Volume 17 • Issue 11 / August 06 - 12, 2004



Downtown Local

Downtown Express photos by Ramin Talaie

Steve Martin once joked he had so much respect for women that he thought they should stand on pedestals high enough to look up their dresses. He might enjoy a visit to the Statue of Liberty, whose pedestal reopened to the public Aug. 3. Visitors can no longer climb up the statue as they could before 9/11, but they can see Lady Liberty’s interior through a glass window. The National Park Service, citing fire safety codes, has no plans to reopen the statue. U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton, Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg celebrated the pedestal opening Tuesday. The continued closing of the statue staircase received harsher treatment in several newspaper editorials and columns. Daily News columnist Michael Daly said the landmark should be renamed the “Stump of Liberty.”

310 feet at Site 5C?
The proposed Tribeca tower at Chambers and West Sts. is likely to be about 310 feet, although there are remaining sticking points in the negotiations between developers, community representatives and the city, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

The city is planning to sell the vacant lot known as Site 5C to developer Scott Resnick, who had hoped to build a 360-foot apartment building. Community Board 1 opposed the project, calling for a 250-foot building at the site that is behind P.S. 234 and bounded by Warren, West and Chambers Sts. Resnick, Madelyn Wils, chairperson of Community Board 1, Dep. Mayor Dan Doctoroff and Councilmember Alan Gerson are the principal negotiators on the deal. The project requires City Council approval.

According to the source, Wils and Gerson are trying to get 5,000 to 6,000 more usable square feet in the building’s proposed recreation center for a total of 28,000 and to expand the center’s swimming pool to a regulation size 25 meters, or just over 75 feet. The source said there is general agreement on the building’s size, about 310 feet, although it may be closer to 320 feet if you include the mechanical equipment on top.


Suggestions for Gehry
In a July 27 resolution, Community Board 1 suggested ways to mitigate the impact of the 53-story tower planned for the N.Y.U. Downtown Hospital parking lot at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The mixed use tower, to be designed by Frank Gehry, will house 25,000 square feet of outpatient hospital offices, 125,000 square feet for Pace University’s Lubin Business School and an art gallery, a 600-bed dormitory for Pace, up to 550 rental and condominium apartments, ground floor retail and underground parking for 350 to 400 cars.

The resolution said that shifting the building’s footprint east would create a needed buffer between the tower and the residential buildings at 140 and 150 Nassau St. Another recommendation included building two towers with a view corridor in between, to allow for more light and air for Nassau St. residents.

The area around the lot, bordered by Spruce, Beekman, Nassau and Gold Sts., is already too congested, the resolution stated. One way to ease the traffic in an area that includes a hospital and a firehouse would be to increase the amount of green time at the traffic light at Beekman and Park Row for traffic heading west on Beekman, the resolution said. Another way would be to reverse Spruce St., it said.

Some action must be taken to ease the burden on the surrounding community, board members and local residents said.

“You can’t have as a result a building that alienates the community from the hospital and Pace,” said Madelyn Wils, chairperson of C.B. 1.


Winter Garden variety clowns
Student clowns will get a chance to make ’em laugh at the Winter Garden a week from Monday. This is the sixth year their teachers, a local clown troop called NY Goofs, have offered the clown school.

Dick Monday, founder of NY Goofs and head of Ultimate Clown School, was the last director of Ringling Brothers Clown College. After it closed, he decided he wanted to continue teaching. “Eventually, that turned into Ultimate Clown College. We used to have classes at the Flea Theatre [in Tribeca] and did some shows there,” Monday said. “This year, they had a play running in the summer so we lost our space. I found out June 1 and I kind of freaked out.”

Monday said that the college offers two sessions, one in summer and one in winter. The summer sessions are two weeks long. From Aug. 16 – 22, 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m., the public will be able to watch the last week of classes, attended by 16 students and half a dozen faculty. The classes will include clowning skills such as character development, makeup, eccentric dance, buffoonery and movement.

Monday said that about half his students tend to be actors, one quarter clowns, and the rest what he calls “enthusiasts.” “We get actors who want to really work on physicality, who want to get out of their head and into their body,” he said. “We get serious Shakespearian actors all the time; if you’re doing a comedy with a lot of action, this really helps. …We’ve gotten some doctors over the years too. The role of humor in medicine has been pretty well explored over the past decade.”


ISO Christmas knitters
A support group for seamen seeks knitters to craft caps, scarves and other items for seafarers out at sea. Through its Christmas-at-Sea program, the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and New Jersey, a Seaport-based organization that provides social services for sailors, collects knitted items for mariners year round. To join the institute’s list of 3,500 knitters from across the country, contact Barbara Clauson at 212-349-9090. Patterns can be downloaded from the institute’s Web site at www.seamenschurch.org.


Hudson development
As high-end residential development in the former Printing District continues to boom, the latest new project is reportedly slated for the site of an open-air parking lot just north of Canal St., between Hudson and Renwick Sts. According to real estate sources, the site, which was owned by the Mandelbaum family of New Jersey, was recently sold to a development group including Apollo and Metropolitan Housing Partners, the same partners that developed the new 505 Greenwich St., a 104-apartment condo building, a block away. Asking price for the Hudson Sq. property was reportedly in the range of $170 per sq. ft. for about 70,000 sq. ft. of buildable space. Jane Gladstein, principal of Metropolitan Housing Partners, would not say if the property has been purchased. “I can confirm that we’re involved in the project, but it’s very premature,” she said.


C.B. 1break
Following its custom, unless an urgent matter arises Community Board 1 will not be holding any meetings during the month of August.



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