Residents Want Say in Triangle Fire Memorial

[caption id="attachment_467" align="alignleft" width="229"]age of Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25 - 1911 age of Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25 - 1911[/caption] In 2013 an international competition was held to find a design with which the tragic events of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire would be memorialized. Greenwich Village residents are now upset that the winning design was picked by “a renowned panel of jurists” but without any input from residents. In 1911 146 employees, most of them young immigrant women, were killed in a ferocious fire at the factory of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. The high death toll was caused, to a great extent, because the factory’s doors were locked from the outside, leaving no proper means of escape to those inside once the blaze began. Young women were forced to jump from high stories to their deaths, rather than burn in the fire itself. The competition for the memorial received over 170 submissions from 30 countries. Joel Sosinsky, a member of the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition, the organization that spearheaded the memorial idea beginning many years ago, said:
“Frances Perkins, the first female Cabinet member under FDR, who witnessed the fire, basically said that the New Deal started at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire,” Sosinsky said. “People walk past that building every day and have no idea.”
District Leader Terri Cude, of the 66th Assembly District Part B, agrees that a memorial at the site of the tragedy is appropriate. She is just frustrated that the selection of the final design was not made in consultation with the residents of the neighborhood who will have to live with the memorial. The main worry seems to be that the 8-story-high mirrored piece could reflect light right into the windows of the homes of the residents.
“Basically we’re going to try to start a conversation in the ‘better late than never’ thought that perhaps some of the community’s concerns can be expressed to the coalition, who then maybe can modify the design,” Cude said at a recent meeting of Community Board 2’s executive leadership. Sosinsky said that the designers will have to have the last word on the ultimate design of the memorial, who are planning on attending the meeting.
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Flipped Village Apartment Largest Sale of Week

[caption id="attachment_464" align="alignright" width="244"]Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Photo by MBisanz Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Photo by MBisanz[/caption] In December 2013 Robert Kaliner of Ascend Builders partnered with Jeffrey Davidson of West Orange, New Jersey to purchase a vacant apartment building on Waverly Place for $10.2 million. Last week, after an additional $6.5 million was spent for major renovations, the Greek Revival, 1905 brick building, now private residence, sold for over $23 million. The residence, located at 146 Waverly, was gutted and rebuilt, with the addition of a below-ground floor.
“It was demoed and built from the ground up — the only thing left were the front and side walls,” Mr. Kaliner said, adding, “It wasn’t architecturally beautiful. It was a pretty crummy rental building.”
Their first attempt at selling the property was as a “customizable townhouse” for $22 million. Several months went by when the partners took the house off the market, realizing that no one wanted to get involved in all the dirty work of construction and renovation. The partners decided instead to create an original interior design for the 7,600-square-foot building. Utilizing the expertise of architect Wayne Turett and Kaliner’s Ascend Builders contracting business, the pair was able to create a wonderful, light-filled house with high ceilings, high-end finishes, floor to ceiling windows and brand new mechanical systems everywhere in the building.
“Our vision was to build something that was classic with a contemporary feel to it,” Mr. Kaliner said. “It’s hard when you’re building a house on spec to pick something that everyone loves. We made sure this house was built the way it should be built.”
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Man Stalks Young Girl Walking Home from Washington Square Park

[caption id="attachment_455" align="alignleft" width="321"]Washington_Square1 Washington Square Park Photo by Urban~commonswiki[/caption] A 12-year-old girl’s afternoon was distressingly disrupted when she was followed home by a stalking stranger. The girl was first confronted by the man as she was walking home at 12:30pm from Washington Square Park. In the park he walked up to her and attempted to begin a conversation. The girl left the park in tears, and walked directly to her home. As she walked into the elevator to take her to the safety of her home, the stranger managed to slip into the building and then followed her into the elevator. The man then told the girl he had just been released from prison, and asked her to hide him in her apartment. The girl fled the elevator screaming, and the man beat a path out of there. The girl’s mother called the police at once. Based on the girl’s identification of the man from the back of the police car the police were able to arrest 39-year-old Carl Catapano. He was nabbed on 10th Street and Broadway, just a few blocks away. Catapano is now held on a $15,000 bond or $5,000 cash bail. He is charged with disorderly conduct, stalking, acting in a manner injurious to a child and criminal trespass. Read More

