Under Cover

No demo

As a political ploy, the City University of New York may leave the damaged Fiterman Hall standing in an effort to convince the city to cough up cash to rebuild it.

CUNY is currently decontaminating Fiterman Hall, a classroom building ruined on 9/11, and then they had planned to demolish it. CUNY has plenty of money to cover both the cleaning and the demolition, and the building could be ready to come down later this year. But a source who spoke with Iris Weinshall, CUNY’s vice chancellor, tells UnderCover that Weinshall may put the demo on hold to try and get the $78.7 million she and many others say the city owes. That could leave the blighted building casting a shadow over the Downtown rebuilding effort for even more years.

“That would be a very unpopular move,” said Julie Menin, chairperson of Community Board 1, when told of Weinshall’s plans. “Fiterman Hall and 130 Liberty St. are the very bleak symbols that still exist in this community. It’s a constant reminder, that seven years passed and both buildings are still there.”

CUNY is angling to get the rebuilding money in the city’s September capital budget, but the Mayor’s Office wouldn’t comment on how likely that is. Michael Arena, CUNY spokesperson, would not confirm or deny that CUNY might put the demo on hold.

We can already hear Fiterman’s neighbor at 7 W.T.C., Larry Silverstein, pounding the table from here.

Seaport school

The evidence that General Growth Properties is seriously considering adding a school to its massive redevelopment of the Seaport keeps piling. The latest: General Growth’s opening reception for an exhibit of the plan’s architectural models attracted none other than Sharon Greenberger, president of the School Construction Authority. If anyone holds the decision over whether to build a new school in the palm of their hand, it’s Greenberger. Could her presence at the wine reception two weeks ago mean that she’s already in talks with G.G.P. about the school?

Add that to the fact that Greenberger and Laurel Blatchford, General Growth’s development vice president, worked together closely at both the Downtown Alliance and in the office of former Dep. Mayor Dan Doctoroff, who once did figurative flips to try and get Cirque du Soleil to the Seaport.

Julie Menin, Community Board 1’s chairperson, has thrown some cold water on the Seaport school idea because the proposed tower is too big and there may be better locations, but Manhattan Beep Scott Stringer loves the idea of a school.

“I think any place in Lower Manhattan is good for a school because we need school space,” he told UnderCover.

Not quite aristocracy

State Sen. Marty Connor’s reelection campaign and its P.R. firm parted ways this week, but Chad Marlow, president of the Public Advocacy Group, sent out one last pro-Connor e-mail before leaving the race behind.

In the e-mail, Marlow affirms his support for Connor as “the only qualified candidate” in the Democratic primary for the 25th Senatorial District. Then, Marlow quoted Thomas Jefferson to make a not-so-subtle jab at Connor challenger Daniel Squadron’s inheritance.

“There is…an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, without either virtue or talents,” Jefferson’s quote reads. “The artificial aristocracy is a mischievous ingredient in government, and provision should be made to prevent its ascendancy.”

But before anyone decides to prevent Squadron’s ascendancy, UnderCover ought to point out that on the same day Marlow sent that e-mail, Squadron received an endorsement from ACORN, hardly considered a bastion of the aristocracy. In fact, a Google search for “ACORN” and “leftist” yielded 55,800 results.

Feeling pressed

As UnderCover was leaving Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver’s office Wednesday, we couldn’t help but notice a look of panic cross one Lower Manhattan Development Corporation official’s face as we walked by a private meeting Silver convened to discuss the demolition of the former Deutsche Bank building, where two firefighters were killed a year ago. The meeting included community activists and some of the L.M.D.C.’s harshest critics, but it seems no one is scarier than the press.