Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Hear and Be Heard
The Battery Park City Authority will host a public meetings about resiliency and sustainability tonight Thursday (January 16).
The Thursday session will focus on the Battery Park City Sustainability Plan, which is now being formulated, and will be held at Six River Terrace (next door to Le Pain Quitidien and across from the Irish Hunger Memorial), also starting at 6:00 pm. This event will include a collaborative roundtable aimed at documenting residents’ ideas, and priorities, for inclusion in the overall Sustainability Plan that will be released on Earth Day of this year. (This session will be reprised on Wednesday, January 22.)
The Greek Calends
After Two-Year Hiatus, Work to Resume at St. Nicholas Church
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on January 2 that a newly formed non-profit organization will raise funds and underwrite the completion of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, within the World Trade Center Complex.
The building, designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava (who additionally created the nearby Oculus, also in the World Trade Center) is slated to replace the historic structure, dating from the 1830s, that hosted Orthodox congregations from 1922 onward, when Greek families living in Lower Manhattan raised sufficient funds to purchase the building, which had previously served as a private home and a tavern. Eight decades later, that building (located on Cedar Street, between West and Washington Streets) was destroyed by falling debris from the Twin Towers, on the morning of September 11, 2001.
“The rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church that was destroyed on September 11 is a moment of coming together and healing not only for the Greek Orthodox community but for all New Yorkers who lived through that horrific day,” Governor Cuomo said in his announcement. “This house of worship will serve as a reminder that our collective faith is something we can always count on to move past our painful memories and build a better tomorrow.”
To lead this effort, Governor Cuomo has tapped Dennis Mehiel, a noted philanthropist and widely respected leader within the Greek-American community, who also served as chairman of the Battery Park City Authority from 2012 to 2018. Mr. Mehiel will lead the new non-profit that will spearhead the project, Friends of St. Nicholas, serving as its Chairman.
Mr. Mehiel’s business sense and financial sophistication may bring much-needed managerial expertise to the project. In December, 2017, Skanska USA, the prime contractor leading the effort to rebuild the Church issued a letter to its subcontractors advising them that the firm had terminated its contract with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA), “on account of GOA’s defaults in making payment under the Owner Contract.” The same letter notified all subcontractors that, “effective immediately, you are directed to stop all Work under the Subcontract.” In the two years since, activity at the site has been limited to contractors entering to remove equipment, while security personnel secured the area.
That development followed a year of fiscal crises and financial scandal within the Greek Orthodox Church, which had acknowledged several months earlier a deficit of more than $8 million, while announcing the layoffs of dozens of employees, and the departure of the organization’s longtime financial overseer, Jerry Dimitriou. Around the same time, the Archdiocese announced the formation of a Special Investigative Committee for St. Nicholas National Shrine, “to investigate and evaluate expenditures related to (1) the St. Nicholas Shrine construction project, and (2) the potential use of certain St. Nicholas Shrine restricted funds for the payment of Archdiocesan general operating expenses.”
Mr. Mehiel, who had been among the advocates who pushed for the reconstruction of St. Nicholas, was also named to chair that panel. When this review was completed earlier this year, the misappropriated funds were returned to the St. Nicholas building fund, and the Archdiocese is now once again solvent, having substantially reduced its overhead.
“Governor Cuomo and the Port Authority have been extremely patient as the Archdiocese went through a restructuring of its financial management and a change in leadership, and for that our community will be forever grateful,” notes Mr. Mehiel. “There would be no St. Nicholas without his generosity of spirit.”
Mr. Mehiel continues, “it now falls to our new organization, Friends of St. Nicholas, to complete the Church on time and on budget, and I am confident we will do so. We are committed to consecrating the St. Nicholas National Shrine on the 20th anniversary of that fateful day.”
Like many rebuilding projects in and around the World Trade Center site, the effort to reconstruct the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church has struggled with spiraling costs. Originally budgeted at $38 million, the price tag for the church had swollen to an estimated $78 million by the time construction was halted.
These overruns arose in spite of a remarkably generous deal from a phalanx of government agencies that have subsidized the project by providing the free use of public land that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Multiple arms of government — including the Battery Park City Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — partnered on a complicated deal that was finalized in 2011, designed to keep the Church at Ground Zero. This deal, in which Mr. Mehiel negotiated on behalf of the Archdiocese, revolved around a land swap, exchanging the Church’s original parcel on Cedar Street with a nearby tract at the corner of Washington and Liberty Streets.
