City Preservation Agency Okays Plan for New Structure on East River Waterfront
A rendering of the proposed outdoor dining pavilion planned for South and Fulton Streets, in front of the historic Tin Building. (The shaded area above indicates the obstructed view created by the FDR Drive viaduct.)
The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has approved a proposal by the Howard Hughes Corporation, the real estate firm that is redeveloping the South Street Seaport, and the City’s Parks Department, to create a new outdoor restaurant underneath the FDR Drive.
At a Tuesday hearing, the LPC praised the modifications to a 2019 proposal that would have placed a much larger structure (also beneath the FDR Drive) at the intersection of South and John Streets, blocking the view corridor of the East River, and eclipsing the historic tall ships docked on the waterfront. Community Board 1 (CB1) strongly opposed that version of the plan, and the LPC was guided by the Board’s judgment.
The new proposal calls for an oak-framed pavilion that will be 11 feet tall and 76 feet long, situated between FDR Drive, at South and Fulton Streets, in front of the historic (and newly refurbished) Tin Building. Open patios will extend from the north and south ends of pavilion, where food and drink will be served year-round. (Removable panels will provide shelter from the elements during cold-weather months.)
Kelly Carrol, the Director of Advocacy and Community Outreach for the Historic Districts Council, voiced concern the proposed structure will block views of the landmarked Tin Building from Fulton Street, and suggested that that the new pavilion would work better in front of the nearby New Market Building, which is slated to be torn down.
“Once the New Market Building is demolished, there will be waterfront dining views available as the applicant initially desired,” she said, in a reference to the original rationale for placing the structure at the foot of John Street.
George Giaquinto, Howard Hughes Corporation’s vice president for development, countered that, “with respect to the recommendation by the Historic Districts Council, the New Market Site is not part of our leasehold with the City, so we have no ability to recommend anything in that location.”
After a discussion in which several members of the LPC praised Howard Hughes and the Parks Department for agreeing to move the project from John Street to Fulton Street, the panel voted to approve the design, while also suggesting a few minor revisions, such as the treatment of windows.
In this action, the LPC was also guided by CB1, which enacted a resolution in February, noting, “the proposed structure is actually 1,000 square feet smaller than the John Street proposal;” that, “the current proposal’s location is much better than previously proposed,” and that, “the new design is also an improvement from those proposed in the past.” The resolution went on to recommend that the LPC (which has jurisdiction over the Historic District in which the site is located) approve the plan.
CB1 voiced one lingering cavil about the current plan, which was partially addressed at Tuesday’s meeting. The ten-year lease and concession that the Parks Department plans to grant to South Street Limited Partnership (the Howard Hughes subsidiary that will operate the restaurant) is expected to generate considerable revenue. The Parks Department initially planned to collect and absorb these funds into its own budget.
But CB1’s resolution noted that, “while the City is proposing that licensing fees… resulting from this concession go to the Parks Department and [CB1] recognizes their need for funds, we do feel that a much more urgent need at this time is operating revenue for the South Street Seaport Museum, so that this vital cultural institution at the Seaport can remain in existence and operation.” The same measure concludes that CB1, “recommends that the revenue received by the City from this concession be given to the South Street Seaport Museum for their operational needs.”
Joy Gutierrez, who oversees revenue and concessions for the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation, explained that whiles these funds will not be earmarked for the Seaport Museum, they will be allocated locally. “It is important to note,” she said, “that unlike most Parks concessions, whose license fees go into the City’s General Fund, the license fees paid here will all go back into the surrounding park land, including 50 percent of proceeds going to improvements of the Imagination Playground, and the other 50 percent going towards maintenance operations of the East River Esplanade.”
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Nadler Proposes to Expand Historic African Cemetery with Museum and Education Center
Congressman Jerry Nadler is sponsoring to expand the African Burial Ground National Monument, the Lower Manhattan site that holds the remains of an estimated 15,000 African-Americans from the Colonial Era (both free and enslaved), with a new museum and education center.
