Volume 22, Number 16 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | August 28 - September 3, 2009

Under Cover

Ferrer flap
Freddy Ferrer is sticking with his endorsement of Pete Gleason in the First District City Council race, despite some flyer shenanigans that upset him.

Ferrer, former Bronx borough president and the Democratic nominee for mayor in ’05, announced his support of Gleason earlier this month. But Ferrer also endorsed some Democratic district leaders who are supporting incumbent Councilmember Alan Gerson, including Ferrer’s longtime friends John Quinn and Alice Cancel, who represent the East Side of Lower Manhattan.

The trouble started when Ferrer saw a flyer that touted not only his endorsement of Gleason but also his purported endorsement of Quinn and Cancel’s opponents, Norma Ramirez and David Diaz, who are Gleason supporters.

“I was displeased, to say the least,” Ferrer told UnderCover.

Ferrer said Gleason told him he was not responsible for the flyers and he would have Ramirez and Diaz get them off the streets immediately.

“I thought that was the right way to handle it,” Ferrer said, and he still supports Gleason.

But the flyer issues may not be over yet — we hear there’s another flyer circulating that claims the Downtown Independent Democrats endorsed both Gleason and district leader candidate Paul Newell. While the Gleason part is true, D.I.D. did not endorse Newell, who was not even running yet when they made their decision.

Recession product
The failure of miniMasters and other children’s programs in Tribeca have not dissuaded Elisa Chen, 33, from launching her new parent-child center called Body & Mind Builders at 78 Reade St. next month.

Chen is well aware of the recession — she worked in finance before getting laid off last year — and plans to offer discounts to get families to enroll. The idea behind the parent-child combinations is to allow parents to get in a pilates workout, for example, while their toddlers are learning Mandarin.

Chen, who lives in the Financial District, thought up Body & Mind Builders after seeing that P.S. 89 did not give as much homework or do as much test prep as she expected, and she wanted supplementary classes for her son, who is entering fifth grade.

She also had another motivation for starting her own business rather than looking for a new finance job.

“My husband works in finance,” she said, and because of the downturn, “I had no desire for both of us to be in this industry.”

Disappearing towers
Most of the World Trade Center fence along Vesey St. is now a blank blue wall after the Port Authority removed all images related to Silverstein Properties, its nemesis in an ongoing financing battle. Photos of work at the Port’s Freedom Tower, One W.T.C., remain, along with close-ups of steel workers, but images showing the full site plan with Silverstein’s Church St. towers have disappeared, along with those that showed the towers’ shops.

Candace McAdams, Port spokesperson, said the disappearing renderings are “not at all” related to the dispute with Silverstein. The Port is just switching the old images with some new ones to continue showing the latest progress on the site, she said.

Survey says…
Gee, we hope it wasn’t anything we wrote.

A new Quinnipiac University poll says that most New York City voters think World Trade Center development is going “very” or “somewhat badly” (53 percent), and even more Manhattanites, 63 percent, are pessimistic about the situation.

By a 2-1 margin, most city voters have little faith in the Port Authority’s ability to finish the first part of the memorial by Sept. 11, 2011 or open the Freedom Tower by December 2013. Maybe because the projected opening of the transit hub has been pushed back until June, 2014, optimism is almost 50-50 about finishing that one on time.

It crossed our minds that perhaps W.T.C. developer Larry Silverstein paid for this poll to embarrass the Port, but Quinipiac does its surveys on its own. Quinnipiac has been polling on W.T.C. issues for about seven years and has never found as much pessimism about progress there.

“Do New Yorkers believe anything the Port Authority tells them,” Maurice Carroll, Quinnipiac’s director, asked in a statement. “The answer is ‘no.’”

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