Hudson River Park Trust’s new president, Noreen Doyle (center), flanked by two of her predecessors, Madelyn Wils (left) and Connie Fishman (right)
The Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) has new leadership: Last Thursday, the organization’s board of directors voted to appoint Noreen Doyle as president, following the departure in March of longtime chief executive officer Madelyn Wils.
Ms. Doyle has served since 2004 as HRPT’s executive vice president, and was more recently named acting president, when Ms. Wils stepped down. This is Ms. Doyle’s second tenure with the Trust, having served in various capacities there from 1994 through 2001. During the intervening years, she worked for AKRF, Inc., an environmental and planning consultant.
“Parks are defined not just by their landscapes but by the people who use them, and this past year has shown how essential they are for the health and happiness of our cities,” Ms. Doyle said. “Hudson River Park is a success because for more than two decades, the State and City, previous Trust leadership, businesses and environmental advocates, and community advocates and elected officials have contributed their resources, talent and passion to creating a park that offers something for everyone. In that spirit of collaboration, I look forward to continuing our work toward finishing the park, improving the health of our Hudson River Sanctuary, and ensuring that the Park is a welcoming place for all.”
The HRPT oversees the four-mile linear park that stretches along the Hudson River waterfront, from the Battery to West 59th Street. Below: Little Island
Ms. Doyle’s accession comes at a crucial juncture for HRPT. The organization has recently unveiled a pair of glittering additions to the Park: Pier 26, an ecologically inspired recreation facility (near North Moore Street, in Tribeca) in September, and Little Island (near West 13th Street) in May. But the Park is slated soon to begin construction on Gansevoort Peninsula, a five-acre-plus chersonese that juts out from the West Side waterfront, between Horatio and West 13th Streets, which is slated to Manhattan’s first-ever public beach (for viewing, rather than bathing), a 56,000-square-foot ballfield, and a large-scale public art work — a sculpture by David Hammons, consisting of a stainless steel frame that will exactly duplicate the position and dimensions of the dock shed on the now-vanished Pier 52, which once traced the southern edge of the peninsula.
HRPT is also nearing completion of the buildout for Pier 57 (near West 14th St.), which will house offices for Google, as well as more than three acres of park space. The organization is also in the planning phases for a refurbished Pier 97 (at 57th St.) and the reconstruction of Chelsea Waterside Park (at 23rd St). Additionally ongoing is the rehabilitation of the underwater piles that support Pier 40, near Houston Street.
Tammy Meltzer, chair of Community Board 1, said that the Lower Manhattan community, “is defined by its waterways and Hudson River Park is crucial to our residents, students, workers, and visitors as a green transportation corridor, a top tier recreation destination, and a protective buffer. We have worked with Noreen for years and are thrilled to see her dedication and hard work elevate her to this role and we look forward to hearing more about her vision for the future of Hudson River Park and working together.”
Off Again, On Again…
Appeals Court Okays City Plan Move of Homeless Men to 52 William, But Calls It ‘Moot’
On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division issued a decision that will allow the City’s Department of Homeless Services to proceed with a plan to transfer many dozens of homeless men from the Lucerne Hotel, on the Upper West Side, to the Radisson Wall Street Hotel, located at 52 William Street.
This order dismissed an ongoing suit, brought by a coalition of groups, which sought to allow the men to remain in the Lucerne Hotel. The Appellate Division judges ruled narrowly on the issue of standing, finding that the original lawsuit was moot because the three homeless men named as lead plaintiffs last year have since been moved out of the Lucerne and into permanent housing.
Operators of New Ferry Service Predict Launching by Summer
At the June 2 meeting of the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1, officials from the City’s Economic Development Corporation offered an update on their plans for a new ferry that will connect Staten Island to Battery Park City and Midtown.
Jeff Brault, the director of public affairs at NYC Ferry—the company designated by the City’s Economic Development Corporation to operate a network of new routes connecting Manhattan to the outer boroughs—began the discussion by saying, “the next time we speak, the new ferry will have already begun service.”
Committee chair Justine Cuccia asked, “do you have a launch date?”
Mr. Brault replied, “not yet. Basically we’re working really hard. We already have a dock in place at Battery Park City, but not in St. George,” the site of the ferry landing in Staten Island.
Random Assault in Chinatown Spurs Rally to Decry Anti-Asian Hate
City Council member Margaret Chin led a Wednesday rally of Chinatown residents and local community leaders to condemn the most recent in an outbreak of violent street crimes that appear to be racially motivated. The latest incident occurred on Bayard Street, on Monday afternoon, when a 55-year-old woman (whose name is being withheld) was punched and knocked unconscious in an apparently random, unprovoked assault. In video captured by a security camera, a woman walks in front of outdoor seating area of Kong Sihk Tong restaurant, when she is approached by a man who raises his left arm and smashes her in the face. The woman reels backward from the force of the blow, and then falls to the sidewalk, where she sits motionless as passersby come to her aid.
The Battery Park City Authority began work on its Ball Fields and Community Center Resiliency Project last Thursday, kicking off a $7-million initiative that will construct approximately 800 linear feet of flood-protection barriers along three sides of the facility.
