Convenience Stores Raise Concerns about Neighborhood Going to Pot
Children crowd around the counter of the Battery Park Convenience store on its opening day.
A new convenience store on Battery Place is sparking concerns about the possible sale of smoking and vaping products, particularly because the shop is located close to a local school, PS/IS 276. The store, which bills itself as Battery Park Convenience, is located at 98 Battery Place, between West Thames Street and Third Place. This places it along the route that the majority of students at the kindergarten-through-eighth grade facility take to and from school each day.
In the days prior to its opening in mid-October, the shop posted a sign above its front door emblazoned with the names of ten vaping brands, including Juul, Gummy, and Puff. This sign was removed shortly after the store opened.
The sign above the front door of Battery Park Convenience that advertised ten brands of vaping products has been removed.
Less than a week after the store’s opening, inspectors from the City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) paid an unannounced visit, and cited the establishment for dozens of violations, including multiple counts of “publicly displaying smoking paraphernalia or advertisements for tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, or vapor products within 500 feet of a school;” “sale of vapor flavored products;” and “selling or offering for sale flavored tobacco products;” along with various violations of requirements related to licensure and signage.
The launch of Battery Park Convenience is part of a recent wave of similar newly opened emporia throughout Lower Manhattan (and around the five boroughs), which are widely believed to be positioning themselves as “conditional adult-use retail dispensaries,” in anticipation of government licenses being issued to sell cannabis products before the end of the year.
Above: Smoke shop on Worth Street. Below: A placard in front of a store on lower Broadway proclaims the availability of cannabis-infused edibles.
These stores have little to fear from DCWP inspectors. Although the officers can cite establishments for violations, they have no legal authority to close offending stores. The process for doing so is lengthy and cumbersome, involving multiple hearings and appeals, often taking several years.
Given the windfall that the legal cannabis industry is expected to provide for vendors, at least some stores now positioning themselves to participate in the sector may view such violations as a minor nuisance and cost of doing business.
Hotel Operator Implodes Amid Allegations of Loan Default, Fraud
Even by the standards of the distressed Lower Manhattan hotel industry, the spiraling adversity faced by the owners of the shuttered Wagner Hotel in Battery Park City is remarkable. On Thursday, the current owners of the hotel were sued by the company that sold them the property in 2018, which also provided a $96 million loan to enable the transaction. In a story first reported by Crain’s New York, Urban Commons (the current owners, who purchased the hotel for $147 million) is facing a court claim by Westbrook Partners (the former owners, who lent Urban Commons the $96 million) for defaulting on that loan. Read more…
Outlier on the Esplanade
Southern Battery Park City Shows Bump in COVID Test Results
Amid generally receding concerns about COVID-19, the southern section of Battery Park City had the fourth highest rate of infection in Manhattan during the one-week period between October 25 and 31, according to the City Department of Health data. Read more…
Ask and You Might Receive
Push for Seaport Community Center at Site of Demolished Waterfront Building
Community Board 1 (CB1) is reviving calls for a waterfront community center in South Street Seaport at the site of the New Market Building (which was demolished last fall). Read more…
Eyes to the Sky, November 7-11
Total Lunar Eclipse; Dark Sky Conference
It would be easy to sleep through the eclipse of the Full Frost Moon that begins before dawn on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8—and how easy to observe at least parts of the drama as the white orb fades to red-orange under Earth’s shadow. The progression from faintest beginning to total eclipse back to the fully visible moon transpires between 3:02am EST and 8:56am EST. In our locale, moonset on the 8th is 6:41am, coinciding with eclipse totality. To see the “blood moon” setting, prepare to be at a location with an unobstructed view to the west-northwest around 6am. Follow the attached diagram to choose your viewing times. Virtual opportunity HERE.
Join me November 11-12 at the Under One Sky conference, a virtual, 24-hour, worldwide event of the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). Led by experts and storytellers in the dark sky movement, discover resources to support the protection of the night: to save energy, save wildlife, safeguard human health, and see the stars. Admission is free, registration is required.
As the Chinese saying goes: a harmonious family prospers everything (家和万事兴). Do marriage and family still hold the foundational value for Chinese nowadays? Join in the conversation with two experts in this field. Free.
Gibney Center presents new works by Gibney Company Artistic Associates and the 2022 Company Choreographic Fellows Alexander Anderson and Jie-Hung Connie Shiau on November 9 and 10, and the 2022 ILLUME Choreographic Awardee UNA Productions led by Artistic Director and Choreographer Chuck Wilt on November 11 and 12. $20-$25.
Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-3pm (compost program: Saturdays, 8am-1pm)
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Broadway & Whitehall St
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-5pm (compost program: 8am-11am)
The Outdoor Fulton Stall Market
91 South Street, between Fulton & John Streets
Indoor market: Monday through Saturday,11:30am-5pm
CSA pick-up: Thursday, 4pm-6pm; Friday, 11:30-5pm
Outdoor market: Saturdays, 11:30am-5pm
Today in History
On this day 703 years ago, the conquistador Hernán Cortés entered the city of Tenochtitlán and was welcomed by Moctezuma, the Aztec ruler.
1519 – Hernán Cortés enters Tenochtitlán (capital of the Aztec Empire and now Mexico City) and Aztec ruler Moctezuma welcomes him. Cortés and his men soon besiege and destroy the city. By 1521, the Aztec Empire had fallen.
1917 – The first Council of People’s Commissars is formed and includes Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin.
1923 – Beer Hall Putsch: In Munich, Adolf Hitler leads the Nazis in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the German government.
1933 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt unveils the Civil Works Administration, an organization designed to create jobs for more than 4 million unemployed Americans.
1939 – In Munich, Adolf Hitler narrowly escapes an assassination attemptwhile celebrating the 16th anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch. He left the event early and the bomb went off 13 minutes later.
1973 – The right ear of John Paul Getty III is delivered to a newspaper together with a ransom note, convincing his father to pay $2.9 million.
2005 – Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is elected president of Liberia, the first woman to lead an African country
2017 – Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa breaks the world record for surfing the biggest-ever wave at 24.4m at Nazaré, Portugal
1656 – Edmond Halley, English astronomer and mathematician (d. 1742)
1836 – Milton Bradley, businessman, founded the Milton Bradley Company (d. 1911)
1883 – Charles Demuth, painter (d. 1935)
1884 – Hermann Rorschach, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst (d. 1922)
1949 – Bonnie Raitt, singer-songwriter and guitarist
1952 – Alfre Woodard, actress
1226 – Louis VIII of France (b. 1187)
1674 – John Milton, English poet and philosopher (b. 1608)
1887 – Doc Holliday, American dentist, gambler, and gunfighter (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral), dies of tuberculosis at 36
1978 – Norman Rockwell, painter and illustrator (b. 1894)
2020 – Alex Trebek, TV game show host, dies of pancreatic cancer at 80