A Community Leader Reflects on Parenting, Privacy, and Personal Freedom
More than 5,000 demonstrators turned out for the May 3 rally in Foley Square, protesting the pending Supreme Court decision that will rescind a woman’s right to abortion.
My role as the mother of two wonderful daughters has been the defining grace and privlege of my life. But yesterday, I had reason to reflect on this blessing in a new and troubling way. In the days leading up to this Mother’s Day, I became acutely aware for the first time of one of the things that makes bringing new life into this world so fulfilling: I chose to do it. I became a mother when the time was right—when I was ready, when I was able, and when I was prepared.
On Tuesday evening, I came prepared to advocate for the same choice on behalf of all women, at a rally in Foley Square, where more than 5,000 people gathered around the Triumph of Human Spirit sculpture in Thomas Paine Park, to denounce the pending decision by the Supreme Court in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This ruling is poised to nullify a woman’s right to decide whether she will carry a pregnancy to term, or have an abortion.
By the time I was old enough to conceive a child, that freedom of choice was legally protected. In this sense, I have never lived in an America where I could be compelled to give birth, or threatened with prison for deciding not to. But, in view of the Supreme Court’s probable upcoming decision, my two daughters (along with all other American women) soon may live in such a country.
This is a tragic step backward for our nation. The decision to continue a pregnancy (or to end one) is deeply personal, and deeply private. Abortion is a medical procedure, and attempts to make it instead a political wedge are as dishonest as they are cynical. Those from one part of the political spectrum who continually claim to champion small government must now explain why they want to extend its reach into a woman’s uterus. And others who believe in a more robust role for government can point with pride to their resolve (supported by ample evidence) that abortion becomes less likely and less prevalent when women are given meaningful options, like access to education, health care, and child care.
But the Supreme Court’s deeply misguided decision in Dobbs is about much more than abortion. While the Court rarely overturns its own Constitutional precedents, this does sometimes happen, as it did in 1954, when Brown v. Board of Education nullified the vile 1896 decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, which had legitimized racial segregation. What the nation’s highest court has never done before, however, is overturn such a precedent in order to eliminate an individual right. (Every previous decision that rescinded a Constitutional precedent did so to expand such rights.)
And the right being erased here is not simply the right to choose to end a pregnancy, but the deeper liberty on which it is founded—the right to privacy, which was enshrined by the Court in a 1965 decision that hinged on access to birth control, and which the draft decision in Dobbs explicitly abolishes. Even if you believe that the question of access to abortion doesn’t concern you directly (and I would argue that you are wrong), you should still be very worried. Privacy protections are also the bedrock for everything from marriage rights (for same-sex and interracial couples) to limits on the government using technology like the cell phone in your pocket to track your location 24 hours a day. In short, if the right to privacy is shredded in service to ending abortion, they may be coming for you next.
At a minimum, this revolting decision will ignite and stoke the culture wars that already divide our country, expanding them to a dozen new fronts, where reactionaries dream of rolling back rights that the Supreme Court has construed from the Constitution in the past six decades.
But I should end this reflection where it began —by focusing on my two beloved daughters, to whom I would say this: When your time comes to be mothers, I hope you are as blessed as I have been. And I am deeply sorry that my generation is passing on to yours a country that will be less free, and will offer you, as women, less choice.
(Editor’s Note: The author, an attorney and Lower Manhattan community leader, is a candidate for the New York State Assembly, representing the 61st District.)
Talus All About It
New Sculpture at World Trade Center Evokes the Innocence of Childhood
Lower Manhattan’s newest piece of monumental public art, “XO World,” stands 12 feet tall and 24 feet wide, and is located on the West Street side of One World Trade Center (near the corner of Vesey Street). The sculpture is comprised of more than 20,000 pounds of stainless steel, wrought into the shapes of a globe and a giant piece from the game of jacks.
Battery Park City Resident Indicted by Feds for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud
A Battery Park City resident has been indicted by federal prosecutors for allegedly taking part in an elaborate, years-long scheme that defrauded Protegrity, a Connecticut-based data security firm at which his brother served as chief executive officer, of more than $6 million. On April 13, Suresh Munshani (who lives in Gateway Plaza) and Suni Munshani (who resides in Connecticut), were arrested by federal agents and charged with a complex scam that began with the brothers creating multiple front companies.
