CB1 Pushes Vision to Beautify Downtown Thoroughfare Closed for Decades
Above: This aerial view (looking south along Park Row, from Chatham Square toward the Brooklyn Bridge) illustrates the beautification measures proposed for a major Downtown Street that has been closed for decades. Below: This ground-level perspective highlights the foliage that would enliven the boulevard, under a plan endorsed by Community Board 1.
Community Board 1 (CB1) is endorsing a plan to transform the streetscape of Park Row, which stretches for more than half a mile between the Vesey Street (near City Hall) and Chatham Square (in Chinatown), and which has been closed for most of its length (owing to security concerns) since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
At its April meeting, CB1 enacted a resolution noting that “the state of disrepair on Park Row is illustrated by cracked sidewalks, unsightly concrete medians, steel barricades, and temporary lighting. There is a lack of adequate open and green space, which is a timely concern as the construction of resiliency infrastructure projects will close many parkland and related areas along the periphery of Lower Manhattan. Large scale infrastructure like the Brooklyn Bridge and FDR Drive have divided our community. Park Row has suffered from security-related closures for more than 50 years after One Police Plaza was built, with a resurgence more than 20 years ago after 9/11.”
The resolution continues, “after 9/11, Park Row was closed to vehicular traffic and checkpoints were set up. With gates and concrete barriers, pedestrian traffic was greatly reduced. This closure limited the economic recovery of Chinatown after 9/11 and continues to divide our communities.”
These restrictions eased somewhat in 2017, when bike and pedestrian traffic was once again allowed limit access to Park Row. But this concession is widely perceived by community leaders as too little, too late.
A schematic view of the proposal details the scope of the plan, and emphasizes a new, nine-acre park that would be created from space now used mostly to store government vehicles.
Enter the Park Row Alliance—a consortium of residents, small businesses, and not-for-profits, advocating for the community’s desire to reimagine and revitalize the boulevard.
The CB1 resolution from April observes, “the Park Row Alliance has proposed reimagining Park Row as the southern gateway into Chinatown. This would spur economic revitalization by connecting the thousands of visitors from the Brooklyn Bridge, via Park Row, into Chinatown, Little Italy and beyond. The plan would address safety, lighting, repairs and access.”
The Park Row Alliance plan takes as its foundation the 19,000 visitors who walk across the Brooklyn Bridge each day, and focuses first on upgrading the dark and unsafe stairway that connects the Brooklyn Bridge deck to Park Row. This would be used to funnel pedestrians into Park Row, where they would be welcomed by public art, wayfinding, maps, and lighting upgrades. The area surrounding the base of this staircase would be upgraded with the installation of plants, seating and street trees, which would transform Park Row into a freshly paved, tree-lined pedestrian walkway, connecting Chinatown with City Hall, the Municipal Building and the Financial District. Nearby public space (now used mostly for storage of government vehicles) would also be repurposed into a new, nine-acre park.
CB1 anticipates that such a project would “catalyze the creation of new jobs, new annual visitor spending, permanent City tax revenues and State tax revenues… and help revitalize Chinatown and Seaport businesses.”
Still Working on ‘Absolute Equality’
Lower Manhattan Observes Juneteenth
Downtowners. observed the anniversary of Juneteenth—the June 19, 1865 announcement by Union Army General Gordon Granger that slavery had officially been abolished in Texas—with events throughout Lower Manhattan.
Lower Manhattan City Council Rep Seeks Conversion of Local Jail to Women’s Facility, In Lieu of Demolition and Reconstruction
City Council member Christopher Marte is proposing to convert the existing Manhattan Detention Center, located in Chinatown (on White Street, between Baxter and Centre Streets), into a jail for women, rather than demolishing the facility and erecting a much-larger jail in its place, as the Mayor Eric Adams controversially plans to do.
City Council member Christopher Marte hosted a Battery Park City Resiliency Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, June 15, at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. This meeting focused on plans by the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) to complete the South Battery Park City Resiliency Project. That project will require BPCA to close Wagner Park, starting after Labor Day, for at least two years, in order to construct resiliency measures that are intended to make the space resistant to rising sea levels and storm surges associated with climate change that will be more severe than Hurricane Sandy.
