HRPT Addresses Public’s Concerns
From December 6, 2013
In Tuesday’s public meeting to discuss fundraising for the maintenance of Hudson River Park, new questions and suggestions were raised by concerned members of the public over the proposed Neighborhood Improvement District.
Norren Doyle, Executive Vice President of HRPT and A.J. Pietrantone, Executive Director of Friends of Hudson River Park, explained that city, state and federal funds were used in the park’s construction and could be available for ongoing capital construction, but that the ongoing maintenance of the park has been and will continue to be from private funds, and that the creation of an NID would go a long way toward meeting the current and future budgetary needs.
Among the projects that HRPT hopes to accomplish are the park’s continued maintenance and beautification, improving access points to the park which will make it safer for pedestrians to get across the West Side Highway, landscaping along the highway, and making connections to other public spaces near the park.
Also discussed was how the Board of Directors of a future NID would be composed, an issue still to be resolved.
When members of the public rose to speak, some of the issues raised were these:
• Why would taxes be levied on those owning property near the park and not all city residents, since everyone uses the park?
• Why not at least expand the taxable zone and graduate the taxes with those living across from the park paying the highest rate?
• Is there any way for the City to contribute some of the necessary funds? And should we question candidates running for office if they’d stand behind greater City financial aid to HRPT?
• A suggestion that part of the proposed funds go toward greater security.
• An important issue was raised concerning the current proposed NID map, and how it now overlaps some already existing BID’s that levy taxes and also provide services in those areas such as security and street cleaning. There are 67 BID’s citywide. as well as other types of neighborhood organizations that some feel would be eclipsed and double-taxed by an overlapping NID.
•Environmental concerns were also raised.
Ms. Doyle and Mr. Pietrantone listened patiently and addressed many of those concerns. They responded that Friends of Hudson River Park continues to work and plan with HRPT to develop possible streams of income, including the $250 million needed to complete the construction of the park. At this point, they are discussing a plan to make Pier 57 a possible retail development, and have renegotiated their lease with the Circle Line, both of which will bring in additional income.
Regarding the overlapping with existing BID’s, they are negotiating with those organizations to ensure that no one is double-taxed, and that the matter of improving security in the park will be addressed.
The cynics among us believe that any such plans put forward by powerful interests are a done deal, and regardless of how many public meetings are held, this, too will go the way of St. Vincent’s and the NYU expansion.
After hearing the responses of Ms. Doyle and Mr. Pietrantone, however, it seems that HRPT and FOHRPT are truly listening and still far enough from finalizing plans and that public opinion can make a diiference in the final plans to fund HRPT.
This was the third in the first round of meetings, and several more will be scheduled early in 2013 before going before the affected Community Boards and The City Council. West Village Word will announce those dates when they’re announced.
Our Favorite Holiday Windows
From December 6As always, the windows of Jackson Square/Grove Drugs on Hudson Street across from Abington Square, are Word‘s favorites. The display is put together with meticulous care and great imagination by pharmacist Said Fakhareddine and his wife, Lilia Alvarez whom Said says deserves all the credit.
Word featured photos of the pharmacy’s Halloween windows back in October, and we look forward to their Easter extravaganza.
Barnes & Noble on Eighth Street Closes Down
From December 12, 2012
As of December 31, the Barnes & Noble at Sixth Avenue and Eight Street will be shutting down, and many of us won’t miss it.
The troubled chain has been downsizing for the past few years, but not until after they managed to destroy many beloved independent bookstores in the neighborhood over the years.
We feel badly for any employees who may be laid off by the closing, but most of us won’t miss it. We still have book book on Bleecker Street and Three Lives, great independent bookstores.
No word yet as to what will replace the store.
350 Bleecker Gallery Show
From December 30, 2012
This fall, a number of long-time residents gathered for a party in the lobby to share their memories and fondness for the building, and in December, an historic lobby gallery show went on display, featuring an enlarged framed copy of the building’s original sales brochure, as well as a beautiful map of the village as it was in 1962, the year the building.
went up. Other historic and commemorative pieces were on display as well, including a painting of the roof garden, a fabulous and amusing
collage-portrait of the building’s super, and a daisy panel of the type that once adorned each front fire escape (the residents are happy that it’s a thing of the past!)
The major part of the show, however, was of artwork created by the building’s residents.
The many surprisingly wonderful works included watercolors by Brian Crowson, miniature dog icons by Stephanie Phelan (who created the original
Black Dog logo), charcoal pet drawings by Jennifer McNamara, an evocative painting by doorman Geoffrey Merrill, and many more works of interest.
The show was what may be the last in the building’s lobby, having been curated and hung for the past few years by a knowledgeable and skilled resident, Robinson Holloway — an accomplished artist in her own right.