THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN — Volume 18 • Issue 31 | Dec. 30 - Jan. 6, 2005

Put the Freedom Tower on hold
If tomorrow we could open the Freedom Tower as well as a new building to replace the shrouded Deutsche Bank building haunting the World Trade Center site, we’d be years ahead of where we are now but we’d have the same problem. The site would still look like a hole in the ground.

Talking Point
Mayor’s delay threatens W.T.C. redevelopment
By David Stanke
The latest skirmish in the struggle for control of the World Trade Center site is sailing under the radar of public awareness. Finally, after four years, the self-appointed leader of W.T.C. redevelopment has stepped forward in both words and action, presumably to rescue his legacy. But Governor Pataki’s failure to more determinedly hold the course in the past has opened the door for a contender with a very different view of Downtown. The real battle for the future of Lower Manhattan is shaping up between Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg.

When Downtown couldn’t hear the train a comin’
By Wickham Boyle
Call this season what you will: Christmas, Hanukkah, the holidays, it is a time of unprecedented parties, travel and shopping. So when the transit strike hit it stopped many of these activities right in their tracks and we all hunkered down a little more than usual.

The Penny Post
Take Mardi Gras to Washington
By Andrei Codrescu
New Orleans is famous for its crude political satire at Mardi Gras. So where is our carnivalesque imagination in these days when we are orphans in our own country?

Letters to the editor

Police Blotter


Downtown Briefs
Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess

Hudson River Park construction work at Pier 25 Wednesday. The River Project, which left Pier 26 to make way for the construction, hopes to open a temporary aquarium near Chambers St. this July.<more>

Fish gotta swim near Hudson River, group says
By Ronda Kaysen
New York Harbor fish might soon make an appearance on the bank of the Hudson River, if a Tribeca marine science field station gets its way.

Drawing Center sketches its future —looks to move from W.T.C. to Seaport
By Ronda Kaysen
The Drawing Center is considering a new home in the South Street Seaport, its first public step since leaving the World Trade Center, adding a new twist to the story of the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan.

Law school gets $145 million to build in Tribeca
By Ronda Kaysen
The city awarded a private law school $145 million in triple tax-free bonds to construct a new library and classroom building Downtown, allowing the school to funnel proceeds from the sale of its old library to its endowment, making it one of the largest in the country.


Matzo art intrigue
By Albert Amateau
The Matzo Files, an unusual gallery of work by local artists kept in file cabinets and shelves in an empty corner of the ground floor of Streit’s Matzoth Company on Rivington St., was closed in the middle of this month after it became a no-man’s-land in the Lower East Side culture wars.

W hotel on Washington won’t be as easy as 1, 2, 3
By Ronda Kaysen
Larry Silverstein isn’t the only developer Downtown eyeing the remaining tax-exempt Liberty Bonds for the World Trade Center redevelopment. Another Lower Manhattan heavyweight bid for a chunk of the bonds to finance a hotel and condo project a few blocks south of the World Trade Center site, and the city appears interested in his proposal.

Artists and designers on the edge are A NY Thing
By Tien-Shun Lee
At customers’ requests, store helpers hanging out on Saturday at the back of the new Lower East Side shop A NY Thing signed and drew on the backs of T-shirts.

Governors Island agency looks for planners
Governors Island officials are seeking consultants to assist in the planning and redevelopment of the island. Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, the state-city authority responsible for 150 acres of island, plans to issue two Request for Proposals on Jan. 2 for the consultants.

Downtown Arts & Entertainment

A sleeper that kills
By Steven Snyder
Julian Noble is one of the more gleefully detestable characters of recent cinema – one made that much funnier because he knows it, and doesn’t much care. Not since Billy Bob Thornton took a crude and vulgar turn in “Bad Santa” has a character piqued our interest so immediately and jerked around our emotions so completely. As played by Pierce Brosnan in a memorably complex and fractured performance, one gets the notion that not even Noble understands just who it is he wants to be.

Satire of Bush is all bark, no bite
By Rachel Breitman
With the President’s poll numbers in a tailspin, the theater community in this liberal city would welcome some biting political satire that takes the current administration to task. Well, lefty thespians and audiences will have to wait, since “Fear Itself, Secrets of the White House” is pretty toothless. It neither invokes fear, nor shares secrets, and it strays so often into artistic hyperbole, the cartoonish characters that represent the Presidential family and advisors become limp caricatures.

What the New Year will bring
This year, the New Year’s Eve Ball drop will signal the ascent of a different kind of eye candy: projections displayed on city surfaces that will catch the eyes of passersby in increasingly important ways.

A star-studded affair from Hollywood’s silent era
By Jerry Tallmer
In the offices of Photoplay magazine in Hollywood in 1923, a staff writer named Adela Rogers St. John is reading aloud from a puff piece by a colleague named Herbert Howe about the movie actor Ramon Novarro who is soon to star in “Ben-Hur.”

Hidden in plain view
By Leonard Quart
Michael Haneke is an imaginative Austrian film director who has made provocative films like “The Piano Teacher” and “Code Unknown.” His latest and equally compelling film, “Caché,” centers on an upper middle class Parisian couple, Georges (Daniel Auteuil), a well-known host of a TV literary talk show, and Anne (Juliette Binochet), a book editor. Together they live with their 12-year-old son in a tastefully book-lined home, where they hold dinner parties dominated by smart talk.

Terrence Malick’s Brave ‘New World’
By Steven Snyder
While director Terrence Malick has hardly been prolific – four films in four decades – he has proven the old adage that it is quality, not quantity that really counts. It’s a philosophy that Stanley Kubrick embraced, and one Steven Spielberg would be wise to heed. But Malick’s four works, 1973’s “Badlands,” 1978’s “Days of Heaven,” 1998’s “The Thin Red Line” and now this year’s “The New World,” are landmark accomplishments of a visionary artist, whose films look, sound and unfold unlike any other.

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