Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Paul Hovitz Concludes 27 Years of Service on Community Board 1
After nearly three decades of building schools, fighting for affordable housing, championing cultural institutions, and generally making Lower Manhattan a better place to live, Paul Hovitz has stepped down from Community Board 1(CB1), where he has served as vice chairman for three years, and previously presided as chair of the Youth & Education Committee. On that panel (where he also served as co-chair, once he ascended to the vice chairmanship of CB1 as whole in 2016), he drew upon decades of experience as a special education instructor in the City’s public school system.
At the June 25 meeting of the Board, CB1 member Bob Townley (who is also the founder and executive director of Manhattan Youth), said “Paul is a teacher, but he’s also a community activist. He represented and knew both sides of the coin. Because of that, we were very, very, successful over the years in getting things done.”
“You can talk about what a nice guy Paul is, how handsome he is,” Mr. Townley continued, “but he is a real doer. And he influenced me and every other member of this committee by his love for children, as a teacher, and by his love for community.”
Tricia Joyce, chair of CB1’s Youth & Education Committee, recalled that, “I came to the Board a decade ago, because I had two kindergartners in one of eight kindergarten classes at P.S. 234, even though it was built for just five kindergarten classes. And I was in a panic as a first-time parent of twins.”
“I went to a meeting hosted by [then Borough President] Scott Stringer,” Ms. Joyce remembered, “and he explained that this wasn’t new. It had started in the early 1990s, had also happened in the 1970s. It follows gentrification.”
“So I found myself, even though I had long experience as an activist, in a position where I needed a crash course in how to deal with the Department of Education [DOE] if I was going to get involved and try to represent this community and our youth,” she added. “And everything I know, I attribute to Paul. He trained me, and trained me well. He introduced me to terminology, because DOE has secret words, like ‘buckets’ and ‘portfolios.'”
“I can’t tell you how many times he rallied me on when I had an idea, but wasn’t sure how to move forward,” Ms. Joyce reflected, “because I hadn’t had enough experience at that point to take it somewhere. And he said, ‘just do it.’ So thank you, Paul, for every gentle push, thanks for the crash course, and thanks the ongoing education.”
Paul Goldstein, who chairs CB1’s Waterfront, Parks & Cultural Committeenoted that, “back in the 1990s, at the time when he was appointed and I was the Board’s district manager, Paul was one of the few members of CB1 who had children, which shows how much the community has changed.”
“One of the first projects we worked on together was the creation of P.S. 234,” Mr. Goldstein recalled. “This involved a trade-off that was controversial at the time: CB1 accepted a developer’s plan for a very tall building at 380 Greenwich, the Citicorp Building. But in return, we insisted on our first-ever public school for CB1 — P.S. 234.”
In an illustration of the historian’s maxim that “no victory is ever final,” this led immediately to a new battle. “Once P.S. 234 had finally opened, it was zoned only for people living west of Broadway, but Lower Manhattan residents living east of Broadway were not eligible to attend,” Mr. Goldstein remembered. “So Paul and I joined forces, and getting children from the East Side the opportunity to go there was one of our first big victories.”
This marked the beginning of decades of activism on behalf of Lower Manhattan schools by Mr. Hovitz. He subsequently fought for the creation of P.S. 89/I.S. 289 and P.S./I.S. 276, both in Battery Park City, as well as the Spruce Street and Peck Slip Schools, near the South Street Seaport. More recently, he was a key advocate for the creation of the new public school now under construction at 77 Greenwich Street, in the Financial District, which is slated to open in 2020.
Once DOE had committed to building a school there, he embarked on subsequent campaigns to ensure that the facility would have separate spaces for gym and performing arts classes, and that the plaza in front of the building would be large enough to enable safe drop-off and pick-up of hundreds of small children each day. At the same time, Mr. Hovitz helped lead a similar push to close the street in front of the Peck Slip School to traffic, so that students could use it as a play space.
He was further involved in two successive battles to save Tribeca’s P.S. 150, when DOE officials decided (most recently in 2018) that the valuable real estate occupied by the highly regarded elementary school made it cost prohibitive to operate. In each case, these campaigns were successful, and P.S. 150 got a new lease on life.
Mr. Hovitz was also instrumental, Mr. Goldstein recalled, in convening the School Overcrowding Task Force, a panel of elected officials, community leaders, and DOE decision-makers, who met for several years to strategize about how to ease the crisis created by the popularity of Lower Manhattan public schools, amid the area’s burgeoning residential population in the years following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
He additionally helped lead local protests, in 2014, seeking to persuade DOE officials to place less emphasis on standardized tests for young pupils, which many parents and educators have come to regard as a stressful distraction for students.
