Volume 80, Number 45 | April 7 - 13, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
New board members:
Once again, Borough President Scott Stringer has made his appointments to the local community boards by the April deadline. The individuals represent quite a cross-section of the community. On Community Board 2 (covering west of Bowery/Fourth Ave. between 14th and Canal Sts.) there are five new appointees to the 50-member volunteer board. Stringer has put on three members on the recommendation of Councilmember Chris Quinn, including Rich Caccappolo, a high-powered e-commerce businessman and investor and former president of Greenwich Village Little League; Susanna Aaron, a lifelong Greenwich Villager, Emmy-winning former news producer, 10-year board member of the Village Community School and board member of the Friends of Hudson River Park, who is married to Gary Ginsberg, TimeWarner’s executive vice president of communications and global marketing; and Gideon Gil, a real estate adviser who lives in the South Village. On the recommendation of Councilmember Margaret Chin, Stringer also appointed to C.B. 2 William Bray, a plumber and longtime resident of Spring St. in the Little Italy area. Stringer also appointed Alison McGonigal-Nelson, who, we’re told, owns a bakery in the district. On Community Board 3 (covering east of Bowery/Fourth Ave., and south of 14th St. down to the Brooklyn Bridge south of Canal St.) there are seven new appointees, including Gary Tai, assistant to the president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, who lives on Staten Island but works in the district; Charlotte Miles, president of the Lillian Wald Houses Tenants Association and the P.S.A. 4 (Housing police) Community Council; David Conn, a Lower East Sider who is president of VF Retail License Brands for VF Corporation, a major American apparel company whose brands include Wrangler and Lee jeans, The North Face, Vans and Nautica; Natasha Dillon, an L.G.B.T. rights activist and student living in the East Village; Karen Blatt (on Chin’s recommendation), a city planner with the Department of Transportation who lives on the Lower East Side; Carlina Rivera (on Councilmember Rosie Mendez’s recommendation), a program and administrative assistant at Lawyers Alliance for New York who lives on the L.E.S.; and Jack Waters (also a Mendez appointee), a filmmaker, writer, artist and executive director of Allied Productions and an L.E.S. resident.
Katching up with Koch:
Former Mayor Koch hasn’t given up on his efforts to reform Albany. “We had to wait until the budget got out of the way,” he told us last week. Now, he and his reform group New York Uprising will be ratcheting up their efforts again to institute independent, nonpartisan redistricting, plus ethics reform and a better budget process. “Hopefully, everybody who signed it will keep the pledge,” he said of the majority of legislators in both the Assembly and state Senate who committed to Uprising’s agenda. “If there is a problem, we’ll deal with it by taking on anyone who refused to keep the pledge,” Koch said, “by going into their districts with robo-telephone calls, telling constituents that their representative does not keep his word.” Hizzoner said his group has been focusing on redistricting, while Governor Cuomo “will probably take care of ethics reform by himself.” Regarding getting GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) put in place for the state budget, Koch said, that “will probably be the easiest of all.” As for the pared-down, on-time budget that Cuomo just got passed, Koch marveled, “It’s a miracle — and an indication of great things to come.” On another issue, Koch said he was glad the City Council last month voted 38 to 12 to support Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to rename the Queensboro / 59th St. Bridge in his honor as the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. Although there was strong opposition to the renaming from Queens, Koch noted that 10 of 14 Queens councilmembers supported it. The mayor is expected to sign the bill early this month, and the new signs will go up shortly afterward. The new placards’ estimated $1 million cost will be financed by the mayor’s fund for special projects, which includes the mayor’s private money and money from contributors. Koch told The New York Times he would strongly oppose tolls on the bridge.
New school math?
New York University and Trinity Real Estate are each independently proposing to build space for a 100,000-square-foot New York City public school as part of their development plans. But the number of students that would actually fit into this amount of space varies depending on whether you talk to N.Y.U. or Trinity. Trinity would provide the school space in the base of a residential tower it hopes to build at Duarte Square, at Canal St. and Sixth Ave., provided it can get a zoning change to allow residential use. Trinity says the space would be for 420 elementary-school students from kindergarten to fifth grade. Erin Roeder, Trinity’s vice president for development, said, “Our estimated number [of students] was based on what the School Construction Authority told us.” She added that the figure might possibly “go up or down five seats — I’m not sure.” However, the number of students in the school space N.Y.U. is proposing to build at Bleecker St. and LaGuardia Place would go up a lot more than just five students. At a media roll-out of its new superblocks plans a few weeks ago, N.Y.U. officials, at different points during the presentation, gave conflicting figures for the number of students the space could accommodate. First, one N.Y.U. official said, “600 to 800 children.” Later on, another said, “Up to 400 students.” According to Keen Berger, chairperson of Community Board 2’s Social Services and Youth Committee, N.Y.U. last month told the committee that the school could be for 800 students. So, will the students at Duarte Square have lots of extra elbowroom while those at Bleecker and LaGuardia will be crammed in next to each other? Who’s right? Alicia Hurley, N.Y.U. vice president of government and community relations, said the university is basing the number of seats on an environmental impact statement, or E.I.S., that it’s doing for its expansion plans for its two South Village superblocks. “We will study the school in the E.I.S. as pre-K through [grade] 8,” Hurley explained in an e-mail. “The city would be the ones to determine the need at the time that they are ready to build the school. Our studying pre-K through 8 gives them greatest flexibility, if they want to do either pre-K to 8 or pre-K to [grade] 5. The E.I.S. computes that 100,000 square feet can accommodate between 600 to 800 students, so that is what will be studied. Again, the E.I.S. will study the largest number possible for the square footage; and then that gives the city/school the ability to determine the numbers at the time.”
Talkin’ ’bout bikes:
Village Independent Democrats will be hosting a sure-to-be interesting panel discussion at its April 14 general membership meeting. Called “Bikes, Bikers and Bike Lanes,” the discussion will include panelists Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives; Nancy Gruskin, founder of the Gruskin Family Foundation; and Tony Juliano, president of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. Gruskin’s husband, Stuart, was struck and killed in 2009 near his Midtown Fifth Ave. office by a bicycle deliveryman pedaling the wrong way on a one-way street. The location of the meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m., is St. Mark’s Church, E. 10th St. and Second Ave., in the parish hall (after entering gate, follow path on the right to the rear.) The panel discussion starts at 7 p.m.