161 Maiden Lane, where glass panels have been removed from the partially completed structure, which a former contractor alleges is tilting ominously.
Two separate residential towers planned for the Financial District are suffering from the local real estate slowdown. In developments first reported by the online real estate journal, YIMBY, the building now under construction at 161 Maiden Lane has undergone removal of pieces of its facade in recent weeks (the only recent activity on the otherwise-stalled project), while construction equipment has been removed from 45 Broad Street, which is the site of a planned 1,115 foot residential tower.
The building at 161 Maiden Lane (branded as Seaport Residences) has a troubled history. According to a lawsuit filed against by developer by one of its former contractors, the partially completed 670-foot tower is tilting precipitously north and east. The contractor alleges that the building “is leaning, as a rigid body, outside of its vertical control,” and, “is now exhibiting a bowing or curve in its verticality that is due entirely to said leaning.” The suit also claims that, “the building… has settled and moved to such a degree that the structure is encroaching on a neighboring property line.”
The overall tilt of the tower is currently alleged to exceed three inches, with Pizzarotti’s court complaint arguing that, “the building is still moving as the foundation continues to settle and as additional load is added to the structure.” The contractor’s court filing anticipates, “impacts [that] can range from inoperable windows to breaking windows and components falling to the street,” along with concerns about the ability of elevators to operate in shafts that are not truly vertical, and the possibility of design elements attached to the facade coming loose in strong wind conditions. This could explain the developer’s decision to remove several dozen large panels from the structure’s facade, at a site that has been inactive for several months.
At issue is the subterranean footing that provides foundational support to the building. Pizzarotti argues that the developer, Fortis Property Group, rejected the option of driving piles several hundred feet down into bedrock to buttress the tower. Instead, the contractor claims, Fortis chose the less-expensive method of “soil improvement” to shore up the soggy ground near the East River waterfront, topped with a concrete slab. “Cost was [Fortis’s] primary consideration in electing to proceed with the soil improvement foundation method, rather than deep foundation piles driven into bedrock,” Pizzarotti alleges, while also claiming that details of this work were never shared with the contractor. Finally, the firm’s court pleading also warns ominously that, “depending on the severity of the ongoing movement, structural concerns for the building also arise.”
A rendering of 45 Broad Street, which remains a vacant lot, from which construction equipment was recently removed.
Separately, construction equipment has been removed from the site of the planned “super-tall” residential tower at 45 Broad Street (near Beaver Street), in the Financial District, which has also been inactive since the start of 2020.
This comes after years of delays in clearing the lot, which was acquired by Madison Equities in 2014, and preparing to break ground. (Preliminary work on the foundation began 2016, but was halted and restarted several times.) The design, by architectural firm by CetraRuddy, called for a building 1,115 feet high, which would make it the second tallest building in Lower Manhattan (behind only One World Trade Center), and the tallest residential spire south of Midtown. The building was originally slated to welcome its first residents sometime in 2018.
The vertiginous plan was made legally possible by a controversial proposal to install glass-enclosed elevators at two neighboring subway entrances (on Broad Street, between Wall Street and Exchange Place). Agreeing to fund this amenity earned the developer a 20 percent bonus in terms of allowable floor area, which translated into an additional 71,000 square feet of space within the building, spread over many additional floors.
The plan, “involves putting in accessibility on a subway station,” at the corner of Broad Street and Exchange Place, explained Bruce Ehrmann, chair of Community Board 1’s Landmarks Preservation Committee, in 2016. “It might sound cruel on the face of it, but really, the developer just asked, ‘well, we want 70,000 square feet of extra’” space in the building, “so what we can do that might let you consider that?” Mr. Ehrmann continued that the developers came up with their own answer: “put in an elevator on Broad Street at Exchange Place.”
