Closer at opener
Former Mets closer John Franco will be at the Downtown Little League’s Opening Day festivities April 10. Franco, a former D.L.L. parent and Tribeca resident, will reunite with an old Shea Stadium companion, Mr. Met. Ms. Chin, as in Councilmember Margaret, is also expected as is Lower Manhattan’s marching band, the TriBattery Pops. The players will make their annual march from City Hall to the Battery Park City fields at 9 a.m. and will get a chance to time their fastballs in a pitching booth. The league will also be collecting used baseball equipment.
C.B. 1 slight?
Sean Sweeney, who has been sparring with Community Board 1 leaders for a few years, gave them an easy excuse not to show up at Downtown Independent Democrats’ meeting Tuesday: it was the same night as C.B. 1’s full board meeting.
Two years ago, Sweeney, president of the political club, accused C.B. 1 chairperson Julie Menin of orchestrating a “coup” against him. He ended up staving off the leadership challenge from C.B.1’s Pat Moore. Last year, D.I.D. splintered and some C.B. 1 leaders and others joined Lower Manhattan Democrats.
Sweeney assured us the scheduling conflict was not a slap, and quipped it was one of the perils of being a “benevolent dictator.” He said it was others in the club who picked the date and they should have checked the community board calendar.
Sweeney is stepping down as president, and this week the club nominated Jeanne Wilcke and Marc Ameruso to run for the top spot. Adam Silvera, who had been looking to run against Wilcke, stepped aside to run for V.P., and Ameruso joined the race.
Though Ameruso is a C.B. 1 member, that won’t necessarily be a disadvantage for him in a D.I.D. election since he is often at odds with Menin.
For his part, Sweeney, a C.B. 2 member, insists there is no Board 1 vendetta, pointing out the April 22 D.I.D. election conflicts with a C.B. 2 meeting.
There is no lure like Lady Liberty for politicians who focus on stopping illegal immigration. Last week Long Island Democrat Steve Levy announced his Republican campaign for governor in Battery Park with a view of the Statue of Liberty. Levy has taken flack over the years for tough statements about illegal immigrants on Long Island. But do you remember that in 1995, another immigration crusader, California Gov. Pete Wilson, announced his campaign for president right here in Lower Manhattan in order to use the statue as a backdrop? Heck, you get points if you even remember Wilson ran for president.
The Emma Lazarus poem on the statue welcomes the world’s “wretched refuse” and “homeless” people – two groups Levy and Wilson never sounded enthusiastic about letting into the country.
The new Battery Park City Library is getting all the attention these days, but what about Lower Manhattan’s other library, the 21-year-old New Amsterdam Branch on Murray St.?
“People still seem to be coming here,” said Diane Chin, manager of the New Amsterdam Branch, on a rainy afternoon this week. She hasn’t noticed a drop in the volume of customers or in materials checked out, though a few families stopped in to say goodbye because they would be going to the B.P.C. branch from now on.
Chin said she had visited the new B.P.C. library and was impressed by the size of the children’s area. Asked what the smaller New Amsterdam Branch has that the B.P.C. Library doesn’t, Chin was momentarily stumped. Then she said her branch has a popular read-aloud program for babies from birth to 18 months, and also does movie events. The B.P.C. branch doesn’t offer those programs — yet.
The blog BrickUnderground recently did a survey of the loudest and quietest neighborhoods in Manhattan, and surprisingly found that Downtown is one of the best places to get a good night’s sleep.
Despite the frequent griping we hear about construction noise, bar noise and even ferry noise in Lower Manhattan, residents of Community Board 1 logged only 436 noise complaints by calling 311 in 2009. Only Midtown’s Community Board 5 had fewer complaints, at 403. By comparison, residents of Community Board 12, which covers Washington Heights and Inwood, made almost 15 times as many noise complaints as C.B. 1: 6,439.
Perhaps one reason C.B. 1’s figures are so low is that residents have gotten tired of calling 311 and not seeing any results. Some noisy projects, like the World Trade Center site, are not under the city’s jurisdiction so there’s not much that a 311 call can do.
Don’t be alarmed if you hear some growling near the Pier 17 mall food court — it’s just the setup of “Tigers — Tracking a Legend,” an interactive exhibit opening April 24.
Carol Amore, a filmmaker who has followed tigers all over the world, launched the traveling show two years ago, but this is the first time it is coming to the Seaport.
“We’re turning it into an Indian jungle, should you want a break from the urban jungle,” Amore told Community Board 1 last week.
The nine-month exhibit includes high-tech features such as an electronic climbing wall and side-by-side CT scans of a tiger and a human being. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for children. And no — there won’t be any live tigers.
“They might get the wrong idea about the food court,” quipped Paul Hovitz, C.B. 1 member.
Unchain your bikes
The good news is that the crime rate in Battery Park City is so low that people feel secure enough to lock their bikes in the street for weeks at a time. That’s also the bad news. The B.P.C. Authority’s Leticia Remauro tells us with the warm weather coming, officials want to make sure that the neighborhood’s bike racks have enough space for commuters using “pedal power.” Bikes permanently anchored to racks near Gateway Plaza and other parts of the nabe will soon get notices asking them to use ‘em or lose ‘em. Owners will be able to recover their bikes at the Regatta, or if they wait too long, the First Precinct.