Pursuant to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s executive orders 202.17 and 202.18, all people in New York are required to wear masks or face coverings in public, including when taking public or private transportation or riding in for-hire vehicles.
The Future of Local History
Design Floated for New South Street Seaport Museum
A view of the facade of the proposed new South Street Seaport Museum building, as seen from South Street
When Lower Manhattan emerges from the lockdown sparked by the pandemic coronavirus, and begins to shake off the economic retrenchment triggered by the outbreak, local leaders will once again take up consideration of what the community should look like in years to come.
One thread in this tapestry will consist of Downtown’s premier cultural institution, the South Street Seaport Museum, which has struggled since being nearly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, in 2012. Among the Museum’s more pressing needs is a proper headquarters, with expanded gallery space, and sufficient elevation to protect its collection from future extreme-weather events.
A rendering of the design for the lobby
A possible way to address these exigencies is a design by the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which has proposed a new 30,000 square-foot, six-story building at the corner of John and South streets to house the Museum. In this plan, the first floor would consist of double-height lobby surrounded by stepped seating, while all galleries would be situated above an arcade of street-level arches, out of the reach of future flood waters.
No budget or timeline for construction of this new headquarters have been announced, because the Museum’s proposed home is part of a larger master plan, also conceived by Skidmore, under which the Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) hopes to remake much of the surrounding neighborhood. HHC has been selected by the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC)—a non-profit corporation that negotiates strategic partnerships designed to harness private-sector resources to public projects, and thus foster economic growth—to lead the transformation of the historic community.
Another perspective of the same structure from John Street
In this context, a new home for the Museum (which HHC proposes to fund) is one aspect of a broader development project that is slated to include a new low-rise structure built on a pier (at the site of the current New Market Building, which is scheduled for demolition later this year), and a high-rise tower proposed for the parking lot at 250 Water Street. Because multiple aspects of this plan have inspired controversy, and because the approval process for such a large plan is lengthy and complicated under even the best of circumstances, it may be several years before a ground is broken for a new South Street Seaport Museum building.
This letter was sent to Benjamin Jones, president and chief executive officer of the Battery Park City Authority, with the Broadsheet cc’d.
The gardens and park areas in BPC are appreciated now more than ever before.
A resident for over 34 years, I have seen the neighborhood change and grow exponentially. My children, now 22 and 18, along with our dog, grew up with their friends in these parks, playgrounds and dog runs.
Now with the quarantine, daily walks are more cherished. Leaving the isolation of my apartment and walking through the parks is up-lifting. It is reassuring to see everything so clean and in spectacular bloom.
The first time I walked to Wagner Park and saw the New York Tough banner with the Statue of Liberty in the distance, I broke down in tears and then of course snapped a FAB photo for my Instagram. I posted pictures of the beauty I enjoyed and got many comments from friends asking where I was. I proudly replied that I was in my beloved neighborhood, and wasn’t I lucky.
I live and work in BPC, at the Nursery as well as at P.S. 89, so my daily walks to and from work are a time to recharge and enjoy the wonders of the parks. Our Nursery parents are struggling with working from home and balancing the needs of their young children and the parks are really helping them.
Perhaps you would relay this message to the wonderful, hardworking employees who maintain the parks. What they are doing is more important now than ever.
At a time where everything feels uncertain, having the parks clean and beautiful is deeply reassuring.
To the editor:
Who remembers the transit strike in April, 1983?
No one could use mass transit, and obviously, everyone could not drive themselves to work. NYSE should take a page from the book of many employers of that era.
We chartered buses to bring employees to work. My downtown law firm (800 employees) developed bus routes that would accommodate the majority of personnel, from Midtown down to Wall St., through Brooklyn to Manhattan via the Battery Tunnel, as well as car pooling in NJ to PATH. This task was accomplished without the help of computers, using lists of addresses and using personal knowledge to consider possible pick up points along the way.
