A rendering of a control house, this one situated on the Lower East Side, similar to the structures planned for the southern portion of Battery Park City.
The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), as part of its ongoing plans to safeguard the community against climate change, sea-level rise, and future extreme-weather events, has identified the potential need to install gates above the Department of Environmental Protection’s “main interceptor” sewer pipe, which will run beneath a planned flood wall to protect against water surges. These would, in turn, require the construction of above-ground “control houses”—structures to shelter mechanical equipment for the gates. Similar systems are being built for the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project and the Brooklyn Bridge-Montgomery Street Coastal Resiliency Project, all of which are component parts of the overall Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) initiative.
These preliminary design for the control houses calls for rectangular structures that will be approximately 11 feet high and 11 feet wide, and roughly 70 feet long. At that size, the buildings will contain slightly more than three times the cubic square footage of a cargo truck, and eight times the interior space of a New York City subway car.
This map illustrates the two locations currently being considered for the placement of these control houses, as part of Battery Park City’s resiliency plan. (The turquoise rectangles specify the sites being studied, while the circles of the same color show the zones in which the control houses could go.)
While the precise locations have not been fixed, the BPCA and its consulting engineer, AECOM, are currently studying installing one of these in the vicinity of West Thames Park. The second proposed site is along the pedestrian promenade between West Street and Little West Street, near First Place. (For the second control house, a pair of locations is under consideration: one would result in the removal of a number of trees; the other would take up space on the walkway.)
Community Board 1 (CB1) is supportive of the need for these structures, but is objecting to their proposed placement. Justine Cuccia, chair of CB1’s Battery Park City Committee, says, “condominium owners and other residents have all come forward to object to these proposed locations. Both locations as proposed by AECOM are unacceptable. We can’t agree to the loss of parkland, or the unsightly obstructions these buildings will create—especially when there are other options nearby that will serve the same purpose, but not harm the interests of residents or park users.”
Above: This schematic diagrams the impact that one of the sites would have on the surrounding park space and streetscape. Below: The size of the control houses would be approximately three times cubic square footage of a large cargo truck, such as this one.
Instead, CB1 is proposing a series of alternate locations that will not entail the loss of public space. Members of CB1 have identified six sites—five located within traffic medians in the center of West Street, and another situated at the base of the underutilized Battery Garage—that fall within the zones identified as possible by AECOM, but use land that is either already cut off from public access, or else is sparsely trafficked by pedestrians.
In a resolution enacted at the Board’s January meeting, CB1 said it, “requests that alternative locations for the control houses be explored by AECOM and the Battery Park City Authority to accommodate the needs and concerns of the Downtown Community.”
BPCA spokesperson Nick Sbordone said, “we look forward to further discussions with the City of New York about control-house design, as well as with CB1 about its thoughtful input and how best to minimize impacts on public space.”
Tenets for Tenants
GPTA to Host Annual Meeting for Residents
Tonight, the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association will host its annual meeting, which will include updates by the organization’s board, the election of board members, as well as a question-and-answer session.
Also on the agenda—presentations by elected officials, including United States Congressman Jerrold Nadler, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, and City Council member Margaret Chin. (For a link to join this online session, which begins at 7:00 pm, please browse: http://www.gpta.org)
Alliance For Downtown New York Hosts 2021 Shred-A-Thon And Clothing Drop-Off
After a year like the one we all just endured and the promise of a brighter day emerging, the idea of “spring cleaning” takes on new energy and meaning.
Now is the time to round up all the old clothes and unwanted documents that have been piling up and bring them over to Fulton Street (between Cliff and Gold Streets) for the Downtown Alliance’s annual dual shred-a-thon and clothing drop-off Saturday, April 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A shredding truck parked on Fulton Street will securely dispose of and recycle all your sensitive documents, tax receipts, junk mail and old bills.
The Alliance is also partnering with NYC clothing recycler Wearable Collections, which is providing a bin to collect all dry, used clean clothing including shoes, sneakers, belts and hats, as well as household items such as linens, towels and handbags.
