Downtown local


A Wall St. night

Councilmember Melinda Katz of Queens, chairperson of the Council’s powerful land use committee, sampled some of the food and mixed it up with some of the power brokers of Wall St. at Wall Street Rising’s third annual fundraiser at the Regent Wall Street, which of course is located on The Street. So what restaurant is she tasting from above? The hotel’s own restaurant, 55 Wall.

Rec center money

The National Football League and Mayor Mike Bloomberg are expected to announce on Oct. 7 a $250,000 grant to Manhattan Youth toward building a Lower Manhattan youth center, said Bob Townley, the group’s executive director.

Townley said $150,000 will be for a matching grant after Manhattan Youth raises an equal amount on their own. About $100,000 will be for programming fees, Townley said. A likely location for the center is Site 5C in Tribeca, located behind P.S. 234 on Chambers St. The Tribeca site, which is being developed as a residential building by Scott Resnick, is slated to have an 18,000-square-foot recreation center.

The event is scheduled for Oct. 7 in Sara D. Roosevelt Park in Chinatown, which might indicate the announcement will include a large N.F.L. donation for a Chinatown project as well. Spokespersons for Bloomberg were not available for comment at press time.

Turkey in The Battery

A wild turkey was lurking in Battery Park on Sunday morning Sept. 28. Four Canada geese were strutting in Battery Park City that morning and 12 double-crested cormorants were skimming and bobbing in the Hudson River shortly before noon a little further uptown.

They were among the 18 bird species – and a total of 595 individual birds — counted in three hours by a flock of men and women (including two children) who turned out on a rainy Sunday morning for the first annual Hudson River Bird Blitz conducted by the New York City Audubon Society.

“We’ve been following that turkey for a long time now,” E. J. McAdams, executive director of the local Audubon chapter, said of the unnamed bird. “She’s a female — first sighted in the W. 70s maybe a year ago and I guess she moved Downtown.”

Wild turkeys, not good flyers, usually live in small flocks in wooded areas. A couple can be found in Inwood Hill Park at the northern end of Manhattan, according to McAdams, but Downtown they’re as scarce as hen’s teeth.

The Bird Blitz, sponsored also by the Battery Conservancy, Battery Park City Parks Conservancy and the Hudson River Park Trust, began at 9 a.m. at Battery Pl. and State St. and ended at noon at Gansevoort St. in Hudson River Park “We set out to count all the birds on land and water,” McAdams said.

The New York City Audubon chapter plans to do the same thing next year at the end of September or beginning of October during the fall migration period. New York City Audubon’s traditional event is a Christmas bird count in Central Park.

The bird blitzers two weeks ago also spotted one brown thrasher, a shy wetlands bird, in Battery Park, and a single blackpoll warbler in Battery Park City. “Both migrants,” said McAdams.

Of course there were plenty of rock doves (the bird-watcher’s term for pigeons), 232, who weren’t going far, and 124 house sparrows, also stay-at-homes. Bird watchers never say “sea gull,” but they spotted six laughing gulls, eight ring-billed gulls 54 herring gulls and 18 great black-backed gulls. A blue jay, two crows, ten mourning doves, five robins, two northern mockingbirds, 63 starlings and one warbler of uncertain species were all in the count.

Canal Park on track

Construction of the new Canal Park at West St., a reincarnation of the triangular park that disappeared in 1920 to make way for the Holland Tunnel, will begin sometime in November, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Parks and Recreation.

The new park, covering two thirds of an acre, will be twice as large as the first one built in 1888, and unlike most new Downtown park projects, it will not be funded out of the $25 million Lower Manhattan Development Corp. fund designated for Lower Manhattan parks.

The $2.5 million construction cost of the new Canal Park, located at the western end of Canal St., comes from the New York State Department of Transportation as part of the Route 9A project. Last December, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe paid tribute to the Canal West Coalition, a neighborhood group that has lobbied for the park for the past three years, for moving the project forward.

Construction on what is now a triangle with a broken stone and earth surface will take about 18 months. The Parks Department spokesperson said the date in November for groundbreaking has not yet been determined.

C.B. 1 meetings

The upcoming week’s schedule of Community Board 1 committee meetings is as follows:

On Tuesday, Oct. 7, the Battery Park City Committee will meet at 6:00 p.m. in the Hallmark Building at 455 North End Avenue to discuss the role of Park Enforcement Police in the Battery Park City community and traffic issues in Battery Park City.

On Thursday, Oct. 9, the World Trade Center Redevelopment Committee will meet at 6:00 p.m. in Assemblymember Sheldon Silver’s Office at 250 Broadway, 19th floor, to hear an M.T.A. presentation on the Fulton Street transportation hub.

On Tuesday, Oct. 14, the Seaport/Civic Center Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. in room 709, 49-51 Chambers St. The agenda is to be determined.

Express e-mails

Due to problems with our computer server over the weekend, many of the e-mails we received were inadvertently deleted. If you sent an e-mail to anyone at DowntownExpress.com on Oct. 4, 5 or 6 and you did not receive a reply, please send it again. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Bus garage fight

The leaders of three residential groups have written a letter to Gov. George Pataki asking him to place a tour bus garage under the World Trade Center memorial area rather than the two nearby alternative sites.

Pataki has agreed with family members of 9/11 victims, saying that a garage under the memorial would be “awful,” but the residential groups in their letter — which is dated Oct. 7 but was e-mailed to Downtown Express Oct. 6 — argue that the other two sites, the Deutsche Bank on Liberty St. and Site 26 near the Battery Park City ballfields, would have a detrimental effect on the neighborhood and cost too much money to build.

“The WTC site has an extensive, existing ‘bathtub’ which formerly held parking lots,” said the letter signed by the leaders of WTC Residents Coalition, Coalition to Save West Street and Battery Park City United. “It is clearly the most economical and immediate solution for bus parking.”

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