As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, a Lower Manhattan community leader is proposing to rename a piece of local infrastructure for an unsung Irish hero.
Arthur Piccolo, president of the Bowling Green Association, wants to christen the Morris Street pedestrian bridge (which traverses the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel plaza, connecting Greenwich and Washington Streets) in honor of Hercules Mulligan, a patriot spy during the American Revolution, who twice saved George Washington’s life.
“Mulligan has often been referred to as America’s greatest spy—both for the importance of his exploits in service to our American Revolution, and because of the brazen nature of his spying for George Washington, at the request of Alexander Hamilton,” Mr. Piccolo explains. “Mulligan served as the tailor of choice for British officers in occupied Manhattan during the Revolution.”
Born in Ireland in 1740, Mulligan moved to New York as a child, and then attended King’s College (now known as Columbia University), later marrying the niece of an admiral in the Royal Navy, in a ceremony at Trinity Church. When Alexander Hamilton immigrated to New York to attend King’s College (then located in Lower Manhattan), his fellow alumnus, Mulligan, opened his home to the younger man. This was the start of a lifelong friendship. In the run-up to the American Revolution, Mulligan secretly joined the Sons of Liberty, to agitate (often violently) against English rule.
When the British captured New York in August, 1776, Mulligan operated a haberdashery on what is now Pearl Street (then known as Queen’s Street). His clients soon came to include senior British military personnel, who would gossip in front of him about their plans. One two occasions, these schemes included attempts to capture or kill George Washington. Both times, Mulligan, working with an enslaved man named Cato, was able to get warning to the American commander, thus saving the life of the man who would later become America’s first president.
Mulligan’s pose as a British sympathizer was so convincing that when the English evacuated from New York in November, 1783, several pro-Independence leaders wanted to hang him. But these suspicions were allayed when both Washington and Hamilton, on the first morning after their return to Manhattan, journeyed to Mulligan’s shop and shared a celebratory breakfast with him. Washington also agreed to purchase from the tailor a new, custom-made wardrobe of civilian clothing, symbolizing the surrender of power he planned. To dispel any lingering doubts about his loyalties, Mulligan hung a sign in his shop window that read, “Clothier to Gen. Washington.”
When he died in 1825, Mulligan was buried in the graveyard next to Trinity Church, not far from his friend, Hamilton.
“But sadly, unlike Hamilton, almost 250 years after the Revolution, Hercules Mulligan has yet to receive the recognition he so richly deserves,” Mr. Piccolo believes. That is why he is proposing that Governor Kathy Hochul designate the Morris Street pedestrian span the Hercules Mulligan Bridge.
The span falls under the Governor’s purview because it is part of a facility (the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel) operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is a State agency. As such, Mr. Piccolo argues, Ms. Hochul is empowered to rename the structure without any further consultation or delay, a move that be says can be accomplished before St. Patrick’s Day—an observance that is just over two weeks away.
To the Editor:
In $eparate and Unequal: Neighborhood Association Provides Analysis of Community’s Future (BroadsheetDAILY February 25), there are several assertions in need of correction or clarification.
The claim that scheduled ground rent increases will add $1.50 per sq. ft./year in costs for condo owners is incorrect. The 12 buildings that negotiated significant ground rent reductions with BPCA in 2011-2012 pay $6 per sq. ft. today on average, which will increase by 2.7% per year, on average, through 2038 – that’s an average increase of just $0.20 per sq. ft./year. And to the extent that ground rent may reduce sales prices for condo owners, this discount also applied when those owners first bought their units.
As a result, Battery Park City owners pay lower mortgage costs than they would for comparable condos in Tribeca or elsewhere. Meanwhile, buildings with more imminent resets are paying even lower ground rent, which is why their leases contain provisions to bring them into alignment with fair market value.
The pricing of rental apartments, by comparison, is a function of location, building and unit amenities, and many other factors—and landlords charge the rent that the market will bear. If ground rent increases (or decreases), landlords still charge what the market will bear, rather than pass increases or decreases on to their tenants. The exception is for the affordable apartments that BPCA has sought to preserve and expand if possible, as reflected in our recent agreement with Tribeca Pointe to preserve 70 affordable units for the next half century.
