Latest in Wave of Hotel Closures Steps Away from Hostelry Commandeered as Homeless Shelter
The AKA Wall Street Hotel, in the Financial District, has joined a roster of local inns that have permanently shut down.
The AKA Wall Street Hotel, located at 84 William Street (on the corner of Maiden Lane) has closed permanently. This is the latest in a rash of hotel closures in Lower Manhattan, which includes the Assemblage (at 17 John Street, operated by the company as AKA Wall Street), the W New York Downtown on Albany Street (on Albany Street), and the Suites by Sonder on Wall Street.
Even before the national and local economies stalled, as a result of the pandemic coronavirus, the hotel business in Lower Manhattan had begun to show signs of impending trouble. The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park (at Two West Street) opened to much fanfare in 2002, but was never able to turn a profit. Sold to a new operator in 2018, its name was changed to the Wagner. (The current owner is hoping to exit the hotel business entirely, by seeking permission to convert the structure into apartments.) More recently, the Andaz Hotel (at 75 Wall Street) was put up for sale by its owner, the Hakimian Organization. The building is being shopped to developers based not on its value as a hotel, but instead for its potential for conversion into office or residential use.
And this roster does not include the additional 15 Lower Manhattan hotels (containing some 2,000 additional rooms) currently in the development pipeline, among which construction appears to have halted on some (such as the planned Marriott Aloft Hotel, at Trinity and Rector Street) and has yet to begin on others (such as the Hidrock hotel on Liberty Street, between Greenwich and Church Streets).
Even after the health crisis recedes, a significant (and prolonged) financial downturn is widely expected to follow. If this contraction jolts the hospitality industry as similar episodes have in decades past, several more of the dozens of hotels recently built in Lower Manhattan may not reopen their doors. And others, currently under construction, may never welcome their first guests.
This raises the question of what will become of these buildings. One possible answer was recently supplied by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, which announced on September 25 that it will convert the former Radisson New York Wall Street Hotel (located at the corner of William and Pine Streets) into a long-term shelter for homeless men. This reprises similar moves at the Hilton Garden Inn (at Six Water Street, near the corner of Broad Street), among several others, which have for several months served as shelters for homeless people quarantined because of possible exposure to the COVID-19.
As Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance recently noted, “there are varying reports that there are already at least three and as many as ten ‘temporary’ homeless facilities within Community Board 1. Why the wide range? Because we don’t know the actual number. That is indicative of the secrecy and shifting nature surrounding the City’s current homeless policy.”
Another possible use for vacant hotel space in Lower Manhattan would be to create new, affordable housing, the lack of which community leaders have long cited as a critical challenge for the Downtown community. If even a significant fraction of the Downtown’s hotel inventory (7,900 existing rooms, according to the 2019 Lower Manhattan Real Estate Year in Review, a report from the Downtown Alliance, plus 2,000 more in development) were to be converted for residential use, this process would likely create a thousand or more new apartments. A campaign to enact incentives for developers to set aside at least some of these units as affordable dwellings could mitigate some of pricing pressure suffered by longtime residents in recent years.
Freedom of Movement
Alliance Revamps Bus Fleet to Make Hitching a Ride More Hygienic
As of Thursday, the Downtown Connection shuttle bus has a new look, a new fleet, and new onboard systems to safeguard against the spread of communicable airborne diseases.
The new vehicles, operated by US Coachways, are configured with forward-facing seats, with each row separated by plastic shields to facilitate socially distant riding. The new design also eliminates the standing room that the old bus fleet contained, because, “during a pandemic, we didn’t want passengers positioned above other, seated riders,” explains Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance, which operates the shuttle as a public service to the Lower Manhattan community.” To read more…
Citys Plan to House Homeless in FiDi Hotel
Lower Manhattan residents and community leaders are scrambling to formulate a response to the announcement, circulated last Friday evening, that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to use a hotel in the Financial District as a homeless shelter.
The hotel, known as the Radisson New York Wall Street, is located at 52 William Street, between Wall and Pine Streets. Housing homeless persons there is actually not a new development. As the Broadsheet reported six months ago… To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
More Than Half of All Students at Downtown Schools Opt for Remote Learning
As children are slated to return to public elementary schools today (along with public middle and high schools on Thursday), slightly more than half of all students in nine Lower Manhattan public schools plan to stay home and focus on remote learning, according to statistics from a State Department of Health (DOH) website.
The DOH’s School COVID-19 Report Card site contains preliminary data about how many students are expected to return to each school throughout the State, relative to the overall size of every school’s student body.
