The Tribeca Tribreports that Anne Compoccia, the former long-reigning chair of Community Board 1, died February 24th following a long bout with cancer. She was 62-years-old and was fondly regarded for her street-smart, tough-talking â€œNew Yawkerâ€ style.
Compoccia helmed the Community Board 1 for 12 years and helped steer the downtown revitalization agenda, overseeing the transformation of Lower Manhattan from a 9-to-5 business district that was deserted when the sun went down to a residential community and viable neighborhood. Compocciaâ€™s resume is decorated with achievements like helping to bring ball fields to Battery Park City, the public library on Murray Street and the Tribeca street improvement initiative that was dubbed â€œThe Greening of Greenwich Street.â€
The feisty, no-nonsense Compoccia, who went toe-to-toe with suits and politicians, is also credited with helping to bring about the Manhattan Youthâ€™s Downtown ComÂÂmunity Center and fostered the communityâ€™s use of Tribecaâ€™s Pier 25 — thanks to her support of these projects. Compoccia also founded the Little Italy Chamber of Commerce.
Compoccia, who lived alone for much of her life, was not perfect, however. She was arrested in 2000 for embezzling $85,000 in city funds relating to the Mulberry Street Mall. She resigned from her post as the chair of the CB1 when investigations into her dealings began. She served a 10-month sentence relating to these activities in a Brooklyn halfway house and took a community service job in a Manhattan hotel for homeless people afflicted with AIDS. Once she completed her sentence, she remained with the hotel in the role of paid supervisor.
Were you familiar with Compocciaâ€™s colorful life story before she passed?
The Tribeca Trib reports The Community Board 1 met with executives from the Road Runners Group, who were defending their plan to use Northern Battery Park City as a staging area for the famed Half Marathon, which will take place Sunday, March 20th. BPC residents vehemently oppose this plan, even though the Road Runners have permits.
As previously reported, Chambers Street and River Terrace would be used to lead the 10,000 runners from the finish line on West Street to the massive reception area at North Cove. North End Avenue, which is two-way and runs north and south, will be partially closed for TV trucks, generators and medical tents. Parking spaces will be occupied by portable toilets on other streets that are not closed to traffic.
Residents are also worried about partition walls and other disruptions. Road Runners Senior VP Peter Ciaccia said at the February 23rd meeting that â€œit was never the Road Runners intention to bypass planning and not include the community board.” However, since the 13-mile race runs through multiple locations, and therefore, multiple community boards, the group did not need to receive permission from individual neighborhoods. Ciaccia also claimed that he was unaware of the displeasure within the Battery Park City residents regarding the Half Marathon. He also offered to facilitate a post-race meeting to discuss any issues that are a result of this year’s race.
The Road Runners will meet with the Battery Park City Committee again today. What is your opinion of the set up plan for the Half Marathon?
More construction uproars are happening in Battery Park City. A West Street underpass will be erected between the World Financial Center, which is owned by Brookfield Properties, and the new World Trade Complex, while the Vesey Street bridge will be torn down.
However, even more distressing is that the Grand Staircase at the Winter Garden inside the World Financial Center is also being removed. The staircase, which was erected after September 11th, allows employees and tourists to move between levels of the World Financial Center and doubles as seating for free events that take place at the Winter Garden. The owners of the WFC want to tear them down and replace them with escalators to increase the efficiency of foot traffic.
A body was pulled from the North Cove Marina in the East River Tuesday afternoon at around 2:20 PM after being spotted by tourists booking helicopter rides, according to The New York Post. The victim has been identified as Kong Huang. He was 79 and lived on the East Side and had been reported as missing on Sunday by the Office of Emergency Management. Huang reportedly suffered from Alzheimerâ€™s.
â€œIt looked like a bag of trash,â€ said Angel Gonzalez, an employee with Manhattan Helicopters. Huangâ€™s body was completely submerged, being kept afloat only by his jacket, Gonzalez also said.
What would you do if you made such a discovery while embarking on tourist activities?
In a New York Times profile, a troubling truth about NYCâ€™s Little Italy neighborhood emerged: a census survey released in December determined that the proportion of Italian-Americans among the 8,600 residents in a two-dozen-square-block area of Lower Manhattan had shrunk to about 5 percent.
The 2010 census also revealed that not one resident was born in Italy, either.
In a survey taken of the same area in 2000, the census found that the Italian-American population had dwindled to 6 percent. Only 44 were Italian-born, compared with 2,149 a half-century earlier.
In laymanâ€™s terms: Little Italy is becoming less and less, well, Italian.
In 1950, nearly half of the more than 10,000 New Yorkers living in the heart of Little Italy identified as Italian-American. However, some locals speculate that Chinatownâ€™s northward growth and SoHo expanding westward, as well as the rebranding of certain sections with more fashionable names NoLIta, which is an abbreviation for north of Little Italy, are part of the root causes of the section de-Italianizing. Mulberry and Grand Streets remain the most vibrant roads influenced by Italian culture, with plenty of Italian-centric food and shopping, but itâ€™s not like it was during the neighborhoodâ€™s heyday.
Some residents feel that there has been an Asian takeover in the Little Italy region, and the National Park Service designated a Chinatown and Little Italy Historic District with no geographic distinction between the neighborhoods. The two neighborhoods are coexisting and have begun organizing a Marco Polo Day and an East-Meets-West Christmas parade.
What do you think of Little Italy becoming less Italian?
