West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 8 | July 25 - 31, 2007

Scoopy's Notebook

High hopes for High Line access: An article in last week’s Meat Market special section stated that Andre Balazs’s new The Standard hotel will have “direct access” to the High Line, but apparently that’s not a given. Katie Lorah of Friends of the High Line gave us the lowdown: “There will be no private access to the High Line,” she said. “All access points must be public. In some locations, these public access points may be sited within a private building that directly abuts or is underneath the High line, subject to zoning provisions and negotiations with the city, which seeks to protect the public nature of the High Line and all of its access points. As it relates to The Standard hotel — the developer has made a request to the city related to access, but the city has not yet responded.” High Line access was an issue in another article in our Meat Market section on Novac Noury, the arrow keyboard pioneer, and his quest for a “Stairway to High Line.” Said Lorah: “As for Noury’s request, F.H.L. is aware of his interest in connecting to the High Line. However, his property does not directly abut the High Line, so the only way he could possibly create a public access point from his property would be to obtain an easement across the property [owned by Balazs] that sits between his property and the High Line. That said, when he inquired with Friends of the High Line, we suggested that he contact the city, as we always do with inquiries related to public access pointssited on private property. Following his request, Michael Bradley, the Parks Department’s High Line administrator, sent Noury a list of guidelines for this kind of access point. He also left a voicemail message with Noury.” Noury says he only wishes he’d known about this beforehand, since he simply would have bought the connecting platform from his building to the High Line, which Balazs demolished.

Parkpourri: About half a year behind schedule, the renovated Vesuvio Playground at Spring and Thompson Sts. was finally fully opened last weekend. … Cristine DeLuca, a Parks Department spokesperson, tells us that all the special lighting for Father Demo Square at Bleecker St. and Sixth Ave. will be ready to be turned on at the end of August. This will include a special light fixture in the fountain as well as a glass flute with lights fitted around the fountain’s column. (This latter feature is being referred to in some parts as “the fountain condom,” but that didn’t come from the Parks Department.)

Vilnius ‘predemolition’ work: On a stroll through Hudson Square on Monday, we passed Our Lady of Vilnius Church on Broome St. by the Holland Tunnel. A fellow working there from Shannon Abatement popped his head out of the door. He said he was part of a crew removing asphalt floor tiles for what he called “predemolition.” He also said he’d heard the vacant church — which has damaged trusses, putting the roof at risk of collapse — was sold to a developer and that there had been lots of interest. But Joseph Zwilling, the Catholic Archdiocese of New York’s spokesperson, said of the church, “It’s not for sale and it has not been sold.” Asked if plans are to demolish it, he said, “That’s to be determined.” Asked if developers have been expressing interest, he said, “None that I’m aware of — but it’s not for sale anyway.”

C.B. 2 civility: In his first meeting as chairperson of Community Board 2, Brad Hoylman set a new tone of propriety by addressing board members, not by their first names, but as “Mr. Gold,” “Ms. Secunda” and so forth. Even more impressive, he promptly wrapped up the meeting by 8:30 p.m., though this is the summer, after all.

Historic Hudson Square: Two more of the 13 Downtown federal houses that the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has been advocating to receive landmark status were so designated by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission on Monday: 486 and 488 Greenwich St., located between Canal and Spring Sts. in Hudson Square. The two buildings date from around 1820. So far, seven of the 13 targeted buildings have been landmarked. “It’s slow but steady progress,” said Andrew Berman, the society’s director.

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