Famed Eatery May Be Evicted from FiDi Space It Has Occupied for 185 Years
A Downtown culinary landmark is facing eviction, a casualty of both the COVID pandemic and damage wrought by last September’s Hurricane Ida, along with a legal feud between its owners. In a story first reported by the online dining newsletter Eater, Delmonico’s, which opened in 1827 and moved to its current location at the corner of Beaver and South William Streets a decade later, is being sued by its landlord for more than $300,000 in back rent.
For the past several years I have noticed that the beautiful stone streets are in need of repair. I mostly have noticed the stones on Stone Street, the first paved road in the United States. I had thought it was or should be the responsibility of the collective restaurants on Stone Street to care for the historic stone street, since they have been awarded the exclusive use of this street.
Whenever I am in an area where there are cobblestone streets I am delighted that this part of New York has been preserved, even if it’s disappointing how neglected they currently are.
If the complaint is that it is dangerous for people with walkers, wheelchairs and canes crossing these streets, I recommend that the crosswalks be paved, leaving the street to retain the authentic history of the area. Those willing to jaywalk, should take care, as one should anywhere else in the city.
To insist that artisans from other countries would be needed to do the work properly is a bit insulting to the abilities of New Yorkers. If there is currently no one at the NY DOT, who can do this work, then, it would be an excellent opportunity to train some people, thus creating new jobs.
It’s dismissive to sum up the cobblestone streets, calling them “charming.” They are part of New York’s history. New York City paved roads are also in dire need of maintenance throughout the city. There are uneven sidewalks that trip people, potholes and road work repair leaving uneven pavement.
The topic should be about when the cobblestone streets will be redone, not eliminate them.
A Salute to the Essential Workers
Plaque Unveiled to Mark Last Year’s Ticker Tape Parade for Essential Workers
Remember when we would lean out our windows at 7pm every day and cheer for the essential workers who were getting us through the pandemic? The new plaque on Broadway marks the 208th ticker tape parade, on July 7, 2021, that was a large-scale version of our appreciation. On that day, confetti rained down from office windows as floats and bands wound their way uptown from Bowling Green in tribute to the men and women whose jobs are critical to our daily lives.
At the unveiling of the new plaque (at 250 Broadway) on April 28, Mayor Eric Adams and Deputy Mayors Lorraine Grillo, Meera Joshi, Maria Torres-Springer, Anne Williams-Isom and Sheena Wright joined Downtown Alliance president Jessica Lappin and her staff, borough president Mark Levine and City Council member Christopher Marte to again praise essential workers.
MTA group station manager Cherry Wiltshire, U.S. Postal Service letter carrier Feliciano Rafael and Maureen Kreider, nurse practitioner at Con Edison’s Employee Wellness Center, expressed their thanks for the recognition, with Mr. Rafael adding a special shout-out to the children along his route who displayed drawings of gratitude at the height of the pandemic.
Tribeca Loft Buildings to Share a Rooftop Addition
The owners of a pair of adjoining buildings within the Tribeca South Historic District plan to add two stories to top of the pre-Civil War structures, which requires approval from the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The buildings at 62-64 Reade Street (located on the north side of the street, between Broadway and Church Street) are typical of the loft-and-store structures that were common in the neighborhood throughout the nineteenth century.
Niou and CB1 Push Longer Leases, Caps on Cost Hikes, and a Voice for Residents
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou has introduced a pair of bills in the Albany legislature that closely track recent resolutions by Community Board 1 (CB1), and address a trio of issues that have long vexed local leaders.
Young stewards explore the wondrous ecosystem of the Hudson River. Practice the skills required to operate a rod and reel and experience the thrill of catch-and-release fishing. Identify our native fish for data submission to research groups to help monitor the health of our local waters. Water testing and other fun projects will augment the study. Registration required.
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. Free.
Dr. Julius G. Mendel was born on August 17, 1931 to a Jewish family in Germany. His father, Dr. Herbert Mendel, served in the German military during WWI and later became a doctor. In 1938, the family fled to Cuba. The Mendels immigrated to the United States in 1940. Julius went on to become a psychiatrist and has donated over twenty objects to the Museum related to his family’s experiences in WWI and their escape from the Nazis. Free; suggested $10 donation.