The walls to be erected along the Warren, West, and Murray Street boundaries of the ball fields are designed to enclose and protect roughly 80,000 square feet of outdoor playing surface, as well as the adjacent Asphalt Green community center—both of which suffered catastrophic damage from flooding during Hurricane Sandy, in 2012. The Battery Park City Ball Fields are located at a topographic low point, rendering them especially susceptible to flooding. To read more…
Turns Out That Fighting City Hall Is Kinda Tough
State’s Highest Court Rejects Appeal from Community Groups Battling Two Bridges Development
On Thursday May 27, the New York State Court of Appeals effectively ended the last of a group of lawsuits begun in 2018, in which elected officials and community groups sought to compel the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to subject several massive residential developments planned for the Lower East Side to the highest-possible degree of legal scrutiny. New York’s highest judicial review panel upheld a prior ruling by the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, which itself had overturned a lower-court decision favoring opponents of the projects.
In its Thursday ruling, the Court of Appeals rejected, without further comment, To read more…
Exercise in disguise! Join in on the fun featuring easy-to-follow Latin dance choreography while working on your balance, coordination and range of motion. Come prepared for enthusiastic instruction, a little strength training, and a lot of fun. Participants are expected to bring their own equipment: weights, water bottle, hand towel, etc. Masks required. Participants must maintain six feet of physical distance between households. All programs will be held in accordance with New York State reopening guidance. Battery Park City AuthorityFree
Join Tell Me A Story Founder Hillary Rea for this interactive, “dip-your-toes” approach to crafting your personal narrative. By the end of this session, you will feel energized to further your brainstorming. You’ll have a starting point for powerfully communicating what you do. And you’ll leave motivated to tell the stories that illuminate your personal and professional brilliance. Free
New York lawyer and Jewish community leader Menachem Z. Rosensaft traces his activism back to his roots. Born in the Displaced Persons camp in Bergen-Belsen, Germany, to parents who survived the Holocaust, he has taken the lessons of his family’s experience with him through four terms on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, his presidency of Park Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan, his teaching about the law of genocide at the law schools of Columbia and Cornell Universities, and his career as an international litigator, culminating in his current role as General Counsel and Associate Executive Vice President of the World Jewish Congress. Join Rosensaft and Ellen Bachner Greenberg, founder of Descendants of Holocaust Survivors (2G Greater New York), for a conversation about Rosensaft’s life and legacy and the questions he faces today. $10
‘A Whimsical Oasis’
Little Island Opens to Rave Reviews
The Lower West Side of Manhattan officially has another stunning public space: On Friday morning, the Hudson River Park Trust debuted Little Island, the new park located just off the shoreline, at 13th and West Streets. The park offers more than two acres of gardens, glades, lawns, performance spaces and picnic grounds.
All of this greenery is hoisted above the water by 280 slender concrete columns, driven hundreds of feet down into the riverbed, and supporting 132 flower-shaped masonry “tulips”—pods that appear to be separate platforms from outside Little Island, but form a continuous, undulating surface when seen from the inside. Each of these structural bulbs is a different size, shape, and elevation.
As we come out of covid, it’s clear the city’s thriving cultural scene is on its way back — and Lower Manhattan’s leading the way.
In May, the Downtown Alliance teamed up with En Garde Arts and + The Tankto present Downtown Live, a multi-weekend festival stocked with live performances ranging from music to theater to spoken poetry. The revival of Downtown’s cultural scene continues into June, with the return of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s River to River Festival.
The festival, which runs June 10–June 27, joins the explosion of post-vaccine outdoor events and art exhibits that are set to take over the city this summer. Here are five acts you won’t want to miss, and visit lmcc.net/river-to-river-festival for the full schedule.
Opening Concert featuring Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington and Leo Genovese (June 10)
Spalding is a jazz musician who made waves when she beat out Drake and Justin Bieber to win the Best New Artist Grammy in 2011. Since then she’s won three other Grammys and has been labeled the “21st century jazz genius” by NPR.
Processions with Miguel Gutierrez, Okwui Okpokwasili and The Illustrious Blacks
(June 13, 20, 25)
Artist Okwui Okpokwasili is following up her recent piece on the High Line called “On the way, undone” with another processional performance, which means you get to participate in the art. Okpokwasili’s performance will happen at Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City on June 20, followed by processions led by choreographer Gutierrez and musical duo the Illustrious Blacks will also conduct processions on June 13 and June 25.
Kamau Ware, Land of the Blacks (June 10-27)
Black history scholar and co-found of Black Gotham Experience Kamau Ware is writing an original piece on “Land of the Blacks,” 28 Black-owned farmsteads that once covered a swath of Lower Manhattan. It will debut on the River to River website.
Womxn in Windows (June 15-27)
Womxn in Windows is a multi-part video installation installed in Windows across the Seaport District. They’ll focus on the confluence of culture and society in an exploration of the multi-faceted female identity, created by artists from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Mariana Valencia, Futurity (June 25-27)
Choreographer and performer Mariana Valencia brings a 2021 version of Futurity, a dance performance that will transmit the queer stories of elders in Greenwich Village from the 1960s to the present.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
The Battery Park City Authority asks that the public not interact with or feed the urban wildlife in the neighborhood’s parks and green spaces, and at the waterfront.
City and State Prosecutors Team Up on Criminal Probe of Trump Finances at FiDi Landmark
In a story first reported by the Washington Post, New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance has expanded his longstanding probe of the finances of former President Donald Trump to include possible criminal charges. The office of New York State Attorney General Leticia James is also cooperating with Mr. Vance’s criminal investigation. To read more…
9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Report
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.