THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | Volume 17 • Issue 30 | Dec. 17 - 23, 2004
From the Editor
Don’t rush decision on name listings
The entire World Trade Center site will be a memorial to the people who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001 and Feb. 26, 1993. The office buildings and train center will in a sense pay respect to those who died working in a free society — and the return of a thriving commercial center will mean that Islamic extremism cannot end our way of life. Cultural buildings will be a fitting response to evil. Those points perhaps can be debated, but one thing is indisputable: The memorial will be a memorial. It will be about remembering the nearly 3,000 who died, so the way the names are listed is thus a fundamental part of that memorial.

Talking Point
Downtown spending debate must include the public preservationists
By Bettina Damiani
“A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money,” Senator Everett McKinley was rumored to have said. No doubt, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has real money, nearly a billion dollars of its original $2.7 billion in its efforts to redevelop Lower Manhattan. Just how New Yorkers influence where the money will go is, unfortunately, is not so real.

Talking Point
A Jewish look at the Left and Right Christmas fight
By Ed Gold
I don’t get upset about “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holiday.” The country is divided enough without getting further exercised about a Christian holiday that is also an American folklore holiday.

Penny Post
ABC’s of 2005 investing
By Andrei Codrescu
I am declaring 2005 the Year of Fantasy. In the YF the dollar will become convertible into Imaginary Dollars (IDs). It’s been clear for some time that imagination is the real currency in a world that loses 600 Imagination Units (IUs) per person every year...

Letters to the editor

Under cover

Downtown Scene

Winter Sets in
Lady Liberty’s torch almost looked lit by an orange sunset last week

Picture Story

Christmas mission
Children went to the Bowery Mission Saturday for the group’s annual Christmas party. Christopher Clown kept the vistors entertained and Tom Chaplin, the Mission’s chaplain read about the “true meaning of Christmas.”

Our teachers deserve gifts worth more than $5
By Angela Benfield
Two weeks ago, I received a note in my eight-year-old son’s backpack. It was from his “class parent” requesting $20 from every family in the class.

Children's Activities

He loves being Santa Claus
By Kaitlen Jay Exum
While December may be a slow month for photographers, it’s a particularly busy time for Santa Claus. So discovered Mike Relph, who, for 11 months of the year, is a photographer but, each December for the last five years, has played Santa at the Winter Garden. He began his tenure as Santa to augment his income during the holidays. But something surprised him. He loved the job.

New York's
Exciting downtown scene
Developer trying to raise Tribeca towers’ height
By Ronda Kaysen
Developer Edward Minskoff is looking to increase the size of the apartment buildings he hopes to build across from P.S. 234 in Tribeca. Minskoff, the developer of Site 5B, has requested to make several amendments to a September agreement with the city regarding the site, including a request to increase the street wall along Warren St., opposite P.S. 234, to 135 feet.

Jack Newfield, 66, crusading Downtown reporter, dies
By Albert Amateau
Jack Newfield, a prize-winning journalist who made his reputation at the Village Voice and as the author of 10 books on subjects ranging from Senator Robert F. Kennedy to Mayor Ed Koch and boxing promoter Don King, died on Dec. 20 at the age of 66.

City tries to keep Brooklyn Bridge skateboard space
By Ronda Kaysen
The first time longtime skateboarder Steve Rodriguez heard about the city’s plans to renovate the space beneath the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge that has been used as a self-made skate park since the 1970s was when a fence went up around it the first week of December, effectively shutting the area down.

Seaport’s new owner not rocking the boat yet
By Ronda Kaysen
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Since General Growth Properties acquired the Rouse Company in November and effectively became the general managers of the South Street Seaport stores, the company remains tightlipped about its plans, the future of the Fulton Fish Market remains the source of endless rumors, and several Pier 17 merchants have lodged yet another lawsuit against Rouse.

University prez and chef

Downtown housing bonds
The New York State Housing Finance Agency issued $6.2 million in bonds on Thurs. Dec. 23 to finance construction of Extra Place Apartments in the Cooper Sq. Urban Renewal Area on E. First St. and Bowery.