The exchange made sense for all parties, because the Port Authority (which owns the World Trade Center site) needed the plot on which St. Nicholas had stood for a other structures at the rebuilt complex, as well as for Liberty Park. In return, St. Nicholas received a site that offers much greater visual prominence than its original location. This site is also vastly more valuable, in financial terms. But given the use to which the Archdiocese has committed, this monetary value becomes irrelevant. Indeed, because the Port Authority insisted on a non-denominational component to the building’s use, St. Nicholas will also be home to a bereavement center.
The site chosen for the new Church is publicly owned, and leased by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese from the Port Authority. The terms of this lease allow the St. Nicholas Church to remain on government-owned land at Ground Zero for a minimum of 198 years, in exchange for a nominal rent of $1 per year. This lease also provides for one optional renewal period of an additional 99 years. Under these terms, the Church’s position is secure through the year 2314. But rather than pay $297 in rent for the next three centuries, the Church also has the right to buy the space, also for a price of $1.
That noted, the financial commitment by St. Nicholas and the Greek Archdiocese is nonetheless significant. They will be called upon to bear an annual cost of approximately $1 million to fund security, maintenance, and energy.
In a speech delivered last October, Archbishop Elpidophoros of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, said, “it is our duty and our responsibility as Orthodox Christians — but also our obligation and commitment to God and His people — to complete and open the doors of the Saint Nicholas National Shrine. We must recommence the building of the Church immediately, and open the doors by September 11, 2021, as a tribute to those who perished that fateful day, and as a lead off to the centenary year of our Holy Archdiocese.”
He added, “the Shrine will be a shining City on a Hill, and a beacon of hope for all people of good will, and it will be the most observed and visited Orthodox Church in the world, as long as we are faithful to its mission. This is our offering to our City, to our Nation, and to the world. The rebuilt Saint Nicholas Church will be much more than the historic and precious parish church that fell among the victims of September 11. Saint Nicholas is a vision of what is best in all people of faith and religious conviction: love of God and love of neighbor, mutual understanding, and reciprocal respect.”
To the editor:
As of this moment, the only person who can save the Rector Street Bridge is New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
If you want to act to save the bridge, you and your friends, children and associates are all encouraged to write our Governor Cuomo.
Please email his Manhattan representative at:
Yesterday, our District 1 Councilmember, Margaret Chin, sent the following letter to the governor. We applaud the Councilmember’s efforts on our behalf! .
Since the Rector Bridge is a New York State rather than a City issue, you are also encouraged to email our downtown State representatives, Senator Brian Kavanagh, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, email@example.com.
To date we have 3,620 petition signatures to save-the-bridge. If you haven’t signed a petition yet, here’s the link: http://chng.it/5Vyjt4dk.
The Bridge still has a chance.
It’s time for US to make a great noise to make a great difference!!!
To the editor:
RE: Compensation Dispensation (BroadsheetDAILY January 8)
I find this settlement untimely and quite depressing. My lease is up in April and I haven’t received a lease. I am becoming incredibly pessimistic at a continuation of stabilization much to my chagrin and disbelief.
I suspect that politicians will accept the 2 year 5% increase as a compromise.
Feet of clay. Those who have lived in Gateway for 15+ years and rebuilt the area after 9/11 know that it is not a good compromise.
I consider Gateway and Battery Park City my home.
I can barely afford the rent now. After 2 years of 5% increases and then skyrocketing rents, I will be forced to leave BPC and most likely NY (as many of my neighbors).
It is a kick in the teeth to those who supported the idea of a middle class in the city.
Peter Cooper Village, Stuyvesant, the Tribeca high rise, and Fulton Street apartments all now market rate.
The politicians have deserted us. There aren’t many stabilized people left. Sadly, we are an aging dying breed.
Pipes at One
St. Paul’s Chapel
The weekly Pipes at One series showcases leading organists and rising stars from around the country in this year-round series at St. Paul’s Chapel, featuring its celebrated three-manual Noack organ. Today, David Briggs, organ, Artist-in-Residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, NY.
BPCA PUBLIC MEETING
6 River Terrace
The Battery Park City Authority will host a public meeting about resiliency and sustainability. This session will focus on the Battery Park City Sustainability Plan, which is now being formulated, and will be held at Six River Terrace (next door to Le Pain Quitidien and across from the Irish Hunger Memorial) This event will include a collaborative roundtable aimed at documenting residents’ ideas, and priorities, for inclusion in the overall Sustainability Plan that will be released on Earth Day of this year. (This session will be reprised on Wednesday, January 22.)
