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Transcript of MARCH 13, 2014, DOWNTOWN EXPRESS

  • vOLUME 26, NUMbER 20 MARcH 13-MARcH 26 2014

    HEAt biLLS At gAtEWAYP. 3



    The Perfect Fit

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    Father Fabian Grifone may have cele-brated his final Ash Wednesday mass last week as pastor of Little Italys Church of the Most Precious Blood.

    Im supposed to be retired, but not as yet, he said in response to the constant murmurings of his imminent retirement which has Parish members in a state of anxiety.

    Hes 88 and pastors have a mandatory retirement age of 75. Technically he is already retired, but he still performs all of his pastoral duties profi ciently and happily. Ive been here for 21 years and four months, he emphasized.

    The church at 109 Mulberry St. briefl y had a pastor who was going to replace him last year, but that did not last.

    A few years back, Father Fabian had a severe

    health issue that put him out of commission for a while. Im recovered, he said. Ive 98% of my strength back. I feel like Im 55 or 60 years old. I think I can shoulder my pastoral obligations.

    On his tenure, he simply answers, Im

    Fearing priests forced retirement

    Continued on page 23

    Downtown Express photo by Scot Surbeck

    hINTs oF sPrING The sunset and warmer weather at Battery Park Citys North Cove last week and this week gave Downtowners some hopes for spring, although predictions are for a few more cold days before the season begins March 20. The recent mix of snow, rain and warm weather led to The Rink closing for the season a few days early this week.


    now that the previously stalled 50 West St. luxury condo project is back from the dead, Downtown residents can also look forward to the developments planned

    public space, which will further help link the Financial District to Battery Park City.

    However, that lag time on the condos has also put a three-year hold on the nearly $5 million the developer had agreed to pay towards Downtown affordable housing in an almost-forgotten deal struck with the city in 2007. After it was originally planned to be paid out in 2013, the developer will now have until mid-2016 which is when 50 West St. is now expected to be complete to shell out that cash.

    Time Equities, which is developing the site, fi nally broke ground last October after the proj-ect originally planned as a 65-story hotel/residential tower was sidetracked for years following the nations fi nancial crisis in 2008. Now 50 West St. is being built as a 63-story tower, minus the hotel, which in addition to the condos will also include ground-fl oor retail, a bar/restaurant and one fl oor of offi ce space, according to the developer.

    Speaking at the March 5 meeting of Community Board 1s Financial District Committee, Time Equities C.E.O. Francis Greenburger said he has also since cut down the number of condos planned for the tower from around 300 to around 200 in order to increase the size of the units, which will range from one to four bedrooms.

    He also noted that his plans for a privately owned public space sometimes referred to as POPS outside 50 West St. have remained the same as when the project was originally

    wIth condo ProJect BacK on tracK, so Is aFFordaBLe hoUsInG MoneY... eVentUaLLY

    Continued on page 14

  • 2 March 13 - March 26, 2014

    Terror TrIaLJan Lee, one of the Chinatown commu-

    nity leaders who has fought against many of Lower Manhattans post 9/11 street closures, tells us the Downtown federal trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Ladens son-in-law, doesnt seem to have worsened the traffi c problems, but it does appear to have prompted the installation of an unsightly new security booth that is so far not been operational.

    The biggest problem with the booth, Lee said, is it gets in the way at the Worth St. public plaza outside the Moynihan Courthouse. He fears that the plaza may close again as it did for several years in the 00s, which would close a shortcut to the subways and mar Maya Lins sculptures, which have auditory sounds designed to be experienced up close.

    Adding insult to injury, Lee said, the booth is the cheapest-looking, Home Depot piece of [crap].

    cuoMo dIGWith all the heated and somewhat

    antagonistic dialogue currently taking place between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, the governor was still light-hearted enough to drop a couple of zingers when he came Downtown to dedicate a new memorial at the Museum of Jewish Heritage last week (page 13 ). During the dedication, Cuomo praised Peter Kalikow, the museum trustee who funded the new addition, but then switched gears for a moment to get a pretty good laugh from the crowd at the museum trustees expense.

