Pier A, a dock dating from the late 1800s, has been a restaurant and tavern since 2014, but recently closed.
The Harbor House Restaurant on Pier A has shut down, with no definite plan to reopen. A spokesman for the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) says that agency, “is working with all relevant parties to determine a path forward.”
This may represent a turning point for historic dock that sits on the border between Battery Park City and the park for which the community is named—the Battery, at Manhattan’s southern tip. The focus of decades of abortive attempts by City agencies to create a showcase amenity, Pier A was plagued by years of difficulty in finding an anchor tenant, delays in construction, and a business model that never gained traction.
This distress (which predates the restaurant-industry woes triggered by the pandemic coronavirus and the economic slowdown that followed) was highlighted in December, 2018. That was when the BPCA, which took over responsibility for the structure in 2008 and now acts as landlord to the Harbor House restaurant, bar, and catering facility that occupies all of Pier A, acknowledged that the operators had fallen behind on their rent by $1.7 million. The Authority responded by renegotiating its lease with the operators, and reducing the annual minimum rent it would collect through the year 2038 by more than $14 million, or roughly one-third.
More recently, in April of this year, the operators of Pier A (doing business under the corporate name of Pier A Battery Park Associates) collected more than $1 million in a loan from the federal “paycheck protection program” (PPP), based on their representation that the money would be used to save the jobs of 45 employees.
These developments come of the heels of years of adversity for the dining-and-drinking facility, which opened in November, 2014. Amid great fanfare, the owners launched several bars within the building, along with a fine-dining restaurant on its second floor. But the restaurant (although highly regarded by locals who ate there) never developed a following, and ceased operations before the following summer. (A catering facility on Pier A’s third floor continued to host events intermittently in the years that followed.) The bars that remained proved popular, but never generated sufficient revenue even to cover Pier A’s rent to the BPCA.
In some ways, Pier A was a counter-intuitive location for a food-and-drink venue. Located far from other restaurants and taverns, its front door saw significant foot traffic during daylight hours—especially among tourists destined for the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, which docks nearby, in the Battery. But during the evening hours that are the peak time for dining, the location is far less populated.
Nor was a restaurant the BPCA’s first choice for a tenant at Pier A. After taking over from the City’s Economic Development Corporation in 2008, the Authority managed a five-year project to restore what was, by then, a derelict structure to usable condition. During this time, the Authority explored options that included housing a museum within Pier A, creating a school there, and having National Park Service transform it into a working dock once more, with ferries to Ellis and Liberty Islands picking up and dropping off passengers there.
When none of these plans moved past the discussion stage, however, the BPCA began seeking commercial tenants, singing a lease with Pier A Battery Park Associates in 2011. Originally, the new restaurant was slated to open in 2012, but Hurricane Sandy caused extensive flood damage, which required two additional years of storm-proofing. These measures included the installation of marine-grade lumber and raising electrical equipment to higher floors. The incorporation of these resiliency features won a 2015 New York Design Award. If Harbor House does not reopen, the process of envisioning a new best use of Pier A could begin anew.
Pier A was built in 1886, and served for decades as the headquarters of the City’s Board of Dock Commissioners, who shared space with the Harbor Unit of the NYPD. Starting in 1960, the dock was taken over by the Fire Department, which used it as a workshop, while also basing multiple fire boats there. But the Fire Department moved out in 1992, after which Pier A was effectively abandoned until it was taken over by the BPCA in 2008.
Mother of Exiles
Remembering the Woman Who Said: “the World Is Poisoned with Erroneous Theories and Needs to be Taught Sane Doctrines”
On Monday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo observed Columbus Day by presiding over a ceremony at South Cove, along the Battery Park City Esplanade, to dedicate the Mother Cabrini Memorial—commemorating the 19th-century Italian-American nun who founded more than 60 orphanages, hospitals, and schools to help New York’s needy, and later became (in 1946) the first naturalized U.S. citizen to be canonized a Catholic saint.
“Last year, on this very day,” Mr. Cuomo said, “we announced that we build a statue to Mother Cabrini. There was no doubt that she deserved it, that Mother Cabrini had not received the proper recognition that she deserved. And New Yorkers wanted to memorialize her. We did it in one year. We formed a commission, found a location, identified the funding, and the sculptors brought it to life and did a magnificent job.” To read more…
Democratic Group Endorses Young Activist for City Council
The Downtown Independent Democrats (DID), an influential political club based in Lower Manhattan, has endorsed Christopher Marte in his campaign for the City Council seat that will be vacated by Margaret Chin next year, as a result of term limits.
