Random Assault in Chinatown Spurs Rally to Decry Anti-Asian Hate
A still from a security camera video shows the Monday attack in which a 55-year-old woman (whose name is being withheld) was hit with sufficient force to render her unconscious.
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 alleged assailant lingers nearby in the video. He was arrested shortly afterward, as police responded to the scene. The suspect has been identified by police as 44-year-old Alexander Wright, who has been provisionally charged with misdemeanor assault, assault as a hate crime, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Following his arrest, Mr. Wright, was taken to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
The victim was taken to New York-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital in stable condition, but complaining of dizziness, a severe headache, facial swelling, pain, and nausea. She was later released.
City Council member Margaret Chin speaks at the Wednesday rally, flanked by mayoral candidate Andrew Yang (rear) and City Council candidate Gigi Li (right).
At Wednesday’s rally—held on Confucius Plaza, steps away from the site of the attack—Ms. Chin noted that between January 1 and May 2, 180 hate crimes were reported to the Hate Crime Task Force of the New York Police Department, representing a 73 percent increase over the same period in 2020.
She added, “the spike in anti-Asian violence dramatically underscores our City’s need for accessible and affordable mental health services, both for the victims and those found guilty of violent crime, and for increased police presence in Chinatown. It makes my heart heavy knowing that my neighbors are fearful to visit a friend or go grocery shopping alone. Crime data from these last few months speaks for itself: this is a public safety emergency.”
“We are standing just a few blocks from my home where I am raising my baby daughter,” added City Council candidate Gigi Li. “Nothing is more important to me than keeping this community safe. I am standing here today with my neighbors to speak out against the racist violence we have witnessed and experienced.”
Ms. Chin was also joined at the rally by mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, who said, “it has been heartbreaking and devastating to see the drumbeat of violence against people in the Asian community. Our City has been failing us for far too long. We need change. We need someone who is going to make sure that the Alex Wrights, who get arrested eight times in a year, are not on our streets—whether that [means] reexamining the practices and rules of the District Attorneys, the judge, the rules on holding someone, or the rules on holding someone who is mentally ill and is clearly a threat to the public. We have to reexamine every step of the chain that allowed someone like Alex Wright to be walking the streets and brutally attacking a woman who was minding her own business walking and shopping in her own neighborhood.”
The video portraying the attack was made available online by State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou, who added, “we all know how much trauma she will have from this and how much trauma our community is having. I’m heartbroken seeing how many of these incidents keep happening. We are humans too.”
Seeking a Level Playing Field
BPCA Begins Work to Protect Its Turf
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…
What’s in a wok? Stir frying, steaming, pan frying, deep frying, poaching, boiling, braising, searing, smoking, and stewing! And none of this would be possible without the brilliant design of this utensil which can evenly distribute such high heat. Celebrated cookbook writer Carolyn Phillips talks about the wok and what she learned about China when her Chinese in-laws taught her how to cook with it. Free
Paul Schmelzing will discuss his groundbreaking research on real interest rate dynamics since the beginning of secondary debt markets, the topic of one of his PhD chapters. On the basis of visiting US and European archives over multiple years, he reconstructed global real interest rate series that cover 82% of advanced economy GDP over 700 years, and he argues that our current negative rate environment has actually been in the making for centuries. Mr. Schmelzing will explain why investors during the Italian Renaissance could already have predicted that the global economy would hit the “zero lower bound” in our time, why there is no such thing as a “normal” or “steady state” interest rate – and what the chances are that the major recent fiscal and monetary stimuli will now trigger a structural break from the low inflation, low rate era. Following Mr. Schmelzing’s presentation, James Grant and Richard Sylla will lead a discussion on the history of interest rates and will take questions from the audience.
As a New York Times staff reporter for the last decade, Sarah Maslin Nir has seen a lot. She covered the escape of two inmates from the Clinton Correctional Facility; camped out overnight at Zuccotti Park with Occupy Wall Street protesters; attended 25 parties over five days; and conducted a sweeping investigation into New York City’s nail salon industry, for which she was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Maslin Nir’s latest project is Horse Crazy: The Story of a Woman and a World in Love with an Animal, a new book that traces her lifelong obsession with horses and provides a window into the lesser-known corners of the equestrian world. Throughout her career, Maslin Nir has carried the stories of her family with her—including her father, Yehuda Nir, who survived the Holocaust in Poland and became a prominent psychiatrist who specialized in treating trauma among New York City’s Hasidic Jews. Join the Museum for a program exploring Maslin Nir’s family background, fascinating career, and identity as the descendant of Holocaust survivors. She’ll be interviewed by Stephanie Butnick, Tablet Magazine Deputy Editor and co-host of the leading Jewish podcast “Unorthodox.” $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.
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…
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.
Multiple New Bikes Lanes Coming to Lower Manhattan, Adding to Growing Local Network
The City’s Department of Transportation will begin this month implementing a plan—first approved in the spring last year, but delayed by the onset of the pandemic coronavirus—to add more bike lanes to the Lower Manhattan’s streetscape.
Two new physically segregated bicycle thoroughfares will be constructed in the next few weeks: a southbound connection linking Varick Street to West Broadway, and a northbound route via Church Street and Sixth Avenue.
Also coming soon is a protected section of Centre Street—a stretch that will connect Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan to Tribeca and Chinatown. To read more…
A Fresh Perspective on a Fresh Start
Alliance Assigns Digital Anthropologist to Document Downtown’s Rebirth
In March, 2020, just as the corona-pocalypse was gathering momentum, the Downtown Alliance put out a nationwide call to recruit an Explorer in Chief, whose job would be to spend June, July, and August of last year documenting the experience of life in Lower Manhattan across a variety of media. This invitation drew more than 700 eager applicants from 40 states and more than 30 nations—all vying for a gig that was dubbed a “Dream Job.”
