[media-credit name=”Photo by Nick Brooks” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]SECURITY WAS INSTRUMENTAL: On Monday, Secret Service agents did a walk-through of Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick’s Greenwich Village home in preparation for President Obama and the first lady’s visit on Thursday for a fundraiser for his re-election campaign. Furniture was also removed from the place, including a piano, at right.
PHASE 3 — FINALLY! We hear that Phase 3 of the Washington Square Park renovation is about to begin. This segment will include the rebuilding of the park buildings and comfort station, a new dog run for large dogs, a 21st-century version of “The Mounds” play hills and the rebuilding of the park’s perimeter sidewalk. A Parks Department employee told us that they’ve already been moved out of the buildings in preparation for the project, which reportedly will take about a year. We hear that Tucci, the contractor on Phase 2, who ran into some difficulties and delays with Parks while doing the job, won’t be used for Phase 3. Word is the Phase 1 contractor is being brought back for Phase 3. Anthony Martucci of Tucci said it’s all true. “To be honest, they owe me about 4 mil,” he e-mailed us. “I would never work for that department ever again. And yes, A.A.H. is the contractor. Parks turned the job over to D.D.C.,” he said, referring to the city’s Department of Design and Construction. “I had a bad experience with them,” he said of Parks. Philip Abramson, a Parks spokesperson, confirmed, “Yes, D.D.C. is managing the third phase.” D.D.C. is the lead agency now because Phase 3 involves reconstructing a building and that’s D.D.C.’s specialty.
ULURPALOOZA: Community Board 2 has prevailed on Trinity Real Estate to push back the ULURP review for its proposed Hudson Square rezoning until the fall. The ULURP (uniform land use review procedure) had been slated to start now, but C.B. 2 felt it would be a bad idea since so many people are away during the summer. Trinity had already been more than accommodating, putting off the review several times so that the board — in this “Year of the ULURP” — was able to devote its full energies to its review of the N.Y.U. 2031 superblocks megadevelopment plan. David Gruber, chairperson of Board 2’s Land Use and Business Development Committee, said it also made sense to postpone the Hudson Square review because there are still N.Y.U. hearings coming up at the City Council. According to Kelly Magee, Councilmember Margaret Chin’s spokesperson, the Council’s Committee on Land Use and Zoning will be holding the public hearing on the N.Y.U. plan soon — it will likely be Fri., June 29 — followed by the vote by the full Council sometime in mid-July.
KNOCKIN’ THE NOTCH: Borough President Scott Stringer is not happy that City Planning, in its recent approval of the N.Y.U. 2031 plan, removed “the notch” that he had negotiated with the university to add to the northeastern corner of its planned “Zipper Building,” on Mercer between Houston and Bleecker Sts. The notch, it was felt, would help provide some additional light and air to neighbors living across Mercer St. from the project. However, according to Alicia Hurley, N.Y.U. vice president of government affairs and community engagement, it ultimately turned out that the notch, well, wasn’t so top-notch, after all. She noted, first off, that the B.P.’s role in ULURP is solely advisory. More to the point, Planning asked the university to do a shadow study for the notch, and it was found that “the gains in light would be insignificant,” she said. Also, because the loading dock for the “Zipper” is where the notch was going to be, Planning said it would create a blind spot where pedestrians could be put in harm’s way by trucks going in and out. Over all, the indentation was planned to be 20 to 30 feet long and 15 deep, and only amounted to 15,000 square feet being removed from the building — a relatively small cutout — she noted. Meanwhile, the “Zipper” plan calls for a 15-foot-wide sidewalk on Mercer St., which is already pretty wide, Hurley said.
CHUPI — SO IT BEGINS…: With an update from her view through her Westbeth window, Palazzo Chupi ace reporter Toni Dalton gives us the latest on the goings-on on the facade of artist/filmmaker Julian Schnabel’s W. 11th St. retro Venetian tower. “I saw a layer of a sandstone color on the top floor in the front of the building,” she said this week. “I think it’s a protective primer. So it begins. Unless he is painting the Chupi sandstone. We shall see.”
YO! .BROOKLYN! East Village alternative Internet pioneer Paul Garrin says his WiFi-NY will be providing wireless access for “conference connectivity” and live video streaming for the Northside Festival in Williamsburg and Greenpoint this Thursday and Friday. Garrin’s Name.Space company will have a booth in the festival’s entrepreneurship section, and he’ll announce the creation and launch of new top-level domains (T.L.D.’s), including .BROOKLYN, .BRONX, .HARLEM, .LES, .LOISAIDA and .QUEENS. “We will be signing people up and showing people how to switch their computers, phones, iPads, etc. to use Name.Space,” he said of his “alternate root,” which operates outside of the Internet’s main root. ICANN, the body that approves the entry of new T.L.D.’s into the root, doesn’t recognize any of The Cooper Union alum’s scores of ones, including .NYC, which Garrin created way back before ICANN even existed.