Cost of Roof Repair at Asphalt Green Goes Up by Half a Million Dollars
The terrace overlooking the Battery Park City ballfields, which also serves as the roof for the Asphalt Green community center, is being rebuilt at a cost of some $8 million, in order to repair leaks that have plagued the facility since it opened in 2013.
The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) has increased its budget for fixing a leaky roof at the Asphalt Green Community Center by slightly more than $500,000, which will bring the total cost of the ongoing project (which requires replacing the terrace that overlooks the ball fields) to approximately $8 million.
At the April 28 meeting of the Authority’s board, BPCA vice president for real property Gwen Dawson explained, “this contract was originally awarded in March, 2019… At the time of inception, the only electrical work contemplated for the project was temporary removal of existing conduits. But after excavation, several conditions were found to require additional electrical work.”
Ms. Dawson noted that much of the electrical conduit network buried within the terrace, “was deteriorated beyond the possibility of reuse.” She added the connection between these conduits and the twin residential buildings above the community center (200 and 300 North End Avenue), “penetrated the wall of those buildings, and if left in place at that location, would compromise the new waterproofing.” Further, she noted that, “a lack of adequate lighting on the terrace led to the decision to upgrade, and add new LED lighting.”
The price for these changes to the remediation plan is $184,648, Ms. Dawson explained, adding that this amount, combined with several other recent expansions to the scope of work (which added another $322,377) required the approval of the BPCA’s board, because the aggregate price exceeded $500,000, the amount that triggers greater scrutiny. These amounts are in addition to the original budget of $6.9 million, plus another $600,000 for the construction manager that is overseeing the project.
At the 2019 meeting during which this project was first authorized, Ms. Dawson related that during the community center’s construction (almost a decade earlier), “there were problems noted by the Authority, in that some leaks and some water infiltration was experienced and brought to the attention of the base building’s contractor. However, it appears that there were no efforts to address those problems, or if there were, they were unsuccessful, because the leaks persisted even after the opening of the facility by Asphalt Green in 2013.”
In 2013, the BPCA hired a consulting engineer (for a fee of $50,000) to find the source of the leaks. “The conclusion was there’s a waterproofing failure at the expansion joint between the two buildings,” recalled Ms. Dawson. “That’s above the community center, but below the finished terrace.” The same report found an additional breach in the waterproofing at the community center’s eastern façade, facing the ball fields.
The BPCA opened negotiations with Milstein Properties (the developer of 200 and 300 North End Avenue) to fix these leaks, but those discussions, “did not lead to a mutually agreeable resolution,” Ms. Dawson noted. So the BPCA decided to take on the job of fixing the problem itself, while reserving the right to seek damages from Milstein Properties later. This project requires the complete removal of the terrace above the community center (overlooking the ballfields), as well as part of the structure’s façade. Once the waterproofing has been replaced, both of these areas will be rebuilt.
Earlier in 2019, the BPCA had issued a request for bids on the contract to perform this work. The winning firm, Nicholson & Galloway, priced the work at $6.85 million. (That firm was the same contractor that successfully performed a similar project, a waterproofing restoration at the Irish Hunger Memorial, in 2017.) But the Authority allocated an additional $50,000 for the necessity of dealing with a large rat population that was expected to be driven from underground lairs once the terrace was demolished, which brought the total, original cost of hiring Nicholson & Galloway to slightly more than $6.9 million.
When BPCA board members at the 2019 meeting questioned whether the Authority should be paying for this work at all, the agency’s general counsel, Abby Goldenberg, noted that, “we were very careful in making sure that doing this work did not prejudice us in any way to be able to go back to Milstein, either through negotiation or through litigation, to recoup what we believe is their responsibility.” She continued, “so we have entered into reservation of rights agreements, which cover us and enable us, after we’ve done the work and have additional evidence, to pursue our rights for their contribution.”
BPCA board member Martha Gallo observed that, “it’s just disappointing that this has taken ten years. I was there when it opened. This was a little leak. Now it’s become a big issue. It’s a lot of money and we have no assurance that they’re going to pay us a cent. So we’re kind of stuck.”
“So will it be done before the end of the  calendar year,” Ms. Gallo pressed during the 2019 discussion. “Or do you think it will go into next year?”
Ms. Dawson answered, “it currently looks as if they’ll get most of the way finished. But they won’t be able to finish the final concrete reinstallation of the terrace level, because cold weather is probably going to prevent doing that. So it’ll go into a little bit of next spring.” In the event, the public health crisis triggered by COVID-19 pushed the project back to this year.
Ms. Gallo continued, “are we sure we understand the root cause of the leaks? We only want to go through this once.”
