CB1 Tribeca Committee: The Unofficial Minutes (November 2015)

Southeast Plaza View courtesy CitiUPDATE: RENOVATIONS TO CITIGROUP’S HEADQUARTERS
Citigroup’s John Krush, who’s overseeing the renovation/combination of the company’s two buildings at 388 and 390 Greenwich, said that starting in January, the plaza on Greenwich will be enclosed in plywood, and it appeared that includes part of what is currently expanded sidewalk. (Where the food carts are.) In other words, the sidewalk will remain open, but it’ll be narrower. They anticipate 18 months of plaza construction, with it reopening in the third quarter of 2017. It was a bummer to hear that 32 trees will be cut down, but they’re 30 years old and the life expectancy is 50, and they’ll be replaced with 47 trees. (One committee member wondered whether Citi was going to do anything about the wildlife in the plaza….)

Neighbors along Hubert Street are miserable about the demolition noise, which includes lots of idling trucks and dumpsters being dropped so hard onto the street that their building shakes. Krush said that as a result of complaints, Citi is introducing a new mitigation plan: They’ll start on the Hubert side at 8 a.m. instead of 6 a.m., and they’ll knock off at 8 p.m. (which is earlier but I can’t remember by how much). Moreover, they’ll bring the trucks inside the loading docks, which will help with the noise, and they’ll install guards on the street to monitor idling trucks. All in all, Citi seemed pretty amenable except for when the committee asked for a contact that residents could get in touch with in the event of problems, and Krush said to call 311—as if our cell phones even work on the turnip truck! (He eventually said they’d set something up.) One of the neighbors asked whether Citi couldn’t soundproof all of the affected apartments, which went over about as well as you’d expect.

UPDATE: THE FLEA THEATER
The Flea’s new space at 20 Thomas is more than 40 percent built, and they’re anticipating being finished by late summer of 2016. I only just found the above rendering online in a PDF all about the new space; I think it’s new. (The previous rendering had “FLEA” in mammoth letters across the front.)

LIQUOR-LICENSE APPLICATION: TETSU (78 LEONARD)
Discussed here.

UPDATE: TRIBECA MEET & GREET
Local legend David Cleaver was called in to talk about the Tribeca Meet & Greet he organizes on a sorta-monthly basis for the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center. (This month marks the tenth anniversary of the first one—congratulations, David!) They’re intended as a way for local businesses, residents, and anyone else who cares to meet and mingle; the next one is tomorrow night at City Pole. P.S. We also learned that the restroom at Soho Photo is something to behold.

LIQUOR-LICENSE APPLICATION: MARIACHI’S (156 CHAMBERS)
As we already knew, Mariachi’s Mexican restaurant is being forced out of its current location due to redevelopment and it’s moving to the former Kitchenette space at 156 Chambers. The rep said all of the restaurants from Mariachi’s around W. Broadway to New York Dolls on Murray would be gone by mid-December (we keep hearing different dates), and that the new location should be open in January. The new Mariachi’s will be slightly larger, and they plan to have a mariachi band on weekends. Vote: 8-0.

TEMPORARY ART IN FINN SQUARE
As unveiled here, Finn Square is getting a welded-steel sculpture by Mike Whitting (right). Tracey Causey-Jeffery of Causey Contemporary gallery said the work will be installed at the southern tip, which is where Leonard meets Varick and W. Broadway (and where sculptures have gone in the past), although she and the committee kept mentioning Franklin Street, so who knows. It’ll go up in the next month or so and be around for six to nine months.

SIDEWALK-CAFÉ PERMIT APPLICATION: SWEETGREEN (413 GREENWICH)
Once Sweetgreen realized that it needed a permit for its sidewalk café—and that it couldn’t just use Il Mattone’s, the way its landlord said it could—the restaurant dismantled the café and started the application process. The new café will be 18 seats, which is smaller than the previous one, but the committee got lost in the weeds about whether it should be allowing a side-street café, since it normally doesn’t, even though (a) Sweetgreen had one for a year and no one complained (or even noticed that it was on a side street); (b) Sweetgreen is a fast-casual salad restaurant, only really busy at lunch; and (c) it has no liquor license and it closes at 10 p.m. The nitpicking—which had been constant throughout the meeting (I didn’t report every instance here, so you’ll just have to trust me)—turned so extreme that I left before the vote. Sweetgreen is as good a restaurant neighbor as anyone could expect; it even does various forms of local outreach. So perhaps the community board should think about whether it’s necessarily protecting residents’ interests by making life so difficult for neighborhood businesses, which have it hard enough these days.

UPDATE: DOWNTOWN BOATHOUSE
If anyone know what this was about—last we heard there was urination in the area—I’m happy to run it here. Feel free to comment or email tribecacitizen@gmail.com.

UPDATE: PIER 26
The Hudson River Park Trust has been soliciting public thoughts on Pier 26, and that includes asking the community board for its input. I’m not sure I really believe the HRPT is doing anything but covering its ass being able to say it asked and listened, or that CB1 will be realistic about the pier’s potential, but that’s not why I left before this came up. I just couldn’t take it anymore. So if anyone who was at the meeting would care to share what happened, please do.