Downtown Digest

New Ferry Service

The East River will soon have 24-hour ferry service, according to a recent NY1 report.

The ferries, which are scheduled to be operating by June, will be run by NY Waterway, a family-owned business that has the largest ferry and excursion fleet in NY Harbor, according to its website. The boats will make stops at several waterfront points between Long Island City and Brooklyn, including Pier 11 on the Lower East Side.

During peak hours, the ferries will arrive at each stop every 20 minutes. Fares, which would vary based on the length of a passenger’s trip, will range from three dollars to three-dollars-and-fifty-cents.

They will not replace the NY Water Taxi ferries, which will continue to make a handful of trips along the East River each day.

Canal Street Vendors

Illegal vendors along Canal Street are becoming combative toward New York Police Department officers trying to catch them breaking the law.

The sellers are more regularly contesting their arrests, according to Captain Edward Winski, commanding officer of the first precinct.

“They fight with us, and then they run,” he told Downtown community members at a recent First Precinct Community Council meeting.

Winski said that the increasing aggressiveness by the vendors is likely an outcome of heightened crackdown by the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office that has resulted in more arrests, confiscations and jail time.

The NYPD has put 1,605 unlawful vendors behind bars and took nearly $50,000, 24,675 handbags, 8,748 DVDs and 6,619 watches, according to Winski.

The newly renovated Pussycat Lounge is reportedly reopening next year, according to the NY State Liquor Authority. Robert Kremer, the owner of the nearly half-century-old topless lounge on Greenwich Street, informed the S.L.A. about his plans to reopen the bar soon, after repairs to the building’s interior are finished.

New York City shuttered the bar last October, saying the building at 96 Greenwich Street was unsafe for occupancy. Contractors were hired to start fixing the building in November.

Community Board 1 approved the renewal of the lounge’s liquor license at the Financial District Committee meeting last Wednesday.

Ro Sheffe, chair of the Financial District Committee, said the bar has been a good neighbor overall, and has caused very few disturbances in the community.

Deutsche Bank trial set to begin next month

The trial of three John Galt construction employees accused of neglecting to restore water supply to the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street will begin next month, according to reports. It is set for March 21 at the Manhattan Supreme Court.

Abatement manager Mitchell Alvo, 58, Salvatore DePaola, a foreman, and Jeffrey Melofchik, a site safety manager, are charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, according to reports.

Their failure to fix a faulty standpipe purportedly resulted in firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino trying to extinguish a fire in August 2007. They both died of smoke inhalation during the attempt.

The defense lawyers, however, contend that the three men are not responsible for the firefighters’ deaths, since the city previously approved the construction work on the site.

Charter School scouts out students

Innovate Manhattan Charter School is starting to recruit students this month, even though plans for them to move into the Tweed Courthouse have not been finalized by the New York City Department of Education.

The school will host a series of information sessions at such Downtown venues as University Settlement and the Downtown Community Center, according to its website, innovatemanhattancharterschool.org.

The next open house is scheduled for Wednesday, March 2 at the Downtown Community Center.

The D.O.E. has not yet signed off on its plans to assign the school to the site, though a spokesperson there recently acknowledged that it is one of the main candidates for the space.

The thought of a charter school moving into Tweed has perturbed the Downtown education community, who is strongly urging the D.O.E. to open up a new district middle school there instead.