Lower Manhattan cultural institutions are beginning to stir from their months-long lockdown.
The 9/11 Tribute Museum (92 Greenwich Street, at the corner of Rector Street), reopened on September 3. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum(within the World Trade Center complex) will reopen its doors on the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The Museum of Jewish Heritage 36 Battery Place, near First Place) will welcome visitors back starting on September 13, and has also extended the run of its acclaimed exhibit, “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away,” through May 2.
The Fraunces Tavern Museum (54 Pearl Street, near Broad Street) will embrace patriots once more, starting on September 16. While the indoor gallery spaces at the South Street Seaport Museum remain shuttered, the organization has reopened the tall ship Wavertree to visitors, free of charge, for weekend afternoons on September 5 and 6, 12, 19, and 26 (from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm).
All of the institutions listed here have implemented phased reopenings, with time visits and strict social distancing guidelines. Making reservations (via each museum’s website) is strongly advised.
In the meantime, other Downtown museums remain closed. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Skyscraper Museum both have yet to announce reopening dates.
And, in a sign of deeper distress, the New York City Police Museum, headquartered in the NYPD’s former First Precinct building in the Financial District, remains closed indefinitely—not due to the pandemic coronavirus, but because City officials have not found a way to reopen the facility since it was flooded by Hurricane Sandy, in 2012.
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Event Tonight Will Honor and Remember Tribeca Teen Who Made a Difference
A virtual vigil this evening (Wednesday, September 2) will recall the life of Imogen Roche, the Lower Manhattan teen who died in an accidental fall from a Tribeca fire escape in September, 2018. Her father, Theseus Roche will mark the occasion at St. Paul’s Chapel starting at 6:00 pm, in an event that will both remember Imogen and acknowledge the support her teenage friends have offered Mr. Roche in launching the Imogen Foundation, which aims to create training programs for teenagers to identify peers in crisis, provide appropriate peer support, and understand signs of mental health emergencies that require escalation and additional resources.
On-Again, Off-Again Decision about Tribute in Light Revives Calls for National Parks to Manage September 11 Memorial
The recent controversy over the planned cancellation of the Tribute in Light (the twin beams of illumination that rise skyward from Lower Manhattan on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001) has led to renewed calls by community leaders for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum to be taken over by the federal government, and operated by the National Park Service (NPS).
The most recent dispute arose in August, when the Memorial announced that it was cancelling both the Tribute in Light and the annual reading of names that commemorates each life lost during the attacks. Both of these moves were characterized as public-safety measures, in the response to the ongoing pandemic coronavirus.
Appeals Panel Overturns Lower Court Decision Blocking Two Bridges Developments
Opponents of three massive real estate developments planned for the Lower East Side were dealt a setback on Thursday when the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court reversed a ruling from last year that said the projects were required to undergo a more rigorous form of public review before final approval. The Appellate Division, in a unanimous decision, ruled that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio had legal authority to approve the plans. To read more…
‘Schools Are Not Safe to Reopen’
Lower Manhattan Principals and Teachers Sound Alarm about Fall Semester
Multiple principals and teachers in Lower Manhattan public schools are voicing grave concerns about the plan to reopen education facilities on September 10.
They are also raising objections to the “blended learning model” that the City’s Department of Education (DOE) plans to implement this fall, with students going to school buildings one to three days per week, while learning remotely (from home) for the remainder of each week.
A coalition of 14 principals who run elementary and middle schools in the DOE’s District Two wrote to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza on August 19, calling upon them to, “delay the launch of in-person learning until we can adequately plan for a safe and instructionally sound return to school buildings.” To read more…
The Weight of Water
Discussion about Development Highlights Local Infrastructure Challenges
At what point does a water and sewer system designed after the Civil War to support a community of five-story buildings buckle under a district of 50- and 100-story buildings?
