The Battery Park City Authority recruited Poets House to locate in new headquarters at Ten River Terrace, in 2004.
Poets House, one of a slew of cultural institutions brought to the community by the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) in the early 2000s, announced on Monday that it has closed indefinitely, due to budgetary issues caused by the pandemic coronavirus.
In a statement, the organization said its hopes to reopen its 70,000-volume library in late 2021. In the same statement, Poets House said that its longtime executive director, Lee Briccetti, is retiring, along with managing director, Jane Preston
Robert Kissane, chairman of the Poets House board of directors said, “this is an unprecedented moment in Poets House history and, indeed, the world. The Board took these measures in order to withstand what we all are facing and ensure that the organization and its collections survive.”
Poets House, located at Ten River Terrace, was one of several non-profits brought to Lower Manhattan in the early 2000s, as the BPCA sought to create amenities that would help establish Battery Park City as a cultural center, in addition to being a thriving residential and business community.
Poets House was given a lease at one dollar per year (through 2069) for the publicly owned two-level space, which encompasses majestic views of the nearby Hudson River.
Once housed in the same building was the World Hunger Action Center—a branch of Mercy Corps, a humanitarian agency based in Oregon—which sought to raise awareness about starvation around the world. But this facility never gained the traction its founders hoped for, and closed in 2009. The space it occupied (next to Le Pain Quotidien and across from the Irish Hunger Memorial), is now used as a community facility by the BPCA.
As part of the same push to create public amenities, the BPCA also created space within Ten River Terrace for a new branch of the New York Public Library. All three facilities were given leases through 2069, for one dollar per year.
Poets House was struggling financially even before the current health crisis worsened its outlook. According to its IRS form 990 (a standard disclosure filed by non-profit organizations), the group’s expenses exceeded overall revenue by $468,641 in 2019, and $537,259 the year before.
Even so, the organization managed to retain its entire staff at full salaries
and benefits since the onset of the public health crisis caused by COVID-19. Most have now been laid off.
In the event that Poets House is unable to reopen, community leaders may wish to begin considering what use they would like to see for the publicly owned space that the facility occupies. At more than 11,000 square feet on two levels, offering majestic views of the Hudson River, the property could be reconfigured to host a preschool, a senior center, or affordable housing, among multiple other possible uses.
Giving Locally, Impacting Globally
Eleemosynary Advice for Reaching Out and Making a Difference Downtown
As we embark upon the giving season, many Lower Manhattan residents are interested in finding a way to give back. To help connect prospective volunteers with organizations that need help doing good, LMHQ, the collaborative workspace operated by the Downtown Alliance for companies in the technology, advertising, media, and information industries, will offer a free, online showcase for local volunteer opportunities today (Wednesday, November 18) at noon.
Court Rules That FiDi Condo Buyers Can Recover Damages from Developer for Shoddy Construction
More than a decade ago, real estate developers in Lower Manhattan were performing a feat that seemed akin to alchemy. Buying up unglamorous office buildings (abandoned by financial firms that had decamped for Midtown after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001) and converting them into high-priced residential towers, such developers rode the wave that was transforming Downtown into a chic residential district.
One example among many in this narrative was 90 William Street, a 17-story back-office facility constructed in 1967, that was rebranded as “Be@William,” a 113-unit condominium in 2008.
But residents began to notice problems with the building within weeks of plunking down a million dollars or more per apartment. To read more…
The National Museum of the American Indian’s Native Cinema Showcase is an annual celebration of the best in Native film. This year, for the 20th-anniversary showcase, the museum presents the full program online, streaming new films, fan favorite classics, and conversations with filmmakers. The showcase provides a unique forum for engagement with Native filmmakers and stories from Indigenous communities throughout the Western Hemisphere and Arctic. Free
Virtual evening event with Columbia University professor and value investing guru Bruce Greenwald, with an introduction by Mario Gabelli, chairman and CEO of Gamco Investors Inc.
In the modern era, investors are increasingly caught up in so-called hot tips, can’t-miss startups, excessive optimism, and short-term speculation. Value investing is the antithesis to these short-sighted approaches, and stresses what Ben Graham—the father of value investing—referred to as the ‘margin of safety’ when describing the gap between an equity’s price and its value.