On April 2, Mr. Nadler reintroduced legislation that would establish an African Burial Ground Advisory Council, which would manage the proposed museum, in partnership with the National Park Service (the agency that oversees the current National Monument). The new museum would additionally serve as a sister institution to Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. To read more…
Born to Be Wild
The Battery Park City Authority is urging residents to observe, admire, even adore local fauna—but to do so from a distance.
The agency’s Keep It Wild campaign springs from the Authority’s Strategic Plan, which aims (in part) to establish the 92 acres of the community as a biodiversity haven and sanctuary for nature.
Battery Park City is currently home to a diverse array of wildlife. More than 100 species of resident and migratory birds, along with countless species of insects (including native pollinators) inhabit local gardens and lawns, but these green spaces provide all the food and habitat the animals need.
Sadly, wildlife does not benefit from human interaction (however well intentioned), so the BPCA asks that residents avoid feeding animals and limit themselves to watching from a safe distance, for the safety of both man and beast.
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.
This year’s Food for Thought digital series will focus on topics in pursuit of three goals – to restart, revive, and reconnect.
Today interior stylist and writer Dominique Gebru (@dommdotcom) will join Cathryn Linn of The Organizing Organization (@theorganizingorg), to discuss how to turn your home into a haven, undertaking easy DIY projects that will transform your dwelling, how to make the most of a small space. The public is invited to directly engage in the conversation by submitting a question anonymously in advance of the event. Free
Webinar. How have women succeeded in investment management? Katrina Dudley, co-author of Undiversified: The Big Gender Short in Investment Management, will moderate a panel of successful female portfolio managers to highlight some of the brightest stars of the “constellation” of women investors profiled in the book. Free
In 1979, Helen Epstein published Children of the Holocaust, one of the first books to examine the intergenerational transmission of trauma from Holocaust survivors to their children. In the four decades since its publication, Epstein has published 11 additional books (including Franci’s War, a memoir of her mother’s life, in 2020) and has served as a leading voice among descendants of survivors. Join Epstein and Ellen Bachner Greenberg, founder of Descendants of Holocaust Survivors (2G Greater New York), for a conversation about Epstein’s life and legacy and the questions she faces today. $10
‘No Epitaphs Spill Out’
The Stella Adler Studio of Acting will host, “This is Not a Small Voice: An Evening of Poetry as Celebration” (part of its Harold Clurman Poetry Reading Series) on Tuesday, April 20 (starting at 7pm). Readers will include contemporary poets Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Sonia Sanchez, and Aracelis Girmay. This online event is free, and open to the public.
East River Park Advocates Demand to See Resiliency Planning Documents
A coalition of activists based on the Lower East Side has filed suit against the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to force the release of documents detailing plans for resiliency infrastructure between Montgomery and East 25th Street.
The group, calling itself East River Park Action, contends that a consensus plan to make the East River Park safe from climate change, sea-level rise, and extreme weather events, which had widespread community support, was abruptly abandoned by City Hall in three years ago.
New York City Won’t Be The Same, But It Will Be Great
A chorus of New York naysayers are telling us that the City will never be the same after this pandemic. They are right—but not in the way they think. New York City is on the cusp of another “Roaring 20’s,” and I, for one, can’t wait.
One hundred years ago we were recovering from a pandemic (the Spanish Flu) and a Great War that spread fear and death. New York is facing a similar trauma. Loved ones lost are never coming back. Some of us have lost jobs, homes, or even just our favorite restaurants. A century ago, when it was all over, people were ready to let loose—and let loose they did. I believe that a similar spirit is about to start a recovery that will reshape the city in exciting ways, creating new opportunities for many.
