downtownexpress.com
Volume 20 Issue 21 | October 5 - 11 2007

Under Cover

‘Patakistan’
Apparently “Patakistan” is the term du jour to describe the wide, blank, much-reviled walkway along West St. in the southern part of Battery Park City.

Community Board 1 member Tom Goodkind coined the moniker as a joke last fall, but it was in heavy use by both board members and residents at Tuesday night’s Battery Park City Committee meeting. The granite path was a pet project of then-Gov. George Pataki, who called it a “grand promenade.”

The community has been less fond of the “dead space” and on Tuesday night they said that Patakistan should be used for temporary storage in lieu of taking up public space in parks, streets or dog runs.

Battery Park City Authority community liaison Leticia Remauro, a loyal Republican who was hired under Pataki, was apparently not offended by the dig at her former boss.

“Yes, that’s what it’s called now,” Remauro said, laughing, when she heard the Patakistan label. She even used the term herself, but said that the authority was not likely to use Patakistan for storage since the space technically belongs to another agency (the Hudson River Park Trust).


Lawsuit needed for lawsuit
The Soho Alliance is charging that the Department of Buildings is giving them the runaround in their effort to get the building permit pulled for the Trump Soho Hotel Condominium on Varick St. Although D.O.B. rejected the Alliance’s request on Aug. 14, officials still aren’t providing the letter the Alliance needs in order to ask the Board of Standards and Appeals to pull the permit. If they get D.O.B.’s letter and the B.S.A. then also refuses their request, the Alliance will go to court.

By delaying, D.O.B. is helping Donald Trump, the Alliance suspects. Stu Klein, the Alliance’s attorney, wrote Christopher Santulli, D.O.B. borough commissioner, on Sept. 20, requesting the letter. Klein was away this week, but Gregory Chillino, an associate, said they are now actually threatening legal action — just to get the letter! “If we don’t get a response by next Monday, I’ll review it with Mr. Klein and see what action to take,” Chillino told us. “It smells bad, doesn’t it?”


Lens on Lennon
Local photographer and Community Board 1 member Allan Tannenbaum may go by the Web address sohoblues.com, but his latest work is all pop.

Tannenbaum’s new book of photography is entitled “John & Yoko: A New York Love Story.” It features photographs of Beatles legend John Lennon and his love, Yoko Ono, taken in November of 1980 — less than a month before Lennon was murdered.
Ono wrote the foreword for the tome, which will officially go on sale on Oct. 9.


Shopping 101
For the fourth year in a row, a group of merchants is making it easy for city shoppers to feel good about themselves. From Oct. 3 to Oct. 19, the Fund for Public Schools is holding its “Shop for Class” fundraiser to benefit school libraries across the city.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and Fund Vice-Chairperson Caroline Kennedy kicked off the campaign Tuesday at J&R Music, across the street from City Hall. During the fundraiser, retailers will donate a portion of proceeds from every sale to the Fund’s Library REACH (Revitalizing Education for Adolescents and Children) grant program. American Express will also chip in $1 for every participating purchase made with an Express card.

In addition to J&R, the local Shop for Class roster includes the Blue Spoon coffee shop on Chambers St., the Borders bookstore on lower Broadway, Shoofly children’s boutique on Hudson St., MarieBelle chocolate shop on Broome St. and Tribeca Treats bakery on Reade St.


Citi selling
First, Citigroup jettisoned Travelers Insurance, the former occupants of the tower at 390 Greenwich St., from its corporate umbrella.
Then Citigroup ditched the building’s umbrella logo, selling it back to Travelers last spring. Now, Citi is looking to unload the Tribeca building as well. Analysts in several media reports estimate that the 40-story tower, along with an adjacent 10-story building, could sell for as much as $1.8 billion.

However, Citigroup has no plans to leave the Downtown locale. The company is looking to lease back its space in the building after the sale.


B.P.C. diss
Community Board 1 may butt heads with the Battery Park City Authority from time to time over certain design issues, like ballfield turf or dog run setups. But past C.B. 1 criticisms seem like love notes compared to a recent review of the Battery Park City parks issued by urban planner Fred Kent. In an interview published last Sunday in the New York Times, Kent, the president of the Project for Public Spaces, gave the B.P.C. parks an enthusiastic thumbs down.

Kent told the Times that the parks felt over-designed and unwelcoming. His beefs? Grass that looks too pristine to walk on, plantings that block water views and hard-to-see entrances to local restaurants and museums.

Overall, Kent said, the parks are “a mishmash of stuff that doesn’t fulfill human needs.” Ouch.





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