Plan for Monument to Essential Workers to Be Discussed at CB1 Meeting Tonight
Several days of meetings and rallies focused on the controversial proposal to build a memorial to essential workers who served during the pandemic will culminate tonight (Wednesday, July 7), when the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1) hears a presentation by the Battery Park City Authority (BCPA), discusses the plan, and possibly enacts a resolution on it.
The dispute was sparked by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sudden announcement on June 24 that he intended to build a concrete monument in Rockefeller Park, which would have taken up as much as 29,000 square feet, and included an eternal flame, powered by natural gas. The same statement boasted that construction would begin immediately and was slated for completion by Labor Day. The design, its placement, and the timetable had all been withheld from community leaders, elected officials, and residents until the Governor’s announcement.
Within hours, concerned parents and children (for whom the lawn of Rockefeller Park is a much-prized destination) began gathering and protesting. By Monday morning (June 28), this demonstration had become a round-the-clock encampment, with children lying in front of bulldozers, and families spending multiple nights in tents.
On Thursday, July 1, BPCA chairman George Tsunis ventured into the park to announce that the location of the planned monument would be changed. “It’s going to be a new site,” Mr. Tsunis said. “This site is off the table.” He continued, “we really did not understand the proximity and how many parents and children used this area. One mom explained, ‘I take out a picnic blanket and play with my kids here.’ That resonates. I’m a father.” He added that the new location would be, “nowhere near where kids play, and not involve not taking down or replanting trees, and should be in a commercial area.”
On Monday afternoon (July 5), the protest group—which has united under the social media banner of Pause the Saws—held a celebratory rally in Rockefeller Park, drawing hundreds of residents. At this rally, protest leader Eric Gyasi, said, “it is so appropriate that on July 4, we the people were able to pause the saws and stop this plan.”
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou told the crowd, “one of the biggest issues is whether there is going to be a memorial here in Battery Park City at all. Right now, they are trying to split us up into different meetings, because they want us to be divided. This is part of the Governor’s tactic — no community involvement. We need to be 100 percent on the same page.”
She continued, “instead of a memorial to essential workers, we need to make it safe for them actually to work. We had hazard pay for essential workers in front of the legislature—where was the Governor on that?”
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said, “we have a process—if you want to change anything about public land you have to go through land review. This situation has no consultation and no procedure.”
Monday’s rally was followed by a Tuesday (July 6) meeting, hosted by the BPCA, which included multiple elected officials, community leaders, and protest leaders. At this session, the BPCA disclosed that it has settled on two new possible locations—either the volleyball court overlooking North Cove Marina, or the lawns on the south side of the Irish Hunger Memorial, between North End Avenue and the Esplanade.
CB1 chair Tammy Meltzer said afterward, “I was encouraged by George Tsunis’s recent engagement with CB1 and members of the community. Perhaps if this process had started with proactive engagement, instead of retroactive notification, we would be in a better place than we currently are, and the Governor would be more in touch with what residents, workers, and visitors to Lower Manhattan value about our open spaces—whether they are green, active, or reflective.”
Mr. Gyasi said of the proposed new locations, “the options presented did not meet the criteria that George Tsunis said he would follow when he met with the community on July 1, which were no loss of active space and no loss of green space.”
“What we see here is a rushed and flawed process,” Mr. Gyasi continued, “leading to minimal consideration of environmental impact, design shortcomings, and sadly, the best and proper location to honor these heroes, with a graceful design and scale commensurate to the deep, shared sacrifices made by essential workers during the last year and a half.”
All of these issues will be discussed publicly tonight, as CB1’s Battery Park City Committee considers the BPCA’s most recent proposals. The meeting begins at 6:00 pm, and can be attended online by browsing this link: https://live.mcb1.nyc
Vandals Emblazon Downtown Buildings with Symbols of Hate
Three suspects caught on surveillance video are being sought by the NYPD for affixing to a pair of Lower Manhattan buildings decals that resemble the Israeli flag, but with the Star of David replaced by a swastika.
On the evening of June 24, shortly after 10:30 pm, security cameras took footage of three persons, one male and two female, approaching the Goldman Sachs building at 200 West Street, and affixing the decals to the building’s glass facade. A few minutes later, the same trio were observed by a different set of video monitors approaching the Verizon building, 140 West Street, and pasting identical stickers on windows there.
The Greenmarket at Oculus Plaza, City Hall Greenmarket,
and Staten Island Ferry Greenmarket are temporarily closed.
‘This Site Is Off the Table’
BPCA Promises to Change Location of Controversial Memorial
On Thursday morning, Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) chair George Tsunis took the unusual step of coming to Rockefeller Park to meet the local residents who had been encamped there for 24 hours per day since Monday, determined to prevent the destruction of a lawn and a glade of trees for Andrew Cuomo’s planned Essential Workers Monument.
