Governor Dedicates Hurricane Maria Memorial in Battery Park City
Governor Kathy Hochul dedicates the Hurricane Maria Memorial on the fourth anniversary of the storm that claimed some 3,000 lives in Puerto Rico.
Governor Kathy Hochul came to Battery Park City on Monday afternoon, for the belated dedication of the Hurricane Maria Memorial (located at the corner of River Terrace and Chambers Street), which commemorates suffering on the island of Puerto Rico during the 2017 storm that claimed some 3,000 lives there.
The Memorial—which opened in March, but was never formally dedicated—features an ascending glass spiral, meant to evoke both a hurricane and a nautilus shell (symbolic of protection against a hostile environment). The structure, conceived by architect Segundo Cardona and artist Antonio Martorell (both based in Puerto Rico), reflects and refracts multi-hued beams of bright sunlight and is crowned by the star of the Puerto Rican flag, emblematic of hope rising from devastation. The glass panels of its facade, painted by Mr. Martorell, include the poem, “Farewell from Welfare Island,” by one of Puerto Rico’s most beloved poets, Julia de Burgos. (The text attests to the resiliency of the Puerto Rican people, and was written by de Burgos when she was living in New York City. It is the only work she ever wrote in English.)
At the ceremony, Ms. Hochul said, “this is not a celebration, but it’s a gathering of a community, a community that went through a collective experience that was so deeply painful, that it hurts to think about it four years later.”
Of the Memorial, she added, “it’s a symbol of the unity that we will display today, tomorrow, and going forward. Any time Puerto Rico needs us, we are there. We will always be there for you.
The Memorial, located at Chambers Street and River Terrace, features an ascending glass spiral, meant to evoke both a hurricane and a nautilus shell — symbolic of protection against a hostile environment.
Looking toward the possibility of future climate disaster in Puerto Rico, Governor Hochul said, “I will pledge the same resources we sent last time, and more. We will send airplanes down when no other will. I’ll send the National Guard down, all the utility workers, I’ll send our students once again. I’ll send whoever needs to be sent to make sure that we don’t make you suffer one second longer than necessary”
Ms. Hochul continued, “to the people who worked so closely to bring us this incredible tribute to the lives that were lost — it’s truly an extraordinary piece of art that is almost indescribable. Antonio, you did a beautiful job with this. You captured the essence of the experience that people were living through during those horrific days and weeks and months, it seemed like years, before there was any semblance of normalcy.”
Recalling the performance of then-President Donald Trump, she reflected, “it’ll always be a national disgrace, the visuals of a president who showed up and tossed paper towels to a crowd, and thought that that’s how you give people relief. Never again will we allow that shame to befall fellow Americans. Because they are fellow Americans. Puerto Ricans are part of our family.”
Governor Hochul concluded by observing, “this is a place of quiet reflection, and let’s not forget that there are lives that are not celebrating the next holidays. They’re the ones that are represented by this—the ones that we lost, the ones we love and the ones who will never be forgotten. That’s the message of today.”
Silverstein Envisions Breaking Ground Within Months on New Skyscraper at Two World Trade Center
After two decades years of rebuilding, there remains one significant missing piece in the World Trade Center complex. It is marked by the placeholder “podium” of a building at the west side of Church Street, between Vesey and Fulton Streets, which houses entry points for the underground shopping and transit facilities beneath the plaza, along with some ventilation equipment.
Formally designated at 200 Greenwich Street, this site is slated to someday be the home of Two World Trade Center. But 20 years of false starts may soon give way to actual construction. In a development first reported by the Commercial Observer, builder Larry Silverstein says that his firm is close to securing a deal with a corporate anchor tenant, and may start construction soon, even if such a rent does not commit to the building.
And just like that, Battery Park City Parks contain more wayfinding signs than an airport. This should solve the problems of all those confused visitors that accumulate at every decision point in the parks. But it may also attract crowds of wayfinding experts who believe that there is no such thing as too much wayfinding. We’ll survive this, of course. It’s just a bit over the top.
New Bike Path on Brooklyn Bridge Opens
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio, kept a promise made in his January State of the City address, by opening a dedicated bike lane on the Brooklyn Bridge, separated from both the pedestrian deck above and vehicle traffic with which it shares the roadbed. “A lot of people worked a long time for this day, and everyone knows that the bike lanes that existed on the Brooklyn Bridge really weren’t working,” he said. “As it got more and more crowded, we had to do something different. Here it is.”
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said, “finally, cyclists and tourists—and cyclists who are tourists—are getting the protected biking lane they deserve. Diverting bikes to this path will make the bridge’s pedestrian paths even more popular and make everyone, whether on two legs or two wheels, feel safer.” To read more…
Reclamation Trounces Preservation
Demolition of Historic Structure in Seaport Now Underway
Over the summer, the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) began the long-anticipated demolition of the New Market Building in the South Street Seaport. This development ignores a years-long campaign by preservationists to protect and rehabilitate the venerable structure.
The site has been a focus of controversy for nearly a decade. To read more…
September 16, 1920: Terror on Wall Street
On September 11 thousands gather at Ground Zero to honor those killed fifteen years earlier when commercial airliners were repurposed into deadly missiles, striking a blow at the very symbol of capitalism by targeting prominent buildings in New York’s Financial District.
