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?




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.

This happens a lot.

That’s because Veera, my babysitter, is a woman about town. She and Rusty pop over apartments in Tribeca, the Financial District and south Battery Park City. Veera befriends moms, other babysitters and dads; Rusty plays with younger kids and older kids.

You could drop Veera in alien territory with no means of survival and she will make friends. I know, because I did.

After 9/11, we relocated to New Jersey for three months. Veera hates the suburbs and doesn’t drive. I was anticipating unhappy, endless days when they’d have nowhere to go and no one to see. But within 48 hours the phone began to ring. One of her new friends was a babysitter who looked after two young boys and drove an S.U.V. Soon they were traveling to Chucky Cheese, elaborate out-of-town playgrounds and libraries.

This love of adventure, however, is only one reason why choosing Veera to babysit was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I still remember the day I met her. I had just about decided to go with another candidate, when Veera arrived, the last of the interviewees. When my doorbell rang, I looked out the peephole and didn’t see anyone. I opened the door and dropped my glance by a foot. There was Veera, four-feet, five-inches tall.

I liked her instantly. But it wasn’t until I introduced her to Rusty, then age 2, that I discovered she was a genius.

On her agency application, when asked why children like her, Veera responded, “Because I’m small. They think I am one of them.” Rusty does think she is a playmate, but not because she is small. On her first day on the job she played with him on the floor for eight hours. (I barely had the patience for two.) I’m sure she would rather have been out with other adults and kids, but she decided this was the way to gain his trust.

At the time, Rusty hated separating from me. New babysitters always evoked extensive shrieking. When Veera came that first day, he wanted nothing to do with her. She didn’t plead or coax. She simply sat on the living room rug and started playing with his Thomas trains. Five minutes later, he was sitting beside her.

Motorcycles being one of Rusty’s great loves, Veera used them to all kinds of ends. One, for sheer pleasure. Early on she told him she rode one to work everyday. She’d find a motorcycle parked outside our apartment building and tell him it was hers. My husband and I, unaware of our new babysitter’s predilections, had to turn and look twice one Friday night when driving to the Holland Tunnel. Rusty spotted a motorcyclist out the window and said, “that’s Veera.”

As a mother, I often tangled with the 2-year-old Rusty. One winter day I insisted he wear his hat. He refused. Back and forth, back and forth, we went. Veera stepped in. “Wear your hat,” she said. “We have to ride our motorcycle. You need a helmet.” He put it on.

Recently Rusty acquired an annoying plastic duck whistle. I quickly began drafting rules on the limited amount of time and places he could use it. When he showed it to Veera she said, “Do you have one for me? Oh good, we can bring them to the pond to call the ducks.”

I’m looking forward to this summer. If it’s anything like last year, strangers will stop me at the playground and say, “Are you Rusty’s mother? I just met Veera. They are over there with my kids.”

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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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