Governor Announces Funding to Protect Against Hate Crimes
Above: Governor Kathy Hochul: “By their very nature, hate crimes strike at the heart of our democratic values.” Below: State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou: “It starts with education. It starts with understanding. And we need to make sure we are doing that.”
Governor Kathy Hochul came to Battery Park City on Wednesday to announce $25 million in state funding to help nonprofit organizations improve the security of their facilities to protect against the risk of hate crimes.
In an event at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, on Battery Place, the Governor said, “by their very nature, hate crimes strike at the heart of our democratic values and threaten to undermine the very tenets of our society. By helping nonprofit organizations protect themselves against these cowardly acts of violence, we continue to make public safety a top priority. Bigotry and hate have no place in our State, and we will do everything in our power to protect vulnerable people from those who would lash out against them due to their ideology, belief or mission.”
The choice of the Museum of Jewish Heritage as the venue for this announcement was driven, in part, by an incident in January, alluded to by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer in her remarks on Wednesday.
“During the pandemic, there was a hate sign on the door of this Museum,” she said, referring to the discovery of a Confederate flag tied to the entrance of the building. “Children from the school across the street, little students came over with notes of support. But too many people haven’t got the message.”
Ms. Brewer noted that the New York Police Department, “reports that in the last year, there have been 371 hate-related incidents, targeting Jews, Asians, the Black community, the queer community. Everyone deserves to feel safe on our streets, on our trains, and in our workplaces.”
Above: State Senator Brian Kavanagh: “The critical importance of remembering what happened generations ago, but is still all too real throughout our world.” Below: Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer: “In the last year, there have been 371 hate-related incidents, targeting Jews, Asians, the Black community, the queer community.”
State Senator Brian Kavanagh spoke of, “the critical importance of remembering what happened generations ago, but is still all too real throughout our world.”
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou reflected that, “it starts with education. It starts with understanding. And we need to make sure we are doing that.” She then quoted from “Night,” the memoir of serving Auschwitz by Elie Wiesel: “No human race is superior. No religion in inferior. All collective judgements are wrong. Only racists make them.”
According to Police Department data, Lower Manhattan’s First Precinct has been the site of dozens of hate crimes (defined as offenses motivated in whole or substantial part by a person’s, a group’s or a place’s identification with a particular race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, ancestry, national origin or sexual orientation) thus far in 2021, including three felony assaults, three misdemeanor assaults, and multiple related, lesser offenses.
Among these are a May incident in which on Bayard Street, when a 55-year-old woman was punched and knocked unconscious in an apparently random, unprovoked assault. In video captured by a security camera, a woman walks in front of outdoor seating area of Kong Sihk Tong restaurant, when she is approached by a man who raises his left arm and smashes her in the face. The woman reels backward from the force of the blow, and then falls to the sidewalk, where she sits motionless as passersby come to her aid.
In March, a Hasidic Jewish couple and their 13-month-old baby were all slashed by a razor-wielding man on Battery Place.
In June 24, three suspects were caught on surveillance video affixing to a pair of local buildings decals that resembled the Israeli flag, but with the Star of David replaced by a swastika. The trio left these signs on the the Goldman Sachs building (at 200 West Street), and the Verizon building (140 West Street).
A month earlier, the window outside an art exhibit at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, honoring the military service of African-American soldiers, was defaced with graffiti that decried, “more n—-r lovin’ bullshit.”
Flats for the Frugal
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 Pace University Art Gallery (located at 41 Park Row) has debuted its new, in-person exhibition, “Substance,” which brings together four abstract artists, who express meaning via materials, rather than representational imagery.
Diego Anaya celebrates his Mexican heritage through the use of ground corn, corn ash, and sand. Liz Atz’s bright, immersive artworks critique commercialism, materialism, and consumption. Linda Ekstromuses text from religious sources as both inspiration and commentary, exploring feminist issues, particularly within the role of Jewish and Christian tradition. And Alberto Lule critiques America’s prison-industrial complex as a form of modern slavery, using fingerprint powder as his drawing material, mining insights from his personal experience with incarceration. On display now through October 30. Admission is free, but a Covid vax card and ID are required to enter the gallery.
A Taste for Learning
The 11th Annual Taste of the Seaport festival will come to the South Street Seaport on Saturday, October 16, with food from more than 30 Lower Manhattan restaurants, wares from local shops, and live music featuring local artists and musicians, plus a KidZone offering interactive demonstrations and activities. Proceeds from the festival support enrichment programs for students at two highly regarded, local public schools: the Spruce Street School and the Peck Slip School. The fun will take place between noon and 3:00 pm on Piers 16 and 17 (South Street, roughly between John and Beekman Streets). For more information, or to purchase tickets, please browse: www.tasteoftheseaport.org
An Ill Wind Blows
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.
Nadler Presses City Hall to Release Documents from 2001 about Awareness of Ground Zero Health Risks
United States Congressman Jerry Nadler is calling upon the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to make public previously unreleased City documents, which may shed light on what Rudolph Giuliani, who was Mayor at the time of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, knew about environmental health risks in weeks and months following of the destruction of the World Trade Center.