Mr. Marte has a long track record of engagement, starting in the Lower East Side neighborhood where he grew up, and culminating in a City Council run in 2017, which he lost by only a few hundred votes.
How can U.S. and Chinese businesses navigate the new challenges to achieve success in the face of strained U.S.-China relations and a volatile world? In three sessions over three days, the world’s leading business executives and thinkers will help chart the way to success in a decoupling world, demystify China’s new economic policies and opportunities, and shed light on how U.S. and Chinese companies can still work together to create more jobs. $50-$120
Wagner Park, with its amazing gardens and views of the Hudson River and New York Bay, is the perfect setting to practice your art. Participants are expected to bring their own drawing and painting supplies, including drawing boards and containers of water if they are planning to paint. BPCA will supply drawing paper and watercolor paper only. Program is first come, first served for up to 20 participants. Masks and contact information required upon arrival. Art-making is self-guided. Participants must remain 6 ft apart for the duration of the program. All programs will be held in accordance with New York State reopening guidance.
A weekly bagpipe tribute honors those who died on 9/11 as well as those who are sick or who have died from exposure to hazards and toxins in the aftermath of 9/11. Bagpipers play near the 9/11 Memorial Glade.
This fall, the Skyscraper Museum will present a series of webinar sessions designed as a free online course on the early development of the skyscraper as a distinct building type. This week’s topic is New York and Chicago, From the 1870s: Thinking About Tall Buildings and New Technologies.
Tonight is the first of a pair of lectures by two historians, Thomas Leslie and Lee Gray, who will focus complementary talks on very different subjects that raise issues about how technological inventions and the embrace of new materials impact the form and functions of buildings. Two kinds of elevators – passenger and grain – provide the points of comparison.
Losses and Closures Mount Among Downtown Dining Spots
A new report from State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli documents the impact of the ongoing pandemic coronavirus on the restaurant industry in Lower Manhattan.
In this report, Mr. DiNapoli finds, there were 1,981 operating restaurants and bars before the pandemic began, which places Lower Manhattan behind only the Chelsea/Clinton/Midtown Business District PUMA area, with 2,661 such establishments. (Together, these two areas account for nearly 40 percent of the City’s restaurant jobs.) To read more…
‘This Is about Pitting One Community Against Another’
Packed Meeting Airs Concerns about Plan for Homeless Shelter on William Street
A special meeting of Community Board 1 (CB1), called to gather information and air concerns about a de Blasio administration plan to locate a shelter for homeless men in the Financial District, drew more than 1,000 online participants on October 1.
The hotel, known as the Radisson New York Wall Street, is located at 52 William Street. Housing homeless persons there is actually not a new development. The City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has used the building since March as a temporary facility, aiming to limit the spread of the pandemic coronavirus among residents of the shelter system. To read more…
Quay to Success
Pier 26 Opens with Amenities Galore
The tally of great public spaces in Lower Manhattan has increased by one. Last Wednesday, the Hudson River Park Trust officially opened Pier 26 in Tribeca (near Hubert Street), the product of a decade-plus of planning and construction, and a $37-million budget.
The result is 2.5 acres of woodland forest, coastal grassland, maritime scrub, and a rocky tidal zone—all culminating in a breathtaking view of the Hudson River. Additionally included in the design are a multi-use recreation field and a spacious sunning lawn, as well as boardwalks and seating areas. To read more…
Eyes to the Sky
October 6 – 18, 2020
Planet Mars Will Surprise You
A rusty-gold star-like celestial body shines suspended above the eastern skyline at nightfall. It is heaven’s celebrity of the month. Even though I knew that planet Mars is predicted to be at that location after sunset, a rush of surprise overcame me when, approaching a clear view to the east, the planet’s brilliant light pierced the darkness. Mars is brightest for the year in Earth’s skies. On the 6th, it will orbit closest to our planet since 2018 and arrive at “opposition” on the 13th.
Words Come to Life Amid New Installation in Battery Park City
Poets House—a library, creative space, and meeting place that invites poets and the public to step into the living tradition of poetry, while cultivating a wider audience for the art—will celebrate its tenth anniversary in Battery Park City by launching the Poetry Path, an immersive public art installation running the northern length of Battery Park City, from Rockefeller and Teardrop Parks to the North Cove Marina. To read more…
Rice and Beans
They are better
Me and Jayden
We are better
Josh, PS1 student
TODAY IN HISTORY
1947 – Captain Chuck Yeager of the United States Air Force flies a Bell X-1 rocket-powered experimental aircraft, the Glamorous Glennis, faster than the speed of sound at Mach 1.06 (700 miles per hour (1,100 km/h; 610 kn) over the high desert of Southern California and becomes the first pilot and the first airplane to do so in level flight.
