The Broadsheet – Lower Manhattan’s Local Newspaper
Unconventional Wharf-fareMuch Derided Security Tent for Statue of Liberty Ferry Slated to Move, and Then Move Back
The unsightly security tent that has encroached on the Battery waterfront as a “temporary” measure for two decades is slated to move during construction of resiliency measures, and then move back to its current location.
The City’s Parks Department, the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Project, and the National Park Service are planning to relocate the security screening tent that serves visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, to accommodate construction of flood-control infrastructure.At Monday’s meeting of the Environmental Protection Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1), Martin Leibrock, a senior project manager at the Hunter Roberts Construction Group, noted, “the security screening facility that’s used by Statute Cruises will be relocated to the east end of the wharf from its current location near Castle Clinton.”Michael Bradley, a project administrator for the Parks Department, added, “we’ve been working, with the National Park Service in particular, on how to get our work done and still provide for continuous access to the Statue of Liberty from the Battery during that whole period.”“What we are doing is repairing two of the slips, which are unusable today,” he continued, referring to docking points along the waterfront, near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, which have been inactive for years, due to their poor state of repair. “The security screening tent can then be relocated to an area near The View restaurant,” he added.This work to rehabilitate the docking facilities near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal is projected to begin this November and be complete by next March, at which point the security tent will be moved to that location for approximately one year.Moving the security tent to the far end of the Battery will allow construction of resilience measures to take place in the area near Pier A and Castle Clinton. This development will likely be greeted as welcome news by community leaders who have for years complained that the security tent is a blight on the local waterfront.Last September, CB1 enacted the most recent in a series of resolutions urging that the security facilities erected in the Battery by the National Park Service after September 11, 2001 “should be removed, or at the very least rethought.” The resolution additionally proposed that “the community should actively be involved in assessing other possible locations (including potentially the parking lot in the back of the nearby Coast Guard building).”Initially justified by officials as a “temporary” measure,” the tent has remained there ever since, occupying several hundred feet of scenic waterfront and blocking access to more than 10,000 square feet of parkland, resulting in years of complaints from local residents, and objections by elected officials.
This diagram illustrates the work zones for construction of resiliency infrastructure (show in pink and purple, at left) and the temporary location for the new Statue of Liberty security tent and ferry boarding (show in gray at lower right).
Another possible location for this facility would be the now-vacant Pier A, where the restaurant and bar that operated for several years shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. Warrie Price, president of the Battery Conservancy, observed last year that, “sadly, the temporary security tents retain their inappropriate presence on this most historic of New York City waterfronts, obstructing the grand harbor view and community engagement. A solution is just steps away at Pier A. What is lacking is bold civic leadership. But as an optimist, I believe it will happen, because it must.”In 2008, the National Park Service indicated a willingness to relocate its security center to Pier A, which was then being renovated by the Battery Park City Authority. But that plan was abandoned in favor of a competing proposal, to move the screening facility to the U.S. Coast Guard building, located at the far end of the Battery, alongside the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. The rationale given at the time was that the National Park Service could save funds by occupying space within a building owned by another federal agency, without paying rent, but leasing Pier A from local officials would be a significant cost. The Park Service never implemented this plan, however, and what is widely perceived as an eyesore has continued to blight the waterfront.In 2013, the National Park Service promised to move its screening center to Ellis Island before the end of the year. But this plan was also abandoned.Many of the concerns related to the security tent would be solved, Ms. Price argued, by moving it into Pier A, while also relocating ferry boarding to its exterior. “Security screening would happen on the ground floor,” she explained, “and then passengers could walk right outside to board.” She added that, “the upper floors could be used for exhibitions, for meetings, and for community space, to host meetings, lectures, and film screenings.”That noted, any enthusiasm for moving the security tent from its current location will likely be tempered by the next phase of the plan outlined at Monday’s meeting. Mr. Bradley explained that in the spring of 2024, as construction nears completion in the section of the Battery adjacent to Pier A, “we’re back to, basically, the current arrangement, when the security facility is brought back to its current location.”Matthew Fenton
CB1 Approves Renovation to Historic Seaport BuildingTribeca Pediatrics Founder Gets Blessing to Make AlterationsCommunity Board 1 (CB1) is giving its approval to a proposal to alter a building within the South Street Seaport Historic District. The property is 107 South Street (between Beekman Street and Peck Slip), which dates from the 1900s, and has been vacant for decades. In 2019, the building was purchased for $6 million by Dr. Michel Cohen, who is familiar to many Lower Manhattan residents as the physician who founded Tribeca Pediatrics, and has helped care for generations of Downtown kids.
