Downtown Express September 24, 2015

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Transcript of Downtown Express September 24, 2015




    Mysterious Bookshops almost floor-to-ceiling crammed bookshelves complete with a rolling ladder

    would do any library in an Agatha Christie proud.

    And like Christies mysteries fea-turing bucolic English estates, the Mysterious Bookshop has lasted.

    For 36 years, the bookstore has withstood Amazon, e-books and com-petitors to be the last of its kind in Manhattan to exclusively sell mysteries.

    On a recent sunny Saturday, a steady trickle of customers came into the spa-cious shop at 58 Warren St. in Tribeca.

    Books crowded tables while a couch and green chair waited patiently in the center of the store to be used.

    I like that it is an old-fashioned bookstore theyre not selling candy, theyre not selling T-shirts. Its kind of rare these days, said Bill Hoffmann, a Greenwich Village resident who used to go to Partners & Crime, the mystery bookstore in his neighborhood that closed three years ago.

    If this store folds, he said, the city is finished.

    Otto Penzler, 73, is the owner and force behind the institution.

    Growing up in the South Bronx, Penzler didnt read many mysteries, but

    the one he did made an impression.I was in the fourth grade, I remem-

    ber it vividly, he said last month during an interview in his 2,400-square-foot store.

    Seated in the shops comfortable brown leather couch across from the childrens nook, Penzler explained how his school had library class, and the first part was devoted to how to properly care for and handle books.

    In the second half, he said, students were allowed to take any book they wanted off the shelf. He serendipitously took out an anthology that included Sherlock Holmes The Red-Headed League. (The back wall

    Tribeca whodunit: Battle Amazon & keep a mystery bookstore open

    Downtown Express photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic

    Otto Penzler, owner of Manhattans last mystery bookstore, has managed to hang on. He said Amazon is rapacious and evil, but they do in fact do a great job.

    Continued on page 6




    You cant say theres a flood of 9/11 money again, but the faucet is back on.

    The evidence was clear last week as a few hundred people some well-connected, others far from the public eye waited to make their pitch to the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. for a slice of a new $50 million fund.

    Madelyn Wils, a former L.M.D.C. board member who now heads the Hudson River Park Trust, stood in line at the Fiterman Hall elevators with large diagrams of her hopes to open up the rest of Tribecas Pier 26. The Economic Development Corp., the agency in charge of city-owned land, is usually in the power position, but on Sept. 17, the corporation sent a rep-resentative hat in hand to ask for $17 million to make more improvements to the East River waterfront, including a playground on Pier 42.

    Fifty million is a far cry from the nearly $2.8 billion federal grant the L.M.D.C. received from Congress after 9/11 to help Downtown rebuild. It is not at all clear that the $50 million is the corporations last to be allocated.

    As far back as 2006, it appeared that all of the money had been set aside for

    Continued on page 10

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  • September 24-October 7, 2015

    WHOLE FOODS & TJSThis town aint big enough for

    the two of us. Well, that may not be true for Whole Foods and Trader Joes, which have both expanded in the big city, but could they do so in the same retail space?

    It sounds unlikely, but Luis Vazquez 18 years selling real estate, eight years living in the Financial District and four years running the FiDi Fan Page on Facebook thinks so. For now, just Whole Foods seems like a surer bet.

    The retail space in question is what once was 1 Chase Manhattan and is now 28 Liberty St. Fosun, the Chinese company that bought it, is looking to revamp the space beneath the land-marked tower and plaza. Vazquez says that ultimately 300,000 sq. ft. of retail space will be up for grabs.

    They are going to need a retailer to drive people to that site, he told us by phone.

    Vazquez said Whole Foods is not confirmed, confirmed but he hears from sources they are close to inking a deal. But so is, apparently, Trader Joes.

    I think there is room for both easily, he said.

    THANKS, MR. POPIKWe here at UnderCover are hon-

    ored that Barry Popik, the man the Wall Street Journal called the restless genius of American etymology, has just credited Downtown Express with coining the phrase Vesey Squeezey to describe the pedestrian crush of World Trade Center area commuters and residents on Vesey St.

    Popik, on his New York City blog noted last week that our 2014 article coined the phrase, which was later used by the Journal and USA Today.

    As weve said before, were sure our lexicon fame was helped immense-ly by Catherine McVay Hughes, Community Board 1s chairper-son who immediately embraced our phrase and used it in her push to open up more space on the street.

    REVIVAL OF AMERICASRaise your hand if you call

    Sixth Ave. by its legal, lawful name Avenue of the Americas. Right, no hands exactly what we thought.

    Many New Yorkers have always called it Sixth Ave. despite the best efforts of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and the City Council, who in 1945 officially named it Avenue of the Americas. It was supposedly to honor pan-American ideals and principles or at least thats what Wikipedia says. In the 1980s, even the Dept. of Transportation capitu-lated and put back Sixth Ave. signs, but letting the Americas name languish for tourists, we suppose.

    Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and the official and unofficial name of the avenue became important for Tribeca developer DDG. Despite community opposition, DDG will build high-end condos on the irreg-ularly shaped lots at 100 Franklin St. The two buildings one six, the other eight stories tall whose entrances will be on Sixth Ave. need addresses and so a trip to the Manhattan borough presidents office of topographical services took place.

    There, the developer learned that basically, theres been this histor-ical oversight where this little one block stretch of Sixth Ave. was never actually renamed into Avenue of the Americas, Zulekha Inayat, development manager for DDG, told Community Board 1s Tribeca Committee on Sept. 9, seemingly unaware of the decades of rejection the street name has suffered.

    Hector Rivera, of the topographi-cal bureau, explained to UnderCover by phone that the Avenues omission in Tribeca happened because the city used a map from April 17, 1929, which had the street going to White St. In reality, the city should have used an amended map from Sept. 26, 1929