Trump Supporters, Critics Make Their Cases in Battery Park City
A member of the pro-Trump flotilla that docked at North Cove Marina on September 11 displays his true colors.
In a gesture that was apparently intended to provoke and offend residents of Lower Manhattan, an armada of yachts and powerboats festooned with signs proclaiming support for the reelection of Donald Trump converged on North Cove Marina in Battery Park City on Friday, coinciding with the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. One vessel carried the name “Team Deplorable,” while another, called “Frivolous,” hosted a professional Donald Trump imitator, who began lip synching as recorded speeches by the President were played over an amplifier. When the passengers disembarked, they unfurled a banner that read, “Trump 2020: Fuck Your Feelings.”
When Justine Cuccia, a co-founder of Democracy for Battery Park City, walked along the Esplanade and displayed a sign emblazoned with the words, “Trump Is Not America,” to the occupants of one of these boats, she was answered with raised middle fingers and calls of, “fuck you, entitled liberal bitch!” The irony of hurling accusations of “entitlement” from the deck of a yacht was apparently unintentional.
A NYPD Harbor Unit vessel circles the front of North Cove Marina, positioning itself between the entrance to the anchorage and one of the boats participating in the Trump armada.
Minutes later, a New York Police boat that was patrolling nearby began to circle the entrance to North Cove Marina, which may have dissuaded additional vessels from entering the anchorage.
As passengers disembarked from the boats and began flying Trump 2020 banners from the Esplanade, a crowd of residents gathered near the Marina, and a heated discussion ensued. Ms. Cuccia, along with a chorus of local teenagers who happened on the scene while returning from an athletic practice, challenged the members of the flotilla with questions about bigotry, the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic coronavirus, the state of the economy, and numerous other issues. The Trump supporters countered with a litany of assertions about patriotism, respect for law enforcement, freedom of speech, gun control, and “fake news.”
Justine Cuccia, a co-founder of Democracy for Battery Park City, backed by a phalanx of teenagers who live in the community, argues with self-proclaimed “deplorables” about the upcoming election.
As speakers on both sides raised their voices, leaned into one another’s faces, and gestured sharply, the possibility of a physical confrontation did not appear out of the question. At this point, BPCA executives and security personnel arrived on the scene. This appeared to have the effect of lowering tensions. “They came and helped to defuse the situation,” Ms. Cuccia says. “It felt safer for all sides to express themselves after the Authority’s people arrived.”
In a striking convergence, both sides invoked the legacy of September 11 to support their positions. And in a similarly telling contrast, the Trump supporters were, without exception, not wearing masks to guard against the spread of COVID-19, while all of the local residents with whom they debated were. Before the Team Deplorable yacht departed, it blared recorded music at a high volume for approximately 20 minutes.
A Donald Trump impersonator mouths the words as audio recordings of speeches by Donald Trump are played over an amplifier.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) under which IGY and Brookfield were awarded the right to operate North Cove Marina also stipulated that, “control of noise in the Marina is a matter of great concern to BPCA;” that, “unreasonable noise is not permitted;” that, “no loud music [may be] played while boats are docked;” and that the marina operators, “shall insure that Boat Owners use their best efforts to eliminate all exterior noise.”
A BPCA spokesman replies that the signage approval requirement does not extend to vessels in the waters of North Cove Marina, but that prohibitions on noise do apply to boats moored there. “Unreasonable noise is not permitted, including the amplified music being played Friday,” the Authority representative says. “Brookfield and IGY are responsible for managing their berth permittees and BPCA will hold them accountable for that management.” In the event, all boats participating in the Trump flotilla departed North Cove Marina by Saturday morning.
A “living statue” of Donald Trump and his supporters that briefly appeared at (and disappeared from) Pier A Plaza on September 8.
In a separate (but similar) development, the plaza in front of Pier A on September 8 briefly hosted “The Final Push”—a tableau vivant sculpture of Donald Trump, pushed from behind by Fox News commentators Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, as he drives a gold-plated golf cart over the graves of Americans who have died during the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. military personnel killed while serving their country.
The installation (in which all of the human figures were actors, made up with gold body paint and trained to hold motionless poses for several hours at a stretch) was subtitled, “Donald Trump: Destroyer of Civil Rights and Liberties,” and was part of the Trump Statue Initiative—a satirical, guerrilla art movement that aims to increase voter participation in this November’s presidential election. In keeping with the custom of artistic insurgents, however, the Trump Statue Initiative had not applied for a permit to install their piece on public land. So BPCA security personnel directed them to leave, and within a few hours of its appearance, “The Final Push” was disassembled and removed.
(Editor’s Note: Ms. Cuccia is related to the reporter who wrote this story.)
To the Editor,
Thanks to Matthew Fenton for an eloquent and insightful editorial on a somber anniversary.
I was there on 9/11/01. Still bear the emotional scars of what I saw—and felt—on that day. Matthew mentions “the arc of forgetfulness.” None of us who were there on that day will ever forget what we saw. But I choose to interpret Matthew’s headline as an analogy of “A Learning Curve.”
None of us who were there on that day will ever forget. But we can move on. Which I interpret as Matthew’s point.
