DOT Overrules Community Concerns about Delivery Bike Facility in Tribeca
The new cargo-bike corral on Warren Street, intended for use by Whole Foods in making local deliveries.
The City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has ignored calls from Community Board 1 (CB1) to address concerns of Tribeca residents before installing a cargo bike corral on Warren Street (between West and Greenwich Streets), to facilitate the use of powered bicycles when making grocery deliveries.
After multiple meetings with CB1 in October and November, at which Board members and residents raised issues about the plan, DOT pushed ahead and installed the curbside facility in late November. Approximately 100 feet long, the corral removes five parking spaces, replacing them with a staging area for bicycles towing flatbed cargo wagons, which will make deliveries for Whole Foods. The new assembly area also includes two bike racks intended for public use.
“We had a really robust meeting,” CB1 chair Tammy Meltzer recalled at the Board’s November session. “In October, DOT came to us, and we asked them to do some outreach to the buildings that were affected on the block. They came back and said they had done the outreach to the affected buildings. They had done everything that they felt they needed to do. We said to them, ‘we really want to see other options. We want to have a different dialogue.’”
Among the other options proposed by CB1 was that Whole Foods and DOT use space on Murray Street, which has a wider sidewalk and roadbed, and where the store has an existing loading dock.
“This is not only about losing parking,” Ms. Meltzer explained. “It really wasn’t about the parking. It was quality of life concerns for having a privatized loading dock open 24 hours a day outside, underneath residential buildings.”
“We know that there is no enforcement,” she continued. “So cargo bikes driving either direction on a one-way, narrow street are a concern. We had also asked Whole Foods to come—which they never did—to explain, much like other applicants do.”
Most of all, Ms. Meltzer said, “this is not about notification. This is about engagement. We wanted them to bring the applicant to answer questions before installation, because I think that’s totally fair. They have not necessarily been a 100 percent good neighbors.”
In a reference to a plan by Whole Foods to phase out delivery vans, which the City is encouraging through a pilot program to foster deliveries using bicycles, Ms. Meltzer observed, “one could say that it’s better to not have the vans with the pollution, which we all agree. That’s really not the question. The question really was, is there a better alternative location? And the community said they believed that Murray Street was better. They believed that the loading dock would have been a better place for them to use. Why they couldn’t is not something that was answered to the satisfaction of the community by DOT, or even answered at all by the applicant.”
CB1 member Mariama James added, “I just want to reiterate how very disgusting this is the lack of public engagement. You mentioned that they’re going to remove these vans from delivering. However, idling engines for more than five minutes is against the law. So they’re not doing us any favors by removing the vans. Those vans needed to be removed—period—whether this happens or does not happen. And it just really makes me frustrated. Frustrated people that are trying to con on me, like, they’re doing me a favor.”
Tribeca resident Jamie Sikorsky spoke on behalf of residents of nearby buildings, who are concerned about quality of life impacts. “In my opinion, this is another example of a lack of transparency, lack of honesty from the DOT. And also their clear prioritization of Amazon,” the company that owns Whole Foods, “over the residents and over the community.”
After this discussion, CB1 enacted a resolution noting that the Board, “requires a higher standard of public engagement, and has asked numerous times for such engagement from DOT, especially when proposing pilot projects without precedent in CB1.” In addition to urging DOT to postpone the implementation of the cargo bike corral on Warren Street, the resolution cautioned that, “the outreach efforts that were made by DOT fell well below the community’s expectations and CB1 will continue to hold all mayoral agencies to a much higher standard than was exhibited for the cargo bike corral on Warren Street.”
Life and Death in the Hudson River
Over the past few days, downtowners have witnessed extremes of life and death in the Hudson River—a humpback whale exploring the waterway, surfacing, flipping its tail as if to wave at the Statue of Liberty; and many dead fish floating at the river’s edge and in North Cove, with more expiring around them, frantically gulping for air at the surface.
Are these sightings linked? We checked with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
I read with interest your article about the recent die-off of menhaden in the Hudson River. I doubt that low dissolved oxygen is the cause, if only because the amount of oxygen in the water should increase as the temperature drops.
There are two water monitoring stations in Hudson River Park that sample the water every 15 minutes. The one at Pier 25 is often on the blink, and is currently not operating. The one at Pier 84 is fairly reliable, and is currently working:
The attached chart shows the dissolved oxygen at Pier 84 for the past two months. Observe that it has slowly risen. The turbidity and water temperature look fine, but the salinity is down a bit – see the second chart
President, Downtown Boathouse
Thanks, Graeme. You’re right that oxygen levels in water should rise as the temperature goes down. But something is making these fish come to the surface and gasp for air. According to Riverkeeper, dying fish have been documented for more than a week, in the Hudson River from the Battery to Garrison, New York, and all the way out to the North Fork of Long Island.
Scientists from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are currently performing necropsies on the fish to find out what killed them. Besides higher water temperatures—which was blamed as the cause of a fish die-off in the area this past July—what else would cause oxygen levels to drop? The culprit may be pollution. Excessive bacteria—which could originate from sewage overflows or other toxic spills into the water—consume and deplete oxygen.
The Broadsheet will publish an update on the cause of the fish die-off as soon as we hear from the DEC.
‘Liberal in the Streets, NIMBY in the Sheets’
Margaret Chin Pushes Back Against Racially Charged Pasquinade
A controversy has erupted over the use of a poster by critics of City Council member Margaret Chin that caricatures her as Godzilla, the metropolis-destroying monster featured in dozens of Japanese films starting in the 1950s. The image superimposes the Council member’s face on the behemoth’s body, and rechristens the creature “Chinzilla.”
