Volume 18, Number 2 | JUNE 3 - 9, 2005

Under Cover

Wherefore art thou Bloomberg?
Margarita Lopez may be a lesbian Lower East Side/E. Village community activist who rose to the City Council, but there is room in her heart to love a Republican man who just happens to be mayor of New York. Councilmember Lopez sounded like she was endorsing Mayor Mike Bloomberg when they appeared together Tuesday to announce the city’s $150 million plan to fix up the East River waterfront. “People wonder why I love this man,” said Lopez. “I have no choice.” She said when Bloomberg speaks Spanish he sounds like a “Latin lover.” Asked during a press conference if that meant she was supporting him, she said, “I support the mayor of the city of New York. He’s a great mayor.” Afterwards she said she was a true Democrat who would not endorse a Republican mayor, even if they were like star-crossed lovers. “We belong to different families and we are like Romeo and Juliet.” Still Lopez thinks they can make beautiful music together. With F.D.R. Drive traffic in the background, she said she wanted to record a CD of sounds of New York with the mayor, who chuckled, smiled and thanked Lopez for the remarks.

Park green
Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said he has his eye on several Downtown parks for the additional $20 million of Lower Manhattan Development Corp. park improvement money announced by the governor and mayor last week. Benepe told UnderCover that James Madison Plaza, Collect Pond Park, the southern playground in Sara D. Roosevelt Park and the Canal-Varick St. triangle are all likely candidates to get some dough although decisions will be made later this year. The police were ordered by a state judge to move their cars off Madison Plaza last year. Back when Canal St. was a canal, Collect was a pond, but the polluted Collect was filled in about 300 years ago, Benepe said, and the rundown area near the courts needs a makeover. Professional Land Care Network, a landscape trade organization, had promised a few million for the Canal triangle, but Benepe said private pledges are never guaranteed and in case it falls through, the L.M.D.C. money will come in handy.

Battery Park Bosque
Metal pipes stick out from the ground, wood beams protrude from the earth and bright orange gates offer a deep contrast to the brown gravel piled up around the four acre area that is promised to be The Bosque Gardens at the tip of Battery Park. Landscape architects, Saratoga Associates, announced in a press release that “a magnificent, new, lush beautifully landscaped garden” would be unveiled June 2. However, from the looks of things it is going to take some time for The Bosque to be anything worth calling “lush” and “magnificent.”

UnderCover took a peak at the site the day before the official opening, and the garden was hidden behind a chain-link fence and the area inside the confines appeared bare and covered in dirt. Luckily, most New Yorkers have remained patient throughout the yearlong $8.5 million restoration.
Audrey Shade, who works on the New York Stock Exchange, would report back to her department regularly about the progress being made on the gardens, such as when new flowers first bloomed. But she pines for the old landscaping.
“It used to be wild, like you weren’t in the city anymore,” Shade mused.

Condo crazed
Megu, the mega-expensive Japanese eatery, is going condo. Or at least the six-story building it resides in is. A locally based developer scooped up the rental property recently and intends to immediately convert the 74,000 sq. ft. space into a condominium.

Scott Aseltine, general manager of Megu, had not yet heard the news of the building’s imminent transformation, but was unfazed when UnderCover called him. “It won’t affect our business either way,” he said.

The Multi Capital Group arranged the deal at 137-141 Duane St. (otherwise known as 62 Thomas St.) and described the unnamed developer as a “a leading multifamily/office building owner and operator for over 30 years who owns and/or manages more than five million square feet of real estate in the tri-state region,” GlobeSt.com reports. This latest condo swap falls on the heels of developer Bruce Menin’s recent announcement to parcel off 25 Broad St. for a staggering $200 million, sources predict.

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