“That’s the reason that we’re doing a complete replacement of the waterproofing,” Ms. Dawson explained. “Several years ago, we thought maybe we could get away with simply redoing the area around the expansion joint. But as time passed, it seemed that there might be some other points of leakage. So both our design engineer and our forensic engineer advised us that the only way that we can really make sure that we are addressing the root cause is to remove all of that waterproofing and to replace it all.”
At a BPCA board meeting in October, 2018, when the Authority first hired the construction management firm for $600,000, Ms. Gallo had noted, “we paid $58 million for a community center that was delivered with a defective wall. I think we’ve known that for a long time. And we’ve let it go for a very long time. And $58 million was a lot to spend on that community center.”
Ms. Dawson concluded the April 28 discussion by noting that the Asphalt Green roof remediation is now scheduled for completion in September of this year.
Considering a Gap Year
Fewer Local High School Students Apply for College Financial Aid
In what may augur a lingering social impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, data compiled by a national clearinghouse for information about college applications and admissions shows that five local high schools, either located in Lower Manhattan or else attended by large numbers of students from this community, have seen a drop-off in financial aid applications by graduating seniors.
This is a sobering indicator, because it almost certainly means that fewer of these students are planning on attending an institution of high learning next fall. These five schools all boast graduation rates at or near 100 percent and—in a typical year—send all (or almost all) of their graduating classes on to college.
Multiple New Bikes Lanes Coming to Lower Manhattan, Adding to Growing Local Network
The City’s Department of Transportation will begin this month implementing a plan—first approved in the spring last year, but delayed by the onset of the pandemic coronavirus—to add more bike lanes to the Lower Manhattan’s streetscape.
Two new physically segregated bicycle thoroughfares will be constructed in the next few weeks: a southbound connection linking Varick Street to West Broadway, and a northbound route via Church Street and Sixth Avenue.
Also coming soon is a protected section of Centre Street—a stretch that will connect Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan to Tribeca and Chinatown. To read more…
Eyes to the Sky
May 17 – 30, 2021
Look west to Gemini’s Castor and Pollux and to Mars, Mercury and Venus
As twilight deepens tonight, beginning around 9:30pm, locate the crescent moon in the west mid-way between zenith and the horizon. Below the moon, a juxtaposed pair of bright stars stands out. Known as the Gemini twins, yellowish Pollux is on the left and blue-white Castor on the right. A ways to the left of Pollux find luminous Procyon the Little Dog. About the same distance to the right of Castor find Capella the Little Goat, brightest of the foursome.
Goldman Sachs, alongside American Express, has partnered with New York City and CVS Health to offer a COVID-19 vaccination program at the Conrad Hotel. All lower Manhattan residents and employees who meet the eligibility requirements are welcome to schedule appointments for the Pfizer vaccine.
In order to qualify for the COVID-19 vaccination program, individuals must be aged 16 years or over and be a resident of New York State OR work/study full-time in New York State.
Scheduling and Location Details
All who meet the eligibility requirements can schedule appointments on the New York City COVID-19 Vaccine Finder by selecting the Conrad Hotel location or use the following links.
Riddle: What Does Downtown Have More of Than Any Other Neighborhood?
Hint: Want to Buy a Brand New, Never-Used Condo Apartment at a Steep Discount?
Multiple analyses of price trends in residential real estate for Lower Manhattan illustrate an ongoing portrait that is grim for homeowners and landlords, but may augur opportunity for buyers and prospective tenants.
A new study from the online real estate database company, StreetEasy, shows that prices for home sales and asking rents continue to soften. During the first three months of this year, for Lower Manhattan as a whole, the median asking price for condominiums and cooperatives fell to $1.75 million, or a retracement of 11.6 percent from the first quarter of last year. For tenants, the median asking rent dropped to $3,000, or a decline of 22.9 percent.
The West Thames courts are now temporarily closed for painting and striping.
