Department of Defense 4th of July flyover Photo: Karl Weintraub
Open Space Advocate Wants City Hall Park Returned to Community
The Occupy City Hall encampment at Chambers and Centre Streets.
A local advocate for Lower Manhattan open spaces is sounding the alarm about City Hall Park, which has recently been closed and cordoned off by police, while the park’s paved plaza (near Chambers and Centre Streets) has been taken over by Occupy City Hall protestors.
Lower Manhattan resident Skip Blumberg, the founder and president of Friends of City Hall Park (FCHP), says, “our park is closed, commandeered by the NYPD inside the fences and by the occupying protestors on the Northeast Plaza. The park has suffered littering and destruction by irresponsible individuals within those groups, with trash thrown over the fence by both.”
In 2014, when Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, Mr. Blumberg recalls, “City Hall Park was a beautifully maintained, lushly planted jewel in Lower Manhattan, well staffed with motivated, effective Parks Department maintenance and gardening workers.”
Demonstrators at City Hall temporarily take over Chambers Street.
“But recent years have seen a clear decline of maintenance and gardening,” he observes, “not just in City Hall Park, but also in Foley Square, James Madison Plaza Park, Collect Pond Park and other Lower Manhattan parks. These are the visible results of the decrease in Parks Department workers in our parks. The current situation has exacerbated the need for better maintenance.”
About the protests that began on the plaza alongside City Hall Park several weeks ago, Mr. Blumberg says, “although we deplore the socially dense, unhealthy conditions during the pandemic, we fully support the free expression in the Northeast Plaza of City Hall Park, historically our City commons, and welcome profound systemic changes that are needed.”
But he adds that long before the protests began, the City had allowed, “the plaza to be taken over by noisy, smoky, smelly food trucks and loud street performers who intruded upon the peace of the park.” He notes also that FCHP is renewing its call since 2015 for the addition of a new lawn and permanent seating in the Northeast Plaza.
In the meantime, Mr. Blumberg says, “we are concerned about potential long term alienation of our precious neighborhood park. City Hall is a building within a public park.” In this context, he is calling for, “a transition stage to allow a co-existence of peaceful protest, security for elected officials and staff working in City Hall, and summer days of community park enjoyment in our community green space.”
1) 250 Water St Brownfield Cleanup Program Remedial Investigation Work Plan – Presentation by Lawra Dodge, Excel Environmental Resources
2) Early Wastewater Detection – Discussion with Pam Elardo, P.E., Deputy Commissioner, Bureau of Wastewater Treatment, New York City Department of Environmental Protection & resolution
3) Resumption of New York City Composting – Resolution
4) Manhattan Community Board 1 Environmental Protection Committee Objectives and Strategies for 2020-2021 – Discussion
Transportation & Street Activity Permits Committee
1) Seizure of Public Space around NYPD Precincts – Discussion & Possible Resolution
2) Bicycle Parking at Government Buildings – Discussion & Possible Resolution
3) Open Streets Dining Impediments and Workarounds – Update by Jennifer Leung, New York City Department of Transportation
4) Optimizing Tour Bus Stops in Community District 1 – Discussion & Possible Resolution
5) Temporary Protected Bike Lanes on Centre and Lafayette Streets – Presentation
6) DOT Updates – Presentation by Jennifer Leung, New York City Department of Transportation
Licensing & Permits Committee
Additional information about specific State Liquor Authority license applications is available by request to the Community Board 1 Office
Agendas to be determined.
Landmarks & Preservation Committee
1) 107 South Street, application for updated design of vertical extension and rehabilitation of property – Resolution
2) 56 North Moore Street, application to install new aluminum and glass ground floor storefronts and construction of a rooftop addition – Resolution
3) 317 Broadway, application for partial demolition and construction of new building along with restoration of primary facade and installation of new signage – Resolution
Been There, Done That
Theseus Aweighs Anchor on Troubled Waters
WPA Photo Library of Congress
We’re only halfway through 2020, but already, many of us have the sense that we will someday regale the as-yet-unborn grandkids with tales of mythic adversity amid transformational times.
