Lower Manhattan’s Local News
When Vice is Nice
Two Veteran Committee Chairs Seek CB1’s Number Two Spot
Community Board 1 (CB1) has a new vice chair. Tammy Meltzer, who currently serves as CB1’s Secretary, as well as the chair of the Battery Park City Committee, was elected at the Board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday evening.
Also vying for the post was Paul Goldstein, who serves as the chairman of CB1’s Waterfront, Parks & Cultural Committee. Both Ms. Meltzer and Mr. Goldstein were hoping to replace Paul Hovitz, who stepped down from CB1 in June, after 27 years of service. Each candidate spoke briefly on Tuesday evening, to explain their reasons for seeking the vice chair’s post.
Mr. Goldstein began by predicting that, “Tammy and I will work well together regardless of outcome of the election,” and then recalled his decades of leadership in Lower Manhattan — first as CB1’s District Manager for 23 years (beginning in the 1980s); following which he served as a close aide to then-Speaker of the State Assembly, Sheldon Silver; and more recently as a member of CB1. His list of achievements includes helping to spur the creation of multiple schools and youth athletic leagues, along with vital amenities, such as libraries, parks, and playing fields.
“I know how to work with people,” Mr. Goldstein concluded, adding that, “I know when to compromise and when to stand firm, and I have the skill set to get things done. If you choose me for this position, I won’t let you down.”
Ms. Meltzer began by noting, “this community has lived through September 11, and we’ve prospered since. The situation we face now is dealing with where we are in a prosperous Lower Manhattan, and where we go from here.”
“Whatever we’re doing on the west side, we need to do on the east side,” she observed. “We need connectivity on issues like resiliency. We can’t just push problems from one area to the next.”
“We’ve seen all of these changes,” she concluded. “Now we have to look at what we want for the future.”
During a question-and-answer period following the candidates’ presentations, CB1 member Bob Townley congratulated both aspirants, “on running a very civil campaign. Because ultimately, we’re a community. And if the community can’t get along, we’re out of luck.”
CB1 chair Anthony Notaro observed that, “I can’t believe how blessed this Board is to have candidates like these. This is a hard decision, but I want to thank Paul and Tammy for standing up to the challenge.”
When the votes were counted following this discussion, Ms. Meltzer was elected by a margin of 29 votes to 13.
A Shore Thing
HRPT Plans Beach and Historic Sculpture for Gansevoort Peninsula
The Hudson River Park Trust has unveiled plans to create Manhattan’s first-ever public beach on the Gansevoort Peninsula, a five-acre-plus chersonese that juts out from the West Side waterfront, between Horatio and West 13th Streets.
The beach will be more for viewing the water than public bathing, owing to concerns about hygiene and safety — although a kayak launch is also planned for the site, for parks users who want to come into contact with the Hudson. But the sandy riverfront portion of the park will feature a playground and an area for sunbathing.
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Dear Mayor de Blasio:
This year on the Fourth of July, New Yorkers were denied access to view the annual Macy’s 4th of July fireworks from Howard Hughes Corporation’s Pier 17. Although obligated by agreement with the City of New York to provide 10,000 sf (25% of the rooftop) open to the public at all times, HHC excluded the public from Pier 17, reserving it for its VIP invites, the NBC media crews, and those who could afford the gilt-edged cost of the party offered elsewhere on the pier.
When local activist (and Save Our Seaport member) Stacy Shub took this complaint to elected officials and the news media, the developer offered space for 300 aboard the near-by vessel Wavertree, rented for the evening from the South Street Seaport Museum. In our view this offer was not made as a gesture to public access but as a cynical means to mollify local political criticism.
In terms of numbers and in terms of access, this cannot be considered a substitute for the space on Pier 17. Save Our Seaport calls upon the City to enforce its lease terms. -The City must require a financial penalty to be paid by the developer for this egregious violation of its lease. -The City must specify additional steps to prevent further violations in the future. Howard Hughes Corporation is not above the law.
Back in 2016, this developer received valuable concessions from the City to waive zoning requirements, relocate the land marked Tin Building and create a service road east of the FDR drive. They must respect the protections in effect to preserve the South Street Seaport Historic District or there must be consequences for their business.
