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Transcript of APRIL 24, 2014, DOWNTOWN EXPRESS

  • VOluMe 26, NuMber 23 APril 24-MAY 7 2014 HillArY PrAiSeS lOcAl

    Girl Pg. 5

    Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess

    Cool Film, Colder NightIntrepid Splash fans braved the cold last Friday night for the Tribeca Film Festivals Drive-In screening of the 80s classic. Much better weather mid-60s is predicted for the fests annual Family Fair Saturday (P. 21).



    Its been said many times before earlier this year, last year, fi ve years ago, ten years ago. And now its being said again.

    Tribeca is full of rats and since they dont have to worry about rising condo prices, the crit-ters are showing no signs of leaving their homes within nests burrowed in soil and sidewalks.

    Ive walked along Greenwich St., from Beach down to Chambers, many times in response to complaints, and I can see that theres clear-ly a rat problem in this neighborhood, said Caroline Bragdon, a research scientist for the citys Department of Health, during a Rodent Academy presentation at Community Board 1s April 17 Quality of Life Committee meeting.

    A rat problem as if the locals still needed anyone to tell them that.

    Yeah, it was like a rat farm, said Diane Lapson, a C.B. 1 member and president of Independence Plaza Norths tenants association, recalling a February walk along Greenwich St. that she attended alongside Bragdon and other offi cials and area residents, and which was under-taken specifi cally to gauge the problem.

    I just want to stop them from eating my fl ow-

    Continued on page 8

    BY ZAcH WilliAMS

    The fi rst cat cafe in the United States will open its doors this week in Downtown, but they wont stay that way for long.

    For four days starting on Thurs., April 24, clientele at 168 Bowery will frolic with doz-ens of affection-seeking felines a catachino-slinging barista a short walk away. While the duration of Cat Caf will be short, educational programs as well as adoption opportunities will be available for cat lovers poised for longterm commitment, according to organizers.

    Our goal for the Cat Caf is to create a rich, interactive environment that empowers cat own-ers to learn more about their cats health and nutritional needs, reads the statement released on April 21 by pet food company Purina which is sponsoring the event.

    Cat cafes are a popular cultural phenom-enon in Japan but the concept has spread in recent years throughout Asia, Europe and North

    America including Canada and California. Two Bay Area cafes are expected to open later this year.

    Despite additional popularity within social media such as Facebook and YouTube, many people Downtown have yet to hear of the con-cept of combining two popular pastimes within the local community: drinking coffee and enjoy-ing cats.

    However, the idea of getting a caffeine fi x while petting a kitty has rubbed some the right way.

    Ill be one of the patrons there, said Soho resident Gilberto Miranda who said he had never heard of cat cafes before walking by 168 Bowery with his daughter and grandson Tuesday.

    While Sarah Gonzalez, a Boston resident on vacation, expressed dismay that the Cat Caf would be short-lived on the Bowery, her girl-friend Pam Schwartz said she has been intrigued by the concept.

    I think itd be pleasant to have cats around, she said.

    The venues are especially popular in other countries, especially with individuals unable to keep cats at home but who yet pine for the opportunity to interact with them. While caress-ing fur, scratching chins and feeling the purr is attractive to many humans, some said they view the animals in a more intellectual light.

    Cats disdain for disturbances and preference for some alone time, are two ways Soho resident Eric Chan feels solidarity with them. The viral popularity of cats and kittens online might be borne out of an innate mixture of cuteness and rebellion, he added.

    They do what they want, when they want, he said. At the same time, when they want atten-tion, theyll do whatever they need to.

    Sipping coffee with cats



    Will it be a kinder, more fl exible N.Y.P.D. protecting the World Trade Center when the new security plan begins to be implemented next month?

    That message comes not from police offi -cials trying to reassure the Downtown com-munity, but from beleaguered W.T.C. area residents who have been fi ghting with police for years over what they say are excessively tight security restrictions.

    Last week, several resident leaders said that for the fi rst time in over a dozen years, they felt their voices were being considered.

    Id like to say fi rst of all thank you, Mary Perillo, told W.T.C. police offi cials at a Community Board 1 meeting April 16. I see the logjam moving, I see that youre seeing what

    Continued on page 12

    Continued on page 13

  • 2 APRIL 24 - MAY 7, 2014

    1/2pg VERT: 4.85x 11.4

    twentieth anniversary!

