CB1 Tribeca Committee: The Unofficial Minutes (February 2016)

At the last minute, the recent crane accident was added to the agenda. Various city agencies were brought in for updates, although much of the time was spent on mutual appreciation and gratitude. Most of what was said had already been released, but the following was of note: The DOB said that two offices at New York Law School remain too damaged to use, but the rest is OK; the DEP said to expect another week to 10 days of repair, and then it’ll inspect the sewer lines (16 feet below ground) to make sure they’re OK (and there’s no reason to expect they’re not); the DOT said Con Edison has another week of work on Worth Street, but they’re hoping to confine it to the south side of the street so at least one-way traffic can be restored on the block between Hudson and W. Broadway.

The much-delayed five-year Worth Street reconstruction project was scheduled to start in a month or so, but it may get pushed back to the end of March or beginning of April. State senator Daniel Squadron has scheduled a meeting for Feb. 17 at 10:30 a.m. at 250 Broadway, 20th floor, to discuss the matter.

Worth Street residents are understandably concerned about 60 Hudson and the frequent use of cranes, and they wish the city would be more responsive before accidents. As one member of the committee pointed out, 60 Hudson leases space out to many tenants, and they’re the ones who are engaging these cranes—which is why a new crane seems to drop by every month or two. The rep for 60 Hudson said he thought it was an “interesting” idea to gang up crane use for fewer disruptions.

Debra Kustka, vice president of operations for the Hudson River Park Trust, asked for CB1 support for funding for security cameras in certain locations. After mush second-guessing about other potential solutions, the vote in favor was 8-0.

Victoria Weil, president of the Friends of Bogardus Plaza, who appears to have the patience of a saint, introduced a rep from the Department of Transportation for an update on the redo of the plaza/park/garden. The design received final approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the DDC is about to put it out to bid to contractors. Work should start in late summer or early fall, and it’s estimated to take 18 months. Then the conversation turned to how, during the recent blizzard, there was no way for emergency vehicles to reach 1 Hudson in the event of a hypothetical fire or whatever. The DOT met with the FDNY to discuss it, and the FDNY wasn’t concerned—they’re trained to get to the problem wherever it is—but the FDNY will review procedures anyway (for these kind of situations citywide) and offer recommendations. In the meantime, the Bogardus Plaza people are amending their contract with the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership (which engages workers from ACE) to include shoveling an 11-foot-wide path to the hydrant.

M1-5 recently got charged with two violations by the State Liquor Authority: There was dancing with no cabaret license, and there was a DJ even though the approved method of operation only called for recorded music and a jukebox. M1-5 said it has no plans to apply for a cabaret license and would discourage dancing henceforth. The problem, as the committee eventually saw it, was that allowing a DJ leads to dancing, which leads to the kind of crowds (late, young, rowdy) that have been a nuisance to neighbors for years. M1-5 evidently went before the committee a year or so ago about its renewal (at which point it apparently didn’t notice the music discrepancy), and despite promises then to work on controlling its patrons, neighbors at last night’s meeting said there had been no improvement. So even though a DJ wouldn’t in and of itself necessarily be a concern, everything it could lead to is. The committee did acknowledge that in this day and age, the difference between “recorded music” and a DJ is perhaps imperceptible, but it felt it needed to send a message. Vote to deny: 5 in favor, none against, 1 abstention, and 1 “not voting.”

There was joking at first about how, no, the Tribeca Family Festival had no plans to do anything for an entire week on a block of Laight—despite the month’s initial agenda indicating otherwise—but no one on the committee asked what that was all about. This year’s festival, the 15th, will take up Greenwich and several adjacent streets (Beach, N. Moore, Franklin, Harrison, Jay, Duane, Reade) from the evening of April 21 to midnight on April 23. Because of the construction at Citigroup’s 388-390 Greenwich, some of the programming may shift southward from where it has been in previous years. Vote: 6-0.

The last time City Vineyard came by CB1 was to discuss the general plan; this time, it was for the liquor license. The good news: Work should start in two to three weeks, and because it’s just a build-out, they’re anticipating it being quick, with an opening around May 1. I was hoping to get a look at the sample menu, but it was 8:40 p.m.—forty minutes past my two-hour deadline for CB1 meetings—and the committee was bogged down in a discussion about letting City Vineyard stay open a bit later if it could get its lease changed. (The lease allows for liquor till 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and since the park closes at 1 a.m., any change would be minimal.) I’d bet the vote was unanimous in favor.

The organization wants to have an event on Beach between Greenwich and Hudson on October 5. Anyone who survived that long at the meeting care to tell us what happened?

Another late addition to the agenda: “388-390 Greenwich Street, City Planning certifications to permit design changes to existing plazas and the reduction in size of open areas – Update by Michael Levine, Planning Consultant.” That’s the Citigroup plaza. I have to imagine that the proposed changes are minor, or CB1 presumably wouldn’t have allowed it to be slipped in at the last minute like this. Also, because there’s no resolution (and Citi reps weren’t even appearing), it means CB1 has no authority. I’ll try to find out. UPDATE 2/12: I asked CB1 for clarification as to what Citi wants; the response is below. Apparently, approximately 33% of the plaza space is “non-bonused.”

Citigroup, Inc. is seeking certifications by the Chairperson of the City Planning Commission to permit the reduction in the size of open areas on the zoning lot for which bonus floor area has not been utilized and to permit design changes to existing plazas at 388-390 Greenwich Street.

The headquarters building will continue to be used primarily for office use, with new retail use added along the Greenwich Street frontage of 390 Greenwich Street. [We knew about that; a bank branch and another retail space.]

The original plan provided for five public open spaces with minimum requirements for trees, seating, and planting. Citigroup is proposing the reduction of non-bonused plaza areas and to improve the bonused plazas by adding a variety of attractive seating and planting. The proposed actions will result in improvement of the Plazas by creating attractive public spaces with a variety of amenities, including seating, planting, bicycle racks and an art feature. The proposed design changes will bring them into greater accordance with the current plaza regulations of the Zoning Resolution.

And then CB1 got this from the Department of City Planning:

As for the amount of plaza area being eliminated, there currently exists 51,635.375 SF of plaza area across five individual plaza areas; 5,942.375 SF (11.5%) of non-bonused areas (areas that did not generated floor area bonus) are proposed to be removed from the approved plaza boundaries to accommodate new cladding around the building and elevated areas to meet the new level of the first floor (which is being raised for flood proofing reasons).

Spring Studios undoubtedly said it’ll do whatever it can to make residents happy.



  1. It seems like M1-5 is out of place on that street. It’s a big bar/club in the middle of a relatively quiet residential street. As far as I know, no other bars or even restaurants there. Maybe it’s time they move into a nightlife block.

  2. So does anyone know what the latest is on the M1-5 issue?