Hostel IntentionsGovernors Island May Soon Host More Restaurants, a Conference Center, and a HotelThe Trust for Governors Island has issued two requests for proposals (RFPs) to solicit ideas for how to turn five historic buildings into 45,000 square feet of restaurants, events venues, or a hotel.Due to an editing oversight, there were two misleading statements in this original story. Building 140 on Governors Island does not house a National Park Service bookstore. The City has no plans to subsidize expanded Governors Island ferry service. This has been corrected in the online article.
For Thrifty EpicuresRestaurant Week Includes 45 Downtown EateriesNew York’s annual food celebration, Restaurant Week, started yesterday and wraps up on Sunday, August 21. For those disinclined to venture above Canal Street, the good news is that of all the 659 establishments participating throughout the City this summer, almost four dozen are located in Lower Manhattan. Most restaurants are offering a selection of $30, $45, and $60 two-course lunches and $30, $45, and $60 three-course dinners. In many of these locations, the everyday prices are significantly higher than Restaurant Week offerings, which makes this value proposition a compelling opportunity to try places that might ordinarily be outside your budget. Because seats go fast, please call ahead to confirm availability and make a reservation.For a list of participating Lower Manhattan restaurants, their addresses and phone number, click here.
Eyes to the Sky, July 2022Cosmos of starry skies reflected in Earth’s fireflies
In dark sky locations on July nights, the cosmos of stars meets and seems to blend with brilliant, flashing firefly lights in the space between treetops and ground in a great, animated surround. At nightfall, blinking lightning bugs stream over wild meadows, fallow hay fields, parks and gardens where artificial light is minimized—leaving the awe-struck stargazer rapt in Earth’s near atmosphere that is alive with luminescent, courting beetles. But light pollution is destructive to fireflies and humans alike. Seek out dark areas within the city and head out to dark enclaves in the boroughs and beyond.Judy Isacoff
Thursday, July 2110:30am-11:30amEsplanade PlazaBeginner pickleball classes. All equipment provided. Registration required, email: email@example.comTour of the urban vegetable farm and perennial forest farm, led by park staff. RSVP is required for this event. Please note that this tour is intended for ages 13 and up.6pm-8:30pmWagner ParkVirginia-born artist Nicole Wray shows off her dexterous range of singing and songwriting, infusing hints of soul, R&B, and hip-hop into head-nodding, funky stories with the power to heal.6pmTribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers StreetJoJo Smith, the veteran Broadway dancer who helped define disco in Hollywood films as one of the go-to contemporary choreographers and coaches of the 1970s disco era. Jazz Roots Dance Company is dedicated to the preservation of the classic jazz dance form, and aims to entertain and educate all generations about the roots of classic jazz dance. $30.6pmOnlineAgenda
- Consistent Member Absences – Discussion & possible resolution
- Removal of board member Kenisha Mahajan – Resolution (Tentative)
- 108 South Street, application for a wine, beer and cider – Resolution
- Candidates for the Discretionary Actions Consultant – Report
- Urban Planner Job Posting – Report
- Committee reportsFriday, July 226:30pm-8pmWagner ParkRhythm and grooves fill the air at this Friday evening program. Follow the lead of professional drummers as they guide you through the pulsating beats of traditional African drumming techniques and methods. Drums provided, dancing welcome!
Lower Manhattan GreenmarketsTribeca GreenmarketGreenwich Street & Chambers StreetWednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-3pm (compost program: Saturdays, 8am-1pm)Bowling Green GreenmarketBroadway & Whitehall StTuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-5pm (compost program: 8am-11am)World Trade Center Oculus GreenmarketTuesdays, 8am-5pmThe Outdoor Fulton Stall Market91 South Street, between Fulton & John StreetsIndoor market: Monday through Saturday,11:30am-5pmCSA pick-up: Thursday, 4pm-6pm; Friday, 11:30-5pmOutdoor market: Saturdays, 11:30am-5pm
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Today in History: July 21
On this day in 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to step onto the surface of the Moon.
356 BC – Herostratus sets fire to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.365 – An earthquake followed by a tsunami around the Eastern Mediterranean allegedly destroys Alexandria.1853 – Central Park is created when the New York State Legislature puts aside more than 750 acres of land on Manhattan Island1861 – In the first major battle of Civil War, the South wins.1925 – The “Monkey Trial” ends and John Scopes is found guilty of teaching Darwinism.1969 – Neil Armstrong steps onto the surface of the Moon.2021 – Debut of the world’s fastest train, a Chinese state-owned maglev bullet train, with speeds of 600 kilometers per hour (373 miles) in Qingdao, China.Births1899 – Ernest Hemingway, author (Nobel 1954), (d. 1961)1920 – Isaac Stern, violinist (d. 2001)1948 – Cat Stevens [Steven Demetre Georgiou; Yusaf Islam], singer1948 – Garry Trudeau, political cartoonistDeaths1796 – Robert Burns, Scottish poet, dies at 371948 – Arshile Gorky, abstract expressionist, dies at 432015 – E. L. Doctorow, author, dies at 84
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