In the News: Winter Garden Staircase

Photo by Julie Shapiro (courtesy DNAinfo)

••• “The Grand Staircase in the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center could be demolished before the end of 2012, despite objections from city officials and local residents and workers. Letters between John Ziccotti, chairman of World Financial Center owners Brookfield Properties, and City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden that were obtained by DNAinfo show that the developer has already decided to get rid of the staircase to clear a path for a new pedestrian tunnel beneath West Street. If the staircase stays in place, commuters exiting the tunnel will run directly into the 88-foot-by-15-foot wall that supports the steps, ‘creating choke points and major inconvenience for pedestrians, severely impeding the flow of traffic,’ Zuccotti wrote to Burden on June 23. ‘Our proposal removes the wall and the steps, restoring the unobstructed view of the Winter Garden and river beyond.'” (DNAinfo)

••• Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League defended his organization’s awkward decision to oppose Park51, according to the Wall Street Journal: “Two blocks away is bascially in your face,” he said. And this: “The fact that bigots agree with your position doesn’t make you a bigot.” (Perhaps not, but it’s usually a sign you’re pointed the wrong direction.) And then there was this: “If we want the national community to understand our pain and sensitivity, then we need to be sensitive to the pain of other victims.” I’m still astounded this is even up for discussion. America was built on the very idea of religious freedom. Whether Park51 makes you uncomfortable simply doesn’t factor into this discussion.

••• “The Manhattan Supreme Court is looking to open a special court designed to handle cases involving people with mental illness in 2011, the state’s Office of Court Administration told DNAinfo. Mental health courts already exist in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn and elsewhere across the state. Generally defendants with mental disorders are ordered to undergo psychiatric counseling and outpatient therapy instead of being sent to jail pending the outcome of their case. The court, which will be at 100 Centre Street, will be presided over by Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan, who said he was drawn to the position because of his background as a family court judge.” (DNAinfo)

••• Eater announces that Bar Artisanal is closed—with Todd English rumored to be taking over—and then spits on the grave with a vicious review, calling it “a terrarium of terror.” I never liked it, but I’ve had worse. Here’s wishing English the best, but maybe what the place needs is a hands-on chef/restaurateur…?

••• “Goldman Sachs, which has certainly borne its share of public anger about the financial crisis, is now drawing heat for another reason: noisy ferryboats. The boats, which have been running almost constantly across the Hudson River every weekday since Goldman moved into its new headquarters in Battery Park City, have generated frequent complaints from residents of the neighborhood. Goldman does not own the offending boats, but it is paying a ferry company to keep them running 16 hours a day between a floating terminal at the edge of Battery Park City and a dock near Goldman’s waterfront office tower in Jersey City. The dispute about the boat noise has droned on for so long that Battery Park City officials have hinted that they might want to give the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the $50 million floating terminal, the heave-ho….” (New York Times)

••• “The troubled Battery Park conversion at 225 Rector Place a.k.a. Rector Square is likely to be taking the auction route in the not too distant future. Anglo Irish Bank is planning to auction off the remain 230 unsold units in a bulk sale in September.” (Curbed)



  1. I don’t think Brookfield is concerned about commuters having to walk all of 15 feet around the staircase wall. I think they want to replace a beautiful work of art with stores while they already have empty stores to fill in the Winter Garden. The rapid renewal and recovery of the extraordinary space after 9/11 is to Brookfield’s credit. It is sad to watch that wonderful accomplishment ignored and replaced by nothing less than an act of vandalism.

  2. :( I loved the Bar Artisanal burgers before the menu changed…