BPCA Promises to Change Location of Controversial Memorial
BPCA chairman George Tsunis (center) confers with Pause the Saws leaders Kelly McGowan, Greg Sheindlin, and Eric Gyasi.
On Thursday morning, Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) chair George Tsunis took the unusual step of coming to Rockefeller Park to meet the local residents who had been encamped there for 24 hours per day since Monday, determined to prevent the destruction of a lawn and a glade of trees for Andrew Cuomo’s planned Essential Workers Monument.
“This site is going to change,” Mr. Tsunis said of the project’s location. “It’s going to be a new site. This site is off the table.” The assembled group, who have rallied since last week under the social media banner of Pause the Saws, broke into applause.
Mr. Tsunis continued, “we really did not understand the proximity and how many parents and children used this area. One mom explained, ‘I take out a picnic blanket and play with my kids here.’ That resonates. I’m a father.”
Kelly McGowan, one of the leaders of Pause the Saws, said to Mr. Tsunis, “this space is why people live here. People have given years of their lives to live here. So the whole point is not using any active green space—the community is speaking with one voice on that.”
Mr. Tsunis replied, “when there are other alternatives that we can go to, we pivot.” He added the BPCA is now examining five other possible sites within the community, and “our criteria are that it should be nowhere near where kids play, and not involve not taking down or replanting trees, and should be in a commercial area.” Mr. Tsunis also noted that, “we have to differentiate between green space and active green space, which is more precious.”
Mr. Tsunis discusses community engagement between the BPCA and residents with Justine Cuccia (far right), chair of Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee.
Justine Cuccia, the chair of the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1) asked, “so people do not need to sleep here, because there will not be bulldozers?”
Mr. Tsunis answered, “you have my word we will not come in the middle of the night. We’re not trying to pull a fast one.”
Ms. Cuccia clarified that, “no one is doubting your word, but if it comes from the Governor down to you, here’s your boss. And we haven’t heard his word.” This was a reference to the fact that Mr. Cuomo has yet to acknowledge any change in plans for the Essential Workers Monument.
Mr. Tsunis replied, “the Governor is very well aware of what’s happening. And the Governor is the one who is pressing me to find another location. The Governor is a pretty bright guy. He said, ‘as long as we can find another suitable location, even if we’re not going to please everybody, we pivot.’” He added that the BPCA and the Governor’s office still plan to have the monument completed and opened, at its new location, by Labor Day.
Mr. Tsunis discusses the Rockefeller Park protests with Mr. McGowan, Captain Thomas Smith commanding officer of the NYPD’s First Precinct), and Pause the Saws leader Pamit Surana.
Based on this conversation, Pause the Saws withdrew the protestors who had been occupying Rockefeller for three consecutive days and nights.
Pamit Surana, a 16-year resident and one of the leaders of the group, who had slept in Rockefeller Park since Monday, said, “parents and children sleeping overnight for several days in tents during 95 degree heat waves and lightning storms sent a clear message that we expect transparency and proactive, meaningful engagement on all neighborhood issues. We are delighted that George and the BPCA committed to this mutual goal, and we look forward to working with them.”
Several members of the leadership of Pause the Saws also cited the constructive and collaborative role played during the protest by the NYPD’s First Precinct, singling out for mention Captain Thomas Smith (the First Precinct’s commanding officer), as well as Sergeant Thomas Scaturro (who supervises the local Neighborhood Coordination Officers), patrolman Jonathan Chan (a Youth Coordination Officer), and patrolman Brian Nelson (a Community Affairs Officer). “They were at the site every day,” one protestor noted, “and did everything they could to help broker a positive outcome.”
The next step in the grassroots campaign to forge consensus about the location of the Essential Workers Monument will be a rally in Rockefeller Park on Monday afternoon (July 5), from 3:00 to 6:00 pm, at which members of Pause the Saws plan to thank the community for their support, and strategize about how to move forward.
The next public discussion about decisions related to Essential Workers Monument will be at the upcoming meeting of CB1’s Battery Park City Committee, on Wednesday, July 7, at 6:00 pm. Anyone wishing to attend remotely can access this session by browsing: https://live.mcb1.nyc
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‘Each of These Days Is a Victory’
Protestors Continue to Block Destruction of Rockefeller Park, as BPCA Announces Pause
Beneath a pelting rain on Wednesday evening, local residents huddled in tents and camped out in Rockefeller Park for the third consecutive night, to protest plans to cut down trees and pave over a large section of the beloved green space, so that Governor Andrew Cuomo can create a monument to essential workers who served during the pandemic.
