EDC Points to Rising Ridership on New Ferry Route from Staten Island
Statistics from the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), posted online Wednesday by Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, indicate steadily increasing ridership on the new NYC Ferry route that connects Staten Island to Battery Park City and Midtown, which launched in August.
Mr. Oddo posted that, “our new fast ferry route has carried nearly 50,000 riders between St. George, Battery Park, and Midtown West. Daily ridership continues to grow, increasing from less than 900 riders per day to 1,140 riders daily as of last week.”
The service carries passengers for the same price as a subway or bus ride, and shaves seven minutes off the commuting time to Lower Manhattan offered by the nearby Staten Island Ferry. Originally slated to launch in 2020, the new route was plagued by construction delays involving a new dock on Staten Island, and further setbacks related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The most recent ridership numbers may address, in some measure, questions about how fully Richmond County commuters would embrace the new route, when the existing Staten Island Ferry (which links to multiple subway and bus connections) offers a competing option at no charge. And unlike the City’s subway and bus systems, NYC Ferry offers no free transfers to other modes of transit. This could have the effect of doubling the cost of a daily commute for any rider who needs to board a subway or bus after disembarking from the ferry.
The launch of the service also leaves largely unresolved the concerns of residents in buildings nearby the Battery Park City Ferry Terminal, who have expressed reservations since 2019 that the noise caused by 60 new vessels arriving and departing each day, landing from 6:00 am to midnight, and carrying as many as 2,500 daily passengers, will negatively affect their quality of life.
Another focus of criticism for the plan has been the level of subsidies it requires. According to a report released by the independent Citizen’s Budget Commission in March, 2019, “at $10.73 per ride, its operating subsidy is ten times that of the New York City Transit system. Furthermore, NYC Ferry transports fewer people annually than the subway transports in one day.” That report also notes that these subsidies are five times greater than those accorded to the Staten Island Ferry (which, as noted above, is free), and that this support is poised to become more lavish once the NYC Ferry system launches new routes this year: “the recently announced expansion of service will require even greater public subsidies — reaching as much as $24.75 per ride for the Coney Island route,” which is slated to launch soon. This level of public support buys NYC Ferry passengers a more comfortable commute than the subway can offer, with amenities like the onboard availability of food and alcohol, wireless internet connectivity, and a breathtaking view.
In February of this year, after the NYC Ferry service’s ridership was slashed by pandemic lockdowns, the EDC agreed to increase its support for the project by allocating a further $64 million in subsidies, to make up for revenue lost during the public health crisis.
An Avant-Garde Bargain
Legendary Actors Studio Offers Free Plays in FiDi Now Through November
The highly regarded Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University is currently exhibiting its annual repertory season of plays at the ASDS Repertory Theater in Lower Manhattan. Starting tomorrow and continuing through
Starting tomorrow (Wednesday, October 20) and continuing for five weeks (through November 20), the school will present ten productions, ranging from re-stagings of legacy works, to new dramas and musicals. All shows will be staged by students graduating with MFA degrees in acting, directing, and playwriting. All of these performances are free to attend. To read more…
To the Editor:
In response to your 5 Points article and Bob Schnek’s reply as well, I submit that I agree with Bob, certainly not on how wonderful Thomas Jefferson was considering that he was a proven pedophile, slave owner and rapist, but as to the irony of the City’s rejection of him but embracing of the 5 Points and characters like Boss Tweed and celebration of a mass murderer, who even the perpetrators of the Spanish Inquisition found to be particularly heinous, tried, convicted and stripped of his honors. It’s weird!
To the Editor:
I write to say, thank you for your service to the community.
For example, the objective reporting over the past year about apartment rental rates, vacancy rates, supply, etc. was a blessing. Professionals in the business do not volunteer the full truth about this market, in general, or in detail.
I like history, so this edition, among many others, featuring a report about Five Points, has been especially pleasing to read.
To the Editor:
I note with irony that the City has “decided to dignify” Five Points, “that was once a source of shame and that it later sought to erase, ” at the same time that it has decided to shuffle a statue of Thomas Jefferson out of the Council chambers which has inspired pride in American principles for more than 100 years.