Rain or shine, the Alliance will be there to dispose of your much-loved old outfits and no-longer-needed memories, minus a few items (e.g., carpeting, rugs, bath mats, comforters, pillows, large luggage). This spring will be even sweeter when you’ve got some extra space.
The year 2020 was like no other, and we found ourselves pressing pause, pivoting, disconnecting, and disengaging. Moving forward in 2021, we are coming up for air and figuring out how we press play on our lives. This year’s Food for Thought digital series will focus on topics in pursuit of three goals – to restart, revive, and reconnect. Today we’ll tackle the topic of time management and making the most of every minute. Content Creator and Time Management Coach Sade Jones (@sadejones_) will speak with Business Productivity Coach & Strategist Simone Little (@thesimonelittle) about how to set obtainable goals and techniques you can use to break down and prioritize tasks that will help you to accomplish those goals. They’ll also discuss steps you can take to be more productive and to learn what motivates you. The Food for Thought series features influential voices from various fields and the public is invited to directly engage in the conversation by submitting a question anonymously in advance of the event. Free
Conversation with the queen of telomeres: Australian-American scientist Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn. Light years on from her early work sequencing the DNA of pond scum, Blackburn unraveled our understanding of the function of telomeres—the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes—and the role they play in aging and diseases such as cancer. She took on US President George W. Bush on the political flashpoint of federal funding for stem cell research, has pioneered a path for women scientists, and received the pinnacle of scientific achievement—the Nobel Prize—for unlocking secrets about how we age at a fundamental level. Her 2017 New York Times Bestseller, “The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer”, revealed how sleep quality, exercise, diet, chronic stress, and even the neighborhood you live in can impact the length of our telomeres and, in turn, our genetic heritage. Free
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Lower Manhattan Quietly Becomes Home to Equivalent of a New Neighborhood – Almost None of It Affordable
In the ten-year period that ended in 2020, Lower Manhattan absorbed the equivalent of an additional Battery Park City, through the number of new households created by real estate development, according to an analysis from the Department of City Planning.
Community District 1—a collection of neighborhoods encompassing 1.5 square miles, bounded roughly by Canal, Baxter, and Pearl Streets and the Brooklyn Bridge — saw the creation of 6,477 new housing units in the decade that begin in 2010. To read more…
The Unkindest Cut of All
CB1 Seeks to Make Sense of Inconsistent Sidewalk-Street Connections
Community Board 1 is pushing the de Blasio administration to close a legal loophole so obscure that it confuses even police. The technicality is centered on curb cuts (the dips in sidewalks and curbs that connect to an adjoining street, making it easier for wheelchairs, baby carriages, and disabled pedestrians to cross) at t-intersections, where one road dead-ends into a perpendicular street.
While it is ordinarily illegal to park in front of a curb cut, this prohibition was, in 2009, removed from curb cuts at T-intersections—provided there was not a stop sign, traffic light, or painted crosswalk at the same location. To read more…
Debt and Taxes
Mayoral Contender Has Ideas for How to Spend Battery Park City Money
In a debate among mayoral contenders on Thursday, New York City Comptroller and City Hall-hopeful Scott Stringer reiterated his plan to divert more than $400 million in excess revenue from the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) to the cash-strapped New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).
In the debate, aired on the NY1 news channel, Mr. Stringer said, “I would implement as mayor my idea to move $40 million a year in Battery Park City Authority funds directly to NYHCA to repair broken windows and boilers.”
Another FiDi Renter Seeks Recompense for Years of Rent Overcharges
The wave of Financial District tenants going to court to demand restitution from years of illegally high rent gathered further momentum on Tuesday, when another tenant at 50 Murray Street filed court papers arguing that she is entitled to rent stabilization protection along with reimbursement for six years worth of overcharges, and triple damages.
Heather Horn moved into 50 Murray Street in May, 2014, at an initial rent of $4,695 per month. Since then, according the documents filed with the new York State Supreme Court, she has renewed her lease six times, and her rent has increased by almost 26 percent, to $5,900.
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.