Community Board 1 (CB1) initially opposed this arrangement, enacting a resolution in 2016 that noted, “any 13-foot-tall structures anywhere along Broad Street would destroy the historic view corridors” and that the structures would leave only a narrow sidewalk passage, approximately ten feet wide, between the glass cubes and the adjacent buildings. The following month, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) overruled CB1 and approved the plan.
‘Such Parties Have No Grievance That Is Ripe for Review’
Judge Rules City Can Proceed with Plan for Homeless Shelter in FiDi
On Wednesday afternoon, a few hours before the City shut down for the Thanksgiving holiday, New York State Supreme Court Justice Debra James nullified a temporary restraining order she had issued on October 19, which had provisionally halted a plan by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to transfer more than 200 homeless men from a hotel on the Upper West Side to another hotel in the Financial District.
This ruling followed two days of argument the previous week, focused on that restraining order, which barred the City’s Department of Homeless Services 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 (52 William Street) in early October.
Even This Year, Thankful for What Is Easy, While the How Comes Harder
Walking home at twilight in the near-deserted concrete canyons, you recall (for no reason that you can discern) the Old Man teaching you the word “dichotomy” a lifetime ago, and telling you that a coin toss coming up either heads or tails is the only obvious pair of opposites in this world. “All the others are slippery,” he said. “For example, the flip side of good is not evil, but ignorance. And the converse of love is not hate, it’s indifference. Even the opposite of poverty isn’t affluence, it’s justice.”
“And the trickiest one of all,” he said, “is being thankful. Because the opposite of gratitude isn’t ingratitude. It’s fear.” You didn’t even pretend to understand most of this, but rather—in the manner of an erstwhile altar boy who had recently shed his cassock, but found it harder to shake the catechism—made a vow to remember it.
Roughly 20,000 European Jews fleeing Nazism in the 1930s and 40s found refuge in Shanghai, which did not require entry visas until August 1939. The refugees rebuilt their lives in the Chinese city, and they established schools, synagogues, and mutual aid organizations that long outlasted the war.
Join Holocaust survivor Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Senior Rabbi at New York’s Park East Synagogue and leader of one of the first interfaith missions to China in 1981, for a conversation about Shanghai’s remarkable wartime legacy. Schneier will be joined by Lucy Yang, reporter for New York’s Channel 7 Eyewitness News. $10
The podcasting industry has never been more prolific. From politics to true crime to dating, there’s something for everyone. And, hey, you have interesting ideas and something to say — how hard could it be to start a podcast of your own? Turns out, it’s a bit more complicated than you might think. In this workshop, Rachel M. Ward, a podcast producer and editor with more than a dozen years of experience making audio for Gimlet Media/Spotify, NPR, and public media outlets, will take you through the process of developing and producing a podcast. She’ll review the different types of podcasts (i.e. fiction vs. narrative, chat vs. produced), what makes podcasting a good medium, and precisely what making a podcast entails (staffing, technical decisions, publication, promotion, and more). You’ll come away with a clearer perspective on podcasting and an understanding of what it takes to get your podcast on the air. FREE
Transportation & Street Activity Permits Committee
4) Int 2159-2020: A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to hazardous obstruction by vehicles and civilian complaints to the department of transportation for hazardous obstruction violations – Discussion & Resolution
EYES TO THE SKY
November 30 – December 13, 2020
Full Snow Moon rises this afternoon, winter stars follow, planets delight
November 30, 2020 at 7:25pm. Orion rises earlier every night going forward, e.g. 6pm on the 13th. Red arc represents the Milky Way. Image: Judy Isacoff/StarryNight
The Full Snow Moon rises above the east-northeast horizon this afternoon at 4:48pm, nearly simultaneous with sunset in the southwest at 4:29pm. See moonrise about an hour later every evening and sunset remaining within seconds of 4:29pm until the winter solstice, which occurs on December 21.
