Volume 16 • Issue 22 | Oct 28 - Nov 03, 2003


Downtown local

State Dept. of Transportation contractors began moving parts of the Vesey St. pedestrian bridge from Battery Park City’s Site 26 to its home over West St. over the weekend. The bridge is expected to be finished before Thanksgiving to coincide with the reopening of the temporary World Trade Center PATH commuter station.

School setback?
The Downtown School, a new private school that was slated to open on Greenwich St. next fall, has lost a major source of funding, sources close to the project said.

As a result, the school may have to delay its start until the fall of 2005, according to one of its organizers. School officials had been looking to occupy a theater space just north of Canal St. at 500 Greenwich St., but they will most likely be unable to buy the property due to their financial setback, the organizer said.

The Downtown School had planned to open its doors in September, 2004. It was to begin with a class of 35 sixth grade students and add a grade each year until it had a 6-12 student body. It planned to charge $18,000 a year in tuition.

Robert Golden, the Downtown School’s founder and executive director, told Downtown Express over the summer that he needed to raise an additional $750,000 and that he planned to approach the local business community and Wall St. firms. Golden, who previously worked at Riverdale Country School, did not return two calls for comment on Monday.

The Castillo Theatre and the All Stars Project, an organization that creates performance programs for poor children, will vacate their space on the second floor of 500 Greenwich St. this Friday, said Roger Grunwald, a spokesperson for the All Stars Project. The organizations will move to a bigger location on W 42nd St., and the Downtown School had hoped to occupy the 5,000 sq.-ft.-space they left behind.

Paul Hovitz, chairperson of the youth and education committee of Community Board 1, said there was clearly a need for private schools in Lower Manhattan.

“There are parents in our community who choose the private school route and spend a lot of money, not only on tuition, but on transportation,” Hovitz said. “Our community certainly has room in it for the private school.”

W.T.C. recommendations
Responding to the revised master plan for rebuilding the former World Trade Center site, Community Board 1 passed a detailed resolution last week with more recommendations for site access, retail development, and bus parking.

On Sept. 29, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation presented revised plans to the community for a new commercial office tower on the former site of 7 W.T.C. and also for the master scheme. Modifications to the latter included the incorporation of the Deutsche Bank site into the plan, with the possible additions of a bus garage underneath and a park on Liberty St.

In its resolution, C.B. 1 strongly urged the L.M.D.C. and the Port Authority not to rule out the use of any portion of the W.T.C. site for underground bus parking. The board expressed concern that access to Battery Park City would be hampered by the uninterrupted length of the slurry wall along West and Liberty Sts. The board also reiterated its reservations about the cost and feasibility of the proposed West St. tunnel.

Grab bags
A woman about to make a deposit in a bank at 525 Broadway at Spring St. at 4:14 p.m. Fri., Oct. 17 was the victim of a purse-snatcher who grabbed her bag with $1,426 in check and fled south on Broadway, police said.

A patron of a restaurant at 495 Broadway between Broome and Spring Sts. told police someone grabbed her bag which was on the floor at her feet at 12:15 p.m. Sat. Oct. 15 and made off with it and her wallet with personal papers.

A woman walking on Broadway at Canal St. at 4:30 p.m. Sat. Oct. 18 was the victim of a purse-snatcher who took her bag with $300 in cash and personal papers, police said.

Hospital volunteer
Peter Lor, a longtime resident of Chinatown, received a Volunteer Service Award from Mayor Bloomberg last Tuesday. Lor, 80, was one of nine individuals to be recognized for the time and energy he has donated to the city. He was nominated by NYU Downtown Hospital for his work bridging the cultural gap between the hospital’s staff and the large Chinese population the hospital serves.

Lor has lived in Chinatown for 65 years; he served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II. He was looking for volunteer work in 1995 after retiring from years in the restaurant business when he heard about the hospital’s need for Chinese-speaking volunteers.

Recently, Lor has been struggling with health problems of his own, but he has continued to work in the hospital – filing in the outpatient department, preparing charts, getting lab reports and supplies. But, according to the hospital, his most valuable work is helping the hospital with the large number of Chinese immigrants it serves (over 90% of outpatients and 60% of inpatients are Chinese).

Although Lor grew up speaking Cantonese, he recently learned Mandarin (a markedly different Chinese dialect) to reflect the changing demographics in Chinatown and improve his usefulness as a translator at the hospital.

Lor has been integral in “breaking the cultural barriers between patients and the medical staff,” wrote William Wang, the director of community service and volunteer service at the hospital, in Lor’s nomination letter for the award. “An example of the cultural barriers is the majority of Chinese patients, especially the elderly, often refuse to let nurses draw blood for blood tests, because they feel the blood is given by their parents and is their life. … Peter works with these patients and explains to them about the importance of having blood tests to seek immediate, appropriate medical care for their ailments.”


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