Volume 20 Issue 10 | July 20 - 26, 2007

Under Cover

“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Spitzer.” Truth be told, Battery Park City Authority chairperson Jim Gill didn’t actually say that before the first-ever live broadcast of a B.P.C.A. board meeting on the Web, but we couldn’t help but notice that the normally conservative-dressing attorney was wearing an off-white summer suit, no tie and a dark blue polo shirt at Tuesday’s meeting. If not for the dark colored socks in the tasseled loafers, we might have thought Gill was looking to recapture Don Johnson’s circa ’80s “Miami Vice” look.

Before anyone could say a word at the meeting, Gill said his dress had “nothing to do with the fact that we’re being televised.” He said he had already heard references to “The Man in the White Suit” and “The Great Gatsby.”

We were not able to determine whether Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who has ordered all state authorities to Webcast their meetings, watched from his computer or if he had any red carpet comments — alas, we did not find out whom Gill was wearing.

Incidentally, “B.P.C.A. Board Meeting, Part I” was no low-budget shoot — there were two cameras and operators, a lighting person and several filming lights used for the broadcast at a cost of about $2,000, according to board member David Cornstein.

He said it will cost about $7 million to broadcast all of the state’s public authority meetings and he thinks putting transcripts on the Web would be much more cost effective than “foolish TV. I think people have more exciting things to do than to sit and watch a board meeting.”

Avi Schick, Spitzer’s economic development leader, introduced Wednesday’s Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s one-camera Webcast by saying it was part of the governor’s open government policy. The L.M.D.C. received at least one rave review.

“You all look very good,” said Bill Rudin, a board member who phoned into the meeting.

Closing the deal
The typically austere folks at Tiffany’s have clearly been swept up in the sexy, quirky marketing swirling around them in the Financial District — including Hermes-colored gelato and a martini-gulping cartoon beaver hawking condos.

In any case, the new Tiffany’s location at 37 Wall St., set to open this fall, recently erected a giant blue ad that reads “Close The Deal.” Now, perhaps the fine folks at Tiffany & Co. are simply offering Wall Streeters some professional encouragement during July earnings season. Or perhaps they are suggesting that now is the perfect time to propose to that special someone (using a Tiffany’s engagement ring, of course).

We are certain that classy Tiffany’s would never suggest that an expensive piece of jewelry in a little blue box might help a gentleman “close the deal” in the, er, romantic sense.

Downtown chic not cheap
Speaking of expensive things, the cost of chic has now made Soho and Tribeca New York City’s priciest neighborhoods in which to rent a studio ($2,228 per month), two-bedroom ($4,750) or three-bedroom ($6,971) apartment, according to a recent market report from the brokerage firm Citi Habitats.
The West Village won out in the one-bedroom category — not a comforting thought to the one-bedroom dwellers who pay $3,035 a month in rent on average. The only solace for Downtowners may be the fact that the report did not take square footage into account, so loft spaces may still offer bang-for-your-buck potential.

H.P.D. upgrade
Those Downtowners searching for a new pad should check out the city’s new-and-improved Web site for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The site,, now allows users to search by building address and turn up a full history of complaints, violations, emergency repairs and housing court cases involving the building. It’s all public information, but now it can be used as a high-tech slumlord detection system.

The price to park
Playing off of the recent citywide focus on traffic congestion, Piaggio Group, the maker of the Vespa scooter, has started a new marketing campaign promoting scooters as a solution to the traffic and emissions problems posed by cars.

In shiny green pamphlets being handed out near transit hubs citywide, Piaggio touts “Vespanomics” — if 20 percent of Manhattan business district drivers were on scooters instead of cars, the company says, then the city would save 2.5 million gallons of gas and 100 hours of traffic delay per person per year.

To sweeten the scooter pot a little more, Piaggio is teaming with Edison ParkFast to offer free, first-come, first-served scooter parking at four of Edison’s Manhattan parking garages — including the garages at 174 Centre St. in Chinatown and 15-21 Worth St. in Tribeca.

The news of free parking for scooters may convince a few automobile drivers to make the Vespa switch, especially after the New York Times reported that for-sale parking spaces in New York City now sell for an average price of $1,100 per sq. ft. — nearly the same price per square foot as the average city apartment.

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