The Broadsheet – Lower Manhattan’s Local Newspaper
Plans for Governors Island Climate Center Advance
Taxpayers Will Contribute $150 Million in Subsidies, Plus 24-Hour Ferry Service
Above: The 172-acre Governors Island, which has evolved into Lower Manhattan’s equivalent of Central Park, is the planned home for a new Climate Solutions Center, which will be located on a pair of building sites (shown at upper left and lower right), comprising a combined total of 33 acres, or approximately one-fifth of Governors Island. Below: Clare Newman, president of the Trust for Governors Island, said, “Today’s announcement represents a crucial step in establishing New York City as a global leader in the development of equitable climate solutions.”
The administration of Mayor Eric Adams is moving ahead with the plan to build a Center for Climate Solutions on Governors Island. On Thursday, the Trust for Governors Island issued a request for proposals (RFP) to the four finalists designated by City Hall (as one of Bill de Blasio’s final acts of Mayor) in the competition to combine interdisciplinary research on climate change with education in a single physical hub. Universities from around the world were invited to submit proposals in the first stage, called a “request for expressions of interest.” A dozen plans were submitted, and four of these were deemed worthy of moving to the final round.
All of the finalists are partnerships, with each team led by a major university: the City University of New York, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. That quartet was invited on Thursday to expand and refine their initial ideas in the second (and final) round of the competition, the RFP.
“Today’s announcement represents a crucial step in establishing New York City as a global leader in the development of equitable climate solutions,” said Clare Newman, president of the Trust. “Governors Island’s singular environment, growing community of tenants and partners, and climate-resilient landscapes make it an unparalleled place to develop, showcase, and scale new ideas.”
The Adams administration predicts, as part of its “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent” plan for the City’s economic recovery, that “the Center for Climate Solutions will be home to 7,000 jobs on Governors Island alone and will serve as a national model for growing green- and blue-tech sectors.”
The RFP documents note that “the Trust has been allocated $150 [million] of capital funding from the City that is available to apply towards eligible physical improvements such as utility infrastructure, transportation, and building construction.” Of this amount, the same documents indicate, “$50 [million] of the City Capital will be allocated to augment available power and water services on the Island,” while the remaining $100 million “may be allocated to any physical investments necessary to support the Project that conform with New York City’s capital eligibility requirements, such as transportation infrastructure, resiliency improvements, and site and building construction and/or renovation.”
Creating the Climate Solutions Center will entail developing up to 3.7 million square feet of new buildings, some reaching as tall as 225 feet, on an island of low-density historic structures that top out at barely half of that height.
In addition to this considerable subsidy, the Trust for Governors Island is also offering a very expensive promise to the winning bidder. The RFP documents acknowledge that “the Trust anticipates that the Lease will provide a commitment by the Trust to providing year-round, 24-hour ferry service to the Island, at a minimum frequency of 15 minutes during peak periods, to support the selected Project.” The additional cost of operating such a service (apart from the current ferry, which runs during daytime hours only), is likely to amount to a further subsidy of many hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, if not more than $1 million.
The plan for a Climate Solutions Center has been marked by controversy since it was first announced in 2020. Creating the new facility will entail developing up to 3.7 million square feet of new buildings, some reaching as tall as 225 feet, on an island of low-density historic structures that top out at barely half of that height. These will be located on a pair of building sites (comprising a combined total of 33 acres, or approximately one-fifth of Governors Island) that the City envisions developing for nonprofit, cultural, educational, or commercial uses, which were set aside for such uses in a 2010 master plan.
The Climate Solutions initiative is predicated, in part, on the assumption that some form of massive real estate development is required to generate sufficient cash flow to pay for other, public-benefit activities on Governors Island. This model echoes the approach taken in Hudson River Park, where property deals (such as air-rights transfers) are the primary source of revenue that has enabled the creation and upkeep of what has evolved into a treasured public amenity.
Governors Island has experienced a renaissance in recent years, welcoming almost one million visitors in 2019 (the last full season before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic). They were drawn, in part, by the debut of recreational amenities such as the Hills—a chain of beautifully landscaped, manmade ridges and bluffs, ranging in height from 26 to 70 feet, adorned with 41,000 shrubs and 860 newly planted trees. Another attraction is Picnic Point, where outdoor cooking grills and wooden dining tables are available for public use. Parents with small children flock to Slide Hill, which features three shorter slides (including a family slide built for two people to ride at once), and a fourth with a curving, 57-foot descent — the longest anywhere in the City.
