THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | Volume 17 • Issue 40 | February 25 - March 3, 2005

Punk & soul and a changing Downtown
The news that CBGB, the birthplace of American punk rock music, is facing a rent hike to the astronomical sum of $40,000 a month is staggering. If this Downtown icon closes it will be a sad day indeed. “This ain’t no fooling around,” the Talking Heads, one of the bands that CBGB helped make famous, might say – if they were still playing together. Beside CBGB, the other club mentioned in that song, Mudd Club, long ago closed and the its Tribeca building now houses luxury lofts.

Talking Point
Downtown community needs a voice on community money
By Alan J. Gerson
The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. will soon make its decision for the allocation of Community Development Block Grants. Of the $21 billion Federal allotment New York City received, the L.M.D.C. was given $3 billion in C.D.B.G. funds, of which approximately $820 million remains.

Understanding H.I.V. ‘super-viruses’ with memories from the ’80s
By Paul Schindler
The city Health Department was unusually cryptic in the advisory it sent out alerting the press to an impending announcement about H.I.V./ AIDS the following day.
The news presented Feb. 11 by Dr. Thomas Frieden, the city’s commissioner of Health and Mental Hygiene, could scarcely have had more blockbuster potential, and the resulting scramble by the media to get the story out and dig up angles with which to illustrate it, predictably reawakened memories of early ‘80s hysteria.

Downtown Notebook
My memorable brush with the Gonzo journalist
By Suzanne Zionts
I wouldn’t recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they’ve always worked for me. Hunter S. Thompson
Hunter S. Thompson killed himself last Sunday. My only encounter with the great Gonzo journalist was in a Barnes & Noble in Union Sq. when “Kingdom of Fear” first came out in 2003.

The Penny Post
Hunter S. Thompson
By Andrei Codrescu
I remember fondly a night in the late ‘90s when I hung out with him at Lucky’s on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Hunter wore an impeccable suit and drank whiskey all night, explicating complex mysteries in a gravelly unitone of which I understood little but loved it all. Stories of Hunter’s legendary drinking mixed in my head with Ken Kesey’s legendary drinking and followed naturally into the lore of other bohemian drinking legends like Richard Brautigan and Charles Bukowski.

Under Cover

Letters to the Editor

I.S. 89 Cougars trap too much for Eagles
By Zachary Roy
The I.S. 89 Cougars boys’ basketball team used suffocating defense and two insurmountable scoring runs to put away the Academy for Environmental Science Eagles, 58-43, on Thursday at the I.S. 89 gym.

Youth Activities

Seals frolic in North Cove
By Josh Rogers
It was a typical weekend in Battery Park City with many mammals visiting the neighborhood and enjoying the Hudson River, but instead of walking, two of them swam in and stayed in the water — delighting the two-legged creatures watching from the land.

Deutsche demo delayed till summer
Ronda Kaysen
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation expects to begin deconstructing the former Deutsche Bank building this summer, Kevin Rampe, the corporation’s president, said at a City Council hearing last week.
Downtown Express photo by Robert Stolarik

This friendly seal and a companion visited Battery Park City’s icy North Cove waters Saturday. They may have been the same seals who returned to the marina on Sunday.


Fundraising to begin on Tribeca community center
By Ronda Kaysen
Manhattan Youth, the organization tapped to operate the new community recreation center slated for Site 5C in Tribeca, has a long way to go before it can ponder any ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

School zoning debate to begin
By Ronda Kaysen
Ground has yet to break on a new east side K-8 school, but west side parents are already vying for a zoned middle school in their neighborhood, suggesting transforming two Downtown elementary schools into K-8 schools to resolve the problem.

CBGB, punk pioneer, at risk to close
By Justin Rocket Silverman
When Hilly Kristal first opened CBGB in 1972, the Bowery was still well deserving of its reputation as the most notorious rough-and-tumble neighborhood in Lower Manhattan. As Kristal himself described it in a piece he wrote:

Soho ‘Wall’ dispute returns to the courts
By Ronda Kaysen
Talk about being up against the wall.
The north wall of 599 Broadway at Houston St. has found itself stuck in the middle of a legal dispute between the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, which has declared the aluminum bars previously affixed to it a landmark, and the building’s owners, who see the actual wall as a fitting site to tack on lucrative commercial billboards.

B.P.C. activist going strong as she turns 90
By Mara McGinnis
Pearl Scher, who celebrated her 90th birthday on Feb. 24 and is best known as a feisty Downtown activist and fixture at civic meetings and discussions about her neighborhood, did not speak in front of other people until her early 20s.

Chiropractor wary of forced move for train center
By Angela Benfield
When Antoinette Gragnano, a gregarious elderly woman, was looking for a chiropractor, she needed someone close by. Gragnano, who has lived in Lower Manhattan for all of her life, got a referral from a friend to try Dr. Haber, whose Financial District chiropractic office is located in the Corbin building on Broadway and John St. With her home being just a stone’s throw away on Park Row, she gave him a try.

Church doubles as fashion market for upstart designers
By Amanda Kwan
Fashionistas on a budget looking for one-of-a-kind clothes and accessories are sure to find that unique something at the youth center in the back of St. Patrick’s Church on Mulberry St. — as long as they show up on Saturdays.

Arts Downtown

Disparate images coalesce
By Steve Erickson
Curator Ydessa Hendeles, who organized a Munich art show of photos of teddy bears, says “between reality and fiction, I’m somewhere in there.”
Hendeles is the subject of Agnés Varda’s most recent short film, “Ydessa, the Bears and Etc.,” and her words suit the slipperiness of Varda’s work.

It takes a video project
By Dean Daderko
Occasionally, the most fascinating family is the one you are born into. Such is the case with Israeli-born artist Guy Ben-Ner, whose first U.S. solo show features himself and his two children in “Wild Boy,” a two-part video work at Postmasters Gallery.

For the here and now
By Lori Ortiz
Judith Sánchez Ruíz toured with the cutting edge Barcelona-based dance theater troupe Mal Pelo and danced with the avant-garde modern Danza Abierta in her native Cuba. But she has something of her own to say and chose New York as the place to develop her choreographic skills to make that possible.

‘That others should know’
By Jerry Tallmer
They survived, the people in this workroom.
“I don’t want to have anything to do with the dead, the dead are dead, right?” says Leon, the boss of the workroom, here in this atelier in post-Holocaust Paris, “and ours are a thousand times more dead than any others because there’s nothing left of them.”

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