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July 8th, 2008


by John Coakley

Would Nathan Hale appreciate bicycles—and their attendant consternations and foibles—running hither and yon through this delightful park, where one is likely to take refuge from one’s cares through an afternoon’s constitutional? We think not.

The Department of Transportation is preparing to put a bike path through City Hall Park, even though the public and Community Board 1 have already voiced their protest. So what do we do? That’s right, kids, we voice our protest again. After all, this ain’t Central Park. There’s barely enough room to walk through City Hall Park as it is. Plan your lunch accordingly.

Friends of City Hall Park proposes:

1) Bikes must be dismounted and walked.
2) Remove all DOT signs in the park.
3) Remove vehicles parked on already existing bike lanes around the park.
4) Design and install a plan for on-street protected bike lanes around the perimeter of the park, with FCHP and CB1 participation.
5) Fulfill February, 2007 DPR agreement with FCHP and CB1 to re-open the northern section, add greenery to the NE Plaza, add additional benches, and seek potential green spaces to develop nearby.

More information can be found here and here.

12-12:30pm: Speakers, neighbors bicyclists gather on NE Plaza, near 4, 5, 6 subway.
1pm: Press conference (in front of City Hall steps)
Speakers: FCHP Founder Skip Blumberg, CB1 Chair Julie Menin, (confirmed) Council Member Alan Gerson, State Senator Martin Connor, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, DID District Leader Jean Grillo, and many others.

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York | Take Action

July 8th, 2008


by Joelle Panisch

Like pretty much every other moviegoer standing in the block-long line at the Sunshine Theater on Houston this July 4th weekend, I was shocked that I was standing on a block long line. Whispers of what could possibly have drawn such a crowd swept down the row from one person to the next. An event? “What movie are you here for?” I asked an elderly gentleman in the first quarter of the line. Tell No One, he said. Apparently word got out.

Tell No One is Guillaume Canet’s French thriller about a respected pediatrician, who, eight years after her death, receives an email suggesting that his murdered wife is alive.

Through a backbreaking investigation (I asked everyone around me), I concluded that nearly every person at the theater that day had been turned on to the movie from the glowing review by Stephen Holden published July 2nd in the New York Times, including myself. “Watching it is like gorging on a hot-fudge sundae in the good old days when few worried about sugar and fat,” the review says. “[It] is so elaborately twisty that about halfway through the movie you stop trying to figure it out and let its polluted waters wash over you.” Well, not exactly. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | New York

July 7th, 2008


by Ed Gold

Former Mayor Ed Koch, an early reformer during the late 50’s and 60’s, has decided reform should make a return engagement to fix a “dysfunctional” state government which has become “a national disgrace and a laughing stock.” His formula for success, revealed in a recent essay on Bloomberg radio, indicates a selective memory, as well as indications he might be smoking some pretty strong stuff.

He does cite several embarrassments to make his point: the resignations of Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Comptroller Alan Hevesi, both for scandalous behavior; the resignation of Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, who may be under Federal investigation; and the role of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who gets a whopping salary from his private law practice in addition to what he receives as Speaker.

But there has been no conspiracy among this quartet and no central figure leading the pack. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | New York | Politics

July 6th, 2008


by John Coakley


Two new productions at PS 122, both opening this Wednesday. First up is Whisper, from the Proto-type Theatre. Every member of the audience is given a set of headphones through which three different characters can be heard describing a walk through an unnamed city. Those characters are seen behind a backlit screen—sometimes in silhouette, sometimes in perfect clarity. Urban and technological alienation are explored with more elegance than those themes usually receive in experimental theater; definitely worth a look. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

July 5th, 2008


by John Coakley

What? You can’t make it to Janis Ian? Well, you better not miss tomorrow’s free show at McCarren Park Pool: Ronnie Spector. Word has it that her pipes are still strong and she still has that bad girl, rock n’ roll spirit. So show a little love to this New York native and survivor of the horror that is Phil Spector. Be her, be her baby and brave the irony-drenched jungles of Williamsburg for the show.

