News From The SoHo Alliance

Below is some News from The SoHo Alliance:

Fr. Fagan Park Reopens 
After several years of delay, Father Fagan Park, the green plaza on Prince Street at MacDougal and Sixth Avenue, reopened last week. Renovations had been going for about half a year, but the contractor finished the job seven months ahead of the projected completion date of July 2018.
 
The park was named in honor of Father Richard Fagan, a priest at St. Anthony's who was killed attempting to rescue people from a burning building on Thompson Street in 1938.  Additionally, in 1994 three Calgary Pear trees and plaques were installed to honor three local firemen who perished fighting a blaze at 62 Watts Street that year.
 
However, the park had become somewhat derelict over the years, even though local volunteers tended the plantings and picked up the litter. Prior to the current renovation, the Transportation Department attempted to put a CitiBike station inside our park. The SoHo Alliance worked with the pastor of St. Anthony's to dissuade the agency from dishonoring a memorial site and the bike hub was moved to MacDougal Street.
 
In 2011, former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, whose council district runs from the west side of Thompson Street to the Hudson River, allocated city funding to renovate the park. Getting the money into the bureaucratic pipeline, drawing up plans, holding community meetings(SoHo Alliance was there), bidding, and minor construction delays all took time, but our patience has been rewarded. Enjoy the park, it looks great, with new plantings, pavements and seating.  See the photo below.
 
 
Trump Leaves SoHo
Ten years ago, Donald Trump tried to circumvent our zoning laws by constructing a residential condo building – which would require special community review – but calling it a hotel, which zoning laws permit in SoHo.  
 
The SoHo Alliance threw so many legal and regulatory roadblocks in his way that not a single residential unit sold, forcing a foreclosure on his project's "mezzanine" loan. It now operates as a hotel, which is what we wanted all along.
 
Since becoming president, the controversial Mr. Trump has seen bookings into his Trump SoHo plummet.  As a result, last week Trump's name was removed from the edifice and it is now known as The Dominick, a reference to the small street across Varick.  
 
In his book, "Never Give Up", Mr. Trump devoted an entire chapter to these events, entitled, "I Love A Good Fight", in which the usually cocky developer uncharacteristically admits that the "Alliance…caused me unnecessary anxiety."  We take that as a compliment.
 
And so ends that saga!
 
 
Litter Baskets Arrive
You have probably seen the arrival in the past two weeks of the new, sturdy, oversized litter baskets on many street corners in SoHo. This is a result of Clean Up SoHo, an initiative the Alliance has teamed up with to keep our neighborhood tidy.  
 
As you can see in the photo below, each basket has a sponsor. More baskets will arrive in the next couple of weeks.  If you, your condo/coop, or business would like to sponsor a basket, please contact us at info@sohoalliance.org 
 
 
Recycle Your E-Waste
The Sanitation Department no longer picks up electronic waste like old cell phones, computers, printers, TVs and any other electronic waste.  You are required to bring them to an electronic retail store to recycle, which is very cumbersome. Now is your chance to do it locally. 
 
The SoHo Broadway Initiative has partnered with the LES Ecology Center to sponsor the 2nd annual Electronic Waste Recycling Event next week.  
Where: 449 Broadway between Grand & Howard
For more information, contact the Lower East Side Ecology Center, lesecologycenter.org or 212-477-4022


New City Council Speaker = Local Lad Makes Good
Multiple news sources last week reported that Councilmember Corey Johnson, who represents our community west of Thompson Street, will be elected the new City Council Speaker, replacing Melissa Mark-Viverito.  Mr. Johnson succeeded Christine Quinn as district councilor for West SoHo and the South Village (as well as Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hells Kitchen, and surrounding neighborhoods).
 
This is great news for our community. The affable Mr. Johnson, 35, is an activist on so many levels. He was the youngest chair of any community board in the city. He made the NY Times at age 17 when, as captain of the local football team in his small town, he revealed he was gay –  a courageous decision.
 
Having the Council Speaker representing SoHo should be a benefit for our community. We look forward to working with Speaker Johnson.
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