May 15, 2013 DOWNTOWN EXPRESS

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May 15, 2013 DOWNTOWN EXPRESS

Transcript of May 15, 2013 DOWNTOWN EXPRESS

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

    VOLUME 25, NUMBER 25 MAY 15-MAY 27, 2013

    B Y KAITLYN MEADEAND JOSH ROGERS

    the Taste of Tribeca chefs, like many of us, miss Grandmas cooking.

    As a taste of Taste, we asked many of the chefs to talk about the dishes theyll be serv-ing this weekend, and for some of their cooking tips (read more chefs answers at downtownex-press.com). So keep an eye out for their tables, and toast to clear skies and fewer burned fi ngers.

    taste oF triBecacheFs dish on

    Food & cooKing

    anger Builds as schoolwaitlists

    linger

    Continued on page 21

    A New Yorker for all New Yorkers

    JOHN CATSIMATIDIS JOHN CATSIMATIDIS JOHN CATSIMATIDIS FOR MAYORFOR MAYORFOR MAYOR

    cats2013.com

    CATS For

    MAYOR

    B Y KAITLYN MEADE

    a fl ood poured into the park on Pier 25 Saturday as the gates to the playground opened for the fi rst time since Superstorm Sandys surge destroyed it. The Tribeca

    pier welcomed families back to the newly refur-bished playground, May 11 at an 11 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony presided over by the Hudson River Park Trust and local offi cials.

    Whats really been great as I continued to watch the progress of [the playground] being built, every time I came down here, there were little noses pressed against the fence and mothers with their carriages, yearning, said Madelyn Wils, president of the Hudson River Park Trust. It really is not only the front door of the park but one of the few parks in the neighborhood.

    Several individuals and organizations threw parties and held events to raise money for the pier. One of the families that donated was the Basile family, and daughters Ava and Olivia took pictures beside their names on the plaque announcing the parks reopening.

    I miss the spiderweb, said eight-year-old

    Pier 25 playground rises back up

    Downtown Express photo by Milo Hess

    Climbers were back May 11 for the reopening of the Pier 25 playground.

    Continued on page 16

    B Y JOSH ROGERS

    these are our lives these are our lives, Jessica Whitney Gould told Dept. of Education offi cials Friday. She was hop-

    ing theyd get the sense of urgency she and Downtown parents are feeling waiting to fi nd out where their 5-year-old children are going to go to school.

    Our son lives in the dining alcove, she said. Why? Because were in a great neighborhood in a great school zone. Our lease is up.

    Continued on page 6

    wtc sPire comPleteP. 12

  • 2 May 15 - May 27, 2013

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    seating with no fees or bottle requirements.

    Lee on the RacesChinatown leader Jan Lee has had his

    share of political fights with Margaret Chin over the years so we were sur-prised last week when he told us he hasnt ruled out supporting her reelec-tion bid to the City Council.

    Margaret and I are certainly cordial, he told us, saying their disagreements have always been about issues. Lee, a founder of the Civic Center Residents Coalition, fought against the creation of the Chinatown Business Improvement District, which Chin strongly supported.

    We need to talk in a very candid way about the next four years on how she would improve, Lee added.

    His biggest concern is neighbor-

    hood traffic problems caused by several things including the security closure of Park Row. He said he has been dealing with family issues, but he hopes to be able to speak sometime soon with Chin and her Democratic primary opponent, Jenifer Rajkumar.

    He has flirted in the past with run-ning himself, but said he definitely will not be on the ballot this year.

    In other races, Lee is backing Comptroller John Liu for mayor and Julie Menin for borough president. He praised Lius work exposing the CityTime scandal, and Menins effort helping to get the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial moved out of Lower Manhattan.

    We really connected on that issue, he said of Menin. I find her to be a good problem solver and not just a com-plainer.

    chin notesSpeaking of Counci lmember

    Margaret Chin, we had been thinking she scheduled her announcement stra-tegically around the time of Downtown Independent Democrats fundraiser in Battery Park City to lessen the chance of naysayers attending, but even Chin critic and D.I.D. veteran Sean Sweeney, who often ascribes ulterior motives to opponents, said there was nothing to the theory.

