THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | Volume 19 Issue 50 | April 27 - May 3, 2007
Editorial
Congestion pricing: A breath of fresh air
Opponents of congestion pricing are trying to cast the battle as a fight between the “little guys” from Brooklyn and Queens on one side and the corporate bigwigs and Manhattan elites on the other. Damn the facts, it makes for smart politics. If the debate is defined this way, the opponents will win before it begins. Billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who on Sunday boldly proposed a three-year experiment to charge Manhattan drivers for the privilege to pollute during rush hour, makes an easy target for the hip-shooting naysayers.

Talking Points
Spitzer’s early missteps are not confined to a stairway
By David Stanke
Just months ago, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. was shutting down. Candidate Spitzer was scoring campaign points by blasting its efforts. Now Governor Spitzer is reactivating the L.M.D.C. He has not indicated his World Trade Center strategy, but the L.M.D.C. has served as a flak jacket for politically difficult decisions. Is Spitzer gearing up for action?

Downtown Express photo by Ramin Talaie
Standing up for Darfur
Former N.B.A. player Manute Bol, 7’ 7”, a native of Sudan, protested outside Fidelity offices near Wall St. Tuesday in opposition to the firm’s investments in Chinese oil companies that do business with Sudan, despite the genocide in Darfur.

Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

A beaming Emma Yamamura scores a run with her father Marvin in the Downtown Little League’s first game for children with autism.

Autistic kids play ball Downtown
By Brooke Edwards
Emma Yamamura had never played baseball before she came to the Battery Park City field Saturday morning. But from the moment the petite 7-year-old slipped into her cherry-red jersey, her smile shamed even that day’s spring sun.


NEWS
Club says this ain’t no disco, but C.B. 1 opposes it anyway
Live performance venues may be dropping like flies across Lower Manhattan, but Community Board 1 is resisting the addition of a new venue at 100 Lafayette St., near the corner of Walker St.

Silver: Downtown’s still in the hunt for Chase
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said JPMorgan Chase’s reported threat to move to Stamford, Conn. over Downtown is real but several sites at the World Trade Center are under consideration.

Higher, brighter ‘Wall’ will return to Soho
By Chris Bragg and Brooke Edwards
Soho’s well-known public artwork “The Wall,” which has been gathering dust in a basement for the past five years, will soon be rebuilt following an agreement between the work’s creator, the building that had fought the eight-story structure and the city.

Yonkers ferries to begin with free rides in May
Instead of exhaust fumes, commuters from southern Westchester to Lower Manhattan will soon be able to breathe Hudson breezes. Instead of tailpipes, they can gaze at the Palisades.

Bike lane brouhaha over what’s best cross-town route
By Julie Shapiro
Any bike lane is better than no bike lane.
That’s what Community Board 2 decided last Thur., April 19, when it approved a bike lane that many residents, cyclists and community board members see as a second choice.

When a young person’s heart turns to flowers
April showers have already brought flowers to Rockefeller Park — many of them planted by children. Fenced off from the rest of the Battery Park City park’s open space, is a small children’s garden.

ARTS
Back in ‘The Brig’ with the Living Theater
By Jerry Tallmer
The last time Judith Malina directed “The Brig,” which was 44 years ago, she put the actors through sheer hell, U.S. Marine Corps punishment style. With the cast’s assent, more or less.

Music for special relativity
By Harry Newman
Albert Einstein and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — two of history’s undisputed geniuses — never had the chance to meet in person. They were born 123 years apart and would probably have been too busy anyway. But for an hour and a half this Monday evening, April 30.

The Wild West of NYC’s galleries
By Shane McAdams
Like most, I often end up taking the path of least resistance on a Saturday afternoon when I get the art itch. Invariably, I exit the Whitney or the Met wondering why I didn’t embark on a more ambitious art excursion. MoMa’s fine, but it’s always there. And, let’s face it, slaking your thirst for art at a museum on a Saturday can be as quenching as waiting in line to be sprayed in the face by a fire hose. But somehow we’re comforted by knowing where they’re doing the hosing.

Listen to Downtown Express
Radio on the internet:

Associate editor Josh Rogers and reporter Skye H. McFarlane are your hosts. This week small business owners, Pam Chmiel and Jan Lee discuss construction problems on Maiden Lane, the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, and police parking problems in Chinatown. (recorded Tuesday, March 27, 2007)


NEWS

With $70M spent, no money to reopen park’s Tribeca piers
By Skye H. McFarlane
There was a deep sadness in Bob Townley’s eyes as he looked out over the Hudson River Tuesday night. Out in the river stood two quiet fields of wooden piles, the decaying remains of Piers 25 and 26.

Tour guide looks to save remnants of ‘Little Syria’
By Skye H. McFarlane
Wedged in between the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the World Trade Center site, filled with a hodgepodge of rambling old buildings and high-rise parking garages, the area now known as “Greenwich St. south” can often feel like a lost neighborhood.

Landmarks sends developer back to drawing board
By Brooke Edwards
Developers of 443 Greenwich St. have some changes to make and another visit with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to look forward to before they can move forward with plans for a luxury condo and hotel complex in the landmarked building with space for artists.

