Volume 22, Number 08 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 3 - 9, 2009
Work in progress The Museum of Chinese in Americas plan for a soft opening last Friday was a little softer than we expected in fact, the museum is not really open at all.
While the spaces architecture, designed by Maya Lin, is nearly complete, none of the exhibits are in place, so it wouldnt make sense to hold regular hours and charge admissions, co-founder Charles Lai said. Instead, the museum will be open for select public events between now and September, when the doors will open for real. Some of the summer events will be free and others will have an admission fee.
The museum is still waiting for a certificate of occupancy, but has temporary permits for now.
Lai spoke to us on his last official day as executive director of the museum. The new museum head will be Alice Mong, who brings a background in other nonprofits serving Chinese-Americans.
Stalemate bliss Not everyone was unhappy about the Albany stalemate this week.
At midnight on July 1, as mayoral control of the schools officially sunsetted, a band of teachers and parents held a celebration outside Tweed Courthouse, the Dept. of Education headquarters. Led by Nicola DeMarco, a Queens middle school teacher who is under disciplinary review, the group posted an eviction notice on one of Tweeds columns, telling Schools Chancellor Joel Klein that his time is up.
Its one of the best moments in New York City history, by far, DeMarco said Wednesday.
DeMarco may have been speaking a bit too soon, as Mayor Mike Bloomberg convened a new Board of Education under the pre-mayoral control rules, and that body decided to keep Klein in place. DeMarco said the mayors actions were illegal.
If the state Senate ever sits down together to legally vote on anything, among the beleaguered senators early actions will likely be to renew mayoral control, following the lead of the Assembly last month.
Turf support The Battery Park City Authority had long been resistant to covering the neighborhoods ballfields with artificial turf. But Jim Gill, the authoritys chairperson, told UnderCover he finally came around when he saw the condition of the fields this spring.
Because of the shadow cast by the new Goldman Sachs tower, the fields did not get enough sunlight, Gill said. The grass never sprouted, and the copious rainfall turned the barren dirt into a field of mud.
I would prefer grass, Gill said. But, he added decisively, Im not just going to preside over a couple of mud puddles.
Gill is still concerned about negative health effects of artificial turf, and he said the authority recently hired a firm called Stantec to propose the safest possible artificial turf field. He perhaps was the last power person at the authority to turn against grass. Authority C.E.O. Jim Cavanaugh told us last fall that officials were on the road to turf to increase playing time for Downtowners.
70s redux The 70s are back, Allan Tannenbaum told Community Board 1 Tuesday night, and he wasnt talking about the economy. Rather, the Lower Manhattan resident and C.B. 1 member was referring to his book of photography, New York in the 70s, which was just reissued.
The photos span Tannenbaums tenure as photo editor at the SoHo Weekly News and include everything from street shots to political and society events. The book includes a preface by Yoko Ono and a foreword by P.J. ORourke. Tannenbaum, who took many famed photos of Yoko and John Lennon, promised eager board members that he would autograph the book on request.
Pop & Pops As news of Michael Jacksons death spread last week, UnderCover heard from one local who met the King of Pop in person.
Tom Goodkind, a Battery Park City resident and member of the 80s alternative band the Washington Squares, met Jackson in the late 1970s. Goodkind was living on the Upper East Side, and Jackson was in town staying with his sister in the same building.
Goodkind, who now heads the TriBattery Pops, didnt particularly like the Jackson Five, but a friend of his wanted her album signed.
I just rang the doorbell, Goodkind said. He was really nice. He was just eating in the kitchen with his sister . He was the nicest person. I thought nothing of it.
Back then, some were wondering if Jackson was nothing more than an over-the-hill child star, though he would soon launch an enormously successful solo career. Goodkind was more focused on milking Jackson for information on Diana Ross and The Supremes.
Departure Mid-July will bring an end to Judy Norinskys tenure as community liaison for Community Board 1. Norinsky, who started working for the community board two years ago, now plans to get her masters in historic preservation from the Pratt Institute. Board members wished her well at their monthly meeting Tuesday night, after Chairperson Julie Menin announced that Norinsky was leaving. The board is now looking for a replacement and hopes to have one in place by Labor Day.