Downtown Express, Nov. 7, 2013

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Downtown Express, Nov. 7, 2013

Transcript of Downtown Express, Nov. 7, 2013

  • 515 CANAL STREET NYC 10013 COPYRIGHT 2013 NYC COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC

    VoLUmE 26, nUmbER 12 noVEmbER 7-noVEmbER 19, 2013 hIp-hop anD hoopS

    P. 23

    hUDsON PaRKaiR RiGhts UP

    FOR DEBatE

    FiGhtiNG tO saVECOMMUNitY

    CENtER

    B y LInCoLn anDERSon

    Four months ago, a bill allowing the transfer of unused development rights from Hudson River Park

    one block inland of the West Side Highway was suddenly and quietly introduced at the end of the Albany legislative session. The Assembly passed the bill on June 15 by a vote of 96 to 5. Then, after a marathon all-night session, the State Senate brought the bill up for a vote on Sat., June 17, and passed it unanimously at 5:18 a.m. by a vote of 57 to 0.

    B y TERESE LoEb kREUZER

    the day that Community Board 1s Battery Park City Committee met to discuss the fate of the Stuyvesant

    High School Community Center, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was on the phone with Battery Park City Authority Chairperson Dennis Mehiel to talk about that very matter.

    The Speaker made very clear that he wants this facility, which

    B y Sam Spokony anD JoSh RoGERS

    Bill de Blasio trounced Republican Joe Lhota in the race for mayor and will be taking over City Hall in January.

    With virtually all election precincts reporting, de Blasio, who will be the fi rst Democratic mayor in 20 years, won with over

    73 percent of the vote.In his victory speech to a crowd of around

    2,000 supporters in Brooklyn, de Blasio drilled home the points he made throughout his cam-paign all of which were fundamentally based on a left-leaning, progressive approach to tack-ling the citys problem of social and economic inequality.

    Today you spoke out loudly and clearly for a new direction for our city, united by a belief that our city could leave no New Yorker behind, said de Blasio, who is currently the citys public advocate. The challenges we face have been decades in the making, and the

    Landslide victory for de Blasio

    Downtown Express photo by Sam Spokony

    Bill de Blasio greeted jubilant supporters as he took the stage to declare victory on Tuesday night.

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  • 2 November 7 - November 19, 2013

    www.DowntownExpress.com

    Sweet QuinnCity Council Speaker Chris Quinn no

    doubt had once envisioned Tuesday as the day she would vote to help make herself mayor. But whatever sadness she might have felt inside, we saw no signs of it as we bumped into her at the P.S. 33 bake sale, just after she voted in Chelsea.

    Her spirits were no doubt lifted by longtime supporters who said they were disappointed her name was not on the ballot. It was not something Quinn could readily agree to since she had endorsed Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.

    My response is, lets buy some sugar, said Quinn.

    MeSSage received?Councilmember Margaret Chin had no

    opposition on Tuesday, but she was never-theless out talking to voters in Chinatown

    and Tribeca before celebrating back in CTown.

    She made no predictions as to whether Chin the Democrat would beat Chin the Working Families Party nominee.

    W.F.P. voters sometimes say they want to send a message to candidates to stay progressive, but Chin said she doesnt see it that way since both the Dems and the

    W.F.P. are progressive, working together on issues like paid sick leave.

    dark huMor in diStrict 1After Chins unopposed victory on

    Tuesday, we also heard a somewhat disturbing anecdote from a Downtown political insider, regarding a ballot cast in the election.

    Apparently, a disgruntled voter chose to rebuke Chin by casting a write-in vote that referenced Alan Gerson, the former District 1 Councilmember whom Chin defeated in the 2009 Democratic primary.

    But it wasnt Alan Gersons name that was written on the ballot it was Sophie Gerson, Alans mother.

    The problem here is that, as many Downtown residents know, Sophie Gerson died almost a year ago, at the age of 88. She was a beloved Greenwich Village resi-dent and Democratic party activist.

