THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | Volume 17 • Issue 32 | Dec. 31, 2004 - Jan. 6, 2005

From the Editor

Talking Point
Preservation has improved the W.T.C. development plan
By Robert Kornfeld, Jr.
David Stanke’s Talking Point (Dec. 17 – 23, “The excesses of W.T.C. preservationists”) is misleading and requires a response. The article has several main points: that the remnants of the World Trade Center tower footprints are not really significant, that preservation advocates are anti-development and that preservation will hurt the redevelopment effort. These views are simply not accurate, and the anti-preservation philosophy that he espouses would lead the site’s developers into violation of the regulations that govern how projects funded with federal money affect historic resources.

Downtown money should focus on longtime residents
By Thomas S. Goodkind
Governor Pataki recently stated that “the residential community is the foundation upon which the future of Lower Manhattan will be built.”

Penny Post
Things to do in 2005
By Andrei Codrescu
Learn how to use a shortwave radio. I got a Mini 300PE Grundig AM/FM shortwave radio for Christmas. I can now pick up Radio Bucharest from my cave and fulfill my longstanding fantasy of discovering other human beings in my predicament.

Letters to the editor

Under cover

Picture Story
Winter recess

New York's
Exciting downtown scene
Tsunami’s effect on 2 Downtowners
By Ronda Kaysen
Wozzy Dias, an East Village resident, first learned about the tsunami that devastated his native Sri Lanka when his brother called him from California last Sunday. By Monday, he was making arrangements to return to the island he’d left behind 27 years ago.

Sontag’s death and a gay debate
By Chris Schmidt
Susan Sontag died of leukemia on Tuesday, December 28, at the age of 71.
With her dies the era of the glamorous public intellectual — and perhaps even the idea of New York as the center of modern literary intelligence. Such was this writer’s influence and icon status.

E.P.A. attempts to clarify role at Deutsche Bank
By Ronda Kaysen
The Environmental Protection Agency plans to take a leadership role in the deconstruction of the contaminated Deutsche Bank building across from the World Trade Center, although the agency has yet to respond to a letter from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. calling for the E.P.A. to lead the environmental aspects of the cleanup.

Houston St. gardeners, developer battle over inches
By Hemmy So
In the continuing effort to revitalize the Lower East Side, AvalonBay Communities plans to begin construction in the near future of a new residential building on the north side of E. Houston St. near the Bowery, much to the chagrin of Liz Christy gardeners.
Downtown Express photo by Wozzy Dias

Pedestrians cross the street near Chatham Square, one of the main areas the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. hopes to improve with its new Chinatown traffic plan.

Plan tries to make sense out of Chinatown’s streets
By Josh Rogers
Some in Chinatown are hoping they may be turning a corner on the traffic and congestion problems that have plagued the neighborhood for decades — now that the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has released a new study endorsing many of the solutions long favored by residents of Chinatown and the Lower East Side.

Wils: Tunnel extension will push costs to $1 billion
Madelyn Wils, a member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. board of directors, said that extending the proposed West St. tunnel two blocks north to Murray St. will cost an additional $160 to $170 million. The proposal, to sink the six-lane highway beneath a landscaped surface, is already pegged at $860 million.

Seward Park housing plan is quietly pulled
By Ronda Kaysen
The city’s Economic Development Corporation and the Housing Preservation Department have abandoned plans to build 400,000 sq. ft. of affordable housing and 400,000 sq. ft. of commercial space in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area due to a lack of community consensus and support. The Seward Park property on the Lower East Side comprises the largest city-owned undeveloped site in Manhattan south of 96th St.

In The Arts

The East Village art of two decades ago
By Jerry Tallmer
It was when Dan Cameron, not long ago, was conducting a slide lecture in the M.F.A. program at Columbia University — a lecture on the East Village artists of the 1980s — that he found he seemed to be talking about another country, “some generic Elsewhere, where the names Haring and Scharf and Basquiat were complete mysteries to these students.”

The other side of the East Village exhibition
By Ronda Kaysen
Artist Mark Kostabi, who first made his mark in the East Village in the heady 1980s, was less disappointed about being excluded from “East Village USA,” the New Museum of Contemporary Art’s retrospective about the era, than he was about being shut out from the show’s Dec. 9 opening.

Prof. and student team up on S-C-R-E-W-Y musical
By Jerry Tallmer
It’s easy to spell his name: W-I-L-L-I-A-M F-I-N-N. Her name? Not so easy: R-A-C-H-E-L S-H-E-I-N-K-I-N. Now try this one: L-O-G-A-N S-C-H-W-A-R-Z-E-N-G-R-U-B-E-N-I-E-R-E.
Logan Schwarzengrubeniere, a bright but uptight high-school girl who has two dads and no moms, is one of the contestants in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which also happens to be the name of a slightly screwy musical — book by Sheinkin, music and lyrics by Finn — that starts previews Jan. 11 toward a Feb. 7 opening at the Second Stage Theatre on W. 43rd St.

koch on film
“Million Dollar Baby” (-)
I always enjoy films that Clint Eastwood directs or stars in, and I have been a fan of his since he played the role of Ramrod in the television series “Rawhide.” Other critics gave this film favorable reviews, so I was expecting to enjoy it as well. Sorry to say, I did not.
“The Sea Inside” (+) This film will cause you to weep and also provide you with enormous pleasure.

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