Zoning decoder

Anniversary name painting
A Maylasian family visiting Chinatown for the month had their names painted in Chinese Wednesday by WuHong Qing, left. Meiling Wong and her husband Chieemeng Wong, will celebrate their ninth anniversary on Christmas with their children, Weixing, 5, and Weizhi, 7. Downtown Express photo by Jennifer Weisbord

Cheaper eats on New Year’s Eve
By Hemmy So
Planning festivities for New Year’s Eve in New York City can easily become a massive endeavor requiring extensive knowledge of the city’s bar and restaurant scene, plenty of advance notice and a pocket full of cash. NYC & Company suggests a simpler solution: Chinatown dining.

Neighborhood kiosk opens
Chinatown residents, schoolchildren and business owners welcomed a new visitor’s kiosk at the corner of Canal and Baxter Sts. in a ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 17. The shiny red booth, ornamented with a neon-lit pagoda top, offers tourists Chinatown maps and guides to historical sites. The visitor’s kiosk is open Sunday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Kung fu fans give thumbs-up to Chinatown’s Ebert
By Rania Richardson
Like a Roger Ebert for Asian cinema, David Lau is a movie connoisseur and TV host specializing in Chinese, Japanese and Korean film. His show, “HK Action,” is a mix of reviews, news and film clips, and is seen on Manhattan Neighborhood Network, public-access television carried on Time Warner and RCN.

Some bumps on the road to better Downtown parks
By Camille Le Gall
Speaking in broken English, the fortune tellers in Chinatown say they have lost a little bit of their clientele since Columbus Park closed earlier this year. They now wait for costumers sitting on small stools on the north entrance of the park, on Bayard and Mulberry Sts., next to the fence and the signs that say “Columbus Park closed. Under renovation.”

Falling on hard times, museum for freaks to close
By Divya Watal
“Welcome to the Freakatorium — El Museo Loco! Admission’s $5 — half the price of a movie, memory of a lifetime!” The sword-swallowing, fire-eating Johnny Fox greets visitors to his museum at 57 Clinton St. on the Lower East Side with an élan that befits a man who has lived, breathed, dreamed sideshows for the last 30 years — ever since his cognitive senses came into being.

In The Arts
Al Pacino superb as a Shylock with ‘pain and flame’
Dustin Hoffman, on Broadway, did this (if memory serves) coldly, rationally, argumentatively. Boris Tumarin, Off-Off-Broadway several decades earlier, did it with icy intellectual disdain, hauteur, as if threading his way for survival through a mob of boorish, bullying, profligate, uneducated, murderous Yahoos.

When the stage delivers success
Playing the conniving Rev. David Marshall Lee, Neal Huff is one of the definite bright spots in the madness that is the Roundabout Theatre’s revival of Larry Shue’s play, “The Foreigner.”

The Thing about Walter
By Seth Bookey
Tackling pedophilia on film is risky, and everything about Nicole Kassell’s “The Woodsman” involves risk—from its subject matter to its star casting including its Christmas Eve opening. Audiences are not used to the pedophile being portrayed as a flawed human being; we’re used to hyperbolic monsters emerging from dark shadows backed by the requisite sinister music.

Pompei Church priest goes from Venezuela to Downtown
By Albert Amateau
Father John Massari, who became the new priest in charge of Our Lady of Pompei Church in October replacing Father Joseph Cogo, recalls the first time he came to the Village from Italy as a young priest.

Some secular holiday grandeur
The entire constellation of exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art represent an instance when the parts equal the impressive sum of shows.

A mending fence
By Aileen Torres
The row of tiles adorning a section of the fence around Mercer Park (Mercer St. between Bleecker and West 3rd), blends in well with the black metal onto which it is bolted. The vibrant array of colors likely catches the attention of passerby, and there is something distinctly “New York” about the display. One tile depicts the entrance to a subway station. Another depicts a woman running to catch a train.

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