CMA CGM Marco Polo, the biggest ship yet to visit New York Harbor, arrived this morning.
Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Words of Hate
Bias Crime at Borough of Manhattan Community College
Above: “In the Line of Fire,” by Mildred Howard: An installation that evokes the contributions of African-Americans who served in America’s military. Below: Mildred Howard
The window outside an art exhibit honoring the military service of African-American soldiers was defaced with graffiti containing racial epithets on Sunday evening. The exhibit is housed in the Shirley Fiterman Art Center (SFAC) of Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), located at the corner of Barclay Street and West Broadway.
The work, entitled “In the Line of Fire,” is by Mildred Howard, a prolific mixed-media and installation artist, whose work consistently draws on a broad range of historical and contemporary experiences, and emphasizes her commitment to issues of social justice and community activism. The installation consists of approximately 60 life-size figures made from cut-out sheets of plywood that have been silkscreen-printed with the image of a single repeated figure in a World War One-era uniform — a young African American man in his teens, who was a distant relative of Ms. Howard.
SFAC director Lisa Panzera notes that, “the regiment of young soldiers speaks to [Ms.] Howard’s ongoing investigation of history and personal narrative to address aspects of identity, race, identity and violence.”
BMCC spokesman Manny Romero, called the incident, “a racist and cowardly hate crime, under investigation by the NYPD Hate Crimes unit. The inflammatory statements were graffitied outside of the upcoming exhibition, which acknowledges the contributions of enlisted Black men during World War One. This was not just an attack on the exhibit or our building. This was an attack on our home, our veterans, and a targeted act of racist violence against our Black community. I am outraged by this assault on our community and condemn this unlawful and hateful action. We want those responsible for this heinous act to deal with the strongest possible consequences under the law.”
He continued, “this incident strikes at the heart of who we are as a community and we will not allow it to deter us from our important work. In that vein, I encourage both the members of our college community and our fellow New Yorkers to come and visit the exhibit when it opens to the public on June 3.”
Felix V. Matos Rodriguez, the Chancellor of the City University of New York (CUNY), the higher education system of which BMCC is a part, said, “we condemn in the strongest possible terms the hateful and racist vandalism that defiled the exterior of BMCCʼs Shirley Fiterman Art Center. These deplorable expressions are yet another reminder that, more than 100 years after the end of World War I, our society is struggling to counter racism and intolerance.””
Ms. Howard’s “The House That Will Not Pass for Any Color Than Its Own,” on display in Battery Park City
“In the Line of Fire” is being presented by BMCC in partnership with the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), an agency that already hosts a notable work of Ms. Howard’s, “The House That Will Not Pass for Any Color Than Its Own” (2011), an interactive, purple glass house sculpture fashioned from automotive steel and partially mirrored, purple glass panels, which force visitors to confront their reflections in an unaccustomed hue. In October, 2020, when the installation in Battery Park City debuted, Ms. Howard described the piece as, “a symbol of home that is sensitive to New York City’s diverse population and multicolored beauty.”
BPCA president B.J. Jones said, “the Authority stands with our partners at the BMCC and CUNY community, in rejecting the racist and hateful intolerance of these perpetrators and their illegal actions. We encourage members of our community and the broader public to visit these installations and carry forth their important and timely messages. Together, we all can work toward more fully realizing Ms. Howard’s vision.”
According to NYPD data, Lower Manhattan’s First Precinct has been the site of dozens of hate crimes (defined as offenses motivated in whole or substantial part by a person’s, a group’s or a place’s identification with a particular race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, ancestry, national origin or sexual orientation) thus far in 2021, including three felony assaults, three misdemeanor assaults, and multiple related, lesser offenses. Among these are a recent spate of violent attacks targeting Asian-Americans, and a March 31 assault in which a Hasidic Jewish couple and their 13-month-old baby were all slashed by a razor-wielding man on Battery Place.
These incidents followed the tying of a Confederate States of America battle flag (widely understood as a symbol endorsing race hatred) to the Museum of Jewish Heritage, in Battery Park City, in January.
‘Fixing A Hole Where The Rain Gets In…’
Cost of Roof Repair at Asphalt Green Goes Up by Half a Million Dollars
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.” To read more…
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.
The West Thames courts are temporarily closed for painting and striping.
This year’s Food for Thought digital series will focus on topics in pursuit of three goals – to restart, revive, and reconnect. Today, houseplant enthusiast and plant therapy advocate Veronica Moore (@brownskinplantmama) and plant influencer Vlad Nikolic ( @nikolicvladan) help you develop your green thumb with tips and advice on the best way to care for your houseplants. The public is invited to directly engage in the conversation by submitting a question anonymously in advance of the event. Free
Flamboyant and full of life, Jewish prisoner Helena Citron found herself the subject of an unlikely affection at Auschwitz: Franz Wunsch, a high-ranking SS officer who fell in love with Helena and her magnetic singing voice. Their forbidden relationship lasted until her miraculous liberation. Thirty years later, a letter arrived from Wunsch’s wife begging Helena to testify on Wunsch’s behalf in an Austrian court. She was faced with an impossible decision: should she help the man who brutalized so many lives, but saved hers, along with some of the people closest to her? Follow her journey in Love It Was Not, a new film from Israeli director Maya Sarfaty and Austrian-Israeli producing team Nir Sa’ar and Kurt Langbein (distributed by Greenwich Entertainment). The film premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in 2020 and won best feature film at Docaviv. This exclusive program will feature a panel discussion with Sarfaty and Langbein, moderated by Columbia University film professor Annette Insdorf. Attendees will also receive a private link to screen the film during the week before the discussion. $10
Community Board 1’s Quality of Life & Service Delivery Committee
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
After eight years of holding office, George Washington stepped down from the presidency. Embittered by partisan criticism and eager to return to his farm, Washington assumed a role for which there was no precedent at a time when the kings across the ocean often yielded their crowns only upon losing their heads. Horn discusses the astonishing true story of George Washington’s forgotten last years—the personalities, plotting, and private torment that unraveled America’s first post-presidency. $5
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.