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn… that’s their order outward from the sun, and it’s the order you’ll see June’s planetary lineup, stretched across our morning sky (Earth is situated between Venus and Mars). See all five planets with the unaided eye until Mercury slips away in the morning twilight in early July.
Sixth session of the 2022 Construction History lecture series Work in Progress, presented by the Skyscraper Museum, brings together the key presenters and the additional speakers for a virtual roundtable review and discussion of what we learned from the talks and what framing questions should be applied in future research and scholarship. Free.
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. Free.
Beth Gill’s Nail Biter is a darkly beautiful dreamscape in which the theatrical tools of character and story are reimagined through a psychodramatic lens, transforming contemporary dance performance into a vital space of ritual. Nail Biter reaches towards science fiction and ancient myth to reveal stories of connection and loss with a sense of magic and awe. Free.
National Museum of the American Indian, One Bowling Green
Join the curators of the New York museum’s newest exhibition, Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe, as they discuss one of the twentieth century’s most innovative Native American painters. Howe (1915–1983) committed his artistic career to the preservation, relevance, and ongoing expression of his Yanktonai Dakota culture.
This tour explores Battery Park City’s southern district, which is home to the Skyscraper Museum and includes some of BPC’s earliest landscapes and infrastructure, including the residential enclaves built in the 1990s that followed the 1979 Cooper Eckstut Master Plan. We will visit historic Pier A, Wagner Park, and South Cove, as well as the green spaces that connect to the Esplanade, the first waterfront park in New York since the Brooklyn Heights Esplanade in 1951. We will also learn about the developing Resilience Action Plan of the BPC Authority. Free.
National Museum of the American Indian, Diker Pavilion
Part of the 9th Americas Film Festival New York. Two radically opposed women divide the community into two fractions over the issue of alcohol in the community and come face-to-face with each other to determine the best path forward. A conversation with director, Caroline Monnet, follows the film. Free.
Enjoy this nostalgic celebration of the summer solstice. Join in lively dance around the Midsummer pole. Make wreaths from beautiful flowers representing those in bloom on the solstice in Sweden. Enjoy a parade, children’s games, and Swedish delicacies. Free.
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)
World Trade Center Oculus Greenmarket
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: June 21
Summer Solstice sunrise at Stonehenge. On this day two years ago, archeologists announced the discovery of a new set of shafts in the ground near Stonehenge—the largest prehistoric structure ever found in Britain,
1529 – French forces are driven out of northern Italy by Spain at the Battle of Landriano during the War of the League of Cognac.
1675 – Foundation stone for London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral is laid
1788 – New Hampshire ratifies the Constitution of the United States and is admitted as the ninth state in the United States.
1898 – The United States captures Guam from Spain.
1942 – World War II: A Japanese submarine surfaces near the Columbia River in Oregon, firing 17 shells at Fort Stevens in one of only a handful of attacks by Japan against the United States mainland,
1964 – Three civil rights workers—Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner—are murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States, by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
1970 – Penn Central declares Section 77 bankruptcy, largest ever US corporate bankruptcy up to this date.
1982 – John Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
1989 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Texas v. Johnson that American flag-burning is a form of political protest protected by the First Amendment.
2006 – Pluto’s newly discovered moons are named Nix and Hydra.
2020 – New archaeological discovery announced near Stonehenge of a large circle of shafts surrounding a village 2500 BC, largest prehistoric structure in Britain
1732 – Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, pianist and composer (d. 1791)
1882 – Rockwell Kent, painter and illustrator (d. 1971)
1903 – Al Hirschfeld, caricaturist, painter and illustrator (d. 2003)
1905 – Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher and author (d. 1980)
1953 – Benazir Bhutto, 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan (d. 2007)
1967 – Pierre Omidyar, French-American businessman, founded eBay
1979 – Chris Pratt, American actor
1631 – John Smith, English explorer (Chesapeake Bay, New England) and leader of the Virginia Colony (Jamestown), dies at 51
1954 – Gideon Sundback, Swedish-American engineer, developed the zipper (b. 1880)
2001 – John Lee Hooker, American blues guitarist, dies at 83
2003 – Leon Uris, American soldier and author (b. 1924)