“This site is going to change,” Mr. Tsunis said of the project’s location. “It’s going to be a new site. This site is off the table.” The assembled group, who have rallied since last week under the social media banner of Pause the Saws, broke into applause.
Mr. Tsunis continued, “we really did not understand the proximity and how many parents and children used this area. One mom explained, ‘I take out a picnic blanket and play with my kids here.’ That resonates. I’m a father.”
Tribeca Sailing offers two-hour private sailing charters of the Harbor, setting sail five times each day, seven days a week. Captain David Caporale, the owner and captain of Tribeca Sailing and a Lower Manhattan resident, also offers private sailing charters for a maximum of six passengers, for those having a staycation, or celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. His sailboat, Tara, is a 1964 custom Hinckley Pilot 35. Hinckleys are noted as a Rolls Royce of sailboats, based on their solid construction, the artistry of the wood trim, and other design features. For more information or to book a sail, contact David Caporale 917-593-2281 or David@Tribecasailing.com
‘Each of These Days Is a Victory’
Protestors Continue to Block Destruction of Rockefeller Park, as BPCA Announces Pause
Beneath a pelting rain on Wednesday evening, local residents huddled in tents and camped out in Rockefeller Park for the third consecutive night, to protest plans to cut down trees and pave over a large section of the beloved green space, so that Governor Andrew Cuomo can create a monument to essential workers who served during the pandemic.
Late in the afternoon, Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) chairman George Tsunis issued a statement, To read more…
‘This Project Will Forever Be a Symbol of Failure’
Community Leaders React to Cuomo Plan for Yet Another Monument in Battery Park City
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that he plans to erect in Battery Park City an Essential Workers Monument to those who served during the COVID-19 pandemic. “In the beginning of the pandemic, when people were told to stay home, essential workers went into work day after day, making sure their fellow New Yorkers were safe, fed and cared for,” Mr. Cuomo said.
The Governor attributed the decision to locate this monument in Battery Park City to his Essential Workers Monument Advisory Committee, which was announced in April. This panel consisted of 23 union presidents, and not a single resident of Battery Park City. There is no record of this Committee having held any public meetings, or having solicited any advice or feedback from the community. To read more…
To the editor,
‘Mr. Tsunis continued, “we really did not understand the proximity and how many parents and children used this area. One mom explained, ‘I take out a picnic blanket and play with my kids here.’ That resonates. I’m a father.”
Mr Tsunis who is chair of BPCA has had one of the more memorable quotes of the year to date.
Assuming for the moment (and only for the moment) that Mr. Tsunis statement of lack of information is accepted it raises many more questions about BPCA’s (lack of) community engagement:
How could BPCA not had community input before a use decision was made?
How could the Chair of BPCA (and his staff) not investigated the site’s public use before a decision had been made?
How many errors in future judgment can we expect from BPCA lack of public knowledge?
I did not participate in the ‘occupation’, but if I had, I don’t know that I would have withdrawn my group until I see a public announcement from the Governor. But then I guess I am old enough to have witnessed many many broken political promises over the years!
Wednesday July 7
‘HOMETOWN HEROES’ Ticker Tape Parade
The parade will begin at Bowling Green and make its way up Broadway to City Hall.
It’ll be one of the largest ticker-tape parades with 14 floats including Hospital Workers, Healthcare Workers, Education & Childcare, First Responders, Community Care, City Workers, Advocacy Organizations, Transportation, Hospitality & Building Care, Emergency Food, Communication & Delivery, Small Businesses & Bodega, Utilities, Reinforcements.
Wagner Park, with its amazing gardens and views of the Hudson River and New York Bay, is the perfect setting to practice your art. Participants are expected to bring their own drawing and painting supplies, including drawing boards and containers of water if they are planning to paint. BPCA will supply drawing paper and watercolor paper only. 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.
