Volume 21, Number 46 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | March 27 - April 2, 2009
Two of the four district leaders out of the Downtown Independent Democrats club are moving toward Pete Gleason against incumbent City Councilmember Alan Gerson in the primary election just about six months from now.
However, we hear Ray Cline, of Village Reform Democratic Club, a group originally formed to try to help Ed Koch become governor, is organizing the effort to find candidates to challenge the two apparent Gleason-supporting district leaders, Jean Grillo and Adam Silvera.
Grillo supports Gleason outright, while Silvera tells us “I can affirmatively lean in the direction of not supporting Gerson….I’m against the term limits extension and it’s time for new leadership.”
Gleason tells us Silvera just donated $100 to his campaign.
(Incidentally, before Gleason chatted with James Gandolfini at the Hudson Rise Picnic event, he asked Gerson if he would agree to a debate, and Gerson brushed him off.)
Sean Sweeney, D.I.D.’s president, is also supporting Gleason (and heckling Gerson, as we reported in our article about the “picnic” on Page 1). However, Sweeney cautioned, “Things are changing daily.” And he added that an “unknown candidate,” whom he apparently knows but wouldn’t identify for us, has also been investigating whether he should jump in the race.
We hear it might be Evan Lederman, a young attorney on C.B. 2, but Sweeney said it’s not him.
Meanwhile Margaret Chin, the third declared candidate in the race, announced Wednesday that she had raised $100,000 in 2009. “Alan Gerson, is $4,000 in debt with less than six months until primary day,” her campaign wrote in a press release. Even though Chin may now have a 60,000-to-1 cash advantage over Gerson, he should have no problem raising the campaign maximum with the city’s generous matching fund law.
It is a Picnic
The new park on the southwestern shore of Governors Island has a name at last: Picnic Point. The 8 acres of space within a strong stone’s throw of the Statue of Liberty will open this spring, provided the state comes through with funding and allows the island to open at all.
The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp. held a contest to name the space, and the suggestion of Picnic Point came from Ryan Russo, of Brooklyn. The park will have an open lawn area and, of course, picnic tables.
What do Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Bvlgari have in common? These high-end brands are all featured on a poster depicting the future retail at the World Trade Center site. The close-up rendering of the mall, plastered to the site’s construction fence along Vesey St., also shows stores labeled Calvin Klein, Diesel and Roberto Cavalli.
Steve Coleman, spokesperson for the Port Authority, said in an e-mail that the names of the retailers don’t mean anything about the 488,000 square feet of retail that will go in the underground concourse and Silverstein Properties’ Towers 2, 3 and 4.
“There are no leases or even concepts on possible retail tenants yet,” Coleman said. “The names…should not have been visible and in no way represent prospective tenants.”
If that’s true, it’s probably a good thing, because we’re not sure that D&G is what the locals had in mind when they talked about resident-friendly retail.
It’s unclear when the retail could open, because while Tower 4 is rising, construction on Towers 2 and 3 is nowhere near beginning. Chris Ward, the Port’s executive director, has floated the idea of building the retail-filled podiums of the towers first, then waiting until better economic times to top them with the thousands of square feet of office space.
Billy’s Serrano shoot
We bumped into Reverend Billy on E. Houston St. last Friday and, of course, he was toting his jumbo-sized white megaphone. We chatted with him along Avenue A on his way up to Tompkins Square Park, where he was heading for a photo shoot with Andres Serrano.
Billy said he’s always been a fan of Serrano, whose 1987 “Piss Christ” photo — of a plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of his own urine —ignited the “culture wars.” Billy said his campaign for mayor of New York City is going well, noting he recently raised $20,000. Hmm, that’s just a bit behind Bloomberg...but, hey, there’s a few months left in the race. ... He’s looking for a campaign office in the Downtown area. One spot, on Sullivan St. near the Spring St. C/E train station, was promising, but fell through. Billy now has his eye on the War Resisters League building at Lafayette and Spring Sts., which he practically considers a “sacred space.”
A lesson for Lower Manhattan residents: Complain, and the Port Authority listens.
After Battery Park City resident Barry Skolnick made noise about the slippery wooden walkway the Port Authority installed along Liberty St. near the World Trade Center site, the Port took action. Last weekend, the Port painted the walkway — which we hear officials are calling “The Boardwalk” — with a gritty varnish designed to improve traction. It feels sandy and rough to the touch.
Skolnick is happy the Port listened to his concerns, but he’s suspending judgment until he sees how it responds to the first rainstorm. If Thursday’s forecast holds, he won’t have long to wait.