The Tale of the Ticker Tape, or How Adversity and Spontaneity Hatched a New York Tradition
What was Planned as a Grand Affair became a Comedy of Errors
New York’s first ticker-tape parade erupted spontaneously from bad weather
and an over-zealous stockbroker.
While the festivities in New York Harbor didn’t go as scripted that afternoon, the spontaneous gesture it generated from the brokerage houses lining Broadway famously lives on more than a century later.
On October 28, 1886, Liberty Enlightening the World was to be unveiled to New York City and the world as it stood atop its tall base on Bedloe’s Island. But the morning mist had turned to afternoon fog, blurring the view of the statue from revelers on the Manhattan shore and the long parade of three hundred ships on the Hudson River.
What was planned as a grand affair-with President Grover Cleveland as the main speaker-became a comedy of errors. The fog prevented efficient communication between the dignitaries on the island and the ships awaiting orders to fire their salutes and blast their horns at the given signal.
Even the dramatic unveiling moment itself went awry. To read more…
TODAY IN HISTORY
1961 – JFK sends 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam
326 – Old St. Peter’s Basilica is consecrated. Stood 4th – 16th century. Replaced by current St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
1105 – Maginulf elected anti-Pope Silvester I
Members of the Roman aristocracy, with the support of the German king Henry V (1105–25) set up another antipope to replace Pope Paschal II (1099–1118), electing Maginulfo, the Archpriest of St. Angelo in Peschiera, while Paschal II was outside of Rome.
Local Small Business Swims Against the Tide by Reopening
In Italian, the word “inatteso” means “unexpected”—which is an apt adjective to describe what a small business in Battery Park City is doing. At a time when large enterprises, from the Century 21 department store to the restaurant, bar, and catering facility at Pier A, are shuttering, a spunky upstart is voicing optimism by reopening.
New Sculpture on Centre Street Inverts Myth to Send a Feminist Message
In a caustic counterpoint to the “Fearless Girl” statue that attracted worldwide attention after it was unveiled at Bowling Green in 2017, a new feminist icon is calling Lower Manhattan’s streetscape home.
Standing in the center of Collect Pond Park (bounded by Centre, Lafayette, and White Streets), “Medusa with the Head of Perseus” makes a stark statement about violence against women. The bronze depicts the Medusa of Greek myth holding aloft the head of the hero who is said to have slain her. To read more…
Decrying the Decree
CB1 Backs Stringer on Rescinding Mayor’s Emergency Authority
Community Board 1 is taking the unusual step of demanding that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio alter a policy that is citywide in its breadth, and does not specifically apply to Lower Manhattan.
The policy at issue is Emergency Executive Order 101, proclaimed by the Mayor in March of this year as the pandemic coronavirus was beginning to threaten New York. The original rationale for this order was to suspend temporarily the cumbersome regulations that usually apply to purchases of goods and services by the City government. The Mayor argued that this discretion was necessary, in order to facilitate the rapid procurement of medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators. To read more…
Downtown Traffic May Ease with Split Verrazzano Toll
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is poised to implement federal legislation (enacted in 2019) that will modify the tolling regimen on a bridge barely visible on the horizon from Lower Manhattan, but this may nonetheless reduce traffic congestion Downtown. To read more…
Contract One, Station One
The Jewel in
Just below the surface of City Hall Park sits one of New York’s architectural gems. Built during the City Beautiful movement, its design sought to uplift the spirits of New Yorkers on their daily commute.
City Hall Loop station—Contract One, Station One—was the flagship of New York’s first subway and the focus of the international press on October 27, 1904, when Mayor George McClellan connected the Tiffany-designed motorman’s handle to propel the first train north to its endpoint on 145th Street and Broadway.
The design of the other twenty-seven stations it stopped at that afternoon was dictated by the practical needs of subway efficiency—the architect’s only role was to choose the tile work that would cover the structural columns and walls. But the station below City Hall Park is different. Here, design and structure are one in the same.
City Hall subway station, was designed to be the showpiece of the new subway system with its elegant platform and mezzanine featured Guastavino tile, skylights, colored glass tilework and brass chandeliers.