Under Cover, Week of March 6, 2013

LiLo Laying Low?
Tribeca and the city tabloids were all abuzz last month amid reports that Lindsay Lohan was planning to design a Mexican restaurant space on N. Moore St., but a neighborhood tipster tells us the uproar has prompted her to back away from the project. Would that be a first?

Verizon P.R.
Verizon is hoping to win back some Downtown friends after it took many months to restore phone and internet service to many of its Lower Manhattan customers hit by Hurricane Sandy — it’s still not done.
The info giant has just started a new video P.R.  campaign to thank customers for sticking with them.

“We realize that any number of our impacted customers could have left us, but some didn’t. For that, we’d like to thank them,” Verizon said in the campaign.

Eddie Travers, owner of Fraunces Tavern restaurant, is one of the first people featured. But he just talks about his business and does not mention the V–word.

Sandy’s Silver Lining
Hurricane Sandy of course wreaked lots of destruction in Lower Manhattan and elsewhere, but it apparently also drove some rats out of Downtown. Catherine McVay Hughes, Community Board 1’s chairperson, said the Health Dept. says rat sightings are down Downtown because of the storm, although they did not have final numbers. She and the Health Dept. recommend calling 311 when the less than lovable creatures are spotted.


Andy Breslau, a veteran of city government and journalism, has just joined the Downtown Alliance as its new vice president of communications and marketing.

Breslau has had stints with CNN, the Fund for Investigative Journalism, City Limits, and with former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger.

Staffer At Last
Community Board 1 has finally been able to get Diana Switaj on staff as its part time deputy director of land use and planning.
The city has had a too-good-to-be-true deal with Switaj, who joined the board as a planning intern in Sept. 2011 while she was a graduate student at Columbia University, where she studied with Michael Levine, Board 1’s planning director.

Switaj has remained with the board unofficially ever since, helping with  a multitude of projects. After C.B. 1 leaders went through a few months of talks working through city red tape, she was able to join the staff and will at least be getting paid a salary for her work. We suspect it’s somewhere between Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s salary, and what all the work she has already done is worth.

Subway Grates
We’re wondering about what irks us most about the digital arrow signs on the World Trade Center stop’s E platform.

Is it that the M.T.A. spent money on useless info like whether you’ll have to walk a few feet to the left or right once you’re already on the platform? Is it that the sign could have had helpful info like whether it makes sense to walk up and down stairs to wait for the A or C instead?  Is it that the sign pointed in the wrong direction when we were there last Tuesday night?

We think it’s the second one. To be fair to the M.T.A., the arrow did switch to the right direction after the train had already pulled into the station.