Respectfully, Save Our Seaport David Sheldon, Steering Committee
cc: Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, City Council Member Margaret Chin, Deputy Mayor Vicki Been, Comptroller Scott M. Stringe,r Congressman Jerrold Nadle,r Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, State Senator Brian Kavanagh
We requested and received a response from Howard Hughes Corporation:
To the editor:
We were pleased to support and host the famed Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration, bringing the fireworks back to Lower Manhattan, and are thrilled that so many in our community as well as visitors enjoyed the spectacular evening along the cobblestone streets of the historic Seaport. With regard to Pier 17, it is New York City agencies that determined the closure of South Street to ensure public safety as they have done in past years when the fireworks have been produced at the Seaport. Prior to July 4, the City issued its list of viewing areas from which the public could safely enjoy the fireworks and no public access points east of South Street were included, similar to previous years. Given this circumstance and our commitment to providing the public with year-round access to Pier 17, we invited our neighbors to view the fireworks aboard the historic Wavertree, rented for the evening from the South Street Seaport Museum prior to any press on the matter to make it available to the community.
We are also pleased to continue to provide space for local nonprofits such as Black Gotham Experience, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Kubemas tutoring program, and host over 100 ongoing complimentary community events at the Seaport throughout the year, including the recent Waterfront Alliance City of Water Day, as well as concerts, cinema nights, and fitness classes and many other community and cultural events. These efforts, along with our Seaport Cares program to support and financially contribute to various Lower Manhattan organizations and participate in many community celebrations, are a result of our unwavering dedication to the Seaport’s continued success.
The Howard Hughes Corporation
To the editor:
This is rubbish. People were always allowed to watch the fireworks from the pier.
Upward with the Arts, Last Call!
Silver Art Projects, a public service project supported by Silverstein Properties is kicking off a new artist residency program at 3 WTC.
Under this initiative, dozens of artists will be invited to share more than 40,000 square feet of free studio space on the tower’s 50th floor.
Occupancy will begin in September, but artists who wish to participate must apply by July 31, www.silverart.com/home
Justice Delayed, But Not Denied
Ten Years Later, It Turns Out That FiDi Tenants Were Entitled to Rent Stabilization
Tenants at two FiDi rental buildings scored a major victory on June 25 when New York State’s highest court ruled that they had been illegally deprived of rent stabilization benefits.
The suit, which has been winding its way through the courts for a decade, focused on residents of 90 West Street and 50 Murray Street, but has implications for more than 5,000 apartments spread across more than a dozen buildings throughout Lower Manhattan.
Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
Free Flicks Under the Stars
The Hudson River Park Trust is offering free summer films.
Tonight, Do the Right Thing is scheduled. Films are shown on Pier 63 (near 24th Street) and begin at dusk.
Wednesday July 31
Battery Park City Authority
An exciting fusion of badminton and tennis, this new sport has been proven to strengthen muscles, boost cardiovascular health, enhance brain function. Join your favorite BPCA staff and other adults for some friendly competition at drop-in pickleball. All skill levels welcome! Equipment provided. Esplanade Plaza. http://bpcparks.org/events/2019-07/
Elements of Nature Drawing
Battery Park City Authority
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. http://bpcparks.org/events/2019-07/
Figure Al Fresco
Battery Park City Parks
Challenge your artistic skills by drawing the human gure. 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 Authority
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 Rector Street Bridge
To the editor:
I couldn’t agree more with the idea that we need to do everything we can as a community to keep this extremely important passage intact.
Unless there is a compelling reason presented by the appropriate authorities (safety issue with existing structure), I can’t fathom why we would consider removing such a useful and potentially lifesaving element of our community.
If all is okay with the existing structure, what a potential waste we are facing! Look at how long it took to build the West Thames Bridge and look at the astronomical amount of money it cost.
It would be mind-boggling to remove the Rector passage only to later realize how useful it was to the community. I venture to say we will never get another above-highway passage completed in our lifetimes and perhaps our children’s. We should be looking for more safe passages across the highway and not less.
Can Bob or the Broadsheet present suggestions on how we can create a common voice to communicate with the appropriate officials/powers that be?