When not waging political battle on behalf of schools and students, Mr. Hovitz was also a consistent advocate for affordable housing in a rapidly gentrifying community. This position took on a personal edge four years ago, when he led a quixotic (and ultimately unsuccessful) campaign to prevent the Southbridge Towers apartment complex, where he has lived for decades, from withdrawing from the Mitchell-Lama affordability program. Mr. Hovitz opposed the privatization of Southbridge Towers in spite of the fact that the proposed change promised a significant financial windfall for him, along with all other residents. “I just didn’t see how I could agree to any plan that would deny to later generations the same opportunity for a decent home at a reasonable price that I had benefitted from,” he said at the time. In spite of Mr. Hovitz’s opposition, Southbridge withdrew from the Mitchell-Lama program at the close of 2015.
Mr. Hovitz’s community leadership has always been especially focused on the South Street Seaport neighborhood, where he has been a patron and protector of the South Street Seaport Museum, and joined a broad coalition of residents and elected officials to oppose a 2009 plan by developer General Growth Properties to erect a skyscraper next to Pier 17, on the site of the New Market Building. More recently, he has brokered a dialog between the Howard Hughes Corporation (the successor to General Growth Properties in redeveloping the Seaport) that has resulted in generous corporate support for local schools and community service organizations, such as the Downtown Little League.
In 2016, he was part of a coalition of community leaders who opposed (unsuccessfully) a plan by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to hand over to building owners along Water Street more than 100,000 square feet of arcades and plazas that were created as public amenities, allowing developers to enclose and privatize these spaces by building new retail storefronts.
That same year, Mr. Hovitz exposed a local scandal by documenting that paid political consultants, masquerading as opinion-poll researchers, were in reality trying to manipulate Lower Manhattan residents into supporting this plan, by calling them under the pretext of representing City Council member Margaret Chin. When the lobbying team hired to push this proposal initially denied the accusation, Mr. Hovitz provided photographic proof, in the form of a Caller ID screen on his home phone falsely ascribing such a call to Ms. Chin’s office. At that point, the lobbying team reversed itself, admitted that this deception had taken place, and apologized, while blaming the subterfuge on a rogue subcontractor.
“He’s been very effective,” Mr. Goldstein said at the June 25 meeting. “His combination of being personable and persistent, and knowing how to work a room, has enabled him to get many, many things done.”
Mr. Goldstein closed by saying to Mr. Hovitz, “I urge you to stay involved. But somehow I doubt that you will need such an invitation,” which elicited a round of appreciative laughter and sustained applause.
Mr. Hovitz then rose and observed that, “the general gives orders to the guys in the trenches and the coach figures out the plan for the team. You folks are the soldiers in the trenches and you are the members of the team. It took a village to get all these things accomplished, and you are the village. It has been a great honor and a privilege for me to work with you.”
“This is not a farewell,” Mr. Hovitz continued, noting that he will continue to serve on the board of directors of Manhattan Youth and the community advisory board of New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. “I’ve also been approached to create an East River Trust, which will be another project,” he said.
“I love you all,” he concluded. “But I will not be missed, because I will still be around.”
South BPC Resiliency Project
The full presentation and video from the South BPC Resiliency Project Public Meeting #3 held last week at 6 River Terrace is now available on the Battery Park City Authority’s Resiliency page, under the heading “South Battery Park City Resiliency Project.”
Additional feedback on the concepts presented may be submitted until Monday, July 15 to the dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class of 2019
A well-educated mind will always have more questions than answers. Helen Keller
Hannah and Jack Sklover grew up in Battery Park City, coming of age in the post-911 neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. Pictured with their mom, Judy Sklover, Jack and Hannah both graduated this year.
Jack attended PS150 and PS89 Elementary School, Salk School of Science Middle School and graduated from Baruch College Campus High School in May and in September, he’ll be bound for SUNY Binghamton.
Hannah, attended PS150, Salk School of Science Middle School, Beacon High School and in May, earned a Bachelor of Science Public Health from Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
Andrea Ward graduated at the top of her class from Metropolitan College of New York School for Human Services and Education with a Bachelors in Human Services with honors and was chosen as a commencement speaker by the faculty.
“From 2013 to 2017, I was a serial college student after having enrolled in 3 different colleges over a 4 year period. Now at 30 years old, truth be told, I would not be here if it wasn’t for my family, friends, and MCNY. I vowed that I would graduate with honors no matter how hard it would be. This degree is not only mine, but it belongs to every person who has ever helped me get to this point. This is my thank you to all of you.”
