A newly released illustration of the site that the CIty’s Economic Development Corporation has apparently decided upon for +Pool, near Pier 35 in the Two Bridges neighborhood.
The City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has followed the urging of Community Board 1 (CB1) by moving ahead with plans to create a floating pool in the East River. The agency has vetoed the recommendation of Lower Manhattan leaders, however, by choosing to locate the facility in the Two Bridges neighborhood, instead of alongside the Brooklyn Bridge, as CB1 had requested.
The proposal styled as “+ Pool” (and verbalized as “Plus Pool”) will consist of a floating dock, surrounding a cruciform swimming hole (with a safety net on its underside), the four branches of which will include a quartet of adjacent pools—one each for children, for lap swimmers, for sports uses, and for lounging. The flexible design allows for each pool to be used independently, combined to form an Olympic-length lap pool, or opened completely into a 9,000-square-foot pool for play. The structure will also capture and filter the flow of the East River, and discharge newly sanitized water in its wake.
On Friday, the organizers of + Pool posted to their Instagram page a notice described as a “major project milestone alert,” which announced that, “we received an official ‘confirmation to proceed with due diligence’ for our floating river swimming facility! This momentous event follows nearly two years of review by the city and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. We will now work with NYCEDC on next steps.”
This posting was accompanied by a new rendering, illustrating + Pool alongside Pier 35, between Rutgers and Clinton Streets. This is consistent with the EDC’s 2019 request for expressions of interest from organizations willing to, “provide the public with a swim facility which is capable of filtering the waters of the East River to enable safe recreational access to clean water.” The document specified a location, “in the East River between the northeast side of the Brooklyn Bridge and the southwest side of Pier 35.” But the newly announced location ignores (and appears to veto) a March 23 resolution in which CB1 renewed its longstanding support for the project, and noted that, “other Community Districts have multiple pools available for public use, but there are none within Community District 1 [CD1].” The resolution also argued that, “CB1 has long desired a greater enhancement of our East River area. The heart of this area is home to the origin of our great city, the South Street Seaport. Over the past two decades we have seen significant and consistent residential growth, with both families and seniors, yet community services and amenities are sorely lacking.”
The concept behind + Pool began to germinate in the summer of 2010, when three friends—designers Jeffrey Franklin and Archie Coates, along with architect Dong-Ping Wong—wondered why there was no facility that would allow the public to swim in the Hudson or East Rivers.
Researching the idea, they realized that 150 years ago, New York had more than a dozen such accommodations. Called “floating baths,” they consisted of decks mounted on pontoons, surrounding a large water hole, with safety nets beneath. The river water passed through the nets, and the floating baths could be towed to almost any shorefront location in the City. By the 1920s, however, environmental despoliation had made bathing in local rivers unsanitary, and the vessels were scrapped.
A rendering of how +Pool would have appeared on CB1’s preferred location, moored along the East River waterfront of Lower Manhattan.
This idea was resurrected in 2007, in modified form, when a foundation purchased a barge, retrofitted it to enclose a 100,000-gallon swimming pool, and named it the Floating Pool Lady. In this case, the pool has a solid bottom and the water within is fresh, never coming in contact with the river in which it sits, and floats above. This vessel—currently the only one of its kind in the United States—is parked along the Bronx waterfront each summer.
But Mr. Dong, Mr. Franklin, and Mr. Coates were interested in a plan that would bring swimmers into contact with the actual water that surrounds this city of islands, albeit in a way that was posed no risk of drowning or disease.
They came up with + Pool. Like the floating baths of the 19th century, it features a webbed underside, rather than a solid hull. But the new design would include a water-filtering membrane, which would act like an enormous strainer, catching and retaining impurities. As a bonus, the system would disgorge half a million gallons of freshly decontaminated water back into the surrounding river each day.
In November, 2019, CB1 enacted a resolution calling upon the de Blasio administration to move ahead with multiple amenities planned for the Brooklyn Bridge Esplanade. Among these, the resolution said, “CB1 supports efforts to locate + Pool into the East River in the area between the Brooklyn Bridge and Pier 17 and the design of the Esplanade should allow for the future incorporation of + Pool.”
Around this time, the + Pool team installed a full-scale model of their proposal in the East River, at the location requested by CB1 — between Pier 17 and the Brooklyn Bridge. The installation was not for swimming, but instead was a demonstration piece that changed color, depending on water quality. That iteration of the project generated considerable local enthusiasm.
As + Pool moves ahead, it still faces significant challenges to implementation. The EDC’s original solicitation cautioned that, “a successful Respondent will demonstrate that the construction, installation, and operation of a swim facility in the East River is possible without funding from EDC or the City.” This may prove to be a considerable hurdle, in that the estimated budget to build the + Pool prototype is $25 million. But the + Pool team is continuing to build public support, while also attracting both corporate and philanthropic sponsors, and raising money via a crowd-funding campaign.
