CB1’s Outgoing Chair Reflects on Decades of Service as He Passes the Torch
Anthony Notaro has been a member of Community Board 1 for two decades, and has served as its chair since 2016.
Anthony Notaro, a Lower Manhattan community leader for decades and chair of Community Board 1 (CB1) since 2016, concluded his tenure on June 23, when Tammy Meltzer was elected to succeed him.
If the aphorism about leadership that holds, “decisions are made by those who show up” is true, then Lower Manhattan had benefitted from the guidance of a born decision-maker, because Mr. Notaro is somebody who has always been defined by his habit of stepping forward, speaking up, and getting involved. A resident of Battery Park City since the late 1990s, Mr. Notaro joined CB1 shortly after moving to Lower Manhattan.
In 2002, he helped to organize the annual Battery Park City Block Party, which served as both a celebration and an affirmation of the neighborhood’s rebirth after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2003, he helped to found the local Community Emergency Response Team.
He was one of the leaders of the Battery Park City Homeowner’s Coalition, which in 2011 negotiated a $279 million rollback in future ground rent increases for condominium owners. The onetime president of the Battery Park City Neighbors Association has also served for years on the First Precinct Community Council, which facilitates dialog between the local police command and the community. As a member of CB1, Mr. Notaro not only chaired the Battery Park City Committee (before being elected to chair CB1 as a whole), but also served on panels that focused on planning and infrastructure, redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, the future of the Battery Park City ball fields, the successful effort to bring a branch of the New York Public Library to the neighborhood, and the development of the community center that became Asphalt Green.
“Shortly after I moved to Battery Park City, in 1998,” Mr. Notaro recalls, “I saw an item in the paper saying that applications for the Community Board were available. Being new to the neighborhood and having a strong interest in parkland and gardens, it seemed like a great idea. I was appointed right after that, which was quick for a first-time application.”
After several years, Mr. Notaro was tapped to serve as chairman of CB1’s Battery Park City Committee. “My first meeting as chair of the Committee was amazing, in that we had to hear about a proposal to move the damaged Sphere sculpture from the World Trade Center Plaza to the circular park between Gateway and Brookfield,” he remembers. “Needless to say, this was an emotionally charged meeting. But in the end, the community was successful in their opposition to this proposal. I must say that the board chair at that time, Madelyn Wils, was instrumental in crafting a solution. But I was hooked on working for the community’s benefit and watching a skilled leader get results.”
In the two decades since he joined CB1, Mr. Notaro says, Lower Manhattan, “has become a dense, vibrant residential community, while business sectors have moved and diversified. That is all good news, but this development has strained our City services, such as school capacity and sanitation.”
“After the tragedy of September 11, who could have predicted such rebirth and transformation,” he asks. “Superstorm Sandy was another blow to Lower Manhattan, but awakened us to the fragility of our infrastructure. We are still wrestling with the aftermath, and must plan for real resiliency. After COVID-19 pandemic, the challenge may be more daunting, given the costs and City’s budget shortfall.”
While Lower Manhattan has evolved almost beyond recognition, the institution that is CB1 has also morphed, he notes. “Community Boards in general have seen a great turnover in members, which brings fresh energy and skills, along with a new generation of leaders. CB1 has adapted by orienting ourselves to specific areas like Transportation and Environmental Protection. We needed to be responsive to issues that are district-wide and not just geographic. Also, Community Boards have had to use technology to advance our goals and broaden our outreach.”
Looking back on his tenure as chairman, Mr. Notaro reflects, “I think there are several accomplishments, but the largest is moving from geographic committees to committees based on subject-matter expertise. This was a bold move, and I was convinced that it would help CB1. It was gratifying that CB1 members embraced this new organization and became even more effective.”
“Our members are smart, accomplished folks,” he observes, “and they see issues that go beyond our neighborhood. So we have always been focused on more global issues. That’s important for us, but I have also tried to keep CB1 focused on our core mandate, so we can get results that have a positive impact on our lives.”
“Leadership for me is about listening, learning and building teams,” he explains. “Behaving this way transforms our role from simply advisory to being a real partner with government entities. They respect our work and approach, and it makes our work more rewarding.”
Looking to the future, Mr. Notaro says, “my hope is that we can extend our leadership to other parts of our City, so that all residents share in what New York can and should offer. We don’t look at the pie and ask how it can be split. Instead, we ask how can to make the pie bigger for everyone.”
