Volume 21, Number 51 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 1 - 7, 2009
We never sensed much friction between Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Councilmember Alan Gerson until we asked Stringer about his endorsement plans in Gerson’s reelection primary in four months. He was not willing to say anything about the race, which would not have raised an eyebrow except for the fact that he was enthusiastic about his support for Council Speaker Chris Quinn’s reelection.
“I’m for Chris Quinn,” the Beep told us last week.
Why comment on only one race? “I’m doing this one Council district at a time,” Stringer explained. We neglected to ask him about his unconventional organizing system — Gerson represents the First District and Quinn the Third.
Stringer also said Quinn did a good job consulting with Hudson Square residents about the garbage truck garage tower proposed for the nabe, contrary to the opinions of our letter to the editor writers (see page 22).
“I think she’s very in tune not just to her Council district, but to the community,” he said. Stringer differs with Quinn on the garage, but he doesn’t think she was afraid to take on the mayor. “She’s tough. She’s nobody’s pushover.”
Stringer is still considering challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a primary next year — he cited gun control, immigration rights and standing up to Big Tobacco as the issues he would raise if he ran — but said other than the $60 he had in his pocket, he had no money yet to mount a challenge.
Helping the cause
Probably most every actor who ever won an Oscar did it with the help of his or her own vote, so perhaps we should not have been surprised last week to see Swedish actor Jonas Inde dropping a ballot in the bucket for the Tribeca Film Festival’s audience award for “The Swimsuit Issue.” The crowd for the East Village screening (a filmfest screening in Tribeca is almost as rare as a Robert De Niro sighting) seemed to love the flick and even if it didn’t get a little help from the cast, “Swimsuit” may still stand a good chance of winning the $25,000 prize.
It looks like the city Dept. of Transportation isn’t quite done with ignoring opposing views.
In a press release announcing that they were backing off the unpopular plan to move commuter buses to West St. in Tribeca, the D.O.T. quoted many elected officials praising the agency’s reversal.
But one elected official, State Sen. Daniel Squadron, wasn’t ready to let the D.O.T. off the hook that easily.
“The future of West Street cannot be decided in the dead of night without community input,” Squadron said in a statement. “With this decision, the Department of Transportation has wisely recognized that the community must be involved as we determine together where to locate these buses.”
The D.O.T. cut the first sentence out of their press release, so Squadron’s office issued the full statement separately.
Asked about the statement, the D.O.T. said all the electeds signed off on the press release.
John Raskin, Squadron’s chief of staff, said that the original one “reflects [Squadron’s] view that the initial community process about West Street was insufficient.”
Another restaurant gone
Another Maiden Ln. business shut its doors last week: Mardi Gras Pizza, between Broadway and Nassau St. The pizza place is just a few doors down from the coffee shop Klatch, which closed earlier this month.
Ro Sheffe, chairperson of Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee, pointed out the latest closure as evidence of the mounting problems facing local businesses. He is trying to convince the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. to give grants to the remaining shops on Maiden Ln. to tide them through the recession, before another one goes under.
It’s not often that a local snafu that raises residents’ ire gets the national spotlight, but that’s what happened Monday morning when an Air Force One look-alike swooped into Lower Manhattan unannounced, tailed by two fighter jets.
The planes were for nothing more than a photo-op, but after the sight terrified thousands in Lower Manhattan and New Jersey, sending office workers running through the streets, and promting a “furious” President Obama to extract an apology from the guilty party.
Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1’s World Trade Center Committee, said her husband evacuated from his office building in Jersey City. She and others made frantic phone calls Monday morning with no idea what was happening, because the city’s Notify NYC alert system did not send out a message until after the planes disappeared.
“We just wish we had a little more warning,” Hughes said.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg told reporters he wished the same thing.
As clear as 1, 2, 3
Oskar Brecher, director of development at The Moinian Group, was upset last week when we reported that he never told Community Board 1 about a recent accident at the new W Hotel Moinian is building at 123 Washington St.
Brecher insists he told the board about the accident, in which a piece of plywood fell 44 stories, when he spoke to C.B. 1’s Financial District Committee at the beginning of April. District manager Noah Pfefferblit does not remember Brecher mentioning the accident, or the fact that the building had a stop-work order at the time of the meeting, and neither do several board members. They conceded, though, that Brecher may have mentioned it in an unclear way and they thought he was alluding to another plywood accident, which they knew about.
All of this got straightened out at C.B. 1’s full board meeting last Tuesday, where Brecher appeared to ask for a liquor license for the W, which is still under construction. Some board members wanted to oppose the license because they felt Moinian was being dishonest about the accident, but most people said the two issues were separate and approved the license.
Catherine McVay Hughes, vice chairperson of the board, wanted Brecher to promise to come back to the Financial District Committee every month until the building is enclosed to report on the progress of the work. Before Brecher could respond, though, board chairperson Julie Menin said that was too strenuous a request, letting Brecher off the hook.