Volume 22, Number 50 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | April 23 - 29, 2010
Everyone expects their elected representatives to follow the law (well, okay, maybe not in New York), but Councilmember Margaret Chin took that to a new level when she said this week that she does not jaywalk.
As Chin co-chaired a Council hearing on pedestrian safety in Lower Manhattan this week, she said she was taught as a child to cross only in the crosswalk and at green lights.
“To this day, I follow it — pretty much,” Chin said. “And then my son says, ‘Mom, this is New York!’”
Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who was also at the hearing, confirmed Chin’s story. Mendez said she and Chin were recently walking around Downtown in a hurry, and Mendez had to “drag” Chin through the intersection to get her to cross against the light.
“It was totally my fault,” Mendez said, as their colleagues laughed. “[Chin] was waiting for the green light and I told her, ‘We’re running late.’”
Trump’s not done
There’s a good reason why Sean Sweeney, the Soho Alliance’s director, observed that about “one-third” of the Trump Soho condo hotel’s lights were off when he looked at it one evening last week as we were talking to him on the phone: Only the lower half of the 46-story building was open. As of last week, above the 25th floor, workers were still doing their final “punch list” checks to make sure everything was ready to go. Meanwhile, last Wednesday afternoon, a group of about 40, mostly women, were lined up outside the building, waiting for job interviews. A hotel employee who was managing the line, said the hotel is still staffing up as it nears completion, and that it will fully open within two months. The building will employ a total of 350 people.
The oft-maligned raised subway grates the Metropolitan Transportation Authority installed to prevent flooding just won an urban design merit award from the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter.
The raised grates, by Rogers Marvel Architects with di Dominco + Partners, were installed in troubled spots all over the city after an August 2007 rainstorm flooded the subway system and halted trains. Along W. Broadway in Tribeca, the M.T.A. raised the grates just a few inches and put bike racks and benches on top of them.
Community Board 1 opposed the project, calling it a waste of money. The board also objected to the design, which members felt was obtrusive in Tribeca’s historic districts.
The A.I.A. recognized two other Lower Manhattan projects: The Downtown Alliance’s Greenwich South planning study, by the Architecture Research Office, also won an urban design merit award, and the New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion at Peter Minuit Plaza, by UNStudio with Handel Architects, won an architecture merit award.
Good to be green
In other award-winning news, the Urban Land Institute picked the Visionaire this week as one of 10 outstanding developments in the Americas. The 35-story Platinum LEED-certified residential building by the Albanese Organization attracted notice for its use of geothermal wells, photovoltaic solar panels and other green features.
The Urban Land Institute also granted a Heritage Award to the 1979 Battery Park City Master Plan. The award is given to projects that have had a large impact on the community for at least 25 years.
When local residents find several blocks of Fulton St. closed off for one day this August, they won’t be able to blame the city’s water main project, or the state’s subway construction, or utility companies’ equipment upgrades. Instead, they’ll be able to blame Community Board 1.
C.B. 1 is planning a street fair on Fulton St. between Water and Gold Sts. for Fri., Aug. 6 to raise money for the board’s operations. C.B. 1 had hoped to hold the fair on Broad St. but the city disapproved that spot and the board picked Fulton St. as another high-traffic location.
Bill Love, chairperson of the board’s street fair taskforce, said the board counts on this particular fair to be one of the biggest, bringing in $7,000 to $8,000 that the board desperately needs during tight budget times.
Paul Hovitz, a Southbridge Towers resident and board member, was worried about the closure.
“That whole area is such a calamity when it comes to getting around,” he said at the board’s Seaport/Civic Center Committee meeting last week.
Still, Hovitz and the other committee members voted to support the street fair.
“It’s a reluctant yes,” Hovitz said as he raised his hand in favor.
Lower Manhattan’s own Andy Jurinko is opening a new show of recent paintings next month at Ron Jagger Fine Art on W. 26th St. Called “Women,” the aptly named show features large, lush portraits and opens with a reception on Thurs., May 6 at 6 p.m. So far it looks like Jurinko hasn’t taken any artistic inspiration from the World Trade Center construction that’s been going nonstop right outside the apartment he shares with his wife and former model, Community Board 1 member Pat Moore.
The Association for a Better New York has a new executive director: Jennifer Hensley, who comes from the Empire State Development Corp. Hensley also worked for eight years at the Downtown Alliance, overseeing recovery efforts after 9/11.