On the boardwalk
Arthur Gregory sends us his greetings from Asbury Park. Gregory, longtime Lower Manhattan resident and small business activist, moved over the weekend to the town Bruce Springsteen made famous.
His sister, chef Marilyn Schlossbach (“the Tom Keller of New Jersey”), has hired Gregory to help her run five restaurants and catering places on the Jersey Shore including Langosta Lounge. (Darn, we forgot to ask if Snooki ever eats there.)
“The city has become too tough,” Gregory, told us. After he lost his bid for the City Council last year, he had trouble opening a new business or getting hired as a catering consultant. Gregory’s rent dropped by more than half with his move.
He said he is going to keep his hands in the fire helping small businesses in the city, and may also look to reenter the Jersey political arena, where he started a few decades ago.
Since he is “56 going on 14,” maybe he should visit the high school slated to open in the old Sports Museum space next year. As far as we know, Gregory, a former Community Board 1 member, was the first to suggest building a public school in the FiDi space after time ran out for the museum.
The city may grant at least a partial reprieve to the Brooklyn Banks skate park, which was supposed to close soon for the four-year renovation of the Brooklyn Bridge.
“We’re working very hard not to have a full closure of the Banks,” Joannene Kidder, with the city Dept. of Transportation’s division of bridges, told UnderCover this week.
The city is definitely closing at least part of the internationally known skateboard park to use it for construction staging on the Brooklyn Bridge project. But Kidder said the city might move some of the park’s obstacles farther inland to what is now a little-used seating area and give that area to the skateboarders and BMX bikers.
“I can’t guarantee it,” Kidder said, but she offered more hope than the D.O.T. has in the past, when spokespeople said the entire skate park would have to close.
“That’d be awesome,” said Steve Rodriguez, the owner of 5boro Skateboards and a longtime Banks advocate, when told of Kidder’s comments.
Rodriguez said some people are already staying away from the Banks, assuming the park is closed, and everyone else is treating each ride like it might be their last.
“I’m just pretty psyched because it’s not closed yet,” Rodriguez said.
Thrift for Church
Local parents are launching a children’s thrift shop as a fundraiser for the Church St. School of Music and Art, which is struggling with debt after attempting an expansion.
Called Rondo, the thrift shop will sell gently used children’s clothing, sports equipment, furniture and toys, with all proceeds going to the school. People can drop items off at the school at 74 Warren St. in advance of the April 26 opening. Starting April 26, the shop will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon for four weeks. For more information, or to volunteer, contact the Church St. School at 212-571-7293.
President Barack Obama did not want Carolyn Maloney to challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (although he left it to V.P. Joe Biden to cushion the blow), but he’s more than okay with Maloney running for reelection to Congress. He endorsed her Tuesday in her primary race against Reshma Saujani. Maloney thanked Obama in a press release and said she looks forward to working with the president on the Second Ave. subway and the 9/11 health bill.
If Obama were to be so inclined, we’d love to live to someday tag along with him and Maloney on the first subway line trip to Lower Manhattan, although given the provisions of the Constitution and the realities of transit budgets, that trip would undoubtedly be made by former President Obama.
Manhattan Youth’s Downtown Community Awards last Thursday night honored three longtime leaders: Kevin Doherty, who served three terms as P.S. 234’s P.T.A. president; Lewis Gross, who founded Downtown Little League in 1991; and Paul Hovitz, an education activist who has been a Community Board 1 member for 17 years. Bob Townley, Manhattan Youth’s executive director, hosted the celebration, and many local pols attended.