Volume 17 • Issue 9 / July 23 - 29, 2004



Downtown local

Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

Honoring Councilmember Davis
City Councilmember James Barron and Thelma Davis, mother of slain Councilmember James E. Davis, on July 21 at the renaming of the City Council Members Lounge in Davis’ honor. Davis was shot to death by a political rival inside City Hall on July 23, 2003. He was 41 years old. Mayor Mike Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller also spoke at the ceremony.


$20 million exhibit
Art Downtown, a project of Wall Street Rising, will return to Lower Manhattan after a one-year hiatus.

The three-month extravaganza will feature $20 million worth of museum-quality art, some of it lent by Deutsche Bank, said Meredith Ballew, director of development for Wall St. Rising, at a recent Community Board 1 meeting. The exhibit will open to the public on Sept. 23 in the former Bank of New York building at 48 Wall St.

This year, Wall Street Rising will enlist local luminaries to serve as guest curators. So far, hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons and theater designer Robert Wilson have signed on to curate one of the small exhibit rooms.

Also new this year will be an increased focus on local schoolchildren, with a Kids’ Day planned for the fall, as well as field trips to the exhibit.


Jeb and Arnold for Liberty
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may think California Democrats are “girlie men,” but he seems to be fine with New Yorkers of all parties.

The governor joined Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Gov. George Pataki in a letter backing the efforts to extend the tax-free Liberty Bonds to help Lower Manhattan rebuild after 9/11.

The July 15 letter to Congressional leaders asked for a series of tax breaks including the extension of the bond program until 2009. Liberty Bonds was the only issue mentioned in the letter that affects only one state. About $3.5 billion in the remaining funds will be needed to rebuild the office towers at the World Trade Center site.

The governors are from the largest states in the union, representing about one third of the U.S. population. They are calling themselves the “Big Four,” according to a press release issued by Pataki’s office.

The four Republicans addressed their letter to four Republicans: Rep. Dennis Hastert, speaker of the House, Senate majority leader Bill Frist, Sen. Charles Grassley, chairperson of the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Bill Thomas, chairperson of the House Ways & Means Committee.

In June, Hastert told Downtown Express that he thought Congress would approve more money for Lower Manhattan transportation projects. Pataki is hoping Congress transfers an estimated $2.5 billion in unused 9/11-related tax breaks to help pay for a $6 billion rail link connecting Downtown to J.F.K. Airport and the Long Island Rail Road. The governors did not mention the tax transfer in the letter.


Silverstein and air quality
World Trade Center site developer Larry Silverstein will be sensitive to Downtown residents’ environmental concerns about rebuilding the office towers because he has asthma, a Silverstein executive said Monday.

“Larry is an asthma sufferer and one of those who gets it in terms of air quality,” said Janno Lieber, executive vice president of Silverstein Properties, which is building the Freedom Tower at the site and 7 W.T.C. across the street.

Lieber spoke about environmentally-friendly design at a July 19 panel discussion organized by the Regional Plan Association at the Downtown Information Center.

Residents and environmentalists have raised concerns about the high pollution levels during the planned construction of five office buildings at the site as well as the impacts after the complex is rebuilt. Many Lower Manhattan residents with respiratory ailments such as asthma experienced difficulties in the months that followed the destruction of the Twin Towers.


Codrescu in B.P.C.
Andrei Codrescu, poet, novelist and NPR commentator whose Penny Post columns appear weekly in Downtown Express, will be at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Battery Park City on Wed. July 28 in a celebration of Jewish culture that thrives in the South.

Codrescu, who is based in New Orleans, will join forces with the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars for a musical and literary evening beginning at 7 p.m. A professor of English literature at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La., Codrescu was born in Sibiu, Romania and emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 20 and became a U.S. citizen. He returned to Romania for a visit immediately after the fall of the Ceausescu government and transmitted six programs for National Public Radio about his visit.

The event is part of the museum’s “Shalom Y’all” exhibit through Sept. 13, 36 Battery Pl., celebrating Jewish identity in the South. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for students and museum members. Phone 646:437-4202 for reservations or visit www.mjhnyc.org


C.B. 1 meeting
Community Board 1 will hold its monthly full board meeting on Tuesday, July 27 at 6 p.m. in the Wellington Conference Center at New York Law School, 47 Worth St.



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