As noted in the piece, BPC residents benefit uniquely among New York City residents overall because BPCA uses its resources to fund maintenance and operations (beautiful parks, free year-round programming, industry-leading resiliency projects, and more) in the neighborhood before any funding is provided to the City of New York, as required, to fund essential services and affordable housing. It is this high quality of life that makes Battery Park City such an appealing place to live. We are committed to preserving this high standard of living, meeting our fiscal responsibility to the rest of city, and developing solutions to help protect lower-income BPC homeowners from ground rent increases they cannot afford.
Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs
Battery Park City Authority
‘If You Don’t Like It, You Can Have Nothing’
In Wake of Broken Promises about Gyms in Public Schools, CB1 Aims to Build Athletic Facilities Elsewhere
Community leaders and education advocates are fuming over an about-face by the City’s Department of Education (DOE), which has backed away from a 2016 promise about the design of the new public elementary school on Trinity Place, in the Financial District (slated to open this September).
As Tricia Joyce, chair of the Youth and Education Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1) explained at the Board’s February 22 meeting, “they have backpedaled on the gym for the new school, which is no longer regulation-size, after they told us in September 2016 that it would be.”
How do you get around your neighborhood? Young learners will be introduced to the many different modes of transportation available in large cities today, including trains, buses, ferries, and bikes. Through a read-aloud of Christopher Niemann’s picture book Subway, kids will learn about one special form of New York City transit, the subway! Afterwards, we will talk about our favorite way to get around the city and make drawings of subway art. All ages. RSVP required. This indoor program meets at the Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Place. Masks are required. For those who prefer the online option for this in-person program, email email@example.com for the Zoom link. Free.
On Saturdays and Sundays, visit the exhibitions and the ships of the South Street Seaport Museum for free. At 12 Fulton Street, see “South Street and the Rise of New York” and “Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900-1914,” and at Pier 16, explore the tall ship Wavertree and lightship Ambrose.
‘A New Day for The Oldest Part of Our City’
New Council Member Inaugurated at Ceremony on Lower East Side
Christopher Marte, the new City Council member representing Lower Manhattan, was ceremonially inaugurated on Sunday afternoon, in a festive celebration held at the Museum at Eldridge Street, on the Lower East Side.
“The only way to start and win a campaign,” Mr. Marte noted, “is doors—so many doors: knocking on doors, people opening doors, people slamming their doors in your face, literally and metaphorically. Sneaking past doors so you can knock on other doors. Any waking minute you can’t spend knocking on doors, you spend thinking about doors: What doors, how many doors, where are the doors, who is behind that door?” To read more…
Win a Staycation
The Downtown Alliance is raffling off a couple’s getaway in Lower Manhattan, which includes a two-night stay at the Beekman Hotel, dinner for two at the Michelin-starred Crown Shy restaurant, tickets to the One World Trade Center observation deck, and a $500 voucher for qualifying travel-related expenses.
To be entered in the contest automatically, download and use the Alliance’s new augmented reality Instagram filter (while tagging @downtownnyc), which allows users to superimpose three-dimensional renderings of the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Fearless Girl, the Oculus and One World Trade Center on any landscape they choose. For more information, please browse: downtownny.com
Safe Space for Teens
Starting Monday, March 14, Trinity Church’s Youth Afterschool program will offer everything from basketball and mindfulness to test prep and use of a teaching kitchen.
All activities, which are free and open to students in grades six through 12, will be hosted in the teens-only space on the fifth floor of Trinity Commons (the new community building behind Trinity Church), located at 76 Trinity Place.
Trinity Youth strives to practice “radical welcome” by including not only parishioners and students from Trinity’s school partnerships, but youth from across New York City, and the inclusion all people regardless of background, beliefs, or experience. (Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 is required.) For more information, or to enroll, please browse: trinitywallstreet.org/youth
At Debt’s Door
Downtown Developers Go Belly Up on Two Marquee Properties
Two Lower Manhattan trophy properties have defaulted on their mortgages, according to multiple published accounts and public records.