And to that she added, “To all of my fellow graduates, In life there will be shame and guilt thrown your way. It’s up to you on how you respond to the negativity. Please remember, every accomplishment has its season, and every event has its reason. To the graduating class of 2019, may we all give a round of applause to all the Kings and Queens.”
Metropolitan College of New York, located at 60 West Street, is a private, college and consists of three schools: The Audrey Cohen School for Human Services and Education, the School for Public Affairs and Administration, and the School for Business.
We congratulate this year’s graduates and encourage all to send a photo and a few words about your achievements. Submissions of all age groups welcome at: email@example.com
Multi-Year Traffic Safety Push Culminates as Traffic Light Comes to South End and Rector
More than a decade of advocacy by community leaders came to fruition on Saturday (June 29) when contractors working for the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) activated a traffic light at the intersection of South End Avenue and Rector Place.
Tammy Meltzer, who chairs the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1, said at a May meeting, when the final approval was announced, “the DOT has agreed that the volume of traffic, and the history of accidents there, both call for a change. The good news is that this won’t be a ‘traffic calming measure,’ which is what we’ve been promised in the past. This will be a traffic control measure.”
To the Editor,
I fully applaud the combined efforts of BPC Parks and Gateway Plaza management to bring the ease of composting to the residents of Gateway Plaza.
Each time I throw my raw fruit and vegetable scraps into the compost bin, I feel like I’m contributing to the health of the local community.
To further entice people to partake, perhaps we can be shown what happens to the scraps after they’re picked up, and converted into nutrient-rich soil. For me, I’m very interested in seeing that process.
The Week’s Calendar
Battery Park City Parks
Join a fitness dance party with upbeat Latin music of salsa, merengue, hip-hop, and more! Enthusiastic instruction creates a fun community of dancers who learn new steps each week. Bring your friends and share in this fit and fun dancing community. 6 River Terrace. FREE http://bpcparks.org/events/2019-07/
Drop In Chess
Battery Park City Parks
Play the popular strategy game while getting pointers and advice from an expert. Chess improves concentration, problem-solving, and strategic planning – plus it’s fun! For ages 5 and up (adults welcome). Rockefeller Park. http://bpcparks.org/events/2019-07/
Brookfield Place New York
Rounds of trivia games at Hudson Eats. https://bfplny.com/events
Elements of Nature Drawing
Battery Park City Parks
Get inspired by the beautiful expanse of the Hudson River & New York Harbor. Embolden your artwork amidst the flower-filled and seasonally evolving palette of Wagner Park’s verdant gardens. An artist/educator will provide ideas and instruction. Materials provided. Wagner Park.FREE http://bpcparks.org/events/2019-07/
Figure Al Fresco
Battery Park City Parks
Challenge your artistic skills by drawing the human figure. Each week a model will strike both long and short poses for participants to draw. Artist/educators will offer constructive suggestions and critique. Materials provided. South Cove. http://bpcparks.org/events/2019-07/
Battery Park City Parks
Unwind from the day with outdoor yoga overlooking the sights and sounds of our river. Strengthen the body and cultivate awareness in a relaxed environment. An instructor provides guidance with alignment and poses. All levels welcome. Bring your own mat. Wagner Park.
The Fourth of July
The American Revolution: Dawn of Independence
Fraunces Tavern Museum
Walking tour, led by Ellen Baird. Enjoy the same stops, themes, and topics of our Independence Eve tour in the quiet early morning hours of the nation’s birthday. $25, $30 http://www.frauncestavernmuseum.org/group-tours
NYC Runs Firecracker 5K and 10K
Trust for Governors Island
Run on Governors Island and celebrate the 4th of July. https://nycruns.com/races/?race=nycruns-firecracker
Fraunces Tavern Museum Open House
Celebrate America’s Independence at Fraunces Tavern Museum with $1 admission to the museum all day. 54 Pearl Street. http://www.frauncestavernmuseum.org/group-tours
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House Tour
Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
Tour of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, home of the National Museum of the American Indian in New York. Tour highlights include a discussion of the history of the site, architect Cass Gilbert, viewing the Collectors office; Tiffany woodwork; Reginald Marsh murals; and the 140-ton rotunda dome by Raphael Gustavino. One Bowling Green. FREE https://americanindian.si.edu/calendar
South Street Seaport Museum
Take a harbor sail on a historic 1885 schooner PIONEER. The vessel, was built as an iron-hulled sloop to carry cargo along the Delaware River.