1066 – Norman Conquest: Battle of Hastings: In England on Senlac Hill, seven miles from Hastings, the Norman forces of William the Conqueror defeat the English army and kill King Harold II of England.
1322 – Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeats King Edward II of England at Byland, forcing Edward to accept Scotland’s independence.
1586 – Mary, Queen of Scots, goes on trial for conspiracy against Elizabeth I of England.
1656 – Massachusetts enacts the first punitive legislation against the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The marriage of church-and-state in Puritanism makes them regard the Quakers as spiritually apostate and politically subversive.
1773 – Just before the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, several of the British East India Company’s tea ships are set ablaze at the old seaport of Annapolis, Maryland.
1880 – Mexican soldiers kill Victorio, one of the greatest Apache military strategists.
1884 – The American inventor, George Eastman, receives a U.S. Government patent on his new paper-strip photographic film.
1912 – While campaigning in Milwaukee, the former President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, is shot and mildly wounded by John Schrank, a mentally-disturbed saloon keeper. With the fresh wound in his chest, and the bullet still within it, Mr. Roosevelt still carries out his scheduled public speech.
1926 – The children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne, is first published.
1933 – Nazi Germany withdraws from the League of Nations and World Disarmament Conference.
1944 – Linked to a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel is forced to commit suicide.
1947 – Captain Chuck Yeager flies a Bell X-1 rocket-powered experimental aircraft, the Glamorous Glennis, faster than the speed of sound at Mach 1.06 (700 miles per hour (1,100 km/h; 610 kn) over the high desert of Southern California and becomes the first pilot and the first airplane to do so in level flight.
1949 – Eleven leaders of the American Communist Party are convicted, after a nine-month trial in a Federal District Court, of conspiring to advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. Federal Government.
1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis begins: A U.S. Air Force U-2 reconnaissance plane and its pilot flies over the island of Cuba and takes photographs of Soviet SS-4 Sandal missiles being installed and erected in Cuba.
1964 – Martin Luther King, Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence.
1964 – Leonid Brezhnev becomes the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and thereby, along with his allies, such as Alexei Kosygin, the leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), ousting the former monolithic leader Nikita Khrushchev, and sending him into retirement as a nonperson in the USSR.
1967 – Vietnam War: The folk singer Joan Baez is arrested concerning a physical blockade of the U.S. Army’s induction center in Oakland, California.
1968 – Vietnam War: Twenty-seven soldiers are arrested at the Presidio of San Francisco in California for their peaceful protest of stockade conditions and the Vietnam War.
1968 – Vietnam War: The Department of Defense announces that the Army and Marine Corps will send about 24,000 soldiers and Marines back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours of duty in the combat zone there.
1968 – Apollo program: The first live TV broadcast by American astronauts in orbit performed by the Apollo 7 crew.
1968 – Jim Hines of the USA becomes the first man ever to break the so-called “ten-second barrier” in the 100-meter sprint in the Summer Olympic Games held in Mexico City with a time of 9.95 seconds.
1979 – The first Gay Rights March on Washington, D.C., the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, demands “an end to all social, economic, judicial, and legal oppression of lesbian and gay people”, and draws approximately 100,000 people.
1981 – Vice President Hosni Mubarak is elected as the President of Egypt one week after the assassination of the President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat.
1984 – “Baby Fae” receives a heart transplant from a baboon.
1994 – The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, The Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, and the Foreign Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres, receive the Nobel Peace Prize for their role in the establishment of the Oslo Accords and the framing of the future Palestinian Self Government.
1998 – Eric Rudolph is charged with six bombings including the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, Georgia.
1990 – Leonard Bernstein, American pianist, composer, and conductor (b. 1918)
1641 – Joachim Tielke German instrument maker (d. 1719)
1644 – William Penn, founded the Province of Pennsylvania (d. 1718)
1890 – Dwight D. Eisenhower, American general and politician, 34th President of the United States (d. 1969)
1894 – E. E. Cummings, American poet and playwright (d. 1962)
1906 – Hannah Arendt, German-American philosopher and theorist (d. 1975)
1916 – C. Everett Koop, American admiral and surgeon, 13th United States Surgeon General (d. 2013)
1939 – Ralph Lauren, fashion designer
1066 – Harold Godwinson, English king (b. 1022)
1318 – Edward Bruce, Irish king (b. 1280)
1831 – Jean-Louis Pons, French astronomer and educator (b. 1761)
1977 – Bing Crosby, American singer-songwriter and actor (b. 1903)
1990 – Leonard Bernstein, American pianist, composer, and conductor (b. 1918)
Credits include wikipedia and other internet sources