Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Tribeca Traffic Island Remains Forlorn, Despite Developer Promises in Exchange for Zoning Variance
Community Board 1 is trying to hold a developer to a bargain made five years ago, but never memorialized in writing. The deal committed builder DDG, which is erecting a large new residential and retail structure on a tiny former parking lot in Tribeca, to refurbish a nearby traffic island into a small park.
This quid pro quo first arose in 2014, when the firm announced plans to build on the small parcel, which fronts Sixth Avenue, between Franklin and White Streets, but asked for a zoning variance, claiming that the legal requirement to make the structure narrower on its upper floors was unworkable, because of the unusual configuration of the plot on which it was located. (The erstwhile parking lot was shaped like two triangles, joined at a single, narrow point.)
The City’s Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) granted the exemption to allow a controversial project to proceed, with DDG’s design calling for a structure six floors tall on the portion of the lot that adjoined Franklin Street, and another building, rising eight stories high, on the lot adjacent to White Street. These buildings will share a continuous brick facade, making them appear to passersby like a single structure, will house high-end retail on the ground floor, along with ten luxury condominium apartments above.
The waiver on the requirement for the building to taper back at its upper floors created more than a thousand additional square feet of valuable space within the structure, arguably increasing its value by several million dollars.
In exchange for this consideration, DDG promised to fund the upgrade of a nearby median into a new park. The Broadsheet noted in 2015 that, “as part of its negotiations with the City, DDG has also agreed to pay for the transformation of a triangular traffic island in front of their site into a vest-pocket park.” This arrangement was also noted in multiple other publications at the time.
But now, as the building nears completion, DDG has broken off contact with community leaders and City officials. And local leaders have discovered that the written confirmation of this agreement is missing — if it ever existed in the first place.
At the May 28 meeting of Community Board 1 (CB1), Paul Goldstein, who chairs that panel’s Waterfront, Parks, and Cultural Committee, explained, “this is a triangle located on White Street, between Church Street and Sixth Avenue, just outside the Roxy Hotel. It’s basically in pretty decayed condition, and is not much of anything.”
“Back in 2014, the developer came before this Community Board and requested approval for a building that he subsequently received and has built,” Mr. Goldstein continued. “In the course of those discussions, he made certain promises to this Community Board — specifically to work with the Department of Transportation to design and improve that space for the community.”
In recent months, he added, “the community has made countless efforts,” noting that CB1’s Director of Planning and Land Use, Diana Switaj, “has been on the phone and attempted to reach the developer multiple times, with very little success.”
Ms. Switaj added, “the office of City Council member Margaret Chin also reached out to them, and they didn’t get back to her, which seems really egregious.” She continued, “part of the problem is that this agreement was never captured in the BSA paperwork,” that approved the zoning variance requested by DDG. “We’ve inquired with the Department of Transportation, and they say that plans were never filed.”
Laura Starr, who serves on CB1’s Land Use, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee, observed, “we never got anything in writing. There was nothing locked in.”
CB1 chair Anthony Notaro agreed, “that was the problem. We should have got it in writing, but it didn’t happen. And now this developer has gone completely silent. We need to get this restarted.”
Mr. Goldstein concurred, saying, “clearly, if we had something in writing, that would have been great.” He then introduced a resolution, explaining, “our purpose is to go on record and ask our elected officials to pursue this on our behalf.”
“The resolution says, ‘you made certain promises,’ and that we want to move forward,” he summarized.
The measure, which passed by a large majority states, “there is no sign of any improvement to [the traffic island], nor has the Community Board seen any pending plans,” and notes that, “CB1 has repeatedly asked DDG to come before the Community Board for more than a year to update us on this promised plaza improvement, but DDG has not been willing to attend any meeting thus far and we remain in the dark as to their plans.”
Brewer, Chin, and Community Groups Tell Mayor: See You in Court
Borough President and City Council Member Hold Rally to Underscore Objections to Planned Development at Two Bridges
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Margaret Chin held a rally outside the Municipal Building to build support for their ongoing lawsuit against the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, over City Hall’s plans to erect a string of super-tall towers along the East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan.
Stabilization = Community
To the Editor,
Since the GPTA Rally for Rent Stabilization ended abruptly when the skies opened up, I did not get the chance to express my gratitude to many and to convey some important information.
On behalf of GPTA and all of Gateway, I want to express our sincere gratitude to Congressman Nadler, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Council Member Margaret Chin for joining us at the rally and standing with us in solidarity (and in the rain).