    Were not sure what point this apparently shameless voter was trying to make but we do know that it wasnt a very funny joke.

    whitewaShThe first piece of Santiago Calatravas

    World Trade Center train station received mostly praise when it opened two weeks ago, but one observer was thinking ahead to how well the pristine concourse would hold up.

    Im curious who will get the cleaning contract, he told us. Its a white station.

    SMart MoneyS on MaybeYoure going to have to gamble if

    you want to know how Assemblymember

    Dick Gottfried feels about the referen-dum which would allow seven casinos to open in New York. Gottfried was greeting voters and passing out fliers on the refer-endums on Election Day, but on that one he was undecided.

    For the record, Gottfried backed four of the other ballot measures, but opposed the one that would allow min-ing companies to do test drilling in the Adirondack forest.

    Voters ended up approving the casino amendment, with about 57 percent voting in favor.

    StringerS forMer liaiSon haS a new gigMany community board members and

    tenant leaders across the Downtown area have had the pleasure of working with David Czyzyk, who spent time as a community liaison for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

    But now that Stringer is moving on up to become the citys next comptroller, Czyzyk has also found himself a sweet new job.

    We bumped into Czyzyk while stop-ping in at the West Villages LGBT Center on the night of the election, and he told us that, a few weeks ago, he was hired as Assemblymember Gottfrieds deputy chief of staff.

    Czyzyk said hell be based mainly in Gottfrieds district office in Chelsea, and we wish him all the best for the new gig.

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    Downtown Express photo by Josh Rogers

    City Council Speaker Quinn just after voting.

  • 3November 7 - November 19, 2013

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    Opposition grows against plan for John St. criminal courtB y TERESE LoEb kREUZER

    Cas Holloway, the citys deputy mayor for operations, came to Community Board 1s full board meeting on Oct. 22 to defend the citys plans to move the Summons Arraignment part of the Criminal Court now housed at 346 Broadway to 71 Thomas St. However, in explaining the rationale for that move, Holloway inadvertently opened an even bigger can of worms, as board mem-ber Joel Kopel put it.

    Almost casually, Holloway mentioned that another proposed move from 346 Broadway would place the Criminal Courts Probation Division at 66 John St.

    After he let that drop, an uproar ensued.Thats in the Financial District, Catherine

    McVay Hughes, chairperson of C.B. 1, cried out. We didnt know about that.

    By that time, Holloway had repeatedly said in defense of the 71 Thomas St. plan that, All that youre going to be left with in this neighborhood is the minor infractions court function between the hours of 9 and 5, Monday through Friday.

    It turned out that Holloways defi nition of this neighborhood was confi ned to Tribeca, as opposed to all of Community Board 1.

    The Probation Division services people who have criminal records and who have previously been incarcerated.

    Fearing that people with criminal records were about to fl ood their neighborhood, more

    than 1,100 people had signed a petition against the 71 Thomas St. move. Prior to Holloways arrival at the C.B. 1 meeting, around 100 people had stood up to speak against it. Before Holloway arrived, most of these people had left, not knowing that he was coming.

    The 346 Broadway building, scheduled to be sold, now houses divisions that deal with summons arraignments, probation case man-agement and an alternative court for dispute resolution all part of the Criminal Court.

    This is not just about taking one func-tion out of 346 Broadway and moving it to 71 Thomas St., Holloway said. The overall context of this is a massive real estate reorga-nization. Its part of a reduction in the size of the citys footprint in the Lower Manhattan area by 1.2 million square feet.

    He said the reduction requires a series of more than 140 transactions leases and sales. Its mind-boggingly complicated.

    Holloway said the sale of 346 Broadway and 49-51 Chambers St. would generate signifi cant revenues for the city. In addition, he said repeatedly that as part of this trans-action, there would be a new $20 million community facility at 346 Broadway.

    I think overall this proposal is a signifi -cant improvement in the community based on whats here now, he said. I really cant think of a good reason why you wouldnt want to help us move this along as quickly as