Why Save Gulick Park?

Across the city on Saturday, residents who care about open space will be celebrating “It’s My Park Day.”   In our neighborhood, the Friends of Gulick Park have all kinds of fun activities planned, including pumpkin painting, bulb planting and a ping pong tournament. You can get more information on the group’s web site.

In the past year, the Friends of Gulick Park has made amazing progress towards their goal: giving this neglected space in the shadow of the Williamsburg Bridge a major face lift.  We asked one of the organization’s main organizers, Brian Crowley, to explain why the project is important to him:

Peter J. Ketchum “Hanging Tenaciously” at Theater For the New City

DO Tell by Peter J. Ketchum

Lo-Down Arts Contributor Ashlie Cotton stopped by the Theater For The New City after we heard from artist Peter J. Ketchum about his show, “30 Years Hanging Tenaciously on the Edge,” which is currently up in the gallery there.

How to Spend $200 Million? LMDC Seeks Public Input

This afternoon, the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. will be holding a public meeting to solicit input about a $200 million pot of federal money to be dispersed in the months ahead. Today’s event takes place in the Assembly Hearing Room, 250 Broadway, from 4pm-7pm.

The LMDC board has already formed three committees to look into potential projects in these general areas: cultural and community; economic development and housing; and infrastructure and open space.

Separately, the organization has held two information sessions to outline plans for a $17 million “Community and Cultural Enhancement Program.”   At the first of those sessions, representatives from dozens of organizations (many on the LES) crowded into a meeting room at the LMDC’s offices — in search of guidance about what sorts of projects the LMDC intends to fund.

For more information on the program, visit the LMDC’s web site.

Weekend Music Picks

Here are musician Ken Beasley’s top music picks on the Lower East Side this weekend:

Radio Radio © 2010 Mamoru Kobayakawa

RADIO RADIO – Thurs., Oct. 21 | 1am at Arlene’s Grocery

Their disco guitar riffs and danceable beats can easily draw comparisons to Belle and Sebastian or Franz Ferdinand, but the French-Acadian trio Radio Radio are a lot more (for lack of a better word) funky.

Not So Lucky on Clinton Street

If you walked past Lucky, the variety shop at 79 Clinton Street, in the last day or so you know the longtime Lower East Side store is closing. We have a call into the owner to find out why they’ve decided to go out of business. While gentrification has taken hold on Clinton between Houston and Rivington, this one block (from Rivington to Delancey) has so far defied the winds of change.  There’s a lot of concern about the sustainability of stores like Lucky, which serve low income and middle income shoppers. This commercial strip is part of the proposed expansion of the LES Business Improvement District.

UPDATE: A manager  told us the store is closing down because the building’s owner raised the rent. He said Lucky will shut its doors for good in about a week. They are not moving to a new location.

Also Lo-Down reader Ed Rudyk noticed this interesting tidbit about 79 Clinton’s past in Ephemeral New York:

250-pound Fredericka “Marm” Mandelbaum, who arrived in Manhattan from Prussia in 1849, became one of the city’s most infamous thieves, a kind of mother hen to organized crime in post–Civil War New York. After moving to the U.S., Marm and her husband opened a dry goods store at 79 Clinton Street, which quickly became a front for her various illegal activities. Marm fenced stolen goods, financed gangs, assisted con men and blackmailers, and even taught pickpocketing to kids on Grand Street.

Mamajuana Consults Neighbors, Charter School Parent Speaks Out, the Best of the LES

  • Mamajuana will consult with neighbors before asking for Community Board 3’s support (DNA Info).
  • The vice president of the New York Charter School Association speaks out about her own experience at Ross Global Academy (NYC Public School Parents).
  • LES spots on the Voice’s Best of New York list: Casa Mezcal, Dixon Place, The Box, Main Squeeze, Pizza a Casa and 18 others (Village Voice).

Good Morning!

Partly sunny today with a high of 63.

SPURA Task Force Makes Headway

We’ll have our usual blow-by-blow account from Community Board 3’s SPURA task force meeting in a day or two.  In the meantime, here’s a quick update from tonight’s session at P.S. 124 on Division Street.

The committee finally took up the big issue dividing the community: what types of housing should be built on the redevelopment site adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge.

Urban planner John Shapiro sketched out a scenario for the 7-acre parcel, based on the wishes of community leaders and (perhaps more significantly) financial realities.