NYSE: if you are afraid of our mass transit system, then please organize transportation for your essential staff and don’t create a safe streets problem. This is no way to start a comeback!!
Maryanne P. Braverman
Lower Manhattan Faces Possible Cartastrophe
Council Member Pushes Back on Reopening Plans That Ban Public Transit
The New York Stock Exchange partially reopened on Tuesday, after a hiatus triggered on March 23 by the discovery that several employees were infected by the pandemic coronavirus. In a controversial decision aimed the mitigating the risk of further infections, the NYSE banned from its reopened headquarters staff members who travelled to the iconic Broad Street building via public transit — a policy that may become a model of other large offices, as they contemplate resuming normal operations.
Social Distancing Map on Stone Street photo: Penny Tarrant
Refugees Don’t Produce Refuse
Less Trash and Fewer People May Explain Why Downtown Avoided the Worst
Two statistical indicators are pointing toward a demographic shift that may help explain why Lower Manhattan has been largely spared the brunt of pandemic coronavirus, which has exacted a much heavier toll in other communities throughout the five boroughs of New York City.
The first of these is 2.89 million fewer pounds of household garbage being produced during the month of April, compared to the same period a year earlier. In an analysis researched and reported by The City (an online, independent, nonprofit news outlet), Community District 1 — a collection of neighborhoods encompassing 1.5 square miles, bounded roughly by Canal, Baxter, and Pearl Streets and the Brooklyn Bridge — produced 1,445 tons of household trash for pickup by the City’s Department of Sanitation in April. This amounted to a 28.6 percent drop from April 2019, when the same catchment area produced 2,025 tons.
More Than 60 Downtown Residents Die of Coronavirus, But Confirmed Case Numbers Continue to Drop
A total of 64 residents of Lower Manhattan have died of the pandemic coronavirus, according to data released by the City’s Department of Health (DOH), which, on May 18, disclosed mortality numbers indexed by zip code for the first time.
These statistics show that the only two zip codes (among 178 residential districts) throughout the five boroughs have registered no deaths at all from COVID-19 (the disease caused by the pandemic coronavirus), and both are located Downtown: 10280 (southern Battery Park City) and 10006 (the Greenwich South neighborhood).
Click here to view a list of Downtown restaurants compiled by the Downtown Alliance that are open and serving takeout and delivery.
Onetime Presidential Contender and Liberal Firebrand Endorses Lower Manhattan Candidates
Progressive icon and prospective vice-presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren waded into local politics on Wednesday when she endorsed two elected officials representing Lower Manhattan in their bids for reelection.
In the U.S. Congressional race for the Tenth District, she announced her support for Jerry Nadler, saying, “his record shows that he doesn’t just know how to fight, he knows how to win. I’m honored to call Jerry a friend and someone I continue to work with on important legislation.” As chairman of the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee, Mr. Nadler was one of the leaders of the effort to impeach president Donald Trump last fall.
Downtown Alliance Expands Aid to Lower Manhattan Small Businesses
The Downtown Alliance is broadening the criteria for its Small Business Rental Assistance Grant, which aims to give away $800,000 in grants to help to local shops struggling with the economic contraction triggered by the pandemic coronavirus. Originally launched in April, the Grant program is funded with contributions from Brookfield Properties, Silverstein Properties and the Howard Hughes Corporation, as well as $250,000 from the Alliance itself.
The expanded criteria for this second phase of the program include eligible businesses with gross annual revenues of up to $3 million, and which employ up to 30 employees. (The first round was capped at $1.5 million and 20 employees.) It will now also accept applications from storefronts within an expanded geographic catchment, covering everywhere south of Chambers Street. This is notable in that is exceeds the boundaries of the Business Improvement District (BID) that the Alliance oversees (roughly from City Hall to the Battery, between West Street and the East River), and to which it usually confines its initiatives.
