The Broadsheet – Lower Manhattan’s Local Newspaper
Remembering a Pillar of the Community
Longtime Resident and Stalwart Protector of His Neighbors Memorialized
Maria Ouranitsas (left of tree and plaque), widow of Gus Ouranitsas, is flanked by friends and neighbors at the July 7 tree-planting ceremony commemorating the life of her husband, below.
Gus Ouranitsas, who lived in Battery Park City from 1986 until his death from a September 11-related cancer last year, was memorialized by friends and neighbors at a tree-planting ceremony and plaque unveiling on July 7.
Mr. Ouranitsas served as the resident manager of the Liberty Court condominium (at 200 Rector Place) from before that building opened to its first residents, 35 years ago. In his spare time, he coached multiple soccer teams for which his three children played. In the few spare moments that remained, he presided over a local Boy Scout troop, was among the founding volunteers on Battery Park City’s Community Emergency Response Team, and helped organize the public-service group, Time Bank.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, he helped to organize the evacuation of P.S. 89, where his children were students, then returned to the building he managed to oversee the departure of residents, provide emergency aid and equipment, and secure the entrances to prevent vandalism. In the days that followed, Mr. Ouranitsas slept in the building and worked around the clock, helping homeowners who briefly returned to retrieve pets and essential belongings, while presiding over a skeleton crew of staff. “We went into every apartment to remove perishables from more than 500 refrigerators, because the power had been cut,” he told the Broadsheet at the time of his retirement, last July, “and shut off the gas in every unit.”
When not occupied with readying Liberty Court for the return of residents, which would come a few months later, Mr. Ouranitsas also volunteered to help remove debris from the site of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church (where two of his children had been baptized), directly adjacent to the World Trade Center. In 2019, he was diagnosed with the pancreatic cancer that claimed his life three years later.
When he died, one day short of the 20th anniversary of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, his wife, Maria, said, “Gus exemplified the best of humanity. He was that rare person who put others first, ready with a helping hand, with no thought of personal gain, only wanting to bring joy to others. He will be remembered for his immense love of life, his cheerful exuberance, amazing smile, and indefatigable energy, as well as his love of dancing, cooking, traveling, and Greek music and culture.”
During the July 7 ceremony (held in the private gardens next to Liberty Court, and adjacent to West Thames Park), more than 50 family members and neighbors gathered around the newly planted, six-foot-tall dogwood tree, and admired the plaque, engraved with the words:
This tree is planted in honor of Konstantine “Gus” Ouranitsas.
Gus was Resident Manager of Liberty Court from 1987 to 2021.
With our deep gratitude and love from Liberty Court
At the commemoration, his friend and colleague, Lorraine Doyle, read an original poem which recalled, in part,
“When the towers fell he stood tall,
Stepping forward to help one and all.
He stayed with his building while others ran away,
His courage is remembered to this very day.
It’s hard to accept that he has left the fold,
This wonderful man with a heart of gold.
Where, oh where, is his smiling face?
Now fond memories must take its place.”
Much Derided Security Tent for Statue of Liberty Ferry Slated to Move, and Then Move Back
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.
To the editor,
[Re: “Unconventional Wharf-fare,” BroadsheetDAILY, July 21, 2022]
This is the most godawful plan I could imagine. The local community will lose the entirety of its access to the water and the park with this logistical plan to accommodate tourists.
Please, please, please reconsider using the Coast Guard parking lot and pier for
temporary access and security screening for Statue of Liberty tours. Decision makers need to rethink how the local community can have substantive access to parks and waterfront during these simultaneous resiliency projects in Lower Manhattan.
We are going to destroy the neighborhood for a few years to implement this work and it’s going to take one to two decades to recover to the beauty we enjoy today.
CB1 Approves Renovation to Historic Seaport Building
Tribeca Pediatrics Founder Gets Blessing to Make Alterations
Community 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.
For Thrifty Epicures
Restaurant Week Includes 45 Downtown Eateries
New 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
Friday, July 22
Governors Island, western promenade
Watch a shepherd, a herding dog, and a flock of sheep in action, and learn about regenerative land principles, too. Free.
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! Free.
Saturday, July 23
Paint in watercolor or use pastels and other drawing materials to capture the vistas of the Hudson River and the landscape of South Cove. An artist/educator will help participants of all levels with instruction and critique. Materials provided, and artists are encouraged to bring their own favorite media. Free.
Governors Island, Nolan Park, Building 15
Tommy Morimoto featuring Nat Adderly, Jr., Starlene Bey Experience, Ray Blue Quintet, Santi Debriano’s Arkestra Bembe and Neil Clarke and Band. Free.
Experience the energy and vivacity of Afro-Colombian Musical ensemble Rebolu! Learn the traditional steps of cumbia, puya, mapale and bellerengue with an instructor-led movement workshop and then hit the dance floor during a live performance. Free.
Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-3pm (compost program: Saturdays, 8am-1pm)
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Broadway & Whitehall St
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-5pm (compost program: 8am-11am)
World Trade Center Oculus Greenmarket
The Outdoor Fulton Stall Market
91 South Street, between Fulton & John Streets
Indoor market: Monday through Saturday,11:30am-5pm
CSA pick-up: Thursday, 4pm-6pm; Friday, 11:30-5pm
Outdoor market: Saturdays, 11:30am-5pm
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Today in History: July 21
This is the Brooklyn Bridge. Its designer, John Roebling, died of tetanus on this day in 1869, 24 days after his foot was crushed by a ferry arriving at a dock on the East River, where he was working at the bridge foundation. His son Washington Roebling was named chief engineer, but was incapacitated after suffering ‘the bends’ in a diving accident. Washington’s wife Emily then took over the building of the bridge. Completed in 1883, it was the first fixed crossing of the East River and the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time of its opening. Today, the Brooklyn Bridge is a National Historic Landmark and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
1587 – A second group of English settlers arrives on Roanoke Island off North Carolina to re-establish the deserted colony.
1686 – Albany, New York, is formally chartered as a municipality by Governor Thomas Dongan.
1706 – The Acts of Union 1707 are agreed upon by commissioners from the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which, when passed by each countries’ Parliaments, lead to the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain.
1893 – Katharine Lee Bates writes “America the Beautiful” after admiring the view from the top of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
1894 – The first-ever motor race is held in France between the cities of Paris and Rouen. The fastest finisher was the Comte Jules-Albert de Dion, but the ‘official’ victory was awarded to Albert Lemaоtre driving his three-horsepower petrol engined Peugeot.
1933 – Aviator Wiley Post returns to Floyd Bennett Field in New York City, completing the first solo flight around the world in seven days, 18 hours and 49 minutes.
2011 – Norway attacks: First a bomb blast targets government buildings in central Oslo, followed by a massacre at a youth camp on the island of Utoya.
1755 – Gaspard de Prony, French mathematician and engineer (d. 1839)
1784 – Friedrich Bessel, German mathematician and astronomer (d. 1846)
1849 – Emma Lazarus, American poet and educator (d. 1887)
1882 – Edward Hopper, American painter and etcher (d. 1967)
1898 – Alexander Calder, sculptor (mobiles, stabiles), (d. 1976)
1940 – Alex Trebek, Canadian-American game show host and producer (d. 2020)
1376 – Simon Langham, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1310)
1869 – John A. Roebling, engineer, designed the Brooklyn Bridge (b. 1806)
1934 – John Dillinger, bank robber, shot dead at 31 by federal agents at the Biograph Theater in Chicago
2019 – Art Neville, funk and R&B singer, keyboard player, and songwriter
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