The Broadsheet – Lower Manhattan’s Local Newspaper
Prison Revision: No to Demolition, Yes to Distaff Detainees
The current Manhattan Detention Complex, which the Adams administration controversially plans to demolish and replace with the world’s tallest jail, could instead be used as a prison for women, according to Community Board 1 and City Council member Christopher Marte.
Community Board 1 is joining a call by City Council member Christopher Marte to change course on a scheme to build the world’s tallest jail in Lower Manhattan, and instead adapt the current Manhattan Detention Complex (MDC) for use as a women’s prison.
At issue is the plan by the administration of Mayor Eric Adams to demolish the existing MDC, located in Chinatown (on White Street, between Baxter and Centre Streets) and erect a much large jail in its place, as part of a broader project to close the City’s centralized detention facility on Rikers Island, and replace it with four borough-based jails (one in each borough except Staten Island).
Critics of this plan, which is officially priced at $9 billion (but skeptics predict will likely cost many billions more), envision years of harmful environmental impacts from demolition and construction, followed by decades of crowding on local streets as thousands of staff and support personnel report to the new facility each day.
Council member Marte proposed in June to convert the existing MDC into a jail for woman, noting in a letter to Mayor Adams that the majority of the 300 women imprisoned at Rikers Island are domestic violence survivors, and arguing that the City’s provisional plan (to integrate these women into a planned facility for male and female prisoners in Queens) “has raised serious concerns among elected officials and activists,” and sparked calls for a strategy to move the women to another all-female facility.
“We urge the City to instead relocate these women to the Manhattan Detention Complex in Chinatown as the most suitable and feasible alternative,” he continued, arguing for the Lower Manhattan location based on the fact that it is currently empty and has the capacity to house more than 1,000 inmates.
Mr. Marte’s proposal was followed by a resolution from CB1, which notes that “renovating the South Tower of the existing Manhattan Detention Complex would not require any additional bulk to accommodate such a use,” and “the resulting complex would achieve many of the goals of the [borough-based jails] plan, such as local access, ample transit options, and a connection to the courts and community.”
The resolution concluded, “CB1 joins Council member Marte in urging for a feasibility study for the adaptive reuse of the MDC South Tower. With rising inflation in addition to normal cost escalation, supply chain delays, erosion of the City’s tax base and a looming recession, it would be completely irresponsible not to evaluate the costs of building new versus renovating the existing Manhattan Detention facility.”
Although City Hall has pronounced itself determined to move ahead with demolition and rebuilding of the MDC, it has delayed implementing this plan for several months, since ringing the facility with construction barriers and fencing in April, which sparked protests that led to the arrests of ten local activists. While the Adams administration said at the time that razing the building was to begin in a few days, there has been almost no activity at the site in the five months since.
Quad Erat Auferendum
Real Estate Group Proposes Redeveloping ‘Highly Coveted’ College Campus in Tribeca
The New York Building Congress (NYBC) has released a series of proposals that outline the real estate industry’s agenda and goals for coming years, one of which targets a large parcel of land that is an integral feature of Lower Manhattan’s streetscape. Read more…
Landlord Accuses FiDi Tenant of the Ultimate Side Hustle
A Financial District landlord is accusing a tenant of operating a high-end speakeasy from his 75th-floor apartment. In a story first reported by Crain’s New York, the owners of Eight Spruce Street (the giant private equity firm Blackstone Inc., which bought the skyscraper last year for $930 million) are suing tenant Carlos Eduardo Gasperi, who has leased apartment 75H in the building since April of this year, for “using the apartment as a restaurant in contravention to the lease and applicable laws.” Read more…
Tuesday, September 27
6 River Terrace
Easy-to-follow Latin dance choreography. Come prepared for enthusiastic instruction, a little strength training and a lot of fun. Free.
Rockefeller Park House
Using clocks, opponents play 5 minute games. An instructor will be on hand to offer pointers and tips to improve your game. Free.
Play the popular strategy game while getting pointers and advice from an expert. For ages 5 and up (adults welcome). Free.
For ages 6-10. Practice the basics of passing, receiving, and game strategy with fun and challenging exercises and drills for all levels. Free.
The new book “New York Art Deco: Birds, Beasts & Blooms” illustrates the myriad ways that Art Deco is drawn in steel, stone, terra cotta, brass, and bronze upon New York City’s great buildings. Hosted by the Skyscraper Museum. Free.
Wednesday, September 28
Adopt a Plant
Pick up a free geranium from the Downtown Alliance. Limit: one per person. While supplies last.
Rector Park East
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.
Buenos Aires is home to what was once the most important Jewish community in South America. In this live-streamed walking tour, explore the many memorials and synagogues of the area and learn talk about parallels between Buenos Aires and New York City. $36.
Rockefeller Park House
Strengthen the body and cultivate awareness in a relaxed environment as your instructor guides you through alignments and poses. All levels are welcome. Bring your own mat. 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
Today in History
In 1965, a passenger aboard the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner took this shot as the great ship approached Lower Manhattan. Queen Elizabeth was launched on September 27, 1938. She was retired after her final crossing to New York in 1968 and replaced by Queen Elizabeth 2. By 1975, Queen Elizabeth had been scrapped. Photograph by Jongleur100 via Wikipedia Commons.
1066 – William the Conqueror and his army set sail from Normandy, beginning the Norman conquest of England.
1540 – The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) receives its charter from Pope Paul III.
1590 – Pope Urban VII dies 13 days after being chosen as the Pope, making his reign the shortest papacy in history.
1779 – John Adams negotiates Revolutionary War peace terms with Great Britain.
1854 – The steamship SS Arctic sinks with 300 people on board. This marks the first great disaster in the Atlantic Ocean.
1908 – The first Ford Model T automobile was built at the Ford plant in Detroit.
1928 – The Republic of China is recognized by the United States.
1938 – Ocean liner Queen Elizabeth launched in Glasgow.
1941 – The SS Patrick Henry is launched and is the first of more than 2,700 Liberty ships.
1962 – Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring is published, inspiring an environmental movement and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
1998 – The Google internet search engine claims this as its birthday.
2020 – Details of Donald Trump’s tax returns are released by The New York Times showing he paid $750 in income tax in 2016 and 2017.
1544 – Takenaka Shigeharu, Japanese samurai (d. 1579)
1601 – Louis XIII of France (d. 1643)
1922 – Arthur Penn, director and producer (d. 2010)
1942 – Dith Pran, Cambodian photographer and journalist (d. 2008)
1735 – Peter Artedi, Swedish ichthyologist and zoologist (b. 1705)
1917 – Edgar Degas, French painter and sculptor (b. 1834)
2009 – William Safire, author and journalist (b. 1929)
2017 – Hugh Hefner, publisher, founder of Playboy Enterprises (b. 1926)
The Broadsheet Inc. eBroadsheet.com editor @ ebroadsheet.com ©2022 All Rights Reserved All photos © Robert Simko 2022 unless otherwise credited