Note to readers: At presstime, the results of yesterday’s voting to elect a representative of New York State Assembly District 61 are still being tabulated. Battery Park City activist Justine Cuccia is challenging incumbent Assembly Member Charles Fall.
Reasoning in the Public Square
Residents Invited to Weigh In On Competing Visions for Esplanade Resiliency Plan
A map delineating the three phases of Battery Park Resiliency projects—South (centered on Wagner Park), North/West (focused on the Esplanade), and the Ballfields (along West Street, between Murray and Warren Streets).
The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) will host an open house meeting about its North/West Battery Park City Resiliency Project tonight (Wednesday, June 29) at Six River Terrace (opposite the Irish Hunger Memorial and next to Bluestone Lane Cafe), from 4pm to 8pm. All interested persons are invited to attend.
The Open House will give participants an overview of evolving plans for the North/West Resiliency Project, which envisions the creation of a flood risk management system stretching from a point near First Place and the Esplanade (in the neighborhood’s southern section), where it will link up with the BPCA’s South Resiliency Plan, which is slated to begin construction this summer. From this southern anchor, the North/West Resiliency Project will proceed along the Hudson River waterfront to behind Stuyvesant High School, before hooking to the right and then stretching into Tribeca, where it will terminate at a highpoint on Greenwich Street, north of Chambers Street.
This view shows the assets that the North/West Resiliency project aims to safeguard from the rising sea levels and storm surges associated with climate change.
Wednesday’s open house will be the third public meeting about the North/West Resiliency Project. Since the previous session held last December, three prospective teams of design-build consultants have proposed competing locations and configurations for the flood barrier system. These will be revealed at the tomorrow’s meeting, and public reaction will be solicited.
Such a plan carries the risk of sharply dividing local opinion, because many of the flood prevention measures that it incorporates will inevitably have to be built on or near Battery Park City’s Esplanade, which is widely regarded as a world-class amenity, and the crown jewel of public spaces in Lower Manhattan.
Tammy Meltzer, chair of Community Board 1 (CB1), observes, “it has been a long time since Superstorm Sandy, where flooding at the low point of Chambers Street resulted in loss of life and public space, and the overflow of the Esplanade caused so much damage. The North and West resiliency projects are complicated and it is exciting to return in person and see the updates to the conceptual ideas presented, and hear what was learned and adjusted from the more recent ‘walkshops’ and breakout sessions. The public’s feedback and inclusion in a design-build process is critical for ensuring transparency, engagement and balancing the desire for active open space and protection of our community. Looking forward to seeing many neighbors and interested constituents at the sessions.”
This rendering shows the elevations from which flood barriers will have to rise at various points in northern Battery Park City, and along the Tribeca waterfront.
BPCA president and CEO B.J. Jones (right) adds, “we’ve always welcomed and valued community engagement early on and throughout the development of our resiliency work, as demonstrated over the course of the past five-plus years of dialogue with a range of stakeholders on the Ball Fields Resiliency Project, the South Resiliency Project, and the initial planning for the North/West Resiliency Project. Building on prior public meetings and popular ‘walkshop’ sessions, and with more public engagement to come, we encourage everyone with an interest in how this flood barrier system takes shape to use this open house to ask questions and provide their ideas and concerns—whether in-person or via the online version, which will be available for an extended period beyond the meeting date.”
An architect’s rendering of an 2015 proposal (now abandoned) for erecting an eight-foot wall along the length of the Battery Park City Esplanade.
Justine Cuccia, who chairs CB1’s Battery Park City Committee (but is speaking here as a concerned resident) notes that, “there has been considerable controversy surrounding the BPCA’s South Resiliency Plan, but it is hard to make the case that the Authority hasn’t done outreach and consultation, during a dozen-plus public meetings and presentations going back to 2016. That said, the BPCA has not given the community everything we have asked for, especially in regards to Wagner Park. We are now at the start of that same process for the combined North and West Resiliency project. This is the point when it is easiest to exert an influence on the end result. So it is vitally important that everybody who has a stake in this show up to contribute ideas or criticisms, and make their points of view known. I am convinced that even opinions I strongly disagree with—such as the idea that no resiliency plan is necessary—deserve to be heard and considered. But anybody who chooses not to participate, and waits until several years from now to raise objections about a finalized plan, runs a serious risk that their concerns will not be reflected in the outcome.”
This was a reference to the fact the Wednesday’s meeting will also include a virtual component, through which participants can view presentation materials and offer comments through July 15.
For more information about how to participate online, or to register to attend today’s open house in person (admission is free, but attendees are asked to RSVP in advance, for planning purposes) click here.
The Line at Starbucks Is About to Get Longer
New Office Conversion in FiDi to Bring Another Thousand Residents to Lower Manhattan
A mostly empty office building in the Financial District is poised for conversion into an apartment building. In a story first reported by the Wall Street Journal, the 1960s-era commercial building at 55 Broad Street (at the corner of Beaver Street) will be converted into 571 apartments by a partnership between developers Larry Silverstein and Nathan Berman, who have paid previous owner Rudin Management $180 million for the structure.
Lower Manhattan Resident Squares Off Against Staten Island Incumbent in Run to Represent State Assembly District 61
On June 28, voters went to the polls to decide several important party primary contests. The results of these ballots will determine the Democratic and Republican nominees for Governor, and for the State Assembly seat representing Lower Manhattan. The Assembly race consists of two contenders. Charles Fall, the incumbent, lives in Staten Island and has served in Albany since 2019. His challenger, Justine Cuccia, resides in Battery Park City, where she has been an activist, organizer, and member of Community Board 1 for many years.
In order to provide readers with a basis for comparison, The Broadsheet submitted four questions to Mr. Fall and Ms. Cuccia, with a fifth question symmetrically tailored to the backgrounds of the two candidates.
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.
Anyone wishing to participate in the public comment period should submit their comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 5:30pm on the day prior to the meeting. Comments should be no longer than two minutes in length, and may be read into the record during the livestream broadcast.
I. Call to order
II. Approval of the May 25, 2022 minutes
III. Public comment
IV. M/WBE report
V. Resiliency update
VI. Corporate action
A. Authorization to Accept the 2022-23 Insurance Program and Authorization to Pay the Related Insurance Premiums.
B. Approval of Increase to Fiscal Year 2022 Spending Authority for External Law Firm Expenses.
Embolden your artwork amidst the flower-filled and seasonally evolving palette of BPC’s verdant gardens. An artist/ educator will provide ideas and instruction. Materials provided, and artists are encouraged to bring their own favorite media.