Neighborhood Chatter

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FINANCIAL DISTRICT
20 PINE HOSTS PANEL ON PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF FIDI
Neighborhood Chatter“Just in the last decade, the population south of Chambers Street has more than doubled, and Downtown has 130 more companies than 10 years ago,” said Lori Ordover, managing member of The Ordover Group, the sales and marketing consultant for Africa-Israel USA, developers of 20 Pine The Collection.

Stephanie Jennings, assistant vice president for economic development at the Alliance for Downtown New York, the country’s largest business improvement district, served as a panelist, sharing details from the Alliance’s “State of Lower Manhattan 2011” report, which discusses the area’s growth over the past decade.

“Lower Manhattan is one of the fastest-growing residential neighborhoods in New York City, drawing families and young professionals seeking space and convenience,” said Jennings. “Approximately 25 percent of Downtown households currently have children, and 40 percent are hoping to have children within the next three years.”

Jennings also noted that the completion of the World Trade Center buildings will create more than 10.9 million square feet of new office space in the years to come.

The standing-room-only event took place in 20 Pine’s Penthouse 12. Attendees ended the evening with a tour of the property’s facilities, including a 60-foot swimming pool, Turkish steam bath, library, open-air terrace lounge, and Full Swing golf simulation room.

LOWER EAST SIDE
COUNTERACTING YOUTH VIOLENCE WITH BASKETBALL
In response to a string of high-profile crimes involving teenagers and young adults, including the Oct. 16 murder of 18-year-old Keith Salgado in the Campos Plaza courtyard, local elected officials announced last week the launch of a new education and activity program at the Campos Plaza public housing development in the Lower East Side. The program, which started Dec. 9, boasts basketball, recreation and counseling and will be offered free of charge on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings to provide a safe and positive environment for local teens between the ages of 14-19.

Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, who represents Campos Plaza, said, “Crime prevention requires a cooperative, continuous and citywide effort involving not only effective policing but also alternative opportunities and constructive activities for young people.

“By providing constructive activities and a safe space, the new PAL [Police Athletic League] Teen Impact Center is a critical step toward protecting our kids and our community,” added State Sen. Daniel Squadron.

SILVER ASKS FOR MORE FERRY SERVICE
Last week, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver lobbied for more public transportation to the Lower East Side and asked the city to “explore the possibility of expanding its East River ferry service to include stops on the LES of Manhattan.”

In a letter addressed to Robert Steele, deputy mayor for economic development, Silver pointed out a lack of access to public transportation for the residents at the eastern end of Grand Street as well as the thousands of people who live in the New York City Housing Authority complexes in the neighborhood.

The East River Ferry service connects Long Island City in Queens and various points in Brooklyn, like Williamsburg and DUMBO, with Midtown, Lower Manhattan and Governors Island. The closest Manhattan-side ferry stop for LES residents is on Wall Street at Pier 11.

“Lower East Side residents, particularly students and seniors, have difficulty reaching the Financial District, as well as other parts of Lower Manhattan, due to the distance they must travel to the closest subways stations on East Broadway and Delancey Street. Bus service is infrequent and often unreliable,” said Silver in his letter. “The city has done an outstanding job of using our waterways in a creative and effective manner to expand our transportation network and I urge you to examine the feasibility of including the Lower East Side in your regional ferry plan.”

P.S. 137 TO REMAIN OPEN
In October, Council Member Margaret Chin wrote a letter to the Department of Education urging them to keep P.S. 137, an elementary school in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, open. The council member also joined P.S. 137 parents and students for a rally in November in an attempt to keep the school’s doors open.

Last week, Chin confirmed that the DOE has decided to keep P.S. 137 open, despite its identification by the DOE in this year’s progress report as “needing further examination and review” due to poor performance. Over the next few weeks, the school will be evaluated and a program of action will be implemented to help get the school on the road to success.

Chin said, “I am happy that the DOE has demonstrated their commitment to this small neighborhood school. Our schools do not need phase-outs, they need support. Principal Rodriguez knows where her school’s weaknesses lie, and she has demonstrated a willingness to address those issues in a comprehensive manner. I lobbied the DOE to keep P.S. 137 open and my support for this important part of the Lower East Side community will not wane. We have a lot of work to do but I am confident that, with the support of the DOE, P.S. 137’s future is bright.”

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