Out of sight, out of landmark protection
By Skye H. McFarlane and Brooke Edwards
In a move reminiscent of radical plastic surgery, the backside bulk of 25 Broad St. will soon be sitting on the shiny new top of 45 Broad St.

Hip Internet cafe to connect with younger patrons
By Julie Shapiro
If the walls are any indication, New Yorkers are going to miss alt.coffee. The Lower East Side coffee shop recently closed. At a closing party, owner Nick Bodor gave attendees permanent markers and free rein on a sunflower-yellow wall.

Monumental speech

Garbage tower foes look for dirt on Spring St.
By Albert Amateau
A coalition of civic groups in the Hudson Sq. and Tribeca neighborhoods are stepping up efforts to turn back the Department of Sanitation’s plan for a jumbo garage for three sanitation districts on United Parcel Service property just north of new high-end luxury residences.

SPORTS
Downtown Little League action
Last Sunday saw the long-awaited Majors Division match-up between two Downtown aces, Jack Hatton of the Tigers and Gabe Kleiman of the Grays. In the first inning, the Tigers got a lead-off double from Andrew Puopolo. Jack Finio drove Puopolo in, but Klieman soon settled down, striking out the next seven Tigers in order. 

Dragons run strong through the season’s end
Wrapping up a stellar indoor track and field season, the Manhattan Academy of Technology Dragons boys and girls teams competed in the March 24 Jamboree at the National Track & Field Hall of Fame in Washington Heights, N.Y. The meet, which included 2,000 children from over 40 public schools the city, was the largest Jamboree ever. 


A Downtown Express Special Supplement
Tribeca Film Festival 2007

The back door to the best seat in the theater
By Sarah Norris
The Tribeca Film Festival is a hot destination for filmmakers, distributors, moviegoers — and volunteers. This year, there are more than 2,800 helpers, whose compensation comes in the form of ticket vouchers, celebrity encounters, new friends, free burritos and a party in their honor.

The carbon-neutral premiere

Robert De Niro: The (Non)Interview
By Lori Silverbush
“Interview Robert De Niro? Sure, I can handle that.” This was my blithe response when I was asked to reach out to the great actor/director for a companion piece to Downtown Express’s coverage of the Tribeca Film Festival, founded by De Niro and his partner Jane Rosenthal six years ago.

A sporting event comes to Tribeca
By David Johnson
One wouldn’t naturally combine sports with movies, or sports movies with a film festival, but then again, the Tribeca Film Festival is not your typical movie event.

Worth the price of admission
Tribeca’s most buzzed about films

The filmmaker’s film fest
By David Johnson
The Tribeca Film Festival is about more than just showing films; it’s also in the business of helping films get made. And this year, some of the top projects the festival has helped make possible in the past are coming back to headline the show — a homecoming that doubles as a milestone for what has come to be known as “Tribeca All Access.”

Around the world on Tribeca’s screens
By Rania Richardson
As U.S. distributors scale back on increasingly unprofitable foreign language releases, the festival circuit has become one of the few opportunities for audiences to view films from around the globe. A case in point is the Tribeca Film Festival, which is particularly committed to worldwide film culture.

April 25-May 6
tribecafilmfestival.org

Reel women
By Sarah Norris
Lucky for us, New York isn’t Hollywood.
According to the recent Celluloid Ceiling study, which records the number of female filmmakers working today, women directed only seven percent of the top 250 domestic grossing movies last year. Dr. Martha Lauzen, who spearheads the annual report, says that says there is no grand conspiracy: men are simply comfortable hiring other men.

The greening of the Tribeca Film Festival
By Katherine Dykstra
More proof that the environment couldn’t be any, ahem, hotter, the Tribeca Film Festival chose to break convention and open this year’s festival not with a major feature film as it has done in the past, but with a series of seven green-themed short films hosted by none other than Al Gore, former Vice President and environmental guru.

Resurrecting forgotten films
By Leonard L. Quart
One of this year’s most unique sections of the Tribeca Film Festival, now in its sixth season, is the Restored/Rediscovered segment curated by the Festival’s cinematically knowledgeable and sophisticated Executive Director, Peter Scarlet. The brand-new series includes newly restored, preserved and often little-known films from the world’s film archives.

Re-interpreting ‘Birth of a Nation’
Film historians have always had a difficult time dealing with D.W. Griffith’s influential 1915 “Birth of a Nation,”.

Fine art mashup
Making its North American premiere at sites across Manhattan this weekend, Paolo Cherchi Usai’s “Passio” might be the Tribeca Film Festival’s best bet for fine art aficionados.

Another side of Afghanistan
By Rania Richardson
The specter of the Taliban may have receded from public consciousness since Sept. 11, 2001, but Afghanistan is front and center at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in three documentaries, a drama and an experimental feature shot with a cell phone.

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A Toast to Tribeca A self-guided tour of approximately 100 artist studios will take over the neighborhood this weekend. See listing for details. Above: “Castle of Taj,” 2006, by John Haro.

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