State Launches Online Map Showing Local Testing Facilities
On Sunday afternoon, the State Department of Health launched on online map specifying the locations of more than 700 facilities throughout New York where testing for exposure to the pandemic coronavirus is available. These testing sites can process up to 40,000 patients per day, and are currently operating well below their capacity.
The Downtown Alliance’s Downtown Connection bus is New York City’s only free circulator bus service, and it’s still running every day during the New York City pause. Serving 36 stops around the perimeter of Lower Manhattan, the Downtown Connection runs in both directions between Battery Park City and the Seaport District. The bus will return to its normal route along Warren Street when construction is completed in June.
To adhere to social distancing guidelines, all bus capacities have been reduced 50% and all passengers are required to wear face masks to board. The bus is being kept extra clean with deep cleanings at night and regular wipe-downs during the day. Downtown Connection Driver Carlisle Gibson (pictured) takes pride in helping riders take care of their needs during a difficult time. “You see a lot of folks fending for themselves,” he noted. “They appreciate us.”
If you need to get out of the house to run necessary errands, the free bus — which you can spot easily with its bright red color — is here to help. Hop on and off as often as you’d like — just remember to wear your mask. Buses run from 10a to 7:30p, with an average of 10-minute intervals on weekdays and 15-minute intervals on weekends. To see the route, click here.
Essential Workers photo: Dorothy Lipsky
Click here to watch the new family of Falcons living high above 55 Water Street. We watched as lunch was served right around noontime
‘The Doctor Told Me My Chances Were 50-50’
A Widely Admired Community Leader Recalls Her Life-and-Death Battle with COVID-19
Daisy Paez, a Lower East side activist who has served for years as a local District Leader, is a universally revered matriarch among Downtown’s political and community family. She recently returned from more than a month of hospitalization, during which she nearly died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the pandemic coronavirus.
“It felt like somebody just snatched me from my life and threw me into this horrifying ordeal,” she recalls. “In the beginning, I remember hearing how people would get really ill, and that if you had a cough or a high fever, you needed to see a doctor. But I was fine. Then, in the last week of March, I started feeling sick. I went to the CityMD urgent care facility on Delancey Street, and they gave me a flu test, which came back negative. They also gave me a test for COVID-19, and told me the results would be available in about five days.”
585 BC – Solar eclipse, as predicted by Greek philosopher Thales, while Lydians under Alyattes war with the Medes under Cyaxares, leading to a truce. One of the cardinal dates from which other dates are calculated
1774 – First Continental Congress convenes in Virginia
1818 – First steam-vessel to steam the Great Lakes launched
1830 – US Congress authorizes native Indian removal from all states to western prairie
1892 – Sierra Club formed by John Muir in San Francisco
1936 – Alan Turing submits On Computable Numbers for publication.
Alan Turing, was a brilliant British mathematician, cryptanalyst, computer scientist and philosopher. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalization of the concepts of “algorithm” and “computation” with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general purpose computer. During World War II, Turing worked at Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking center and devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including improvements to an electromechanical machine that would find settings for the Enigma machine.
After the war,Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952, when such acts were still criminalized in the UK. He accepted treatment with estrogen injections (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison. Turing died in 1954, 16 days before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined his death a suicide. In 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for “the appalling way he was treated.”
1937 – Golden Gate Bridge opens to vehicular traffic
1942 – 1,800 Czechs murdered by Nazis during attack on Heydrich
1959 – Monkeys Able and Baker zoom 300 mi (500 km) into space on Jupiter missile, became first animals retrieved from a space mission
1972 – White House “plumbers” break into Democratic National HQ at Watergate Hotel
1987 – Mathias Rust, 19, W German pilot, makes unauthorized landing in USSR
1738 – Joseph Ignace Guillotin, France, physician/inventor (guillotine)
1888 – James Francis ‘Jim’ Thorpe, Prague Oklahoma, versatile American athlete (Olympic gold 1912) (d. 1953)
1908 – Ian Lancaster Fleming, London England, author (James Bond)