THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN — Volume 17 • Issue 49 | April 29 — May 05, 2005


From the editor
Pataki and Bloomberg: Start focusing again on Lower Manhattan
Has Downtown redevelopment hit a nasty speed bump? While it hasn’t stalled entirely, it is clear on a number of critical fronts there is a loss of coherence, and of momentum.

Taking garbage out of the park plan
Planners of the world’s greatest cities understand that waterfronts are better used to attract people than to park garbage trucks. The state Legislature understood this too when it passed the law creating the Hudson River Park in 1998. The city’s Dept. of Sanitation was supposed to move its trucks off Ganesvoort Peninsula by the end of 2003 under the law. This week, neighborhood groups and local politicians filed a lawsuit to get the city, state and Hudson River Park Trust to finally move the trucks.

Under Cover

Letters to the editor

Talking point
Wils should have stayed despite some flaws at C.B. 1
By David Stanke
The recent removal of Madelyn Wils from Community Board 1 by Virginia Fields exposes a level of political infighting that discredits our democratic process and the role of community boards in representing residential populations. From the perspective of an outsider, this action contributes to cynicism toward our political system. The ultimate issue is how C.B. 1 represents community interests in the political processes that drive our city. Will the removal of Ms. Wils strengthen C.B. 1 or hurt it?

Talking points
Pope’s views against gays are long and detailed
By Paul Schinler
In the weeks since the death of Pope John Paul II, Germany’s Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger played a public role unprecedented in its visibility for the man who would go on to be chosen as the Catholic Church’s next leader.

Want change? Elect more moms to Congress
By Jane Flanagan
I think we mothers need to do something here. Most of us are so busy running our families we are not keeping track of what’s going on in Washington. Did you know that terrorist attacks increased four fold last year? Me neither. It was days before I caught on to the State Department’s report that there were 625 “significant” terrorist attacks worldwide in 2004. That compares to 175 in 2003. The Bush administration’s solution? Stop issuing the report.

The Penny Post
Euro trash reading
By Andrei Codrescu
Time is elastic: you can stretch it until you snap. One minute I was in Bucharest trying to change Israeli shekels into Romanian lei so I could pay for my cab ride to the airport; the next I was in Paris buying coffee using euros I bought with dollars; then I was in Greenland unable to use my old Danish kronen because they had switched to eurodollars; then I was in Cincinnati where people were suddenly twice as huge as they’d been anywhere else and the currency was onion rings.

Police Blotter

Downtown scene

News in Brief
Downtown protest against China

A Muppet takes Tribeca



Gateway Plaza, LeFrak make rent deal
By Ronda Kaysen
The Lefrak Organization, owner of the massive Gateway Plaza apartment complex in Battery Park City, agreed on Wednesday to extend the plaza’s rent protections for another four and a half years, just short of the witching hour.

Lease signed for Tribute Center
By Ronda Kaysen
The World Trade Center memorial may not open until 2009, but the millions of the tourists who visit the site each year will have a Tribute Center to answer their myriad questions by early next year.

Downtown Express photo by Jennifer Weisbord

Elyse Rudolph and her daughters Rebecca, 11, and Maya, 7, New Jersey residents were at a souvenir stand at Liberty and Church St. across from the W.T.C.

W.T.C. souvenir sales down: Vendors mad, residents still wary
By Divya Watal
Banse, a souvenir vendor, looks at the bustle of tourists around the World Trade Center site on a warm, early April morning the way a child might look at a forbidden chocolate cake.

Speakers say waterfront and housing are top priorities
By Josh Rogers
People said Wednesday that affordable housing and park improvements to the Hudson and East River waterfronts were the top priorities for the remaining post-9/11 funds.

Small businesses bullish on film festival crowds
By Camille Le Gall
With its flowered outdoor terrace and private screening room, The Dekk restaurant on Reade St. has been booked every night for the last week thanks to the Tribeca Film Festival. Last weekend more than 700 people, including actors Steve Buscemi and Jennifer Finnigan, showed up at the restaurant for three private post-screening parties, all held as part of the 13-day festival.

