City Poised to Reveal Plans for East River Landfill as Bulwark Against Flooding
An outline of the area originally studied for the 2013 Seaport City proposal, which is now back in active consideration, in modified form.
In its waning weeks, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio is adding new momentum to a Bloomberg era proposal to protect a section of Lower Manhattan’s coast from extreme weather events and rising sea levels, by using landfill to create new waterfront acreage at higher elevations than the current shoreline.
A story first reported by The City, the nonprofit, online digital news platform, notes that City Hall is considering a scaled-back version of the project that would stretch from the Brooklyn Bridge south to the Battery Maritime Building, and extend into the East River between 90 and 200 feet.
When first proposed in 2013 by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the project was dubbed Seaport City. Mr. Bloomberg said at the time, “it would be expensive to build. But over time it could prove to be a great investment, just as Battery Park City has been. We can achieve the same thing on the East Side of Lower Manhattan. We can build it out, raise it above the flood level, and develop it.” The outgoing Bloomberg administration also commissioned a feasibility study by the Dutch engineering firm Arcadis. That analysis concluded that a multi-purpose levee stretching 1.5 miles from the Battery Maritime Building to Pier 35 (just north of the Manhattan Bridge) would be the most effective and practical of 20 separate options considered.
The Arcadis study, released in 2014 (after Mr. Bloomberg had left office), was more pessimistic about the political obstacles than the physical hurdles, cautioning that “the processes associated with such permitting and implementation will be complicated and will take a long time.” But even as it acknowledged the procedural difficulties, the feasibility review cited landfill extending into the East River between 250 and 500 feet from the existing waterfront (and built up to a height of almost 20 feet over the high tide) as the most pragmatic option. The report also called for some 30 million square feet of residential and commercial development to finance the multi-billion project, as well as the creation of hundreds of acres of parkland.
The most recent version of the plan, which the City’s Economic Development Corporation is expected to begin revealing later this week (at online public meetings scheduled for this Wednesday, from 5:00 to 7:30 pm and Thursday from 4:00 to 6:30 pm) is a curtailed version of that plan, which will include only small buildings and no large-scale development. The revised plan also envisions (but does not commit to) demolishing the FDR Drive viaduct south of the Brooklyn Bridge, and replacing it with a street-level boulevard.
An architect’s rendering of development and parkland on the newly created landfill could look like.
The idea for creating new land along the East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan is not new, even if the rationale of doing so to defend against natural disasters is. In 1972, then-Mayor John Lindsay proposed Manhattan Landing, a mile-long, 88-acre project that was to be built on platforms over the East River north and south of the Brooklyn Bridge. In 1984, the City floated the idea for East River Landing, which was to stretch from the South Street Seaport to the Wall Street heliport, and create 23 acres of new land (also on platforms). Both projects failed to get off the drawing boards, in part because of an invisible and nearly insurmountable difference between the area that became Battery Park City and location chosen for Manhattan Landing, East River Landing, and now, Seaport City. Along the East River, the depth of bedrock is nearly three times its distance from the surface of the Hudson. This increases, by several orders of magnitude, the cost of driving piles to support a platform, or pouring landfill to create new acreage.
In 2014, the incoming de Blasio administration expressed a willingness to consider the proposal for Seaport City that it had inherited, but six years of successive budgets allocated no additional funds for further study or planning on the project. That intransigence changed in 2019, likely because the staggering cost of creating resiliency infrastructure for this exposed section of Downtown, estimated to run into many billions of dollars, appeared unlikely to be underwritten by any project that would not fund itself by generating revenue through development.
In the meantime, the urgency of conceiving a viable plan has increased almost weekly, because the area remains as vulnerable as it was more than nine years ago, when Hurricane Sandy sent an eight-foot wall of water slamming into Lower Manhattan. Many climate scientists predict that it is only a matter of time before another storm, one possibly worse than the 2012 inundation, arrives. And even in the absence of extreme-weather events, rising sea levels, driven by climate change, also threaten low-lying areas of Manhattan, such as the East River waterfront.
While a resiliency plan to protect the Financial District and the Seaport has languished, the de Blasio administration can point to progress in almost every other section of Lower Manhattan. Federal funds are supporting the creation of flood barriers and resiliency measures along the East River from the East 20s down to Montgomery Street, while the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency project will erect safeguards between Montgomery Street and the Two Bridges Area. The Battery Conservancy is devising measures to project the historic park at Manhattan’s southern tip, and the Battery Park City Authority is now designing measures (to be funded by hundreds of millions of dollars in new bond debt) to protect the 92 acres of landfill between Pier A and Chambers Street, along with Hudson River. Amid these interlocking plans, the only section of Lower Manhattan that has thus far been covered not even by a conceptual proposal has been the East River waterfront, south of the Brooklyn Bridge. In this context, a revised version of the Seaport City plan could represent that last piece of the resiliency puzzle for Downtown.