Play Ball at Bergino Clubhouse

[caption id="attachment_444" align="alignleft" width="261"]Jackie_Robinson,_Brooklyn_Dodgers,_1954 Jackie Robinson, 1954[/caption] Are you crazy for baseball? Do you know anyone who is? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then head on over to a remarkable shop that takes the art of baseball collectibles to a whole new level. Bergino Baseball Clubhouse has everything you can imagine if you adore America’s favorite game, and a more than a few things you probably can’t imagine. Handmade Bergino baseballs are affordable at only $25 each. The Americana selection pay homage to themes such as ‘Peace,’ Jackie Robinson, and the Star Spangled Banner. City map baseballs honor Los Angeles, Boston, and Jerusalem, which as far as I know, does not even have a baseball team. Go figure. There are artworks for sale from artists such as Lou Grant and Roger Patrick. A Yankee Stadium musical snow globe is on sale. You can find coasters made of Astro Turf, baseball styled bag tags, and of course autographed books. Clubhouse gift items include a Bergino Baseball Clubhouse hat; cuff links, wallets and a money clip all made from authentic used baseballs; and even a stool made from a real base. It goes without saying this is just the “tip of the ballpark.” All your gifts are taken care of already? Bergino also sponsors events. On Wednesday, December 16, fans can come here Derek Jeter speak at 7pm. The clubhouse website also has podcasts for its fans listening pleasure. The clubhouse is located at 67 East 11th Street in Greenwich Village. Call for more information: 212-226-7150. Read More

A Glimpse at a New York Business: Marc Lasry & Avenue Capital Group

[caption id="attachment_274" align="alignleft" width="150"]Marc Lasry Marc Lasry[/caption]

It’s always fascinating to learn about companies based in New York and the activities that they are doing. Avenue Capital Group, founded in 1995 by the brother-sister team Marc Lasry and Sonia Gardner, works to achieve attractive risk-adjusted returns with their focus on the distressed debt and undervalued securities of US companies.

Their US strategy is focused in three main areas. They focus on companies in financial distress, those in bankruptcy and those that are undervalued because of discrete extraordinary events. As of the end of January, 2013, their assets under management allocated to the Avenue US strategy section were estimated to be around $5.5 billion.

As they explain on their website, “Avenue’s experienced investment professionals seek “good companies with bad balance sheets”— firms with sustainable businesses and positive cash flow but whose financial situation is distressed. The investment team conducts extensive research and analysis using Avenue’s top-down/bottom-up approach to find undervalued opportunities and typically seeks to make non-operational control investments in troubled businesses. This provides the strategy maximum trading flexibility and allows Avenue’s investment professionals to focus on pre-investment research and analysis rather than post-investment operating issues."

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An Oasis of Mindfulness Opening in the Village

[caption id="attachment_433" align="alignleft" width="300"]Take a break and meditate. Take a break and meditate.[/caption] New Yorkers have a reputation for being stressed, harried and harassed. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a place for people to go to unwind and concentrate on their larger goals in life in a quiet, supportive environment, but without having to commit to a two hour lecture? For partners Ellie Burrows and Lodro Rinzler, the answer is a resounding yes. Together they have opened New York’s first outlet for nervous New Yorkers to participate in 30 or 45 minute meditations in the middle of their stressful days. CEO Burrows says that her idea is to give people a space to “meditate and be quiet in a way that’s hard if you’re in New York City.” After meeting Rinzler when she volunteered at his non-profit organization “Institute for Compassionate Leadership” Burrows wondered if it was possible to create a place in New York where meditation can become part of a busy person’s life. Her vision was to give people the ability to access mediation in a similar way to just “dropping in to get your nails done.” Rinzler, who has written several books on meditation, created a staff of 25 expert teachers from a wide range of disciplines. The classes cover different themes such as emotions, sleep, breath, and setting specific goals for each day.
"Whatever their particular struggle might be, we'll have a class for them," Rinzler said.
MNDFL is opening in November at 10 East 8th Street and will be open seven days a week.
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Coffee Club : $25 Gets You All the Brew You Want