This was the question raised by Fern Cunningham at the June 17 meeting of the Quality of Life Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1). The Committee was reviewing a presentation by Humberto Galarza, a public affairs representative with the City’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Ms. Cunningham asked, “what is the impact of CB1’s increased density on our sewage treatment and access [to drinking water]?” This was a reference to the headlong pace of real estate development in Lower Manhattan in recent years.
“Every now and then we hear about water main breaks,” Ms. Cunningham continued, “and we are the oldest part of the City. To read more…
Welcome to the Velodrome
Visionary Plans for Getting Around Downtown Focus on Two Wheels and Two Feet
A pair of new studies outlines a future for Lower Manhattan that is highly cyclical. The first of these, a report from the Downtown Alliance titled, “Bicycle Infrastructure & Commuting in Lower Manhattan,” notes that more than 20 percent of people who are employed Downtown currently walk or bike to work, while nearly one-third of people who live here get to and from their places of business in the same way.
These hardy souls are among some 49,000 New York City commuters (concentrated mainly in Manhattan and Brooklyn) who get to the office and back under the power of their own legs each day — a figure that has jumped 55 percent since 2012, and is growing by roughly nine percent each year.
Local Apartment Rents and Sales Prices Tumbled in the Second Quarter
A trio of reports quantifies the extent to which property prices in Lower Manhattan crumbled in the three months ending June 30.
A pair of analyses from Platinum Properties, a brokerage firm headquartered in the Financial District, looks in detail at Battery Park City and the Financial District.
The company’s report about Battery Park City documents that the average sales price for a condominium in the community dropped by 24.81 percent, relative to the second quarter of 2019, to $1.16 million. This aggregate figure varies by apartment size, with the worst pain reserved for sellers of two-bedroom units, which dropped by 42.4 percent from the first quarter of this year. The number of units sold fell by more than half, to just nine apartments.
Kavanagh and Niou Aim to Protect Small Businesses by Offering Tax Incentives to Landlords
Two State legislators representing Lower Manhattan are proposing to rescue small businesses with a plan that would trade tax credits to landlords for rent breaks to commercial tenants.
Inspired by the acute financial distress that small businesses are experiencing in the wake of the pandemic coronavirus (and the economic cataclysm that it has unleashed), the “COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Lease Act,” sponsored in the State Senate by Brian Kavanagh and the Assembly by Yuh-Line Niou, aims to entice property owners to renegotiate leases and offer long-term, affordable rents to small business owners.
Though the South Street Seaport Museum’s indoor spaces remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the permanently-moored tall ship Wavertree will welcome back visitors for free on select days in September.
Visits will be self-guided along a set route and will include access to the outdoor areas, including main deck and quarter deck. The Museum will allow no more than 35 guests on board the ship at any time to encourage social distancing. All guests above the age of 2 will be required to wear a face covering at all times aboard Wavertree and at the Museum’s Open-Air Pop-Up Gift Shop Booth on Pier 16. FREE
Aspiring urban farmers can grow their knowledge at this 21,000 sq ft working urban farm! Learn all about urban agriculture and green infrastructure through workshops and family-friendly activities. The Teaching Garden features over 20 vegetable beds made from recycled plastic lumber, farm-style rows, an aquaponics system, an outdoor kitchen, a large solar oven, a high tunnel greenhouse, fruit trees, several rainwater harvesting systems, a rain garden, and more. Governors Island
From our living rooms and kitchens, and even from the deck of Wavertree, join us for our round-robin of shared sea songs, featuring members of The New York Packet and friends. Listen in, lead or request a song, and belt out the choruses for your neighbors to hear. Hosted by singers from the New York Packet.
Recently Reopened Businesses Downtown
Get Out on the Water
from North Cove
Need a safe and breezy break from your apartment? Several cruise operators have reopened in North Cove and are offering opportunities to get out on the water, including Tribeca Sailing, Ventura, and Classic Harbor Line. All cruise operators are adhering to social distancing guidelines; check individual websites for details.