow our problems are no longer their problems. That we are somehow “alien” and “foreign” and that we could not even begin to have a basic understanding of “what is good for us.” Or worse yet, that what is “good for us” is somehow bad for the city. Does race and class play into this lack of empathy? Absolutely.

The Bloomberg administration has been asking for millions and even billions in state and federal aid. Does getting this aid mean that the recession would be over in New York City? No – so why ask for aid? Because it would help. The residents and businesses of Chinatown and the Lower East Side need help. Not help in the form of handouts but help in the form of re-establishing the basic infrastructure and services that were lost as a result of 9/11. And let me point out that many of the basic infrastructure and services were lost not directly from the attacks but lost to the voracious appetite of police headquarters for streets and parks to provide a “buffer zone” for itself (which at 18 months after 9/11 is synonymous with parking).

So how would the return of Park Row and the other streets that have been confiscated by the N.Y.P.D. since 9/11 help? It would help to relieve the damnable and dangerous traffic that is now forced onto St. James Place/Pearl St./Water St. and onto Worth St. This traffic has caused Gray Line to cancel all of its tour stops in the heart of Chinatown. This traffic is what causes taxi drivers to be reluctant to take fares to Chinatown. Re-opening Park Row would re-establish four M.T.A. bus routes (M15, M103, M9, and B51) that have been thrown into disarray since May 6, 2002 when the N.Y.P.D. unilaterally denied M.T.A. bus access to Park Row. When the northbound and southbound stops of a bus route are separated by half a mile, the bus route does not “work.”

And for the sophisticated racists and class bigots in the administration who cannot bring themselves to give a damn about the residents who live east of the Municipal Building and north of the Brooklyn Bridge, re-opening Park Row would also serve to reconnect the residents of Chinatown and the Lower East Side with the retail establishments of J&R, Modells, and Century 21 – establishments that we the residents of Chinatown and the Lower East Side, as consumers, helped to grow into the retail powerhouses they are today. We no longer regularly shop at these establishments because of the street closures but I am sure that they would welcome us back as regular customers – if the streets could be re-opened. I am also sure that the city would appreciate the increased sales tax revenue that is now going to tax-free Internet sales.

How else can the city help? Someone from the administration apparently gave police headquarters the go ahead to grab streets and parks to convert into police parking — which by the way are now being painted with numbered parking spots. These streets and parks need to be returned to the community so that normal street parking can be restored. So that seniors with relatives who live out of town can once again have visits from family. So that businesses can enjoy more than just local customers. So that residents who choose to can participate in the same alternate side of the street parking ritual followed by those in the rest of Manhattan. The loss of the 400-car Municipal Parking Garage in July of 2001 hurt our community badly. The loss of hundreds of street parking spots for residents, businesses, and visitors to N.Y.P.D. commuter parking hurts at least as badly.

Police headquarters has not been a good neighbor. In point of fact, they should not view themselves as neighbors but as guests in our communities. They have become the guests who are eating us out of house and home - the proverbial guests who would not leave. If left unchecked, the self-serving policies of police headquarters will permanently destroy any chance of “revitalization” for a major portion of Lower Manhattan. They must be made to behave or they must be asked to leave.

There. I have just performed yet another traffic and transportation study of Chinatown. The city, state, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. can add my study to all of those being performed for Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Executive Summary: Re-open Park Row, give back the streets that have been given to and taken by the police headquarters, establish a plan to relocate police headquarters to an area that they can secure without compromise, and establish a major CUNY campus at One Police Plaza, and Chinatown and all of Lower Manhattan can begin the long climb out of this recession together.

Oh and by the way, firing the heartless bastard in the Dept. of Transportation who authorized night-time jack-hammering on Park Row, a street that has been closed to traffic since 9/11, on Easter Sunday would not take the city out of recession but it would make the city a nicer place to live.

Danny Chen
Resident of Chatham Green

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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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