downtownexpress.com
Volume 20 Issue 14 | August 17 - 23, 2007

UNDER COVER

Back up a sec
Councilmember Alan Gerson says he was for congestion pricing before it was reported he was against it. Gerson told us he backs Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s general idea of charging drivers $8 to enter much of Manhattan, but the proposal needs more work.

The plan needs a plan for the increased bus traffic, should include tolls for drivers looking to sample Downtown’s weekend night life, and should not charge Downtowners 8 bucks to drive within the forbidden zone, Gerson said.

Gotham Gazette surveyed all 51 councilmembers and reported that Gerson was opposed to the plan. The online paper’s reporter, Courtney Gross, said Gerson said positive and negative things about the plan in an interview, but after he was told that he would be listed as “for,” “leaning for,” “against” or “leaning against,” Gerson said: “The plan, as presented, I oppose.”

Gerson said the Gazette “missed the nuance.” Gross said Gerson was the only one of 51 to dispute how he was listed in the survey. Makes us wonder if Gerson used to do better on essay questions compared to multiple choice.

The Council and Albany will have to approve a traffic-pricing plan by March in order for New York to collect $354 million in federal money to implement it. The wildcard and key to passage remains a different Downtown legislator, Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver.

Feel the Love
Rare is the New York City compromise in which all parties walk away happy. But the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation may have achieved just that with its new plan to preserve the core of the Vesey St. staircase.

Preservationists were pleased because the staircase will be kept on the World Trade Center site and because the stairs themselves will remain intact as a part of the staircase stairs leading to the memorial (the hulking support structure would be dismantled). Local parents were pleased because the 175-ton artifact would no longer be stored on the site of a potential school.

But did the plan please Bill Love, one of the stairway’s biggest critics? Indeed it did. Love had called the stairway “rubble” and argued against preserving it based on cost and practicality issues. However, he wrote in an email last Thursday that based on what he had read, the new plan sounded like a positive step.

“Incorporating the stairs into the memorial below grade and dismantling the rest of the huge structure is a very reasonable solution that I believe should be acceptable to everyone,” Love wrote.

W.T.C. name game
What’s in a name? Apparently, a whole lot of marketing power. Just before embarking on fundraising tour of the American heartland, the World Trade Center Memorial changed its name, logo and Web site address – perhaps in an attempt to play better in Peoria (or Raleigh, N.C. or Sioux Falls, S.D.).
The new name – National September 11 Memorial & Museum At The World Trade Center – is a mouthful, but the Memorial Foundation said in a press release Tuesday that the change is meant to convey the nationwide impact of the 9/11 attacks. The fundraising tour will start Sept. 10 and will allow visitors in the chosen cities to view W.T.C. artifacts and sign a steel beam destined for the memorial.

The new name was also joined by a new logo, which looks like the new name flanked by two blue squares. According to the press release, however, it is so much more: “The logo is a creative interpretation of the pools of the Memorial itself. They represent the strength and the ephemeral quality of our memories. The typography has both classic and modern elements to represent the past and the future.”

To view the new logo in all its glory, log on to www.national911memorial.org.

Green’s back
Grab your greenbacks and your canvas reusable shopping bags, because the World Trade Center Greenmarket is back.

According to the Greenmarket folks, the market will start up again on Thurs. Aug. 16, just in time for the start of harvest season. The market will take place along Cedar St. between Church St. and Broadway, adjacent to Zuccotti Park. There, fresh veggies, fruits and baked goods will be sold by local farmers every Tuesday and Thursday through November.

Locals have been starving for the market since the Port Authority dismantled its location – the temporary PATH station entrance – last spring.

Anti-terror alarm
An Upper West Sider was munching a sandwich on Sixth Ave. near Broome St. recently when, to her alarm, the area was suddenly flooded with dozens of police cars, their colored lights flashing.

As she wondered what was going on, Reno, the performance artist, happened to be passing by and said the scene freaked her out, too. Reno told her the swarm of cop cars, in fact, has been regularly coalescing in that neck of Soho for a few years now, to everyone’s chagrin.

About a week later, as the squad cars were again out in force at Sixth and Broome, an officer explained to us that it’s a counter-terrorism action that happens twice a day, seven days a week in different parts of the city. Where they go is “random” but the police also have their “favorite places,” he confided.

The spacious stretch of Sixth Ave. and Broome St., near the Holland Tunnel, is a popular spot, he admitted. As for why the police cars drive in a line, it’s just the most convenient way to go through traffic, he said. Whatever. We’re guessing Reno is still ticked off about it.





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