Here’s a new concept for your morning Java: purchase a membership in a coffee shop and have the rights to unlimited [caption id="attachment_430" align="alignright" width="300"]Valais Blackneck goat. Photo by: Nauticashades Valais Blackneck goat. Photo by: Nauticashades[/caption] quantities of coffee, tea, lattes, espressos and lemonade. This unique offer comes from Fair Folks & a Goat which opened its doors in the fall of 2012 on Houston Street in the Village. The shop also sells art, clothing, beer, wine and home design artifacts. The shop boasts about 1,000 members, but changes slightly each month. An average of seven new members joined up every day this past September. This past spring Fair Folks hosted a Chines New Year’s party, celebrating the Year of the Goat, and from then on they began having concerts by their members who are also musicians, creating the beginnings of a kind of movement. In April they opened a back-door patio lounge at their East 11th Street satellite location. Membership costs $25 per month, but non-members are welcome to order a cup of whatever they like and pay the regular price. Read More

Carousel Arrives in Manhattan

carouselA carousel just landed at Manhattan’s southern tip. Well, that is what it looks like. It actually could be mistaken for an alien ship but it’s not. According to Battery Conservancy founder, Warrie Price, “It's the memory of the first New York Aquarium of 1896 when 5,000 people a day would go. The magic of the undersea is still as viable 119 years later.” It has been a project in the making for the last decade, costing $16 million dollars. Seaglass is a 3 minute ride and it is anticipated that six million will visit it per year. There are of course many other carousels already in New York City, that also tell a historical tale. For example, Jane’s Carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park (in use since 1922, hailing from Idora Park, OH), the Bug Carousel at Bronx Zoo (known for its larger-than-life bugs rather than traditional horses), the Central Park Carousel (built back in 1908, which is one of America’s largest carousels), and the Flushing Meadows Carousel (created in 1963 for the Worlds Fair), etc. This new one in Manhattan has an interesting structure. According to WXY Architecture and Urban Design, Claire Weisz, “it plays off the idea of not being a building but kind of a sculptural being in that you're the creature crawling out of the shell.” Bugs, fish, what next for New York’s carousels?   Read More

Missing Pigeons bring Mixed Feelings

[caption id="attachment_423" align="alignleft" width="219"]Bunch of pigeons Bunch of pigeons[/caption] Have you ever wondered what New York would be like without its ubiquitous pigeon population? Now that about 100 of our pigeon pals have gone missing from Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, we are given a rare chance to truly contemplate this question. No one knows exactly where our feathered friends (or foes) have gone to, but the park is certainly a different kind of place without them. Our question is: is it different good, or different bad? One observer was elated to say “good-bye to a huge flock of ‘rats’,” not caring to differentiate between mammals and birds. Another commentator was more sympathetic. Tina Trachtenberg, an animal activist was concerned about how “these innocent, trusting, loving pigeons” were being treated. Those speculating on the whereabouts of the birds seem to believe that they were lured and then captured by hunters, perhaps for food, or perhaps for some other use, that would not sit well with Trachtenberg. Whether the consensus is that the birds are a nuisance or rather a welcome reminder that we share the world with other living things and not just concrete, buildings and the occasional plant or tree, it is definitely kind of creepy to suddenly not to be sharing the space with these commonplace creatures.   Read More

NYU Gets Go-Ahead for Major Expansion

[caption id="attachment_419" align="alignleft" width="300"]NYU Campus, Photo By Cincin12 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons NYU Campus, Photo By Cincin12 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]Despite the best efforts of Greenwich Village community activists, New York University was granted permission to go ahead with a planned campus expansion. The expansion will add 2 million square feet to its campus, at the expense of a neighborhood public park, which the activists claimed was permanently designated for such use. Last year a lower court ruled that some parts of the plan would need legislative approval because of the parkland conflict. However, an Appellate Division court later reversed that decision, and on Tuesday the New York State Court of Appeals agreed. They said that just because “a portion of the public may have believed that these parcels are permanent parkland” does not mean NYU can't build there. The NYU expansion plan will create new high rise buildings on two blocks between West Third and Houston Streets and La Guardia Place and Mercer Street. NYU spokesperson John Beckman expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision.
“We look forward to moving ahead with the project, which is vital to meeting NYU’s pressing academic space needs,” Beckman said.
The director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Andrew Berman, was less happy.
“We are deeply disappointed, not only because of the effect this will have in terms of green-lighting NYU’s massive expansion plan, but also in terms of undermining the protection of public park land.”
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