As the organization’s team noted in its May 7 posting, “projects like this take a long time and are only possible because of the amazing people who keep pushing the envelope. The community around + Pool has always been it’s driving force. We look forward to expanding that community to include everyone in NYC who wants to be part of it!”
No timeline has been announced for next steps in the project’s development, or for when + Pool might debut.
City Council Measure Stands to Make FiDi Thoroughfare Pedestrian-Friendly in Perpetuity
The City Council has enacted a law, co-sponsored by member Margaret Chin, that will make permanent the Open Streets program begun by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio as a provisional measure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ratified on April 29, the bill is now awaiting Mr. de Blasio’s signature. This measure is significant for Lower Manhattan, because it may have the effect of preserving a local implementation of the Open Streets project, on Pearl Street, where (since last summer) the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has each day restricted vehicular access—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…
Battery Park City Authority at Irish Hunger Memorial
Exercise in disguise! Join in on the fun featuring easy-to-follow Latin dance choreography while working on your balance, coordination and range of motion. Come prepared for enthusiastic instruction, a little strength training, and a lot of fun. Participants are expected to bring their own equipment: weights, water bottle, hand towel, etc. Masks required. Participants must maintain six feet of physical distance between households. All programs will be held in accordance with New York State reopening guidance. Free
Anti-Asian racism is skyrocketing in the United States. Sadly, this is not a new phenomenon: for centuries, American views of China have oscillated between rapturous enchantment and angry disillusionment. In recent years, American public opinion toward China has plummeted, and the consequences have been profound. Even as American and Chinese interests have become inexorably intertwined, the perceived threat of China’s rise makes it a powerful target for American resentment. Have views of China fueled racism in the US? How can we promote greater understanding? Please join us for a conversation on history, the rise of China, and bias in America featuring the latest from Pew Research Center on U.S. views of China and a discussion of the roots of anti-Asian racism featuring John Pomfret, journalist and expert on U.S.-China relations, and Erika Lee, one of the nation’s leading immigration and Asian American historians. Free
Skyscraper Museum webinar. As the first in-depth book to explore the role of branding in the design of corporate modernism, Building Brands re-tells the stories of four corporate headquarters in the context of both business and architectural histories: the PSFS Building by Howe and Lescaze, the Johnson Wax Building by Frank Lloyd Wright, Lever House by SOM, and The Röhm & Haas Building by Pietro Belluschi and George M. Ewing Co. In this illustrated talk on her new book, Grace Ong Yan describes how clients and architects together crafted buildings to reflect the company’s brand, focusing on carefully considering consumers’ perception and their emotions towards the architecture and the messages they communicated. Free
Jacqueline Kott-Wolle is a contemporary artist in Highland Park, Illinois whose paintings explore the people and experiences that have shaped her distinctly North American brand of Jewish identity. These people include Holocaust survivors like Kott-Wolle’s parents and others in her community growing up. “They existed in living color for me – in their printed sundresses, socks and sandals, with numbers tattooed on their arms,” she writes. “Some of them had haunted looks in their eyes and seemed burdened with a profound sadness that kept them at the edge of anger while others were brimming with gratitude and optimism as they rebuilt their lives in Canada. All of them viewed my generation as walking miracles on earth.” Join Kott-Wolle for a presentation and discussion of “Growing Up Jewish – Art & Storytelling,” a series of 35 oil paintings and stories about Jewish identity in North America and how it transmits from one generation to the next. $10
Season finale of the Pen Parentis literary salon features readings and a roundtable with the writers Alice Elliott Dark, Sergio Troncoso, and Joshua Henkin. Interactive Q&A with audience participation. Free
Landmarks Panel Approves Howard Hughes Proposal for Scaled-Back Tower at Seaport Site
The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) on Tuesday approved a proposal by the Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) to erect a large building at 250 Water Street, a 1.1-acre parking lot bounded by Pearl, Beekman, and Water Streets, as well as Peck Slip. This site has been the focus of debate, speculation, and controversy since HHC’s purchase of the lot from Milstein Properties for $180 million, in 2018. To read more…
Local Public High Schools Perform Well in National Rankings
The U.S. News & World Report has issued its annual national rankings of high schools, and several local secondary institutions, either located in Lower Manhattan or else attended by large numbers of students from this community, have earned favorable mention.
