April 6th - April 12th, 2013
Schools Chancellor Hears Plea for More Downtown Schools
April 5 - Lower Manhattan principals faced New York City schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and delivered the latest bad news, reported the Tribeca Trib. There is another crushing demand for kindergarten seats downtown. Nearly 150 children, they said, are now on waitlists, and letters to their parents, along with offers to those accepted, are being mailed out today. Walcott and other Department of Education officials attended a meeting on Thursday of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's School Overcrowding Task Force, a group that has been meeting monthly for years. This was the second time in two years that Walcott has sat with the group and, not surprisingly, he heard the same plea for more schools. Walcott declined to offer a solution but pledged to start a dialogue between his deputies and a subgroup of the task force. At the current rate of growth, the shortage of elementary school seats in the Community board 1 district will soar to 1,200 in the next five to six years.
Downtown Little League Starts Season on a Brand New Field
April 8 - They marched by the hundreds from City Hall Park to the Battery Park City ball fields Sunday morning for the Downtown Little League's opening day festivities, reported the Tribeca Trib. But this was more than a rite of spring for the players and parents who stepped onto the brand new AstroTurf fields, accompanied by stilt walkers and the TriBattery Pops. It was a celebration, even a victory of sorts. Just a few months ago it looked like those fields, badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy, would not be ready -- not only for this opening day but for the entire season and the more than 1,000 kids in the league. Some added political pressure on the Battery Park City Authority and even the summoning of experts from the Mets by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver got the fields reconstructed and open, a couple of days early.
Sandy-Damaged Seaport Museum Galleries Close on Fulton St.
April 8 - The South Street Seaport Museum has shuttered its Sandy-damaged galleries, unable to bankroll the historic building's expensive temporary heat and power systems while permanent repairs to the building are made, reported DNAinfo.com. The exhibition space at 12 Fulton St. -- which was inundated with corrosive flood waters that destroyed the escalators and elevators, along with heating, electrical and air-conditioning systems -- was closed as of Sunday, the museum announced on its website. The museum's other location, Bowne & Co. Stationers, a recreation of a working 19th century printing shop at 209 Water St. -- which also sustained hurricane damage -- will remain open, according to the museum. After Hurricane Sandy, the museum managed to reopen the Fulton Street galleries in late December with generator power but without elevator or escalator service. The museum's collections were spared from flooding because they were on the upper floors. With the help of a $500,000 check from an anonymous donor, and other funds, the museum raised more than $800,000 as of January. But museum officials soon learned that an infusion of cash that they were hoping for from FEMA would take years to arrive and that temporary repairs could preclude the museum from getting those funds. It remains unclear when the Fulton Street galleries will reopen, but museum officials said they will focus on the Water Street space for now. The museum is still collecting donations for its relief fund.
Residents Fume Over Demolition Plan For Former Stock Exchange Building
April 8 - Developers plan to shut down a Financial District block for months while demolishing one of the former American Stock Exchange buildings, infuriating residents who live nearby, reported DNAinfo.com. A block of Cedar Street will be mostly closed to traffic during the day for four months starting in mid-April, to make it easier for real estate giant Fisher Brothers to tear down the historic 10-story building at 22 Thames St., company officials told outraged residents at a Community Board 1 meeting last week. Only construction vehicles will be permitted on Cedar Street between Greenwich and Church streets, as the century-old building, which sits just south of the World Trade Center, is slowly torn down. The company also plans to shut down pedestrian traffic on neighboring Thames Street between Greenwich and Church streets, a block that is already closed to vehicular traffic, Adams said. millions of yearly visitors to the 9/11 Memorial, will become even more of a traffic nightmare with the Cedar Street closure. Another major point of contention is that residents say they weren't given any notice about the impending shutdown. Representatives of the developer said they sent letters and emails to surrounding buildings and the community board, but most locals said they'd only found out through word-of-mouth. Fisher Brothers said that 22 Thames would be turned into a mixed residential and commercial space, but he would not give any details. The developer has not yet submitted plans to the Department of Buildings. Previous owners of the space said they wanted to turn 22 Thames into a 60-story tower.
9-11 Museum Exhibits Will Really Talk to Visitors
April 9 - Next year, the 9/11 Memorial Museum will open with its first exhibit: a multimedia collage meant to capture how people remember the event, reported the Wall Street Journal. When visitors walk in, they will be greeted by recordings of people from around the world recounting where they were and what they felt seeing the attack. Fragments of their speech will be shown on screens around the hall, their words forming maps. It is meant to drive home the idea of 9/11 as a global event, and one that belongs to everyone who remembers it -- whether they were adults in New York or growing up somewhere far away. Visitors to the museum will also be invited to record their own memories.
Occupy Wall Street Wins $350K for Damage During Zuccotti Raid
April 10 - The city has agreed to pay more than $350,000 to settle a federal lawsuit brought by Occupy Wall Street protestors who claimed thousands of books -- along with computers, bikes and other property -- were destroyed when police raided Zuccotti Park in November 2011. Protesters claimed the city ruined 2,600 books that were part of what was known as the People's Library, a makeshift collection of books set up in Zuccotti for anyone to peruse, when police cleared the park on Nov. 15, 2011. Protesters asked for $47,000 in damages for the library -- which included tomes by authors including Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky, and even Mayor Michael Bloomberg's 2001 book, "Bloomberg By Bloomberg" -- in their suit filed in Manhattan federal court in February. They were awarded all $47,000 as part of the settlement, and their lawyer, civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, collected $186,349 in legal fees. The city also agreed to pay $75,000 to Global Revolution Television, a media group active in the park, for broken electronic equipment, as well as $49,850 in legal fees. Times Up New York, a bike group, also won $8,500 for damaged bicycles. Brookfield Properties, the park owner, will contribute about $16,000 to the settlement, according to the agreement.