Since the September 11th attacks, visiting the Statue of Liberty has been quite the hassle, thanks to security concerns. Visitors are screened at Battery Park and are forced to toil and wait in long, slow lines. If tourists and visitors want a “two-fer” and plan to visit both Ellis Island and Liberty Island, they were forced to go through a second security screening process at Liberty Island in order to enter the statueâ€™s pedestal or crown. The headache is enough to make visitors and out-of-towners want to find something else to do while in Manhattan.
The talks to create a new, streamlined security process have been resurrected after various state, local and federal agencies had reached a standstill. They have yet to come up with a new plan. It’ll come down to the amount of checkpoints necessary and required for the safety of all visitors.
“The U.S. Park Police, New York City Police Department, the mayorâ€™s office and Interior Secretary (Ken) Salazarâ€™s office are all sitting down, going through the proposal by detail,” said Oliver Spellman, the Northeast senior program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. “They’ve reopened the conversation with more agencies involved.” While there was a suggestion to bring the security operation to Ellis Island, Park Police do not want visitors to board ferries to Ellis Island without a security check to begin with.
â€œTheyâ€™re trying to see if they can find a way that works out for everyone, even if they could find a location outside of Battery Park,” the NPCA representative said. â€œTheyâ€™d rather err on the side of security, and that’s really the question: how many checkpoints do you really need.â€
According to AP/CBS New York, while the September 11th memorial will be open and ready for visitors this year as we remember the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the memorial won’t be easily accessible for years to come. Joe Daniels, the president of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, said that years will pass before the millions of people who want to pay their respects and visit the center will have easy access to the site due to ongoing construction.
Visitors will be given the opportunity to view the memorial from all sides, but they will be hampered by construction noise as skyscrapers are being erected; the transit hub will also create noise, as construction workers toils to complete the job. Visitors will only be able to use a single entrance and at certain points will be required to wear a hard hat due to safety concerns.
Also, visitors will be required to make a reservation for a pass in order to obtain access. Reservations will be made online and will be free and for specific dates and times, Daniels said.
Additionally, relatives of victims of the attacks will be given special consideration for visitation rights.
If the thought of surrounding noise and limited access sours your desire to visit the memorial, consider that the earliest visitors will be able to enjoy historic, one-of-a-kind views of the rebuilding process. Daniels effectively summed it up, telling The Associated Press that â€œItâ€™s the front-row seat of seeing the tallest building in the United States built.â€
Are you planning to visit a restricted September 11th memorial this year?
The New York Press reports that the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council is taking over as the lead partner on the River to River Festival, the free summer arts extravaganza that will celebrate its 10th anniversary this summer! The programming schedule and exact dates for the event will be announced in April.
The RTR festival was launched back in 2002 as a means and a method to revitalize and stimulate the economy of the Lower Manhattan region after the attacks of September 11th. The festival has thrived in its decade-long existence, with 100,000 people pouring into various locations and venues downtown to enjoy the arts -music, movies, dance and other assorted family events- for free.
The Sixth Annual New York City Half Marathon is slated for Sunday, March 20th and the event, from the runners to the media to the volunteers, should cause more than a few headaches for Battery Park City residents. According to the Tribeca Trib, The New York Road Runners, who are organizing the event, plan to commandeer both Chambers Street and River Terrace, which are two of the major thoroughfares in the northern section of BPC, as the â€œwalk off pathâ€ for 10,000 runners expected to compete in the 13.1 mile run. Even worse, North End Avenue, which is the areaâ€™s only two-way, north-south road, will be partially closed to accommodate TV trucks, generators and medical tents. Non-blocked streets like Murray and Warren will boast 25-30 portable toilets.
The raceâ€™s finish line is located on West Street above Chambers and runners will then be lead around Stuyvesant High School to Chambers and then onto River Terrace. The walk-off leads to a reception area on Winter Garden Plaza on North Cove. There, vendors and volunteers would be stationed, handing out amenities like juice and foil blankets to the winded runners trying to catch their breath.
The Road Runners and local residents will continue to discuss better options and other possibilities to make the event livable for the participants and the locals. One suggestion was to move staging and reception to either Pier 40 in Greenwich Village or Pier 25 in Tribeca.
Could you live with the headaches imposed by the half-marathon since itâ€™s one day or are you opposed to all the closures and interruptions in daily life?
Two weeks ago, Battery Park City resident Adam Pratt was attacked by a Parks Enforcement Patrol officer when walking his dog on South End Avenue, reports Downtown Express. The patrolwoman approached him on a golf cart and requested ID. He didn’t have it on him and she then struck him in the face not one, not two, but three times with her walkie talkie. A bystander corroborated the account.
The Parks Department, which oversees the PEP, issued the following statement about the incident: â€œOn Saturday, January 29, a man in Battery Park City was issued a summons for disorderly conduct and brought to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation after behaving irrationally and striking a female Parks Enforcement Officer. Conflicting reports state that the Parks Enforcement Officer initiated the confrontation. We will therefore take further steps to look into this.â€
Clearly, Pratt and the PEP have differing accounts of what happened. Pratt, who has photographed PEP officers dozing off in the vehicles and thinks this incident was their way of getting back at him for causing trouble, was eventually handcuffed and placed in an ambulance and taken to a psych ward at Bellevue. He was eventually charged with ‘disorderly behavior,’ which was the only charge they could place on him. A later X-ray revealed rib contusions for Pratt. He plans to sue.