The irony in this dynamic is that Mayor de Blasio now finds himself in a situation starkly similar to that of Mr. Bloomberg in 2013. As he faces the end of his last term in City Hall, the Mayor’s best hope for making progress and securing a legacy on the issue of Lower Manhattan resiliency may consist of a formulating a grand plan that is left to his successor to implement.
To participate in this week’s online open house informational sessions about the Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Plan, please browse: fidiseaportclimate.nyc/coh_4/
‘I Want to Amplify These Voices and Bring Them to Albany’
District Leader and Community Activist Vittoria Fariello Launches Campaign for State Senate
A highly regarded Downtown community leader has announced her candidacy for the State Senate seat representing Lower Manhattan. On Sunday afternoon, Battery Park City resident Vittoria Fariello, who has served for five years as the elected District Leader for the community, said, “I have lived in this district for over 20 years. We have raised four amazing kids and run our own business here. We have lived through September 11, the great recession of 2008, superstorm Sandy and now COVID. And we never left.”
Battery Park City Hotel Operator Implodes Amid Allegations of Fraud
Even by the standards of the distressed hotel industry, the spiraling adversity faced by the owners of the Wagner Hotel in Battery Park City is remarkable.
In October, lenders and investors filed suit against Los Angeles-based Urban Commons, the firm that bought the hotel in 2018 for $147 million, some $100 million of which was in the form of a loan from the seller, Westbrook Partners. The suit alleges that executives of the company accepted $1 million from an investor, which was intended to finance hotel acquisitions that never took place, and then refused to return the original funds. To read more…
Statue of Limitations
Local Leaders Want ‘Fearless Girl’ to Go Through Channels Before Becoming Permanent
An array of Lower Manhattan community leaders are mobilizing to lobby the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to comply with legally required procedures before authorizing the continued presence on Broad Street of the “Fearless Girl” statue, a bronze likeness of a young female striking a jaunty, audacious pose.
A resolution enacted at October 26 monthly meeting of Community Board 1 (CB1) notes that the sculpture, “was originally placed at a nearby public site without authority in 2017.” To read more…
In 1776, the US vessel Andrew Doria sailed to the Dutch island of Sint Eustatius carrying a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Upon its arrival, the island’s governor provided a formal cannon salute to the ship’s patriot flag, marking the first acknowledgement of the United States’ sovereignty. In this presentation, Sergio Villavicencio, Vice President of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society and Chair of the NYC Semiquincentennial Committee, will delve into the early relationship between the United States and Sint Eustatius, which critically supplied the patriots’ cause by smuggling the necessary goods to keep the American Revolution going, and how the island’s fate years later decisively affected the end of the Revolutionary War. This lecture will take place via Zoom. Free
Permission, appropriation or trespassing – the tricky terrain of 2 Black Dramaturgs in the current “We See You” performance landscape told through personal case studies, observations, rants, riffs and realizations.
Melanie George and Talvin Wilks, friends, colleagues, and confidantes, will talk their way through the current cultural moment from their vantage points as Dramaturgs While Black (DWB).Working from the inter- and intra-personal, the artists plan to rant, riff and tee hee through this tricky terrain of being Black in white spaces and living to tell the tale. $10-$15.
China Institute,”What is driving President Xi Jinping’s moves to re-centralize control over China’s economy and society? On the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, the Leninist doctrine that underpins its history is reemerging to challenge capitalist-style, market reforms. Join us for this virtual discussion as Harvard political scientist Tony Saich, author of From Rebel to Ruler: One Hundred Years of the Chinese Communist Party, and Yasheng Huang, MIT Sloan industrial policy expert, explore the inherent contradictions within the organization that has driven China’s extraordinary rise to global power. $10.
Wednesday November 17
Elements of Nature Drawing
With its gardens and views of the Hudson River and New York Bay, Wagner Park is the perfect setting to practice art. Participants are expected to bring their own drawing and painting supplies, including drawing boards and containers of water if they are planning to paint. BPCA will supply drawing paper and watercolor paper . Masks required. Free.
As the founder of financial futures and initiator of Globex, the world’s first global electronic trading system, Leo Melamed revolutionized the finance industry. Join us for a conversation with this commodities pioneer moderated by CNBC Senior Markets Correspondent Bob Pisani. Free.
1:30 – 2PM
9/11 Memorial Bagpipe Tribute
A weekly bagpipe tribute honors those who died on 9/11 as well as those who are sick or who have died from exposure to toxins in the aftermath of 9/11. Free.
