downtownexpress.com

Volume 20, Number 36 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Feb. 1 - 7 , 2008

Under Cover

Red, rock and blue Danny Ross’s boss, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, is solidly in Hillary Clinton’s camp, but Ross, in addition to Clintonistas, is welcoming Barack Obama supporters and even, gulp, Republican backers of John McCain and Mitt Romney to rock the Bowery Poetry Club on Super Duper Tuesday, Feb, 5, starting at 9:30 p.m. Ross is hinting his band may cover the “Obama Girl” YouTube song. If Nadler shows up, don’t expect him to sing along.

Fulton furor Downtown leaders are responding with everything from anger to denial after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it ran out of money to build the aboveground portion of its Fulton St. transit hub.

World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein appears to be taking the denial route, saying the M.T.A. needs to go forward despite its money problems.

“It needs a complete and total rebuild,” Silverstein said of the station. “It’s terribly important to the region.”

While M.T.A. engineers and designers might have to do “some jiggering,” Silverstein was irrepressibly optimistic, saying, “Go forward it will, without any doubt.”

Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver took an angrier tack, calling the reduction “outrageous and unacceptable.”

The M.T.A. hasn’t yet decided what will happen to the land, since the authority already kicked out businesses and razed the buildings that were in the way of the planned station. Possibilities include a plaza, a school and a performing arts center, a source told UnderCover.

But Jeremy Soffin, M.T.A. spokesperson, said the M.T.A. hasn’t gotten that far. “We haven’t started exploring our options,” he said. “We haven’t narrowed anything down yet.”

‘No way,’ Wei Political cynics, not UnderCover of course, might have speculated that Community Board 2 chairperson Brad Hoylman’s creation of a Chinatown Committee last year might have been done with an eye on a possible repeat run for the First Council District since the community board only has a slice of Chinatown, but the council district has the whole enchilada, to mix ethnic metaphors. (Well maybe UnderCover a little.)

Hoylman, a longtime Village resident, said of running again for the First seat, “no way. I’m not moving again.”

In 2001, when Hoylman lived a few blocks away, he came in second to former C.B. 2 chairperson Alan Gerson in the seven-candidate Democratic primary for council.

There has been much more speculation about Hoylman running against Village preservation leader Andrew Berman for City Council Speaker Chris Quinn’s seat when she gives it up at the end of next year. On this possible race, Hoylman was not at all Shermanesque, declining to comment.

Quiet challenges Luke Henry, who is taking on the mighty Assembly speaker, Shelly Silver, told UnderCover in December: “Of course it’s going to be difficult to beat an incumbent, especially a powerful one, but for a long time people in this district haven’t had a choice.”

Maybe he should have been careful what he wished for because it looks like Downtown voters who think Silver needs more than a little tarnishing will have two choices — Henry and Paul Newell, who recently put up a sparse Web site announcing his candidacy (newellnyc.org).

“To take back our government, we must take on the culture of failure in Albany and the rivers of money that feed it,” Newell’s site says.

Newell and Henry will have to overcome many, many hurdles to beat Silver in the September primary, one of which may be their shyness. Neither wanted to speak to UnderCover about their candidacies, although Newell said he’ll be ready to talk in a few days.

Another hurdle is money. Newell appears ahead of his fellow challenger in fundraising, raising over $18,000. Henry doesn’t have fundraising figures listed on the Board of Elections Web site. Silver’s war chest is almost $3 million.

Cooley hire Speaking of Downtown challengers, Daniel Squadron, who is battling State Sen. Martin Connor, has just hired his first paid staffer — Mary Cooley, who was Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh’s chief of staff and had been Borough President Scott Stringer’s Lower Manhattan liaison. Financial adjustment Lower Manhattan’s Marriott hotel celebrated its new name — New York Marriott Downtown — Wednesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The West St. hotel dropped the old name, the Marriott Financial Center, to better reflect the fact that tourists and residents are also part of the new Financial District.

Liz Berger — who moved to FiDi long before it was called that and now runs the Downtown Alliance, the Wall St. area’s business improvement district — naturally, was one of the event’s speakers.

Cardinal wrecking ball The Catholic Archdiocese is reportedly getting ready to demolish Our Lady of Vilnius Church hard by the Holland Tunnel entrance at Broome and Varick Sts. Joseph Pantuliano, a former congregant and a member of the Knights of Columbus who used to meet at the church, said a neighbor of the church recently received a letter announcing that the demolition was imminent. “I heard it will be in five to six weeks,” Pantuliano told us. The archdiocese did not return a call for comment.





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