John A. Zaro
The email for the Community Board is:
The email for the Battery Park City Authority is:
To the editor,
Re: Preservation of the Rector Street Bridge
More than a decade and a half ago with many fewer residents, workers and tourists in Battery Park City, there was no World Trade Center 1, 3, 4, or 7, no 911 Memorial, no Fulton Center, or Oculus, no World Financial ferry, Goldman Sachs headquarters, no Westfield, no bike-way, e-bikes or e-scooters, and no PS 276. At that time, it was decided to build two bridges across the West Street highway: a permanent bridge at West Thames and a temporary one at Rector Street. For whatever reasons, it was decided that the temporary bridge would be removed upon the completion of the new bridge. This was a potentially fateful decision.
Eighteen years of delays and $45+ million for the West Thames Bridge, the Rector Bridge is facing demolition. Over those years, the Rector Bridge has proven its usefulness to many.
Since there are no official surveys to record the use and users of the bridge, I have undertaken one.
Thus far I have counted 535 persons crossing the bridge and received 76 survey responses. 73.7% of the persons crossing the bridge are residents, 64.5% of whom had no knowledge that the bridge was scheduled for destruction. 74 out of 76 responders believed that crossing West Street at grade is more dangerous, but only 14.9% would use the West Thames Bridge. 85.1% would be crossing at Albany Street and exposing themselves and their children to increased danger.
The Rector Street Bridge is a vital commute path and time-saver for so many… there is no need to remove it on the basis of a much-dated understanding. Even one injury at on the bike-way or the highway would be a grave loss to our city and our community. With few bridges, underpasses and no sidewalk barriers, we need as many safety measures and bridges across the West Side Highway for the safety of the public as possible.
For health reasons, I have been slow and delayed in conducting this survey. I hope and intend to continue to record the interests of the bridge-crossers and to respond to their requests to prepare a petition for them to sign. I plan to be sitting on the bridge in a chair with a sign: “If you want to keep crossing this bridge // You’ll have to help save it.”
BPCA and CB1 to Host Discussion of Ball Fields Resiliency Plans Tonight
Tonight (Thursday, July 25), the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) and Community Board 1 (CB1) will co-host a public meeting to review resiliency plans for the ball fields in Battery Park City’s northern section. To read more…
Dulce et Decorum Est…
City Council Overrules CB1 on Naming Tribeca Intersection for NYPD Officer Killed in Iraq
The City Council on Tuesday overturned a preliminary determination made by Community Board 1 last October, by deciding to approve a proposal to co-name the Tribeca intersection of West Broadway and Lispenard Street in honor of James D. McNaughton, who, on August 2, 2005, at age 27, became the first New York City Police officer to be killed in action while serving in “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
In a vigorous debate, CB1 members voiced competing priorities.
Bumptious Bumpkins Make for Bus Bumpy Ride for Locals
Lower Manhattan community leaders are grappling with concerns about crowding, safety, and possible criminal activity surrounding the Connection shuttle bus, operated by the Downtown Alliance, which ferries riders around Lower Manhattan, free of charge.
For several years, apprehension about spurious ticket sellers hawking fake boarding passes to boats that purport to bring tourists to the State of Liberty have overlapped with concerns about the Connection bus.
A Super-Tall Laid Low
Stalled Tower at 125 Greenwich Street May Be Headed to Foreclosure
The troubled residential tower at 125 Greenwich Street may be facing foreclosure by lenders who say the development team has defaulted on the terms of several mortgages.
In May, work stopped on the building when multiple construction contractors filed liens against the developers for some $40 million in unpaid fees. This prompted several creditors — most prominently, the United Overseas Bank — to file notice with New York courts that they are owed $199 million in mortgage payments. The bank’s overall loan to the developers of 125 Greenwich is more than $450 million, and it is only one of half a dozen creditors.
Upward with the Arts
New Artist Work Space in World Trade Center Part of Creative Surge in Lower Manhattan
Silver Art Projects, a public service project supported by Silverstein Properties(operator of the World Trade Center complex) is kicking off a new artist residency program at Three World Trade Center.
Under this initiative, dozens of artists (working across a broad range of media and disciplines) will be invited to share more than 40,000 square feet of free studio space on the tower’s 50th floor, which will be given over in its entirety to this program.