Join us for a conversation with Zhang Yang, China’s most successful independent filmmaker, who will discuss his acclaimed work, Shower, with producer Peter Loehr, and film expert Richard Peña! Our experts will talk about China in the 90s, the impact of the reform era on film, the and the important legacy of Shower, more than two decades after its release. Set in a public bathhouse in an old neighborhood of Beijing, the film is a light-hearted comedy-drama about a family and their business caught up in the changes sweeping China at the dawn of the 21st century. The country’s struggle between tradition and modernity is played out between two brothers, against the backdrop of a cast of bathhouse patrons. $10.
There are countless ways in which a work environment can be toxic and all of them can take a massive toll on your mental and physical health. So how do you report these incidents? How do you find your way out of a toxic environment? And what are the steps you can take to survive until you’re able to put an exit strategy in place? At LMHQ’s November Women’s Breakfast, you’ll hear from a panel of experts across industries who will share their lived experiences, lessons learned, and recommendations for navigating your way through a toxic workplace. Free.
Caryl Stern, the renowned human rights activist, is the third generation of women in her family whose lives were shaped by the Holocaust. Her grandmother, Mignon Langnas, was a nurse in Vienna when the Nazis invaded. Facing an agonizing decision, she sent her two young children to the US, opting to stay with her ailing parents and to take care of her patients in a Jewish children’s hospital. Caryl’s mother, Manuela Stern, crossed the ocean at the age of six and once here, lived in an orphanage on the lower East side of Manhattan. Manuela’s experience contributed to her becoming a passionate civic activist and educator. For these three women, “tikkun olam” (Hebrew for, “to heal the world”) is now part of their DNA. The program will be moderated by NBC’s senior legal and investigative correspondent Cynthia McFadden. $10
Launched during the height of the pandemic and hosted by James Beard Award-winning chef and New York Times bestselling author Rocco DiSpirito, the series features chefs from Lower Manhattan restaurants cooking up signature recipes and sharing tips. All donations go directly to a food-security charity of the restaurant’s choice. Today, cook with Malibu Farm executive chef Amy Sur-Trevino. Free Downtown Alliance
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
78 year old refined intellectual gentleman having a passion for cruises and travel seeking a male or female caregiver/companion in exchange for all expense paid venture on the ocean. Only requirement is relationship comfort between us and ability to help with physical care regarding the limitations and restrictions of COPD.
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
Schedule Changes: Market closed 12/25 for Christmas Day and 1/1 for New Year’s Day.
The loyal community of neighborhood residents who shop at the Tribeca Greenmarket show up each Wednesday and Saturday year-round to get their fix of locally grown produce, sustainably raised meat, seafood, sheep’s milk cheese and yogurt, orchard fruit and berries, herbs, live plants and cut flowers. Cooking demonstrations, raffles, and educational activities make the market a hands-on experience for shoppers of all ages.
American Pride Seafood Wild-caught fish and shellfish from Suffolk County, NY
Dipaola Turkeys Turkey and turkey products from Mercer County, NJ
Francesca’s Bakery Breads and baked goods from Passaic County, NJ
Hudson Valley Duck Farm Heritage breed ducks and duck products from Sullivan County, NY
Jersey Farm Produce Vegetables, herbs, orchard and small fruit from Hunterdon County, NJ
Lani’s Farm Vegetables, eggs and prepared foods from Burlington County, NJ
Millport Dairy Eggs, cheddar cheese, beef, pork, pickles and baked goods from Lancaster County, PA
Prospect Hill Orchards Fruit, some certified organic, granola, and baked goods from Ulster County, NY
Tucker Farms Cut Flowers from Burlington & Monmouth County, NJ
Westmeadow Farm cow and goat milk cheeses and cows butter from Montgomery County, NY
Yellow Bell Farm Chicken and eggs from Dutchess County, NY
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Green Greenmarket at Bowling Green
Broadway & Whitehall St
Open Tuesday and Thursdays, year-round
Market Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Compost Program: 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
The Bowling Green Greenmarket brings fresh offerings from local farms to Lower Manhattan’s historic Bowling Green plaza. Twice a week year-round stop by to load up on the season’s freshest fruit, crisp vegetables, beautiful plants, and freshly baked loaves of bread, quiches, and pot pies.
Fulton Street cobblestones between South and Front Sts. across from McNally Jackson Bookstore.
Locally grown produce from Rogowski Farm, Breezy Hill Orchard, and other farmers and small-batch specialty food products, sold directly by their producers. Producers vary from week to week.
Fulton Stall Market participants include farmers and agricultural producers from New York and adjacent states as well as small-batch processed food producers from NYC and the region.