“When we began developing this position,” Alliance president Jessica Lappin says, “COVID-19 didn’t exist. After we started accepting applications, the world changed overnight. As a result, so did the contest. This whole experience took on a new dimension as our neighborhood started down a path of recovery, and we’re confident that Josh Katz is the right adventurous soul to help the world discover Lower Manhattan anew.”
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.
1925 – Goodyear airship “Pilgrim” makes first flight with enclosed cabin.
350 – Roman usurper Nepotianus, of the Constantinian dynasty, proclaims himself Roman Emperor, entering Rome at the head of a group of gladiators.
1083 – Henry IV of Germany storms Rome, capturing St. Peter’s Cathedral
1098 – After 5-month siege in First Crusade, the Crusaders seize Antioch (now in modern Turkey)
1540 – Hernando de Soto crosses Appalachian Mountain, first European to do so
1620 – Construction of the oldest stone church in French North America,Notre-Dame-des-Anges, begins at Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
1889 – The Canadian Pacific Railway is completed from coast to coast.
1925 – Goodyear airship “Pilgrim” makes first flight with enclosed cabin. The Goodyear Blimp was a small airship built in the United States in the mid-1920s. The first example, christened Pilgrim, was Goodyear’s first civil airship, and their first airship to use helium as its lift gas. Originally intended for pleasure cruising, it soon found its value as a promotional vehicle as the first “Goodyear Blimp” in a line that has continued for over eighty years.
Pilgrim was retired on December 30th 1931, having completed 4,765 flights and having carried 5,355 passengers. In that time, she remained aloft for 2,880 hours and covered 95,000 miles. Her gondola is preserved in the National Air and Space Museum.
1935 – Normandie’s maiden voyage was on 29 May 1935. Fifty thousand saw her off at Le Havre. Normandie reached New York after four days, three hours and 14 minutes, taking away the Blue Riband from the Italian liner, Rex. Under the command of master Captain René Pugnet, her average speed was around 30 knots and on the eastbound crossing to France, she averaged over 30 knots, breaking records. An estimated 100,000 spectators lined New York Harbor for Normandie’s arrival.
1938 – German law on “Entartete Art”. Translated “Degenerate art” it was a term adopted by the Nazi regime in Germany to describe virtually all modern art. Banned on the grounds that it was un-German or Jewish Bolshevist in nature. Artists sufferd by being dismissed from teaching positions, being forbidden to exhibit or sell their art, and in some cases being forbidden to produce art entirely. A large amount of ‘degenerate art’ by Picasso, Dalí, Ernst, Klee, Léger and Miró was destroyed in a bonfire on the night of July 27, 1942, in the gardens of the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris.
1939 – Beer Barrel Polka hits #1 on the pop singles chart.
1946 – First bikini bathing suit displayed in Paris
The history of the bikini can be traced back to antiquity. Illustrations of Roman women wearing bikini-like garments during competitive athletic events have been found in several locations. The most famous of them is Villa Romana del Casale. French engineer Louis Réard introduced the modern bikini, modeled by Micheline Bernardini, in July 5, 1946, borrowing the name for his design from the Bikini Atoll, where post-war testing on the atomic bomb was happening.
1961 – John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev meet in Vienna
1970 – First artificial gene synthesized
1976 – US presented with oldest known copy of Magna Carta
Allen Ginsberg ~ June 3, 1926 ~ April 5, 1997
1808 – Jefferson F Davis, Ky, Pres of Confederate States of America (1861-5)
1853 – William Matthew Flinders Petrie, English Egyptologist (d. 1942)
Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie commonly known as Flinders Petrie, was an English Egyptologist and a pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology and preservation of artifacts. Educated at home,he was tutored in Latin Greek and French. At the age of eight, he ventured his first archaeological opinion, when friends visiting the Petrie family were describing the unearthing of the Brading Roman Villa in the Isle of Wight. The boy was horrified to hear the rough shovelling out of the contents, and protested that the earth should be pared away, inch by inch, to see all that was in it and how it lay. When he died in 1942, Petrie donated his head (and thus his brain) to the Royal College of Surgeons of London while his body was interred in the Protestant Cemetery on Mt. Zion. World War II was then at its height, and the head was delayed in transit. After being stored in a jar in the college basement, its label fell off and no one knew who the head belonged to. It was identified however, and is now stored, but not displayed, at the Royal College of Surgeons of London.
1864 – Ransom Eli Olds, auto (Oldsmobile) & truck (REO) manufacturer
1877 – Raoul Dufy, France, Fauvist painter
1906 – Josephine Baker, dancer/Parisian night club owner
1926 – Allen Ginsberg, Newark, New Jersey, American beat poet
1928 – Donald Judd, US, sculptor
1881 – Japanese giant salamander, dies in Dutch zoo at 55; oldest amphibian
The Artis Zoo in Amsterdam, the Netherlands has owned two giant Japanese salamanders (Andrias japonicus), both of whom reached 52 years – the oldest documented age for an amphibian, and indeed the oldest for a salamander. The first giant Japanese salamander was brought to Europe in 1829 and given to the Zoo in 1839 where it lived
until 1881; the second arrived in 1903 and died in 1955.
1924 – Franz Kafka, Czech writer (Trial, Amerika, Metamorphosis), dies at 40
1989 – Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranian ayatollah, dies at 89
2011 – Jack Kevorkian, American pathologist, right-to-die activist (b. 1928)