Asked to reflect on upcoming challenges for the community, he answers, “I’m only concerned if we don’t apply our skills and experience as we face the future. And the future will certainly present us with more challenges. Our district has faced terrorist attacks, a Superstorm, a financial crisis and now a pandemic. It may not have been easy, but CB1 has faced all of these with courage and optimism.”
Summing up the next generation of Lower Manhattan leaders, he concludes that, “my successors are well-equipped to face new and existing challenges. As with most things in life, showing up and rolling up your sleeves will always be the best way to advance, and empowering others will get results. This is a board of 50 members and not just one officer.”
The Election Is Over, But the Counting Continues
The preliminary results in the contested race to represent the 65th Assembly District (which stretches from the Battery to Vesey Street on the West Side and traces a jagged line between Broadway and the East River, topping out just above Houston Street, on the East Side) in Albany favor incumbent Yuh-Line Niou over challenger Grace Lee.
Of all the ballots 7,214 ballots cast in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, according to the City’s Board of Elections, Ms. Niou garnered 4,440 (or slightly more than 61 percent of the total), while Ms. Lee took 2,741 (or 38 percent).
City Plans Black Lives Matter Street Mural for Lower Manhattan
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.
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.
Poets House Xandria Phillips reads from their debut collection HULL (Nightboat Books, 2019), which won the Judith A. Markowitz Award and 2020 Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Xandria Phillips is a poet and visual artist from rural Ohio. Xandria has received fellowships from Oberlin College, Cave Canem, Callaloo, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, where they are the First Wave Poetry Fellow. Noon.
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.
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.
‘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.
363 – Roman Emperor Julian is killed during the retreat from the Sassanid Empire. General Jovian is proclaimed Emperor by the troops on the battlefield.
1498 – Toothbrush invented
1797 – Charles Newbold receives the first patent for a cast iron plow.
Newbold was an American blacksmith born in 1780 in Chesterfield Township, New Jersey. He was unable to sell his plow because many farmers feared that the iron in it would poison the soil. On April 1, 1807, David Peacock was issued a patent for a three-piece iron plow (Newbold’s plow was cast in one piece). Newbold sued Peacock for patent infringement and won $1,500.
1862 – Battle of Beaver Dam Creek-Union repulses Confederacy in Virginia
The Battle of Beaver Dam Creek, also known as the Battle of Mechanicsville or Ellerson’s Mill, took place on June 26, 1862, in Hanover County, Virginia. It was the start of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s counter-offensive against the Union Army of the Potomac, under Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, which threatened the Confederate capital of Richmond. Confederate attacks were driven back with heavy casualties.
1870 – First section of Atlantic City boardwalk opens
1894 – Karl Benz of Germany receives US patent for gasoline-driven auto
1909 – Victoria & Albert Museum opens in London
1919 – NY Daily News begins publishing
1927 – The Cyclone roller coaster opens on Coney Island
1940 – End of USSR experimental calendar; Gregorian readopted. From1929 until 1940, The Soviet calendar added five- and six-day work weeks to the Gregorian calendar. Although the traditional seven-day week was still recognized, a day of rest on Sunday was replaced by one day of rest in each work week. Each day of the five-day week was labeled by either one of five colors or a Roman numeral from I to V. Each worker was assigned a color or number to identify his or her day of rest.
1963 – US President John Kennedy visits West Berlin and gives his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech
1964 – Beatles release “A Hard Day’s Night” album
1974 – The Universal Product Code is scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum
1989 – Supreme Court rules 16 year olds can receive death penalty
1993 – The U.S. launches a cruise missile attack targeting Baghdad intelligence headquarters in retaliation for a thwarted assassination attempt against former President George H.W. Bush in April in Kuwait.
2008 – The Supreme Court rules that the ban on handguns in the District of Columbia is unconstitutional.
1898 – Willy Messerschmitt, German aircraft designer
1913 – Maurice Wilkes, inventor (stored program concept for computers)
1915 – Paul Castellano, American mafia boss (d. 1985)
1928 – Yoshiro Nakamatsu, Japanese inventor
1929 – Milton Glaser, American designer
1541 – Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conquistador who conquered the Inca Empire is assassinated in Lima by the son of his former companion and later antagonist, Diego Almagro the younger. Almagro is later caught and executed.
1984 – George H Gallup, pollster (Gallup Poll), dies at 82
2012 – Nora Ephron, American author/screenwriter, dies from pneumonia at 71
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.