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…
Explore the diversity of migrating birds that find food and habitat in The Battery. The walk will be led by Gabriel Willow, an educator from NYC Audubon. Gabriel is an experienced birder and naturalist, and is well-versed in the ecology and history of New York City. He has been leading walks for NYC Audubon for more than ten years, guiding new and experienced birders in all five boroughs and beyond. Participants are limited to fewer than 15 people. RSVP is required for participation. Free
Each week features a fantastic family music performer from our star roster leading rocking storytimes and sing-a-longs! Today, award winning Suzi Shelton performs. 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. Wagner Park
Wagner Park, with its amazing gardens and views of the Hudson River and New York Bay, is the perfect setting to practice your art. Participants are expected to bring their own drawing and painting supplies, including drawing boards and containers of water if they are planning to paint. BPCA will supply drawing paper and watercolor paper only. 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. Battery Park City Authority Free
Genocide, slavery, and displacement have affected far too many communities of people. While each community’s experience is different, massive collective trauma often results in cumulative emotional and psychological wounds that are carried across generations and remain potent in 2021. Dr. Irit Felsen is a clinical psychologist trained at Yale University and in Germany and Israel. She has seen these types of cumulative wounds firsthand, as a researcher focused on the long-term effects of intergenerational trauma and a clinician with extensive experience working with Holocaust survivors and their families. Join Dr. Felsen for a program exploring historical trauma and cultural healing with experts from Jewish, American Indian, and African American communities. $10
Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
During World War I and World War II, American Indians made a unique contribution to the U.S. Armed Forces by using their tribal languages in secret battle communications. Join us via zoom as author and anthropologist/historian William C. Meadows of Missouri State University reveals how these Native American “code talkers” played a key role in important battles and campaigns—and helped save many American and allied lives. Following Meadows’s talk, Alexandra Harris, senior editor at the museum and co-author of Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces, will host a Q&A with attendees. Free
Get moving with a series of classes aimed to help you build strength, relax, and unwind. All cardio classes are 45 minutes long, with a focus on high-intensity rhythmic cardio. Classes also feature sprint intervals, sculpting, and a stretch cool down. Free
Namaste! Unwind from the day with outdoor yoga. Immerse yourself in this meditative practice- surrounded by the Hudson’s peaceful aura. Strengthen the body and cultivate awareness in a relaxed environment as your instructor guides you through alignments and poses. All levels are welcome. Participants are expected to bring their own equipment: yoga mat, yoga blocks, water, 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. Battery Park City Authority Free
1) Mediating Establishment and Neighborhood Disputes (MEND) NYC – Presentation by Marisa Senigo, Deputy Commissioner of Public Affairs and Communications, Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH)*
2) Public Safety Update
3) NYC Advisory Commission on Property Tax Reform: Preliminary Report – Discussion & Possible Resolution
4) Expansion of SCRIE and DRIE Eligibility to Residents of Former Mitchell-Lama Buildings and Other Enhancements – Discussion & Possible Resolution
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.
1962 – A birthday salute to President John F. Kennedy takes place at Madison Square Garden, New York City. The highlight is Marilyn Monroe’s rendition of “Happy Birthday”.
1051 – Henry I of France is married to Anne of Kiev.
1499 – Catherine of Aragon is married by proxy to Arthur, Prince of Wales. Catherine is 13 and Arthur is 12.
1535 – French explorer Jacques Cartier sets sail on his second voyage to North America with three ships, 110 men, and Chief Donnacona’s two sons (whom Cartier had kidnapped during his first voyage).
1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England, is beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest.
1743 – Jean-Pierre Christin developed the centigrade temperature scale.
1780 – New England’s Dark Day: A combination of thick smoke and heavy cloud cover causes complete darkness to fall on Eastern Canada and the New England area of the United States at 10:30 A.M.
1828 – President John Quincy Adams signs the Tariff of 1828 into law, protecting wool manufacturers in the United States.
1943 – World War II: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt set Monday, May 1, 1944 as the date for the Normandy landings (“D-Day”). It would later be delayed over a month due to bad weather.
1959 – The North Vietnamese Army establishes Group 559, whose responsibility is to determine how to maintain supply lines to South Vietnam; the resulting route is the Ho Chi Minh trail.
1962 – A birthday salute to President John F. Kennedy takes place at Madison Square Garden, New York City. The highlight is Marilyn Monroe’s rendition of “Happy Birthday”.
1963 – The New York Post Sunday Magazine publishes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.
1762 – Johann Gottlieb Fichte, German philosopher and academic (d. 1814)
1773 – Arthur Aikin, English chemist and mineralogist (d. 1854)
1795 – Johns Hopkins, American businessman and philanthropist (d. 1873)
1890 – Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese politician, 1st President of Vietnam (d. 1969)
1928 – Colin Chapman, English engineer and businessman, founded Lotus Cars (d. 1982)
1941 – Nora Ephron, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2012)
1945 – Pete Townshend, English singer-songwriter and guitarist The Who
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
1526 – Emperor Go-Kashiwabara of Japan (b. 1464)
1935 – T. E. Lawrence, Welsh-English colonel and archaeologist (b. 1888)
1994 – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, American journalist, 37th First Lady of the United States (b. 1929)
2014 – Jack Brabham, Australian race car driver (b. 1926)