Under Cover

Cubism isn’t dead

Santiago Calatrava’s stacked townhouse cubes may not have come tumbling down after all.

Despite reports earlier this year that Seaport developer Frank Sciame was looking to unload the 80 South St. property — and dump Calatrava’s acclaimed tower idea of staggered condo cubes — the situation is actually quite the opposite.

“It’s very much alive and active,” Sciame told UnderCover this week.

Sciame bought 100,000 square feet of air rights from 85 South St., just to the north of his planned development, bringing the total air rights for the project to nearly 300,000. That will allow him to build a larger base for Calatrava’s cubes, creating a more viable hotel space for a potential operator.

The new air rights also protect views from the townhouses north to the Brooklyn Bridge, giving the potential development clear sightlines to the East River from three sides of the building.

“It vastly improves the site,” Sciame said.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg told Downtown Express a few years ago that if he was looking to move Downtown, he’d want a Calatrava cube, which would have cost him at least $25 million.

Baby Boy Henry

Luke and Oliver Franklin Henry

Luke Henry, who’s trying to dethrone Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, took a campaign break over the weekend for something much more important than politics — assisting his wife Meghan Bryant give birth to their son Oliver Franklin Henry, Sat., Aug. 16 at N.Y.U. Medical Center. Oliver weighed in at 7 lbs., 9 oz. Papa tells us the 14-hour delivery was “smooth” and everyone is healthy. He is looking forward to introducing his son to campaigning in the park.

Obama boy

Danny Ross, who by day plays backup to U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, will be backing up the “Obama Girl” herself, Amber Lee Ettinger, Monday in Denver in what he promises will be the only live performance of “I Got A Crush on Obama” during the Democratic National Convention. The Congressional staffer’s band, Danny Ross, will also be playing its own songs at Denver’s Mercury Cafe for “The Obama Crush Party 2008” event.

Faithful UnderCover readers might remember we told you back in February that Ross’s band was planning to cover the YouTube hit on Super Duper Tuesday night at Downtown’s Bowery Poetry Club. Ross told us since Ettinger’s surprise appearance that night, they have gotten along well and Danny Ross has become her house band.

Ross isn’t the only Nadler staffer with a crush on Obama: Nadler spokesperson Shin Inouye is leaving D.C. this week to work for Obama’s campaign in Chicago. Nadler’s staffers didn’t get their political opinions from their boss — Nadler supported Sen. Hillary Clinton during the primary.

No Money PAC

State Senate candidate Daniel Squadron has pledged not to take any political action committee money, but UnderCover has learned he recently appeared before a PAC based near Wall Street.

Rita Morris, leader of the Hallmark PAC, said the committee — made up of residents living in the Battery Park City senior citizen apartment building — has no money to give Squadron or his opponent, State Sen. Marty Connor, who is scheduled to speak there Monday. The PAC spent its last $50 for a plaque to honor their founder and inspiration, Pearl Scher, who died two years ago.

“She wasn’t one in a million, she was one in a trillion,” Morris said of Scher, who organized Hallmark’s anti-Bush rally in 2004 before the Republican National Convention.

Morris said the PAC is not likely to endorse in the Democratic primary since most members are Democrats and thus not likely to be able to get together on anything, but she’s happy both candidates are speaking to the group.

“We all vote and we are as active as old people can be,” Morris said. She promises to find a chair for any senior citizen in the neighborhood who shows up to the Connor talk, Monday at 3:15 p.m., 455 North End Ave.

Waterfront changeup

Julie Nadel, chairperson of Community Board 1’s Waterfront Committee, has left the board to deal with personal family issues, she told UnderCover this week. She had chaired the Waterfront Committee for the past two years and said she enjoyed the work.

C.B. 1 chairperson Julie Menin appointed Bob Townley, executive director of Manhattan Youth, to fill Nadel’s committee post. Townley has worked with the Hudson River Park Trust and represented C.B. 1 on Pier 40.

“Bob knows more about the waterfront than probably any other member of the community,” Menin said.

Townley said he wants the committee to get involved with projects beyond the initial design phase. He hopes to focus on the long-term programming, financing and safety of waterfront developments.


Andy Garcia filming a scene Tuesday on Beach St. and W. Broadway for “City Island,” about a corrections officer who tries to be an actor. The line around the block was a cinematic casting call.