Under Cover, Week of June 19, 2014

Tales on a school
Howard Hughes Corporation’s Chris Curry didn’t sound all that interested in adding a school to the firm’s Seaport redevelopment project back in January, when Downtown Express asked him about it, but it looks like that’s changed.

Back then, he cited the nearby Peck Slip School, scheduled to open next year, as a reason not to delve further. He did acknowledge the firm had not yet made “a larger gesture to the community,” which is typically made to get large tower projects like theirs approved. 

One Downtown school advocate told us that in recent weeks, the firm approached him about adding a school site in exchange for supporting a project, but he rebuffed the overture in part because he knew such a school effort would be opposed by community leaders who oppose the Seaport project.

A second school advocate, Tricia Joyce, chairperson of Community Board 1’s Youth and Education Committee, said she also heard about the Hughes overtures, but the board is united in its opposition to the tower so a school sweetener will not divide them.

Hughes’ predecessor, General Growth Properties, did put a school on the table, but a recession and bankruptcy scuttled that possibility.

Meanwhile, the Hughes firm continues to revise its proposal in response to the Seaport Working Group’s draft recommendations, and Councilmember Margaret Chin’s office tells us the group is happy to report they got 650 Post-it notes and comments to their ideas which they expect to include in the final working group document of principles.

Kyle Kimball, the city’s economic development head under Mayors Bloomberg and de Blasio said the group’s recommendations will help “ensure that the future of the Seaport benefits both the local community and economy while preserving the Seaport’s important role in the fabric of New York City.”     

The revolution will be digested
Count Democratic District leader Jenifer Rajkumar as one of the Battery Park City residents happy with the new culinary choices at Hudson Eats. “It’s a revolution,” she told us.

Local Snub

 Downtown Express file photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer Tom Goodkind, leader of the TriBattery Pops
Downtown Express file photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Tom Goodkind, leader of the TriBattery Pops

“Take the A Train”? Take a hike.

Tom Goodkind, conductor of our favorite local marching band, the TriBattery Pops, tells us the powers that be at the M.T.A. won’t let them play the classic Billy Strayhorn tune — made famous by Strayhorn’s musical mentor and collaborator, Duke Ellington — at the grand opening of the Fulton Center subway station next Thursday. 

Goodkind said Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver’s office has been helpful making the case for the Downtown band to play for free, but the idea remains stuck in the station.

Naturally, he does not have good or kind feelings toward the snubbing authority, particularly after rehearsing the song for six months. 

“The Pops officially at this moment think their new station looks like a small office building in Cleveland,” Goodkind wrote us.  “If they ever need to keep a non-corrupt set of books, don’t count on this C.P.A.!”