Jenny Rivera, Raised on the Lower East Side, Appointed to State’s Highest Court

Governor Cuomo presents Judge Rivera with the gavel of the late Judge Benjamin Cardozo. Photo: Albany Times Union.

CUNY law professor Jenny Rivera was confirmed Monday to a seat on the State Court of Appeals.  She becomes only the second Latina to serve on New York’s highest court.  Rivera grew up on the Lower East Side, though she’s lived in the Bronx for many years.

Senate Republicans grilled Rivera during confirmation hearings, complaining that she had no judicial experience.  In response, Governor Cuomo, who nominated Rivera, said, “What makes a court a great court is a wide perspective.” Noting that Rivera served as an attorney representing those less fortunate, he added, “She didn’t represent big corporations… She wasn’t representing wealthy people on how to arrange their trusts and estates — that’s right. She spent her life, through public service, helping people live their lives.”

Rivera, who’s Puerto Rican,  lived in the Baruch Houses. Her mom struggled financially, working in glove and hat factories.  Rivera has degrees from Princeton and New York University.

Big Turnout For Bialystoker Hearing Before Landmarks Commission

228 East Broadway.

There was strong turnout this morning at a public hearing concerning an application to protect the former Bialystoker Nursing Home building at 228 East Broadway.  The Landmarks Preservation Commission heard from a couple dozen speakers, all in support of saving the 1929 Art Deco building, and Bob Tierney, the panel’s chairman, even played the role of “matchmaker.”

The Bialystoker home, facing a range of financial problems, closed in late 2011, and for a time, the board sought a buyer interested in purchasing the site for redevelopment.  Following months of activism by a new preservation group, Friends of the Lower East Side, the board changed course, saying it would not stand in the way of the landmark application. Today, Chairman Tierney thanked the owners for working hand-in-hand with the commission during the past few months in what he called “a productive paertnership.”

Community Board 3’s Bar Battles Illustrated!

Sketches by David Flaherty.

Anyone who’s ever attended a Community Board 3 liquor licensing committee meeting knows they go on pretty much forever.  When we left after four-and-a-half hours last night, they were just getting warmed up!  Local resident and illustrator David Flaherty had some time on his hands last night while observing the shenanigans.  He sent along a few notepad sketches.

Motor City Bar Confirms Closing

Motor City Bar, 127 Ludlow Street. Photo by Robert K. Chin.

It’s been a tough week so far for Ludlow Street.  Last night, we spoke with Francesca Romeo, co-owner of Motor City Bar, who confirmed reports that the beloved Lower East Side spot will be shutting down.  Yesterday a reader tipped off EV Grieve about the closure. Romeo, who runs rock-in-roll accented “Motor City” with partner Teresa Farnell, said their lease was up and the landlord did not give the option of renewal.

“Motor City” opened in 1996 when few businesses (other than pioneering LES haunt “Max Fish”) dared to make a go of it in the pre-gentrified neighborhood.  Romeo said the lease expires at the end of the month but it’s possible they’ll be able to stay in the space a little bit longer, and they’re keeping open the possibility of opening another New York bar.   Romeo, by the way, is an alum of our My LES series.  In addition to her title of “bar owner,” she’s a filmmaker and photographer and has been living in California, while making frequent trips back to NYC, in recent months.

CB3 Recap: Piano’s Team Denied, EMM Group Withdraws, Eastwood Approved

Piano’s, 158 Ludlow Street. Image via Piano’s web site.

It was another lengthy and contentious evening at Community Board 3’s liquor licensing committee meeting.  We’ll have a more detailed wrap-up later, but a few highlights now.  First the panel opposed a plan by the operators of Piano’s, 158 Ludlow Street, to turn the neighboring “LIving Room” space into a kind of dinner theater venue.  A number of residents testified against the Piano’s team, saying they have not been good neighbors and are a bad influence on the street.

Good Morning!

Grand Street Stores (Lomo)

Grand Street, west of Essex Street. Phto by Roey Ahram.

A mix of sun and clouds today, windy and a high of 42.

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