    WAITING HERE, NOT THERE Kindergarten waiting lists in the city are

    shorter this year even in perennially over-crowded Lower Manhattan, but Battery Park Citys P.S. 276 was not immune as 52 zoned students havent been offered a spot, Erica Weldon, the schools parent coordinator, tells us.

    It may be easier to fi nd seats close to home this year compared to last, when a whopping 148 5-year-olds were initially denied seats at three Downtown schools including P.S. 276.

    Last year the city, under the watchful eye of Assembly Speaker Shelly Silvers Downtown school task force, found seats at nearby schools for all of the students who remained on the waitlist.

    There was a second piece of big news about the Downtown waitlists: There wasnt one at Tribecas ever popular P.S. 234 (as well as at the other Downtown schools). In another place, that might read like dog bites man, but many of you readers know better than that.

    The last time the guaranteed zone kin-dergarten seat meant anything in Tribeca was fi ve years ago.

    We were able to get P.S. 234 principal Lisa Ripperger on the phone Tuesday probably because she was working on a day schools were supposed to be closed for Spring Break.

    She was matter-of-fact about the news.Ive grown very used to waitlists, she told

    us. Weve always managed to work though them. ...Its not been stressful to me.

    Ripperger said shell have room for seven kindergarten classrooms in September com-pared to fi ve last year. The space will come from the usual attrition that comes in the older elementary grades as well as from a large graduating class this June.

    TRAFFIC COPS CLOGGING UPSome Financial District residents arent

    happy about a group of new neighbors around their block. But its not an infl ux of fellow residents thats causing the trouble its a fl eet of Police Department vehicles clogging up several narrow streets by illegally parking in No Standing zones all night.

    About a month ago, the N.Y.P.D.s Traffi c Enforcement Unit moved its main offi ce to the 59 Maiden Lane tower (which also holds numerous other offi ces), and since then, doz-ens of N.Y.P.D. Traffi c vans and trucks have begun crowding the adjacent roads along Nassau and John Sts. The reasoning seems to be that, since the curbside spots being taken are No Standing zones from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m meaning that members of the public cant legally use the spots during that time theyre fair game for cops who need to leave their

    vehicles by the offi ce overnight.Or at least thats what Luis Sanchez,

    the Department of Transportations Lower Manhattan Borough Commissioner, expressed in a recent email to Community Board 1, in which he responded to C.B. 1 complaints from Nassau St. residents and essentially said that the parking infl ux is fi ne by his offi ce.

    But one of those Nassau St. residents, David Colman, doesnt think the N.Y.P.D. deserves a free pass on this one.

    Its like living in a police precinct, and I just shouldnt have to come home to this every night, Colman told us in a phone conversa-tion on April 22. Its depressing, its ugly, its dispiriting and its just not appealing. It looks like a crime scene, and its not something we should be dealing with in a neighborhood where were paying such high taxes to live here.

    And, he pointed out, the fact that these are traffi c cops who are brazenly parking illegally just adds insult to injury.

    Aside from reaching out to C.B. 1, Colman said he and several of his neighbors have also fi led complaints directly with the N.Y.P.D., but havent gotten a response.

    We reached out to the N.Y.P.D. as well, but, alas, have also been met with silence thus far. In any case, Colman and his neighbors seem to make a pretty good point shouldnt traffi c cops be following the same parking regulations they enforce, especially when fl outing those regs comes at the expense of local residents?

    HAPPY PARKINGIn better parking news, the victory resident

    Gustavo Suarez won last month with the help of Downtown Express appears secure although things appeared in doubt last week.

    Suarez had been trying for months to get someone to move the vehicles that blocked the sidewalk outside the U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green every day, but after Downtown Express placed a call to the fed-eral General Services Administration, the feds moved on the scoffl aws and the problem seemed solved.

    But last week on his regular dog walk, Suarez saw two different vehicles blocking the same sidewalk near the National Museum of the American Indian.

    It appears bad habits die hard, Suarez told us. Whomever is doing this and those at the museum that are allowing it to happen grew accustomed to breakin