The island is now also home to an Arts Center, operated by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the soon-to-be-expanded Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, which announced a planned buildout earlier this year. Visitors are additionally lured by a broad range of culinary offerings from high-end food trucks, as well as fee-based activities such as zip lining, rock climbing, and the luxury open-air hospitality experience known as “glamping.”
The Adams administration further plans to “unveil a campaign called Governors Island Arts, announcing upcoming art installations, cultural events, and programming starting this summer.” Over the coming decade, City Hall expects to, “transform a collection of former historic military homes into a one-of-a-kind cultural district that will house an array of multi-disciplinary arts organizations.”
Two Decades Later, What About the Children?
Borough President and Council Member Want City Agencies to Document Outreach to Former Lower Manhattan Students at Risk of September 11 Illnesses
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and City Council member Christopher Marte are partnering to hold a pair of City agencies accountable for outreach to people who were students, teachers, or staff members at schools near the World Trade Center during the 2001-2002 school year.
Building a Greener Community
Recognizing the Inevitability of Climate Change Impacts, Battery Park City Action Plan Aims to Make Neighborhood Carbon-Neutral by Mid-Century
The Battery Park City Authority has released its Climate Action Plan, which aims to transition by 2040 to 100 percent of the community’s electric power coming from renewable energy sources, along with a 99 percent reduction in transportation emissions by 2050.
Eyes to the Sky April 20-May 2, 2022
Venus & Jupiter meet, Earth Day, and Dark Sky Week
Fanciful and mythic, timeless and of the moment, this celestial tableau depicts early morning harbinger of summer constellations with planets on the move in late April through early May, 2022. Notice the two unlabeled dots on the lower left of the diagram, above the horizon near the “E” and under the Great Square of Pegasus. The smaller point of light represents planet Jupiter, the larger is Venus. They are approaching each other. Find details below.
Illustration: Judy Isacoff/StarryNight 7
We begin with two weeks of spectacular morning stargazing: refer to the diagram, above. Then, let’s gather around the brilliant evening stars as drawn in the second star chart, below.
Radiant planet Venus appears in the east as if a great star rising in the darkness at daybreak, captivating as the rising Sun but with the advantage of our gazing without the caution to look away from its steady light. Venus and Jupiter appear closer to one another each day. Look as often as possible to see the distance between them shrink. Be present especially on the mornings of April 29 through May 2. Their closest approach occurs April 30 and May 1, a spectacular planetary conjunction not to be seen again until the year 2039.
By month’s end, darkness falls about 9:45pm. Study the star chart for setting winter stars and constellations squeezed in on the bottom right corner, in the southwest to west. Note the Big Dipper at the top of the sky and follow its handle to “arc to Arcturus and speed to Spica.” Golden Arcturus is the second brightest star in Earth’s skies. Blue Spica accompanies kite-shaped Corvus the Crow.
April’s Awareness and Activism for the Heavens and Earth
Open the following resources for ways to be a part of assuring a healthy Earth Day every day, and protecting dark skies for the vitality of all living beings.
A New Home for a Culture ‘Not Really Allowed to Call This Place Home’
Lower Manhattan’s roster of world-class cultural institutions is poised to grow by one. The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), located on a mid-block parcel between Lafayette and Centre Streets (just north of Canal Street) is undertaking a $100 million-plus expansion that will grow its space more than five-fold, to 68,000 square feet. The centerpiece of thise buildout is a design by acclaimed architect Maya Lin, best known for her groundbreaking 1982 plan for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, in Washington, D.C. Ms. Lin says her design for the new MOCA building drew inspiration from “the 4,000-year history of the Chinese puzzle, the tangram,” an ancient geometric dissection game that contains thousands of possible combinations and solutions.
FRIDAY APRIL 22
11am – 5pm
South Street Seaport Museum
On Saturdays and Sundays, visit the exhibitions and the ships of the South Street Seaport Museum for free. At 12 Fulton Street, see “South Street and the Rise of New York” and “Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900-1914,” and at Pier 16, explore the tall ship Wavertree and lightship Ambrose. Free.
