New Council Member on Development and Diversity, Prison Plans and Affordability
City Council member Christopher Marte
Newly inaugurated City Council member Christopher Marte reflected on the Lower Manhattan district he now represents, and some of the issues facing the community, in a January 4 interview with WNYC radio.
“We have some of the wealthiest [residents] in Battery Park City and Tribeca,” Mr. Marte told host Brian Lehrer, “but we have people who live beneath or close to the poverty line, whether it’s in the Smith houses, or people who live in rent-stabilized apartments. And they come from all over the world. There are the Fujianese community on East Broadway, and Dominicans, Puerto Ricans.”
Asked to highlight what he regards as a central concern for the district, Mr. Marte cited One Manhattan Square, the large residential tower completed in 2019 by developer Extell in the Two Bridges community on the East River waterfront.
One Manhattan Square, in the Two Bridges neighborhood
“The Extell Tower is a 100-percent luxury glass building that reaches close to 87 stories high,” Mr. Marte said. “It’s the main reason why I became a community organizer. We’ve been fighting against displacement and gentrification for decades. I think the Extell Tower is a great symbol of what can go wrong when luxury developers influence land-use policy in our district. It’s something that I ran on 2017. We’ve seen people unite around it, whether you live in Tribeca, or Soho, Noho, Chinatown, Lower East Side. We have seen how much re-zoning or land-use decisions have affected our quality of life, and who gets to live in this community. For me, it’s really personal. I feel like that will always be a reminder of the work we have to do in the Council to represent our community.”
“We live in one of the densest communities,” he continued. “We have a lot of development in our district. I think what we’ve seen is that a lot of that development isn’t affordable to the community that lives here. Under the de Blasio administration since 2014, he has built 8,233 ‘affordable units.’ But when you look at those units and the price, it doesn’t match the median average income of our community. Only nine percent of that 8,000-plus units are actually affordable to the people that live here. When we think about what affordability means, it’s typically not representative of what’s on the ground.”
“I don’t think what we have is affordability crisis,” Mr. Marte added. “I think under mandatory inclusionary housing and under the de Blasio administration, we’ve seen more luxury development, more development that doesn’t suit the neighborhoods or doesn’t suit the crises we’re living in. Whether it’s a homeless crisis or a shelter crisis, we need to really build more deeply affordable housing.”
Asked about the plan to building a giant new prison at the edge of Chinatown, in conjunction with a proposal to close Rikers Island, Mr. Marte reflected, “I think we have to make sure that we close Rikers Island. I also think we don’t need to build this jail, because I don’t believe in building new jails.”
He elaborated, “the Borough-based jail plan was not the right solution to fix the situation, specifically in Chinatown. The City refused to even give us a proper environmental process, when they’re actually developing the site here.”
Mr. Marte argued, “the only reason the population of Rikers Island is so big at this moment is because this last administration failed to appoint judges to have speedier trials. They failed to have an efficient process to make sure that people got the court date. When you think about the average person that’s on Rikers Island right now, they had been there for probably nine months, and some people have been there more than a year.”
He also observed that, “when they built [the current detention facility] 30 years ago, they said that it was a state-of-the-art jail. And 30 years later, it’s falling apart in disrepair. There’s been fire. There’s been malpractice, misconduct. When you build a jail, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to change the whole system. I think what we have to really address is the condition that people are in jails, but then also get in a movement that says we don’t need to build new jails as a way to put people in incarceration.”
Alan Davis passed away on December 9th, 2021 after a six-month long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Known for his wit and signature English humor, Alan moved from London to New York City in 1982 while working for Johnson Matthey Commodities. Initially starting out as Senior Silver Trader, Alan soon worked his way up to Gold Trader, Chief Trader, and Senior Vice President.
The trading room desk at 1 World Trade Center overlooked Battery Park City, and Alan would often look out the window and watch Gateway Plaza being built, blissfully unaware that he would eventually move into the 600 building with his co-worker and future wife, Judi.
Alan and Judi married in 1992, and in 1997 their son Sam was born. Alan would later work as a broker at COMEX until his retirement a few years ago.
Alan loved everything about Battery Park City. Even while his physical health was declining, he did his best to make trips to the park with a cup of coffee or to the local bar enjoying a beer.
A medical anomaly, Alan spent his entire life dealing with health problems. As his son would put it, his medical history was pretty much everything but the Bubonic Plague. Ranging from receiving a miracle Kidney/Pancreas transplant 24 years ago, to walking around for several weeks after a massive heart attack which required a quadruple bypass, Alan always managed to defy the odds. And even in the face of terminal cancer and despite being 69 years old and spending his last few months receiving chemotherapy, Alan somehow never lost his head of hair.
Alan Davis is survived by his wife – Judi – of 29 years, and their son Sam, who love him almost as much as he loved them.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Providing Companion and Home Health Aide Care to clients with dementia.Help with grooming, dressing and wheelchair assistance. Able to escort client to parks and engage in conversations of desired topics and interests of client. Reliable & Honest
78 year old refined intellectual gentleman having a passion for cruises and travel seeking a male or female caregiver/companion in exchange for all expense paid venture on the ocean. Only requirement is relationship comfort between us and ability to help with physical care regarding the limitations and restrictions of COPD.