Late in the afternoon, Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) chairman George Tsunis issued a statement, To read more…
Protests to Save Rockefeller Park Continue as Bulldozers Back Away, For Now
Opposition to the plan by Governor Andrew Cuomo to seize more than 10,000 square feet of Rockefeller Park for an Essential Workers Monument grew more intense on Monday, as 100-plus concerned residents (dozens of them children, accompanied by parents) arrived at the site before 7:00 am and literally laid down in the path of bulldozers, to prevent the demolition and tree-felling needed to begin the work.
Shortly after 7:30 am, frustrated contractors called the NYPD, which dispatched multiple officers from the First Precinct.
Residents Rally for a Voice in Decision about Locating Planned Memorial in Rockefeller Park
More than 150 local residents, many of them young children, gathered in Rockefeller Park on Saturday afternoon to protest plans by the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo to impose there a 29,000-square-foot monument to essential workers who served the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tristan Snell, a Battery Park City resident, and father of a 30-month-old daughter, Katherine, said, “this lawn they are about to tear up is the largest green space in Manhattan south of Central Park. The location they plan to use is where my daughter crawled for the first time. This park is a destination for everybody, not just those of us who live here. And now they want to cut down trees that have been growing here for decades. To read more…
‘This Project Will Forever Be a Symbol of Failure’
Community Leaders React to Cuomo Plan for Yet Another Monument in Battery Park City
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that he plans to erect in Battery Park City an Essential Workers Monument to those who served during the COVID-19 pandemic. “In the beginning of the pandemic, when people were told to stay home, essential workers went into work day after day, making sure their fellow New Yorkers were safe, fed and cared for,” Mr. Cuomo said.
The Governor attributed the decision to locate this monument in Battery Park City to his Essential Workers Monument Advisory Committee, which was announced in April. This panel consisted of 23 union presidents, and not a single resident of Battery Park City. There is no record of this Committee having held any public meetings, or having solicited any advice or feedback from the community. To read more…
To the editor:
Governor Cuomo was so on pitch during the early days of the pandemic.
A sane sound voice both here in NYC, and to hear my faraway friends, throughout the country. This plan to “usurp” land in our community is the second (after writing the book and not donating the proceeds to our State) where he’s gotten it wrong; hit a bad note. I thought he wanted to be Governor again.
And more importantly what is his mother going to say?
To the editor:
Yes, monumental. Nice play on words, but not a playful situation. Not seeking community input is further eroding my opinion of the Governor for whom I once had great respect.
Statement from Lindsey Boylan, a career urban planner, former Deputy Secretary of Economic Development and Housing for the State of New York, and Manhattan Borough President candidate.
From Governors Island to East River Park to Battery Park, New York City’s green space is under attack. Masters of the universe like Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have no concept between the lack of respect for our environment and the climate crisis. They do not understand that parks are for the people, especially in urban centers like New York City where access to green space is a matter of environmental justice.
Now the governor is forcing yet another monument to his precious ego under the guise of honoring our essential workers. But the governor does not care about our essential workers any more than he cares about the families of the nursing home residents whose deaths he covered up. If the governor truly cared about the heroes of the pandemic, he would work with city leaders and local residents to build a community-driven monument, rather than simply showing up with earth-moving equipment.
The governor keeps putting monuments in Battery Park City to exert unilateral control with empty gestures. His only objectives are to stay in power and to line his pockets at the expense of COVID victims. I stand with the Battery Park community and urge the next borough president to find the courage to stand up to Albany and City Hall in order to protect our communities’ beloved green space.
To the editor:
I wish to thank and applaud Ms. Meltzer and Ms. Cuccia for their profound conveyance of the sentiments of the Lower Manhattan community and to add that placement of such a monument in BPC, a largely affluent, majority White neighborhood, at least by comparison to those most greatly impacted by COVID, is not only the wrong thing to do in terms of location for many reasons, but is also racially and socially unjust and harmful, a real slap in the face to the many essential workers who traveled here and elsewhere, in the midst of disaster, putting their lives at risk, sometimes for minimum wage jobs, from the outer boroughs… the same people many of whom were on a hunger strike mere months ago fighting for their share in COVID relief…and to the disproportionate number of people of color and/or low incomes who fell ill or died from the virus.
This monument belongs in the Bronx or Queens and could serve to bring those communities desperately needed tourism in addition to the respect and honor they deserve for supporting NY through this tragedy.
The governor did the right thing in signing the NY Heroes Act and allocating $2.1B of the State’s budget to the Excluded Worker Fund. It makes no sense for him to now, just two months later, tell the recipients to go fly a kite.
