The Battery Hosts Moving Memorial to New Yorkers Who Suffered Preventable Deaths
Speakers at the dedication of the New York Gun Violence Memorial, on the Oval lawn of the Battery, included former U.S. Congresswoman (and gun-violence victim) Gabby Giffords (second from left) and U.S. Congressman Jerry Nadler (right).
Today (Friday, October 10) is the last day to see a temporary art installation, the New York Gun Violence Memorial, on the Oval lawn in the Battery, the historic park at Manhattan’s southern tip.
The exhibit consists of 1,050 vases implanted in the sod, each containing white flowers. These represent the number of New York State resident who died as a result of gun violence in the last year. The display is part of a public-service campaign to promote responsible gun-control legislation, led by former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was nearly killed during a 2011 assassination attempt at constituent services event at a Tuscon, Arizona shopping center. During this attack, her assailant, Jared Lee Loughner, fired 31 shots, one of which entered Ms. Gifford’s brain. The remaining rounds, apparently fired randomly into the crowd, claimed six other lives. Mr. Loughner, who legally (and without any difficulty) purchased the Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol used in the attack came to the event with four magazines full of ammunition.
At the dedication ceremony earlier this week, Ms. Giffords said, “Stopping gun violence takes courage. The courage to do what’s right. Courage and new ideas. I saw great courage when my life was on the line. Now is the time to come together and be responsible—Democrats, Republicans, everyone. We must never stop fighting. The nation’s counting on you.”
U.S. Congressman Jerry Nadler said, “this memorial is a symbol of the daily toll that gun violence takes on our country, including 1,050 painful reminders of the lives lost to gun violence last year in New York.
He added, “while mass shooting usual grab the headlines, we should remember that every day—in communities across the country—on average, 34 people are murdered with a firearm, and more than 183 people are injured in an attack.”
He concluded, “it’s well past time that Congress summons the courage to act and end the gun violence epidemic. Too many families are grieving the loss of a loved one and, as challenging as this problem is, we have the ability to address it, and to save lives.”
Earlier this year, Congressman Nadler helped lead the push to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which seeks to establish new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties and prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.
This bill passed the House of Representatives in March, and is now awaiting action in the Senate.
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
‘All Collective Judgements Are Wrong’
Governor Announces Funding to Protect Against Hate Crimes
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.
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 as per NYS guidelines..
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.
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.
Samascott Orchard Orchard fruit, strawberries from Columbia County, New York
Francesa’s Bakery Breads and baked goods from Middlesex County, New Jersey
Meredith’s Bakery Baked goods from Ulster County, New York
Riverine Ranch Water Buffalo meat and cheeses from Warren County, New Jersey
1857 Spirits Handcrafted potato vodka from Schoharie County, New York
SNAP/EBT/P-EBT, Debit/Credit, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks accepted
TODAY IN HISTORY
1871 – The Great Chicago Fire and the much deadlier Peshtigo Fire break out.
314 – Constantine I defeats Roman Emperor Licinius, who loses his European territories.
1829 – Stephenson’s Rocket wins the Rainhill Trials.
The Rainhill Trials were an important competition run in October 1829, to test George Stephenson’s argument that locomotives would provide the best motive power for the then nearly-completed Liverpool and Manchester Railway.
1862 – American Civil War: The Confederate invasion of Kentucky is halted at the Battle of Perryville.
1871 – The Great Chicago Fire and the much deadlier Peshtigo Fire break out.
The Peshtigo fire was a very large forest fire that took place on October 8, 1871, in northeastern Wisconsin, including much of the Door Peninsula, and adjacent parts of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The largest community in the affected area was Peshtigo, Wisconsin.
1895 – Korean Empress Myeongseong is assassinated by Japanese infiltrators.
1939 – World War II: Germany annexes western Poland.
1956 – The New York Yankees’s Don Larsen pitches the only perfect game in a World Series.
1982 – Poland bans Solidarity and all other trade unions.
2001 – President George W. Bush announces the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security.
2016 – In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the death toll rises to nearly 900.
1150 – Narapatisithu, king of Burma (d. 1211)
1789 – William John Swainson, English-New Zealand ornithologist and entomologist (d. 1855)
1890 – Eddie Rickenbacker, American soldier and pilot, Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1973)
1895 – Zog I of Albania (d. 1961)
1895 – Juan Perón, Argentinian general and politician, 29th President of Argentina (d. 1974)
1949 – Sigourney Weaver, American actress and producer
1970 – Matt Damon, American actor, producer, and screenwriter
1970 – Sadiq Khan, English lawyer and politician, Minister of State for Transport, Mayor of London
923 – Pilgrim I, archbishop of Salzburg
1436 – Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut (b. 1401)
1754 – Henry Fielding, English novelist and playwright (b. 1707)
1793 – John Hancock, American merchant and politician, first Governor of Massachusetts (b. 1737)
1944 – Wendell Willkie, American captain, lawyer, and politician (b. 1892)
1992 – Willy Brandt, German lawyer and politician, 4th Chancellor of Germany, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1913)
2015 – Paul Prudhomme, American chef and author (b. 1940)