City Hall Park reopening on TV

In case you missed the Lion Dancers and stilt walkers at last year’s grand reopening of City Hall Park’s northern end now is your chance to watch it on TV.

The 30-minute segment, which will air on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network March 11, shows highlights from the festivities last October.

Friends of City Hall Park, a coalition of neighborhood residents and businesses, and Community Board 1 hosted the event after the northern end between Murray and Chambers St. was reopened by Mayor Bloomberg on August 1, 2007.

The park’s northern end was first closed in 2000 when the Tweed Courthouse was being renovated and remained closed due to security concerns after 9/11.

“We’re in the midst of campaigning to reopen the park,” said Skip Blumberg, founder of Friends of City Hall Park, “and the TV special is a chance to celebrate the reopening of the gate.”

The program features Lion Dances by Chinatown’s Wan Chi Hung Gar Institute, Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty stilt walkers from Tribeca’s Children’s Tumbling, and a performance by musical saw player Moses Josiah.

Despite the program’s high spirits, Blumberg said that recent developments in the park have kept him from enjoying the park.

The gym class of Ross Global Academy, a charter primary school housed at the Department of Education’s headquarters in Tweed, damaged the park’s east-side lawn twice, which Blumberg calls a “historic ground of democracy.”

William Castro, Manhattan borough parks commissioner, said because the lawn is in the shade and has not been used for so long, it has become more sensitive to the school’s use during gym class and recess.

“It’s nothing new,” Castro said in a telephone interview, “kids run around and their little feet erode the grass over time.”

Ross Global Academy does not have a gym and the Parks Dept. has yet to find a solution for this problem, Castro said.

While trying to get additional greenery in Lower Manhattan, Blumberg also produced and directed the TV program, which will premiere on channel 34 at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11.

The variety show will air again on Saturday, March 15, at 12 a.m. on channel 67, and at 6:30 p.m. on channel 57.

A two-minute preview can be screened at youtube.com/users/SkipBlumberg.

— Sebastian Kahnert