Volume 21, Number 30 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | DECEMBER 5 - 11, 2008
Marching band on Washington
Missouri radio personality Clint Harding is calling in his famed Clint Harding Network to try and get his old pal and networker, our own Tom Goodkind, a gig with Goodkind’s TriBattery Pops Jan. 20 to help celebrate President Barack Obama’s inauguration (does anyone else enjoy opportunities to drop the “elect” from the Big Man’s title?). Harding figures some ragtag group like the U.S. Marine Corps will do “Hail to the Chief,” but the Pops would be perfect for “Happy Days Are Here Again,” “We’re In The Money” or our personal favorite for this occasion, “Fixing A Hole.” In case the president-to-be is reading UnderCover this week, he should know the Pops can be in and out of Washington and back Downtown in a day so they won’t swell the city’s homeless population in a futile search for a room.
Quinn’s cyber foe
Just who exactly is running the dumpchristinequinn.blogspot.com Web site? That’s what its inspiration, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, sure wanted to know after the mysterious, hard-hitting page suddenly surfaced in cyberspace three months ago.
“She has complained to everyone but me about it,” said the blogger, Rosemary Kuropat, a longtime Hudson Square resident and co-owner of the Soho-based slover [and] company design-branding firm.
The main motivation for the site has been Quinn’s refusal, in Kuropat’s view, to adequately assist the community in its battle against the three-district Department of Sanitation garage recently approved for Spring St.’s west end. “She has failed to represent the community; she’s so busy being the speaker,” Kuropat said.
The blog-based activist bashed the Bloomberg administration’s commitment letter that accompanied the City Council’s vote approving the project. The letter said the city would try to look for alternative sites for the garbage trucks of one of the three Sanitation districts District 5 during the next six months, and would do some other things, like plant trees around the edge of the gargantuan, new, 12-story-tall Spring St. megagarage to spiff it up a bit. “The trees are part of the city’s ‘Million Tree’ program,” Kuropat scoffed. “Nothing in there wouldn’t have happened anyway,” she said of the letter. Kuropat lived for 25 years on Varick St., a large, converted, former commercial building across from the Holland Tunnel entrance, and currently dwells at the smaller but swankier new place on Spring St. She slammed the Spring St. garage project for what she branded as its exorbitant cost nearly $500 million.
“Why is it that much? Because they had to buy $239 million of air rights from UPS,” she fumed. “It is such Robert Moses craziness and it makes me wish Jane Jacobs was still alive.”
Kuropat didn’t want to speak ill of the local Sanitation Steering Committee, the ad-hoc community group that has led the effort against the megagarage. But she feels the committee has pulled its punches, afraid to rile the political powers that be. “[State Senator Tom] Duane, Quinn…everyone is afraid of Bloomberg.”
In reality, Kuropat doesn’t really come out of nowhere at all. She was chief of staff of economic development under former Mayor Dinkins, and did economic development in the Koch administration and state government for 10 years. On the subject of dumping, there’s a dumpgerson.org blog out there, too, but Kuropat said she’s not going after Councilmember Alan Gerson. “I think there maybe is one, but I’m not involved,” she said. She said some of the garage project’s opponents, angered over Gerson’s abstaining during the vote on the Spring St. megagarage, hatched the idea of emulating her site.
All in the fami-Lee
Chinatown business leader and resident Jan Lee has just joined his mother, June Lee, on the board of directors of Hamilton-Madison House, the 110-year-old settlement house on Madison St. Jan, who has been a leader in the fight to reopen Park Row and end police parking abuses, has toyed with the idea of entering elected politics.
Congrats to Julie Nadel, who will win the City Fish Award at The River Project’s Holiday Cocktail Party next Thurs., Dec. 11. Nadel is a member of the Hudson River Park Trust, where she has fought hard to keep the river group afloat, and former chairperson of Community Board 1’s Waterfront Committee.
Work for Silverstein
The thousands of recently laid-off New Yorkers searching for a new job may want to check out Silverstein Properties Crain’s New York Business just ranked Silverstein fifth among mid-sized firms and 21st overall in its annual Best Places to Work in New York City list.
With Larry Silverstein at the helm, Silverstein Properties is in charge of 18 million square feet of Manhattan real estate, including several million square feet under development at the World Trade Center site, Crain’s said.
“Working on the site means being a part of history,” Gianna Frederique, a marketing and communications assistant, told Crain’s.
The associated bragging rights and the views from Silverstein’s 7 W.T.C. apparently don’t hurt either, Crain’s said. Other perks include half-day summer Fridays, above-average bonuses and health insurance that is almost entirely subsidized.
Crain’s surveyed 25,399 employees at more than 300 New York City companies to arrive at its rankings.
From Council to L.M.D.C.
Sayar Lonial recently found himself testifying before his former boss.
Lonial left City Councilmember Alan Gerson’s office earlier this year to take a job as director of planning for the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. not one of Gerson’s favorite agencies. Gerson called the L.M.D.C. to testify at a hearing on the World Trade Center site Nov. 21, and as L.M.D.C. President David Emil was out sick, it fell to Lonial to represent his new employer.
Gerson introduced Lonial as “someone who is no stranger to us” and said it was only “grudgingly” that he associates Lonial with the L.M.D.C. Gerson joked that he would keep the questions easy, and while he did press Lonial to clarify the L.M.D.C.’s role at the World Trade Center site, it never got heated.
Lonial said it was a bit strange to be on the other side of the table, but he seemed comfortable in his new role. Relations between Gerson and the L.M.D.C. could be less friendly when he holds a hearing next month on the former Deutsche Bank building, where two firefighters were killed last year under the L.M.D.C.’s watch.
After the hearing, Gerson and Lonial shook hands and promised each other to meet soon for lunch as long as they kept everything off the record.
Join the community board
It’s that time of year again Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is looking for new community board members. The community boards have some influence over government policy and often get an early look at new projects. The Beep will hold an info session at 1 Centre St., 19th floor, Wed., Dec. 10 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. More details are available on Stringer’s Web site, mbpo.org.