Stuyvesant High School, located in Battery Park City, was deemed to rank number 44 among all secondary schools in the United States, and seventh among all New York City public high schools. Reviewers noted that Stuyvesant has a graduation rate of 99 percent, that 100 percent of its students are proficient in math and reading, and that 88 percent of pupils there passed at least one advanced placement exam. To read more…
Lower Manhattan Resident Charged with Defrauding Millions from Pandemic Loan Program
A resident of the Financial District has been arrested in connection with what federal prosecutors describe as a $5.8-million scheme to defraud the paycheck protection program (PPP), the federal loans given to small businesses hurt by the economic slowdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marcus Frazier, who resides at 19 Dutch Street, was taken into custody on Wednesday morning. Federal prosecutors allege that he filed for almost $6 million in PPP loans, and actually received approximately $2.17 million, based on these applications. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Note to the 22nd Century: PATH Used to Cost a Quarter
Port Authority Buries Time Capsule at World Trade Center
As part of the ongoing celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, that agency has buried a time capsule on the plaza of the World Trade Center. The vessel was entombed last Friday beneath the plaza, at a location near Church and Fulton Streets, beside the Oculus. The 16-inch steel container was lowered by Authority chairman Kevin O’Toole, assisted by Robert Alwell, the agency’s longest-serving employee, who started there in 1965.
BPCA Prepares Preliminary Steps to Implement South End Avenue Plan
The Battery Park City Authority offered an update on its plans to reconfigure South End Avenue and West Thames Street. This project envisions narrowing both South End Avenue and West Thames Street, while widening nearby sidewalks, and relocating several bus stops.
Board chair Tammy Meltzer began the discussion by noting that CB1, “passed resolutions and had dialogue about South End Avenue going back five years. It’s been very long time that we’ve been waiting for capital improvements on South End Avenue,” in a reference to the BPCA’s presentation about its budget, offered at the April 7 meeting.
BPCA president B.J. Jones replied, “we do have a line item for South End Avenue for this year, to kick the design and engineering into gear. And you’re right, Tammy. We have talked and spent a lot of time with that effort. And it is time that we get started.” To read more…
The Battery Park City Authority asks that the public not interact with or feed the urban wildlife in the neighborhood’s parks and green spaces, and at the waterfront.
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.
868 – The Diamond Sutra is printed in China, making it the oldest known dated printed book.
1647 – Peter Stuyvesant arrives in New Amsterdam to replace Willem Kieft as Director-General of New Netherland, the Dutch colonial settlement in present-day New York City.
1820 – HMS Beagle, the ship that will take Charles Darwin on his scientific voyage, is launched.
1846 – President James K. Polk asked for and received a Declaration of War against Mexico, starting the Mexican–American War
1862 – American Civil War: The ironclad CSS Virginia is scuttled in the James River northwest of Norfolk, Virginia.
1894 – Pullman Strike: Four thousand Pullman Palace Car Company workers go on a wildcat strike in Illinois.
1910 – An act of the U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana.
1942 – William Faulkner’s collections of short stories, Go Down, Moses, is published.
1945 – World War II: Off the coast of Okinawa, the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill is hit by two kamikazes, killing 346 of its crew. Although badly damaged, the ship is able to return to the U.S. under its own power.
1949 – Israel joins the United Nations.
1960 – In Buenos Aires, Argentina, four Israeli Mossad agents capture fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann who is living under the alias of Ricardo Klement.
1973 – Citing government misconduct, Daniel Ellsberg has charges for his involvement in releasing the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times dismissed.
1987 – In Baltimore, the first heart–lung transplant takes place. The surgery is performed by Dr. Bruce Reitz of the Stanford University School of Medicine.
1997 – Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.
1904 – 1989 Salvador Dalí, Spanish artist
1722 – Petrus Camper, Dutch physician, anatomist, and physiologist (d. 1789)
1801 – Henri Labrouste, French architect and academic, designed the Sainte-Geneviève Library (d. 1875)
1852 – Charles W. Fairbanks, American journalist and politician, 26th United States Vice President (d. 1918)
1888 – Irving Berlin, Belarusian-American pianist and composer (d. 1989)
1904 – Salvador Dalí, Spanish painter and illustrator (d. 1989)
1918 – Richard Feynman, American physicist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1988)
1927 – Mort Sahl, Canadian-American comedian and actor
1928 – Yaacov Agam, Israeli sculptor
1940 – Herbert Müller, Swiss race car driver (d. 1981)
1946 – Robert Jarvik, American cardiologist, developed the Artificial heart
912 – Leo VI the Wise, Byzantine emperor (b. 866)
1778 – William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, English soldier and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1708)
1871 – John Herschel, English mathematician, astronomer, and chemist (b. 1792)
1960 – John D. Rockefeller Jr., American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1874)
1963 – Herbert Spencer Gasser, American physiologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1888)
1988 – Kim Philby, British double agent (b. 1912)
2006 – Floyd Patterson, American boxer and actor (b. 1935)