I would also like to acknowledge the GPTA Board. We all we are all so fortunate to have an Executive Committee with vast knowledge and expertise working for us…
1stVP- Robin Forst, Secretary- Jeff Galloway. Treasurer- Karlene Wiese (who has served longer than anyone in the history of GPTA). We are also so fortunate to have Board members with a variety of talents and strengths and most of all commitment….Honey Berk, Sarah Cassell, Audrey Comisky, Larry Emert, Pat Gray, Howard Grossman, Bruce Katz, Steve Kessler and Ninfa Segarra.
Without the help of the Battery Park City Authority, BJ Jones, Eric Munson, Nick Sbordone, Nidia Reeder, and the wonderful staff at BPCParks, this rally would not have been possible. Thank you.
As for next steps, GPTA urges you to STAY ENGAGED!
If you are not already a member, join GPTA (gpta.org), follow us on Twitter and Facebook, write letters, make calls, attend meetings of CB1 and
make your voice heard.
If you want to stay up-to-date on what is happening, please take a moment and email the words, “I’M IN” to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will keep you informed of any updates and let you know what you can do to help.
At Sunday’s rally, there was a sign on the stage which read “We built this (BP)City.” Like many of you, I have lived in Gateway for almost 30 years and I know that it is and has always been the anchor of Battery Park City.
We believe that Stabilization = Community and there is no other community quite like our Gateway community. The Rent Stabilization Agreement must be preserved and extended for all. I think we can agree, living in Gateway is like living in a small town. And in my opinion, it is the best small town in the Big Apple.
Thank you all… let’s keep up the fight!!!
To the Editor:
The article, “Pupil Protection,” published April 1, 2019, notes the unfortunate shortage of School Crossing Guards (SCGs) in our area, especially at and around PS89 in Battery Park City. It’s been two months since the article appeared, and there seem to still be no “permanent” crossing guards for PS89.
As a parent, every day I see the dangers to our kids posed by irresponsible drivers creeping into crosswalks at red lights, blocking crosswalks with their vehicles, out-of-state cars illegally turning right-on-red, and others speeding to make green or yellow lights; that’s in addition to equally irresponsible bicycle riders heading the wrong way on streets, careening through red lights, riding on sidewalks, and speeding recklessly along the West Street bikeway. I would love to see multiple SCGs posted at the intersections around PS89 (and other schools). It would especially be nice to have local residents as crossing guards since they would have a familiarity with the neighborhood, and also have a more heightened and direct interest in its safety.
For anyone interested, our NYPD Neighborhood Coordination Officers can be contacted with questions at 212-334-6462, or email@example.com (Officer Bodden) and firstname.lastname@example.org (Officer Tasoren). A
lso, there is an online registration at: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/careers/civilians/school-crossing-guard.page.
Thursday June 6
Battery Park City Parks
Rise and shine to begin your morning with an outdoor yoga class that will help align your chakras and invigorate your day. Instructors focus on movements meant to enhance posture alignment and increase flexibility and balance. All levels welcome. Bringing your own mat is encouraged, as provided accessories are first come, first served. Wagner Park. FREE
Tour the Battery
The Battery Conservancy
Learn about Battery Park’s rich history, many important landmarks and monuments, the Seaglass Carousel,beautiful perennial gardens and much more. Meet at 12:50 p.m. at the Netherland Memorial Flagpole located at the entrance to the park near the intersection of Broadway, Battery Place, and State street. It is across State Street from Bowling Green. FREE
Fraunces Tavern Museum Guided Tour
Sixty minute guided tour of Fraunces Tavern Museum. 54 Pearl Street.Free with admission ($4, $7)
Soundtrap: Voice and Digital Music Production
New York Public Library
Soundtrap: Voice and Digital Music Production for ages 6-12.
Sweet Megg and the Wayfarers
Battery Park City Parks
Food & Stuff: Rethinking Consumption in Body and Home
Panel discussion with Brendan Synnot, founder of Pact Organics; Melody Serafino of No. 29; Chloe Vichot of Ancolie Catering. 205 Front Street
BPC Running Club
Battery Park City Parks
Jog the 2.4 miles down and back along the Battery Parks City Esplanade. Guided with warm-up and cool-down and a favorable pace for all participants. Meet inside the Community Center at Stuyvesant High School at 345 Chambers Street. FREE
Let’s celebrate our graduates during the month of June.
Send us a picture and 100 words about your graduate or your own achievement.Pre-K through Ph.D
Today in History
1639 – Massachusetts grants 500 acres of land to erect a gunpowder mill
1664 – New Amsterdam renamed New York
1683 – The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, opens as the world’s first university museum.
1816 – 10″ snowfall in New England, “year without a summer”
1844 – Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) forms in London
1882 – Electric iron patented by Henry W Seely, in New York City
1896 – Frank Samuelsen and George Harbo leave NY harbor to row across Atlantic; their 55 day record for rowing was not broken for 114 years
1912 – The eruption of Novarupta in Alaska begins. It is the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.
