Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Homeless for the Holidays
Judge Will Rule Next Monday on Whether to Allow FiDi Shelter Plans
The Radisson New York Wall Street located at 52 William Street
Hearings before State Supreme Court Justice Debra James on Monday and Tuesday left unresolved the question of whether the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio will be allowed to implement a controversial plan to move more than 200 homeless men from a hotel on the Upper West Side to another hotel in the Financial District, which the City plans to convert into a permanent shelter.
The two days of argument focused on a temporary restraining order, issued by Justice James on October 19, which barred the City’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) from moving ahead with the plan, based on arguments from attorney Michael S. Hiller, acting on behalf of the homeless men, who were originally scheduled to be transferred from the Lucerne Hotel on West 79th Street, to the Radisson New York Wall Street (located at 52 William Street) in early October. Mr. Hiller argued that planned move “would have a devastating effect on the lives and well-being of the Lucerne Residents.” This filing cited the specific cases of three homeless men who currently reside at the Lucerne Hotel, on the Upper West Side—Ramone Buford, Larry Thomas, and Travis Trammell—along with the 200-plus other men who were expected to move with them.
These arguments come against the backdrop of significant controversy on the Upper West Side, where some residents of that community organized, raised funds, and hired lawyers to stop the City from housing approximately 240 homeless men there. After City officials agreed to vacate the Lucerne in September, they settled on the Radisson New York Wall Street as a replacement facility.
But Mr. Hiller’s brief contended that, “a significant portion of the Upper West Side community has also now embraced the men, and a neighborhood non-profit has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide them employment, mental and other health programs, and recreational activities. The men do not want to leave the Lucerne, and are making substantial progress in their recovery.”
Joining Mr. Hiller’s motion on behalf of his clients was Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who argued in a separate affidavit that, “with the support of the community, [the homeless men at the Lucerne] have an opportunity to bring some normalcy to their battered lives, to receive the support they deserve to create stability and opportunity and—most of all—to be part of a community that has come to embrace and support them.”
Attorneys for the City introduced a new argument, contending that the availability of 1,000 square feet of recreational space at the Radisson (which the Lucerne does not have) will be a crucial amenity for the homeless men, now that cold weather has arrived.
Lawyers for the de Blasio administration were joined by attorneys representing the West Side Community Organization (based in the neighborhood near the Lucerne Hotel), who argued that the Radisson also offers a larger number of single rooms, as well as space for medical and therapeutic services, as well as job training support.
At the conclusion of Tuesday’s arguments, Justice James said she would issue her decision by 5:00 pm on Monday, November 23rd.
Giving Locally, Impacting Globally
Eleemosynary Advice for Reaching Out and Making a Difference Downtown
As we embark upon the giving season, many Lower Manhattan residents are interested in finding a way to give back. To help connect prospective volunteers with organizations that need help doing good, LMHQ, the collaborative workspace operated by the Downtown Alliance for companies in the technology, advertising, media, and information industries, will offer a free, online showcase for local volunteer opportunities today (Wednesday, November 18) at noon.
Getting into Hot Water
Court Rules That FiDi Condo Buyers Can Recover Damages from Developer for Shoddy Construction
More than a decade ago, real estate developers in Lower Manhattan were performing a feat that seemed akin to alchemy. Buying up unglamorous office buildings (abandoned by financial firms that had decamped for Midtown after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001) and converting them into high-priced residential towers, such developers rode the wave that was transforming Downtown into a chic residential district.
One example among many in this narrative was 90 William Street, a 17-story back-office facility constructed in 1967, that was rebranded as “Be@William,” a 113-unit condominium in 2008.
