Two Passionate Advocates for the Arts in Lower Manhattan to Be Fêted Friday
Dr. Lisa Ecklund-Flores
Next Friday (April 8), the highly regarded Church Street School for Music & Art will honor two champions of the Lower Manhattan arts scene—the late Tom Goodkind and Dr. Lisa Ecklund-Flores—with a gala benefit at City Winery (25 11th Avenue, in the Hudson River Park, near 15th Street).
A longtime resident of Gateway Plaza, in Battery Park City, Mr. Goodkind served for decades on Community Board 1 (CB1), where he was a persistent, passionate advocate for housing affordability, and booster of local public schools. In service of each cause he cared about, Mr. Goodkind became known both for dogged perseverance and impish wit.
An accountant by training, Mr. Goodkind served for years in executive leadership positions at large financial services and real estate organizations, such as the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (where he oversaw that retirement fund’s property investments) and the Rosen Group, a real estate development and management consortium specializing in shopping centers and office buildings.
But his true passions were music and Lower Manhattan. In later years, Mr. Goodkind became a familiar site to local residents, in his red-and-white drum major’s uniform, conducting outdoor concerts of the TriBattery Pops, the community band that he founded in 2004, which earned a Grammy nomination. In an indication of the impresario’s wide and eclectic circle of friendships, the band’s logo was designed by comic book demigod Stan Lee, who was a neighbor in Mr. Goodkind’s youth. (He also counted as friends Allen Ginsberg, Billy Crystal, Abbie Hoffman, and Robert Duvall.)
The TriBattery Pops were only the most recent chapter in Mr. Goodkind’s musical arc, however. In the early 1980s, he co-founded the Washington Squares, a “neo-beatnik folk revival music group,” modeled after early 1960s ensembles like The Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary. The successful act toured and record for more than a decade.
Mr. Goodkind returned to these roots when the Washington Squares headlined a sold-out reunion concert in 2018 at City Winery (the venue that will host next Friday’s event), with Peter Yarrow. He also had a hand in creating or managing multiple legendary New York music venues, such as Irving Plaza, the Peppermint Lounge, and Roseland.
Jill Goodkind, Mr. Goodkind’s widow, says, “this honor is particularly fitting because music was at the essence of Tom’s being. Many people knew Tom as an incredible community leader, but he was also an extraordinary songwriter, musician and performer. We have put together an amazing concert for the gala featuring many of Tom’s friends—Marshall Crenshaw, Lenny Kaye, Tammy Faye Starlight and so many others. Olivia Goodkind will be singing in honor of her dad. People are just going to be blown away. Thank you to the Church Street School for recognizing Tom and for the great work they do bringing music and art to the community.”
Also being honored at Friday’s City Winery event is Dr. Lisa Ecklund-Flores, co-founder of the Church Street School for Art and Music, who recalls of Mr. Goodkind that, “Tom was a one-of-a-kind person—really smart, a really talented musician and really funny. He was very passionate, both about the things he liked and the things he didn’t like. Anything Tom wanted to do in life he did. I can’t even believe I’m talking about him in the past tense.”
Dr. Ecklund-Flores, who stepped down last August after 30 years at the helm of the Church Street School, says, “the School was founded by myself and Lauri Bailey in 1990. We were teachers at another music school, where we had a very successful program for children, but felt misunderstood by the director. So we decided to rent a space and open our own school. We were so naïve about what that meant in terms of starting a business, and we didn’t have any money to finance the business with. We just started offering classes.
“I never dreamed that the school would grow the way it has—from 150 students in the first year to about 1,000 students annually now, including our outreach programs,” Dr. Ecklund-Flores reflects. “But the school has continued to maintain its first vision and philosophy: that everyone has a unique artistic voice to be nurtured, and physical experience is the key to actualizing an understanding of the arts. I’m proud of that.”
“The most surprising part of the School’s evolution is how much of the work has not had anything to do with our vision and philosophy,” she acknowledges. “Rather, it has been about funding and fundraising and who you know, about contentious interactions with landlords and fighting to find affordable space from which to run the school, and financial pressures about how to keep a nonprofit afloat when your mission is affordability and access to the arts for all.”
But, “the single best part of running the School was seeing the vision happen every day,” Dr. Ecklund-Flores notes, with pride. “Watching the students have their artistic awakenings, and still being able to work as a teacher. Seeing the same wonderful work between our talented faculty and their students. Engaging with the Downtown neighborhood at large during our public events, and seeing it happen in the wider community.”
Asked how she hopes to be remembered, Dr. Ecklund-Flores answers, “as a gifted teacher with a dream that helped build confidence and a passion for art and music-making in her students, whose work helped to perpetuate in thousands of others her belief in the power of the arts.”
Proceeds from Friday’s event will go to supporting programs and scholarships critical to the School’s mission of providing accessible arts experiences for all. For more information, or to purchase tickets, please browse: ChurchStreetSchool.org
Floating an Idea
Port Authority Interprets Governor’s Order Littorally
Lower Manhattan residents could soon have a new option for accessing LaGuardia Airport, if planners at the Port Authority approve an option to launch ferry service between the Wall Street pier and the aerodrome in northern Queens.
The Port Authority has been compelled to take a fresh look at ways to access LaGuardia after Governor Kathy Hochul killed plans formulated by her predecessor, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, to build a new AirTrain. That proposal would have connected the airport to both the Long Island Rail Road and the subway’s 7 train—in both cases by moving passengers eastward for those transfers, when the vast majority of users would likely be headed to destinations west of the LaGuardia (such as Manhattan). This scheme was slated to cost several billion dollars.