Quality of Life & Service Delivery Committee
Manhattan Borough President’s Office 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor – South
The Alexander Hamilton Prequel Day: Day by Day with One Founding Father
Fraunces Tavern Museum
Voices of Poetry
Theater Of War Productions’ “The Investigation”
Museum of Jewish Heritage
When a Deadline Becomes a Lifeline
Renewed Victims Compensation Fund Extends Cutoff Date for Registration
Following last summer’s passage of a new law that extends (and expands funding for) the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), the Fund will be accepting claims until it sunsets in 2090. Another benefit of passage is that the cutoff date by which current claimants must register for the VCF has been pushed back to July 29, 2021.
Kimberly Flynn, the director of 9/11 Environmental Action, a non-profit advocacy group whose mission is to ensure that those who were affected by September 11 (physically or emotionally) get the specialized health care they need, commented, “the best possible news is that on July 29, 2019, the ‘Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act’ was signed into law.
Hundreds of Local Storefronts Remain Rented to Corporate Brands
A new report from the Center for an Urban Future (CUF), a public policy think tank that uses data-driven research to bring attention to overlooked issues, documents that the proliferation of chain stores in Lower Manhattan has decreased slightly during the past 12 months, but at a slower rate than for the City as a whole.
Lower Manhattan Sales and Rentals Rebound Slightly, But Condo Prices May Founder on Looming Supply Glut
A trio of new reports documents the state of flux in Lower Manhattan home prices, both rental and owner-occupied.
They Didn’t Get the Memo…
Much-Touted Crackdown on Placard Parking Not All It Was Cracked Up to Be
Amid much fanfare, multiple City agencies recently announced that they would take part in a crackdown on illegal parking by government employees, whose personal vehicles bear placards that allow them to leave their cars blocking bus stops, crosswalks, fire hydrants, bike lanes, and lanes needed for use by fire trucks and ambulances.
By Tuesday, it appeared that dozens of law enforcement personnel who work in Battery Park City hadn’t heard, or perhaps knew better.
Today in History
27 BC – Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus is granted the title Augustus by the Roman Senate, marking the beginning of the Roman Empire.
1412 – The Medici family is appointed official banker of the Papacy.
1547 – Ivan the Terrible becomes Czar of Russia.
1786 – Virginia enacts the Statute for Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson.
1862 – Hartley Colliery disaster: Two hundred and four men and boys killed in a mining disaster, prompted a change in UK law which henceforth required all collieries to have at least two independent means of escape.
1919 – Temperance movement: The United States ratifies the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, requiring Prohibition in the United States one year after ratification.
1920 – The League of Nations holds its first council meeting in Paris, France.
1945 – Adolf Hitler moves into his underground bunker, the so-called Führerbunker.
1969 – Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 perform the first-ever docking of manned spacecraft in orbit, the first-ever transfer of crew from one space vehicle to another, and the only time such a transfer was accomplished with a space walk.
1970 – Buckminster Fuller receives the Gold Medal award from the American Institute of Architects.
2002 – The UN Security Council unanimously establishes an arms embargo and the freezing of assets of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the remaining members of the Taliban.
2003 – The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.
1477 – Johannes Schöner, German astronomer and cartographer (d. 1547)
1821 – John C. Breckinridge, American general and politician, 14th Vice President of the United States (d. 1875)
1853 – André Michelin, French businessman, co-founded the Michelin Tyre Company (d. 1931)
1901 – Frank Zamboni, American businessman, founded the Zamboni Company (d. 1988)
1908 – Ethel Merman, American actress and singer (d. 1984)
1921 – Francesco Scavullo, American photographer (d. 2004)
1930 – Norman Podhoretz, American journalist and author
1932 – Dian Fossey, American zoologist and anthropologist (d. 1985)
1933 – Susan Sontag, American novelist, essayist, and critic (d. 2004)
1935 – A. J. Foyt, American race car driver
1980 – Lin-Manuel Miranda, American actor, playwright, and composer
1547 – Johannes Schöner, German astronomer and cartographer (b. 1477)
1595 – Murad III, Ottoman sultan (b. 1546)
1957 – Arturo Toscanini, Italian cellist and conductor (b. 1867)
2017 – Eugene Cernan, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1934)
Photos and information culled from Wikipedia and other internet sources
Cuomo Announces Planned Expansion of Museum of Jewish Heritage
At his annual State of the State address, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo included on his list of dozens of proposals an announcement that he was directing the Battery Park City Authority to develop an expansion plan for the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, located within Wagner Park, on Battery Place.
Cuomo Vetoes Legislation Sought by HRPT to Allow Development on Pier 40
On New Year’s Eve, Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill passed earlier this year by both houses of the State legislature that would have allowed limited commercial development on Pier 40, the massive former cruise ship terminal on the Hudson River waterfront, adjacent to Houston Street, which covers 14 acres and now houses athletic and recreational facilities.