Nate Leipciger was born to a Jewish family in Chorzów, Poland in 1928. When he was eleven years old, the Nazis invaded, and Nate and his family spent the next three years living in ghettos. The family was later deported to Auschwitz, where Nate was separated from his mother and sister. He would never see them again. By the time he was liberated in 1945, Nate had survived seven different concentration camps. Nate and his father, the only remaining survivors of their family, moved to Canada in 1948. He became a successful engineer, married, and had three daughters. Join the Museum for a program exploring Nate’s experiences during the Holocaust. Free suggested $10 donation
Pick out your favorite dessert and join Fraunces Tavern Museum and Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center in exploring different varieties of desserts from colonial North America, including those created by Samuel Fraunces himself. This program will take place via Zoom, and advance registration is required. Free; suggested donation of $10
Join China expert and diplomat Nicholas Platt, who will share the story of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s 1973 trip to China at Richard Nixon’s behest. Platt, who was the Foreign Service Control Officer for that historic visit, handled the negotiations—with plenty of challenges on both the American and the Chinese sides.
Community Board 1Landmarks & Preservation Committee
In this lecture, Desmarais will discuss recent discoveries about the Count de Rochambeau’s army that counter popular assumptions—focusing primarily on the recently published diary of the Count de Lauberdière, which includes details that are not covered in any other French diaries. Serving as an aide-de-camp on General Rochambeau’s staff, the young and well-educated Lauberdière provided a unique perspective of the war, including descriptions of the French army’s camp in Newport, the long march to Yorktown, the siege and capture, and a fascinating examination of the people and their distinctive colonial culture. This lecture will take place via Zoom. Free
The pandemic has highlighted health inequities that disproportionately impact vulnerable populations by creating and exacerbating poverty and leading to decreased life expectancy throughout the world. Join the Rev. Phillip Jackson as he speaks to leaders and experts, exploring how people of faith can advocate for those most affected by these inequities. Free
Online film streaming. Part concert film and part comedy, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979, Allan Arkush) is about a student who leads a rock rebellion against the school administration with help from the Ramones. Registration required. Free
During the last year of her life, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sat down with Moment editor-in-chief Nadine Epstein to discuss the Jewish women she found inspiring. In Epstein’s new intergenerational book RBG’s Brave and Brilliant Women: 33 Jewish Women to Inspire Everyone, she profiles the women Ginsburg identified and reflects on each of their stories. The trailblazers in the book, like Ginsburg herself, each fought to forge a better world rather than accepting it as it was. Join the Museum of Jewish Heritage and Moment for a program celebrating RBG’s Brave and Brilliant Women, featuring Epstein in conversation with author and journalist Abigail Pogrebin.Free; suggested $10 donation
Alliance Explains Cessation and Restoration of Shuttle Service
After restarting the Downtown Connection shuttle bus program on Monday, the Downtown Alliance (which operates the service) sent a representative to the Wednesday meeting of the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1) to offer background on why it had been on hiatus.
Taina Prado, the Alliance’s chief of staff, began with some history. “Following the height of COVID, our original bus operator, Golden Touch went out of business. They just couldn’t survive the pandemic.”
“In September, as many people noticed, the buses switched from red to the white,” Ms. Prado recounted.
SLA Okays New Performance Venue in FiDi, Despite Opposition from Local Leaders
Over the objections of Community Board 1 (CB1) and hundreds of local residents, the State Liquor Authority (SLA) has approved the application for a license to serve alcohol by Submursive, a production company that wants to open a 100,000-square-foot performance venue, spread across seven floors of 20 Exchange Place, in the Financial District.
A Onetime Haunt of Ponies, Plutocrats, and Club Rats Will Get a Room with a View
Tribeca will soon have a new (albeit invisible) penthouse apartment, if the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is guided by the advice of Community Board 1. At its November meeting, the Board recommended that the LPC give its okay to a proposal to add a rooftop structure to 157 Hudson Street, located between Laight and Hubert Streets, opposite the Holland Tunnel rotary.
The T-shaped building has a storied history. Erected in 1867, it was originally designed to serve as a multi-story stable for the hundreds of draft horses kept at the ready by the newly founded American Express Company. This was an era when the firm was primarily engaged in the secure shipment of valuable cargo, almost a century before the invention of credit cards. To read more…
Where to Figure Out How to Save the World
Plan for Climate Solutions Center on Governors Island Advances
In one of its last official acts before departing City Hall on December 31, the administration of then-Mayor Bill de Blasio selected four finalists in the competition to build a Center for Climate Solutions on Governors Island.
The competition, announced in 2020 and formally launched a year later, envisions combining interdisciplinary research with education and public engagement 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. To read more…
Lenders Who Fronted Millions to Operators of Pier A Allege Fraud
Investors who lent more than $16 million to the operators behind the shuttered restaurant at Pier A, on Battery Park City’s southern border allege that the borrowers, “used a fraudulent scheme to squeeze out of the Project all the fees and distributions for themselves that they could before shutting the doors.”
In a development first reported by property industry newsletter the Real Deal, the lenders (Tribeca-based New York City Waterfront Development Fund II) filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court in November, seeking the return of $16.5 million (the original amount of the 2011 loan, none of which has been repaid), along with $2.63 million in accrued interest, plus attorney’s fees and court costs.
The defendants in this action are a partnership between the Poulakakos restaurant family (who operate numerous Lower Manhattan eateries) and the Dermot Company (a developer of garden apartment complexes around the United States that more recently branched out to New York projects, such as the conversion of Brooklyn’s landmarked Williamsburgh Savings Bank tower into condominium residences). To read more…
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.