Sculptor Jaume Plensa says, “Water is the great public space—it does not belong to anyone and at the same time belongs to all of us.”
Lower Manhattan residents have a new reason to gaze westward, after the Thursday opening and dedication of a new monumental public art piece in Jersey City. “Water’s Soul” is an 80-foot-tall white simulacrum of a woman’s head, with a hand raised to her face, and a single finger poised in front of her lips, as if beckoning the tableau before her to be silent.
This piece (fashioned from fiberglass, polyester resin, and marble dust) is the work of Jaume Plensa, a Barcelona-based sculptor whose work adorns parks and corporate plazas around the world. In this case, Mr. Plensa was commissioned by the LeFrak Organization and Simon Property Group (two real estate developers who have jointly transformed Jersey City’s once-derelict waterfront into a thriving business and residential center) to create a piece to adorn the Newport Pier, which sits directly across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan’s Pier 45 (near Christopher Street) and Pier 40 (Houston Street).
“Water’s Soul,” the new monumental public art piece visible across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan
The sculpture was fabricated in Mr. Plensa’s studio in Spain and shipped to America in dozens of crates, each 40 feet long. Mr. Plensa says of the work, “as climate change already threatens to take hold of our beautiful planet, we must join together to protect water as one of the most precious elements in nature. Water is the source of life, and ‘Water’s Soul’ is a tribute to that. It’s a celebration of life.”
“Water is a marvelous metaphor for humanity,” he adds. “One drop of water is quite alone, like a single person. But many drops together can create a tidal wave, and form immense rivers and oceans. When individuals come together to exchange ideas and create community, we can build something incredibly powerful.”
“‘Water’s Soul’ is asking us for a bit of silence,” he concludes. “It is asking to listen to its profound voice that speaks to us about the origin of the world and its memory. I believe in the spirit of water, too, and its great capacity for connection and transformation. Water is the great public space—it does not belong to anyone and at the same time belongs to all of us.”
The annual Dine Around Downtown festival, presented by the Downtown Alliance and hosted by celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito, continues its “Cooking At Home Edition,” broadcast via Zoom, which presents Lower Manhattan chefs as they demonstrate easy-to-replicate dishes from their restaurants, while also raising money for food-security charities.
Upcoming episodes will feature Hegel Hei (founder Chinah), on October 28; and executive chef Amy Sur-Trevino (of Malibu Farm (on November 18). Participants can register to participate in free upcoming episodes at: downtownny.com/dinearound
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 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?
The Rest Is Not Our Business
The Museum of Jewish Heritage is presenting a new exhibit, “Boris Lurie: Nothing to Do But To Try,” which opens on Friday, October 22. Centered around the earliest work of artist and Holocaust survivor Boris Lurie, the show presents a portrait of a creative personality reckoning with devastating trauma, haunting memories, and an elusive, lifelong quest for freedom. For more information, please browse: mjhnyc.org
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.” To read more…
Wigwam for Wee Ones
The Battery Park City Authority will present “Campfire Stories & Songs” on Saturday, October 30 (from 2:00pm to 4:00pm) in Teardrop Park. Kids and parents are invited to cozy up beside a campfire for stories and sing-alongs, while enjoying snacks and art projects.
This event is free to attend. No reservation required.
Ruminating about Relationships
Hudson Eats will host the final gathering in its “Food for Thought” series on Thursday, October 28 (from 6:30 to 7:30 pm), focused on “Dating Real Talk.”
Maria Avgitidis (CEO of Agape Match) and Lindsey Metselaar (of the We Met at Acme podcast) will share insights about dating in the pandemic era. This event is free to attend, but registration is required. For more information, browse: bfplny.com/event/
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?”
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.
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
Reliable, trustworthy and caring Nanny looking for full time position preferably with newborns, infants and toddlers. I have experience in the Battery Park City area for 8 years. I will provide a loving, safe and nurturing environment for your child. Refs available upon request. Beverly 347 882 6612
HOUSEKEEPING/ NANNY/ BABYSITTER
Available for PT/FT. Wonderful person, who is a great worker.
Worked in BPC. Call Tenzin
SEEKING LIVE-IN ELDER CARE
12 years experience, refs avail. I am a loving caring hardworking certified home health aide
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.
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.
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.
Robert Capa’s photo of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy by allied forces.
794 – Emperor Kanmu relocates the Japanese capital to Heian-kyō (now Kyoto).
1707 – Four British naval vessels run aground on the Isles of Scilly because of faulty navigation. In response, the first Longitude Act is enacted in 1714.
1746 – The College of New Jersey (later renamed Princeton University) receives its charter.
1784 – Russia founds a colony on Kodiak Island, Alaska.
1797 – André-Jacques Garnerin makes the first recorded parachute jump, from one thousand meters (3,200 feet) above Paris.
1877 – The Blantyre mining disaster in Scotland kills 207 miners.
1879 – Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric incandescent light bulb (it lasts 13½ hours before burning out).
1884 – The Royal Observatory in Britain is adopted as the prime meridian of longitude.
1895 – In Paris an express train derails after overrunning the buffer stop, crossing almost 30 metres (100 ft) of concourse before crashing through a wall and falling 10 metres (33 ft) to the road below.
1941 – World War II: French resistance member Guy Môquet and 29 other hostages are executed by the Germans in retaliation for the death of a German officer.
1957 – Vietnam War: First United States casualties in Vietnam.
1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis: President Kennedy, after internal counsel from Dwight D. Eisenhower, announces that American reconnaissance planes have discovered Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba, and that he has ordered a naval “quarantine” of the Communist nation.
1964 – Jean-Paul Sartre is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, but turns down the honor.
1968 – Apollo program: Apollo 7 safely splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean after orbiting the Earth 163 times.
1975 – The Soviet unmanned space mission Venera 9 lands on Venus.
1976 – Red Dye No. 4 is banned by the US Food and Drug Administration after it is discovered that it causes tumors in the bladders of dogs.
2008 – India launches its first unmanned lunar mission Chandrayaan-1.
2014 – Michael Zehaf-Bibeau attacks the Parliament of Canada, killing a soldier and injuring three other people.
1879 – Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric incandescent light bulb
1197 – Juntoku, Japanese emperor (d. 1242)
1701 – Maria Amalia, Holy Roman Empress (d. 1756)
1811 – Franz Liszt, Hungarian pianist and composer (d. 1886)
1882 – N. C. Wyeth, American painter and illustrator (d. 1945)
1903 – George Wells Beadle, American geneticist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1989)
1913 – Robert Capa, Hungarian-American photographer and journalist (d. 1954)
1920 – Timothy Leary, American psychologist and author (d. 1996)
1925 – Robert Rauschenberg, American painter and illustrator (d. 2008)
1929 – Dory Previn, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2012)
1942 – Annette Funicello, American actress and singer (d. 2013)
1946 – Deepak Chopra, Indian-American physician and author
741 – Charles Martel, Frankish king (b. 688)
842 – Abo, Japanese prince (b. 792)
1383 – Ferdinand I of Portugal (b. 1345)
1973 – Pablo Casals, Catalan cellist and conductor (b. 1876)
1993 – Innes Ireland, English race car driver and engineer (b. 1930)
2002 – Richard Helms, American intelligence agent and diplomat, 8th Director of Central Intelligence (b. 1913)