Indoor market participants’ products can be purchased Monday – Saturday 11:30 AM – 5:00 PM from the indoor market store’s shelves and coolers.
Outdoor Sunday Market participants sell directly to consumers at open-air stalls and vary from week to week.
INDOOR FARMERS MARKET STORE:
91 South St., bet. Fulton & John Sts. Open Monday – Saturdays 11:30 AM – 5 PM
OUTDOOR SATURDAY MARKET:
Fulton St. bet. South & Front Sts. Every Saturday 11:30 AM – 5 PM to November 20.
Fulton Stall Market is a non-profit farmers public marketplace for local foods connecting farmers and producers with the growing Lower Manhattan community.
91 South St., bet. Fulton & John Sts.
Indoor Market Hours: Monday – Saturday
11:30 AM to 5:00 PM, year round
Outdoor Market: Saturday 11:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Fulton St. at South St., May through Thanksgiving.
SNAP/EBT/P-EBT, Debit/Credit, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks accepted at all farmers markets.
Six Figures for Every 12 Inches
City Announces $110 Million for Resiliency in Seaport
Another piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is resiliency protection for Lower Manhattan appeared to fall into place on October 26, when Mayor Bill de Blasio announced $110 million in funding for protective measures covering a small stretch of the South Street Seaport waterfront. The Mayor’s announcement said, “the proposed project, which will be subject to appropriate review, will rebuild and raise the existing bulkhead and improve drainage in the area from approximately the Brooklyn Bridge to Pier 17.” To read more…
Opportunity Makes a Thief
Man Threatens and Robs Multiple Women in Downtown Subway Stations
A man has been accosting and robbing women in Lower Manhattan subway stations, threatening to kill the victims if they refused to hand over their MetroCards.
In a string of nearly identical incidents, the suspect (believed by police to be the same man in each case) approached a woman walking alone, grabbed her by the arm, and said he would use lethal violence unless she handed over her subway pass. In all three robberies, the perpetrator took only the MetroCard, and robbed the victims of no other possessions. To read more…
Kavanagh Pushes for Ban on Natural Gas in New Buildings
State Senator Brian Kavanagh led a Monday rally of environmentalists at City Hall Park on Monday to urge passage of the All-Electric Building Act, a proposed law that he is sponsoring in the upper house of the State legislature. This measure would prohibit the issuance of permits for the construction of new gas-powered buildings starting in 2023, along with conversions of existing buildings starting next year, except in cases where builders or owners can demonstrate that “there are truly no feasible alternatives.”
Planning Moves Ahead for Elevating Battery Waterfront
With the ongoing design process for the Battery Wharf resiliency project now 50 percent complete (and construction slated to begin in late 2022), Community Board 1 (CB1) is weighing in with concerns and ideas about how to refine the vision for raising the level of the waterfront esplanade in the Battery to protect the historic park against future sea-level rise and extreme-weather events.
Alliance Aims to Encourage Storefront Startups in Lower Manhattan
The Downtown Alliance is offering a package of free incentives and support services, valued at $10,000, to help new retailers and restaurants seeking to open in Lower Manhattan. The Jump Start program is designed to give small businesses a better chance at success in both the physical and online marketplace, by offering up to 20 eligible applicants a customized strategic launch plan, along with four interactive consultation sessions. Services will include advice on everything from driving foot traffic to creating a successful e-commerce platform.
In 1992, Hoxne Hoard was discovered by Eric Lawes, a metal detectorist in the village of Hoxne in Suffolk, England. It consisted of 14,865 Roman gold, silver, and bronze coins and approximately 200 items of silver tableware and gold jewelry.
1272 – While travelling during the Ninth Crusade, Prince Edward becomes King of England upon Henry III of England’s death, but he will not return to England for nearly two years to assume the throne.
1532 – Francisco Pizarro and his men capture Inca Emperor Atahualpa at the Battle of Cajamarca.
1776 – American Revolutionary War: British and Hessian units capture Fort Washington from the Patriots.
1793 – French Revolution: Ninety dissident Roman Catholic priests are executed by drowning at Nantes.
1849 – A Russian court sentences writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky to death for anti-government activities linked to a radical intellectual group; his sentence is later commuted to hard labor.
1871 – The National Rifle Association receives its charter from New York State.
1904 – English engineer John Ambrose Fleming receives a patent for the thermionic valve (vacuum tube).
1907 – Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory join to form Oklahoma, which is admitted as the 46th U.S. state.
1914 – The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States officially opens.
1938 – LSD is first synthesized by Albert Hofmann from ergotamine at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel.
1940 – The Holocaust: In occupied Poland, the Nazis close off the Warsaw Ghetto from the outside world.