I am moved to ask, what Council Member has contributed more to American freedom than Jefferson? Indeed, to the history of world freedom? How do all of the measures taken by Council in a hundred year’s compare to the achievements of Jefferson? If Jefferson inherited the sin of slavery, what noble actions have the individual Council Members taken to fully renounce the sins and transgressions into which they were born?
Recalling Five Points
Epicenter of a Notorious Slum Memorialized
The City has decided to dignify a district that was once a source of shame and that it later sought to erase, both from memory and the Lower Manhattan streetscape. 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…. Debauchery has made the very houses prematurely old. See how the rotten beams are tumbling down, and how the patched and broken windows seem to scowl dimly, like eyes that have been hurt in drunken forays.” Of the inhabitants, he observed, “pigs live here. Do they ever wonder why their masters walk upright instead of going on all fours, and why they talk instead of grunting?”
Bob O’Shea was a kid from New Jersey. O’Shea’s success on Wall Street is the epitome of the American dream. He was offered partnership at Goldman Sachs at age 29, making him the second-youngest partner in the firm’s history. Then, as a second act, O’Shea co-founded Silver Point Capital, a credit and special situations hedge fund, in 2002. He subsequently grew the firm from $120 million in assets under management to $15 billion. In this webinar, Michael Gatto, an adjunct professor at Fordham, will interview O’Shea about his meteoric rise on Wall Street. Topics will include his career and keys to his success, his views of the current credit markets and his advice for students and young professionals on how to build successful careers in credit. Reservations required. Free.
Expect a fascinating, novel dialogue among soulful strains of music when clarinet and mandolin virtuoso Andy Statman joins forces with Jay Gandhi, Ehren Hanson, and David Ellenbogen of Brooklyn Raga Massive. This unique and amazing collaboration, taps into the rich traditions of improvisation and spiritual yearning that animate Indian classical, Jewish, and American roots music. Free.
Community Board 1 Quality of Life & Service Delivery Committee
Experience an immersive sound installation within the Winter Garden palm trees as part of Brookfield Place‘s annual music series, New Sounds Live, curated by John Schaefer of WNYC. The installation titled, Veils and Vesper, is a composition of synthetic sounds by John Luther Adams that is formed by the interactions of a mathematical algorithm and prime numbers to create a sensuous, ever-changing soundscape. Tonight, the installation will be accompanied by live music performance. Free.
The tall ship Wavertree, the lightship Ambrose, and the tug W.O. Decker are open to the public. Explore Wavertree and Ambrose while they are docked; cruise New York Harbor on W.O. Decker. Wavertree and Ambrose visits are free; Decker prices vary. Check website for times, prices and other details.
Boris Lurie: Nothing To Do But To Try is a first-of-its-kind exhibition on the 20th-century artist and Holocaust survivor Boris Lurie. Centered around his earliest work, the so-called War Series, as well as never-before-exhibited objects and ephemera from Lurie’s personal archive, the exhibition presents a portrait of an artist reckoning with devastating trauma, haunting memories, and an elusive, lifelong quest for freedom. In drawing together artistic practice and historical chronicle, Boris Lurie: Nothing To Do But To Try is fertile new territory for the Museum of Jewish Heritage, offering a survivor’s searing visual testimony within a significant art historical context. The Museum is open Sunday and Wednesday: 10 AM to 5 PM; Thursday, 10 AM to 8 PM; and Friday, 10 AM to 3 PM; and closed on Jewish holidays and on Thanksgiving.
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New Rental Building in Hudson Square Contains 30 Affordable Units
Downtown’s roster of affordable rental apartments will soon expand by 30 new homes, as part of a residential development at 111 Varick Street, two blocks north of Canal Street. The building will contain a total of 2100 rental units (with the remaining 70 apartments at market-rate rentals). In exchange for committing to affordability protections on the 30 units, the developer received tax incentives worth many millions of dollars, which helped to build the project.
People wishing to live in the affordable units at 111 Varick are urged enter the affordable housing lottery being overseen by the City’s the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
The Guardian of Community’s Greenspaces Steps Down
One of the people who has helped make Battery Park City a unique urban oasis for decades has departed. Bruno Pomponio, vice president for park operations at the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), retired at the end of September, concluding 25 years of service to the community.