Check web site for times. $28-$42 Pier 16 (box office at 12 Fulton Street). https://southstreetseaportmuseum.org
Today in History
1698 – Thomas Savery patents the first steam pump
1843 – An alligator falls from sky during a thunderstorm in Charleston, South Carolina
1890 – Congress passes Sherman Antitrust Act
The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 is an antitrust law that regulates competition among enterprises, passed by Congress under Benjamin Harrison’s presidency.
1900 – First zeppelin flight takes place on Lake Constance near Friedrichshafen, Germany.
1937 – Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappear over Pacific Ocean aboard the Electra, en route to Howland Island.
Official search operations lasted until July 19th. The Navy and Coast Guard spent four million dollars, making this the most expensive air and sea search up to that time. The most widely accepted explanation for their disappearance is the crash and sink theory. It is believed the Electra ran out of fuel and disappeared into the ocean. Estimates have the plane at a depth of 18,000 feet about 5.5 kilometers or 3.4 miles under the sea.
1957 – USS Grayback, the first submarine designed to fire guided missiles, is launched
1990 – Panic in tunnel of Mecca: 1,426 pilgrims are trampled to death
2001 – AbioCor, a self contained artificial heart, is implanted for the first time.
2002 – Steve Fossett becomes the first person to circumnavigate the Earth solo and in a balloon, without stopping, completed in just under 15 days.
1862 – William Henry Bragg, English physicist, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in physics with his son William Lawrence Bragg
1884 – Alfons Maria Jakob, German neurologist who contributed greatly to the understanding of multiple diseases. He was the first to identify Alper’s disease, and along with Hans Gerhard Creutzfeldt, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
1923 – Wislawa Szymborska, the poet referred to as the ‘Mozart of Poetry’, is born in Prowent, Poland. A poem by Wislawa Szymborska:
The Three Oddest Words
When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.
When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.
When I pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no non-being can hold.
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh
Copyright © Wislawa Szymborska, S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh
Composting Takes Root
in Battery Park City
In a 2017 study of residential waste by the NYC Department of Sanitation, 21% of garbage was food scraps. Not only does food waste take up unnecessary space in landfill, it releases gas, which is detrimental to the environment.
Thanks to the Battery Park City Authority, Battery Park City has always been at the forefront of green living, guided by BPCA’s pioneering green building guidelines and organic park maintenance. For the last couple years, there have been two community compost bins – one at BPC Parks headquarters on Battery Place and one on Chambers Street.
City Council Votes to Okay Controversial Senior Housing Proposal
The City Council voted to approve the Haven Green proposal on Wednesday, bringing the controversial plan for a senior housing facility on the site of the Elizabeth Street Garden, in Little Italy, a step closer to reality. The vote in favor of the project was unanimous, except for one abstention from Rafael Espinal, a Council member from Brooklyn.
The strong majority in support of the proposal reflected the City Council’s tradition of deferring to a member in whose district a project is located. Because Council member Margaret Chin, who represents Lower Manhattan, supports Haven Green, its passage was viewed as a fait accompli.
EYES TO THE SKY
June 24 -July 7, 2019
Country nightlife, fleeting Mercury, celestial triangle
Stargazing begins about 4 hours later at summer solstice time than around the winter solstice! Sunset, now the latest of the year, 8:31pm in our locale, is followed by a long, lingering twilight. Nightfall is not until about 10:35. In between, an hour to an hour and a quarter after sundown, the brightest stars and planets are visible.
How to Counteract a Cataract
BPCA to Host Meeting on Wagner Park Flood Measures
The Battery Park City Authority will host the fourth in an ongoing series of public meetings that will determine the shape of resiliency measures to be constructed soon on the community’s southern flank, near Wagner Park and Pier A.
Albany Wants to Keelhaul Ad Barges
State Lawmakers Bark ‘Belay That’ to Water-Borne Marketing Messages
The ubiquitous advertising barges that have become anathema for Lower Manhattan residents over the past year have attracted hostile attention from members of the State Senate and Assembly.
Bills were enacted in the closing days of the legislative session that would ban the 60-foot catamaran — bearing an electronic sign capable of rendering high-definition, full-motion video, similar to the “jumbo-tron” panels that adorn multiple buildings in Times Square — from continuing to conduct its business in New York’s waters.
Very Merry Skerry Ferry
Governors Island Passengers Are Going in Style with Launch of New Vessel
Visitors to Governors Islandembarking from Lower Manhattan now have a new way to get to the beloved greensward that has become Downtown’s equivalent of Central Park.
