Volume 16 • Issue 49 | April 30 - May 6, 2004

Downtown local

Westchester memorial selection
Westchester has selected a Downtown architect to design a memorial for the 109 county residents who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001.

Frederic Schwartz, one of the co-designers of the Towers of Culture plan which was the runner-up for the World Trade Center site, was unanimously selected by a group of Westchester victims’ relatives. His plan, expected to be completed by Sept. 11, 2005, includes 109, intertwined stainless steel rods that will come together at a point over visitors heads. A rendering of the design is on the top of page 1 of this issue.

Rosaleen O’Neill, whose son Sean, 34, was a Cantor Fitzgerald employee killed at the W.T.C., called the 80-foot sculpture, named “The Rising,” a “shining cathedral reaching to the sky,” in a press release.

Written next to each of the 109 names will be the person’s town and a short quote from a family member. The memorial will be in Kensico Dam Plaza, where Andrew Spano, the county’s executive, was to have announced the selection of Schwartz on April 29.

Schwartz, in a telephone interview, said the sculpture “recognizes each individual and recognizes the community.” He said the rods can only stand because they come together.

Westchester has $200,000 in state and county money to build the memorial and Schwartz is donating his time to the project.

Schwartz, who lives in Soho and works on Varick St., has also designed the renovation of the Whitehall ferry terminal in Lower Manhattan and is one of four finalists to design the memorial for the 9/11 victims who live in Hoboken, N.J. Brian Tolle, who designed the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City, collaborated with Schwartz on the Hoboken plan.

Ratner-Gehry building
The building to be constructed on the N.Y.U. Downtown Hospital parking lot site near the base of the Brooklyn Bridge will include a 25,000-square-foot outpatient facility, according to Dr. Bruce Logan, the hospital’s president and C.E.O.

The hospital is selling the parking lot to developer Bruce Ratner, who has tapped Frank Gehry to design a mixed-used tower on the site, bordered by Spruce, Beekman, Nassau and Gold Sts.

Members of Community Board 1 familiar with plans for the proposed building, first reported in the Downtown Express, say they include a 50-story tower that will also house apartments, Pace University dorm rooms and classrooms, and some shops. An attorney for the hospital, Stephen Lefkowitz, said two weeks ago that the building would be about 50 stories.

A New York Times article on the site said the project could rise up to 60 stories. The building’s anticipated height has caused concern among its neighbors, who fear blocked river views and plunging property values.

In an interview with Downtown Express, Logan declined to comment on the height of the building, saying to do so would be premature. But he did say a 60-story tower was “not reality.”

“This is going to be a building that enhances the community,” Logan said.

Logan also said a building designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry would likely prove a boon to the neighborhood’s property values.

Community Board 1 officials said they would organize a public forum on the hospital site and would invite representatives from the city, the hospital, and the developer. A date for the meeting had not been set as of press time.

Pre-school academy plan
A Columbia University M.B.A. student wants to give Lower Manhattan parents an extended-hour childcare option starting in fall 2005.

At a Tuesday meeting of the education committee of Community Board 1, Rashida Mendes presented her proposal for a center serving children ages 3 months to 5 years. Mendes has joined with Melodee Ford, an educator with 30 years’ experience in the Washington, D.C. area.

Mendes said she hopes to find a location for Junior Academy in the Financial District, since parents there work demanding hours and many local childcare facilities already filled with waiting lists.

“Lower Manhattan is one of the areas that has the greatest [childcare] shortage, given the density,” Mendes said.

Junior Academy would be open from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. year round, including weekends and holidays. The partners hope to eventually extend their services to include 24-hour onsite care and a bulk buying plan for diapers and baby food. Tuition would range from $13, 388 for the infant part-time program to $30,000 for the extended day toddler program.

According to her business plan, Mendes anticipates start-up administrative costs at $288,660 and real estate costs at $1.5 million. The partners have applied for a $400,000 government grant and are seeking other funding sources.

Asthma screenings
A free respiratory screening for Downtown community residents and workers will be held on Tuesday, May 4, 2004, the third annual World Asthma Day. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers will screen attendees and offer educational information and materials at two Downtown locations — Chinatown, Confucius Plaza on the corner of Bowery and Division Sts. from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and Tribeca, on the northwest corner of Chambers and Greenwich St. from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

C.B. 1 meetings
The upcoming week’s schedule of Community Board 1 meetings is as follows. Unless otherwise noted, meetings will held in room 709 of 49-51 Chambers St.

On Tues. May 4, the Battery Park City committee will meet at 6 p.m. to hear a presentation and pass a resolution on the proposed new Goldman Sachs building on Site 26 and on the proposed text amendment to zone Site 26.

On Wed., May 5, the World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee will meet at 6p.m. to review the final W.T.C. environmental impact statement.

On Thurs., May 6, the Tribeca Committee will meet at 6 p.m. to pass a resolution on liquor licenses for the following addresses: 141 Duane St., 134 Reade St., 70 Franklin St., 228 West Broadway and 25 Hudson St.

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