downtownexpress.com
Volume 19 Issue 46 | March 30 - April 5, 2007

Under Cover

Symbol saved
The mysterious brickwork symbol at 211 Pearl St. has been saved. Alan Solomon, a former real estate broker and self-taught expert on Pearl St. history, has been fighting to save the brickwork ever since the Rockrose development company moved to tear down 211 Pearl St. — an unlandmarked 1830s warehouse — to make way for a parking garage for their 51-story luxury apartment building at 2 Gold St.

The 10-foot-tall symbol, which Solomon believes may have Masonic or religious meaning, features a series of stacked triangles. After preservationists fought to save 211 Pearl St., Rockrose agreed to keep the building’s façade intact. The mysterious brickwork stayed put as well, providing some incidental art to the unglamorous entrance to the parking garage.

Now, thanks to intervention from Councilmember Alan Gerson, Community Board 1 Landmarks chairperson Roger Byrom, and a $12,000 investment from Rockrose, the symbol has been removed — intact — so that it can be preserved and studied. It is now in storage in the Bronx.


Rock cafe
In other news on the Rock Block (Rockrose owns all but one tiny plot on the block between Pearl St., Platt St., Gold St. and Maiden Ln.), the residents at 2 Gold St. and their neighbors will soon be getting an outdoor café. The seats, which will be on 2 Gold’s backside plaza, will offer spectacular views of the construction going on over the rest of the block, where Rockrose is building another residential building and a hotel. Nothing like the sweet sounds of pile driving to perk up your morning coffee.


Mis-taking the Fifth
In picking up the story on the Transportation Alternatives’ Web site fight to end illegal parking, the New York Times may have dropped the ball in the factchecking department.

After being asked why traffic agents do not give tickets to other cops when they park illegally, N.Y.P.D. chief spokesperson Paul J.

Browne defended the police by telling the Times, “Last week, the Police Department towed 12 vehicles displaying police and court placards that were parked illegally in Chinatown in the First Precinct.”

Which is great, except for the minor detail that the cars in question, as well as most of Chinatown, lie within the Fifth Precinct, not the First. Perhaps the N.Y.P.D. needs to give Browne an updated map of the precinct boundaries (or he could read the Downtown Express, which covered the Chinatown towing in depth in our March 16 – 22 issue).

To the Gray Lady’s credit, the Times did publish a correction on March 26.


Special delivery
Last Thursday, for those who missed it, the Downtown Express published an article critical of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center — naming, among other things, its failure to communicate the details of construction projects to Downtown residents and business owners.

In an interview for the article, L.M.C.C.C. Executive Director Charles Maikish insisted that business owners on Maiden Lane were aware that their street would be dug up yet again for duct work related to the Fulton Transit Hub. While the business owners we talked to assumed that more street work lay in their future, none of them said they were aware of specific plans.

Well, they are now. According to Pam Chmiel, owner of Klatch coffee shop, the command center on Thursday hand-delivered a note to tell her about the duct work. Just to make sure, the command center also sent Chmiel an e-mail. She said it was “the first time in a long time” that she’d received that kind of correspondence.

Chmiel herself remains upbeat in tackling the problems on Maiden Lane. She sent letters to various agencies, asking for help in beautifying the lane to attract business. In addition to photos of the street, her packages contained coupons for a free drink. She hopes to entice the local officials and agency heads, including Maikish, to stop by Klatch for a cup of joe.





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