THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | Volume 17 • Issue 30 | Dec. 17 - 23, 2004
From the Editor
Finding the right person to secure the homeland
Downtown and elsewhere
Now that the disturbing revelations about Bernard Kerik’s professional and personal life have sunk his nomination to become the next secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security, the task falls back to President Bush to do a better job vetting the next nominee. The city’s former police commissioner could not have served effectively will all of the continuing disclosures and it was good news when his deeply flawed candidacy was ended.

Talking Point
The excesses of W.T.C. preservationists
By David Stanke
Do you remember the cornerstone of the Freedom tower laid this summer? Have you heard Governor Pataki talk about the future of the World Trade Center on his occasional tours of the site? The reality is that not one construction project is underway at the W.T.C. and every project is being fought on historic grounds: the Freedom Tower, the Path Station—every single project. The W.T.C. now stands as the ultimate symbol of an American weakness: the ability of powerful special interest group to manipulate the system against the greater public good.

Penny Post
Did the poor disappear?
By Andrei Codrescu
A whole year nearly gone by, and what of it? Time is a river, you can’t step in it twice, but here at the Mississippi you shouldn’t even step in it once. And yet, some things have stayed with us, curiously unchanged. George W. Bush, for instance, and his endless war. The city of New Orleans, not blown away by Hurricane Ivan. The poor who, like Jesus said, will always be with us.

Celebrating Christmas without cash
By Wickham Boyle
Most cultures celebrate the darkest time of the year with festivals of light: The winter solstice. The shortest day of the year is upon us, and so is the entrenched holiday shopping season. The Christians, Jews and Druids are the three cultures whose festivals come immediately to mind. There are elaborate celebrations with candles, twinkling lights and enormous trees dragged inside and decorated; all of this hearkens that we make it through the dark time and reemerge safely into light.

Picture Story

Holiday lights
Add a new tree to the Downtown Christmas lighting mix and forgive the organizers if they think of themselves as an island onto themselves, right.

Appealing new French cafe with homemade touch
By Frank Angelino
The owners of Couvron restaurant, in the emerging Hudson Square neighborhood (north of Tribeca, west of Soho), have high hopes. Born by the sound food pedigree of its owners — chef Anthony Demes and his wife, Maura Jarach, they have recently opened a 65-seat dining room opposite two nearly completed residential condominiums.

Civil War-inspired art at I.S. 89
By Divya Watal
Learning about the Civil War – that tumultuous era in American history that saw the nation cleaved in two – could be a facile exploration of North vs. South, good vs. bad, anti-slavery vs. pro-slavery.

Children's Activities

New Tribeca yoga studio where ‘tensions drop and hope soars’
By Wickham Boyle
Let’s face it, no matter how we try to keep our good sprits during the holidays, we are whirled into the maelstrom of too much. There are too many parties, too much shopping, the stores are crowded, the kids are overwhelmed, over stimulated and over the moon with anticipation. We eat too much of everything and we love doing it. But on occasion we could use a breather, almost a mini-vacation from the swirling holiday commotion.

New York's
Exciting downtown scene

Majestic’ oaks for memorial
A forest of oak trees will fill the World Trade Center memorial plaza under new details of the design unveiled Thursday.
Michael Arad, Peter Walker and Max Bond, the memorial’s architects, made adjustments to the design so pedestrians could enter the plaza from all four streets and they left an area where visitors could touch the World Trade Center bedrock and slurry wall and see many of the remnants of the boxbeam columns that supported the Twin Towers, answering a concern of many of the relatives of the victims of the Sept. 11 attack.

Police and bicyclists testify in protest case
By Lincoln Anderson
Top police brass and Critical Mass bicyclists took the stand last week in the ongoing federal trial on whether the monthly Critical Mass bike rides in Manhattan need a permit.

Getting the fields at Pier 40 ready
By Judith Stiles
It is too late in the soccer season to plant more grass or spruce up the Battery Park City ballfields. This baseball and soccer field is a muddy mess and has been closed and locked up since Thanksgiving. At this time of year, at Highbury Stadium on the famous grass soccer pitch in north London you might see a few lads run onto the field at halftime with pitchforks for field maintenance, stabbing into the grass hither and thither for the purpose of aerating the field. However, grass fields are becoming a thing of the past in New York City, so you won’t see lads with pitchforks anywhere near the beautiful new turf fields at Pier 40.

Collecting food for the homeless on lunch breaks
By Divya Watal
Wall Street bankers, traders and brokers — stern, stiff and gray, with green paper flying out of their briefcases — do not easily evoke an image of charity.

Internet radio takes to the street after F.C.C. clampdown
By David Katz
Walk south on the west side of First Ave. towards Houston St., and you are sure to notice a different kind of storefront: a functioning radio station, exposed to the street, where one can watch D.J.’s spinning records or conducting live interviews, much the same way one used to watch Krispy Kreme donuts being churned out on 23rd St. or pie jockeys levitating dough through the windows of sundry pizzerias.

Downtown Ukrainians show their true color: orange
By Justin Rocket Silverman
The line at the Self Reliance Federal Credit Union in the East Village has been a little longer than usual lately, as residents of all five boroughs come in to deposit money — in someone else’s account.

Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

Artist Andy Jurinko in his apartment across from the World Trade Center site. After Sept. 11, he stopped painting baseball players and started painting women.

