Tribecans and their buddies up in Hudson Square are back on the offensive against the area's trashy menace: the three-district garbage truck garage (and Taj Majal of Salt) the Department of Sanitation wants to build near some fancy condos between Canal and Spring Streets along the West Side Highway. Last week the Villager noted that actor James Gandolfini was jumping into the fight, joining up with neighborhood activists who are pushing for an alternate plan with a shorter garage and a garden on top (called Hudson Rise). Gandolfini wined and dined City Council speaker Christine Quinn last week, and now the Villager reports he's using a little intimidation on some other officials. And it might be working!
Gandolfini again led the charge on Tuesday at a meeting with Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler’s chief of staff, Caswell Holloway. This time Gandolfini was joined by Richard Barrett and Phil Mouquinho of the Sanitation Steering Committee, which has been battling the overly large project for two years. Also present were John Doherty, Department of Sanitation commissioner; Dan Klein, Sanitation’s real estate director; and A.J. Pietrantone, director of Friends of Hudson River Park. Skyler had told Gandolfini he wanted a presentation of the committee’s Hudson Rise proposal. The community-alternative plan contains only two, instead of three, Sanitation districts’ trucks, and is thus a much lower building with less impact; plus it boasts a gorgeous rooftop park. “Today, I can tell you, I’ve seen the door open,” said an exuberant Mouquinho, speaking afterward. “If we can get District 5’s trucks out of there…75 feet tall is a possibility. It’s the first time I can use the words ‘ray of optimism.’ ” The activists recently presented the administration with five alternate sites for District 5’s garage; the city responded that three were feasible, and said it would extend by two weeks its search for alternative sites. Mouquinho and Barrett said the city feels the five-building Extell Riverside South site may be the best possibility. The other two options are a Sanitation vehicle-maintenance facility in Chelsea and a site in the West 50s owned by Gary Spindler, who also owns a Greenwich St. garage where Sanitation had wanted to dump a massive road-salt pile.
Poor Chelsea. Is there anything Tribeca won't dump on them?