1933 – First drive-in theater opens in Camden, New Jersey
1942 – First nylon parachute jump in Hartford, Connecticut
1944 – 82nd Airborne division D-day-landing at Ste Mere Eglise
WWII D-Day: 150,000 Allied Expeditionary Force lands in Normandy, France
1968 – Senator Robert Kennedy dies from his wounds after he was shot the previous night
2002 – Eastern Mediterranean Event. A near-Earth asteroid estimated at 10 metres diameter explodes over the Mediterranean Seabetween Greece and Libya. The resulting explosion is estimated to havea force of 26 kilotons, slightly more powerful than the Nagasaki atomic bomb.
2012 – The Solar Impulse completes the world’s first intercontinental flight powered by the sun
1436 – Regiomontanus (Johannes Muller), prepares astronomical tables
1599 – Diego Velázquez, Spanish painter (d. 1660)
1755 – Nathan Hale, hanged patriot, had but one life to give for his country
1875 – Thomas Mann, Germany, novelist (Magic Mountain-Nobel 1929)
1906 – Max Zorn, German mathematician
1799 – Patrick Henry, American revolutionary (b. 1736)
1941 – Louis Chevrolet, American automotive pioneer (b. 1878)
1961 – Carl Gustav Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, dies at 85
1968 – Randolph Churchill, son of Winston Churchill (b. 1911)
1979 – Jack Haley, (The Wizard of Oz), dies of a heart attack at 80
2006 – Arnold Newman, American photographer (b. 1918)
Edited from various internet sources
‘A Thumb in the Eye’
Local Leaders Don’t Want One Broadway to Get Any Bigger
Community Board 1 (CB1) is resisting plans to add two floors to a landmarked building in the Financial District. In a resolution laced with unusually harsh language, enacted at its May 28 meeting, the Board called upon the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) — which can veto alterations to legally protected historic structures — to reject a proposal by the building’s owner, Midtown Equities, to build a glass pavilion on top of One Broadway (also known as the International Mercantile Marine Company Building), located at the corner of Broadway and Battery Place, directly adjacent to Bowling Green.
The resolution summarizes the developer’s proposal with the words, “to distill the very convoluted design’s description, and despite all the narrative hoopla, it is really a preposterous glass box with a mansard surround.”
Greater Goods and Lessor Evils
Gateway Affordability Rally Draws Large Crowd; Multiple Elected Officials Pledge Support
Hundreds of residents of Gateway Plaza braved ominous weather to attend a tenants’ rally along the Esplanade on Sunday evening, and hear a succession of elected officials pledge their support to the campaign for extended and expanded affordability protections at Battery Park City’s largest apartment complex. The event was organized and hosted by the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association(GPTA), which represents the 1,700-plus households in the community’s first residential development. To read more…
Menhir for the Men and Women Who Came Here
A Stele for Survivors Honors Those Who Came Back, and Those Who Chose to Settle Downtown After the Dust Settled
On Thursday morning, the World Trade Center complex unveiled a new monument: the Memorial Glade, which honors people whose health (or whose lives) were taken from them not on September 11, 2001, but in the years that followed, because they were exposed to toxins in the aftermath of the Twin Towers’ collapse.
‘To Make the Wounded Whole…’
Chin Pushes to Renew Victim Compensation Fund
City Council member Margaret Chin is mobilizing local support for an effort at the federal level to restore funding and make permanent the Victim Compensation Fund, which offers financial awards to responders and survivors of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
This proposed federal measure would renew and make permanent the Victim Compensation Fund that was created by a 2011 law, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which was renewed in 2015.
To the Editor:
I watched the transfer of the bridge spans in person on Wednesday, but seeing your video was AWESOME!
Thanks for sharing that!
Maryanne P. Braverman
Can Prized Community Facility Experience a Re-Berth?
A panel of elected officials and representatives from the Hudson River Park Trust(HRPT) will host a public forum this evening (Tuesday, May 28) to discuss proposed legislation that would enable commercial development at Pier 40, the massive former cruise ship terminal on the Hudson River waterfront, adjacent to Houston Street, which covers 14 acres and now houses athletic and recreational facilities.
Among the elected officials expected to attend tonight are U.S. Congressman Jerry Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, State Assembly member Deborah Glick, and State Senators Brian Kavanagh and Brad Hoylman.
Cruise Ships in the Harbor
Arrivals and Departures
Thursday, June 6
Anthem of the Seas
Inbound 6:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 4:00 pm;
Inbound 7:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 4:00 pm;
Friday, June 7
Queen Mary 2
Inbound 6:00 am; (Brooklyn); outbound 5:00 pm;
Transatlantic (Southampton, UK/Hamburg, Germany)
Saturday, June 8
Adventure of the Seas
Inbound 6:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 3:00 pm;
Bar Harbor, ME/Canadian Maritimes
Inbound 7:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm; Canadian Maritimes/Maine/Rhode Island
Sunday, June 9
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, NJ, 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.
