Downtown’s Other Cause Célèbre

Last Thursday night mayoral candidate Bill Thompson braved the wind and rain to join residents of Hudson Square and North TriBeCa neighborhoods to rally against the Department of Sanitation’s planned garbage-truck garage on Spring Street and Washington Street on the lower west side.

The opposers, who would prefer, understandably, not to have a garbage-truck garage in the neighborhood, have their own plan, which they have named Hudson Rise. “Our design is better, nicer-looking, more environmentally friendly, and cheaper than the DSNY’s,” said John Slattery–yes, the guy from Mad Men.

Like the High Line, Hudson Rise owes some of its visibility to the support of celebrities.

Unlike the High Line, those celebrities don’t always show up to events.

In fact, although the invitation listed as “supporters” Kirsten Dunst, Casey Affleck, Jennifer Connely, and Michael Stipe—and Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson have been fairly vocal about their opposition to the city’s plan–Slattery and Thompson were about the only recognizable figures at the party. (Michael Bloomberg, Thompson’s opponent in the mayor’s race, supports the city plan.)

The host of the event was the Renwick Gallery on Spring Street.  Glossy buttons were offered, along with cold beer  wrapped in a lime-green napkins, presumably to emphasize just how “green” Hudson Rise would be. On the white walls of the gallery hung with posterboard illustrations of the proposed Hudson Rise. Due to rain and the tax-bracket of the guests, it smelled vaguely of wet designer wool, and there were many Barbour coats. There was also a petition to be signed.

The argument the gallery goers were making is that this section of the city has the second-lowest amount of green space per resident in the whole city.

Tribeca and this West Village being some of the wealthier neighborhoods in Manhattan, it’s not particularly surprising that property owners of buildings such as the commercial St. Johns Center and the residential Urban Glass House (among other sources of funding) ordered up their own plan from the architectural firm Z+H, which then won an award from the American Institute of Architects.

At an event last April, neighborhood resident James Gandolfini told The Villager, “This is a terrible idea. There are many, many better places to put this.

“It’s just going to make living in New York harder as far as I’m concerned, especially down here. It’s already difficult enough, even when you have money.”


  Downtown’s Other Cause Célèbre