Experience Bird’s Eye View, an augmented reality artwork by technology innovator and artist Shuli Sadé. The piece is inspired by relocation and movement along the lower Hudson River through fascinating studies of bird migration and human immigration. The event will feature live music from Maestro Pedro Cortes Flamenco Duo. Technology guides will be on-site to assist visitors in using their smartphones to view the new artwork.
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Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Every Wednesday & Saturday, 8am-3pm
Food Scrap Collection: Saturdays, 8am-1pm
Open Saturdays and Wednesdays year round
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Green Greenmarket at Bowling Green
Broadway & Whitehall St
Open Tuesday and Thursdays, year-round
Market Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Compost Program: 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
The Bowling Green Greenmarket brings fresh offerings from local farms to Lower Manhattan’s historic Bowling Green plaza. Twice a week year-round stop by to load up on the season’s freshest fruit, crisp vegetables, beautiful plants, and freshly baked loaves of bread, quiches, and pot pies.
The Outdoor Fulton Stall Market
91 South St., bet. Fulton & John Sts.
Fulton Street cobblestones between South and Front Sts. across from McNally Jackson Bookstore.
Locally grown produce from Rogowski Farm, Breezy Hill Orchard, and other farmers and small-batch specialty food products, sold directly by their producers. Producers vary from week to week.
SNAP/EBT/P-EBT, Debit/Credit, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks accepted at all farmers markets.
The “Blue Marble” photograph taken by the crew of Apollo 17 is used in Earth Day material. Photograph courtesy of NASA.
1145 – 19th recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet
1370 – Building begins of Bastille fortress in Paris
1500 – Pedro Alvarez Cabral discovers Brazil and claims it for Portugal
1692 – Edward Bishop is jailed for proposong flogging as cure for witchcraft
1817 – Curacao prohibits use of white paint due to fierce sunlight
1838 – Wooden-hulled sidewheel steamship Sirius docks in NYC after Atlantic crossing, beating the Great Western by one day and heralding the start of transatlantic steam passenger service.
1864 – Congress passes the Coinage Act of 1864, leading to “In God We Trust” being printed on U.S. coins; the phrase was eventually added to all of the country’s currency.
1897 – NYC Jewish newspaper The Forward begins publishing
1898 – US President McKinley orders blockade of Cuban harbors
1915 – First military use of poison gas (chlorine, by Germany) in WW I
1931 – Egypt and Iraq sign peace treaty
1951 – Ticker-tape parade for General MacArthur in NYC
1952 – First atomic explosion on network news, Nob, Nevada
1964 – World’s Fair in Flushing Meadow, Corona Park, NY, opens
1969 – First human eye transplant performed
1970 – First Earth Day
1981 – 10,000 copper workers in Chile strike
1981 – Almost 1 million West German metal workers strike
1981 – Largest US bank robbery, in Tucson, AZ, nets more than $3.3 million
1991 – Intel releases 486SX chip
1994 – 7,000 Tutsis killed in a stadium in Rwanda
2000 – In a pre-dawn raid, federal agents seize six-year-old Elián González from his relatives’ home in Miami, Florida.
2021 – India sets a world record for daily COVID-19 cases, recording 314,835 new cases with 2,104 deaths.
1707 – Henry Fielding, English novelist
1724 – Immanuel Kant, German philosopher (Critique of Pure Reason)
revolutionist and Premier of Russia
1904 – J[ulius] Robert Oppenheimer, head of Manhattan (A-bomb) Project
1922 – Charles Mingus, jazz bassist
1937 – Jack Nicholson, actor
1833 – Richard Trevithick, inventor (steam locomotive), dies at 62
1933 – Frederick Henry Royce, motorcar pioneer, dies
1984 – Ansel Adams, US photographer, dies at 82
1989 – Emilio G. Segrè, Italian physicist and Nobel laureate (discovered the elements technetium, astatine and the sub-atomic antiparticle antiproton), dies at 84 of a heart attack
1989 – Huey Newton, Black Panther leader, shot dead at 47
1993 – Cesar Chavez, US farm worker (United Farm Workers), dies at 66
1994 – Richard Nixon, 37th President (1969-75), dies of a stroke at 81
2004 – Pat Tillman, American football player who enlisted in the Army after 9/11, killed in a friendly-fire incident (b. 1976)
2013 – Richie Havens, American singer-songwriter and guitarist, dies from a heart attack at 72