Volume 21, Number 44 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | March 13 - 19, 2009


Under Cover

Park wait
A tipster tells us he heard from a power that is that the long awaited completion of the Hudson River Park’s Tribeca section is “not going to happen” next year as is the current schedule. Park watchers had seen little construction activity in Tribeca the last few months, but it did resume this week. Connie Fishman, the Hudson River Park Trust’s president, told Community Board 1 a few weeks ago that more contracts are going out now, but suggested that it could be difficult to stick to the current timeline.

“We hope by fall of 2010, but not having the contractor, it’s hard to get that specific,” she said.

The Tribeca piers closed in 2005 to build the park’s new section.

Subway torture
The new South Ferry station will finally open Monday, but Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials haven’t gotten their story straight on how they feel about it.

“It’s been a pleasure completing it,” Uday Durg, a program manager with M.T.A., said at a community board meeting last Monday.

“Let’s be real here,” interjected Bill Wheeler, director of planning for the M.T.A. “It’s been torture completing it.”

The project has had plenty of hiccups along the way, but we’re guessing Wheeler was referring to the most recent one: Shortly before the station was supposed to open in January, the M.T.A. discovered that the gap between the train and the platform was nearly 1 inch too wide.

Cuomo hometown
Battery Park City residents, don’t ask your neighbor Andrew Cuomo for a tour.

State Attorney General Cuomo’s office held an event last week at Battery Park City’s Styuvesant High School to warn about student lending fraud, but his press office said the event was in Tribeca. Granted, some B.P.C. developers near the school have tried to capitalize on their tony neighborhood neighbor by using “Tribeca” in their building names, but we would have thought that a local like Cuomo would have a better sense of the area.

We’ll leave aside the fact that he is New York’s top legal official and the school project was approved by a state-run authority, and that when the school opened its new building 17 years ago, the governor overseeing the Battery Park City Authority at the time was none other than Mario Cuomo, Andrew’s father.

Controlling opinions
Nationally-known education scholar Diane Ravitch will be appearing at a local forum this month to discuss “demystifying” mayoral control of the schools. Ravitch, an N.Y.U. education professor, supports an overhaul of the system with a board independent of the mayor picking the schools chancellor.

Other panelists include Leonie Haimson, a parent who founded Class Size Matters, and Paul Hovitz, former chairperson of Community Board 1’s Youth and Education Committee. Both want to give parents more voice and limit the power of the mayor and Chancellor Joel Klein.

Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, uncharacteristically, could be Mayor Bloomberg’s best friend in the room if he is able to attend. Silver, who is a specially invited guest, has said he’s for renewing control this June with just a little “tweaking.”

The talk, organized by the South of the Bridge Parent & Youth Association, will be at P.S. 234, 292 Greenwich St., from 6 to 8 p.m., March 26, 2009.

Money-saving delays?
Trust Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, to find the bright side of the delayed World Trade Center construction.

Ward told reporters last week that the Port might save money at the W.T.C. as the economy slows and steel and labor prices fall.

“Ironically, after all this discussion of delay, perhaps we’re building in one of the better markets to capture savings,” Ward said.

Looking a bit alarmed, Anthony Coscia, the Port’s chairperson, jumped in to make it clear the Port would never purposely delay the project.

“We have an interest in keeping the project moving,” Coscia said, “meeting deadlines and being as aggressive as possible…as opposed to trying to strategically play the market in order to get the pricing…. We don’t necessarily think it’s in the region’s interest to slow down this project because we might see an economic advantage.”

Ward said the project is on target to meet the schedule and budget goals he set last fall. Asked if pieces could come in ahead of schedule or below budget, Ward smiled.

“I will only answer in the classic baseball adage, ‘Don’t talk about a no-hitter,’” he said.

Ward spoke just after a Port board meeting where he described the W.T.C. construction as an economic stimulus package for the region. The Port’s projects at the W.T.C. site will directly create more than 26,000 jobs and generate $14.5 billion in economic activity, Ward said.

Community Board 1 member Barry Skolnick is clarifying remarks he made last week at a board meeting regarding Battery Park City restaurants and bars serving alcohol during school hours. UnderCover reported he objected to this on the grounds he was worried about students drinking, but Skolnick’s main concern is that drunk adults will bother students in class, and he only wants afternoon restrictions near schools, not in the entire neighborhood. He does have some concern about mature-looking teens being served alcohol, but that doesn’t worry him as much as rowdy adults.




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