Volume 77 / Number 41 - March 12 - 18, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Major drama for Pier 40-based kids’ acting troupe

On Feb. 29, Peggy Lewis, director of the biz kids theater program, which rents space on Pier 40, received a letter from the Hudson River Park Trust’s attorney, Laurie Silberfeld, telling her she had to vacate two-thirds of the 3,000 square feet she uses on the pier. In her letter, Silberfeld said that in his recent inspection of the W. Houston St. pier, the Trust’s structural engineer had found “widespread concrete cracking and spalling of the roof and ramp structures in certain areas, including your theater space (which is located below the parking ramp).” As a result, the engineer strongly recommended that these areas “be restricted from occupancy and parking.” Lewis was asked to immediately close and vacate the space in question. The Trust will adjust biz kids’ rent accordingly. On Saturday, Lewis, left, and Casey Sylvestero, were moving all sorts of equipment out of the biz kids main theater space into the 1,000 feet still deemed safe for use. Lewis has frequently complained that her space, and the pier in general, are in desperate need of renovation. Part of the impetus behind the Trust’s request-for-proposals process for the pier was to find a private developer to pay for the pier’s overhaul and ongoing maintenance. Another proposal, by the Pier 40 Partnership, a local parents group, says the pier can be saved through a nonprofit conservancy that would raise $30 million privately from the community and float nonprofit, tax-exempt bonds.

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