THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | Volume 19 Issue 33 | Dec. 29, 2006 - Jan. 4, 2007

Some wishes for the new year
With the end of the year fast approaching, our thoughts naturally turn to the ongoing and unmitigated tragedy that the Iraq war has become for the Iraqi people, the Middle East, America and the rest of the world.  This misbegotten adventure of the Bush administration will have no easy ending and no moral high road or victory.

Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel
About 1,000 demonstrators marched last week to “Shut Down Wall St.” in protest of the fatal police shooting of Sean Bell Nov. 25. There were a few scuffles with police.

Letters to the editor

Police Blotter

Under Cover

The Penny Post
Cassandra speaks: Happy New Year
By Andrei Codrescu
In 2007, I’m opening a business aimed at saving people. It’s called “Christian Alarm Systems.” People can purchase the $29.95 Rapture Warning Bell, the $37.99 Apocalypse Alert, and best of all, The Second Coming Chime, for $66.66. We will also carry the usual, smoke, fire, radon, but the emphasis will be the Spirit. In 2007, people will need to be on the alert for their spiritual safety because we have become too complacent to hear the signs.

Downtown Notebook

A few brushes with Gerald and Betty Ford
By Jerry Tallmer
Many people think that the greatest short story ever written by an American is Irwin Shaw’s “The 80-Yard Run.” Greatest  or not — my own vote goes to Hemingway’s “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” — it is in any event one of those terrific stories you never forget, especially if you were a young guy yourself when you first read it, around the age of Christian Darling when, as a substitute second-squad halfback, he’d made that clean, pure, 80-yard run in football practice one beautiful day back in college, with his girl, Louise, waiting for him with an embrace at the far end of the field

In Briefs
WK, and lots of street art, in the house

Soho scenes

Just playing ball on a break from umps
By Judith Stiles
At first glance, the term “structured free play” seems like an oxymoron. However, city kids are getting a welcome dose of it during the holiday break from Christmas to New Year’s Day.

Youth Activities

Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess

No partridge, but deep discounts
Tree-buying procrastinators in Tribeca were rewarded with bargains Dec. 24, although at 11 a.m., the pickings were slim. Buyers still had the full 12 days to enjoy Christmas.

What’s up on the waterfront?

Tribeca river center shifts in different directions
By Josh Rogers
John Cronin investigated the toxic waters of the Love Canal for New York State 25 years ago, but that may not have prepared him for the shifting political waters in Lower Manhattan and Albany as he continu
es his effort to build a $20-million river study center in Tribeca despite local opposition.

Cirque, youth group float Pier 40 plans
By Lincoln Anderson
A glitzy “Downtown Lincoln Center” on the Hudson — with stilt-walking Cirque du Soleil performers clomping over soccer fields adding festive atmosphere to the Tribeca Film Festival’s new maritime home — or a teeming sports, day-camp and academic complex devoted to building healthy young bodies and minds, are the two competing redevelopment proposals for Pier 40.

Neighbors besieged by Cooper Square construction
By Albert Amateau
A roomful of angry East Village neighbors last week told public officials and developers’ representatives that they were fed up with the disruption and the fear of continued problems associated with four development projects in a four-block radius at Cooper Square.

Through the looking glass of a Spanish Alice
By Steven Snyder
“Pan’s Labyrinth” is fantasy underscored by fear and despair, a fable told through the eyes of a little girl who enters a world of make-believe not out of whimsy but hope that something, somewhere holds the secret cure to the world’s unending pain.

An exhibition worth unwrapping
By Shane McAdams
On its surface, “Thanks: Returning the Favor” is a high-concept, seasonably appropriate exhibition at Apexart addressing notions of gift giving and philanthropy. But beneath its wrapping, the show inadvertently ventures into stickier territory about curatorial responsibility and basic definitions of art.

Dario D’Ambrosi: still crazy after nearly 25 years at La Mama
By Wickham Boyle
Dario D’Ambrosi is an icon in experimental theater, a dedicated practitioner who, despite forging a successful career in films both in Europe and America, still returns for an annual pilgrimage to the Mecca of experimentation, La Mama ETC.

New school annex site picks up support
By Skye H. McFarlane
Using part of the Battery Park City Community Center as a school annex for P.S./I.S. 89 may not sound like a revolutionary thought, but in a few short months it has morphed from a lonely, out-of-left-field idea into a bona fide community cause.

Jews with roots in India trek to City Hall
New York’s Indian-Jewish community shared traditions with members of Tribeca’s Synagogue for the Arts at a Hanukkah celebration at City Hall Dec. 21.

Artists told to pay rent
By Albert Amateau
A panel convened by the American Arbitration Association on Dec. 14 awarded Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center a total of $33,660 in back rent from artists — members of Artists Alliance Inc. — who failed to pay C.S.V. rent for their studios at 107 Suffolk St.

Sex, smokes and civil liberties at the community board
By: Skye H. McFarlane
An anti-tobacco resolution went up in smoke at Community Board 1’s monthly meeting Dec. 19, after a surprise debate on smoking, sex and civil liberties.

Jews gone wild: Book explores punk’s kosher roots
By Bonnie Rosenstock
Take a fistful of New York attitude, more than a dash of kvetching, irony, humor and sarcasm; throw in the memory of the Holocaust and aspiring to assimilate; blend with lefty politics and social justice; stir up youthful disaffection, outsider status and rejection of your parents’ and society’s values, and you’ve got the makings of a movement.

The mind behind ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’
By Rania Richardson
Evil fairies, a bloodthirsty stepfather, fascist terrorists, and a secret underground empire make up the nightmarish world of 11-year-old Ofelia in “Pan’s Labyrinth.” Written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (“Cronos,” “Hellboy”), the film is a masterful blend of history and fantasy, as it tells the story of a lonely girl in Franco’s Spain who is guided by magical creatures that only she can see.

A room with three views
By Will McKinley
One of the great injustices of modern American popular culture is our collective lack of appreciation for the classics.

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Terri Loewenthal
POWER COUPLE In a glowing review of indie darlings Mates of State’s fourth album, our reviewer Rachel Fershleiser wrote, “Juxtaposed against their trademark, cheery melodies and beautiful vocals, Mates of State combine real-world concerns with an optimistic outlook.” The couple will play the Main Space of Knitting Factory New Year’s Eve with folk-pop band Ida in the early set, and straight-forward rockers +/- (plus/minus) for the late night show. Tickets $20. Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard St., 212-219-3132;

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