Volume 20 Issue 18 | September 14 - 20, 2007

Under Cover

Minding the gap
Joe Daniels, president of the National Sept. 11 Memorial Foundation, is mindful of the “bus gap” — the time period of at least two years between when the memorial will open and when the Port Authority’s underground bus parking facility will be available.

At last Thursday’s unveiling of new World Trade Center renderings, Daniels said that the issue of idling tour buses is a “genuine” concern, both now and during the anticipated gap. Asked whether the solution would simply involve a rerouting of buses around Lower Manhattan or whether more outside-the-box solutions like outer-borough park-and-rides were being considered, Daniels said, “I think the solution will come through active and creative management of the buses.”

Daniels went on to say that solving the bus gap will involve balancing the desire to be welcoming to tourists (and presumably their pocketbooks) and the desire to safeguard the area’s residents and their quality of life.

For Daniels, the concerns of the neighborhood may now strike a more personal chord, since he recently became a local resident. Daniels and his family moved into the new Scott Resnick project on Chambers St. — the same building that houses a new annex to P.S. 234 and will sport a four-floor Manhattan Youth Community Center starting in early 2008.

Daniels said his two young children (soon to be three) would attend P.S. 234. “One of the main reasons we moved down here was the public schools and you don’t get any better than 234,” Daniels said. Tony Shorris, executive director of the Port Authority, which is building the memorial, also has a kid at P.S. 234.

New dream spot
We hear David Bouley is once again stirring up his idea to start his own culinary school, but instead of Tribeca, he is now looking at the Hudson Square Varick St. spot where Home Depot was planning to open. The superstar chef’s decade-long, on-again, off-again plans to build a school in Tribeca’s Mohawk Building were eventually scalped by developer-architect Joe Pell Lombardi, who did sell Bouley two condos for a restaurant and home in the building.

Brief and dry
U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, past and probable future mayoral candidate, like his mentor Sen. Chuck Schumer, is said by some to have never met a mic he didn’t like, so officals were naturally surprised by Weiner’s exceedingly brief remarks during a press conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Eliot Spitzer and other pols at the World Trade Center Monday. Weiner simply thanked everyone there for their work and offered none of his own thoughts.

“That’s it?” Spitzer asked.

“It’s starting to rain guys,” Weiner replied.
Perhaps brevity is the soul of weather protection. There were a few drops during the conference, on the other hand, Weiner might not have the optimistic nature needed to be elected mayor since the sun shined brightly right after the event.

Trumping the fight
The New York Post’s report on Monday, “Trumph Triumphs,” about the Department of Buildings rejecting the Soho Alliance’s request that D.O.B. revoke the building permit for Donald Trump’s 42-story Soho condo-hotel, didn’t phase the Soho Alliance. Sean Sweeney, the alliance’s director, said they had gotten the rejection letter from Mona Sehgal, D.O.B. general counsel, “weeks ago. We’re not at all surprised. What do you expect from these people?” Sweeney said. “But this is not a setback. This is a step forward to the next higher level — namely the Board of Standards and Appeals. And if B.S.A. finds against us, we’ll go to court.” Scoffing at the Post’s headline, Stuart Klein, the alliance’s attorney, said, “‘Trump Triumphs,’ I wonder what press agent put that in?”

Bus bliss
It took a week to get the details ironed out, but on Monday morning a school bus finally arrived to take Downtown sixth-graders to Simon Baruch middle school for the first time in recent memory.

Baruch parent Tom Goodkind, who has campaigned all summer for a bus, said the big yellow was on time for both the pickup and the afternoon drop-off from the E. 21st. St. school. The bus cuts as much as an hour (and a whole lot of walking) off the daily Baruch commute.

“It was great,” Goodkind said. “When the bus pulled up, everyone was cheering.”

Antique correction & follow
In 1982, People magazine erroneously reported Abe Vigoda’s death. Last week, Downtown Express made a similarly egregious error when an article on Billy Leroy and his antiques and props store reported that Rob Fennick was dead. Fennick, who formerly owned the antiques tent on E. Houston St. between Elizabeth St. and the Bowery, is still living, and his stage-four cancer is in remission. “I’m alive and doing well. I’m just blown away,” he said of the article’s assertion that he had kicked the antique bucket.

In fact, Fennick says he’s still bitter about how Leroy, a former employee of his, convinced landlord Tony Goldman to give him the lease after Fennick had spent time receiving expensive cancer treatments and owed Goldman six months back rent, $18,000. “I was forced out,” charged Fennick, who now runs an antiques business out of his Central Park S. home. His clients include Ralph Lauren and Bergdorf Goodman and he does “a lot of window displays.” Needless to say, the article raised alarms. “My weekend was destroyed — so many voicemails and e-mails,” Fennick said.

We apologize, Rob.

Reporter Gerry Visco said Leroy had told her Fennick had been gravely ill, and that she wrongly assumed Fennick had died. As far as Fennick’s accusations that Leroy stole the E. Houston St. business away from him, Leroy said, “That’s totally, totally false.”

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