Residents Are Invited to Brainstorm about Bulwark for the Battery
Plans slated for discussion during an online, public meeting tonight will seek to protect the Battery — the 25-acre historic park at Lower Manhattan’s southern tip that straddles the junction between the Hudson and East Rivers.
As the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio considers how to protect Manhattan’s southern tip from climate change, rising sea levels, and future extreme-weather events, City Hall is seeking community input about which options make the most sense for the Battery, the 25-acre historic park that straddles the junction between the Hudson and East Rivers.
As part of that effort, the public is invited to participate in a virtual public meeting tonight (Wednesday, March 24), from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, to learn more and collaborate on the vision for the future of Lower Manhattan. Among the plans slated for consideration are reconstruction of the deteriorating wharf, protecting the Battery from rising seas over the next 80 years, and accommodating passenger ferry uses, as well as preserving and enhancing the park’s character and historic resources. For more information, or to R.S.V.P. for tonight’s online meeting, please browse: https://on.nyc.gov/3sJosr2
Among the projects that are now in the planning stages for the park is a proposal to raise the level of its waterfront esplanade (a one-third mile stretch of shoreline between Pier A, in the north, and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, in the south) to an elevation 11 feet above the current waterline.
Above: The project will cover a one-third mile stretch of waterfront (outlined in red), and serve as a link between separate resiliency projects, now being planned for Battery Park City (to the left) and the Financial District (to the right).
Below: The Battery Wharf, an esplanade at the lower tip of Manhattan, will be redesigned and raised 11 feet above the current waterline, under a plan now being formulated.
This undertaking, designed to put the Battery Wharf at a height slightly above the expected sea-level rise as of the year 2100 (but roughly seven feet below the predicted level of a 100-year flood by that date), will link two separate but related resiliency projects currently being planned by other agencies for the Financial District and Battery Park City, under the overall rubric of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency project.
The preliminary budget for this phase of the resiliency project is $129 million. That funding will come from a $165-million allocation announced in 2019 by the de Blasio administration, which is intended to cover multiple resiliency measures in the Battery.
“This project will greatly impact the Battery,” remarked Alice Blank, who chairs the Environmental Protection Committee of Community Board 1, at a January 2020 meeting. She added that the City’s Economic Development Corporation began planning meetings for the Battery Wharf rebuilding in October 2019, and subsequently designated urban design and engineering consultant Stantec to head up this process. (Stantec will participate in tonight’s presentation.)
The project aims to provide resiliency against flooding, which has become a regular occurrence at the Battery.
Multiple, complicated issues will be addressed in the design, including in-water construction, interior drainage, and integration of a new wharf elevation with the existing parkland. The Stantec team anticipates using an “adaptive design” strategy to preserve the existing, iconic views of New York Harbor. Landscape features adjacent to the Battery Wharf will include resilient plants, to ensure survivability from major storms, while creating a lush and peaceful setting. Stantec’s engineers anticipate that the Battery Wharf project will take up to four years.
Separately, a report issued last July by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—the federal scientific agency responsible for study of oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere—predicts that Lower Manhattan will, before next July, experience between double and triple the number of flooding days that it did in 2000. The same report warns that ten years from now, the number of flood events will total between five and eight times the benchmark set at the turn of the century, and that by the year 2050, there will be local flooding events as often as every three days.
The report, an annual study compiled by NOAA, is titled, “2019 State of U.S. High Tide Flooding with a 2020 Outlook,” and paints a grim picture of what climate change (especially the component consisting of rising sea level driven by melting glaciers) is likely to do to coastal communities throughout the United States, noting that “NOAA tide gauges are measuring rapid changes in coastal flooding along U.S. coastlines due to [relative sea level, or RSL] rise. The most noticeable impact of RSL rise is the increasing frequency of [high tide flooding], whose cumulative impacts are damaging to infrastructure and cause other economic impacts (transportation delays, businesses closed, tourism impacts, etc.) in coastal communities.”
The plan will create a new, elevated platform, congruent to the amount of sea-level rise expected by the year 2100.
High-tide flooding, often referred to as “nuisance” or “sunny day” flooding, occurs when tides reach anywhere from 1.75 to 2.0 feet above the daily average high tide and start spilling onto streets or bubbling up from storm drains. “As sea level rise continues, damaging floods that decades ago happened only during a storm now happen more regularly, such as during a full-moon tide or with a change in prevailing winds or currents,” the report notes.
But particularly dire predictions are reserved for the corner of the country in which New York is located: “the Northeast Atlantic outlook is six to 11 days,” the report notes—the highest for any area in the United States.
For Lower Manhattan, NOAA’s analysis and predictions are driven by a tide gauge located at the Battery. This gauge registered high-tide flooding—defined as water reaching 21 inches above a benchmark known as “mean higher high water” or the average height of the highest tide recorded at a station each day during a recording period—for a total of five days in 2000. For 2019, that figure was ten days. Before 2021 is out, NOAA predicts that the new total will be a minimum of nine and maximum of 14 days.
Looking farther into the future, NOAA scientists calculate that by the year 2030, high-tide flooding at the Battery will likely occur at least 20 days per year (or more than once a month) and no more than 40 times each year (or approximately once each ten days).
By 2050, NOAA projects, high-tide flooding at the Battery will take place no less than 50 times per year (about once per week) and up to 135 days per year (meaning approximately once every three days). These calculations are especially sobering because they exclude extreme-weather events, such as hurricanes, and focus instead on routine tidal action.