    (Kalikow, is a big supporter of the gov-ernor, even though he typically supports Republicans, including George Pataki, who ended the political career of Gov. Mario Cuomo, Andrews father.)

    Back to our story. Apparently, the Italian government honored Kalikow in 2008 by naming him a Commendatore of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and Cuomo shared his suspicions as to why the wealthy Kalikow was given the prestigious award.

    I have a feeling Peter was named Commendatore because hes done so much for the Italian economy by buying all his Ferraris, said Cuomo, enjoying the quick dig. Well, its a good thing Occupy Wall Street isnt still camped Downtown...they wouldve had a fi eld day with that one.

    The ToLL beLL rINGs aGaINGrildlock Sam Schwartz, a.k.a. Transit

    Sam, author of a Downtown Express col-umn, and traffi c analyst Charles Komanoff,

    and others are ready to revive their hopes to drive home their plan to pump more money into the subway and highway system and reduce traffi c in Manhattan by tolling some bridges, Komanoff tells us.

    Schwartz and Bill Keller, the former New York Times executive editor, generated lots of buzz with a Sunday Times column back in 2012, but the plan never got moving with the powers that be.

    Move New York, a new group forming to push the plan, is hosting a conference March 21 to announced the renewed effort. Komanoff, who has been working on many of the proposals revisions, said there have not been fundamental changes, but declined to offer specifi cs before the event.

    Schwartzs idea is to spread the benefi ts and pain to thwart the opposition that killed former Mayor Mike Bloombergs traffi c pricing plan. So in addition to increasing tolls into Manhattan under the Schwartz plan, many tolls between other boroughs would drop. Money would go to help road-ways as well as subways and buses.

    Komanoff, a Tribeca resident, said with all of the traffi c problems in Lower Manhattan, the benefi ts Downtown are enormous.

    The strategy this time appears to be to generate widespread support so it will be hard for car lovers such as, oh say Gov. Andrew Cuomo to say no.

    After we spoke to our old friend Charlie, it crossed our minds that Cuomo might see added political value in reducing traffi c, giv-ing the problems his cross-river counterpart is having in New Jersey

    W.T.c. For saLe...Speaking of Gov. Chris Christie, in

    case you missed it, the New York Times reported this week that the 20 New Jersey mayors whom Christie was most interested in securing endorsements from the list apparently numbered 100 all got World Trade Center remnants for their towns 9/11 memorials.

    The artifacts are under the control of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that implemented the infamous traffi c problems ordered by Christie aides.

    We might have thought almost 13 years later, the political abuse of 9/11 had mostly subsided. Even in the earlier days, or per-haps because it was the earlier days there was some restraint.

    When President George W. Bush picked New York for the 2004 Republican conven-tion, it was widely assumed and reported that he would make a dramatic return visit to the W.T.C. during the convention, but he didntt do it. Donald Trump backed a plan to rebuild the Twin Towers in an apparent effort to boost ratings for the fi nale of the 2005 season of The Apprentice, but for whatever the reason, Trump did not include it in the episode.

    Maybe the passage of time makes exploit-ing 9/11 easier. After all, Christies aides if not the governor himself, apparently did not hesitate to tie up the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 11.

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  • 3March 13 - March 26, 2014

    BY SAM SPOKONYGateway Plaza tenants are outraged over

    their incredibly high electric bills this winter some of which surpassed $1,000 and are still calling on their landlord to complete long-overdue repairs that would make their build-ings more energy effi cient.

    Were in electric shock, as Gateway is in an electric bill crisis, said Glenn Plaskin, pres-ident of the tenant association for the six-build-ing, 1,700-unit complex in Battery Park City. Management attributes skyrocketing costs to rising Con Edison rates and sub-zero tempera-tures, and while those things are both true, the underl