The new vessel, Governors 1, a 132-foot-long, 40-foot-wide ferry was built over the last two years at a cost of $9.2 million in the Warren, Rhode Island shipyard of Blount Boats, from a design by Seattle-based Elliott Bay Design Group.
Not Ferry Nice
Concerns about Crowding and Noise Surround City Hall Plan for New Staten Island Route to Battery Park City
The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to launch in 2020 a new ferry service from Staten Island that will bring to the Battery Park City ferry terminal more than 60 new vessels each day, carrying as many as 2,500 passengers.
Subvertising Campaign Shocks the Conscience, But Not for Long
On Wednesday morning, two dozen cages fashioned from chain-link fencing appeared on sidewalks at strategic locations around Manhattan and Brooklyn. A pair of these were placed in Lower Manhattan: one on Centre Street, opposite the Municipal Building and close by the Brooklyn Bridge; the other about two blocks away, near the intersection of Broadway and Vesey Streets.
Each one contained a lifelike mannequin, the size of a small child, wrapped in a foil blanket, which bore a disturbing resemblance to a shroud. From around the edges of these blankets, locks of hair and smalls pair of shoes were visible. Concealed within every cage was also a rudimentary audio system that repeatedly played a track of a small child sobbing. This was interspersed with the sound of a heartbeat.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades Respectable Employment
Lost and Found 212-912-1106
$99 Hypnosis Session
($247 value) Smoking Cessation, Weight Loss, Motivation, Sports Performance, Confidence, Stress, Insomnia…
Call Janine Today. Limited time offer! 917-830-6127
Experienced Elder Care (12 years)
Able to prepare nutritious meals and light housekeeping
Excellent references 347 898 5804 Hope
NOTARY PUBLIC IN BPC
$2 per notarized signature
Text Paula at 917-836-8802
Dishes, windows, floors, laundry, bathrooms.
You name it – I will clean it.
Call Elle at 929-600-4520
IT AND SECURITY SUPPORT
Experienced IT technician. Expertise in 1-on-1 tutoring for all ages.Computer upgrading & troubleshooting.
Knowledgeable in all software programs. James Kierstead firstname.lastname@example.org 347-933-1362. Refs available
Experienced with BPC residents. Available nights, days, and weekends. Will cook, clean and administer medicine on time. Speaks French and English. Can start immediately. Please call or text 929-600-4520.
OLD WATCHES SOUGHT
Mechanical pocket and wristwatches sought and
If you would like to place a listing, please contact email@example.com
36 Ebony, 52 Ivory, 28 Liberty
Sing for Hope Makes Music for the Eyes, Colors for the Ears
On June 3, the much-lauded public art project, Sing for Hope Pianos, returned to the streets as 50 artist-designed pianos were arrayed on Fosun Plaza, outside 28 Liberty Street.
Cruise Ships in the Harbor
Arrivals and Departures
Tuesday, July 2
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm;
Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos/San Juan, PR/Dominican Republic
Thursday, July 4
Anthem of the Seas
Inbound 6:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 4:00 pm;
Friday, July 5
Inbound 7:15 am; outbound 6:30 pm; Bermuda/Miami, FL
Saturday, July 6
Adventure of the Seas
Inbound 6:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 3:00 pm;
Bar Harbor, ME/Canadian Maritimes
Inbound 7:15 am; outbound 3:30 pm;
Port Canaveral, FL/Bahamas
Sunday, July 7
Inbound 7:30 am (Bayonne); 4:00 pm; Bermuda
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm; Bermuda
Queen Mary 2
Inbound 6:00 am (Brooklyn); outbound 5:00 pm;
Transatlantic (Southampton, UK)
Many ships pass Lower Manhattan on their way to and from the Midtown Passenger Ship Terminal. Others may be seen on their way to or from piers in Brooklyn and Bayonne. Stated times, when appropriate, are for passing the Colgate clock in Jersey City, New Jersey, and are based on sighting histories, published schedules and intuition. They are also subject to tides, fog, winds, freak waves, hurricanes and the whims of upper management.
CB1 Wants to Contravene Convene
Local Leaders Raise Concerns about Traffic and Crowding from Planned Events Venue at Brookfield
The owners of Brookfield Place, are planning to launch an events venue that will host up to 1,000 people at a time, which has sparked concerns about traffic and crowding from community leaders.
At the June 5 meeting of the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1), Mark Kostic, Brookfield’s Vice President for Asset Management, explained that Convene, a firm that develops and markets meeting rooms, event venues and flexible workspaces (and is partially owned by Brookfield) will be taking over the 86,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Saks Fifth Avenue, at 225 Liberty Street.
Anthem of the Seas Spins About
Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
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