Life of the Party
Sheriffs Break Up Illegal Nightclub in Tribeca
On Friday, for the second time in three weeks, a task force of New York City sheriffs shut down an illegal bar and nightclub in Tribeca. At 11:30 pm, half a dozen sheriffs entered One Harrison Street (at the corner of Hudson Street), ordered more than 120 patrons to disperse, and arrested five of the party’s organizers, charging them with violations of emergency health orders related to the pandemic, selling liquor without a license, selling liquor to minors, and dispensing cannabis products to minors, along with various vice and health-code violations. To read more…
‘I Am Never Going to Accept that This Is Okay’
Niou Describes Personal Response to Wave of Anti-Asian Violence
At a rally held in Lower Manhattan on Saturday, a phalanx of public officials decried the recent spate of hate crimes that have targeted Asian-Americans. The rally was spurred, in part by the murders of eight people at three massage parlors in the area of Atlanta, Georgia last Tuesday, six of whom were Asian women. But it also drew impetus from a recent series of violent (but less lethal) hate crimes in Lower Manhattan and around the City.
Ms. Low invited State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou to speak. She began, “those women in Georgia who died looked like me, my mom, my aunts, my sister, my niece. They looked like us.”
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.
Even for the experienced speaker, keeping an audience engaged and connected can be a challenge, especially while remote. In this session, we’ll read the (Zoom) room and build a toolkit to speak with influence and advocate for yourself. In this interactive workshop, Jen Jamula and Allison Goldberg of GoldJam Creative will help you improve your presentation skills by practicing ways to engage a variety of audiences remotely, and with impact. $12
Meeting of the Board’s Investment Committee (12:30 p.m.)
Meeting of the Members of the Authority (2:00 p.m.)
Agendas will be made available at least 48 hours in advance of scheduled Meetings, and a public comment period will be scheduled during the Meeting of the Members of the Authority at a time on the agenda determined by the Chairman.
Anyone wishing to participate in the public comment period should submit their comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than 5:30 p.m. on the day prior to the Meeting. Comments should be no longer than two minutes in length, and may be read into the record during the livestream broadcast. BPCA reserves the right to prioritize comments that have not been previously raised. For more information visit: bpca.ny.gov/about/board-committees/.
Turn-of-the-season dazzle: brightest stars, vivid constellations, and rusty-gold Mars
The calendar in the night sky marks Spring Equinox evenings with the rising of golden Arcturus, the second brightest star in our sky. Sunset is at 7:11 this evening and about a minute later each day going forward.
As twilight deepens, about an hour after sunset, gold-to-red twinkling Arcturus climbs above the northeastern horizon. The great star, -0.05 magnitude, appears later over obstructed views. To be sure to locate Arcturus at any time of night, follow the diagram at the top of this page. On spring evenings, the Big Dipper can be found high in the sky from the northeast to southeast. Trace the arc of its handle down to “arc to Arcturus”.
New Hub for Families in Tribeca Offers Music, Dance, Parkour, and More
Tribeca has a new place for kids to play, parents to work, and families to bond. Cocoon, located at 316 Greenwich Street, at the base of Independence Plaza (in the space once occupied by Food Emporium) is an 18,000-square-foot facility, spread across two levels, that includes a 2,000-square-foot outdoor, private patio.
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.
1664 – Roger Williams is granted a charter to colonize Rhode Island
1721 – Johann Sebastian Bach opens his Brandenburg Concerts
1765 – Britain enacts Quartering Act, required colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers
1883 – First telephone call between NY and Chicago
1898 – First automobile sold
1900 – New York City Mayor Robert Anderson Van Wyck breaks ground for a new underground “Rapid Transit Railroad” that would link Manhattan and Brooklyn.
1910 – 83°F highest temperature ever recorded in Cleveland in March
1944 – 811 British bombers attack Berlin
1947 – John D Rockefeller Jr donates NYC East River site to the UN
1955 – First seagoing oil drill rig placed in service
1958 – Elvis Presley joins the army (serial number 53310761)
1989 – Worst US oil spill, Exxon’s Valdez spills 11.3 mil gallons off Alaska
1999 – Mont Blanc Tunnel Fire: 39 people die when a Belgian transport truckcarrying flour and margarine caught fire in the Mont Blanc Tunnel
1693 – John Harrison, British clockmaker (died on his 83rd birthday in 1776).
A self-educated clockmaker, John Harrison invented the marine chronometer, solving the centuries-old problem of determining with reasonable certainty the longitude or East/West position of a ship at sea. With that knowledge, the world opened up as long distance travel became possible. Isaac Newton doubted that such a clock could ever be built and favoured other methods for reckoning longitude, such as the method of lunar distances. Newton observed that “a good watch may serve to keep a reckoning at sea for some days and to know the time of a celestial observation; and for this end a good Jewel may suffice till a better sort of watch can be found out. But when longitude at sea is lost, it cannot be found again by any watch”.
John Harrison spent his life working to solve this problem and by the time he perfected his time piece, the mechanism had shrunk from tabletop size (known as H1) to palm size (known as H4). His difficulty was in producing a clock that was not affected by variations in temperature, pressure or humidity, remained accurate over long time intervals, resisted corrosion in salt air, and was able to function on board a constantly-moving ship.
1733 – Joseph Priestley, England, Birstall England, clergyman/scientist (discovered oxygen)
1874 – Harry Houdini, [Erich Weiss], Budapest, magician/escape artist
1886 – Edward Weston, American photographer (d. 1958)
1909 – Clyde Barrow, bank robber (of Bonnie and Clyde fame)
1919 – Lawrence Ferlinghetti, US, beat poet (Coney Island of the Mind)
1930 – Steve McQueen, actor, race car driver
1603 – Elizabeth I Tudor, of England and Ireland (1558-1603), dies at 69
1776 – John Harrison, English clockmaker (b. 1693)
1905 – Jules Verne, sci-fi author (Around the World in 80 Days), dies at 77