In 1976, Aulcie Perry was playing basketball in Harlem when scouts from Maccabi Tel Aviv spotted and signed him. A year later, he led the team to their first European Championship, converted to Judaism, and became an Israeli citizen. Perry’s rise to fame was precipitous, and his relationship with supermodel Tami Ben Ami became the subject of relentless media attention, solidifying his status as one of Israel’s biggest stars. But behind the scenes, Perry had a growing drug addiction that culminated in his arrest and imprisonment, and since his release he has committed himself to uplifting those suffering from drug abuse and addiction. Dani Menken’s new documentary Aulcie (75 minutes, English, no subtitles) tells the story of this legendary athlete. $10
Skyscraper Museum,”The second of the Skyscraper Museum’s three thematic walking tours of Battery Park City covers the middle zone of the commercial core with its 1980s skyscrapers of the original World Financial Center (now Brookfield Place) by architect Cesar Pelli, as well as the expansive North Cove Marina and its public realm. This walk investigates how the planning concept of public-private partnership was both the principle and economic engine of the Battery Park City project. We will consider how the office and retail precinct connects to lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center and how the goal of opening the waterfront to public access and recreation was realized over three decades. Tour duration is around 60 minutes. This tour will meet in the Wintergarden at Brookfield Place. You must RSVP by the Eventbrite link to reserve a place for each person on the tour. Free
Amos Nachoum is one of the greatest underwater photographers of all times. Fascinated by the most fearsome creatures on Earth, he has developed a unique approach that puts him face to face with his subjects, without any protection. He has gone swimming with crocodiles and killer whales, and with anacondas and great white sharks, but one major predator has always eluded him: the polar bear. He tried before and barely escaped, but now, as he nears the end of his career, he is determined to give it one last shot. Nachoum’s journey unfolds in the award-winning new film Picture of His Life (75 minutes, English, no subtitles) by Israeli directing duo Yonatan Nir and Dani Menkin. In the film, Nachoum travels to the Canadian high Arctic at the same time as he reckons with his painful memories of the horrors of war. Where others find fear, Nachoum finds redemption. $10
Namaste! Unwind from the day with outdoor yoga. Immerse yourself in this meditative practice- surrounded by the Hudson’s peaceful aura. Strengthen the body and cultivate awareness in a relaxed environment as your instructor guides you through alignments and poses. All levels are welcome. Participants are expected to bring their own equipment: yoga mat, yoga blocks, water, 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.
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.
News Analysis & Opinion
Housing Costs and Predictability in Battery Park City: A Statement from Benjamin Jones, President and CEO of the Battery Park City Authority
At the Battery Park City Authority, we make it a point to regularly communicate with our community’s residents—renters and owners alike—about our role in managing, maintaining, and improving this world-class neighborhood.
We do so at Community Board meetings and public events, during public board meetings, in our regular community newsletters, and via our Strategic Plan—and even as we encounter each other during our daily routines (as we hope to be doing more of soon).
In this letter, I’d like to talk to you about our role in addressing a concern we hear frequently—housing costs and predictability—and what we’re doing about it.
Welfare of Residents Should by BPCA’s Top Priority, Says Homeowner’s Coalition President
(Editor’s Note: The author, Pat Smith, is the president of the Battery Park City Homeowner’s Coalition, and the president of the Battery Pointe condominium board. He writes here in reply to a recent opinion piece by Battery Park City Authority president and chief executive officer B.J. Jones, which was published in the BroadsheetDAILY on June 23, and can be found HERE.)
Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) president Benjamin Jones lays out an articulate explanation of the ground rent situation in this community. There is one area, however, on which we might have disagreement. In discussing how the BPCA is addressing the issue of increasing ground rents, Mr. Jones writes: 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.
1954 – Elvis Presley makes his radio debut with “That’s All Right.”
1456 – A retrial verdict acquits Joan of Arc of heresy 25 years after her death.
1534 – Jacques Cartier makes his first contact with aboriginal peoples in what is now Canada.
1834 – In New York City, four nights of rioting against abolitionists began.
1846 – American troops occupy Monterey and Yerba Buena, thus beginning the conquest of California.
1863 – The United States begins its first military draft; exemptions cost $300.
1865 – Four conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln are hanged.– George Atzerodt (b. 1833) •– David Herold (b. 1842 – Lewis Payne (b. 1844)– Mary Surratt (b. 1823)
1907 – Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. staged his first Follies on the roof of the New York Theater in New York City.
1911 – The United States, Great Britain, Japan, and Russia sign the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911 banning open-water seal hunting, the first international treaty to address wildlife preservation issues.
1928 – Sliced bread is sold for the first time (on the inventor’s 48th birthday) by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri.
1946 – Howard Hughes nearly dies when his XF-11 reconnaissance aircraft prototype crashes in a Beverly Hills neighborhood.
1947 – The Roswell incident, the (supposed) crash of an alien spaceship near Roswell in New Mexico.
1952 – The ocean liner SS United States passes Bishop Rock on her maiden voyage, breaking the transatlantic speed record to become the fastest passenger ship in the world.
1954 – Elvis Presley makes his radio debut with “That’s All Right.”
1981 – President Ronald Reagan appoints Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States.
2005 – A series of four explosions occurs on London’s transport system killing 56 people including four suicide bombers and injuring over 700 others.
1860 – Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer and conductor (d. 1911)
1899 – George Cukor, American director and producer (d. 1983)
1927 – Doc Severinsen, American trumpet player and conductor (The Tonight Show Band)
1933 – David McCullough, American historian and author
1936 – Jo Siffert, Swiss race car driver (d. 1971)
1940 – Ringo Starr A Beatle
1304 – Pope Benedict XI (b. 1240)
1307 – Edward I of England (b. 1239)
1647 – Thomas Hooker, English minister, founded the Colony of Connecticut (b. 1586)
1930 – Arthur Conan Doyle, British writer (b. 1859)
2014 – Eduard Shevardnadze, Georgian general and politician, 2nd President of Georgia (b. 1928)