Such development would have helped to fund operations for the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT), which oversees the four-mile-long riverfront park that stretches from the Battery to West 59th Street.
“Pier 40 is a very key element of the Hudson River Park,” noted Paul Goldstein, who chairs the Waterfront Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1), at an April meeting. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades ~ Respectable Employment ~ Lost & Found
NEED A PERSONAL ASSISTANT?
ORGANIZED, RELIABLE, KNOWLEDGEABLE.
LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR AVAILABLE
FOR BABYSITTING OR TUTORING
17 year old young man, lifetime resident of Tribeca and BPC.
Went to PS 234, Lab Middle School and currently attending Millennium HS. This summer was a Councilor at Pierce Country Day Camp. Excellent references.Very experienced with kids under 10.
Available for weeknight and weekend baby-sitting and tutoring middle-schoolers in Math or Science. Please contact Emmett at 917.733.3572
IT AND SECURITY SUPPORT
Experienced IT technician. Expertise in 1-on-1 tutoring for all ages.Computer upgrading & troubleshooting. Knowledgeable in all software programs.
James Keirstead firstname.lastname@example.org
347-933-1362 References available
CERTIFIED HOME HEALTH AIDE SEEKING
Full-Time Live-In Elder Care
I am loving, caring and hardworking with 12 years experience. References available. Marcia 347-737-5037 email@example.com
NOTARY PUBLIC IN BPC
$2 per notarized signature Text Paula at 917-836-8802
ELDER CARE NURSE AIDE
with 17 years experience seeks PT/FT work. Refs available Call or text 718 496 6232 Dian
Available starting September for PT/FT.
Wonderful person, who is a great worker. Reference Available
Available for PT/FT elder care. Experienced. References Angella
EXPERIENCED ELDER CARE
Able to prepare nutritious meals and light housekeeping
Excellent references 12yrs experienced 347-898-5804
Call Hope firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to place a listing, please contact email@example.com
Class-Action Suit on Behalf of Gateway Tenants Reaches Proposed Settlement
Attorneys representing Gateway Plaza residents in a class-action suit that began in 2014 have reached a tentative settlement with the LeFrak Organization, the landlords at Battery Park City’s largest residential complex, which they value at $42 million. To read more…
Eyes to the Sky
January 6 – 19, 2020
Sun’s New Year, dawn and dusk planets
Since the winter solstice, December 21, I have been particularly attentive to the Sun as it sets into the skyline to the southwest. Even though I know that the Sun is setting about a minute later everyday, I am impressed to notice that the location of the setting Sun has inched more westerly.
By the time of Vernal Equinox, March 19, sunset will be due west. Sunset today, the 6th, is at 4:43:33pm., an increase of 15 minutes from the earliest sunset on December 8th. Picking up momentum, we will experience a 14-minute gain of afternoon sunlight by January 19, when sunset time is 4:57:28pm. To read more…
Recalling Five Points
Epicenter of a Notorious Slum Proposed for Commemoration
In 1831, the City government considered a petition that warned, “that the place known as “Five points” has long been notorious… as being the nursery where every species of vice is conceived and matured; that it is infested by a class of the most abandoned and desperate character.”
A decade later, Charles Dickens, visiting New York, wrote of the same Lower Manhattan neighborhood that had inspired the petition, “what place is this, to which the squalid street conducts us? A kind of square of leprous houses, some of which are attainable only by crazy wooden stairs without. What lies behind this tottering flight of steps? Let us go on again, and plunge into the Five Points…. To read more…
Cruise Ships in New York Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Sunday January 19
07:00 ~ 17:00
Sunday February 2
07:00 ~ 17:00
10:00 ~ 16:00
07:00 ~ 17:00
07:00 ~ 17:00
10:00 ~ 16:00
Many ships pass Lower Manhattan on their way to and from the Midtown Passenger Ship Terminal. Others may be seen on their way to or from piers in Brooklyn and Bayonne. Stated times, when appropriate, are for passing the Colgate clock in Jersey City, New Jersey, and are based on sighting histories, published schedules and intuition. They are also subject to passenger and propulsion problems, tides, fog, winds, freak waves, hurricanes and the whims of upper management.
Death Came Calling at the Corner of Wall and Broad Streets, in Lower Manhattan’s First Major Terrorist Attack
As the noon hour approached on a fall Thursday morning in 1920, a horse-drawn wagon slowly made its way west down Wall Street toward “the Corner,” the high-powered intersection of Wall and Broad. Its driver came to a gentle stop in front of the Assay Office, where stockpiles of gold and silver were stored and tested for purity. But theft was not his motive.
Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
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