CB1 Tribeca Committee: The Unofficial Minutes (February 2015)

Worth Street from Hudson all the way to Park Row—with a bit of Centre, Mulberry and Mosco streets—is getting the same block-by-block reconstruction as Chambers did is, but with an even wider water main. The city’s Department of Design and Construction was called in to talk about the $90 million project—which also involves sewer work, private utilities, and street reconstruction—but the DDC has no timetable yet (beyond a tentative start date of fall 2015 and a completion date of fall 2020), nor an idea of whether it’ll start at the western end or the eastern end. That didn’t stop committee and audience members from asking over and over for a schedule and whether work will start at the west or the east. Neighbors are understandably upset, because it’s sure to be noisy and a pain (and if you live on Leonard and maybe Thomas, brace yourself for re-routed traffic, including the zillions of buses that travel between W. Broadway and Broadway), and the DDC’s work hours (7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, and occasional all-night work) caused even more concern. The project has yet to go out to bid, but the DDC said it was too late to change the hours. And then it said that maybe it could, but the project would get longer and more expensive. It sucks, to be sure, but those of us impacted by the Chambers and Hudson projects might invite the folks on Worth to cry us a river. The discussion finally ended with the committee asking the DDC to come back when it has a schedule of the work and insisting that a task force be formed to monitor the progress.

111 Murray101 MURRAY UPDATE
First things first: The 62-story, 740-foot tower going up at 101 Murray—where the St. John’s University building is being demolished as we speak—is indeed being called 111 Murray. (Demolition should be done by spring.) The developers are Fisher Brothers and Witkoff, and the architect is Kohn Pedersen Fox (with David Rockwell contributing to the interiors)—but there’s no official rendering yet, so we don’t know if these are accurate. The slick rep from Fisher Brothers showed a slide (above) that indicated the footprint will be as described in DOB filings. At first he said that the non-building parts would be “public park,” but later he backed off of that, saying it hadn’t been decided whether the park would be public. And then he backed farther off, saying that they hadn’t determined whether, in a bid to get an increased floor area ratio (from 9, I think, to 12), they would include affordable housing or a public plaza. Those DOB filings, however, seems to be out of date in several ways: The rep said there would, in fact, be retail in the tower, but no parking in the building. The “pavilion” on the east side is a separate four-story building with retail on the ground floor and 111 Murray mechanicals above it (because after Sandy, new buildings on West Street won’t be putting mechanicals below grade). Good news for nearby residents: The foundation will be drilled caissons rather than driven piles. Bad news for all of us who regularly walk along Murray Street: The busy northern sidewalk will be closed to pedestrians for at least three years. (CB1 asked that they consider a temporary sidewalk in the street, but drivers on that stretch of Murray are nuts, so really, just walk on the south side, OK? Also, this morning, the jerk of a construction worker made me cross the two-way street mid-block.) Anyone with issues during the construction should call Melissa Corbo of Plaza Construction at 212-849-4716.

Friday, June 19, from noon to 6 p.m. (with set-up starting at 10 a.m.) on N. Moore between Greenwich and West. Same as last year. Vote: 7-0.

Discussed here.

The preschool on Ericsson Place is planning an ice cream social with art and crafts on Saturday, May 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with an extra hour for set-up and clean-up. The committee was concerned that the party would block the Holland Tunnel exit at the corner of Varick, because obviously any school would want to stick a bunch of kids right in front of a bunch of oncoming traffic. Once the school agreed to avoid that spot, allow parking garage access, and get the NYPD 1st Precinct’s approval, everything was fine. Vote: 7-0.