    Sweeney said Chin showed up to the fundraiser right after the announcement and she gave more [of a donation] than

    the average politician gave.He did take a dig at Chin, pointing

    out she did not win the Coalition for a District Alternative endorsement that she won four years ago. CoDA voted not to endorse, but its most powerful mem-ber, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, is backing Chin.

    Chins campaign spokesperson, Austin Finan, laughed at the notion that Chin is weaker without CoDA. Whatever makes them sleep at night, he told us.

    He said in addition to support from Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and Cong. Nydia Velazquez, Chin will be getting nods from most if not all of the local elected officials.

    Were stretching it out so to speak, Finan said.

    city MoveA last quick one on Margaret Chin.

    Amy Varghese has just joined her staff as the new communications director. She replaces Kelly Magee, who is now working in the press office at the Dept. of Buildings.

    RockweLL, iMagination & ReaLity We were recalling the hoopla that

    began five years ago when renowned local architect David Rockwell started talking about designing at no cost a new Downtown playground with professional playmates (Rated G of course), a k a play associates, to help

    children interact with innovative, mov-able equipment.

    We paid a visit the other day with a 3-year-old source close to UnderCover to see how the promise of Imagination Playground was holding up three years after opening.

    The playmate at the Seaport park did not seem to do any sort of play facilita-tion, which seemed fine since perhaps its better for kids to, well, use their own imagination.

    Rockwells large and light building blocks are more than a nice touch, although creativity apparently extends only so far since we were told to bring one of them back to the approved block play area.

    Overall, the design puts the play-ground above most in the city, but what really sets it apart is the well-maintained bathroom and the extremely clean sand-box no small measure considering pediatricians and public health experts will tell you that germ-wise, sandboxes are the most hazardous part of a play-ground.

    Bike MonitoRsWe noticed city Dept. of Transportation

    workers Tuesday holding up stop signs on the Ninth Ave. bike lane when the bike lights turned red. D.O.T.s Scott Gastel said the rush hour program started last month and is part of the citys effort to make sure things are safer when the new bike share program rolls out Memorial Day.

  • 3May 15 - May 27, 2013

    B Y JEFFERSON SIEGELUnder a dazzling spring sun, City

    Councilmember Margaret Chin formally announced her campaign for a second term on Sun., May 5.

    Dozens, including local activists and powerhouse political allies like Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, fi lled the steps of Independence Plaza North in Tribeca to show their support for the districts fi rst Asian-American councilmember,

    Councilmember Chin has been one of our communitys staunchest advocates, mak-ing sure that as we continue to rebuild, Lower Manhattan receives its fair share, said Speaker Silver, offering Chin his strong endorsement.

    Rep. Velazquez also praised Chins com-mitment, saying the district needs someone to stand up for small businesses, working families, affordable housing and access to better education and child care.

    Chin, who seemed to know every sup-porter personally, took pride in recount-ing the accomplishments of the last four years, including gaining protected affordable housing at 505 LaGuardia Place, inclusion of permanent afford-able housing at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Site, and securing space to build two new schools as part of the

    New York University and Seward Park development plans.

    No detail seemed too small, with the crowd ecstatic at the mention of a new traf-fi c light at Duane and Greenwich Sts. a long-fought battle that began before Chin was elected in 2009.

    With her husband, a public school teacher, standing among supporters, Chin recounted her arrival in the U.S. 50 years ago, recalling how she took care of her younger brothers while her mother worked in a Chinatown garment factory.

    Also in the crowd were the parents of U.S. Army Private Danny Chen, who died after hazing by fellow soldiers. Chin said the groundswell of Downtown anger over his death resulted in the discharge of four of the eight soldiers charged in connection with his death.

    After the speeches, Chin made sure she greeted and thanked everyone in attendance. Community Board 1s Ro Sheffe told Downtown Express that Chin has been, one of the strongest pillars in our community.

    Bob Townley, founder and director of Manhattan Youth, said Chin helped families navigate the Department of Education system.

    Those issues are at the heart of working parents, Townley sai