Volume 20 Issue 6 | June 22 - 28, 2007

Under Cover

Congestion laughs

If there were any significance to jokes and body language, then Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s traffic pricing plan would pass Albany with no problem.

At last Thursday’s announcement of JPMorgan Chase’s deal to build its headquarters at the World Trade Center, Gov. Eliot Spitzer eyed Dep. Mayor Dan Doctoroff walking into Spitzer’s office late (a few people were miffed at Spitzer’s insistence on hosting the announcement in his Midtown office rather than a Lower Manhattan locale — but we digress). Spitzer thanked Doctoroff for his work on the Chase deal before adding: “He said he was stuck in traffic — I’m not going make any observations about that.”

When it was Doctoroff’s turn to talk about Chase he said, “I really was caught in traffic — an hour and ten minutes from White Plains.”
“We’re not talking about that Dan,” Spitzer said.

“Then I have nothing to add,” Docotoroff said, triggering hearty laughs from Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, the powerful congestion pricing skeptic, and others. Doctoroff playfully tapped Silver on the shoulder and all seemed well. Silver said he was working hard on the mayor’s plan and Bloomberg praised Silver.

Two scoops of Hermes

Lovers of $300 scarves and $3,000 handbags rejoice — Hermes will be officially opening its new Downtown location at 15 Broad St. this Friday. But local residents and workers on more of a Century 21-type accessories budget should take heart. The super-luxury retailer is offering free scoops of gelato this week outside the new store. The gelato, which comes in orange and chocolate, mimics Hermes’ signature orange and brown color scheme.

On June 13, the Real Estate Board of New York honored the deal that brought Hermes to the Financial District, giving Joel E. Isaacs of Isaacs and Company and Christine Emery of the Lansco Corporation the Manhattan prize for the “Deal that most significantly benefits Manhattan.”

Calling the Financial District a “soon-to-be vibrant residential community,” REBNY gushed that the Hermes deal has helped retail rents in the neighborhood to spike as much as 200 percent. With other luxury outlets like Tiffany’s on the way soon, long-standing retailers in the area, it seems, will need all the free ice cream they can get.

Bearing gifts

Tiffany & Co. won’t be returning to Lower Manhattan until October but the jewelers have already picked up some expensive trinkets for Downtown to celebrate the move — three million-dollar donations to the Battery Conservancy, Friends of the High Line, and the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, which raises money for Battery Park’s Castle Clinton, Federal Hall and Governors Island.

Tiffany opened at 259 Broadway in 1837 and we hear the store achieved even greater fame and fortune after they settled in Midtown in 1940 — wasn’t there something with an Audrey Hepburn movie? The second Manhattan locale at 37 Wall St. may attract the likes of Frank Gehry, since the celebrity architect of unusually shaped buildings has several Downtown projects and his own exclusive jewelry line at Tiffany. Mike Kowalski, the company’s chairperson, announced the gifts Tuesday.

Yankee rings

Speaking of jewelers with long Downtown histories, William Barthman Jewelers hosted Yankees Mariano Rivera, Chien-Ming Wang and Johnny Damon just before the Bronx Bombers bested the Mets in last weekend’s Subway Series. Jerry Natkin and Joel Kopel, the store’s owner and manager, were helping the Yanks raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, which supports veterans.

Politically brief

On Tuesday night, Community Board 1 elected Noel Jefferson as board secretary. Jefferson, a board member for three-and-a-half years, beat out two new board members — Dennis Gault and Chelsea-Lyn Rudder — for the secretary spot. C.B. 1 Chairperson Julie Menin thanked all of the candidates for running, saying that the board has usually had to “beg and plead” to find someone for the secretary position.

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