Volume 18 • Issue 7 | July 8-14, 2005

Under Cover

Shabby a-Pierance
Usually appearing in a Woody Allen flick is good for your career, but not for these piers. Piers 13 and 14, made famous for their cameo in “Annie Hall,” didn’t make the cut in the city’s $150 million overhaul of the East River Waterfront. The two piers, the neglected stepsisters of the East River – dilapidated, abandoned and walled off behind a chain link fence – will stay exactly as they are while the rest of the waterfront is revamped over the next five years.

“They are not in either good or safe condition,” said Rachaele Raynoff, spokesperson for the Department of City Planning. “We focused on what was doable.”

The tennis courts that graced the docks for 30 years were shuttered in 2002 after the Economic Development Corporation decided the old berths needed a $5 million facelift. Architect extraordinaire Frank Gehry once touted grandiose plans to transform the area into a $950 million Guggenheim Museum that would rival his Bilbao creation. And the Tussauds Group even considered plunking down a 450-ft. Ferris wheel.

But for now, central casting is passing on these two old biddies.

Security Garden
Call it a security blanket for the post-9/11 age. This August, Korean-born conceptual artist Chang-Jin Lee will launch a public art project made out of personal objects donated by anyone in the mood to toss a few spare shoelaces and toothbrushes Lee’s way. Lee plans to arrange the goods in Plexiglas boxes atop Astroturf pedestals and display the “safety kits” in the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden.

“A lot of people looked at it in a very playful way,” Lee told UnderCover. Participants have set aside everything from condoms to the bible for their safety kits, Lee said. What would Lee put in her own kit? Well, she gave it some serious thought during the 2003 blackout, when she hatched the idea. “The first thing I thought about was money – I didn’t have any money when the blackout happened – some documentation of my artwork,” she said.

UnderCover took a brief survey of the office and prepared our own safety kit, equipped with our Blackberry, a pink highlighter and a well used glue stick. So much for color-coded terror alerts, now we have Plexiglas chachkas to keep us entertained.

Lee is currently on the lookout for eager participants willing to take part in one of her 30-minute workshops, which are held at 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday through July 15 in the Courtyard Gallery, 220 Vesey St. R.S.V.P. is required, so give Karen Kitchen a holler at kkitchen@brookfieldproperties.com or 212-417-7237. The exhibit will be on display in the Winter Garden from Aug. 22 through Sept. 15.

Better off dead
Speaker Shelly Silver has access and power, but he still lacks the one thing he needs to have his name slapped on a school building... he’s not dead.

The folks at Community Board 1 proposed a grand plan to name a new pre-K-8 school on Beekman St. after the state speaker, who brokered a deal between the city and the developer Bruce Ratner to place the school in a new Frank Gehry-designed 75-story tower. But, according to the Dept. of Ed., schools cannot be named after the living.

But all is not lost. Paul Hovitz, chairperson of the Youth and Education Committee of Community Board 1 has an alternate idea. “I’m proposing that we name the auditorium after Shelly,” he said at a recent C.B. 1 meeting. “There’s no problem with us showing our gratitude.”

Not everyone thought the speaker would be so keen on the idea. “He’s sort of a religious guy, I don’t know if he would want a gym named after him,” said board member Bob Townley, referring to the fact that many Jews oppose naming things (and people) after the living.

The speaker did not return calls for comment on the matter.

But is religion the only thing that might make Silver wary? Maybe he fears legions of future eighth graders will forever refer to the gym’s locker room as Smelly Shelly.

Doctoring campaign
Michael Beys, a candidate for City Council in the Second District, was spotted campaigning with two surgeons who treated people from one of the East River helicopter crashes last month. Maybe he was hoping to catch a piece of the action if another disaster struck.

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