Volume 22, Number 05 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 19 - 25, 2009
Sealing the envelope?
Rumors of the Peck Slip Post Office’s demise just won’t go away, and this week the U.S. Postal Service finally admitted they’re considering closing the Seaport outpost.
“It’s one of the options, but no final decision has been made,” U.S.P.S. spokesperson Darleen Reid told UnderCover.
The Postal Service is doing a facilities optimization study to see if they can make better use of their spaces, including the Peck Slip office, Reid said. E-mail and online bill payments have cut into the Postal Service’s revenue, with mail volumes plummeting to levels not seen since the 1960s, so the U.S.P.S. has to make cuts, Reid said.
Reid expects a decision to come by the end of the U.S.P.S. fiscal year Sept. 30.
Meanwhile, UnderCover tipster Paul Hovitz heard from Peck Slip employees this week who were told that in September, they would be moving to the much larger Church St. post office. Hovitz is also hearing that the Peck Slip building was sold, but property records don’t show a sale. Workers first began delivering the message to Hovitz about the pending closure almost a year ago.
City Councilmember Alan Gerson does not have any direct power over the parties mired in a dispute over the future of the World Trade Center site, but usually the major players eventually show up to testify at Gerson’s Lower Manhattan Redevelopment hearings.
However, when Gerson scheduled a hearing on the Trade Center site for June 3, at the outset of the recent tense negotiations over the site’s finances, the Port Authority begged off, requesting that Gerson move the hearing later in the month.
Gerson agreed, on one condition: that Port Authority executive director Chris Ward come to the rescheduled hearing. The Port agreed, and Gerson set a new hearing date of June 15.
But then, as the date approached, Gerson heard from the Port that Ward would be out of town during the new hearing and wanted to send written testimony. That was unacceptable to Gerson, so he postponed the hearing once again, now to June 26 at 10 a.m.
“It’s so important to have [Ward] there to answer questions,” Gerson said. “To wait one more week made sense.”
UnderCover asked Gerson if Ward had promised to show up to Gerson’s hearing if the major issues about the site’s future remained unresolved. The parties have spoken very little publicly since negotiations started at the beginning of the month.
The Port Authority “made it clear that it was unconditional attendance, whether or not they have a deal,” Gerson said. “It’s not going beyond this month, I assure you,” he added of his thrice-scheduled hearing.
Paul Newell, who challenged Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver last year in his first primary in over two decades, has entered the Downtown Democratic District leader fray to join a race that already pits incumbent Adam Silvera against Avram Turkel.
“I didn’t know the job was so glamorous,” quipped Silvera.
It is unusual, but not unprecedented, to have three people vying for the unpaid position, which is intended to help local Democratic legislators stay connected to their constituencies, rally the party troops, etc. There’s a male and female leader for each part of an Assembly district.
None of the candidates had much bad to say about each other — hey guys, if you run for an office not many people know about, can you at least make it fun?
Newell did say he had wished Silvera had endorsed him against Silver. There wasn’t much chance of that happening, given Silvera has been a loyal Silverado over the years. Which brings up another interesting point — Silver has not yet endorsed Silvera. The speaker told us he’ll wait to see who makes the ballot before weighing in on the race.
Newell said it would be good if one of the eight district leaders in Silver’s district did not always agree with the speaker. (Newell did quickly endorsed Silver last year after losing the primary.)
Newell and Silvera are backing Pete Gleason for City Council while Turkel is in incumbent Alan Gerson’s corner.
A developer wants to overhaul the former Citibank headquarters at 250 West St. and replace the offices with 105 condos and a rooftop addition — but there’s the small matter of paying for it.
Developer Elad Properties sought approval for the changes to the historic building from Community Board 1’s Landmarks Committee last week and plans to go to the city Landmarks Preservation Commission July 7. C.B. 1’s committee gave the project an advisory go-ahead, but the developer doesn’t yet have the money to build the project.
“Nobody is financing anything,” a candid Yoel Shargian, C.O.O. of Elad Properties, said after the C.B. 1 meeting.
Company spokesperson Lloyd Kaplan later added, “It’s early on in the process. We haven’t crossed that bridge yet.”
Kaplan said the company would not seek financing until they receive city approval.
It’s been just over a year since the community board saw another plan for the building, from developer Coalco New York. They defaulted on the property, Shargian said.
Jason Sherwood, 39, Downtown Express’s senior marketing consultant, and Meryl Finger, 32, tied the knot in Key West Sun., June 14. The lead up to the wedding was a wild bus ride — literally. The happy couple took a crowded bus down from New York with Finger’s plus-size burlesque band, the Glamazons. Footage from the ride and the Orthodox Jewish wedding is expected to air in October on a wedding reality show that Sherwood’s confidentiality agreement forbids him from disclosing. Mr. and Ms. Sherwood are back in the city and are hoping to take a short honeymoon away from the cameras soon.
We wish ‘em well. Congrats.
Irene Chang, general counsel to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., missed the L.M.D.C.’s meeting last week, but Chairperson Avi Schick assured the board that she had a very good reason: Chang gave birth to a son, Degan Chang Cimino, April 19. Degan, who weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces, was also welcomed into the world by father Paul Cimino.