Below the High Line, Spiraling Roller Skaters

The man was an island of bliss in the midst of chaos. He twirled, spinning on roller skates under the High Line, balanced and composed. Around him, people were falling. Legs splayed. Wrists buckled. An ankle was sprained.

This was one of the scenes at the High Line Rink, which opened Thursday beneath the High Line, at 10th Avenue and 30th Street, in a former parking lot.

The retro rink, which will be remain till Sept. 26, was the brainchild of Friends of the High Line, which maintains the park and provides most of its budget, and was created in partnership with Uniqlo, a clothing brand.

“I think this is amazing,” said Kristen Campbell, who skates with the Gotham Girls Roller Derby team and was there to test the rink before it officially opened. “People can start working on their skater legs.”

Some skaters, like Boots Burrow, 9, were roller skating for the first time. “I really enjoy skating on ice skates,” she said. “So I think I might like this.” Steve Love, a self-described professional skater, said he was there to assess the rink’s surface: it felt smooth, he said, like wood.

The rink turned briefly into a trauma center when a girl sprained her ankle minutes after the rink opened. Tears streamed down her face as a paramedic wheeled in a stretcher while another wrapped the girl’s foot in ice.

The 8,000-square-foot rink is enclosed by orange and white construction barriers, reinforcing its temporary nature. The beer and wine bar next to the rink was not open yet, but there will be policies in place to prevent overzealous patrons from entering the rink, said Kate Lindquist, a spokeswoman for Friends of the High Line. Though no one had determined specific protocol yet, she said drinks would not be allowed in the rink.

Above the rink, on the High Line, that linear park built on old elevated train tracks, a line of visitors ogled the skaters, and people crowded around the rink sipping drinks. “We wanted to animate the site,” said Joshua David, a co-founder of Friends of the High Line. “It’s a spectacle.”

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Discrimination Suit Against the Dakota Can Proceed

A racial discrimination suit against the storied Dakota co-op apartment building can go forward, a State Supreme Court judge ruled.

Earlier this year, Alphonse Fletcher Jr., a prominent black investor and former president of the building’s board, sued the co-op, one of the most restrictive in the city, charging discrimination, defamation, breach of fiduciary duty and retaliation after the board rejected his application to buy an apartment next to his eight-room, 2,600-square-foot, three-bedroom apartment.

In the suit, Mr. Fletcher, who is known as Buddy, named not only the co-op but several individuals, including members of the board and the estate of the former owner whose apartment he was trying to buy.

In response, the board and several of the individuals filed motions to dismiss the suit, which has already offered a rare glimpse at the inner workings of an exclusive building and threatened to tarnish the Upper West Side building’s image of genteel living with allegations of the use of ethnic slurs and unfairness toward minorities by board members.

In her ruling on Wednesday, Justice Eileen A. Rakower of State Supreme Court in Manhattan granted a number of those motions — including dismissing the claim against the estate — but affirmed Mr. Fletcher’s ability to pursue his discrimination suit.

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Foreign Entanglements, New York Style

George Washington took the presidential oath of office in Lower Manhattan in 1789, but he didn’t spend much time here; the country’s nascent government soon moved to Philadelphia. Maybe if he had stuck around longer, people in this city would have taken closer to heart his later warning against foreign entanglements.

The Day

Clyde Haberman offers his take on the news.

We’ve had a bunch of them lately involving prominent New Yorkers, though they are not exactly what Washington had in mind.

For starters, there is Jay H. Walder, subway-and-bus pro and chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. A mere two years into his six-year contract, he announced out of the blue that he would take his talents to Hong Kong.

There, he will run a system of subways and commuter lines that is a lot shinier than ours. He will also earn sacks of money (though his present $350,000-a-year salary, perks not included, is hardly shabby). As entanglements go, Hong Kong is not bad. It’s an exciting city.

From the moment he took over the transportation authority in 2009, Mr. Walder was dealt a wretched fiscal hand. He played those cards as well as could be expected, and his departure is a loss.

That said, New Yorkers have every reason to feel left in the lurch. A search for a new transit chief must begin pretty much from scratch. Who knows what we will wind up with? While some past authority chairmen were transit professionals, others were merely cronies of the governors who appointed them.

On Wednesday, Mr. Walder and his team announced their financial plan for next year. Things are looking more or less O.K., they said, but they kept their fingers crossed. The chairman cautioned that the proposals represented “a fragile stability for the organization.” He might also have used “fragile stability” for the situation he himself has created by taking the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby road to Hong Kong.

Foreign entanglements and former Mayor Edward I. Koch often go hand in hand, especially when it comes to Israel. Mr. Koch doesn’t like President Obama’s positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not one bit. To register his disapproval, he injected himself the other day into the special election for the Queens-Brooklyn Congressional seat that Anthony D. Weiner forfeited.

Though nominally a Democrat, Mr. Koch endorsed the Republican candidate, Bob Turner. Make that, he endorsed yet another Republican. It’s become a habit with him.

By electing Mr. Turner over the Democrat, David I. Weprin, voters in that district would somehow “send a message” to Mr. Obama that they are most unhappy with him over Israel. So ran the former mayor’s logic.

Any talk of sending a message reminds me of Samuel Goldwyn and his scorn for screenwriters who larded their scripts with social significance: “If you want to send a message,” he said, “send it by Western Union.” That, of course, was long before Western Union ended its telegram operation in 2006.

Mr. Koch coupled his support of Mr. Turner with a denunciation of Republican leaders in Washington as “scoundrels” in the struggle over the federal debt ceiling. Let’s see: Vote for a guy whose election will do right by a foreign country even though it will strengthen those who you say are hurting this country. Hmm.

We’ll end with the foreign entanglements of Marty Markowitz, the voluble borough president of Brooklyn.

