Volume 21, Number 13 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | AUGUST 8 - 14, 2008

Under cover

Lie detector anyone?
City Council candidate Pete Gleason is offering to pay for two lie detector tests to try and get to the bottom of Community Board 1’s missing ballot caper.

The signed ballot — a public record — belonged to Julie Menin, C.B. 1’s chairperson, who promised in June to vote for Marc Ameruso for the less than lofty position of assistant secretary to the community board, but then changed her mind and voted for Chelsea-Lyn Rudder, who was soundly defeated by Ameruso anyway.

Gleason said he was upset to hear some C.B. 1 members imply last week that Ameruso may have taken the ballot. Gleason said he wants Ameruso and Menin to take the tests, which he expects would cost about $1,000.

“It’s not admissible in court but it is admissible in the court of public opinion,” said Gleason, an attorney and former police officer. “They may both pass it with flying colors and then we can move on.”

If Menin was behind the disappearance, the presumed motive would be to hide her change of mind. If Ameruso was responsible, the presumed motive would be to try and discredit Menin, with whom he has had a falling out. But they are not the only potential culprits, if there was foul play. (UnderCover, for our part, has ruled out Col. Mustard.)

Since Menin has long been considering a run for Council against Gleason, he said he’d be happy to let an independent third party select the polygrapher.

Menin is having no part of the test and blasted Gleason for “politicizing the process….It’s beyond the pale.” She said the board has set up better election procedures and it’s time to move on particularly since the charges and counter charges have impugned the reputations of her and several members — but most notably, she left Ameruso off her list.

Ameruso did not comment on Gleason’s offer.

Walk these streets
Downtowners accustomed to boarded-off sidewalks and construction-blocked streets may be surprised to hear this, but Lower Manhattan’s neighborhoods ranked among the most walkable in the country, according to a Web site called walkscore.com.

Tribeca, Little Italy and Soho topped the list with perfect scores of 100, while Chinatown, the Financial District and Battery Park pulled in a respectable 99.

How is it that these streets — often a dangerous tangle of cyclists, cabs and trucks — are considered the most walkable? It turns out that the only thing the site’s patented formula takes into account is the distance to stores, restaurants, schools and parks. The qualitative stuff — like safety, design and weather — isn’t included.

If the algorithm adds some of the factors that affect Downtown, like, say, the number of construction vehicles that back up over the sidewalk each day, narrowly missing pedestrians, UnderCover predicts that Lower Manhattan’s numbers will slip.

2B to be
Construction is supposed to start Aug. 15 on the new pre-K-8 school at Site 2B in Battery Park City. The school, on Battery Pl. between First and Second Pls., is also known as “the green school,” a first for the city. It will house 950 students when it opens in fall 2010.

‘Riot’ report
Without doubt, the high point of the Tompkins Square Park riots 20th anniversary weekend was Leftover Crack’s show at the end of Sunday — this despite someone’s dangerously close blast of pineapple-chunk-filled vomit that kind of sprayed our leg during the performance. Anyway, Leftover Crack had the crowd singing along to their “Gang Control,” with its catchy, unprintable refrain, “[Screw] the police!”

The riots anniversary didn’t see too much bad behavior. Deputy Inspector Dennis DeQuatro of the Ninth Precinct said there were just some summonses handed out for open alcohol containers. He said about 800 to 1,000 people attended the Sunday concert, far more than the usual 100 or 200 people who have attended the anniversary concerts in recent years.

He said police hadn’t feared any violence since “it’s not like it’s been building” that way at concerts by the same organizers over the past few years. Queried about band’s like Leftover Crack cursing the police, DeQuatro diplomatically answered, “Doesn’t bother me. I’ve been called worse. If you do this professionally, you can’t take it personally — or you should look for another profession.”




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