Matthew writes, “So we fight to recall, while longing to forget.” My approach is different. Cannot ever forget, but fighting not to recall.
The Forgetting Curve
Navigating the Waters of the River Lethe
In the recent controversy over whether the National September 11 Memorial & Museum ought to carry on this year with the annual traditions of reading the names of people who died during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the Tribute in Light, both sides were certain in their assumptions. Those who favored cancelling the events felt it was an urgent matter of public safety, in the wake of the greatest heath crisis in a century. Critics were sure that those who resolved to call off the observances were trying to save cash, while cynically hiding behind lofty pronouncements about the common good.
But what if both sides are wrong? What if this was, instead, a half-conscious, instinctive attempt at gently, incrementally stepping away from horror and sadness? What if the decision was a form of forgetting on the installment plan?
1) Trust for Governors Island – Update by Clare Newman, President and CEO*
2) Borough Based Jails/Manhattan Detention Complex – Report by Andrew Kunkes, Manhattan Borough Director, Community Affairs Unit, Office of the Mayor
3) Capital and Expense Budget Items for FY 2022 – Discussion
Small Business Working Group
1) Indoor Dining Reopening Plans – Discussion with Andrew Rigie, NYC Hospitality Alliance
2) Save Main Street: A Crash Program to Help Save NYC Small Businesses Report by the Office of New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer – Discussion & Possible resolution
3) Overview of Recent City Legislation – Discussion
Rewriting Skyscraper History: Looking Back from the 21st Century
Over the fall of 2020, The Skyscraper Museum will present a series of webinar sessions designed as a free online course on the early development of the skyscraper as a distinct building type.
This week’s topic is New York and Chicago, From the 1870s: Thinking About Tall Buildings and New Technologies. Tonight is the first of a pair of lectures by two historians, Thomas Leslie and Lee Gray, who will focus complementary talks on very different subjects that raise issues about how technological inventions and the embrace of new materials impact the form and functions of buildings. Two kinds of elevators – passenger and grain – provide the points of comparison. In one case, the introduction of passenger elevators in office buildings in New York from 1870 – a delayed adoption, after more than a decade of use in stores and hotels – is often identified as the origins of the “skyscraper.” Lee Gray, the preeminent scholar of elevator history and author of From Ascending Rooms to Express Elevators: A History of the Passenger Elevator in the 19th Century (2002), will discuss the “dialogue of invention and need” that characterized the earliest examples of the design of elevator office buildings in both cities. The two lectures, each about 40 minutes, will be held on different nights, and will include dialogue and Q&A with the two speakers, as well as with Museum Director Carol Willis.https://skyscraper.org/rewriting-skyscraper-history-looking-back-from-the-21st-century/#masonry-to-steel
Let There Be Light
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. To read more…
Photo: Robert Simko
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.
Jeremiah Dummer was America’s first silversmith. At 14, he was apprenticed to John Hull, a mintmaster in Boston, which led to a life of silversmithing, engraving and painting. He began his own business at the age of 23 making candlesticks, tankards and beakers. He was appointed to engrave Connecticut’s first paper currency in the late 1600s.
1741 – George Frideric Handel completes his oratorio Messiah.
1752 – The British Empire adopts the Gregorian calendar, skipping eleven days (the previous day was September 2).
1812 – Napoleonic Wars: The French Grande Armée enters Moscow. The Fire of Moscow begins as soon as Russian troops leave the city.
1901 – President William McKinley dies after being mortally wounded on September 6 by anarchist Leon Czolgosz and is succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.
1917 – The Russian Empire is formally replaced by the Russian Republic.
1954 – In a top secret nuclear test, a Soviet Tu-4 bomber drops a 40 kiloton atomic weapon just north of Totskoye village.
1958 – The first two German post-war rockets, designed by the German engineer Ernst Mohr, reach the upper atmosphere.
1959 – The Soviet probe Luna 2 crashes onto the Moon, becoming the first man-made object to reach it.
1960 – The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is founded.
1979 – Afghan President Nur Muhammad Taraki is assassinated upon the order of Hafizullah Amin, who becomes the new president.
1982 – President-elect of Lebanon Bachir Gemayel is assassinated.
2001 – Historic National Prayer Service held at Washington National Cathedral for victims of the September 11 attacks. A similar service is held in Canada on Parliament Hill, the largest vigil ever held in the nation’s capital.
2015 – The first observation of gravitational waves is made, announced by the LIGO and Virgo collaborations on 11 February 2016.
1388 – Claudius Clavus, Danish geographer and cartographer (d. 1438)
1643 – Jeremiah Dummer, American silversmith (d. 1718)
1804 – John Gould, English ornithologist and illustrator (d. 1881)
1936 – Lucas Samaras, Greek-American painter and photographer
1937 – Renzo Piano, Italian architect and engineer, designed The Shard and The New York Times Building
AD 23 – Drusus Julius Caesar, Roman son of Tiberius (b. 13 BC)
1836 – Aaron Burr, American colonel and politician, 3rd Vice President of the United States (b. 1756)
1851 – James Fenimore Cooper, American novelist, short story writer, and historian (b. 1789)
1901 – William McKinley, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 25th President of the United States (b. 1843)