The nine Downtown schools included in this analysis are P.S/I.S. 276, P.S. 89, I.S. 289, P.S. 234, P.S. 343 (Peck Slip), P.S. 397 (Spruce Street), and P.S. 150, as well as Millennium High School and Stuyvesant High School. To read more…
Community Board Meetings This Week
Tuesday October 6
Transportation & Street Activity Permits Committee
1) 60 Collister and 55 Laight Street, further review of application to renovate industrial street canopy to main building entrance – Discussion & Resolution
2) Bogardus Plaza, statement of support for PDC-approved kiosk – Discussion & Resolution
3) Capital and Expense Budget Items for FY 2022 – Discussion
10/12 Office Closed – Columbus Day
Federal Appeals Court Quashes Suits Against BPCA By September 11 Cleanup Workers
A federal appeals court in Lower Manhattan on Monday dismissed the final cluster of personal injury lawsuits against the Battery Park City Authority (BCPA) arising from the cleanup of toxic debris following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a 2019 decision by U.S. District Court judge Alvin Hellerstein, who tossed out the same bundle of 124 suits against the Authority, brought by rescue, recovery and cleanup workers who were made sick by exposure to hazardous materials while laboring in the community during the weeks and months after the destruction of the World Trade Center. To read more…
Getting a Corner on the Market
Retail Developer Wins Years-Long Struggle for Control of Legendary Bank Building
When the financial upheaval unleashed by the pandemic coronavirus begins to settle, a long-neglected local landmark may resume its erstwhile status as an iconic Lower Manhattan public space.
The building, 23 Wall Street (at the corner of Broad Street), is a former tabernacle of American capitalism. To read more…
‘A Fraudulent Scheme’
FiDi Renters Win Recompense for Years of Illegal Rent Overcharges
Rentals tenants in a Financial District building, who sued their landlord to demand restitution for years of illegally high rent, have won a $5-million settlement. The building is the luxury rental tower at 63-67 Wall Street.
Last November, Tallen Todorovich, a renter in 63-67 Wall Street filed suit, seeking class-action status on behalf of all current and former tenants, and alleging that they had not been given rent-stabilized leases for their apartments, even though the building received tax abatements under a program intended for rent-stabilized buildings.
This action (along with half a dozen other, similar suits) stemmed from a June, 2019 ruling by New York State’s highest court, which found that as many as 5,000 Lower Manhattan apartments had been illegally deprived of rent stabilization benefits.
The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) has begun implementation of a landmark plan to “achieve progressive sustainability targets over the next decade, and lay the groundwork for continued sustainability action after 2030.”
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
The Patent of the Wright Brother’s aeroplane
816 – King Louis the Pious is crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope Stephen IV at Reims.
1550 – Foundation of Concepción, city in Chile.
1582 – Because of the implementation of the Gregorian calendar this day does not exist in this year in Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
1789 – French Revolution: Women of Paris march to Versailles in the March on Versailles to confront Louis XVI of France about his refusal to promulgate the decrees on the abolition of feudalism, demand bread, and have the King and his court moved to Paris.
1813 – Battle of the Thames in Canada; Americans defeat British and kill Shawnee leader Tecumseh. Tecumseh was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy, known as Tecumseh’s Confederacy) which opposed the expansion of the United States and became an ally of Britain in the War of 1812.
1864 – Calcutta is almost totally destroyed by a cyclone; 60,000 die.
1905 – Wilbur Wright pilots Wright Flyer III in a flight of 24 miles in 39 minutes, a world record that stood until 1908.
1911 – The Kowloon–Canton Railway (split into MTR East Rail Line and Guangshen Railway now) commences service between Kowloon and Canton.
1947 – The first televised White House address is given by U.S. President Harry S. Truman.
1962 – The Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do” backed with “P.S. I Love You”, is released in the United Kingdom.
1982 – Chicago Tylenol murders: Johnson & Johnson initiates a nationwide product recall in the United States for all products in its Tylenol brand after several bottles in Chicago are found to have been laced with cyanide, resulting in seven deaths.
1882 – Robert H. Goddard, American physicist, engineer, and academic (d. 1945)
1377 – Louis II of Naples (d. 1417)
1717 – Marie Anne de Mailly, French mistress of Louis XV of France (d. 1744)
1829 – Chester A. Arthur, American general, lawyer, and politician, 21st President of the United States (d. 1886)
1882 – Robert H. Goddard, physicist, engineer, and academic (d. 1945)
1892 – Remington Kellogg, American zoologist and paleontologist (d. 1969)
1902 – Ray Kroc, American businessman and philanthropist (d. 1984)
1936 – Václav Havel, Czech poet, playwright, and politician, 1st President of the Czech Republic (d. 2011)
1958 – Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, cosmologist, and author
578 – Justin II, Byzantine emperor (b. 520)
1056 – Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor (b. 1017)
1112 – Sigebert of Gembloux, French monk, historian, and author (b. 1030)
1813 – Tecumseh, American tribal leader (b. 1768)
1941 – Louis Brandeis, American lawyer and jurist (b. 1856)
1942 – Dorothea Klumpke, American astronomer (b. 1861)
1983 – Earl Tupper, American inventor and businessman, founded the Tupperware Corporation (b. 1907)
1986 – James H. Wilkinson, mathematician and computer scientist (b. 1919)
1996 – Seymour Cray, engineer and businessman, founded CRAY Inc (b. 1925)
2004 – Rodney Dangerfield, American comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1921)
2011 – Steve Jobs, American businessman, co-founder of Apple Inc. and Pixar (b. 1955)
Credits include wikipedia and other internet sources