A Lower Manhattan Community Leader Considers How Much Has Changed and How Much Still Needs To Change
CB1’s Pat Moore: “Young people would tell me I haven’t had their experiences and they’re right. But I know how much has changed and that not all cops are bad. I would tell young protestors to be hopeful and know that all police are not the enemy.”
“I’m a lot older than many of the young people now protesting in the streets,” reflects Pat Moore, 67, who chairs the Quality of Life Committee on Community Board 1. “And my father, who died last January, was a police officer at a time when there were very few black men on the NYPD. So I have a slightly more complicated perspective about all this.”
“I was born in 1953, and my family is from Louisiana,” she recalls, “so I’m old enough to remember traveling to the South as a little girl, and sitting at the back of the bus, or visiting the public pool, where nobody who looked like me was allowed to go in.”
“My grandmother once took my sister and myself on a segregated street car to Maison Blanche, which was the big department store on Canal Street in New Orleans, to buy us Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls,” she says. “I noticed the difference right away. Once we were inside, she acted differently — became meeker and quieter. She suddenly wasn’t the same person, because she felt she had to change her behavior in that environment.”
“We would also go to the amusement park, where my grandfather explained that we could watch, but not go on the rides,” Ms. Moore remembers. “‘Those aren’t for us,’ he would explain quietly. “This seemed like a different planet from Brooklyn, where I was growing up. I kept arguing that in New York, we went on the rides at Coney Island all the time.”
“During the summer, my father would come from a four-to-midnight shift at the precinct, and wake us up,” she recounts. “Then he would drive us down to Coney Island. We’d eat at Nathan’s, which was open all night, and we’d go on the rides, overlooking the ocean.”
“All my father’s partners were white,” she says, “but police officers depend on each other for their lives, so they became close friends. They had us over to their homes and they were guests in ours.”
“I can remember the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” she notes, “and these were clearly a big deal, but they didn’t result in immediate reforms, especially in the South. We didn’t start having those Kumbaya moments right away.”
“When I was a teenager, my family moved out of Bedford-Stuyvesant, which was then a thriving, mixed-race, working-class neighborhood, to Queens,” she remembers. “I guess that was supposed to be our ‘Raisin in the Sun’ moment. But I hated Queens, in part because it was so segregated.”
After college, Ms. Moore moved to Texas. “I was out late one night with friends. We were on the beach in Galveston, and as the sun came up, I was sitting next to a man I worked with. And as a pickup truck rolled by, the driver shouted, “hey, ni–er, what are you doing with that white boy?’”
“In Houston, I was stopped twice by police late at night, by myself, and I was terrified,” she admits. “Both times, I ended up not having any problem, but that may have been because I’m not a black man.”
In 1977, she returned to New York, settling in Lower Manhattan. “Downtown wasn’t a residential district then. I rented an apartment in a commercial building on Cedar Street that had been vacant for five years. It was mostly artists who moved in at the same time that I did.”
She recalls a summer outing with her then-boyfriend: “We visited friends in Howard Beach one Fourth of July in the 1970s. And we had a lovely time, swimming in their pool and barbecuing. The day came and went without any problem. But our hosts called us, a few days later, and explained they got a knock on their door from a neighbor, who said he had been nominated by the community. His job was to ask our friends never to have us back. I’m still not sure if they were looking for us to say this was okay. But we gave them a pass, and never went back.”
“I met my future husband, Andrew, because he lived on the third floor, while I lived on the tenth,” she notes. “So I moved down seven flights.” Ms. Moore and Andrew were married for 34 years, until his death in 2011. “We had an unobstructed view of the Colgate Clock in Jersey City,” she muses fondly. “It was a lovely place to live in those days.”
“We were a mixed-race couple,” she remembers, “and in those day there weren’t many black and white couples, even in New York. Race didn’t seem like an issue, however — at least not in the blatant way it had been in the South. But there were moments when it became apparent, even here.”
“I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I would try to get a cab together, and they wouldn’t stop,” Ms. Moore says. “So we’d go to separate corners, and the cabs would pass me by, but stop for him. Then we’d get in together, and I’d go crazy on the driver.”
“That’s the kind of episode that is hard to imagine happening today,” she observes. “And being older, I fear that some protestors don’t understand that we have come a long way. It’s not true to say that nothing has changed — lots of things have.”
