Volume 19 Issue 53 | May 18 -24, 2007

A Downtown parent in charge of W.T.C. redevelopment

Anthony Shorris may live in Greenwich Village, he may be running one of the area’s most powerful agencies, but he didn’t call in any political chits to get his son Michael a coveted slot in Tribeca’s P.S. 234.

Principal Lisa Ripperger said earlier this year that parents were “raping and pillaging” to get their children into the high-performing, overcrowded school, but Shorris, now the Port Authority’s executive director, did not commit a war crime or fake his address five years ago.

“Not so many people wanted to go to P.S. 234 in Sept. ’01,” Shorris told Downtown Express last week. He registered his son during the tumultuous 2001-2002 school year, when parents trekked their children to the Village for half the year, then worried whether the Tribeca building still had any toxic World Trade Center chemicals when they returned in February.

“We knew it was always a great school and it would come back,” he said. He’s certain he would have enrolled Michael in public school, but he’s not sure which one he and his wife would have chosen if P.S. 234 was full. Usually, children living a block from the school on the other side of West St. can’t get in, but if there are available seats not being used by students in Tribeca, the Seaport or Financial District, it is open to all District 2 children.

Shorris, 50, also picked the Downtown Little League over the Village league, so Michael plays near the W.T.C. in Battery Park City. He said now that he runs the Port, having a son in the neighborhood helps him keep residents in mind when he makes decisions on the W.T.C.

“I think about this all of the time,” he said. “I’m at P.S. 234 every day. I’m at the baseball field twice a week.”

It also makes him think about moving further Downtown if he could find a place he could afford on his $277,000 salary. Lower Manhattan is “too expensive,” he said. “It’s too hot a neighborhood.”

— Josh Rogers

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