To the editor:
The BPC community is up in arms about Governor Cuomo’s planned Essential Worker Memorial to be placed in the valued Rockefeller Park. Petition circulating, support needed. As an essential worker (social worker at NYU Langone) I can say that green space and parks are the best way to maintain mental health and cope with the stress of the pandemic. Save our park. Click here to sign the petition.
Spread the word.
To the editor:
Please move the Essential Worker Monument to another location in the state and stop taking away our children’s open play areas.
Battery Park City has been through much turmoil over the years and the littering of monuments across once green space in our residential neighborhood brings daily reminders of sadness to us and to our children who are already struggling emotionally. From the attacks on the World Trade Center, to the East Coast Memorial, to the Irish Hunger, to the Hurricane in Puerto Rico, and the American Merchant Mariners, among countless others, we already have too many reminders.
PLEASE move this monument to another location in the state. Let us continue to enjoy running free in the grass of Rockefeller Park, and please let us keep this park as green and beautiful as it was intended and without the constant reminders of sadness and hard times.
All of us, regardless of our age, want to run free in the vast field of Rockefeller Park green, amongst the trees, bushes and beautiful gardens. We want to continue to enjoy the migrating birds, play soccer, baseball, picnic, fly kites, sunbathe, build snow forts and snow people.
The park is constantly very crowded with friends sharing the beautiful escape. Each of us wants to find solitude as we create our own escape in the current world we live in. We want to provide freedoms to our children, without having to worry about the risk of an eternal flame burning them.
Just stop by and you will see the bustling enjoyment each person feels as they take in the beauty of the grass and the open space and now the heart breaking sorrow and anger as they see the trucks and workers preparing to break ground.
To the editor:
I read the paper almost every day and wonder how these people get elected. I have been expecting a backlash with each election but it doesn’t seem to happen. But it will.
When King Leontes is overcome with jealousy he issues a series of fascistic edicts that touch nearly everyone in the kingdom. Some escape to a peace, love and flower-filled Bohemia. Others wonder if they can ever return home again. Is true healing possible? Can art heal the injured heart? Misti Wills directs a company of advanced-level conservatory students from Stella Adler Studio of Acting, in one of Shakespeare’s classic comedies. At the lawn behind the Museum of Jewish Heritage (36 Battery Place). Free Battery Park City Authority
Guggenheim award-winning composer/violinist, educator/entrepreneur Mari Kimura will give a demo/performance of MUGIC®, a WIFI motion sensor designed for musicians, performers, dancers and beyond. Mari will demonstrate how MUGIC® works, she will perform her composition “Rossby Waving”, inspired by the climate change crises, for violin, MUGIC®, accompanied by the video created by media artist Liubo Borissov. The first prototype of MUGIC® was designed by Mari and Liubo, with the grant provided by Harvestworks. Mari designed MUGIC® at UC Irvine, and released commercially last September.Performances at various times throughout the day. Free
Lift your glass and toast to America’s independence with New York City Tour Guide Ellen Baird for a 2-hour walking tour of Revolutionary War history! Explore the sites and learn the history of the crucial events that took place in the streets of Lower Manhattan before, during and after the American Revolutionary War, from the Stamp Act Riots to New York’s Tea Party, and from the Sugar House prisons to General George Washington’s farewell to his troops at Fraunces Tavern. This tour is designed for novices and history buffs alike. All tickets include a drink ticket to be redeemed at Fraunces Tavern.
Sunday JULY 4
12NOON – 5 PM
Independence Day Open House
Fraunces Tavern Museum
Celebrate America’s Independence at Fraunces Tavern Museum with $1 admission all day long!
This critically acclaimed animated film chronicles the wide-eyed adventures of a courageous little mouse named Fievel Mousekewitz. Journeying by ship from Russia to turn-of-the-century America, Fievel is lost at sea during a ferocious storm. Washing ashore in New York Harbor, Fievel braves the perils and wonders of a strange new world in a thrilling quest to find his family. Featuring the voices of Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn and Christopher Plummer, it’s a rousing, heartwarming animated adventure for the entire family. $10
Walking tour. American history comes alive on the streets where it happened in historic locations critical to the lives and partnership of Alexander Hamilton and George Washington! Relive the first reading of the Declaration of Independence and the subsequent revolt, honor the fallen American troops in the Battle of Brooklyn, celebrate the Constitution’s ratification, and applaud Hamilton’s achievement of the Compromise of 1790. Stand at the site of Washington’s momentous inauguration, dig into the history of the infamous duel between Hamilton and Aaron Burr, pay your respects at the final resting place of the Hamiltons, and much more. You’ll hear stories, letters, speeches and see paintings from the time. This is an immersive tour for lovers of United States’ history and the musical Hamilton! $30
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
The Battery Park City Authority asks that the public not interact with or feed the urban wildlife in the neighborhood’s parks and green spaces, and at the waterfront.