But residents began to notice problems with the building within weeks of plunking down a million dollars or more per apartment. To read more…
The Downtown Calendar
Thursday November 19
Today through November 27
National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian’s Native Cinema Showcase is an annual celebration of the best in Native film. This year, for the 20th-anniversary showcase, the museum presents the full program online, streaming new films, fan favorite classics, and conversations with filmmakers. The showcase provides a unique forum for engagement with Native filmmakers and stories from Indigenous communities throughout the Western Hemisphere and Arctic. Free
National Museum of the American Indian
Native food systems and agricultural practices were disrupted upon European settlement and the displacement of Native peoples from their lands. For the past century, new foods introduced by U.S. federal policy were unhealthy and substantially different from traditional diets. The introduction of unhealthy food, combined with uneven quality of and access to medical care, continues to leave many American Indians fighting an uphill battle for their health. Today many young people are returning to traditional food sources and sustainable ways of living through political action and sustainable practice. This November, for Native American Heritage Month, participants can join a conversation with young Native foodies working to decolonize their diets and restore balance in their bodies and communities. Free
Quality of Life & Service Delivery Committee
1) DDC Oversight – Discussion
Fraunces Tavern Museum
By now, most everyone has heard the hit Broadway musical Hamilton: An American Story and has become a Hamilton buff.
In this talk, Robert Watson will examine some of the little known, intriguing aspects of the Founder’s remarkable life, including his Jewish roots and hard scrabble upbringing. This talk will also feature a fun fact-checking of the musical and look at the backstory for some of the show’s main scenes. This lecture will take place using Zoom.
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The Tale of the Ticker Tape, or How Adversity and Spontaneity Hatched a New York Tradition
What was Planned as a Grand Affair became a Comedy of Errors
New York’s first ticker-tape parade erupted spontaneously from bad weather
and an over-zealous stockbroker.
While the festivities in New York Harbor didn’t go as scripted that afternoon, the spontaneous gesture it generated from the brokerage houses lining Broadway famously lives on more than a century later.
On October 28, 1886, Liberty Enlightening the World was to be unveiled to New York City and the world as it stood atop its tall base on Bedloe’s Island. But the morning mist had turned to afternoon fog, blurring the view of the statue from revelers on the Manhattan shore and the long parade of three hundred ships on the Hudson River.
What was planned as a grand affair-with President Grover Cleveland as the main speaker-became a comedy of errors. The fog prevented efficient communication between the dignitaries on the island and the ships awaiting orders to fire their salutes and blast their horns at the given signal.
Even the dramatic unveiling moment itself went awry. To read more…
TODAY IN HISTORY
Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address
1095 – At the Council of Clermont, Pope Urban II calls for a Crusade to the Holy Land.
1493 – Christopher Columbus goes ashore on an island called Borinquen he first saw the day before. He names it San Juan Bautista (later renamed Puerto Rico).
1863 – American Civil War: President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address at the dedication ceremony for the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
1942 – World War II: Battle of Stalingrad: Soviet Union forces under General Georgy Zhukov launch the Operation Uranus counterattacks at Stalingrad, turning the tide of the battle in the USSR’s favor.
1946 – Afghanistan, Iceland and Sweden join the United Nations.
1950 – US General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes Supreme Commander of NATO-Europe.
1959 – The Ford Motor Company announces the discontinuation of the unpopular Edsel.
1969 – Apollo program: Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean land at Oceanus Procellarum (the “Ocean of Storms”) and become the third and fourth humans to walk on the Moon.
1979 – Iran hostage crisis: Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini orders the release of 13 female and black American hostages being held at the US Embassy in Tehran.
1985 – Cold War: In Geneva, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time.
1998 – Clinton–Lewinsky scandal: The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee begins impeachment hearings against President Bill Clinton.
1998 – Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of the Artist Without Beard sells at auction for US$71.5 million.
2013 – A double suicide bombing at the Iranian embassy in Beirut kills 23 people and injures 160 others.
