Volume 20 Issue 16 | Aug. 31 - Sept. 6, 2007

Under Cover

Deutsche Politics
Downtown’s next City Council race is two years away, but it is already underway and the Aug. 18 fatal Deutsche Bank fire is the first issue. Pete Gleason, a Tribeca resident who left the F.D.N.Y. 11 years ago, is accusing Julie Menin “of sitting on both sides of the fence” because she is Community Board 1’s chairperson and is on the board of the building’s owner, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

Gleason, probably the only self-acknowledged candidate so far in the 2009 Democratic primary to replace Councilmember Alan Gerson, said the F.D.N.Y. is being made the scapegoats and the L.M.D.C. should have provided the Engine 10 firehouse with the protective suits needed to inspect the toxic building. Menin is wrong to support the L.M.D.C.’s continued oversight of the Deutsche demolition, Gleason told UnderCover.

“You can’t be the people’s voice and be part of this government entity,” Gleason said. “You don’t need a quote unquote community leader [on the L.M.D.C. board]. You need a community activist.”

He pointed out that in 2005, Bovis Lend Lease, the Deutsche project’s main contractor, gave $50,000 to Wall Street Rising, a non-profit group Menin founded to help Downtown recover after 9/11. Menin stepped away from running Rising’s day-to day operations when she became Board 1 chairperson in the middle of 2005.

Menin said it was “completely outrageous,” and “beyond shocking, tasteless and offensive” for Gleason to raise these issues so soon after two firefighters were killed. She said she has been asking Bovis the tough questions, and if the L.M.D.C. listened to the community board warnings and had C.B.1 representation earlier, “maybe this tragedy wouldn’t have happened.” If Gleason cared so much, he would have showed up to the many community meetings to raise Deutsche concerns with officials, Menin added.

Many Downtown politicos are sure Menin is going to run in 2009, but she plans to wait until next year to make a decision. Gleason, now an attorney, was trounced by Gerson by a 4:1 margin in the 2003 Democratic primary.

Silent Hillary
One politician who has been surprisingly silent on the fatal Deutsche fire and its aftermath is Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has led Downtown’s 9/11 environmental efforts since 2001. While the former first lady’s presidential campaign is going full throttle, her senate office continues to crank out the news releases and statements — yet no word on Deutsche. When UnderCover inquired, a spokesperson emailed back to say no comment.

Klatch catch
The early bird may get the worm, but the early coffee drinker this Thursday morning got some free career advice.

In a promotion for his new book “The Advantage-makers,” author Steven Feinberg was set to hand out free advance copies of the self-help tome to anyone who arrived at Klatch coffee shop on Maiden Ln. before 8:30 a.m. Aug. 30. He was also scheduled to conduct the promotion at coffee shops in Pittsburgh, Denver and Palo Alto, Calif.

In a press release Feinberg explained the promotion by saying that arriving early is an example of creating advantages in one’s own life and that independent coffee shops like Klatch, owned by local parent Pam Chmiel, are good examples of the business principles he believes in.

“You can tell just from reading the blogs and Yelp reviews how much creativity and leverage these business owners exercise,” Feinberg said in the release.

Posh penthouse
Real estate may be shaky in some parts of town, but things are still apparently rolling down by the river. Riverhouse, the Sheldrake condominium being built at 1 River Terrace, announced Wednesday that it had sold its penthouse unit for $7.7 million — a record for Battery Park City.

All that green will get the lucky new owners, well, a lot of green (of the environmental sort). The building is striving for a platinum rating from the U.S. Green Buildings Council and will feature filtered air, renewable materials and a southern extension of Teardrop Park. The penthouse owner, however, will also get five bedrooms, a fireplace and heated floors.

But perhaps the most valuable green in the apartment will be out the window — a sweeping view of Lady Liberty in all her copper patina glory.

Dep. Mayor Ed Skyler, let’s just say you’re an “A” in our book, which is the story we are sticking with to explain why we mistakenly put an “A” in your name last week in our item about you.

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