Local Leaders Seek Temporary Easing of Federal Mortgage Regulations on Condominiums and Cooperatives
Community Board 1 is calling upon elected officials to intercede on behalf of condominiums and cooperatives, where the economic downtown triggered by the pandemic coronavirus has resulted in distressed finances. To read more…
The Fate of a Neighborhood
State’s Highest Court Blocks Suit by Brewer, Chin Opposing Two Bridges Plan
On Tuesday, the New York State Court of Appeals effectively ended a lawsuit begun in 2018, in which Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council member Margaret Chin sought to compel the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to subject several massive residential developments planned for the Lower East Side to the highest-possible degree of legal scrutiny. New York’s highest judicial review panel upheld an August ruling by the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, which itself had overturned a 2019 lower-court decision favoring Ms. Brewer and Ms. Chin. To read more…
9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Report
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.
Brewer Pushes for FiDi Thoroughfare to Be Made Pedestrian-Friendly in Perpetuity
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is pushing the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to expand and make permanent a trial implementation of the Open Street program in Lower Manhattan. Since last summer, the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has each day restricted vehicular access to Pearl Street, between Broad Street and Hanover Square, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and again from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm To read more…
Local Leaders Get Irredentist to Reclaim Park Space Dispossessed for a Decade
Community Board 1 (CB1) wants the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to give back park space beneath the Brooklyn Bridge that was “temporarily” closed more than a decade ago. The area, informally known as “Brooklyn Banks,” is an iconic destination for skateboarders, because the streetscape provides an undulating terrain of ramps, rails, ledges, and jumps. Long before any of these stunts were legal in New York, boarders from around the United States would come to the City to compete there, and connect with one another. To read more…
TODAY IN HISTORY
1729 – Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St Matthew Passion” premieres in Leipzig
1738 – Bottle opener invented
1850 – City of San Francisco incorporated
1878 – Harley Procter introduces Ivory Soap
1892 – General Electric Company, forms and is incorporated in NY
1900 – An early 50 mile race is won by an electric car in over 2 hrs
1912 – Titanic sinks at 2:27 AM off Newfoundland
1923 – Insulin becomes generally available for diabetics
1924 – Rand McNally publishes its first road atlas
1941 – First helicopter flight of one hour duration in Stratford, Connecticut
1952 – Franklin National Bank issues first bank credit card
1952 – The maiden flight of the B-52 Stratofortress
1955 – Ray Kroc starts McDonald’s chain of fast food restaurants
1959 – Fidel Castro begins US goodwill tour
1981 – Janet Cooke says her Pulitzer award 8-year-old heroin addict story is a lie, Washington Post relinquishes Pulitzer Prize on fabricated story
1986 – US air raids Libya, responding to La Belle disco, Berlin bombing
2013 – 3 people are killed and 183 are injured after two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon
Abraham Lincoln portrait by Mathew Brady
1452 – Leonardo da Vinci, Italy, painter/sculptor/scientist/visionary
1684 – Catherine I, empress of Russia (1725-27)
1812 – Pierre-Etienne-Theodore Rousseau, painter
1894 – Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1953-64)
1904 – Arshile Gorky, Armenian Artist (d. 1948)
1916 – Alfred S. Bloomingdale, American businessman (d. 1982)
1924 – Neville Marriner, Lincoln England, conductor (Minn Orch 1978)
1865 – Abraham Lincoln, 16th American president, dies from gunshot wound at 56
1912 – Edward Smith, captain of the RMS Titanic (b. 1850)
1912 – John Jacob Astor IV, billionaire (b. 1864)
1925 – John Singer Sargent, US portrait painter, dies at 69
1980 – Jean-Paul Sartre, existentialist philosopher and writer (Nobel 1964), dies in Paris at 74
1982 – 5 murderers, of Egyptian president Sadat, executed
1990 – Greta Garbo, actress (Anna Karenina, Camille), dies at 84
1998 – Pol Pot, Cambodian dictator (b. 1925)
2000 – Edward Gorey, American illustrator (b. 1925)