Most of us are grimly confident that our nation’s current afflictions are without precedent. And most of us are dead wrong. A pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans, and may yet fell as many more? Been there. Times of bitter, seemingly irreconcilable division? Done that. Leadership that seems incapable of leading, and instead plays Americans off against one another? We have overcome that, too. All of these things we have faced down, in worse forms than confront us now, and more than once.
Appeals Court Considers Whether to Let Stand Decision About Two Bridges
A recent hearing before the Appellate Division court of New York’s First Judicial Department indicates that the controversial plan to erect four massive new towers in the Two Bridges neighborhood on Lower Manhattan’s East River waterfront may yet come to fruition.
Rent stabilization at Gateway Plaza expires today (Tuesday, June 30). Despite more than two years of behind-the-scenes negotiations between the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) and the LeFrak Organization (which operates the complex), no agreement has been announced that will extend affordability protections at Battery Park City’s largest residential complex.
Negotiations are ongoing, and may yield such an agreement soon. In a recent statement, the BPCA said that, “the Authority and the owners of the Gateway residential complex remain committed to the extension of a limitation on rent increases for the pre-June 30th, 2009 tenants who reside in the complex. The proposed agreements may not be signed until after the current June 30th, 2020 expiration, but please be assured that the shared understanding is that they be retroactive back to that date and both parties are working diligently.”
CB1’s Outgoing Chair Reflects on Decades of Service as He Passes the Torch
Anthony Notaro, a Lower Manhattan community leader for decades and chair of Community Board 1 (CB1) since 2016, concluded his tenure on June 23, when Tammy Meltzer was elected to succeed him.
If the aphorism about leadership that holds, “decisions are made by those who show up” is true, then Lower Manhattan had benefitted from the guidance of a born decision-maker, because Mr. Notaro is somebody who has always been defined by his habit of stepping forward, speaking up, and getting involved. A resident of Battery Park City since the late 1990s, Mr. Notaro joined CB1 shortly after moving to Lower Manhattan. To read more…
City Plans Black Lives Matter Street Mural for Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan will soon have new piece of street art: the Administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has commissioned a Black Lives Matter mural for Centre Street, between Worth and Reade Streets. The painting will consist of large letters emblazoned on the roadbed, and is among five such installations, with one planned for each borough.
This project was inspired by the impromptu creation of a similar mural on Fulton Street, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn a week ago. When word spread of this project, Mr. Blasio showed up at the site and helped paint it. A few days later, he announced that this section of Fulton Street was to be closed to vehicular traffic for the remainder of the summer.
Pandemic and Economic Downturn Impact Local Leasing
A new report from brokerage Douglas Elliman and appraiser Miller Samuel indicates that rents are trending downward in Lower Manhattan, while the inventory of vacant apartments is ballooning. These tidal shifts appear to be attributable to the health crisis associated with the pandemic coronavirus, and the economic slowdown it has triggered. The monthly Elliman Report for May documents that new lease signings have fallen at an unprecedented rate, while vacancies have surged to a new record.
For all of Lower Manhattan, the report finds that the median rent is now $3,895, which represents a 7.3 percent drop from one month earlier when the median rent was $4,200, but a slight increase of one-half of one percent from last May, when the median figure was $3,875.
In July 1971, Bernadette Mayer embarked on a month long experiment: every day she exposed a roll of 35mm film and kept a journal. The result was a groundbreaking, conceptual work, comprising more than 1100 photographs and 200 pages of text. Mayer’s durational and constraint-based diaristic work of poetry and photography investigates the nature of memory: its surfaces, textures and material. In July 2020, Poets House and Siglio Press embark on a month long experiment: every day, a passage from the corresponding day in 1971 will be read by poets, writers, critics, and artists, as a parallel durational work that celebrates the new publication of Bernadette Mayer’s MEMORY (Siglio, 2020). Today, poet Tausif Noor reads.3:05pm.
Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. the following day. The schedule will include outstanding complete performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring all of opera’s greatest singers.
Tribeca Community On Display
All of Us Thank All of You
Fine artist and long time Downtown resident Adele H. Rahte has spent the stay-at-home period designing and creating these fabric collages representing the people in our community as a special form of thank you to the essential workers of our community and city for keeping us safe.
On display during the month of July at the Tribeca Community Window Gallery located at 160 West Broadway.