“The sentiment behind these personal attacks is nothing new,” Ms. Chin said on Tuesday. “Perhaps xenophobia in the wake of coronavirus has made this poster less palatable than when we first encountered it. Nevertheless, I am reassured by those who stood with me to condemn this ludicrous—and poorly photoshopped—piece of propaganda. Other elected officials of color have endured and will endure similar tactics and it’s important that we denounce racism in any form—and yes, the poster is still racist even if a person of color produced it.”
Stringer On New Yorkers Being Priced Out of Their Communities
New York City Comptroller, mayoral contender, and Lower Manhattan resident Scott Stringer took part in a candidates’ forum last Saturday, as part of the annual West Side Tenants’ Conference.
Mr. Stringer condemned the controversial plan by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to move several hundred homeless men from the Lucerne Hotel, on the Upper West Side, to the Radisson New York Wall Street Hotel, in the Financial District, saying, “the mismanagement of this administration, who does it hurt at the end of the day? It really hurts the most vulnerable people. He is taking the men at the Lucerne and moving them around as if they are just collateral damage to a failed mayoralty and a failed housing plan. We have to do better.”
Jenny Low, a longtime Lower Manhattan activist and community leader, has entered the race for the City Council seat that will be vacated next year by Margaret Chin, who is required to step aside because of term limits.
“Iʼve spent my whole life fighting for Lower Manhattan, and Iʼm ready to put my skills and experience to work fighting for a recovery from this pandemic that puts working families, small business owners, and our Cityʼs most vulnerable first,” Ms. Low says. She is entering a crowded field. To read more…
Santa’s Secret Helpers
Imagine what it’s like to be a kid who, for some reason, isn’t on Santa’s list. Now, just imagine what a huge impact you can make in the life of a child and their parents by being their secret Santa.
Stockings with Care, a charity based in Lower Manhattan, steps in to help when parents cannot provide Christmas gifts for their children, so no child is left out. But the organization, which has benefited over 40,000 children since 1992, needs your help. The parents give the gifts that donors (such as you) provide to the child, preserving their dignity and connection, while ensuring the gifts received are the ones the child wished for. Stockings with Care has created five easy ways to contribute.
The Church Street School for Music and Art will continue a decades-long Downtown tradition (albeit, in virtual form, as a concession to COVID-19) by offeringGingerbread House Decorating Kits (priced at $85), now through Christmas week.
Each take home kit includes one homemade gingerbread house, a variety of candy, freshly made icing, and one foiled round to set your house up on. In addition to offering great holiday fun, this program is one of the most important fundraisers for the highly regarded non-profit institution that has brought enrichment to the lives of generations of Lower Manhattan kids.
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.
361 – Julian enters Constantinople as sole Emperor of the Roman Empire.
1792 – French Revolution: King Louis XVI of France is put on trial for treasonby the National Convention.
1866 – First yacht race across Atlantic Ocean
1905 – A workers’ uprising occurs in Kiev, Ukraine (then part of the Russian Empire), and establishes the Shuliavka Republic.
1936 – Abdication Crisis: Edward VIII’s abdication as King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, and Emperor of India, becomes effective.
1941 – World War II: Germany and Italy declare war on the United States, following the Americans’ declaration of war on the Empire of Japan in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States, in turn, declares war on them.
1964 – Che Guevara speaks at the United Nations General Assembly.
1972 – Apollo 17 becomes the sixth and final Apollo mission to land on the Moon.
1978 – The Lufthansa heist is committed by a group led by Lucchese family associate Jimmy Burke. It was the largest cash robbery ever committed on American soil, at that time. 6 masked men bound 10 employees at Lufthansa cargo area at Kennedy Airport and made off with $5.8 M in cash and jewelry
2008 – Bernard Madoff is arrested and charged with securities fraud in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
2017 – New York City attempted bombing: A pipe bomb partially detonates in the New York City Subway, in the Times Square–42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal. Four people are injured, including the perpetrator.
1972 – Apollo 17 becomes the sixth and final Apollo mission to land on the Moon.
1465 – Ashikaga Yoshihisa, Japanese shogun (d. 1489)
1475 – Pope Leo X (d. 1521)
1843 – Robert Koch, German microbiologist and physician, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1910)
1882 – Fiorello H. La Guardia, American lawyer and politician, 99th Mayor of New York City (d. 1947)
1912 – Carlo Ponti, Italian-Swiss film producer (d. 2007)
1918 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian novelist, historian, and short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2008)
1920 – Denis Jenkinson, English motorcycle racer and journalist (d. 1996)
1926 – Big Mama Thornton, American singer-songwriter (d. 1984)
1935 – Ferdinand A. Porsche, Stuttgart, Germany, car designer (Porsche 911), (d. 2012) Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, nicknamed “Butzi”, son of Ferry Porsche, grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, was a German designer whose best known product was the Porsche 911.
1939 – Tom Hayden, American activist and politician (d. 2016)
384 – Pope Damasus I (b. 305)
1282 – Michael VIII Palaiologos, Byzantine emperor (b. 1225)
1937 – Hugh Thackeray Turner, English architect and painter (b. 1853)
1964 – Sam Cooke, American singer-songwriter (b. 1931)
1968 – Arthur Hays Sulzberger, American publisher (b. 1891)
1989 – Louise Dahl-Wolfe, American photographer (b. 1895)
2012 – Ravi Shankar, Indian-American sitar player and composer (b. 1920)
EYES TO THE SKY
November 30 – December 13, 2020
Full Snow Moon rises this afternoon, winter stars follow, planets delight
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.
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…