“Young people would tell me I haven’t had their experiences and they’re right,” she acknowledges. “But I know how much has changed and that not all cops are bad. I would tell young protestors to be hopeful and know that all police are not the enemy.”
“That said,” she admits, “police forces do need reform. I don’t believe in defunding the police entirely, but I do believe in reallocating funds, especially when government has to cut budgets. Another important conversation to have is that you don’t need a gun to respond to every call.”
“I’m happy this dialog is happening,” she reflects, “but I’m sorry that it took so long and so many people had to die, and especially sorry that George Floyd had to be the sacrificial lamb.”
“It’s good to see that these marches include so many young white people,” she continues. “They have seen enough to know that there is something really fundamentally wrong. The reason we’ve had all these problems for so long is there are so many poor whites who feel like they are just one rung above the bottom. Dividing the poor from one another by race is how demagogues keep people from uniting and taking over. If everybody recognized that we’re in this together, we could accomplish so much more than we do when everybody is focused on getting as much as they can for themselves. So these problems are fundamentally about poverty and greed as much as they are about race.”
“I just hope this movement doesn’t peter out,” she cautions. “In the 1960s and 70s, we’d make one move forward, and then slip two or three backward. But there’s a chance to build a better world, if we seize it.”
“The primary things that needs to change are the same for all poor folks — not just black people,” she offers. “The top priorities are housing, healthcare, education, and jobs. All of these fall under the heading of opportunity, which needs to be equalized.”
“Even something as basic as internet access becomes a cause of inequality, and shuts people out of opportunity,” she notes. “Today, many jobs can’t be done without web access. And during a pandemic, kids can’t even participate in school. So why isn’t this free, like water?”
“Obviously, not everybody is equal in every respect,” she allows. “But people should have equal access to the opportunity to achieve as much as they can. Ten years ago, I worked for the census and would go into New York City Housing Authority [NYCHA] projects. I would be hit with the overpowering smell of urine as soon as I walked past the front door. And then I would find that the elevators didn’t work.”
“We’re not all going to be millionaires or celebrities, but we need to give people decent lives,” Ms. Moore insists. “No, we can’t all have mansions. But nobody should be living in the conditions that NYCHA offers — or worse, be homeless. So people should be given the chance to begin at the same starting line, even if they won’t necessarily cross the finish line at the same time.”
After Officers Are Accidentally Sickened at Downtown Shake Shack, Police Unions Allege Deliberate Poisoning
Three NYPD officers were hospitalized on Monday evening, after ingesting what they believed was a toxic substance at the Shake Shack within the Fulton Transit Center in Lower Manhattan.
At approximately 8:30 pm, the officers (whose names have not been released) were taking a meal break at the popular burger emporium when they noticed a strange taste and smell coming from the milk shakes they had ordered.
Local Leaders Urge Heightened Federal Response to September 11 Mental Health Issues
Community Board 1 (CB1) is urging federal lawmakers to expand benefits offered by the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to include more robust help for survivors of the terrorist attacks who are grappling with mental health issues.
‘A Fraudulent Scheme to Evade the Rent Stabilization Laws’
FiDi Renters Seek Recompense for Years of Rent Overcharges; U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Overturn Tenants’ Victory
More Financial District tenants are going to court to demand restitution from years of illegally high rent, on the heels of a 2019 ruling by New York State’s highest court, which found that as many as 5,000 Lower Manhattan apartments had been illegally deprived of rent stabilization benefits.
The most recent suit was filed on behalf of tenants at 90 Washington Street, a 397-unit rental building located between Rector and Joseph P. Ward Streets. This filing follows similar legal actions on behalf of tenants at 63-67 Wall Street, Ten Hanover Square, 50 Murray Street, 90 West Street, and 53 Park Place.
1) Social Distancing for Small Business – Discussion and resolution
2) Improvements to Voting and Special Temporary COVID-19 Rules – Discussion & Resolution
3) Committee reports
Eyes to the Sky June 15 – 28, 2020
Summer Solstice – June 20, 2020
Every day is Sun day for the month of June, when the Sun is up for 15 hours plus a few minutes most days and darkness prevails, most days, for a few minutes less than 9 hours. The longest days of the year occur as Earth reaches the point in its orbit when the North Pole is tilted closest to the Sun, known as the summer solstice. This year, astronomers calculate that the solstice occurs on Saturday, June 20 at 5:44pm. According to my pencil on paper figuring from Starry Night* data, which is offered to a tenth of a second, day length at our location on Friday the 19this 3 seconds shorter than on the solstice and on the 20th day length is 2 seconds longer than on Sunday the 21st.
Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. the following day. The schedule will include outstanding complete performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring all of opera’s greatest singers.
Artist & poet Rachel Eliza Griffiths reads from her forthcoming book Seeing the Body (W. W. Norton, 2020) from her home in New York. Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a multi-media artist, poet, and writer. She received the MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and is the recipient of numerous fellowships including Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, Kimbilio, Cave Canem Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Millay Colony, and Yaddo. Noon. Free.
CB1 Wants to Claim Part of the Pike for Cyclists
Community Board 1 is calling upon City and State transportation officials to close—at least temporarily—the lane of Route 9A (also know as the West Side Highway) that adjoins the Hudson River Park, between Chambers and Canal Streets, to enable continued social distancing, as New York scales back quarantine measures in the wake of the pandemic coronavirus outbreak.
The plan would use concrete barriers to bar traffic from the westernmost lane of the eight-lane highway, for a half-mile stretch of the waterfront boulevard, in order to allow users of the Hudson River Park additional room for biking, jogging, and walking.
City Pushes Plan to Move Iconic Sculpture Away from Bowling Green
The City’s Public Design Commission is slated to consider on Monday a controversial plan that would move Charging Bull—the the iconic Arturo Di Modica bronze sculpture that has been snarling and pawing the ground just north of Bowling Green since 1989—to a new location in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Several local leaders are concerned that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing this plan while ignoring community objections. To read more…
Honorable WilliamWall Opens for Business
The Honorable William Wall will open today June 18.
618 – Coronation of the Chinese governor Li Yuan as Emperor Gaozu of Tang, the new Emperor of China, initiating three centuries of the Tang Dynasty’s rule over China.
860 – Swedish Vikings attack Constantinople
1178 – Five monks at Canterbury report explosion on moon (only known observation)
1682 – William Penn founds Philadelphia
1812 – War of 1812 begins as US declares war against Britain
1873 – Susan B Anthony fined $100 for voting for President
1936 – Polish parliament gives President Ignacy Moscicki dictatorial power
1959 – Governor of Louisiana Earl K. Long is committed to a state mental hospital; he responds by having the hospital’s director fired and replaced with a crony who proceeds to proclaim him perfectly sane.
1977 – Space Shuttle test model “Enterprise” carries a crew aloft for 1st time, It was fixed to a modified Boeing 747
1981 – The AIDS epidemic is formally recognized by medical professionals in San Francisco, California.
1996 – Ted Kaczynski, suspected of being the Unabomber, is indicted on ten criminal counts.
When asked if he was afraid of losing his mind in prison, Kaczynski replied:
“No, what worries me is that I might in a sense adapt to this environment and come to be comfortable here and not resent it anymore. And I am afraid that as the years go by that I may forget, I may begin to lose my memories of the mountains and the woods and that’s what really worries me, that I might lose those memories, and lose that sense of contact with wild nature in general. But I am not afraid they are going to break my spirit.
On May 24, 2012, Kaczynski submitted his current information to the Harvard University alumni association. He listed his eight life sentences as achievements, his current occupation as prisoner, and his current address as No. 04475-046, US
Penitentiary—Max, P.O. Box 8500, Florence, CO 81226-8500
1723 – Giuseppe Scarlotti, composer
1854 – Edward Wyllis Scripps, publisher/journalist
1913 – Sammy Cahn, lyricist (3 Coins in a Fountain)
1915 – Red Adair, oilman (fought oil fires in Kuwait)
1629 – Piet Hein, Dutch naval commander (Spanish silver fleet) and folk hero (b. 1577) shot by cannonball at 51
1982 – John Cheever, Pulitzer prize winning author, dies at 70 in Ossining
1984 – Alan Berg, American radio talk show hostand attorney. An outspoken abrasive combative talk show host, he was murdered in his driveway by members of The Order, a white nationalist group who took umbrage at his comments.
Previously Published Downtown News
CB1 Endorses Push to Expand VCF Coverage to Pandemic Illness
Community Board 1 (CB1) has signed on to a campaign that aims to expand the eligibility criteria of the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) to include illnesses related to the outbreak of the pandemic coronavirus.