Seen & Heard: World Trade Center Security Plan

Howard by Rebecca Yale••• A big thank you to the talented Rebecca Yale for taking a new portrait of me (and Howard) for the About Tribeca Citizen page. I can’t really blame her for taking more photos of Howard than of me….

••• @MMDevoe of Pen Parentis reports that Gelato Ti Amo (right) is open at 12 John.

••• The Greek, the restaurant opening next month in the former Turks & Frogs space, has a spiffy new website. No menu yet though.

••• From the LMCCC: “On April 24 and 25, Chambers Street will be fully closed to vehicles between West Broadway and Greenwich, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. At the recent Chambers Street stakeholders meeting, project managers noted that the overall street-reconstruction schedule remains on track, with segments opening in phases through early 2014.”

••• I’m thinking of going to 20/20 at 20 Warren for a drink this Tuesday—in honor of First-Time Tuesdays, of course, and because this video makes it look irresistible. Not 100% sure, so if you’re interested in joining me send me a note at

pottery store••• A reader sent this in just now: “Don’t know if you ever go to that little pottery store in Chinatown on Mulberry St b/t Bayard and Canal…I was just in there and the woman running it said she was closing in May (or by May ??). Everything in store 40% off. They have so much different sized pottery for house plants. I’m sure there are some steals in this place provided you have room! She said her father retired and has no help. It’s a great store and added something to the neighborhood. Too bad…”

••• I attended last week’s meeting of the Community Board 1 Executive Committee—specifically about the upcoming East River light show—but I couldn’t stay for the rest. Lucky for us, Nicole Vianna did. (You may recognize Nicole’s name; she’s been a vocal opponent of the Hudson River Park Neighborhood Improvement District.) Here’s her report. And thanks again, Nicole!

Brendan Sexton, a Business Improvement District consultant working for Friends of Hudson River Park, told CB1 that they have decided to try to fast track the NID proposal through City Council this fall because they want to do it while the current administration is still in power. He said they will make their submission to the Dept. of Small Business Services within the next 2-3 weeks, and he indicated that they expect to get prompt City Planning authorization to start the formal review process.  Anticipating that this will all go like clockwork, CB1 announced that it would hold a public hearing on June 10th and vote on the NID at its full board meeting in late June. Obviously, any pressure that any of us can put on local politicians and CB1 members now is critical.

There was also a lengthy discussion about whether a new committee should be formed just to handle SLA applications (like the Landmarks Committee, which is also not regionalized). After much go around, it seemed that a consensus formed that only the Tribeca committee had a problem (partially in terms of volume, more in terms of all of them being contentious, as opposed to BPC or Financial District where they are happy if a new business wants to come in) and that maybe a solution would be for the Tribeca Committee to have a subcommittee and separate meeting time only for SLA issues since the liquor license issues were crowding out other discussions (“like the NID” was said about 10 times by different members). There was no final decision or any indication on when one would be made. [My two cents: While three recent liquor license applications—for 39 N. Moore, 50 Varick, and Cafeteria on W. Broadway—were contentious, they’re usually not; perhaps a special NID subcommittee makes more sense? —Erik]

The WTC Campus security plan Environmental Impact Statement executive summary is posted on the CB1 website. The hearing is next Tuesday. My Acrobat viewer isn’t working, so I couldn’t look at it to see what effect it might have on the blocks immediately north of the site. There was some discussion of the problems CB1 staff found in it, mostly regarding idling buses, which could be a problem for Tribeca because apparently buses that don’t have a reservation or miss their slot will be waved away from the official unloading place on Trinity Place. It doesn’t take much to imagine they’ll drive a few blocks north and pull over to let everyone out and then try to hang out on some side street. Also, I remember the pre-9/11 days when the right lane of W. Broadway below Murray was basically a line of idling trucks waiting for security clearance to get into the underground loading docks and wouldn’t want to return to that. Lastly, there was some discussion that the stretch of Greenwich St. in the “campus” wouldn’t actually be open to all traffic as once promised and that there would only be some 400 odd slots for yellow cabs and black cars each day. Members wondered if Condé Nast knew about the limit.