1797-1828 – Franz Schubert, Austrian pianist and composer
1600 – Charles I of England (d. 1649)
1831 – James A. Garfield, 20th President of the United States (d. 1881)
1895 – Louise Dahl-Wolfe, American photographer (d. 1989)
1905 – Tommy Dorsey, American trombonist, composer and bandleader (d. 1956)
1921 – Roy Campanella, American baseball player and coach (d. 1993)
1926 – Jeanne Kirkpatrick, American academic and diplomat, 16th United States Ambassador to the United Nations (d. 2006)
1936 – Dick Cavett, American actor and talk show host
1938 – Ted Turner, businessman and philanthropist. Turner Broadcasting System
1939 – Emil Constantinescu, 3rd President of Romania
1942 – Calvin Klein, American fashion designer, founded Calvin Klein Inc.
1577 – Matsunaga Hisahide, Japanese daimyō (b. 1510)
1581 – Tsarevich Ivan Ivanovich of Russia (b. 1554)
1828 – Franz Schubert, Austrian pianist and composer (b. 1797)
1850 – Richard Mentor Johnson, American colonel, lawyer, and politician, 9th Vice President of the United States (b. 1780)
1883 – Carl Wilhelm Siemens, German-English engineer (b. 1823)
1887 – Emma Lazarus, American poet (b. 1849)
1915 – Joe Hill, Swedish-born American labor activist (b. 1879)
1975 – Francisco Franco, Spanish general and dictator, Prime Minister of Spain (b. 1892)
2014 – Mike Nichols, German-American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1931)
2017 – Charles Manson, American cult leader and mass murderer (b. 1934
Local Small Business Swims Against the Tide by Reopening
In Italian, the word “inatteso” means “unexpected”—which is an apt adjective to describe what a small business in Battery Park City is doing. At a time when large enterprises, from the Century 21 department store to the restaurant, bar, and catering facility at Pier A, are shuttering, a spunky upstart is voicing optimism by reopening.
A Victim’s Vengeance
New Sculpture on Centre Street Inverts Myth to Send a Feminist Message
In a caustic counterpoint to the “Fearless Girl” statue that attracted worldwide attention after it was unveiled at Bowling Green in 2017, a new feminist icon is calling Lower Manhattan’s streetscape home.
Standing in the center of Collect Pond Park (bounded by Centre, Lafayette, and White Streets), “Medusa with the Head of Perseus” makes a stark statement about violence against women. The bronze depicts the Medusa of Greek myth holding aloft the head of the hero who is said to have slain her. To read more…
Decrying the Decree
CB1 Backs Stringer on Rescinding Mayor’s Emergency Authority
Community Board 1 is taking the unusual step of demanding that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio alter a policy that is citywide in its breadth, and does not specifically apply to Lower Manhattan.
The policy at issue is Emergency Executive Order 101, proclaimed by the Mayor in March of this year as the pandemic coronavirus was beginning to threaten New York. The original rationale for this order was to suspend temporarily the cumbersome regulations that usually apply to purchases of goods and services by the City government. The Mayor argued that this discretion was necessary, in order to facilitate the rapid procurement of medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators. To read more
Downtown Traffic May Ease with Split Verrazzano Toll
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is poised to implement federal legislation (enacted in 2019) that will modify the tolling regimen on a bridge barely visible on the horizon from Lower Manhattan, but this may nonetheless reduce traffic congestion Downtown. To read more…
Contract One, Station One
The Jewel in
Just below the surface of City Hall Park sits one of New York’s architectural gems. Built during the City Beautiful movement, its design sought to uplift the spirits of New Yorkers on their daily commute.
City Hall Loop station—Contract One, Station One—was the flagship of New York’s first subway and the focus of the international press on October 27, 1904, when Mayor George McClellan connected the Tiffany-designed motorman’s handle to propel the first train north to its endpoint on 145th Street and Broadway.
The design of the other twenty-seven stations it stopped at that afternoon was dictated by the practical needs of subway efficiency—the architect’s only role was to choose the tile work that would cover the structural columns and walls. But the station below City Hall Park is different. Here, design and structure are one in the same.
City Hall subway station, was designed to be the showpiece of the new subway system with its elegant platform and mezzanine featured Guastavino tile, skylights, colored glass tilework and brass chandeliers.
395 South End Avenue,
New York, NY 10280
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