Volume 19 Issue 53 | May 18 -24, 2007

Under Cover

Rank and file
With spring in the air, it’s time for non-profits and pollsters to start ranking things. Here’s a sampling of the local listings:

No. 1 most taxed: According to the Public Policy Institute, New York State residents pay more taxes by far than folks in any other state. While New Yorkers shell out $5,770 per capita, the average American pays just $3,699.

No. 2 rude drivers: New York City ranked second only to Miami in the AutoVantage auto club’s annual “road rage” survey. The rude driving criteria included speeding, swearing, tailgating, talking on cell phones and changing lanes without signaling.

No. 8 speedwalkers: New Yorkers may always seem to be in a hurry, but according to an international research group, the Big Apple only sports the world’s eighth fastest walkers. Signapore topped the list as speediest, but New York Still beat out London (12), Paris (16) and Tokyo (19).

No. 1 and 2 greenest buildings: In a recent story on new “green” residential buildings, New York Magazine ranked Battery Park City’s Riverhouse and Visionaire as the No. 2 and No. 1 most environmentally friendly buildings under construction. The Riverhouse, on River Terrace, is hoping for a gold rating from the U.S. Green Buildings Council, while the Visionaire, on Battery Place, is seeking platinum.

Construction changes
After taking some criticism about its Web site and its community communication skills, the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center has made some changes on both fronts.

The agency, which is charged with coordinating and mitigating the large-scale construction projects Downtown, recently revamped its Web site. The new setup emphasizes recent news rather than sunny renderings of future projects (though the renderings are still easy to find). While there are still a few kinks, and links, to be worked out, now makes it much easier for users to find updates on air quality, street closures and other day-to-day conditions Downtown.

The command center has also taken steps to forge closer ties with Community Board 1. The agency has invited C.B. 1 to send a representative to its daily inter-agency meetings. C.B. 1 will also hold monthly “construction issues” discussions at the board’s Quality of Life Committee meetings, giving the public a chance to air any grievances to the board and the L.M.C.C.C.

Lola liquor
As we were strolling down Watts St. last Wednesday, we saw Tom Patrick-Odeen and his wife Gayle Patrick-Odeen at the door in the construction plywood fence outside Lola, their Soho restaurant that was tied up in the courts by the Soho Alliance seemingly forever. Mr. Patrick-Odeen didn’t have much to say, surely just relieved that the convoluted process is over and that on the directive of the Appellate Division, the State Liquor Authority issued them their liquor license on April 12. “We won. We’re opening in two or three weeks,” he said. “Sean Sweeney lost. It was a frivolous lawsuit.” However, Sweeney, the alliance’s director, warned that their attorney, Barry Mallin, will be filing a lawsuit against the S.L.A. to overturn the issuing of the liquor license.

Condo-tel roundup
The luxury hotel with a luxury condo on top — it’s the hip new real estate venture popping up all over Downtown.

The latest incarnation is on the way at 75 Wall St., where residents will have the chance to live above a Hyatt-run hotel and soak up all the amenities thereof, including room service, spa and housekeeping. The hotel itself will be an Andaz, a new Hyatt brand that targets young professionals with luxury amenities but a more casual, “unpretentious” attitude.

Farther north, at 123 Washington St., residents and guests will be able to experience the cool of a W hotel and condos. But first, the construction crews have to get down right cold. In order to excavate an elevator pit on the site, which has a high water table, crews are using liquid nitrogen to freeze the ground before they dig. The cool tactic is expected to shorten the construction time by three weeks. The building, owned by the Moinian Group, is slated to open in March 2008.

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