DOWNTOWN EXPRESS, JULY 16, 2015

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DOWNTOWN EXPRESS, JULY 16, 2015

Transcript of DOWNTOWN EXPRESS, JULY 16, 2015

  • VOLUME 28, NUMBER 3 JULY 16-JULY 29, 2015

    SKENAZYS DEATH FIGHTWITH ALBANY P. 19

    DOWNTOWN WINS P.7

    1 METROTECH NYC 11201 COPYRIGHT 2015 NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC

    BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC

    Sept. 11. Constant construction. The financial crisis of 2008. Rising rents. The small busi-nesses on Nassau St. between

    John and Beekman Sts. have sur-vived many setbacks but the greatest challenge yet may be the neighborhoods transition from business to residential.

    People shop where they work, not where they live, said Rafael Pinkhasov, owner of Omega Jewelers at 132 Nassau St.

    As the neighborhood becomes more residential, it is not good for business, he said in an interview at his store last week.

    The shop was located at the Smith Haven Mall in Long Island, but Pinkhasov decided to give the city another shot and opened on Nassau near Beekman St. in 2009.

    Since then, business has been on a down slope, he said.

    Foot traffic on the street has been deterred, first by the tearing up of the road and now by con-

    struction at 5 Beekman St. right across from Pinkhasovs store.

    Work began on what will be a hotel and condos a few years ago and it is reportedly slated to finish this year. GFI Development, the developer, declined to comment.

    To bring in equipment and supplies, workers routinely stop pedestrians and once they are released, people often impatiently walk past the stores.

    Keith Lee opened The Silk Shop

    More people, means less business for Nassau Street shops

    Downtown Express photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

    Nassau St., once a bargain haven, has seven closed storefronts.

    Continued on page 12

    BIDEN PARTIESW/GAYS ONWALL ST. P.10

    FAMILY FUNSUMMER TIPS P. 20

    LOCAL GIRLSCHEER ONSOCCERS

    WORLD CHAMPSBY MIA RUPANI

    The U.S. womens national soc-cer team did more than just win the FIFA Womens World Cup this month. They also

    became heroes to many young girls throughout the city, who waited eagerly to watch them in the parade along the famed Canyon of Heroes at 11 a.m. on Friday.

    Members of the Downtown Little League girls softball team which won the state championship last year arrived over an hour early to the parade, which honored the 23-member soccer team. It was

    Continued on page 6

  • 2 July 16-July 29, 2015 July 16-July 29, 2015 3DowntownExpress.comDowntownExpress.com

    GIGI LI & B.P.C. For a moment when we saw

    Gigi Li, chairperson of Community Board 3, last week we were con-fused. Were we at the wrong meeting? No, we quickly recov-ered, we werent it was indeed Community Board 1s Battery Park City Committee meeting.

    Its hard to imagine Lis appear-ance was coincidental to her chal-lenging Jenifer Rajkumar for Democratic district leader Li is not as well known in B.P.C., which is a big part of Part C in the 65th Assembly District, where they are running.

    As UnderCover reported last month, Lis residency outside of Part C will be a campaign issue.

    Presumably shell be able to get more votes in the Lower East Side section of the part. (If district leaders com-manded armies instead of rallying the political troops as volunteers, Part C would be hard to defend since the part itself is separated in.well yes parts.)

    Rajkumar, a Battery Parker, has handily won the position twice, beat-ing out neighbors Linda Belfer and Robin Forst, who as vice president for external relations for the Battery Park City Authority was at the meet-ing. Forst was doing her part last week, introducing Li around.

    Committee chairperson Anthony Notaro was also friendly with Li during the meeting, which had no references to the campaign.

    Li came prepared, giving helpful information about helicopters the amount of takeoffs and landings for tourists spins has been a persistent problem Downtown and offering advice about street activity permits, an issue C.B. 3 has written guide-lines for.

    How much this will help Li remains to be seen it wasnt a well-attended meeting but well see come September.

    NADLER ON IRANThe initial reaction to the Iran

    nuclear agreement from our man in Washington, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, is neutral. After the pro-posed agreement was announced Tuesday, he put out a statement say-ing he was studying the details, but he did not express the opposition or skepticism expressed by many Republicans and a few Democratic members of Congress.

