Seen & Heard: Groundhog Day at Duane Park

The Friends of Duane Park — hearty group that they are — will celebrate in the cold on Groundhog’s Day — Sunday, Feb. 2 — in the park from 11 to 2. An ice sculpture will take shape, free hot chocolate and coffee will be served, and snow will fall. Really. Also, Duane Park Patisserie is concocting a special groundhog cookie for the event; all cookie proceeds will go to the park.

Andrew Carmellini’s new Italian chophouse scheduled for Pier 17 will open in the spring, but Noho Hospitality Group is still not leaking the name. It is being designed by Martin Brudnizki, whose understated style (wink wink) is on full display at Harry’s Bar in London, the Surf Club in Miami and locally at The Beekman (above).

Several neighbors have written to ask what happened to the homeless woman who spent much of the fall under the sidewalk shed at the corner of Duane and Greenwich. She didn’t speak much; one neighbor thought her name was Clarisse or Clarissa. Anyone have info?

The two malls will host a traditional lion dance for Chinese New Year, when the creature will travel from the Oculus to the Winter Garden. The event is on Saturday, Feb. 1, from 1:30 till 2p. (The new year festival actually started on Jan. 25 and will go through Feb. 8. It’s the year of the rat! The parade in Chinatown is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 9.)



  1. How ’bout one of these building owners who rake in millions upon millions of dollars in sales and rentals monthly build just ONE micro-apartment with window, closet, etc. and house a person like Clarisse/Clarissa in it temporarily? Would it kill an owner to devote just say 150 square feet to someone like this? Could one realtor step up and ask for this? Of course health and social professionals would have to be involved. I’m not saying it’s as simple as create a place and give someone a home, I’m just saying where is the charity in this neighborhood from people who could make a life-changing difference?

    • I am on the board of a supportive housing developer, which is the type of housing best suited for homeless. I can tell you that the solutions need to be large and institutional. I feel for all the folks I see in our neighborhood who have no home at night / or the day for that matter. Your suggestion is a good one but better taken in the form of an inclusionary housing requirement which I believe the city is considering that requires a certain number of units in new developments be set aside for supportive housing (while I live here my work has been in San Francisco, nonetheless same issue different location). One off housing without services does not take into account that there are a variety of reasons that someone is homeless and thus there is not really one solution in providing a home.

      Yes a home is the single most important thing we can do. But we need the assessment and services that go with supportive housing to address indiv needs of each person coming out of a homeless situation. They all got there for a variety of reasons and that affects how you help them get back on their feet.

      A rule of thumb where new housing contributes to the development of supportive housing units is the better way to go.

      • “an inclusionary housing requirement […] that requires a certain number of units in new developments be set aside for supportive housing”

        Why would you not spend (or have developers spend) the same money elsewhere in the City and be able to build more units where land costs less than in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the world? It’s not a NIMBY thing, but rather simply trying to maximize the number of such units that get built.

        • I dont know the specifics for NYC but that is one option elsewhere
          BUT the idea is not to create poor areas. So that is why you build within. But again that is one of the threshold questions for programs like that.

          • I thought the idea was to build as many affordable units as possible. Limitations on off-site housing by “well-meaning” politicians trying to please seem only limit the amount of affordable housing that gets built.

            Are such limitations really justified by the unattainable yet politically correct goal of trying to engineer the income mix of various neighborhoods? These programs are not significant enough to restrain market forces, but their limitations on off-site housing limit their significance as a driver of affordable housing creation.

  2. I haven’t seen her for a week, but I think her name is Audrey.

    • Yea, if it’s the woman I’m thinking, it’s Audrey. She is very soft spoken and always seems to be deep in thought. She also hangs out in Battery Park and sleeps in the grass when it’s warmer out. She disappears sometimes but then pops back up. Does anyone know her situation? I saw her sitting on a stoop Christmas Eve or Thanksgiving, maybe 3 yrs ago, and gave her $100. I’ve always wondered if that was a good idea bc people say you shouldn’t always give money bc it may harm them rather than help them. Hopefully she is ok, I’ll ask the parks dept if they know she’s ok, they know her pretty well.

  3. She told us her name was Audra. The police were speaking with her last week out of concern for her health and safety. She had been basically immobile since before Christmas, and given the amount of food that had accumulated around her rats were an issue. Her ‘site’ was cleaned up that afternoon and she was gone. My hope is city services provided her some assistance.

    • Audra was picked up by ambulance a week or so ago, it looks like she may have broken a leg and was immobile and was taken to hospital on a stretcher.

  4. Homeless woman: And her name could also be “Jennifer.” I have known her for several years, and first met her at the Church St. post office, after noticing her sitting on the steps near the passport window – every time I went in there. I spoke with her there this past Monday – after looking for her on the corner and seeing that the corner is no longer accessible for someone to roost. (And yes, I understand why that had to be done.)

    I had recently twice phoned her location on Duane & Greenwich into Homeless Services (via 311). Following up online with the report numbers I was given, she refused their assistance – as I suspect most homeless do, for various reasons, including conditions in the shelters.

    She is quite articulate and once told me that she had been a biology teacher – which may or may not be true.

    To those of you who have helped her to get through another day – God Bless! To those of you who are working on viable solutions to the homeless crisis – Ditto!

  5. i am not a doctor nor do i attempt to portray one, but mental illness is the “elephant in the room” until we -i mean society- have some kind of program to treat the mental illness that most often accompanies homelessness, we are just putting bandages on wounds

  6. Having just participated again in HOPE 2020, counting the homeless, it is a very educational, enlightening, and rewarding experience. Each team that counts a designated area has a professional team leader with them. I have learned from them over the years that as hard as it is, please do not give them food, money, etc. (I have been guilty) but instead call 311 so that a professional can engage with them. The goal is to get them off the streets and into the system that can aid them. And we realize mental illness is a very large contributing factor. As my team leader told me on Monday, there is a story and that is what they try to uncover. As far as what we neighbors can do, be kind to them but call 311.

    And btw, has anybody seen Russell? We are worried about him.

  7. As JC says, her name is Audra. She said she was from Florida. I did call 311, who actually passed the call over to 911. When I asked about her at the 1st precinct, I was was told she regularly was approached and refused any assistance.