City Plans Black Lives Matter Street Mural for Lower Manhattan
Mayor de Blasio helps paint the mural in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn last week.
Lower Manhattan will soon have new piece of street art: the Administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has commissioned a Black Lives Matter mural for Centre Street, between Worth and Reade Streets. The painting will consist of large letters emblazoned on the roadbed, and is among five such installations, with one planned for each borough.
This project was inspired by the impromptu creation of a similar mural on Fulton Street, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn a week ago. When word spread of this project, Mr. Blasio showed up at the site and helped paint it. A few days later, he announced that this section of Fulton Street was to be closed to vehicular traffic for the remainder of the summer.
At a Friday press conference, the Mayor said, “I was so honored to go and see the artists, the community members, all together, creating something new right there in the middle of Bed-Stuy that sends a message to New York City and the whole world…. Being there was really, really moving. It felt like a moment where change was being declared and strengthened and energized, and we have more to do.”
The Black Lives Matter mural on Fulton Street, in Brooklyn, which has inspired City Hall to commission five similar projects (one for each borough), including one slated for Lower Manhattan’s Centre Street
He continued, “so, we will now proceed to paint murals and locations around the five boroughs—Center Street, in Manhattan; Richmond Terrace, in Staten Island; Joralemon Street, in Brooklyn; 153rd Street in Queens; and Morris Avenue in the Bronx. They will all be completed over the next three weeks. And I ask all New Yorkers to recognize the power of this moment, that the City of New York is saying loudly, clearly, consistently—Black lives matter. And we will back up that belief with action, after action, after action, bring it to life and more and more ways in this City.”
The Mayor also wants to co-name the one-block stretch of each of these five streets in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement, although this proposal will require the consent of the City Council, which has jurisdiction over street names.
City Hall has not announced whether it plans to close these streets to vehicles for the summer, as it has for the Fulton Street mural, although this appears unlikely, in that each of the thoroughfares designated by Mr. de Blasio is a central traffic artery.
Putting a Dent in Rents
Pandemic and Economic Downturn Impact Local Leasing
A new report from brokerage Douglas Elliman and appraiser Miller Samuel indicates that rents are trending downward in Lower Manhattan, while the inventory of vacant apartments is ballooning. These tidal shifts appear to be attributable to the health crisis associated with the pandemic coronavirus, and the economic slowdown it has triggered. The monthly Elliman Report for May documents that new lease signings have fallen at an unprecedented rate, while vacancies have surged to a new record.
For all of Lower Manhattan, the report finds that the median rent is now $3,895, which represents a 7.3 percent drop from one month earlier when the median rent was $4,200, but a slight increase of one-half of one percent from last May, when the median figure was $3,875.
The number of new leases signed in May fell off a cliff, dropping to 948 from 2,542 in May 2019. This constitutes a 62.7 percent drop, year to year, but a 51 percent increase from April’s leasing activity, which was marked by an even-worse 628 new signings.
If numbers of leases and rental amounts present a somewhat mixed picture, however, inventory tallies are unambiguously discouraging for landlords, and trending in only one direction. In May of 2019, vacant apartments comprised 2.36 percent of Lower Manhattan’s total. By last month, this figure had crept up to 2.49 percent. And for May, it topped out at a new record of 3.65 percent.
The month of May is often interpreted as a bellwether in the real estate industry, serving as the gateway to the warm-weather leasing season (for brokers, the equivalent of what Christmas is to retailers), and reliably predicting the outlook for the remainder of the year.
Tribeca Community On Display
All of Us Thank All of You
Fine artist and long time Downtown resident Adele H. Rahte has spent the stay-at-home period designing and creating these fabric collages representing the people in our community as a special form of thank you to the essential workers of our community and city for keeping us safe.
On display during the month of July at the Tribeca Community Window Gallery located at 160 West Broadway.
The Downtown Virtual Calendar
Wednesday June 24
Kindie Rock: Home Edition
Battery Park City Authority
Get your fix of Kindie Rock at home with great songs and videos from the BPCA’s roster of children’s music stars. Learn a few new tunes and enjoy old favorites in this charming musical experience. Keep an eye out for a new video every Wednesday!
The Attendants 2020
Brookfield Place New York
Inspired by confinement and virtual connectivity, The Attendants 2020 is a re-imagining of the cutting edge interactive performance presented at Brookfield Place in 2011, during which the public communicated with performers through text messages and tweets. Chance Muehleck and Melanie Armer, co-founders of The Nerve Tank, have adapted the project in response to the public’s new normal, which relies on technology more than ever to communicate and connect with others. The plexiglass cube from the 2011 performance has been replaced by the 2020 2-D rectangular screens we have all become so familiar with and reliant on. And the concept of waiting, which was so vital to the original piece, has taken on a whole new meaning. Viewers will be able to influence the piece by sending messages to the performers through a digital platform from 12-6pm EST every Wednesday in June. The performers can only respond with their bodies, each streaming in from the safety of their own homes. A recording of the live broadcast will be played every Sunday, 12-6pm EST. Tune in every Wednesday and Sunday in June to experience this new performance that encourages a moment of reflection about the new world we live in.
A Diplomat’s Perspective: Global Geopolitics after COVID-19
Alan Felsenthal reads recent poems from his apartment in New York. Alan Felsenthal is the author of Lowly (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017). He runs a small press, The Song Cave, with Ben Estes. Together they edited A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind: The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton (2013).
Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. the following day. The schedule will include outstanding complete performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring all of opera’s greatest singers.
Coaches Dana & Ann came up with some wild challenges for you to try.