    I look forward to evaluating the agreement in comparison to the other available alternatives for preventing a nuclear Iran, Nadlers statement read in part. This agree-ment has no influence on the other

    serious issues that remain with the Iranian regime and its behavior.

    He reiterated his support for Israel, which opposes the agree-ment, and for sanctions related to Irans support for terrorism

    This could be one of the few issues where the vote of Nadler and other Democratic House members may matter since in order to block the agreement, Congress will have to vote it down and then get a 2/3 majority to override a promised veto by President Obama. Nadler may have the largest Jewish constituency in the New York delegation, so he presumably could be a vote House Speaker John Boehner is hoping for.

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    BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVICA request for a one-day event at Finn

    Square, the lush green triangle on W. Broadway between Leonard and Franklin Sts., brought up resentments over other plazas proposed and actual in Tribeca.

    Lynn Ellsworth, chairperson of Tribeca Trust, a preservation advocacy group, went before Community Board 1s Tribeca Committee on Wed., July 8 to talk about the September event, which was also held last year, and to broach the larger subject of expanding public space in the neighborhood.

    Ellsworth said there are 5,600 ele-mentary school kids in the neighbor-hood not counting preschool age children. Finn Square, currently part of the Department of Transportations Greenstreets program, was a good place to start the discussion, said Ellsworth.

    But some of the committee had other things in mind due to the closing of W. Broadway between Franklin and Leonard Sts. for the event.

    We really do not want that street closed permanently, said Marc Ameruso, committee member.

    Finn Square is situated between W. Broadway and Varick. To its north are the Franklin St. subway station for the 1 train and a CitiBike station.

    Ameruso asked the D.O.T. represen-tative, Shari Glickman, if Finn Square would become a permanent public plaza.

    Glickman, who is the project manager for the D.O.T.s public space unit, said, This is a first step to the goal which is [the Trust] applying to the Plaza Program

    and potentially having a long-term tem-porary plaza.

    Ameruso took issue with the word temporary and used Bogardus, the now permanent plaza on Hudson St. between Chambers and Reade Sts., as an example.

    The history of temporary plazas with this community board and D.O.T. is not very good, said Ameruso. You guys swore [Bogardus] was going to be tem-porary, and of course we found out later that really wasnt true.

    To make Finn Square a plaza, several possibilities are being considered to make the space larger to accommodate chairs and tables around the garden. Closing W. Broadway for that block is one idea, but there also could be an extension of the

    square to the north. Right now, there is a one-lane street between the two areas that connects Varick and W. Broadway.

    Alessandra Galletti, senior associate with the Project for Public Spaces, pre-sented with the Trust at the meeting and said later in a phone interview, We might not need to close anything.

    She said Con Ed, which has a substa-tion on Leonard St., needs access and is not in favor of closing that stretch of W. Broadway.

    Glickman said at the meeting that the plaza could be enlarged by a sidewalk extension or building out the triangle slightly. She stressed that a plaza would need community board support.

    The idea is just to test this out with

    the neighborhood, get a sense of what it would be like should D.O.T. and Tribeca Trust actually propose a plaza, which at that point would never go forward without community board approval, she said.

    Committee member Bruce Ehrmann disagreed with the characterization that the community board has issues with Bogardus.

    C.B. 1 has passed resolutions in sup-port of Bogardus, including two in favor of its design at its last October monthly meeting.

    While Ehrmann supported many pla-zas in the neighborhood, he said that in this case he would not be in favor of permanently closing off a street.

    He brought up another plaza, the Barnett Newman Triangle, at 6th Ave. in front of a controversial development at 100 Franklin St. The Board of Standard and Appeals approved a variance for DDG, the developer. Neighbors are opposed to the development and C.B. 1 passed a resolution against the B.S.A. granting the variance.

    He asked Ellsworth, Why would you object to one well-funded plaza with a lane cut off and not to another?

    Ellsworth cited the opposition to the development and said the Trust had contributed to a legal defense fund for the neighbors. To do a permanent plaza, she explained, $500,000 to $1,000,000 is needed for the D.O.T. to look benev-olently on your case.

    Thats a way a developer can more or less buy public space, get their way, she said.

    To expand or not is the question at a Tribeca plaza

    Downtown Express photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

    Finn Square at Franklin St. and W. Broadway c