Observe and sketch the human figure. Each week a model will strike short and long poses for participants to draw. An artist/educator will offer constructive suggestions and critique. Drawing materials provided, and artists are encouraged to bring their own favorite media. Free.
Lunchtime talk sponsored by the Museum of American Financial History
with the host of NPR’s Planet Money. Before Bill Gross was known among investors as the Bond King, he was a gambler. In 1966, a fresh college grad, he went to Vegas armed with his net worth ($200) and a knack for counting cards. $10,000 and countless casino bans later, he was hooked: so he enrolled in business school. The Bond King is the story of how that whiz kid made American finance his casino. Over the course of decades, Bill Gross turned the sleepy bond market into a destabilized game of high risk, high reward; founded Pimco, one of today’s most powerful, secretive and cutthroat investment firms; helped to reshape our financial system in the aftermath of the Great Recession—to his own advantage; and gained legions of admirers, and enemies, along the way. Like every American antihero, his ambition would also be his undoing. Talk followed by audience Q&A. Advance registration is required. Registered guests will receive the link prior to the program. Free.
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. Bring your own mat. Free.
Elise Engler’s book, A Diary of the Plague Year: An Illustrated Chronicle of 2020, is one year of a daily drawing/painting project that recapture what it was like to live through 2020- bringing texture, feeling, and even charm to what we might not remember and what we will never forget. Free.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Available for PT/FT. Wonderful person, who is a great worker.
Worked in BPC.
$2.00 per notarized signature.
Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-3pm (compost program: Saturdays, 8am-1pm)
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Broadway & Whitehall St
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-5pm (compost program: 8am-11am)
The Outdoor Fulton Stall Market
91 South Street, between Fulton & John Streets
Indoor market: Monday through Saturday,11:30am-5pm
CSA pick-up: Thursday, 4pm-6pm; Friday, 11:30-5pm
Outdoor market: Saturday 11:30am-5pm, May through Thanksgiving
Today in History
This is the German Enigma machine. The plugboard (Steckerbrett) was positioned at the front of the machine, below the keys. When in use during World War II, there were ten connections. In this photograph, just two pairs of letters have been swapped (A↔J and S↔O).
1386 – Treaty of Windsor between Portugal and England (the oldest diplomatic alliance in the world which is still in force)
1502 – Columbus leaves Spain on his fourth and final trip to the New World
1689 – English King William III declares war on France
1785 – British inventor Joseph Bramah patents beer-pump handle
1788 – British parliament accepts abolition of slave trade
1873 – Der Krach: Vienna stock market crash heralds the Long Depression
1899 – Lawn mower patented
1904 – The steam locomotive City of Truro becomes the first steam engine to exceed 100mph.
1914 – US President Wilson proclaims Mother’s Day
1932 – Piccadilly Circus is lit by electricity
1941 – British intelligence at Bletchley Park breaks German spy codes after capturing Enigma machines aboard the weather ship Muenchen
1944 – Russians recapture Crimea by taking Sevastopol
1945 – In World War II, Hermann Göring is captured by the United States Army
1960 – US is the first country to approve use of the birth control pill
1962 – Laser beam successfully bounced off Moon for the first time
1977 – Patty Hearst let out of jail
1989 – Vice President Dan Quayle says in United Negro College Fund speech: “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind” instead of “a mind is terrible thing to waste”
1992 – Salem Village Witchcraft Victims’ Memorial dedicated in Danvers (formally Salem Village) to mark 300 year anniversary of trials
2004 – Chechen president Akhmad Kadyrov is killed in a land mine blast under a VIP stage during a World War II memorial victory parade in Grozny, Chechnya.
1265 – Dante Alighieri, Italian poet (Divina Commedia)
1800 – John Brown, American revolutionary abolitionist (d. 1859)
1873 – Howard Carter, British archaeologist and egyptologist (found King Tutankhamen’s tomb)
1945 – Steve Katz, rock guitarist/vocalist (Blood, Sweat & Tears)