Born and raised in the Mill Basin section of Brooklyn, but a resident of Staten Island since 1985, Mr. Pomponio joined Battery Park City Parks in September 1997. Initially hired as a plumber, he was promoted to foreperson of the maintenance department in 1998, and made maintenance director the following year. In 2015, he became director of parks operations, and was named a vice president at the Authority in 2019, after the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy was folded into the BPCA.
Concerns Raised about Proposal to Make Sidewalk Dining Permanent
Elected officials and local leaders are mobilizing against a plan by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to expand and make permanent the allowance that enabled restaurants to expand into City streets and sidewalks, originally adopted as a provisional measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On October 6, as the Department of City Planning began consideration of this proposal at its headquarters, at 120 Broadway, State Assembly member Deborah Glick, Community Board 1 chair Tammy Meltzer, and City Council candidate Christopher Marte joined other leaders and activists at a rally and protest outside to voice reservations about this plan.
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
BPCA Chair will Depart to Serve as Ambassador to Greece
The White House announced on Friday that President Joe Biden plans to nominate George Tsunis, the chairman of the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) since 2018, to serve as the United States Ambassador to Greece. Assuming that Mr. Tsunis, a real estate developer and philanthropist, is confirmed by the United States Senate, as seems likely, he will soon be required to vacate his current post, overseeing the 92 acres of landfill between West Street and the Hudson River, which is home to more than 10,000 residents.
Mr. Tsunis said, “I am honored and humbled by the nomination, and if confirmed I look forward to promoting American interests and values in the bilateral relationship—as well as to deepening and strengthening an already strong relationship.”
World Trade Center Health Program Faces Funding Shortfall
The World Trade Center Health Program, which provides medical treatment to people affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, is facing an impending budget shortfall that, if left unaddressed, could cause it to scale back services starting in 2025. Activists, local leaders, and elected officials are working to head off this possibility with new legislation.
More than 58,000 people are currently grappling with health problems arising from exposure to environmental toxins on September 11, 2001, and its aftermath. More have died from these illnesses in the years since 2001 than perished on the day of the attacks. There are now 21,000 people suffering from cancers related to September 11.
1959 – In New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, under construction.
1097 – First Crusade: Crusaders led by Godfrey of Bouillon, Bohemund of Taranto, and Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse, begin the Siege of Antioch.
1520 – Ferdinand Magellan discovers a strait now known as Strait of Magellan.
1600 – Tokugawa Ieyasu defeats the leaders of rival Japanese clans in the Battle of Sekigahara, which marks the beginning of the Tokugawa shogunate.
1774 – First display of the word “Liberty” on a flag, raised by colonists in Taunton, Massachusetts in defiance of British rule in Colonial America.
1797 – In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution is launched. A wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy, was named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America.
1824 – Joseph Aspdin patents Portland cement.
1867 – The Medicine Lodge Treaty is signed by southern Great Plains Indian leaders. The treaty requires Native American Plains tribes to relocate to a reservation in western Oklahoma.
1921 – Presdent Warren G. Harding delivers the first speech by a sitting President against lynching in the deep South.
1940 – The first edition of the Ernest Hemingway novel For Whom the Bell Tolls is published.
1944 – World War II: The first kamikaze attack. A Japanese fighter plane carrying a 200-kilogram (440 lb) bomb attacks HMAS Australia off Leyte Island, as the Battle of Leyte Gulf began.
1945 – Women’s suffrage: Women are allowed to vote in France for the first time.
1959 – In New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opens to the public.
1959 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order transferring Wernher von Braun and other German scientists from the United States Army to NASA.
1983 – The metre is defined at the seventeenth General Conference on Weights and Measures as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
1986 – In Lebanon, pro-Iran kidnappers claim to have abducted American writer Edward Tracy (he is released in August 1991).
1994 – North Korea nuclear weapons program: North Korea and the United States sign an Agreed Framework that requires North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons program and agree to inspections.
1687 – Nicolaus I Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician and theorist (d. 1759)
1833 – Alfred Nobel, Swedish chemist and engineer, invented dynamite and founded the Nobel Prize (d. 1896)
1917 – Dizzy Gillespie, American trumpet player, composer, and bandleader (d. 1993)
1927 – Howard Zieff, American director and photographer (d. 2009)
1969 – Jack Kerouac, American novelist and poet (b. 1922)
1984 – François Truffaut, French actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1932)
2012 – George McGovern, American historian, lieutenant, and politician (b. 1922)