Friday, January 28, 2011
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Thursday, January 27, 2011
Letting Trump revive the place from the ashes would embarrass him, as Ed Koch was when Trump saved the Wollman Rink from City Hall's incompetence in the 1970s."
Donald J. Trump and the head of the powerful union that represented the 400 workers at Tavern on the Green say they have come to an agreement that could revive the shuttered landmark restaurant that is now home to a food-truck court and a visitor center, according to the New York Times.
Mr. Trump, never reticent about his ambitions, said that if New York City granted him the license to run Tavern he would spend $20 million of his own money to rebuild it so it would be “the highest-grossing restaurant on the planet.’’ Neither he nor the union’s leader, Peter Ward, president of the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, would reveal specifics of the agreement. But Mr. Trump said “the contract allows me to offer the highest level of service and quality.”
Reaching a deal with Mr. Ward has been a crucial stumbling block to reopening the once-glittering restaurant after its previous operator, the LeRoy family, declared bankruptcy and closed it on New Year’s Day of last year. The city owns the restaurant in Central Park and had given the operating license to Dean J. Poll, operator of the Boathouse in the park. But Mr. Poll lost the right to run the restaurant after he failed to reach agreement with the union, a necessary condition for his license.
For the plans to go forward for a future “Trump on the Green,” the developer would have to get the New York City Parks Department to grant him the operating license. And yesterday, the city did not leap into Mr. Trump’s arms.
The parks department deferred to City Hall and Jason Post, a spokesman for the mayor, said, “The city is not ready to announce any future plans for Tavern on the Green and has not had any discussions with possible restaurant operators.”
The city’s original request for Tavern bidders had specified that the new operator come to agreement with the union, and Mayor Bloomberg cited the failure of Mr. Poll to do so as the reason for suspending the fruitless negotiations last May.
Mr. Ward said that his agreement with Mr. Trump allowed for the rehiring of former Tavern workers, some of whom have been unemployed since it closed. “It’s not only the workers — reopening Tavern would mean more money for the city. It would be a win-win situation.”
Mr. Trump said of his deal with the union that “the economic consequences of the union contract won’t be a consideration since the restaurant will be such a huge success.”
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
There’s yet another huge cover up in the works for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
As city officials move forward with plans to fix the BQE “ditch” — a sunken, mile-long stretch bordering Hicks Street that separates Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill from the Columbia Street Waterfront District — City Councilwoman Diana Reyna is pushing a smaller, yet more ambitious, plan for the expressway in South Williamsburg, according to The Brooklyn Blog.
Reyna (D-Brooklyn) wants to bring two-acres of much-needed park space there by covering up part of the BQE’s dreaded open-air trench that runs through the neighborhood between South 3rd and South 5th streets. She and the nonprofit St. Nick’s Alliance commissioned landscape architect Susannah Drake to design a plan that caps the expressway with a baseball field, soccer field and tree-lined lawns.
Reyna is now in the process of trying to secure government funding and City Hall blessing for a project estimated at $85 million to $175 million.
South Williamsburg ranks at the bottom of the city in parkland and is among the tops in asthma rates. Reyna says the project would help solve these problems – as well as reconnect the North and South side neighborhoods of Williamsburg.
A CONCEPTUAL AXONOMETRIC VIEW OF THE PROPOSED PARK ATOP THE BQE.
“The kids who play there have to play by a six-lane highway,” said dlandstudio principal Susannah Drake. As for Southside Williamsburg’s existing park areas, Drake said, “They’re not well-equipped, they’re disconnected, and they’re often difficult to get to.” Drake and her team spent the better part of 2010 helping Councilwoman Reyna drum up support for the plan from community organizations and government agencies, relying on scientific evidence about noise and air pollution to gain public and private interest. The team is drawing upon several California studies that linked the proximity of major highways to asthma rates, and spurred state legislation prohibiting construction of schools within 150 feet of heavily trafficked arteries. According to dlandstudio, there are five public elementary schools and two junior high schools within the general vicinity of the proposed park area.