Volume 22, Number 19 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | September 18 - 24, 2009

Under Cover

The Dutchmen cometh
There probably was more Dutch spoken last Thursday night on Governors Island than the typical American tourist hears in Amsterdam (although that’s not very much) for previews of the Pioneers Change and the New Island Festival arts events

Guests, who included Frank Heemskerk, minister of foreign trade from the Netherlands, Ferdinand Dorsman, director of cultural affairs at the Dutch consulate, and Paula Grant Berry, a director of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum and the Harbor District, sipped cosmopolitans, feasted on Dutch delicacies and took in the art.

It was one part of the many, many celebrations of Henry Hudson’s grand voyage to Lower Manhattan and the rest of the continent 400 years ago, so of course the woman who runs the big man’s namesake river park, Connie Fishman, also took the ferry ride over.

It’s me — Barry
Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver is not usually one to be star-struck (in fact, he’s probably more accustomed to other people being star-struck by him), but he sounded thrilled on Monday when he told UnderCover about his encounter with President Obama, who was in town to give a speech on the economy at Federal Hall.

Before the speech, Obama met with Silver. When they shook hands, Obama said, “Oh, good to see you again,” Silver recalled. “And I said, ‘You know, Mr. President, we spoke on the phone but I don’t think we’ve ever met.’”

But it turned out that Obama had remembered the 2004 Democratic Convention, when Silver introduced Obama, then a freshman Illinois senator, to New York’s delegation.

Silver thought Obama was more likely to remember him as the one who bought 125 copies of the first edition of “The Audacity of Hope” and sent them to Chicago to be autographed. Obama complied, and Silver gave the books out to all the members of the Assembly for Christmas that year. The books are now worth over $1,000 apiece on eBay, Silver said.

Silver was also pleased that Obama mentioned him by name in his Federal Hall speech on Monday, since he said only three other people were mentioned: Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and U.S. Rep. Barney Frank from Massachusetts.

“It was interesting that he called out my name, especially as there were a lot of people that he skipped,” Silver said, smiling.

God & recession
Battery Park City’s evangelical Mosaic Manhattan Church has a new part-time pastor, after the church’s financial difficulties forced the full-time pastor to step down.

Former Pastor Gregg Farah, 42, said the church no longer had enough money to support a full-time leader, so he moved his family out to Long Island last month and is now leading the Shelter Rock Church there. Farah lived in Battery Park City and his three children attended P.S. and I.S. 89, the school building that the church rented for Sunday services, a tie that caused some controversy several years ago.

The church’s new part-time pastor is Ryan Holladay, 25, who lives in South Slope with his wife and 2-month-old daughter. Holladay has a master’s in divinity from the Union Theological Seminary and is in his second year of law school at New York University. He wants to maintain the church’s focus on young families.

As for the past issues related to the church’s home at P.S./I.S. 89, Holladay said he would follow the agreement Farah struck with the school to not distribute church materials at any school-related events.

Farah hopes to return to lead Mosaic when finances improve.



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