Laughing Man‘s David Steingard would like to take advantage of the Department of Transportation’s Street Seats program, in which a parking space or two get converted to public seating, whether you’re enjoying a Laughing Man beverage or not. The seating would be open during the café’s hours, from April to October, and then it would be packed away. Middle-aged men, however, have intense feelings about parking and traffic, and they sure as hell didn’t want this… this… thing on their metaphorical lawn. (It would be sort of like the one at Local on Sullivan Street in Soho, pictured above, but with a different design, from Signe Nielsen’s office.) People say they miss the sense of community around here, but they don’t want to create the kind of spaces that inspire interaction; people say they want to support local businesses. Personally, I don’t see myself sitting there, but I guarantee you it’d be a hit. The committee, however, was worried about safety (because the DOT hasn’t thought of that…?); about forcing pedestrians into the street (as if the pedestrian traffic on Duane is so heavy you couldn’t make your way through! LOL! But then I live on Broadway); and about the fact that the Hudson River Park Trust’s Madelyn Wils hadn’t weighed in or been among the six pages of petition signers (she lives on Duane, but still! UPDATE: I think they meant Madeline Lanciani of Duane Park Patisserie, but my point holds.). Steingard promised that it would be a test, and if it didn’t work, it wouldn’t happen again. But the committee was convinced that a dangerous precedent would be set, and if it said yes now and no to someone else later, it would open itself to lawsuits. (The logical extension of that line of thinking: Nothing new can ever get tried.) Eventually, the members decided to take a straw poll to see if the concept in general, for that spot in particular, was something CB1 could be OK with, and once there’s a design, Steingard would come back to get it approved. (The DOT didn’t want him proceeding to the design phase without CB1 approval.) Vote: 4-3 in favor of moving on to the design phase.

P.S. The photo on the home page is by Ian Dutton, courtesy Streetsblog.

The Tribeca Film Festival’s value-added marketing hootenanny is on Saturday, April 25, and it sounds like it’s on the same streets as it always is (Greenwich from Beach to Reade, with various side streets also being used), so I didn’t stick around.

It’s Saturday, May 16, and I expected no changes from previous years.

Cheap beer?

I’ll wait for the movie.



  1. Just one comment about Laughing Man as a resident on that block of Duane Street… It is often very congested there and hard to walk past as people park strollers and dogs and get into intense conversations over expensive coffee. I often have to detour onto the street already.
    If this does get approved, I hope that the congestion will improve. Actually, I wish the congestion would improve no matter what.

    • Elizabeth,

      Thanks for the feedback. This is an something, with or without the Parklet, I am sensitive about. So either way I will take steps to raise awareness so nobody feels inconvenienced. However, I think this is one area that will definitely be improved by the Parklet. It will become natural for people to split between the loading dock and the Parklet, leaving a clear path.

      I also wanted to say, as I said last night, I am as much as resident as a business owner. I live above the cafe with my wife and kids. So this is a situation where all concerns (safety etc) are my concerns as well.

      What I want to avoid is an I’m right your wrong conversation. While there is evidence to support that these have proved to nice additions in the areas where they are implemented, every case is different. What I would like is an opportunity to test from April-November, and for us ALL to discover how this would actually play out. If any of the concerns that people may have materialize, then I would be the first one to say this is not good for the community.

      Anyway, I look forward to presenting the design next month.


      Great points about the “local” conversation going on around your posts. I was thinking about that this morning.

  2. I vote yes for the parklet!

  3. I vote yes too. LM has been a very good addition overall IMHO. The staff is unusually friendly and composed – I have stood in silent admiration at their pleasant sang froid before truly badly behaved people. The duane street triangle there is generally fairly empty at all hours – one of the few spaces where you get a precious sense of vacancy and publicness at the same time (amazing to think that the *middle of the street* is one of the forms of authentic public space in NYC, but that is another topic). And having used the shed (parklet is too much) on Sullivan I think this is a natural place for one. And an experiment for gods sake! The board should chill out and let someone try out a public idea.

  4. I live in this neighborhood and also support the trial period for this. Sounds like a great idea.

  5. We live on the block and love that Laughing Man is a gathering place. I walk our dog past there at all times of the day and have never have a hard time getting by. When I first moved to Tribeca i missed the Village precisely because it didn’t have that sense of stoop sitting and neighbors gathering and hanging out. I am all for the parklet (it is a silly word!).

  6. My place, Duane Park Patisserie, too can apply/petition for a Parklet space in front of 179 Duane St. Indeed , I erected one using the “one day” permit , this past spring. It was very charming and fun for a day., but I worry about the longer term ramifications and implications- mostly, the “privatized” use of public space.
    We have beautiful little Park( parklette?) already on our block. customers of the businesses on the block already ” park themselves ” there. Do we need some,thing else ?