China Oceanwide Holdings, the owners of the development lot at 80 South Street, in the South Street Seaport, failed to make a $1.3-million payment to creditors in January, which has spurred lenders to declare the entire $175-million note on the property in default, and to demand immediate payment of the full amount.
Neighborhood Association Provides Analysis of Community’s Future
A February 6 meeting of the Battery Park City Neighborhood Association (BPCNA) included a sobering analysis of the financial outlook for people who own homes in the community, as well as for those who rent.
The presentation was led by Pamit Surana, one of the leaders of the 501(c)(3) association, which formed last summer (under the social media banner of #PauseTheSaws) after successfully protesting to block a plan by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo to locate a monument to Essential Workers in Rockefeller Park.
Black History Month: Lower Manhattan Taken for a Ride on Monument It Actually Needs
While the saga of Rosa Parks and the 1956 Montgomery bus boycott has become a canonical American parable, New York played out its own version of the same drama, more than a century earlier. In July, 1854, Lower Manhattan resident Elizabeth Jennings Graham was on her way to church, and boarded a horse-drawn street car at Chatham and Pearl Streets.
Like much else in mid-19th century New York, street car service was segregated, with most coaches reserved for white riders, but some bearing signs that read, “Negro Persons Allowed in This Car.”
Leading the Sun at dawn: eye-popping Venus, our solar system’s hottest planet
Planet Venus, an orb of white fire gleaming in darkness, rises above the southeastern horizon in early dawn. Venus is the third brightest object in Earth’s sky, next to the Sun and moon. Similar in size to Earth and our closest planetary neighbor, its brilliance is not to be attributed to its proximity. As described by scientists at EarthSky.org, “Venus is bright … because it’s blanketed by highly reflective clouds. The clouds in the atmosphere of Venus contain droplets of sulfuric acid, as well as acidic crystals suspended in a mixture of gases. Light bounces easily off the smooth surfaces of these spheres and crystals. Sunlight bouncing from these clouds is a big part of the reason that Venus is so bright.”
Providing Companion and Home Health Aide Care to clients with dementia.Help with grooming, dressing and wheelchair assistance. Able to escort client to parks and engage in conversations of desired topics and interests of client. Reliable & Honest
Ethical and respectable gentleman, an IT Wizard, seeks a living/work space in BPC. Can be a Computer help to you and your business, or will guarantee $1,500 for rental. Reciprocal would be great!
Please contact: 914-588-5284
Folk dance group seeks empty space of 400+ sq feet for 2 hours of weekly evening dance practice.
Average attendance is 10 women. This is our hobby; can pay for use of the space.
Call 646 872-0863 or find us on Facebook. Ring O’Bells Morris.
Kind loving and honest Nurse’s aide seeking FT/PT job. Experience with Alzheimer’s patients
Excellent references available please call Dian at 718-496-6232
HOUSEKEEPING/ NANNY/ BABYSITTER
Available for PT/FT. Wonderful person, who is a great worker.
Worked in BPC.
Call Tenzin 347-803-9523
Seaport Kids will partner with Private Picassos to present Pipe Cleaner Craft for kids of all ages on Wednesday, March 9, from 4:00 to 5:00 pm at the Corner (25 Fulton Street).
Professional arts instructors will guide children in the use of wood blocks, colorful wire, pipe cleaners, beads and foam stickers to create their own free-standing sculptures. Admission is free. For more information, please browse: theseaport.nyc/events/
Get Rich or Get Out
Analysis By Housing Group Cites Declining Affordability in Lower Manhattan
A leading housing advocacy organization has completed an exhaustive look at threats to affordability in every community in the five boroughs, and has found that Lower Manhattan ranks among the ten most at-risk neighborhoods by one key metric, while also placing in the 20 most-endangered by another.
The Bowling Green Greenmarket brings fresh offerings from local farms to Lower Manhattan’s historic Bowling Green plaza. Twice a week year-round stop by to load up on the season’s freshest fruit, crisp vegetables, beautiful plants, and freshly baked loaves of bread, quiches, and pot pies.