The underlining is mine. Greenwich not being a through street is such a disappointment. Here’s the text from the report:

The Proposed Action would modify the vehicular access and traffic flow patterns considered in the 2004 WTC Memorial and Redevelopment Plan FGEIS. As shown in Figure ES-2 [below, cropped a bit for technical reasons; click to enlarge], a secure zone is proposed to provide limited vehicular access on the following streets:
• Greenwich Street from Vesey Street to Cedar Street;
• West Broadway from Barclay Street to Vesey Street;
• Washington Street from Barclay Street to Vesey Street;
• Vesey Street from Church Street to West Street/Route 9A;
• Fulton Street from Church Street to West Street/Route 9A; and,
• Liberty Street from Trinity Place/Church Street to West Street/Route 9A.
Additionally, the Trinity Place/Church Street corridor 2 would be divided by a raised median with a static barrier, from Cedar Street to just north of Vesey Street. It is anticipated that to the east of the median the street would remain open to general traffic with three northbound moving lanes, while one additional moving lane to the west of the median would be located within the security perimeter and would be accessible only to screened vehicles.


  1. If anyone wants more info on the HRP Neighborhood Improvement District, see our website: Both Downtown Independent Democrats and Sierra Club, NY Chapter have issues statements opposing the NID. You can find them on our site.

  2. Actually, if you’d like information about the proposed Hudson River Park Neighborhood Improvement District (NID), please see the official site: Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of misinformation being circulated about the NID, so we’d like everyone to have an opportunity to learn the facts.

    Hudson River Park needs your help! – please visit the site to read the District Plan and sign the petition to support the NID.

  3. Actually, the fact is that the NID is another TAX levied on NYC residents which was magically based on the city street grid to BAIL OUT the HRPT.

  4. Yes, by all means, everyone ignore both side’s sales pitches and PLEASE read the District Plan before you make up your mind and sign either petition. Here’s the direct link:
    It’s long, but the first 28 pages are descriptions of the vast part of the West Side of Manhattan that’s included in the proposed BID and those pressed for time can skip them.. The details of what the BID will do and how it will be run start on page 29 with Section 5, Scope of Services.

    Here are some of the things in the District Plan that trouble us:
    – While 60% of the assessment is earmarked for HRP, the BID governing board can hold back any or all of the money in a sinking fund if it doesn’t want to fund HRPT’s requests for the year (page 30).
    – The BID can issue debt, which the plan envisions using to build one or more pedestrian bridges over Route 9A, with the north end of the park being cited as especially in need of one (page 13). If they issue variable rate debt and interest rates go up, according to the Plan, “…the District may, subject to the Contract, forego some or all of the non-debt service expenditures as are provided for in the Budget in question in order to have revenues sufficient to pay the debt service provided for in such Budget.” (pg, 37). That means debt service can crowd out all contributions to the Park.
    – The BID claims user rights throughout the non-Park part of the District, described as sub-licensing and charging for the right to install street vendor stands, newsstands, news boxes, pay phones (in other words, advertising space), and for private uses of the streets such as street fairs.(page 38). Think of how ubiquitous the Downtown Alliance logo is throughout the Financial District. The HRP NID could do the same thing for itself in Tribeca, using your money to do so.

    There are better ways of helping Hudson River Park than establishing a BID that stretches from Murray Street to W. 59th Street. It’s a public park and should be supported by public funds.

    The establishment of the BID would allow NYC & NYS to ignore their duty under the Hudson River Park Act to provide funds for maintenance should revenues from the commercial nodes in the Park fall short. The sponsors have implied in public meetings that NYC & NYS are legally barred from supporting the operating budget of Hudson River Park, but a plain reading of Section 1(e) of the Hudson River Park Act shows otherwise: “It is intended that to the extent practicable and consistent with the intent of subdivision (c) of this section, the costs of the operation and maintenance of the park be paid by revenues generated within the Hudson river park and that those revenues be used only for park purposes. Additional funding by the state and the city may be allocated as necessary to meet the costs of operating and maintaining the park.”

    If the Hudson River Park Trust and Friends of Hudson River Park Boards had used the staff and volunteer time and money allocated to supporting the NID proposal instead to organize citizen support for increased City and State funding for HRP, no BID would be required to fund the Park.

    @ScottLawin — We met with AJ, Matthew Washington, Jeff Aser and Pam Frederick last month and went through our presentation page by page asking them to point out any factual errors. They showed us a few and we fixed them and the fixed version of the presentation is on our
    website. If you have knowledge of a factual error on our website or in any of our materials, please email us at to let us know instead of insinuating that we’re disseminating misinformation. That’s the last thing we want to do.

  5. Thank you Nicole for your vigilance and thoughtful presentation of this issue. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.