Volume 19 • Issue 19 | September 22 - 28, 2006

Under Cover

River Beacon
Sources tell UnderCover that the Hudson River Park Trust is about to throw the River Project in the … well you get the idea, and announce that the Beacon Institute will be floating into Tribeca in three years to run the Pier 26 estuary center when the pier reopens.

Beacon, a creation of Gov. George Pataki, will be working with SUNY Stony Brook to take over the operation the River Project started about 20 years ago.

“We can’t say anything yet,” said David Conover, dean and director of the Marine Sciences Research Center at Stony Brook. “There has been some discussion and something will transpire. There will be an announcement soon.”

Carter Craft of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance said River Project founder Cathy Drew practically defined the word estuary (an area where fresh water meets salt) for Downtown and deserves a chance to at least compete in an open bidding process.

Chris Martin, the Trust’s spokesperson, seemed to agree in July when he told Downtown Express there was “absolutely” no chance the Trust would pick anyone this year, but the state-city authority subsequently reversed its position.

Fuming about fuel
Julie Menin’s words of praise for Larry Silverstein have gotten her in hot water with other Downtown big wigs.

When W.T.C. developer Silverstein announced on Sept. 6 that all the construction trucks driving onto his site would use ultra-low sulfur diesel, Menin, chairperson of Community Board 1, called on others to do the same.

In an e-mail titled “A Win for Our Community!” she praised Silverstein for agreeing to use the environmentally friendly fuel for his on-site equipment and for trucks traveling to the site. She added that he agreed to it at the board’s urging.

Menin went on to “call on the Port Authority, M.T.A. and Goldman Sachs… to follow this outstanding example.”

The thing is, most of the “pledges” from Silverstein that she noted in her e-mail are already being done by the others. Her comments were “absolutely erroneous,” Goldman spokesperson Andrea Raphael told UnderCover. “We were just surprised to see it.”

Goldman’s headquarters — a 740-ft. building cattycorner to the W.T.C. site — will be a LEED certified green building and the on-site construction vehicles have been using the high-standard fuel since construction started nearly a year ago.

Silverstein, the Port and M.T.A. agreed to use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel for on-site vehicles in a 2004 agreement. Ninety percent of private developers Downtown, including Goldman, have also agreed to follow the policy.

At the Sept. 6 press conference, Silverstein took the agreement a step further when he said that he would require the trucks driving on and off the site — not just the on-site vehicles — to use the environmentally friendly fuel. That could mean that 90,000 trucks driving into the neighborhood over the next five years will use cleaner fuel as Silverstein builds the Freedom Tower and Towers 2, 3 and 4.

Part of Silverstein’s message was lost in Menin’s endorsement of things long since promised. “They’ve mixed it up a little bit,” said Dara McQuillan, a Silverstein spokesperson of Menin’s statement.

Menin said “for people to nitpick and take pot shots is incredibly unfortunate.” She didn’t know about the 2004 agreement.

Artful anger
UnderCover hears that Linda Shelton, executive director of the Joyce Theater, is piping mad at Tom Healy, president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Healy told the New York Times that investing in projects like 3-Legged Dog, an art center that recently opened its new headquarters south of the World Trade Center, was “a far wider investment than the $50 million that’s supposedly been put aside for a major concert hall.”

The “major concert hall” just happens to be the Frank Gehry-designed performing arts center at the Trade Center that will one day house the Joyce Theater and the Signature Theater.

Shelton “was very pissed” to read Healy knock the P.A.C., a Downtown arts source told UnderCover. “It’s trickled down to Cherrie, too.” Cherrie being L.M.C.C. board chairperson Cherrie Nanninga. According to our source, Nanninga and Healy “have a very rocky relationship already.”

For the past three years the Joyce and the L.M.C.C. have collaborated on Evening Stars, a dance event in Battery Park. We can only imagine how chummy next summer’s dance party will be.


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