Links and Shackles, As Symbols of Unity and Division
“Song of the Broken Chains,” one of six pieces by renowned sculptor Melvin Edwards, now on display at City Hall Park.
The Public Art Fund, a non-profit that presents contemporary pieces in New York public spaces, is now displaying in City Hall Park “Brighter Days,” an exhibit of six monumental civic sculptures by artist Melvin Edwards.
Mr. Edwards, whose signature medium is steel molded into abstract shapes, is known for evoking political and historical themes in his work, with a particular focus on the legacy of slavery. In this context, his frequent use of chains is evocative on multiple levels—symbolizing links that unite, as well as shackles that divide the subjugated from their oppressors.
“Brighter Days” is a focused look at Mr. Edwards’ career through five sculptures (from 1970 to 1996), as well as a sixth large-scale piece commissioned in 2020. Each one incorporates some form of manacle. The location of City Hall Park (directly adjacent to the African Burial Ground and the site of recent Black Lives Matter protests) adds resonance to the historical associations of these metal forms as tools of slavery and violence.
Among the most striking of the pieces on display in “Brighter Days” is “Song of the Broken Chains” (2020), a sculpture of welded stainless steel, created for this exhibit. The links in “Song of the Broken Chains” are gargantuan in scale, with broken fetters resonating as icons of both emancipation and breach, ambivalently implying both joy and violence.
West Thames Basketball Courts Open for Play
Play ball! As part of the deconstruction of the old Rector Street Bridge and its attendant west side stairs and ramp, public space for the Battery Park City community has been increased via expansion of the Liberty Community Gardens and adjacent basketball courts.
The final portion of this project is the painting and striping of the court surface, currently scheduled to begin the end of this week. This work will necessitate closing of the courts and take (weather permitting) roughly two weeks to complete.
In the interim, as of Friday, May 7 the nets have been installed and the courts are available for play.
Inn and Out
FiDi’s Moxy Hotel Seized by Lenders
The developers of the Moxy NYC Downtown, located at 143 Fulton Street, have surrendered possession of the property to their mortgage lenders, AllianceBernstein. In a story first reported by the Real Deal, Tribeca Associates—the development team behind several other Lower Manhattan properties, such as the Marriott Residence Inn World Trade Center (at 170 Broadway), the Smyth Hotel and Residences (85 West Broadway), and the office tower at 30 Broad Street—have handed the land lease for the ground beneath the Moxy NYC Downtown back to the lender, valuing it at $108 million. This appears to be in restitution for a $105 million loan that the financial firm made to Tribeca Associates in 2018.
This comes on the heels of developer Leonard Stern deciding in February to hand the keys to a pair of Downtown hotels—the Roxy and the Soho Grand—over to lenders, rather than continue making payments on a $100-million mortgage. To read more…
Tony Stark spotted on Fifth Avenue (click photo for a video clip).
EDC Moves Ahead with + Pool, But Elsewhere
The City’s Economic Development Corporation has followed the urging of Community Board 1 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. To read more…
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…
Mother’s Day on Lily Pond. Mrs. Mallard with Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack. photo: Saul Rosenberg
At the start of the global pandemic, En Garde Arts asked a dozen NYC-based women playwrights, “What are you dreaming about right now?” They shared their stories of resilience and imagining a better future – dreams of flying, traveling, and grappling with what it means to be an artist right now. We are bringing their dreams to life in an immersive installation of sets, lights, video, and sound. Audience members will be socially-distanced as they move through the installation, where they will see some of the most powerful articulators of our time reflect upon our world today. A Dozen Dreams is not appropriate for small children. There is adult language and some references to violence.
The road to turning a brilliant idea into a thriving business can feel insurmountable. But with persistence and preparation, you can find both an audience and funding, and get your dream business off the ground. Free
1) 54 Warren Street, application for restoration of existing granite slabs – Resolution
2) 31 Harrison Street, review of legalizing LPC violations including intercom installation at entry door jamb and shutter removal, and legalizing secondary facade HVAC grille installation – Resolution
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
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.
1940 – Churchill says “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”
609 – Pope Boniface I turns Pantheon in Rome into a Catholic church
1110 – Crusaders march into Beirut causing a bloodbath
1497 – Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia) excommunicated Girolamo Savonarola (Italian Dominican friar and an influential contributor to the politics of Florence. He vehemently preached against the moral corruption of much of the clergy at the time, and his main opponent was Rodrigo Borgia).
1559 – Exhumed corpse of heretic David Jorisz burned in Basel
1607 – English colonists, led by John Smith, land near James River in Virginia
1643 – Heavy earthquake strikes Santiago Chile; killing a third of the population
1787 – Arthur Phillip sets sails with 11 ships of criminals to Botany Bay, Australia
1913 – First four engine aircraft built and flown
1940 – Churchill says “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”
1950 – Diner’s Club issues its first credit cards
1950 – The first round of the Formula 1 World Championship is held at Silverstone.
1965 – Rolling Stones record “Satisfaction”
1979 – Shah of Iran and family sentenced to death in Teheran
1981 – Pope John Paul II is shot and critically wounded by Turkish gunman Mehemet Ali Agca in St Peter’s Square, Vatican City
Franz Kline’s painting Delaware Water Gap 1958
1729 – Henry William (Baron) Stiegel, early American glassmaker
1856 – Peter Henry Emerson, first to promote photography as an independent art
1882 – Georges Braque, Argenteuil, Val-d’Oise, French cubist painter and sculptor (Bike)
1914 – Joe Louis, world heavyweight boxing champion (1937-49)
1931 – Jim Jones, Leader of Peoples Temple cult, (Jonestown Massacre)