Under Cover


Prime Minister Brian Cowen of Ireland came Downtown the day before St. Patrick’s Day and surveyed the Lower Manhattan skyline and viewed construction progress at the World Trade Center from 7 W.T.C. Cowen was appearing at the “Enterprise Ireland” reception hosted by the New York Academy of Science.

A-list locals

Mayor Mike Bloomberg is going full speed ahead with his plan to build a garbage truck garage tower at Spring and Washington Sts. but now he will have to battle an impressive list of celebrities who have joined the Canal West Coalition and the Tribeca Community Association in their fight to scale down the project. Michael Stipe, James Gandolfini, Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Connelly, Casey Affleck and husband and wife Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson are just some of the big names who have signed on to the “Hudson Rise Picnic” event Monday night at Saatchi & Saatchi’s headquarters at 375 Hudson St.

To mix our pop mob references, maybe Tribecan Gandolfini will make the mayor an offer he can’t refuse. After all, Tony Soprano does know something about garbage routes.

Milstein still grinding

UnderCover got a tip this week that work had all but stopped at the apartment towers rising at Sites 23 and 24 in Battery Park City. The big crane on the north part of the side disappeared and hardly any workers had been on the site for at least a week, our source said.

George Arzt, spokesperson for developer Milstein Properties, assured us that nothing was amiss. It may look like less is going on from street level, but workers are busy preparing rebar and setting forms for the concrete pouring that will start next week, he said.

“Work is continuing,” Arzt said.

B.P.C. center

Speaking of the Milstein project, last month, the Battery Park City Authority floated the idea of delaying the community center that will go in the base of the apartment towers, but that no longer looks likely. The authority was looking to save money by delaying capital projects, possibly including the community center.

“At this point, the community center is not likely to be one that management would [delay],” said Leticia Remauro, authority spokesperson. “As soon as Milstein delivers us a core and shell that we can begin work on, we will.”

Compromising themselves

Community Board 1’s battle against itself over a street fair ended earlier this month with a compromise.

The problem arose in February when C.B. 1’s Financial District Committee took issue with a street fair that would have closed Whitehall St. between Water and Beaver Sts. Residents said the fair would cause major traffic problems. It turned out that the street fair sponsor was amenable to considering an alternative — because the sponsor was actually C.B. 1 itself. (The board sponsors street fairs each year to raise money for its budget.)

This month, the Financial District Committee discussed an alternative location: Broad St. between Water and Beaver Sts. The committee at first worried about congestion because of all the security and construction in the area, but ultimately decided to approve the location once they heard cross-streets would stay open, said Ro Sheffe, chairperson of the committee.

The only problem with the Broad St. fair, slated for a Friday this summer, is that it will make about $1,000 less than the Whitehall fair would have made, Sheffe said.

“It’s not an ideal solution but it’s a good compromise,” he said.

Swarming wonks

About 400 Downtowners and Brooklyners attended State Sen. Dan Squadron’s “Community Convention” Sunday at B.M.C.C. The participants broke up into — count ‘em, 22 — small topic groups, including one each in Chinese and Spanish. The most popular issues were rent regulations, education, health care and senior citizen issues.

Professional moderators volunteered their time to help keep the discussion flowing. The event drew not only would-be citizen legislators, but elected ones too including U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Anthony Weiner, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, Councilmember David Yassky as well as the Manhattan executive branch leader, Borough President Scott Stringer. Sqaudron’s staff is putting together a report summarizing the ideas discussed. He thanked attendees for taking a “leap of faith with me” in believing that the people can make government better.

Slippery slope

Lower Manhattan residents have a new complaint for the Port Authority: The wooden boardwalk the Port recently installed adjacent to the World Trade Center site along Liberty St. gets slippery in the rain. Very, very slippery.

Barry Skolnick, a Battery Park City resident, said he has seen people slip and fall on the wood when it’s wet. Water pools and has nowhere to drain, which will be even worse in the winter when it freezes into ice, Skolnick said.

“It’s a typical lack of foresight,” Skolnick said. “I’m disappointed in that they could have discussed it [with the community] beforehand, but they never do.”

The Port Authority had called the wood an improvement over the pitted pavement that often got muddy and filled with puddles in the rain. The Port did not comment this week.