Mornings, awake to the intriguing spectacle of moonset in the west-northwest as the Sun rises in the southeast. Tomorrow, December 1, sunrise is at 7:01am, while the great orb of the moon will be visible in the daylight blue sky until 8:08am. See the moon higher and longer in the morning sky – in waning gibbous phase – everyday this week. The Sun rises about a minute later everyday through the 26th: Sunrise is at 7:12 on 13th.
During the long nights that precede the arrival of astronomical winter on December 21, we have the opportunity to observe the celestial harbinger of the new season, the constellation Orion, in both the darkness of night and pre-dawn sky. See the sky view diagram, above, that shows the figure of Orion rising into the nighttime sky within a few hours of sunset and, in the diagram below, the iconic constellation setting in the pre-dawn sky. For best viewing of the diagrams, increase light on computer screen.
Morning sky one-hour before sunrise on December 1, 2020 and similar through the 13th. The phase and position of the moon changes. Orion, Sirius and Taurus set about an hour earlier, about 5am. Illustration by Judy Isacoff/StarryNight
Glancing back to the diagram of the evening sky, notice rusty gold Mars in the southeast midway between the rising moon in the east and Saturn and Jupiter in the southwest. Jupiter sets at 7:45 this evening, close to 7pm on the 13th. Saturn follows Jupiter. Observe these planets as they appear closer to each other every night.
Calling all Performing Artists: Mark DeGarmo Dance Seeks Applicants for the 2020-2021 season of its Virtual Salon Performance Series: a sharing of works-in-progress with a facilitated audience response curated and facilitated by dancer, choreographer, writer, and researcher, Dr. Mark DeGarmo.
Mark DeGarmo Dance seeks applicants for the 2020-2021 season of its Virtual Salon Performance Series, a showcase of original artistic works-in-progress with a facilitated audience response session. Performing artists are invited to apply via the above GoogleForm by Saturday, December 3rd, 11:59PM ET. All Virtual Performances will be held on Zoom. Apply nowmarkdegarmodance.org
Downtown Restaurants Brace for More Closure Orders
As New York wades deeper into its second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, some local restaurants are trying to get ahead of the curve of anticipated closures by voluntarily shutting down both indoor and outdoor dining.
Among these is Blue Smoke, in Battery Park City, owned by legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which is also taking similar measures at the company’s Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern.
Distressed Downtown Real Estate Indicators Point South
The first Baron Rothschild is said to have advised, “the time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own.” If he was correct, this may be an auspicious moment to purchase real estate in Lower Manhattan, where the distress is acute. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
1824 – United States presidential election: Since no candidate received a majority of the total electoral college votes in the election, the United States House of Representatives is given the task of deciding the winner in accordance with the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
1862 – In his State of the Union Address President Abraham Lincoln reaffirms the necessity of ending slavery as ordered ten weeks earlier in the Emancipation Proclamation.
1913 – Ford Motor Company introduces the first moving assembly line.
1934 – In the Soviet Union, Politburo member Sergey Kirov is assassinated. Stalin uses the incident as a pretext to initiate the Great Purge.
1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to that city’s bus boycott.
1969 – Vietnam War: The first draft lottery in the United States is held since World War II.
1989 – Philippine coup attempt: The right-wing military rebel Reform the Armed Forces Movement attempts to oust Philippine President Corazon Aquino in a failed bloody coup d’état.
1990 – Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the seabed.
2019 – First known case of COVID-19 appears
1913 – Ford Motor Company introduces the first moving assembly line.
1443 – Magdalena of France, French princess (d. 1495)
1761 – Marie Tussaud, French-English sculptor, founded Madame Tussauds Wax Museum (d. 1850)
1923 – Stansfield Turner, admiral and academic, 12th Director of Central Intelligence (d. 2018)
1935 – Woody Allen, American actor, director, and screenwriter
1135 – Henry I, king of England (b. 1068)
1825 – Alexander I, emperor and autocrat of Russia (b. 1777)
1987 – James Baldwin, American novelist, poet, and critic (b. 1924)