In a September 20 letter to City Hall, Mr. Nadler and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney write that, “we have yet to see a full accounting of what then-Mayor Giuliani and his administration knew at the time.” They argue that such an accounting would, “help provide injured and ill 9/11 responders, survivors, and their families a better understanding of what the City knew at the time about the likely scope of the health crisis and when they knew it.” To read more…
EYES TO THE SKY
October 4 – 17, 2021
Protect Earth’s night, essential to life on Earth
“For millions of years, there has been a night shift at work pollinating flowering plants and fruit trees.
“If you look at the diversity and the sheer numbers of moths out there, the other pollinators pale in comparison. So, you’re talking about a massive group of animals that probably contribute not just to fruit crops or crops in general … but to pollination overall, they may just be the most important pollinators as a group… The unsung heroes of pollination.”
Excerpts from Into the Night: Shedding Light on Nocturnal Pollinators
Darkness at night is under siege by an excess of poorly conceived and carelessly deployed artificial light, resulting in a sky polluted with a veil of wasted light and our neighborhoods with no oasis of darkness. Light pollution threatens pollination of our food crops and wild landscapes, bird migration, night vision, human health and our view of the universe. To read more…
Save a Bird During Migration Season
Turn Off Lights or Close Shades
New York is on the Atlantic Flyway, an avian highway in the sky. Millions of birds pass over New York City during spring and fall migration, and as many as 100,000 collide with buildings and die, each season.
Over the next few nights, Cornell Lab of Ornithology is predicting heavy migration through New York City and is calling for businesses, homeowners and apartment dwellers to turn off lights at night or close shades to try to reduce bird deaths. At least one local major property owner—Brookfield Properties—has asked its tenants to turn off their lights at night during this time.
Fall migration will last through October. During the day, birds see sky reflected in windows and crash into them. At night, birds are attracted to bright lights shining from buildings. Check real-time bird migration forecast maps for the latest updates at https://birdcast.info.
If you find an injured bird, bring it to the Wild Bird Fund at 565 Columbus Avenue (88th Street). Try to approach it from behind, gently cup your hands around it, and put it in a paper bag for the trip uptown. Log injured or dead birds you find at https://dbird.org, a national, crowd-sourced data collection project launched by NYC Audubon. Locally, you can contribute observations specific to Battery Park City at https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/battery-park-city-wildlife, and join hundreds of neighbors who have made thousands of observations about the flora and fauna in this neighborhood.
Due to habitat loss and pollution, there are many, many fewer birds in the sky. “We have lost three billion birds in the last 50 years,” said Jerome Ford from U.S. Fish and Wildlife two days ago. He was announcing that the Biden administration is reinstating laws (rolled back under Trump) that hold companies prosecutable for bird deaths.
Join Podge Thomas of Small Business Co-Pilot for a workshop on how to create a stand-out resume. Podge will focus on how to simplify your work experience, communicating HOW you work, and creating a layout that feels spacious and inviting, without compromising your career highlights. Free.
WALLENBERG, an epic new musical with book and lyrics by the 2006 Kleban Award-winning team of Laurence Holzman and Felicia Needleman and music by Benjamin Rosenbluth, brings the incredible true story of Raoul Wallenberg, one of the greatest unsung heroes of the 20th century, vividly to life. In July 1944, the 32-year-old Wallenberg, a businessman from Stockholm, left the safety of neutral Sweden on an American-sponsored mission to Nazi-occupied Hungary. Between face-offs with the notorious Adolf Eichmann and secret dealings with the wife of one of Hungary’s most prominent fascist leaders, Wallenberg saved over 100,000 lives—more than were rescued by any other individual during the Holocaust. Join the Museum for an evening with the creators and actors behind WALLENBERG, who will explore the Wallenberg story and perform a set of exhilarating and richly melodic songs from the musical’s score. $20.
The tall ship Wavertree, the schooner Pioneer, and the tug W.O. Decker are open to the public. Explore Wavertree while she is docked; cruise New York Harbor on W.O. Decker and Pioneer. Wavertree visits are free; Pioneer and Decker prices vary. Check website for times, prices and other details.
The Museum’s director, Carol Willis, will offer a gallery tour of SUPERTALL 2021 that surveys 58 supertalls worldwide and highlights a dozen recently completed towers that represent some of the most stunning new forms and innovative approaches to structural engineering around the world today. Please book a timed ticket at 3pm on Eventbrite. Free.
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Three indicators paint an equivocal portrait of the economic outlook for Lower Manhattan. The most upbeat of these is the so-called Pret Index, a metric created by Bloomberg News, which tracks the sales of lattes at various outposts of Pret A Manger, a chain of sandwich shops that largely serves office workers in urban business districts.
Data released by Bloomberg on Tuesday indicates that, among Pret A Manger locations in the Financial District and Tribeca, sales of cappuccino drinks, “set a new pandemic high last week,” recovering to 45 percent of sales levels from January, 2020—just before the advent of COVID-19.
Governors Island to Remain Open Throughout the Year
Since Governors Island opened to the public in 2005, the 172-acre greensward off Lower Manhattan has become Downtown’s equivalent of Central Park—with one crucial difference. The latter is open 365 days per year, while the quarter-square mile of hills and towering old-growth trees that was called Nutten Island by British settlers in the Colonial Era has, for more than a decade, been accessible to the public only in warm-weather months.
That all changed on Tuesday, when Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that, effective immediately, Governors Island will remain open 12 months per year. The extended season will begin November 1, the day after the facility was slated to close for the year at the end of October.
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.