Downtown Express

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June 02, 2016

Transcript of Downtown Express

  • JUNE 2 JUNE 15, 2016VOLUME 29, NUMBER 11


    BY COLIN MIXSONThe fallout from a botched phone campaign to

    boost support for a controversial Downtown zon-ing change has claimed its fi rst casualty.

    Political Connection, the phone-bank sub-contractor, has taken responsibility for calling a member of Community Board 1 with a fake Caller ID purporting to come from Councilmember Margaret Chins offi ce to solicit support for a divisive plan to allow retail development of pub-lic arcades along Water St. a measure Chin doesnt even endorse.

    The phone-banking fi rm is taking the fall for Global Strategy Group, a high-powered PR fi rm that was running the promotion campaign on behalf of the Downtown Alliance, the lead-ing booster of the Water St. proposal, which has faced unexpected pushback from the Council and some local residents.

    To be clear, Global Strategy Group and the Alliance for Downtown New York had no knowledge of this issue nor did they instruct us to do so, read a statement from Political Connection, which was sent through Global Strategy Groups communications offi ce. Political Connection takes full responsibility for this terrible mistake.

    Downtown Express broke the story last week that Paul Hovitz, a long-serving member of CB1, had received a call that showed Chins name in the Caller ID and the number of her district offi ce, and the caller asked him if he wanted to register his support for the Water St. text amend-

    PHONES Continued on page 20

    Game of phones

    BY BILL EGBERTThe residential boom transform-

    ing Downtown is still going strong, and has already attracted eagerly anticipated retail and dining options to once-barren neighborhoods. But the thousands of new units coming to the area are also bringing something much less desir-able in their wake several tons more household gar-bage every day.

    Based on the upcom-ing develop-ments already announced, the amount of household trash coming to Downtown is set to surge more in just the next three years than it has over the past fi ve.

    A n d neighbors say the t o w e r s of trash bags pil-ing up on the side-walks are already seriously affecting their quality of life.

    There is so much more garbage now, said Sarah Elbatanouny, who has lived in Fidi for the past 12 years. I feel sorry for parents with

    strollers. Sometimes the only way for them to get past is to walk in the street.

    Lower Manhattan has one of the fastest growing residen-tial populations in the city, and def-initely has the fastest growing bur-den of household garbage. Between 2010 and 2015, the amount of

    residential trash picked up each day across the entire borough of Manhattan rose by 28.6 tons, according to city fi gures, and near-ly half of that increase 13.6 tons

    was all within Community District 1.

    That dramatic spike in Downtown detritus came

    from the estimated 4,623 new residen-tial units added to the area since 2010.

    As the residen-tial boom gath-ered pace, so did complaints to 311 about the house-hold garbage and recycling piling up on the side-walk for collec-tion.

    The city c o m p l a i n t h o t l i n e received 10 calls from CB1 resi-dents in 2011, but that num-

    ber more than doubled

    by 2014 to 23 garbage-related

    complaints, accord-ing to the city. More recently, com-plaints have dropped signifi cantly from 22 calls in 2015 down to

    WASTELANDNew residential developments to dump 19 tons more garbage on Downtown every day by 2019

    WASTELAND Continued on page 6

    A curious call promoting the Water St. arcade infi ll plan that showed Councilmember Margaret Chins Caller ID has left the Downtown Alliance and contractor Global Strategy Group struggling to explain themselves.

    6,5376,537 new units by 2019

    12,68212,682 new residents

    38,045 lbs38,045 lbs more trash daily

    38 TONS38 TONS more garbage on the sidewalks every

    collection day

  • 2 June 2 - June 15, 2016


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  • June 2 - June 15, 2016

    BY COLIN MIXSONThe South Street Seaport Museum

    could get sunk fi nancially by the new Citywide Ferry Service, and locals want the city to bail it out.

    Downtown community leaders are demanding the city fi nd a way to make up for the revenue that the South Street Seaport Museum will lose if New York Water Taxi makes good on its threat to quit the city in response to the compe-tition it will face from the upcoming Citywide Ferry Service. The water taxi operating from Pier 16 at the Seaport currently pays a substantial rent to the museum, but vowed it would leave when the city awarded the contract for the new citywide service to rival Hornblower Cruises and Events, and a representative for Community Board 1 said the city should develop a strategy to make the beloved Seaport institution whole if that happens.

    If New York Water Taxi shuts down operations at Pier 16, we urge the city to create a plan for the museum to recoup,

    dollar-for-dollar, the lost revenue, said Diana Switaj, Director of Planning and Land Use at CB1, at a public hearing on May 19 for an environmental impact statement assessing the new ferry ser-vice.

    The South Street Seaport Museum currently receives $600,000 in annu-al revenue paid by NY Water Taxi to use Pier 16, which the museum owns. Making the potential loss of NY Water Taxi even worse, the museum was in talks to renew the lease for a more generous $1 million yearly rent over a 10-year period, when the ferry service announced its intentions to bail on the city and the deal according to Borough President Gale Brewers offi ce.

    NY Water Taxi claims it cant com-pete with Hornblower and the heavy subsidies it will receive from the city to allow the ferry operator to provide trips to numerous destinations throughout the city at $2.75 a ride.

    The Economic Development Corporation, a semi-private organi-

    zation responsible for the new ferry services rollout, countered NY Water Taxis assertion that it cant compete with Hornblower, saying the two transit providers offer trips to different desti-nations, and that theres no reason both cant exist in tandem.

    We are surprised that New York Water Taxi is threatening to cease oper-ations, as Citywide Ferry will not direct-ly compete with their routes, said EDC

    spokesman Anthony Hogrebe.Regardless, NY Water Taxi has yet

    to show any intention of backing off on the vow to pack up and leave, so locals are planning for the worst.

    CB1 decided to amend its testi-mony regarding the new ferry service which had hitherto focused on issues concerning pollution and qual-

    Seaport support

    Photo by Milo Hess

    The cash-strapped South Street Seaport Museum stands to lose up to $1 million in annual revenue if the Mayors plan for a subsidized citywide ferry service drives NY Water Taxi from its berth at Pier 16, warns Borough President Gale Brewer.

    Locals demand city make up for museums loss of revenue if Water Taxi leaves dock

    MUSEUM Continued on page 31



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  • 4 June 2 - June 15, 2016

    Figment of imaginationThree-day arts fest brings Burning Man ethos to Governors Island

    BY YANNIC RACKPicture the fabled, fantastical phe-

    nomenon of Burning Man minus the dust, drugs and desert heat just a ferry ride from Lower Manhattan.

    Figment NYC, the free, fam-ily-friendly participatory arts festival held on Governors Island each year, is returning for its tenth anniversary this weekend, and its founder says the three-day event is all about bringing the famed festivals free-spirited approach to the arts from the Black Rock Desert to the Big Apple.

    We basically want to bring what Burning Man is about to New York City, said David Koren, the festivals executive producer and a devoted fan of the annual desert gathering, who came up with the idea for Figment with a few his fellow burners in 2005. Its about the idea that everyone is part of it, that art is not about going and looking at stuff its about going and creating stuff, he said.

    The festival will transform Governors Islands sprawling lawns and colonial mansions into an inter-active playground for kids and adults alike, since the emphasis of the event is on directly engaging with the art on display.

    Whether its installations, perfor-mance art, dance, theater, social experi-ments, video projections or music, visi-tors are encouraged to touch it, smell it, paint it, talk to it, dance with it and play with it, as the organizers put it.

    Our primary criteria is that it has to be something you can engage with, Koren said of how organizers select the projects that participate. Were all creating it together and, in the end, it becomes one big art project.

    But he