Show off your skills at home, in the park, anywhere!
to receive a special Virtual BPC Community Field Day e-mail on June 26th!
Race and Class
A Lower Manhattan Community Leader Considers How Much Has Changed and How Much Still Needs To Change
“I’m a lot older than many of the young people now protesting in the streets,” reflects Pat Moore, 67, who chairs the Quality of Life Committee on Community Board 1. “And my father, who died last January, was a police officer at a time when there were very few black men on the NYPD. So I have a slightly more complicated perspective about all this.”
“I was born in 1953, and my family is from Louisiana,” she recalls, “so I’m old enough to remember traveling to the South as a little girl, and sitting at the back of the bus, or visiting the public pool, where nobody who looked like me was allowed to go in.”
Local Leaders Urge Heightened Federal Response to September 11 Mental Health Issues
Community Board 1 (CB1) is urging federal lawmakers to expand benefits offered by the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to include more robust help for survivors of the terrorist attacks who are grappling with mental health issues.
‘A Fraudulent Scheme to Evade the Rent Stabilization Laws’
FiDi Renters Seek Recompense for Years of Rent Overcharges; U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Overturn Tenants’ Victory
More Financial District tenants are going to court to demand restitution from years of illegally high rent, on the heels of a 2019 ruling by New York State’s highest court, which found that as many as 5,000 Lower Manhattan apartments had been illegally deprived of rent stabilization benefits.
The most recent suit was filed on behalf of tenants at 90 Washington Street, a 397-unit rental building located between Rector and Joseph P. Ward Streets. This filing follows similar legal actions on behalf of tenants at 63-67 Wall Street, Ten Hanover Square, 50 Murray Street, 90 West Street, and 53 Park Place.
Every day is Sun day for the month of June, when the Sun is up for 15 hours plus a few minutes most days and darkness prevails, most days, for a few minutes less than 9 hours. The longest days of the year occur as Earth reaches the point in its orbit when the North Pole is tilted closest to the Sun, known as the summer solstice. This year, astronomers calculate that the solstice occurs on Saturday, June 20 at 5:44pm. According to my pencil on paper figuring from Starry Night* data, which is offered to a tenth of a second, day length at our location on Friday the 19this 3 seconds shorter than on the solstice and on the 20th day length is 2 seconds longer than on Sunday the 21st.
Community Board 1 is calling upon City and State transportation officials to close—at least temporarily—the lane of Route 9A (also know as the West Side Highway) that adjoins the Hudson River Park, between Chambers and Canal Streets, to enable continued social distancing, as New York scales back quarantine measures in the wake of the pandemic coronavirus outbreak.
The plan would use concrete barriers to bar traffic from the westernmost lane of the eight-lane highway, for a half-mile stretch of the waterfront boulevard, in order to allow users of the Hudson River Park additional room for biking, jogging, and walking.
451 – 10th recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet
1441 – Eton College founded by Henry VI
1664 – The colony of New Jersey is founded.
1778 – David Rittenhouse observes a total solar eclipse in Philadelphia.
David Rittenhouse was an astronomer, clockmaker, scientist and genius of whom Thomas Jefferson once remarked that he’d rather spend an evening at one of Rittenhouses’ salons, than a week in Paris. Rittenhouse was the scientist who determined that the earth is 93 millions miles away from our sun and it is said the stars on the American Flag were a tribute to Rittenhouse’s vast knowledge of the universe.
1794 – Bowdoin College is founded in Maine
1853 – Gadsden Purchase 29,670-square-mile (76,800 square km) from Mexico (now southern Arizona and New Mexico) for $10 million signed by President Franklin Pierce
1863 – Planning an invasion of Pennsylvania, Lee’s army crosses Potomac
1901 – First exhibition by Pablo Picasso, 19, opens in Paris
1916 – Mary Pickford becomes the first female film star to get a million dollar contract.
1939 – Pan Am’s first flight from the US to England
1951 – Persian army takes over nationalized oil installations
1961 – Iraq demands dominion over Kuwait
1964 – FTC rules health warnings must appear on all cigarette packages
1975 – Eastern 727 crashes at JFK Airport, kills 113
1982 – US Supreme Court rules president can’t be sued for actions in office
1992 – John Gotti begins life sentence in jail
1993 – Arab terrorist group planning bombing of Holland and Lincoln Tunnels thwarted.
1993 – Yale computer science professor Dr. David Gelernter loses the sight in one eye, the hearing in one ear, and part of his right hand after receiving a
mailbomb from the Unabomber.
2004 – Capital punishment is declared unconstitutional in New York
Juan Manuel Fangio nicknamed El Maestro (“The Master”), was a racing car driver from Argentina, who dominated the first decade of Formula One racing, winning the World Championship of Drivers five times
1771 – E I Du Pont, France, chemist/scientist (Du Pont)
1895 – Jack Dempsey, “Manassa Mauler”, heavyweight boxing champion (1919-26)
1911 – Juan Manuel Fangio, racing driver
1935 – Pete Hamill, Brooklyn, NY, journalist
1944 – Jeff Beck, Surrey England, singer/guitarist (Jeff Beck Group)
1908 – Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President (1885-89, 93-97), dies at 71
1987 – Jackie Gleason, comedian, dies of colon cancer at 71
1991 – Rufino Tamayo, Mexican painter, dies at 91
Previously Published Downtown News
CB1 Endorses Push to Expand VCF Coverage to Pandemic Illness
Community Board 1 (CB1) has signed on to a campaign that aims to expand the eligibility criteria of the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) to include illnesses related to the outbreak of the pandemic coronavirus.