Above: Mayor Bill de Blasio: “When artists help us move forward, help us look into a world where we address some of our imperfections, we find each other a different way.” Below: Sculptor Hebru Brantley in front of his new creation, “The Great Debate,” which was recently unveiled in the Battery.
Lower Manhattan’s inventory of monumental public art pieces has increased by one, with the debut of The Great Debate, a 16-foot-tall statue by Afro-Futurist sculptor Hebru Brantley, who has created a painted fiberglass figure depicting a recurring character of his: Flyboy, an African-American teenage superhero, who doubles as both a pilot and a crimefighter.
“When I created Flyboy, it was out of a necessity to see myself, my friends, and my family in a situation of empowerment. That’s what this statue is about,” explained Mr. Brantley during the November 14 dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Battery, the historic park at Manhattan’s southern tip.
“I think that we have faced, obviously, some of the toughest times that most of us have ever known,” Mr. Brantley continued, “the world seemingly divided on certain views, whether politically, socially. And I think we all have the right to stand on either side, and stand firm in our beliefs, and stand strong. And I think that is what this Great Debate statue represents.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “we know that the status quo for too long only represented some of us. And we know still, it’s too easy to find imagery that does not see the goodness in some of us. But when artists help us move forward, help us look into a world where we address some of our imperfections, we find each other a different way.”
Above: Battery Conservancy president Warrie Price: Flyboy “is sending such an incredible message. We believe that his posture, his grandeur, respond to a time in our history.” Below: Community Board 1 chair Tammy Meltzer: “I challenge all of you to think where to use our public space to have more art like Hebru did here.”
Warrie Price, the founder and president of the Battery Conservancy (the nonprofit organization that oversees the Battery) recalled that, “when the Parks Department and City Hall reached out as a courtesy to ask if the Battery would welcome such a wonderful new addition, I said ‘yes.’”
In a reference to the Tuskegee Airmen (a legendary all-Black unit of World War Two aviators), who were Mr. Brantley’s inspiration for creating Flyboy, Ms. Price commented that the statue, “really is sending such an incredible message. We believe that his posture, his grandeur, respond to a time in our military history. This park probably has more fortresses and military defense memorials than any other in the City, because we are the Battery—the first line of defense.”
Tammy Meltzer, chair of Community Board 1, reflected that Flyboy, “stands here and faces our City and challenges us to reimagine our public realm. He sits here knowing with a look of confidence that he’s the beginning, not the end, of how we can transform our City. We love his optimism; we love his tenacity. And I challenge all of you to think where to use our public space to have more art like Hebru did here.”
City Council member Margaret Chin said, “this will inspire generations of young people who can look up and say, ‘hey, I can do anything.’”
The Great Debate is scheduled to remain in the Battery (near the bike path, adjacent to State Street) through next November. Mr. Brantley—a Chicago-based artist whose work is now coming to New York’s public space for the first time—concluded the dedication ceremony by asking the City, “please take care of my son. He’s on loan for a year. Just be good to him, and he’ll be good to you guys.”
Has Anybody Seen 11,000 Neighbors?
According to a new statistical analysis released by City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Lower Manhattan’s population declined during the COVID-19 pandemic by more than that of any other community in the five boroughs, due to residents moving away.
The report, titled “The Pandemic’s Impact on NYC Migration Patterns,” quantifies this outflow by focusing on the “public use microdata area” (PUMA) demographic model used by the U.S. Census, which defines the community as “Battery Park City/Greenwich Village/Soho”—the combined catchments of Community Boards 1 and 2, or roughly the area below the Brooklyn Bridge on the East Side and south of 14th Street on the West Side, with those two boundaries connected by a north-south line that traces Fourth Avenue, Bowery, and Pearl Streets.
Using change of address filings submitted to the U.S. Postal Service, Mr. Stringer documents that out of every 1,000 residents, 130.9 people moved out of the Lower Manhattan PUMA during the pandemic. This translates into slightly less than a 14 percent reduction in the local population.
These results are especially stark when broken out by the eight residential zip codes within Community Board 1:
City Moves Forward with Plan to Make Sidewalk Dining Permanent, Despite Objections from Downtown Leaders
On Monday, the City Planning Commission moved toward making permanent the temporary measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed restaurants to take over sidewalk and street space for outdoor dining. The agency voted to enact a zoning text amendment (a change to the wording of the New York City Zoning Resolution) that will enable the Mayor and the City Council to formulate a program to perpetuate the expansion of restaurants into public space that was started, as a emergency stopgap, last year. This plan would have a particularly significant impact in Lower Manhattan (where narrow sidewalks and winding streets are the norm), which has sparked opposition among local elected officials. To read more…
A Seawall for the Seaport
City Poised to Reveal Plans for East River Landfill as Bulwark Against Flooding
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. To read more…
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…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
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…
What’s Up, Dock?
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.