downtownexpress.com
Volume 19 Issue 50 | April 27 - May 3, 2007

Under Cover

Faux pier brownstones
Responding to criticism that its Pier 40 Performing Arts Center plan was too “glitzy Las Vegas,” The Related Companies’ Steve Ross has completely revamped the design for the $626 million project. Tobi Bergman, president of Pier Park and Playground Association, got a glimpse of the new plans, which feature re-creations of brownstone facades, almost as a continuation of W. Houston St. onto the pier.

“It’s kind of like a faux New York to me,” Bergman said, “like they were trying to create a kitschy little New York street down the middle of the pier.” Sounds a little like Vegas’ New York New York theme park and casino, minus the replica skyscrapers. But the plan still includes all the same uses, such as a theater for Vegas-based Cirque du Soleil, four restaurants, a music club and more. “For me, it’s about content, not architecture,” said Bergman, who backs the competing People’s Pier youth sports mecca proposal.

Hundreds are expected at a public hearing on the two proposals on Thurs., May 3, at 7 p.m., in P.S. 41’s auditorium, 116 W. 11th St.


Local group on Hero DVD
A group of local youths have made their documentary film debut on the just-released My Hero Report DVD from the My Hero Project.

The My Hero Project (www.myhero.com) is a Web-based initiative that celebrates the stories of activists, advocates and do-gooders around the globe. Over the past two years, the project employed a team of teen reporters to chronicle heroic stories on video.

One of the stories selected was that of Manhattan Youth, run by Battery Park City resident and Community Board 1 member Bob Townley. The My Hero Project focused in on how Manhattan Youth members came together in 2005 to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.


Bloomie boosts L.M.
Several of Lower Manhattan’s biggest issues made Mayor Bloomberg’s political dance card last Thursday, when the Mayor announced his second annual NYC Card initiative.

The NYC Cards are designed to fit snugly into a wallet or money clip, right next to the American Express Black cards of some of the city’s most influential political donors. The cards list the city’s top priorities, as determined by the mayor, and are meant to guide potential donors when they consider giving to candidates from around the country.

This year, the mayor’s top talking points include securing $150 million in annual federal funds for “health treatment and monitoring for all individuals affected” by 9/11. The mayor also renews his quest for federal funds to build the J.F.K. rail link.

To bolster the financial industry, the mayor is asking the federal government to streamline its current, complex industry regulations and make it easier to secure visas for skilled workers. The card also asks for threat-based Homeland Security funding, incentives for affordable housing and support for the Mayor’s PlaNYC 2030 plan, which includes a pilot congestion pricing program that could free up Lower Manhattan streets.





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