UnderCover, Feb. 20, 2013

V-Day for Raj
Jenifer Rajkumar, the City Council candidate who has not yet announced her intention to run against Councilmember Margaret Chin in this year’s Democratic primary, continues her campaign. Last weekend, she hosted a “Be My Valentine” fundraising party in her Gateway Plaza apartment, and she told us she’s got a karaoke night planned elsewhere Downtown.

We did get her to talk about an issue last week. Rajkumar, a Democratic district leader, convinced her club, Downtown Independent Democrats, to support the Save Our Seaport petition to stop or change the Howard Hughes Corp. plan to demolish and rebuild the Pier 17 mall.

Rajkumar said preserving the Seaport’s historic district and expanding the plan’s public space are her two priorities for the project. But she had no recommendation for Chin, who will soon vote on the plan, which presumably will see last minute changes in an effort to win Council approval.

Silver-a Robes?
Former Democratic District Leader Adam Silvera has been a fixture in Downtown political circles for about two decades, but Silvera told us he’s looking to hang it all up to run for Civil Court judge in the Second Judicial District representing Chinatown, the Lower East Side and the East Village.

Silvera said his community activism experience organizing groups like the Save Avenue A Society was an important building block to becoming a judicial candidate, but at the same time, he will no longer be able to continue in that work, and will have to be impartial as a judge.

He does not know yet of any opponents to replace Judge Shlomo Hagler, now an acting justice in the state’s second highest court, the misnamed Supreme Court.

Silvera may want to consult an old friend of his and ours — Kathryn Freed, the former councilmember who traded politics to don the black robes.

An Artist in Paris
April in Paris is both a deadline and a reward for the lucky artist or collaborative pair that wins a residency in the home city of the Louvre in 2014.

The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Bertrand Delanoë, le maire de Paris (Francophobes read: the Paris mayor) have partnered for an eleventh year to offer one NYC-based artist a six-month residency at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France. Applications for the program are due Mon., April 1, 2013.

It is open to emerging and mid-career visual artists only who are residents of New York City and are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Collaborative pairs may apply, but will receive a single stipend and living/working space to share.

The residency program began in 2002 when Delanoë reached out to the L.M.C.C., which was based in the World Trade Center and was mourning the loss of one of their artists. Eleven New York City-based artists have been accepted into the residency since its inception.

Artists are given a living stipend, quarters in the city center, access to artistic facilities, language classes and a museum pass that guarantees admission to most museums in France.

The competition for such a position is stiff. The current resident, Yoko Inoue earned an M.F.A. from Hunter College before being exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, SculptureCenter, Rubin Museum, Momenta Art and Art in General in New York. Inoue has received a NYFA Fellowship, Tides Foundation Lambent Fellowship, Franklin Furnace Fund, The Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant, Guggenheim Fellowship and various residencies, including L.M.C.C.’s Workspace residency.

The Paris Residency session is January-June 2014. For more information or to apply, visit lmcc.net.

Pains & Gains
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer confirmed to us that he asked Catherine McVay Hughes to take another look at closing down Community Board 1’s Housing and Waterfront committees.

“I think it’s important we have those committees,” he said. “I believe the chair [Hughes] will work collaboratively with the others to get a good result.”

At last week’s meeting of Downtown Independent Democrats, Board 1 member Jean Grillo thanked Stringer for his support of the housing committee in particular.

C.B. 1’s Planning Committee, which now has an expanded portfolio, seemed to be feeling some growing pains at its meeting this month.

Michael Levine, a community board staffer, cautioned the committee not to take on too many tasks.

Tammy Meltzer wanted to make sure the committee would be up to speed on the W.T.C. Committee. “Do you have access to what their set out goals were?” she asked Levine.

In discussing housing, someone shouted out, “Did we ever define affordable housing?” and was told, “It changes from month to month.”

As for growing gains, Stringer, the presumed frontrunner in the City Comptroller’s race, told the D.I.D. that even though he’s 52 and the father of a 1-year-old, he and his wife are expecting their second child in June.