On September 16 tens of thousands walk down Wall Street unaware that nearly a hundred years ago New York City’s deadliest terror attack until 2001 took place right there. Though no plaque marks the spot, the scars are still visible if you know where to look.
As the noon hour approached on a fall Thursday morning in 1920 a horse-drawn wagon slowly made its way west down Wall Street toward “the Corner,” the high-powered intersection of Wall and Broad. Its driver came to a gentle stop in front of the Assay Office, where stockpiles of gold and silver were stored and tested for purity. But theft was not his motive. To read more…
Sufficient Unto the Dey
Lottery Opens for New Affordable Apartments in Financial District Building
Lower Manhattan’s meager inventory of affordable rental apartments will soon swell by 63 units, thanks to a new development nearing completion at 185 Broadway, at the corner of Dey Street. The building, which will be known by its branding address of 7 Dey, will contain a total of 206 apartments (the remaining 143 units will be market-rate rentals), along with several floors of retail and office space. In exchange for committing to affordability protections on the 63 units, developer S.L. Green received tax incentives worth many millions of dollars, which helped to build the $300 million project.
New Governor Plans to Get BPC Opinions Regarding Essential Workers Monument
While many residents and community activists may have hoped that plans for an Essential Workers Monument in Battery Park City had perished in tandem with the political demise of former Governor Andrew Cuomo (who resigned in disgrace, in August), his successor may have other ideas.
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Wondering Whether You Have Been Worth the Windfall
You recall the frenetic chaos—people wandering blithely into traffic, while cars with flashing lights and bleating sirens tried to make lurching progress by driving on sidewalks. And everyone staring upward, transfixed.
Even amid the bedlam, one anomalously serene (even festive) detail stood out. Confetti—a jumble of office paperwork and shredded aluminum—drifting lazily toward the ground. Reminiscent of nothing so much as a ticker tape parade, but in reverse. The honorees didn’t know the parade was for them, because they had not yet become heroes and martyrs. Although in just a few moments, they would.
A few minutes later, you stood at the foot of a tower, looking up at an airplane-shaped hole in its side and thinking, “there is no way that building is going to fall down.” To read more…
Exercise in disguise! Join in on the fun featuring easy-to-follow Latin dance choreography while working on your balance, coordination and range of motion. Come prepared for enthusiastic instruction, a little strength training, and a lot of fun. Participants are expected to bring their own equipment: weights, water bottle, hand towel, etc. Masks required. Participants must maintain six feet of physical distance between households. All programs will be held in accordance with New York State reopening guidance.
With its amazing gardens and views of the Hudson River and New York Bay, Wagner Park is the perfect setting to practice your art. Participants are expected to bring their own drawing and painting supplies, including drawing boards and containers of water if they are planning to paint. BPCA will supply drawing paper and watercolor paper only. Masks required. Participants must maintain six feet of physical distance between households. All programs will be held in accordance with New York State reopening guidance.
Namaste! Unwind from the day with outdoor yoga. Immerse yourself in this meditative practice- surrounded by the Hudson’s peaceful aura. Strengthen the body and cultivate awareness in a relaxed environment as your instructor guides you through alignments and poses. All levels are welcome. Participants are expected to bring their own equipment: yoga mat, yoga blocks, water, etc. Masks required. Participants must maintain six feet of physical distance between households. All programs will be held in accordance with New York State reopening guidance.
China Institute is honored to welcome Chen Kaige, one of China’s greatest directors, in conversation with filmmaker Janet Yang and film expert Richard Pena, to discuss Yellow Earth, which revolutionized the way films were watched and created in China, and its enduring legacy nearly 40 years after its release. Free
Will China achieve its tech dreams? It all depends on whether it can produce advanced semiconductor chips, the tiny piece of metal that are crucial to the functionality of smartphones, modern cars, and even hearing aids. It’s the access to those tiny chips that Beijing’s tech ambitions ultimately will pivot on. Join us as two tech policy experts share insights into the global chip competition. Until now, China lacks the ability to produce advanced chips; the US, Europe, and Taiwan control the supply. Barred from buying cutting edge European equipment needed to fabricate high-end chips, China relies on importing chip imports. Last year, China imported $350 billion worth of chips, one third of them coming from Taiwan. Now, Xi Jinping is driving a self-reliance campaign, investing heavily in chip manufacturing across the country. Will he succeed? Free
The tall ship Wavertree, the schooner Pioneer, and the tug W.O. Decker are open to the public. Explore Wavertree while she is docked; cruise New York Harbor on W.O. Decker and Pioneer. Wavertree visits are free; Pioneer and Decker prices vary. Check website for times, prices and other details.
Art leaders Kamau Ware and Risë Wilson will discuss public art as an avenue for discovering and revealing untold histories. Multidimensional artist and historian Kamau Ware is Founder of Black Gotham Experience (BGX), an immersive multimedia project that reimagines the spaces directly impacted by the African Diaspora as human stories, Ware has become a voice to fill the visual abyss of Black New York history with research and illuminating creativity. Risë Wilson founded The Laundromat Project in 1999, an award-winning organization that connects artists and communities of color to their capacity to envision the world in which we all want to live, and the skills sets to make it so. Her twenty-year tenure in arts and culture has spanned philanthropic practice, strategic planning, artist development, and public engagement. Risë’s work in all its forms is preoccupied with dislodging herself from the bear-traps of oppression to help her kinfolk do the same.
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.