Census Analysis Indicates Downtown Has Become a Lot Younger, Quite a Bit More Crowded, and Slightly More Diverse
The population of Lower Manhattan has grown by almost 20,000 residents in the decade preceding the 2020 Census, according to an analysis co-authored by James Wilson-Schutter, a Community Planning Fellow affiliated with the Fund for the City of New York, who is consulting with Community Board 1 (CB1), and Diana Switaj, CB1’s Director of Planning and Land Use.
Elevator Outages Have FiDi High-Rise Tenants Out on a Ledge
Months of chronic elevator problems at a historic skyscraper in the Financial District have left tenants at 20 Exchange Place hiking dozens of flights to and from their apartments each day. At a Monday rally called by elected officials to show support for the plight of residents in the building, City Council member Christopher Marte said, “this is the worst-case scenario for any resident. The first incident was in late October, almost six months ago.” Since then, he said, “there has been neglect from Con Edison and the management office. This is unacceptable. Enough is enough. Let’s get this fixed.”
Local Rates of Infection with BA.2 Version of COVID Among Highest in City
In a sharp reversal of previous trends, four Lower Manhattan neighborhoods are ranking among the top five anywhere in the City for rates of infection with the new BA.2 subvariant of the Omicron mutation of COVID-19.
In data released by the City’s Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday (covering the period from March 18 through March 24), southern Tribeca, two areas of the Financial District, and southern Battery Park City all placed among the five communities with the highest percentage positive test results for COVID infection. The four local zip codes with the highest level of positive test results were:
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.
For the Birds
A Guide to our Feathered Friends in Lower Manhattan
Gail Karlsson is a local writer and photographer who recently began focusing on New York City birds. She has put together a photo book called A Birds’ Guide to The Battery and New York Harbor. Most of the text is written from the birds’ point of view.
In 2017, she began going on morning bird walks in The Battery led by Gabriel Willow, a naturalist working with New York City Audubon. “One day he told me that not very many birders went to The Battery, and it would be good to document what we saw there. I didn’t know much about the different birds, but I did have a new telephoto lens, and Gabriel helped me identify ones I didn’t recognize. I was amazed at how many different types of birds we found there.I decided to put them together in a book – which turned into a much bigger project than I imagined. But a really fun one.”
‘Downtown Birds’ is now on display in the ground-floor window gallery at the former Western Union building (60 Hudson) located on the northwest corner of West Broadway and Thomas now through May 1
The book A Birds’ Guide to The Battery and New York Harbor is available on Amazon.com.
Local Legacies Lionized
Three Downtown Preservation Projects Cited as Exemplars of Landmark Protection
Three of Lower Manhattan’s architectural masterpieces have been singled out for the prestigious Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award, conferred each year by the New York Landmarks Conservancy, a highly regarded non-profit organization (itself based in Lower Manhattan, on Whitehall Street) that seeks to protect New York’s architecturally significant buildings. To read more…
Eyes to the Sky
March 21 – April 3, 2022
Equinox Sun, Spring Star Arcturus rising, Solar Orbiter’s closest approach
We are several days past the Vernal Equinox (aequus = equal and nox = night), the astronomical first day of spring in the northern hemisphere when the rising Sun (due east on the horizon) and the setting Sun (due west) trace an arc in the sky that brings about equal day and night. Our star’s equinox trajectory is halfway between the winter and summer solstices, the shortest and longest days of the year, respectively.
Historic, Publicly Owned Battery Maritime Building Has Reopened, But Only for Paying Customers
Community Board 1 (CB1) is raising questions about the use of what was supposed to be public space at the Battery Maritime Building, located at Ten South Street.
The publicly owned structure, located next to the Staten Island Ferry, is a landmarked Beaux Art ferry terminal built in 1909. It served for three decades as the gateway for boats taking passengers across the East River, but after commuters and vehicles gained direct access to Manhattan with the advent of bridges, tunnels, and subways, ferry usage declined and the building fell into disrepair.
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.
HOUSEKEEPING/ NANNY/ BABYSITTER
Available for PT/FT. Wonderful person, who is a great worker.
Worked in BPC.
Esplanade or Espla-Nada?
City Says Planned Improvements to East River Waterfront Are On Hold
The February 22 meeting of Community Board 1 (CB1) included an update about long-planned improvements to the East River Esplanade, some of which are being cancelled.
Paul Goldstein, the chair of CB1’s Waterfront, Parks & Cultural Committee, said, “we got a report from Economic Development Corporation [EDC] regarding some of their waterfront assets and projects that are ongoing—or not.” (The EDC is a not-profit corporation controlled by City government, which oversees development of assets, such as publicly owned property.)
“Unfortunately, a lot this project is not moving ahead for a variety of reasons,” Mr. Goldstein explained, “the biggest one being that the City is focusing much more on resiliency, and they don’t want to go ahead with improvements that may interfere with that.” To read more…
Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Every Wednesday & Saturday, 8am-3pm
Food Scrap Collection: Saturdays, 8am-1pm
Open Saturdays and Wednesdays year round
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Green Greenmarket at Bowling Green
Broadway & Whitehall St
Open Tuesday and Thursdays, year-round
Market Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Compost Program: 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
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.