News Analysis & Opinion
Housing Costs and Predictability in Battery Park City: A Statement from Benjamin Jones, President and CEO of the Battery Park City Authority
At the Battery Park City Authority, we make it a point to regularly communicate with our community’s residents—renters and owners alike—about our role in managing, maintaining, and improving this world-class neighborhood.
We do so at Community Board meetings and public events, during public board meetings, in our regular community newsletters, and via our Strategic Plan—and even as we encounter each other during our daily routines (as we hope to be doing more of soon).
In this letter, I’d like to talk to you about our role in addressing a concern we hear frequently—housing costs and predictability—and what we’re doing about it.
Welfare of Residents Should by BPCA’s Top Priority, Says Homeowner’s Coalition President
(Editor’s Note: The author, Pat Smith, is the president of the Battery Park City Homeowner’s Coalition, and the president of the Battery Pointe condominium board. He writes here in reply to a recent opinion piece by Battery Park City Authority president and chief executive officer B.J. Jones, which was published in the BroadsheetDAILY on June 23, and can be found HERE.)
Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) president Benjamin Jones lays out an articulate explanation of the ground rent situation in this community. There is one area, however, on which we might have disagreement. In discussing how the BPCA is addressing the issue of increasing ground rents, Mr. Jones writes: To read more…
9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Report
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
1937 – Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan are last heard from over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight
626 – Li Shimin, the future Emperor Taizong of Tang, ambushes and kills his rival brothers Li Yuanji and Li Jiancheng in the Xuanwu Gate Incident.
1504 – Bogdan III the One-Eyed becomes Voivode of Moldavia.
1698 – Thomas Savery patents the first steam engine.
1776 – American Revolution: The Continental Congress adopts a resolution severing ties with the Kingdom of Great Britain although the wording of the formal Declaration of Independence is not published until July 4.
1822 – Thirty-five slaves, including Denmark Vesey, are hanged in South Carolina after being accused of organizing a slave rebellion.
1839 – Twenty miles off the coast of Cuba, 53 kidnapped Africans led by Joseph Cinque mutiny and take over the slave ship Amistad.
1871 – Victor Emmanuel II of Italy enters Rome after having conquered it from the Papal States.
1881 – Charles J. Guiteau shoots and fatally wounds President James A. Garfield (who will die of complications from his wounds on September 19).
1890 – The U.S. Congress passes the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Act is a federal statute which prohibits activities that restrict interstate commerce and competition in the marketplace.
1897 – British-Italian engineer Guglielmo Marconi obtains a patent for radio in London.
1900 – The first Zeppelin flight takes place on Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen, Germany.
1934 – The Night of the Long Knives ends with the death of Ernst Rцhm.
1937 – Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan are last heard from over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to make the first equatorial round-the-world flight.
1962 – The first Walmart store, then known as Wal-Mart, opens for business in Rogers, Arkansas.
1964 – Civil rights movement: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 meant to prohibit segregation in public places.
1976 – End of South Vietnam; Communist North Vietnam annexes the former South Vietnam to form the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
1990 – In the 1990 Mecca tunnel tragedy, 1,400 Muslim pilgrims are suffocated to death and trampled upon in a pedestrian tunnel leading to the holy city of Mecca.
2002 – Steve Fossett becomes the first person to fly solo around the world nonstop in a balloon.
1877 – Hermann Hesse, German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1962)
1908 – Thurgood Marshall, American lawyer and jurist, 32nd Solicitor General of the United States (d. 1993)
1922 – Pierre Cardin, Italian-French fashion designer (d. 2020)
1925 – Medgar Evers, American soldier and activist (d. 1963)
1929 – Imelda Marcos, Filipino politician; 10th First Lady of the Philippines
1937 – Richard Petty, American race car driver and sportscaster
1947 – Larry David, American actor, comedian, producer, and screenwriter
1956 – Jerry Hall, American model and actress
866 – Robert the Strong, Frankish nobleman
1566 – Nostradamus, French astrologer and author (b. 1503)
1578 – Thomas Doughty, English explorer
1961 – Ernest Hemingway, American novelist, short story writer, and journalist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1899)
1977 – Vladimir Nabokov, Russian-born novelist and critic (b. 1899)
1999 – Mario Puzo, American author and screenwriter (b. 1920)
2003 – Briggs Cunningham, American race car driver and businessman (b. 1907)
2007 – Beverly Sills, American operatic soprano and television personality (b. 1929)