Neighborhood Chatter

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Compiled by Adel Manoukian Broad Street Piano Returns for Its Third Summer The Alliance for Downtown New York is offering residents the chance to hone their piano-playing skills by bringing back the public upright piano located in front of 25 Broad St. "For two summers now, the Downtown Alliance piano on Broad Street has given thousands of workers, residents and visitors from around the world a chance to tickle the ivories," said Elizabeth H. Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance, in a statement on the piano's July 2 installation. "We are excited to keep the music playing in Lower Manhattan with our very own public piano." The Alliance has even installed a electric keyboard on the frame of the piano to keep it in tune during extreme heat. The 88 keys will be available weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Sept. 21. Berger also thanked the Department of Transportation and the Mayor's Office of Special Events for their part in making the piano a reality. Last year, the piano was put in place late August and was open to the public through early October. Beverage Companies Combat Bloomberg's Soda Ban It was welcomed by many New Yorkers when it was brought to our attention in May, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to restrict the purveyance of sodas over 16 ounces has, to no surprise, angered soda companies, movie theaters and restaurants. Major companies like Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola, in conjunction with many stores in the New York area, have created New Yorkers for Beverage Choices to combat the mayor's latest efforts. The group has gained a large following. According to its site, the coalition is comprised of 434 members. An online petition they are circulating had 38,381 signatures at press time. Sponsored by the American Beverage Association, the coalition has released a series of TV and radio ads emphasizing a New Yorker's right to choice. "This is New York City. No one tells us what neighborhood to live in, what team to cheer for or what deli to eat at," a TV ad begins. "So are we going to let our mayor tell us what size beverage to buy?" The New York City Board of Health, whose members are appointed by the mayor, will vote on the ban on July 24, which could go into effect as early as March 2013. Chinatown Murders Might Be Linked to Prostitution Two women, Xia L. Li, 70, and Yong Hua Chen, 36, were all over New York news stations recently when both were shot to death and left to burn in a Chinatown building. In an unexpected twist to the case, the murders might be linked to prostitution. The building the two women were found in, 83 Henry St., a rundown apartment under the Manhattan Bridge, is possibly connected with prostitution, the New York Post reported. It is just one angle detectives think could be cause for the murders, but according to the Post, the site is a "known prostitution location." South Street Seaport Museum Makes Changes to Vessels The South Street Seaport Museum is rearranging and reducing its fleet of vessels to a number that can accommodate the available space at Pier 16. This comes after an agreement made by the Museum of the City of New York and the new board of trustees of the South Street Seaport Museum to "rationalize the fleet." The museum will move the 1885 wrought-iron merchant vessel Wavertree into the prime berth at Pier 16 currently occupied by the sailing vessel Peking. Also back at Pier 16 and now open to the public is the Ambrose lightship. Alongside it is the W.O. Decker, a tug boat that takes the place of the Gloucester fishing schooner Lettie G. Howard, which is currently in Connecticut for repairs. Other vessels, like the Marion M., will be moved to an offsite location until they find a new home. Quinn and Council Members Endorse Hoylman City Council Speaker Christine Quinn along with six council members, have announced their endorsement of Brad Hoylman, who is running for Tom Duane's state senate seat. Hoylman, whose campaign is now endorsed by council members Daniel Garodnick, Margaret Chin, Rosie Mendez, Jessica Lappin, Danny Dromm, Quinn and Jimmy Van Bramer, has been a Democratic grassroots activist for over 20 years. He is also the former chair of Manhattan Community Board 2. "Brad Hoylman has been a fighter on issues of importance to LGBT New Yorkers," said Van Bramer, of Western Queens, in a statement. "Brad will continue to fight for these causes as one of the only voices from our community in Albany." Some of Hoylman's achievements include helping secure two new public schools and creating an innovative legal defense fund for rent-stabilized tenants. Hoylman is grateful for the support. "It means a great deal to me to have the overwhelming support of my friends in the City Council," said Hoylman in a statement. "I have had the pleasure of working with Christine Quinn and her fellow council members for years. I am incredibly proud that they have come out in support of this campaign."

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