Bus stop waiting gets longer in B.P.C.
The M20 bus that runs between Battery Park City and Lincoln Center has not been following a set schedule for the last few months, according to irate commuters, who, at times, have had to wait for as long as 30 minutes for the bus.

A ‘way-Off Broadway Sardi’s’ for Downtown
By Lincoln Anderson
In his latest venture, Phil Hartman, founder of the annual HOWL! festival and the Federation of East Village Artists, plans to open a restaurant and performance space that will be something new and different, yet at the same time, familiar.

Walkers watches Tribeca’s creation through the years
By Amanda Kwan
It is a wet Wednesday afternoon, and Massie Odiotti, 60, an information technology specialist for the Department of Homeless Services, is on his fourth cup of black coffee topped with Amaretto liquor.

He’s king of the jungle in New York City
By Albert Amateau
Edward Boks, executive director of Animal Care and Control of New York City in Lower Manhattan since January 2004, speaks with a preacher’s intensity when talking about the “no kill” goals of the city’s official animal control agency.

Groups sue to remove garbage trucks from Hudson Park
By Albert Amateau
Friends of Hudson River Park on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the city to force the Department of Sanitation to stop construction of the garage it started to build on the Gansevoort Peninsula in January and to remove all Sanitation operations from the 7-acre landfill on the Village waterfront.

The shelter of love
By Jerry Tallmer
The horrors are planted so deep, they all but wreck the marriage before it begins for Aram Tomasian and Seta, the child bride that Tomasian, as she calls him, had imported from Istanbul to Milwaukee in 1921. It was in fact another girl’s photograph that had been sent to him—he himself, Aram Tomasian, was an up-and-coming photographer in Milwaukee—but Seta wasn’t bad looking, she was quiet, so she’d do.

Bad energy
By Steve Erickson
Were “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” a screenwriting assignment, the teacher would probably give it a mixed grade.
There’s a clear, compelling arc and a dramatic structure. However, the Enron train wreck produced far more villains than heroes and its consequences—via the company’s malignant influence on California’s power industry––affected millions of people. There’s no one for the spectator to safely identity with, since the odd whistleblower or investigative journalist’s impact is dwarfed by Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling’s sheer arrogance. There are too many subplots and difficult concepts, like mark-to-market accounting.

Sally Strickland at the Coffeehouse Chronicles
By Jerry Tallmer
As one turned the corner from Second Avenue into East 4th Street, a whiff in the air was unmistakable. There was grass growing somewhere. New-mown grass. Long time no smell. Clean, sharp, pungent, viscera awakening, remembrance of things past.

The terror amidst the beauty
By Jerry Tallmer
A slag heap is where you, well, where you dump old, used-up metal and other junk. Dave and Ashley and Fran and their friends are only in their early 20s, if that, but they’re headed for the slag heap, and they know it—in their bones, if not their heads.

The heart of the festival
By Wickham Boyle
Although I still see Robert DeNiro founder of the Tribeca film Festival rooting through the protein bars at the local green market, he is not the ubiquitous downtown presence he used to be. So it is no surprise his festival has acquired more of an uptown gloss. The big launch was The Interpreter, a Nicole Kidman Sean Penn majorly mainstream movie. The premier was at the Zigfield with the after party at MOMA. Still there are some independent happenings downtown.

Dances, cooking and races for this year’s Springfest
By Aman Singh
The Battery Park City Neighbors Association is hosting its annual Springfest this year at the south lawn of the Rockefeller Park on Sunday, May 1st. Organizers expect another fun-filled afternoon with numerous activities planned for children from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Youth Activities

Popping into the festival’s family street fair
Perhaps looking for the spirit of Abbey Road on West St., the TriBattery Pops are seen here crossing into Tribeca from Battery Park City. They are one of many local bands and groups that will be performing at the Tribeca Film Festival’s family street fair on Greenwich St. Saturday April 30. The fair goes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Duane to Beach Sts. and includes plenty of activities for children. The Pops, led by Tom Goodkind, front, will be taking the main stage at 3:30 p.m.