Volume 18 • Issue 42 | March 3 - 9, 2006

Under Cover

Shoveling Gerson
Alan Gerson didn’t say a peep at the Feb. 23 groundbreaking of Site 5B in Tribeca because the Mike Bloomberg wouldn’t let him.

“He was humiliated,” said Community Board 1 member Paul Hovitz at a recent public meeting. “The only reason Alan got a chair there at all was because Shelly [Silver] put a chair there.”

The city councilmember sat quietly on stage while Mayor Bloomberg, Assembly Speaker Silver, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff and developer Edward Minskoff hailed the deal he secured with the city. But Gerson was never invited to the podium—even after Doctoroff lamented the endless nagging he endured at the hand of Gerson while hammering out the deal.

Gerson told Downtown Express he was cut from the speaking list because Bloomberg feared he would criticize the key amenity for the project that’s been pulled from the deal — a new school and a new school annex for the neighborhood. “They knew I was going to criticize the mayor,” Gerson told UnderCover. “They didn’t want to take the chance in my speaking out.”

Mike and the memorial
Mike Bloomberg is now going public with his concerns about the costs of the billion-dollar World Trade Center memorial calling it “very expensive” and “phenomenally ambitious” on Monday. He seemed less worried in December when he told Downtown Express that even if the price tag balloons to $2 billion, it must be built.

“It will cost a lot of money but that’s what the commission [the memorial jury] recommended….You can’t walk away from democracy because you don’t like the outcome,” he said then. The Washington D.C. memorial to veterans of the Vietnam War honors over 20 times more people than were killed on 9/11 and the mayor said Maya Lin’s acclaimed design cost less than $15 million.

A clean bill of health
Battery Park City Authority bigwigs James Gill and James Cavanaugh were nowhere to be seen at a recent tour of their residential darling, the Solaire. The chairperson of the board and the president/C.E.O. were both on vacation when the Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 administrator Alan Steinberg turned up last week for a tour of the green residential tower. But that didn’t stop Steinberg from proudly sipping water straight from the building’s sewage treatment plant. “It doesn’t get any better than this!” he cheered, sipping from a plastic cup. A judge recently ruled that E.P.A.’s decision to tell New Yorkers that the air in Lower Manhattan was safe to breathe in the days after 9/11 was “conscience shocking.” At the tour, a few blocks west of the World Trade Center, Steinberg was busily praising the air and water inside the LEED certified building. What sparked his agency’s concern for air and water? “We are focusing on the future!” he proclaimed.

Last anniversary?
Restaurateurs Giovanni and Susan Natalucci celebrated Giovanni’s Atrium’s 32nd anniversary on Washington St. last Friday.

The couple also honored John W. Sutter, Downtown Express publisher, and Colin Gregory, the paper’s retail ad manager, for their help and support, particularly since 9/11, when pedestrian traffic near the restaurant dropped dramatically.

Business remains slow south of the World Trade Center site and Giovanni is thinking of closing the restaurant. Gregory fired up the crowd of friends and customers though, leading a chant of “one more year.”


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