Downtown local


Madelyn Wils, chairperson of Community Board 1, and Barbara Marks of the Seaport Community Coalition, right, accepted Grassroots Preservation Awards from the Historic Districts Council last Wednesday, in recognition for their groups’ successful fight to prevent high-rise development at the Seaport. “This is where Melville wrote ‘Moby Dick and you can still feel it in the streets,” Wils said of the neighborhood. Albert Amateau, a Downtown Express reporter who has covered the Seaport battle, right, was also honored as a “Friend from the Media” for his preservation reporting for The Villager, sister publication of the Express. Coincidentally, Amateau’s article about the landmark designation of the meatpacking district appeared the day of the event and The Villager was the first paper to report the historic designation. Downtown Express photos by Elisabeth Robert.


On Saturday, Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 21, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., nearly 100 arts and cultural organizations will converge for the city’s 3rd Annual CultureFest, sponsored by the Merrill Lynch Foundation and NYC & Company. This free weekend-long event will showcase a variety of live music and dance by artists from throughout the city.

Last year’s CultureFest, held in Bryant Park, drew over 100,000 visitors. This year’s event, will be held in Battery Park. New to the lineup of events is Saturday’s “Merrill Lynch kids’ dash” at 1 p.m. for children ages 3 to 6. Each participant will receive a special ribbon and tee shirt for their efforts in this fun run on the lawn. Pre-registration is required, and can be done in person on a first-come-first-serve basis at the Merrill Lynch tent in Battery Park Sept 20 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., or online by visiting www.nycvisit.com/culturefest.

Other family-friendly activities include: camouflage face painting by the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum; African beading workshops from the Museum for African Art; gardening and planting activities from the New York Botanical Garden; wooden dog racing and colonial children’s games from the Historic Trust of NYC; science experiments from the NY Hall of Science; safety lessons and child-ID fingerprinting by the New York City Police Museum; and a “Be a Bee” exhibit by Wave Hill.

Two stages, one devoted entirely to children’s performances, will feature live concerts from the worlds of dance, opera, jazz, classical, bluegrass and ethnic music. Demonstrations include multi-cultural performances from hip-hop, mambo and contemporary ballet dancers.

For more information, and a complete listing of the 99 participating organizations, go to www.nycvisit.com/culturefest or visit NYC’s Official Visitor Information Center at 810 Seventh Avenue at 53rd St., or call 212-484-1222.


Five Downtown firemen will be stepping out of the fire and into the frying pan next Tuesday night for the second annual Tribeca Cook-off to benefit the Tribeca Organization. Executive chefs from five neighborhood restaurants will challenge firehouse chefs from Engine 7, Ladder 11, Ladder 8, Ladder 20 and Engine 24 Ladder 5 to a heated competition from 7-11pm at the Tribeca Rooftop.

There will be no surprise sauces in this Iron Chef -like battle. Recipes, supplied by the firemen, will be matched ingredient-for-ingredient by the chefs from Danube, Scalini Fedeli, Layla, The Harrison, and fresh. An anonymous taste test by a number of celebrity judges including chef and cookbook author Anthony Bourdain, “3rd Watch” actress Tia Taxada and CNN anchor Aaron Brown will determine the winner based on both presentation and taste.

Last year’s competition was won by Billy Benitez of Tribeca Engine 7, who presented his seared halibut over white bean ragout. Similar dishes of gastronomical gourmet are planned by this year’s participants.

“When I think of firemen I think they’re making lasagna, baked ziti, easy kinds of entrees for large amounts of people,” Sharon Decker, Tribeca Organization executive director and event planner, said. “But they come up with these recipes, they’re really amazing.”

The cook-off menu includes: baby lamb chops over spinach with white beans and grilled portobello mushrooms with red pepper coulis; stuffed meat loaf with candied carrots; proscuitto & spinach stuffed pork tenderloin with wild mushroom gravy; frutti de mar over black linguini; and seared tuna with shitake mushrooms in ginger cream sauce.

Tickets to the benefit, which will include food tastings, an open bar, and live entertainment can be purchased for $150— $125 of which is tax-deductible— by calling 212-966-0063 or registering online at www.tribeca.org.

Block party

The Battery Park City Neighbors and Parents Association will sponsor its second annual Battery Park City Block Party, Saturday, Sept. 20. The afternoon-long event will bring together businesses and local residents of all ages in celebration of the community and its accomplishments. Festivities will take place from noon – 5 p.m. (children’s section until 4 p.m.) on Vesey St. between West St. and North End Ave.

Free family events activities include a children’s section with face and hair painting, carnival rides and a climbing wall. New additions to this year’s festivities include a dog/owner look-alike contest and a tween/teen section with a DJ, jukebox café and dance contest.

One of last year’s returning events, the apple pie baking contest, will give residents a chance to show off their baking skills and win “Big Apple” notoriety. The first 25 entrants interested in baking may contact Lita Talarico at 212 466-3432.

Volunteers interested in helping with the festivities may contact Tammy Meltzer at 866 841-9139.


Last week’s issue reported the wrong Internet address for the health registry recently launched by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and open to Downtown residents and World Trade Center recovery workers. The correct address is www.wtcregistry.org.