Baseball to pinups, post-9/11
By Ronda Kaysen
Downtown artist Andy Jurinko realized his work would never be the same after he witnessed the Sept. 11th attacks from his apartment directly across the street from the World Trade Center’s South tower. A lifelong baseball artist and author of “Heart of the Game,” an illustrated homage to the American League of the mid-20th century, you might say he threw in the bat on Sept. 12th.

Police and bicyclists testify in protest case
By Lincoln Anderson
Top police brass and Critical Mass bicyclists took the stand last week in the ongoing federal trial on whether the monthly Critical Mass bike rides in Manhattan need a permit.

Stuy begins to learn more on Downtown through film project
By Hemmy So
The airy halls at Stuyvesant High School constantly echo with the bustling sounds of students heading to unknown destinations in the giant fortress on Chambers St. An oblique path from the front lobby leads to the technology education room, where a bright blue wall greets students and teachers. There, a group of seniors have already started editing hours of video relating to their biggest project yet: a full-length documentary covering the transportation system’s impact on Downtown’s quality of life.

Manufacturing a move to Lower Manhattan
By Divya Watal
Adam Friedman has a simple, clear-cut mission: to save blue-collar jobs in New York City. The realization of that mission, however, is more complex. For Friedman, it involves heading a network of over 100 organizations committed to strengthening the city’s manufacturing sector, identifying vulnerable companies and helping them relocate, improve their technologies, find employees and access financing.

Reverend and Miller aide join Council race
By Lincoln Anderson
Two more candidates have thrown their hats into the ring for the race for City Council District 2, the seat currently held by Margarita Lopez, who will be forced out of the Council after 2005 because of term limits.

Ratner’s reopens for last fling at age 100
By Hemmy So
Ratner’s Restaurant opened its doors Tuesday for the first time in two years to celebrate its 100th anniversary and finally say goodbye to the Lower East Side. Proclaimed “Ratner’s Day” by Mayor Bloomberg, Dec. 14 officially marked the end of famous kosher restaurant. Complete with a small buffet selection of blintzes and latkes from the restaurant’s frozen food line and cycles of Klemzer music played by the Matt Darriau’s Blintz Band, the party’s atmosphere overflowed with nostalgia.

Some in Soho like modern design, but city has questions
By Ronda Kaysen
A developer’s plan to transform a vacant lot in Soho into a modernist residential building — the first of its kind under the neighborhood’s new zoning rules — has evoked a mixture of enthusiasm and trepidation from community members and a critical response from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

East Village is ranked second-best neighborhood
By Divya Watal
New York City’s East Village is the second-best neighborhood in North America, after Granville Island in Vancouver, Canada, according to a New York-based nonprofit organization.

Downtown Homes and Lofts

Constructing luxury homes in the Seaport’s historic buildings
By Alison Gregor
South Street Seaport was once the rakish portal to New York City commerce but never recovered from a 19th-century decline, even with the advent in recent decades of a touristy theme mall.
But a renaissance may be in the offing with efforts by the city and real estate developers to make the historic marine neighborhood more amenable to potential residents.

In The Arts
The heart engaged
John Patrick’s “The Hasty Heart” is an intensely sentimental play with a creaky structure and obvious plotting. The exposition is clumsy and feels dated, and throughout there are few surprises in store for the audience. And yet, for all this, only the abjectly cynical and misanthropic could fail to be moved by the lovely, intimate production the play has been given by the Keen Company.

A one-man home movie
“We had nothing,” Billy Crystal insists in “700 Sundays,” his solo Broadway show that traces his modest childhood in Eisenhower-era Long Beach, Long Island, where he grew up in a crowded tract house with paper-thin walls.

Bringing back a Noel Coward piece
Tony Walton was still in his teens — “a snotty teenager at the Slade School of Fine Art” — when in the summer of 1954 he saw a show he has never forgotten. In fact, he not only saw it over and over again, he dragged his classmates along to see it too.

Begotten, not merely made
In an inspired statement that accompanies Tamara Gonzales’ exhibition “Seed,” the artist touches on a concert this past summer by Donovan and the notion that plants can talk, then more pessimistically wonders if Americans are really interested in dying free.

A liberating spear of glass and steel
Try wrapping your tongue around this one: Dokumentationszentrum Reichspsparteitagsgelande.
Leni Riefenstahl could explain it to you. She shot some pretty famous movies in the vicinity. Meanwhile, we are in the Mercer Hotel at the corner of Mercer and Prince Streets in SoHo, where a noisy, swinging scene is taking place downstairs in the Mercer Café.

Actor in Gibson’s ‘Passion’ brings new work to La Mama
The surgeon who scrubs his hands, dons a gauze mask, and operates to carve the insanity out of the brain of Jesus Christ — this via video screen off-off-Broadway at Ellen Stewart’s La MaMa, while Satan, on stage, giggles in triumph — is the same man who as a hard-faced Roman soldier lashes the Christ so brutally, so mercilessly, on screens of another sort viewed by millions around the world.

When the word is the thing
“A Talking Picture” features several European stars—Catherine Deneuve, Stephania Sandrelli, Irene Papas and John Malkovich (who although American, now lives in Europe)—cruising through the Mediterranean on a luxury ocean liner. This intriguing drama filmed in multiple locations and in almost as many languages is no “ship of fools.”

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