The other day, he was fined a nosebleed-inducing $20,000 by the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board. His wife, Jamie Markowitz, had flown free with him on trips to Turkey and the Netherlands, including a 2009 journey to develop Brooklyn’s relations with a Turkish city, Izmir. No good, the board said. The freebies for the wife amounted to an ethical violation.

The borough president fumed — did we mention he was voluble? — and called the decision unjust. But he said he would pay the fine.

Mr. Markowitz routinely sprinkles his sentences with Yiddishisms familiar to New Yorkers. Now he knows, though the lesson is rough, that the way to Izmir is vey iz mir — woe is me.

For more local news from The Times, including what appears to be favoritism at play in a bid to run an immigration prison in New Jersey, a federal judge may allow family members of 9/11 victims to sue United Airlines for “terror damages,” and Nafissatou Diallo’s lawyer said that taped conversations prove his client never considered extorting money from Dominique Strauss-Kahn, see the N.Y./Region Section.

Here’s what City Room is reading in other papers and blogs this morning.

Nine police officers have been subpoenaed, possibly for a federal grand jury investigation of leaks of vital information about a failed plot to bomb the subway system. [Daily News]

Divorce filings are up 12 percent since New York State adopted no-fault separations last October. [New York Post]

Raymond W. Kelly, who is both the police commissioner and a potential candidate for mayor, revealed that 46 police officers had died of cancer that he thinks is linked to their service on 9/11 in response to a report that denied a connection between the disease and the event. [Wall Street Journal, Daily News]

The New York Police Department is still tossing internal documents into public trash cans in front of the Manhattan South Task Force station house near Times Square. [Animal New York] (Also see The Daily News.)

A Utica, N.Y., man wanted for domestic violence and harassment wrote, “Catch me if you can, I’m in Brooklyn,” on his Facebook page. Utica police officers complied. [Daily News]

A former Secret Service agent was arrested on charges that he tried to carry an illegal gun onto a flight leaving La Guardia Airport. [New York Post]

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development arrested three Flatbush landlords on charges that they failed to comply with court orders or appear in court. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]

On the basis of DNA evidence, police officers in Florida arrested a man in the shooting of a vacationing New York police detective. [New York Post]

How to turn your apartment into a bed and breakfast, and why doing so may be unwise. [Brokelyn, Gawker]

A year after the city instituted a system of letter grades for restaurants, the vast majority received A’s. [Wall Street Journal]

A Long Island animal shelter is caring for a swan that was shot with an arrow and a turtle with a nail hammered into its shell. The authorities are looking for whoever is responsible. [Daily News]

An informal study by indicates that there may be more fans of the Yankees than the Mets living in Queens. [Daily News]

Many may well agree that Brooklyn/hipster trend stories have become predictable, dull, and pointless. [Gawker]

Two vacant Kings County Hospital Center buildings are going to be turned into moderately priced housing. [The Real Deal]

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Explosion Contained at Power Plant in Queens

A small explosion occurred at a power plant in Queens on Wednesday night, though no one was injured.

The Fire Department said the explosion took place about 7:30 p.m. at the US Power Gen plant on 20th Avenue in Astoria. More than 80 firefighters arrived at the scene, but it was quickly determined that the explosion was contained in one area and did not cause a fire, the Fire Department said.

In a statement, the company said that Unit 4 at the Astoria generating station “tripped off line due to a tube rupture in the reheat boiler, resulting in window breakage and noticeable shaking of the building.”

The company said that one person was taken for medical evaluation, and that the damaged unit would remain out of service for an undetermined amount of time. The station has three other units that have continued operating and supplying electricity without any hiccups since the explosion.

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A Pizzeria (From New Jersey) Now Claims to Be the Nation’s Oldest

Lombardi’s of Spring Street in Manhattan, which started baking pizza pies in 1905, has long been considered the nation’s oldest. And Papa’s Tomato Pies in Trenton, has long been content to be the second oldest. But Nick Azzaro — whose grandfather, Joe Papa, opened the Trenton pizzeria in 1912 — now claims primacy, our colleagues at Dinner’s Journal report, citing an account in The Star-Ledger, in which Mr. Azzaro notes that for 10 years Lombardi’s was closed. Read more »

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Mystery Tombstone Finds Its Place of Rest

A year later, the mystery of why the tombstone of a woman who died in 1910 was found on the Lower East Side remains unsolved, but the tombstone has finally been installed in its rightful place: at the grave site of the woman, Hinda Amchanitzky, who wrote what has been described as the first Yiddish cookbook published in America.

Last July, The New York Times reported the odd find on East Fourth Street in Manhattan by John Lankenau, an artist and part-time cook and caterer. Since you can find just about anything on the sidewalks of New York, Mr. Lankenau took the grim discovery in stride and carted the granite marker, which is two and a half feet high, home for safekeeping.

Mr. Lankenau doggedly pursued the woman’s identity. He ordered a copy of her death certificate, but the cemetery it listed had no record of anyone by that name. The Times enlisted a genealogist, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, who traced the burial by date and found an H. Anachowsky (apparently a misspelling) buried in May 1910 in a section of United Hebrew Cemetery on Staten Island. The grave site was unmarked.

This month, the monument was installed as a result of a collaboration among Arthur S. Friedman, the cemetery president; Al Abramowitz, who owns Abramowitz Memorials in Brooklyn; and Bruce Slovin, the chairman of the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan, who personally donated $400 to cover costs. The Center, at 15 West 16th Street, is digitizing historic cookbooks from its collection.

As it turned out, before Mr. Lankenau found it the tombstone had been salvaged by another artist, Andrew Castrucci, who had seen workmen carting broken granite slabs from a building near Avenue C that had once housed a monument maker’s workshop. Why it was there remains a mystery.

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