Volume 20, Number 49 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | APRIL 19 - 26, 2008

By Janel Bladow

JUNGLE FEVER…Wondering what that massive tent is along the north side of Pier 17? Wonder no more, instead ponder the wonders of the Amazon River! Inside is 13,000-square feet of tropical rainforest — lush trees, river banks, jungle sounds and village people. It’s part of the citywide celebration Amazônia Brasil, exhibits and workshops to learn more about this area of South America which is key to the earth’s climate. While the real Amazon spans more than two million square miles and has plants, animals and forests most humans have never seen, visitors to the Seaport tent will get to mingle with the critters, plants and people — including shamans and artists. Some of the proceeds from the sale of crafts made by local Amazon artists will benefit a fund that protects the Amazon area, which is undergoing huge development pressures and is losing biomass as we speak. The exhibit opens this week and runs through July 13.

COMINGS...Two new restaurants (do we need more???) coming within the month, including seafood on South St. — The Fish Market Restaurant at 111 South St. captures the look and feel of the old (and missed!) Sloppy Louie’s with its dark wooden booths and white octagonal tile floors. On Front St. just two doors north of his dad’s Aphrodite Cleaners, Socrates Nanas is prepping his new place. He calls it South American Fusion style cooking — French techniques applied to hot Latin flavors! “We have no space for storage,” he told Seaport Report, “so everything will be fresh.” Bar snacks will include favorites from his Uptown eatery Empanada Mama. Inside he is re-creating an outdoor feel with banquet seating under a grand pergola and a long wood bar on the opposite wall. Everything is made of earthy textures — tiles, stone and wrought iron — and bold colors – turquoise, lime green and lemon yellow. He’s in a quandary over a name so stop by and make suggestions — he’s open to ideas. Ours? “SAF” for South American Fusion — of course!

NEW TO NABE...A green way to clean – Options for Life opened its first retail shop at 150 Beekman St. recently and already it’s giving the neighborhood a fresh green feel! Walter Coddington, who spent a good part of his earlier working life with the United Nations, was looking for a way for women in poor countries to earn a living. He also wanted to protect the environment. So he linked the obvious — women still do most of the cleaning (Grrrr!!) so why not give them competitively-priced, great non-toxic products to wash bodies, bathrooms, clothes, dishes and floors? Walter says O.F.L.’s cleaners outperform other green products and clean as well as conventional products 95-percent of the time. The products are also sold online www.optionsforlife.net and “at cooperatives around the world owned and operated by local women looking to rise up the social, economic and political ladder and willing to help others do the same.” So how’d Walter end up on Beekman St.? Originally set up on Maiden Lane, his building was slated to be torn down. He found his third floor office space in his current building with no intention of opening a shop. But with the ground floor vacant, he thought, why not. He convinced the building’s owner to let him renovate the space. “The street floor had been a freezer back in the fish market days,” he told Seaport Report. “Serendipity.” Stop by and say hi to Walter and bring the dog for a treat, after all, O.F.L.’s slogan is “safer for people, pets and planet!”

GOINGS...Sharper Image continues its blowout going-out-of-business sale through the end of the month...many deals! And Von Dutch is moving to a bigger space in Pier 17.

SEAPORT IDOL MANIA...Calling all Sword swallowers and magicians! You’ve seen the Balloon Man and the breathing but green Statue of Liberty. Now you can show off your wackiest or most creative talent and make some dollars and cents by passing the hat. Tryouts for this season’s street performers at the South Street Seaport take place Tuesday, April 22, noon to 2:30 pm and again from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Pier 17. Registration on the spot. “We’re looking for bands, singers, performers of every type,” says marketing manager Lincoln Palsgrove. “It’s going to be a busy day!” You never know what can happen – Yogi, the man in the box, went from folding on Fulton St. to TV’s “America’s Got Talent!”

WOOF WOOF...the gossip hounds at the Salty Paw have caught scent of a 5000-square-foot dog run to be built between Pine St. and Wall St. under the FDR overpass. Ground breaking begins in October and the new pup play pit should be completed by summer 2009.

CONGRATULATIONS...Baby Bliss — Nathan Goldoff born January 31 to Beth and David. He joins older brother Drew who alternates between kisses and punches to his baby bro. What else are big brothers for? Pug siblings Max and Molly take a different approach — just ignore him.

Wedding Bells — Eric Mitchell married longtime girlfriend Danielle Mattia in February. The couple celebrated with a cruise around Lower Manhattan accompanied by family and friends, including most of the staff from Jeremy’s Ale House.

HAVE YOU NOTICED...every bar in the nabe has a happy hour special now? Nearly all have gone gaga for happy hour hooch. Drop us a note about your favorite place for an after work cocktail.

CONTACT US…Have a tip or an announcement to share? Email us at Seaportreport@Downtownexpress.com.






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