Under Cover, July 3, 2013

Where there’s a will, Will it be Barry’s Way?  

Once upon a time, namely 2005, there was a governor, George Pataki, and he had an authority he controlled (actually many hundreds including the Battery Park City Authority), and he had a wife, Libby, who was on the board of the Women’s Museum, which had its sights on Site 2B in Battery Park City. But it was not 2B, because a lone backbencher on Community Board 1, Barry Skolnick, raised his voice and said a school was needed more.

Many scoffed at Skolnick including the Battery Park City Authority, but he got Board 1 on board, led by Julie Menin, and eventually, Pataki’s successor, one Eliot Spitzer (who later ran into different problems concerning women), nixed the museum and signed on to the school that became P.S./I.S. 276.

C.B. 1 member Tom Goodkind is hoping to co-name the block on First Place in front of the school after Skolnick, now retired in not so balmy Rochester, Minn.

“Hey — it’s a long shot — but so was the school,” Goodkind told us.

Skolnick said he is proud to have started something that few thought was possible at first. He’s never been a fan of street co-naming, but he is flattered and “I wouldn’t be against putting up a plaque.”

Coincidentally, he was in town for a visit last week and told us he misses the “spunkiness” of civic meetings here. He’s known in Rochester as the “outspoken New Yorker” and said he wishes there was more “drive to try and change things” there.

But he likes his neighbors and he also enjoys living so close to ducks and other wildlife even though he’s in the middle of downtown.

Chin Nods 

Councilmember Margaret Chin picked up two pretty good endorsements in the last week or so and another one we’re not surprised we haven’t seen her brag about.

The powerful United Federation of Teachers backed her with union leader Michael Mulgrew saying in a prepared statement he had “no doubt” about Chin’s commitment to working families. State Sen. Daniel Squadron also endorsed her over the weekend. (The back scratching went both ways as Chin announced her support for Squadron’s bid to be Public Advocate.)

And the one we didn’t get a press release about? Chin was in the first group endorsed by Jobs for New York, a political action committee funded in large part by the Real Estate Board of New York, Crain’s Insider reported. Presumably the PAC liked Chin’s support for development projects by Howard Hughes Corp. in the Seaport and N.Y.U. in the Village.

Chin’s opponent, Jenifer Rajkumar, only said, “I was not surprised,” when asked about the PAC nod.

Edie’s Loves 

Edie Windsor, the lovable lesbian litigation plaintiff who doomed DOMA, is an undeniable unifying force Downtown, if not the world.

The day the Supreme Court ruled that the feds wrongly taxed her inheritance from her wife, Windsor appeared at a Stonewall Inn rally to celebrate, and to endorse Chris Quinn for mayor.

A few days later, one of Quinn’s fiercest critics, Yetta Kurland, who challenged Quinn four years ago and who is running again for City Council, posted a Facebook picture standing next to Windsor, who was holding an “I Love Yetta” t-shirt.

This is unlikely to lead to a Quinn-Kurland rapprochement, but if Windsor can bring enemies to common ground that easily, then maybe she should head to the Middle East to help out John Kerry. 

Follow us, LeBron  

We like to think we hold all of our 3,000+ followers on Twitter in special esteem, but we have to admit we felt a little star struck this week when none other than LeBron James, a.k.a.  @KingJames with a quarter of a million followers, started following @DowntownExpress. Is King James thinking of buying a Lower Manhattan home? Hoping his youngest will get a seat in P.S. 234?

We’re not sure what got him interested in our tweets or how long he’ll stay — particularly since we’re not following him. (Tweet about Downtown, LeBron and we’re there.)

We probably shouldn’t mention that we still have not forgiven the King for forsaking his team and hometown on live TV a few years ago. Would we have done so if the NBA’s best player chose or — let’s dream — someday chooses the Knicks?

Well, yeah.