Sunday, 7/6/8
Ronnie Spector
The Rabbit Factory Soul Revue, Featuring:
Roscoe Robinson
Ralph ‘Soul’ Jackson
Hermon Hitson
and Wiley & The Checkmates

Click here for directions.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

July 4th, 2008


by Joelle Panisch

In spite of fierce objections by Community Board 1 (CB1) and park neighbors, the Department of Transportation (DOT) installed a bike path through the City Hall Park’s serene northern walkway on June 30th.

The DOT first informed the Community Boards of its plans at a June 10th Seaport/Civic Center Committee. The issue was then re-deliberated on June 24th at a general CB1 meeting and was clearly out of favor by the members and the general public.

The DOT argued that the bike path was a necessity for cyclists in the area, citing that the Chambers street intersection has one of the highest bike accident rates in the area. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Community | New York | Politics

July 3rd, 2008


by John Coakley

It’s the day after the 4th of July. The 5th of July, if you will. You have a serious red meat/beer/explosion hangover but you still want to make the most of the day. What do you do?

Well first, drink plenty of water – you should’ve done that before going to bed, genius – have a good breakfast with lots of fruit (especially pineapple) and then get yourself down to the Governor’s Island Ferry Terminal. Get on the boat and take in the fresh sea air, staring at the water as your brain steadily regroups. Then get off of the boat, find a nice patch of grass, and settle in for the musical balm of Janis Ian, the lady who’s been at it since 1964, when she was a mere 13 years old. She’s opening up the weekly Folks on the Island series of folk concerts that will be happening here every Saturday at 1:30PM for the next five weeks. The shows, like the ferry ride, are free. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon at all.

Janis Ian
Governor’s Island
7/5/8 @ 1:30PM
Click here for Ferry directions.

Filed Under: Arts & Leisure | Events | New York

July 2nd, 2008


by Ed Gold

Republicans for some time have had a fixation that the White House belonged to them. They have a visceral reaction to Democrats living there; they see it as an invasion of their property and un-American to boot. And they are prepared to go to great lengths to prevent it. In the last ten Presidential races, the Republicans have succeeded seven times. The only losses were to two southerners whom Republicans feel enjoyed special situations. Jimmy Carter won in 1976 against an appointed–not an elected–president, Gerand Ford, who had succeeded the disgraced Dick Nixon. Bill Clinton lucked out in a three-man race with Ross Perot as spoiler, and never got a majority vote. Of course, Bush-1 didn’t help the cause, not knowing what a checkout counter was, and looking at his watch during Presidential debates.

But the Republicans have had a lot of practice in what has come to be known as “swift-boating”—any tactic, no matter how low, to keep the Democrats from White House occupancy. Continue Reading »

Filed Under: Articles | Commentary | Politics

July 1st, 2008


by John Coakley

Thanks to Rob Hollander of Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development for giving us the heads up.

The Parks Department and the 14th Street Business Improvement District want to put a private, upscale restaurant in the old pavilion building. For about ten years that building was occupied by Luna, an upscale restaurant that seemed to attract a rowdy, loud, after-work crowd. You could smell the hairspray more than the food. More importantly, the restaurant seriously detracted from the decidedly egalitarian history and feel of the park. Now the building is vacant, which is great news for the local skaters but a conundrum for everyone else. The space should be used, but not for an upscale eatery that further accentuates Manhattan’s ever-widening class divide. So let’s support the Union Square Community Coalition (USCC) in their fight to keep the pavilion for use as a children’s play area and for community activities. Come to the rally and say no to bad food for the elite and yes to common space for everyone.

Rally Against Union Square Park Restaurant
Wednesday, 7/2/8 @ 6:00 p.m.
North End of the Park at the Abraham Lincoln Statue.

Filed Under: Community | Events | New York | Take Action





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