Volume 19 • Issue 7 | July 7-13, 2006

Under cover

Church out of school
Mosaic Manhattan, the evangelical church that has called P.S. 89 home for the past three and a half years, has found a new place to pray.

Mosaic held Sunday services at its new location — Dance New Amsterdam on Chambers St. and Broadway — for the first time last week. “It went great,” said pastor Gregg Farah. “We’re a very creative church so it’s nice to have a creative space to be in.”

The new space includes a 200-seat auditorium and dance studios for the “kids ministry.”

Mosaic got some unwanted attention from Battery Park City residents for holding its services in the neighborhood public school. But last year, a judge gave the church — and any other religious institution — the green light to hold services on school property outside of school hours, arguing that the Dept. of Education cannot discriminate against houses of worship when leasing its property. “I’ve had more people [in the neighborhood] say it’s good to have you guys here,” said Farah. “At the same time, in the back of our minds, you never know when a law can change.”

One P.S. 89 parent, at least, is happy to see the church find a new home. “It’s great that they found a new home that happens to be outside a public school setting,” said Tom Goodkind, who actively opposed the church’s presence in the school. “In all my years in New York, I’ve never seen this kind of relationship between a public school and a place of worship.” At least 23 churches hold services in New York City public schools.

There were banal reasons that convinced Farah to mov too. “We wanted to try to get across the West Side Highway to be closer to those who take the subway in,” he said. And, in a feat of Manhattan real estate, the new location “is actually cheaper!”

Pancho turns 50
It was all enchiladas and arroz at Pancho Magico last Wednesday night as loyal customers turned out en masse to celebrate the Pearl St. restaurant’s 50th birthday. Adorned with red and white balloons, guests at the invitation-only affair chattered away in English and Spanish, snapping pictures of Real de Mexico!, a mariachi band.

The restaurant, possibly the oldest Mexican eatery in the city, opened in 1956 and has had a litany of owners and names over the years. Some loyal customers—hailing from as far as New Jersey—even remembered the restaurant’s original owner, Carlos Majorman.

Brothers Jose and Arcadio Avila own it now. The Avilas christened it Pancho Magico when they purchased the eatery a decade ago. They gave it its moniker to honor “the magic” of a restaurant that can keep its doors open in New York for half a century.

An exchange at One Exchange
One Exchange Place tower changed hands this weekend, as Bank of Communications sold the 32-story tower at 55 Broadway to Raymond Chalme and Dan Blanco of Broad Street Development. Broad Street purchased the building for $82 million—that translates to a modest $273 a square foot—the New York Post reports. There is little risk this Fox & Fowle-designed tower will go the way of a condo conversion since Broad Street owns several other office buildings Downtown.

C.B. 1 Revamped
The Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center isn’t the only Downtown agency to get an online makeover this week. Community Board 1 revamped its Web site on Wednesday, replacing its barebones site with a colorful new edition, equipped with an online complaint form — whining has never been so easy.

Selling the memorial
The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation launched a national advertising campaign this week to raise the remaining $170 million for the memorial and the memorial museum. The Foundation held its first board meeting in Jan. 2005, but just now figured out that advertising might be a good way to let people know that they’re trying to raise money to build the memorial to the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center attacks.

Sightings…
…David Lee Roth pacing in front of inoteca on Rivington St.… “The Sopranos” Michael Imperioli in shades and a white tee shirt carrying groceries on Greenwich and Murray Sts…


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