Leader of the PAC
Former Governors Island Overseer Takes Helm at World Trade Center Performance Venue
The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center, now under construction at the World Trade Center, has a new president — Leslie Koch. Ms. Koch will be most familiar to Lower Manhattan residents as the guiding hand behind the Trust for Governors Island.
Her decade-long tenure there, which saw seasonal visitation rise from 8,000 per season to more than 600,000, ended in 2016. To read more…
A short film about the National Lighthouse Museum
For more info, www.LighthouseMuseum.org
Today in History July 31
30 BC – Battle of Alexandria: Mark Antony achieves a minor victory over Octavian’s forces, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to his suicide.
781 – The oldest recorded eruption of Mount Fuji (Traditional Japanese date: 6th day of the 7th month of the 1st year of the Ten’o era).
1492 – The Jews are expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree takes effect.
1588 – The Spanish Armada is spotted off the coast of England.
1703 – Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but is pelted with flowers.
1715 – Seven days after a Spanish treasure fleet of 12 ships left Havana, Cuba for Spain, 11 of them sink in a storm off the coast of Florida. A few centuries later, treasure is salvaged from these wrecks.
1941 – The Holocaust: Under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Gцring, orders SS General Reinhard Heydrich to “submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired Final Solution of the Jewish question.”
1945 – Pierre Laval, the fugitive former leader of Vichy France, surrenders to Allied soldiers in Austria.
1948 – At Idlewild Field in New York, New York International Airport (later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport) is dedicated.
1964 – Ranger program: Ranger 7 sends back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes.
1973 – A Delta Air Lines jetliner, flight DL 723 crashes while landing in fog at Logan International Airport in Boston killing 89.
1991 – The United States and Soviet Union both sign the START I Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the first to reduce (with verification) both countries’ stockpiles.
2006 – Fidel Castro hands over power to his brother, Raul
1527 – Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor (d. 1576)
1901 – Jean Dubuffet, French painter and sculptor (d. 1985)
1912 – Milton Friedman, economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2006)
1919 – Primo Levi, Italian chemist and author (d. 1987)
1944 – Geraldine Chaplin, American actress and screenwriter
1965 – J. K. Rowling, English author and film producer
975 – Fu Yanqing, Chinese general (b. 898)
1653 – Thomas Dudley, English soldier and politician, 3rd Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony (b. 1576)
1875 – Andrew Johnson, American general and politician, 17th President of the United States (b. 1808)
1886 – Franz Liszt, Hungarian pianist, composer, and conductor (b. 1811)
2012 – Gore Vidal, American novelist, screenwriter, and critic (b. 1925)
Cruise Ships in the Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Wednesday, July 31
Inbound 6:30 am (Brooklyn); outbound 7:00 pm; New England/Canadian Maritimes/Quebec City
Thursday, August 1
Anthem of the Seas
Inbound 6:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 4:00 pm; Bermuda/Eastern Caribbean
Saturday, August 3
Inbound 7:15 am; outbound 3:30 pm; Port Canaveral, FL/Bahamas
Adventure of the Seas
Inbound 6:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 3:00 pm; Bar Harbor, ME/Canadian Maritimes
Sunday, August 4
Inbound 7:30 am Bayonne; 4:00 pm; Bermuda
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm; Bermuda
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.
The Tale of the Ticker Tape,
or How Adversity and Spontaneity
Hatched a New York Tradition
What was Planned as a Grand Affair became a Comedy of Errors
While the festivities in New York Harbor didn’t go as scripted that afternoon, the spontaneous gesture it generated from the brokerage houses lining Broadway famously lives on more than a century later.
On October 28, 1886, Liberty Enlightening the World was to be unveiled to New York City and the world as it stood atop its tall base on Bedloe’s Island. But the morning mist had turned to afternoon fog, blurring the view of the statue from revelers on the Manhattan shore and the long parade of three hundred ships on the Hudson River.
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.
Come Hell and High Water
Federal Report Foresees More Frequent Flooding for Lower Manhattan
A new report from the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal scientific agency responsible for study of oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere, predicts that Lower Manhattan will, in the next 12 months, experience between double and triple the number of flooding days that it did in 2000.
Anthem of the Seas Spins About
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