EYES TO THE SKY
May 28 – June 9, 2019
The Spring Triangle – an asterism
While writing my recent column about bright stars in the south at nightfall, I was reminded of patterns those stars shape in addition to the position each has in an official constellation.
Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Bootes the Herdsman and Spica is brightest in Virgo the Virgin. Denebola marks the tail of Leo the Lion and Regulus the Lion’s heart. Draw imaginary lines to connect Arcturus to Spica and Denebola and we have a Spring Triangle, an asterism. Replace Denebola with Regulus for a larger Spring Triangle.
Asterisms are easily distinguishable patterns often composed of stars from more than one constellation. In the case of the Big Dipper – overhead to the south — the asterism is an outstanding part of one official constellation, Ursa major, the Great Bear.
Judy Isacoff naturesturn.org
On the Waterfront
Governors Island Trust Considers a Plan to Activate the Island’s Perimeter
Visions for the future of Governors Island are beginning to come into focus, as various constituencies emphasize their priorities.
Earlier this month, theWaterfront Alliance unveiled its Maritime Activation Plan for the highly regarded island, which focuses on strategies for capitalizing on the unique waterfront assets located along the island’s 2.2-mile perimeter, while offering practical recommendations for meeting the challenges of being situated in the middle of New York Harbor.
Anthem of the Seas Spins About
Local Elected Officials Say ‘Avast’ to Water-Borne Ads, But Company Claims City Is Out of Its Depth
The advertising barges that have become a pet bête noire for Lower Manhattan residents were the focus of a discussion at the April 23 meeting of Community Board 1 , where Paul Goldstein, who chairs that panel’s Waterfront, Parks, & Cultural Committee, offered an update, saying, “those floating billboards that you’ve seen on both the east and west sides — the good news is that the City is cracking down on them. Both the Mayor and the Council say they find it unacceptable. So they are imposing fines and enacting laws to restrict it.” To read more…
Shelter from the Storm
City Plans Temporary Flood Protection Measures for Downtown
The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio is formulating short-term strategies to protect the South Street Seaport and the Financial District from sea-level rise and future extreme-weather events.
This Sand Is Your Sand, This Sand Is Our Sand…
Although Not Yet a Shore Thing, Proposal for Brooklyn Bridge Beach Takes a Step Forward
After multiple rounds of funding since 2013, the proposed Brooklyn Bridge Beach — a project supported by elected officials, community leaders, and the public — may be inching closer to reality.
The plan, backed by all of these constituencies, aims to create a crescent-shaped wedge of sand along the East River waterfront, just north of the South Street Seaport, where park-goers could wade knee deep in tide. If built, it would become the sole access point at which Lower Manhattan residents could step into the water that surrounds them, rather than merely looking at it.
Poets House Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Journey with us across the Brooklyn Bridge, from Manhattan to Brooklyn, to celebrate Poets House and the poetry of New York City with readings by poets Robert Pinsky, Rosamond King, Gregory Pardlo, Jenny Xie, and Anne Waldman, whom we will present with our Elizabeth Kray Award for service to poetry. This year marks Poets House’s 10th anniversary at 10 River Terrace-as well as Walt Whitman’s bicentennial.
Recognition of Whitman’s 200th birthday will lend special significance to the evening as we gather to hear a reading of Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.”
Afterward, we’ll continue with more readings, accompanied by wine, dinner, and dessert, inside a beautiful historic foundry in DUMBO. All proceeds benefit Poets House’s library, public programs, and class trips for children and teens.
Monday June 10
6:00pm: Walk begins in Manhattan, near One Centre Street
8:00pm: Seated dinner at 26 Bridge Street in DUMBO
For more information: poetshouse.org/poetrywalk2019
Questions? please contact Phoebe at 212-431-7920 ext. 2819or email@example.com.
Hudson River Park Trust Seeks Development on Pier 40
The Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT), in collaboration with local elected officials, is seeking to revise its enabling legislation to allow for commercial development at Pier 40.
“The major issue is that there need to be changes to the legislation that created the Hudson River Park, because Pier 40 is sinking,” explained Anthony Notaro, chair of Community Board 1 (CB1) at an April 26 meeting.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades Respectable Employment
Lost and Found 212-912-1106
PART TIME SALES POSITION
High commission. B to B sales
We sell donor signage to non-profits,
extremely nice clientele.
Our office is located in FIDI.
Call me at 646-729-7142. Barry Silverberg, Principal
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
Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
Not So Alone
in Trinity Churchyard
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